From what I understand there are three types of ways to make money online:

  1. Get paid directly for your efforts (freelancing) - active revenue.
  2. Create and sell a product or automated service - passive revenue.
  3. Create content on an ongoing basis to gain traffic and get paid indirectly (ads) - mostly active, but with passive potential.

I have always fallen squarely into the third category and only recently started trying out the first in order to add a silver lining to my modest revenue. I've been shy about the second one though having occasional fantasies about how great it would be to set up something and then make money on autopilot.. but it seemed like something that requires investing the kind of money I didn't have.

Another issue with affiliate marketing is that it always seemed like I'd have to be selling products which I have zero interest in myself. The biggest earners all seemed to be things my sites were getting spammed about (you know the drill, weight loss, enlargement, gambling etc.) which just gave me a very bad taste of it all. But things I do have some interest in and which I actually would like to sell always seemed to be on the fringe and probably low earners. I could almost hear some rich affiliate marketeer saying "oh.. good luck with that dude, you're gonna need it".

So which ones are you in and in which of the three do you actually make most money?