6-Figure Business Ideas: 10 Ways to Make $100,000 Without a Job

profitable business ideas
Steven Depolo under Creative Commons

You can make $100,000 a year from a job, but it typically takes a lot of work and a load of debt to get there.

For example, after years of studying to get a degree, veterinary students’ debt at graduation averages $160,000. And the median annual wage for veterinarians is about $84,000, so it could be a long time before that income reaches $100,000 per year.

What if you don’t want to spend years in college or you just don’t want to work as an employee? How can you make $100,000 within a year or two without a job?

Well, if you get accepted for a Thiel Fellowship, you could get $100,000 to drop out of school. You’ll earn the money over the course of two years as you develop a business.

My wife and I made more than $100,000 annually in our best years, creating interesting websites and monetizing them with Google AdSense. So that’s another possibility (although it’s much more difficult now).

Let’s look at a few more of the many ways people have made $100,000 from something other than a salary or bonus.

1. Teach Online (No Degree Required)

Nick Walter had heard of people giving lessons on Udemy.com, but he had never been a teacher. Then, when Apple created a new programming language called Swift, he felt inspired to help others learn it. He quickly put together 50 video lessons, and in June of 2014 loaded them up on Udemy.com.

Within a few months, he made more than $100,000 from his lessons.

If you have a skill you can teach others and a video camera (likely on your laptop), you can become an instructor today — and with no previous teaching experience.

2. Sell Toys on eBay

Arthur Burlo explains that it took him a couple of years to make $100,000 selling toys on eBay. Only $70,000 of that was profit, but his story is worth including here, in part because of his location.

“Considering that in Malta, where I live, the average [monthly] wage is $2,000, I could have easily made a living off of that,” Burlo. It may not be easy to make a fortune selling toys, but it is easy to get started selling on eBay.

3. Publish Kindle Books

I love Amazon’s Kindle platform. As a writer, you can self-publish an ebook for nothing and still have a chance to hit it big.

My backpacking book made $2,000, which isn’t too exciting, but I also made money from a few of my other ebooks.

And some people do much better that I have. Joe Konrath made $100,000 in three weeks with his Kindle books. What makes his story even better is that he did it with books that traditional publishers had rejected.

4. Sell Photos Online

“The best decision that I ever made in my entrepreneurial career up to this point has been to sell stock photography online,” says Scott, who has made $100,000 selling his photos.

You can sell stock photography through many websites. Once you’re approved for an account, you load your photos and get paid when people use them. Scott’s best website platform was Shutterstock.com, where he made more than $40,000 in sales.

5. Donate Your Eggs

Sarah Gwaltney was working as a model while going to college in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, but she wasn’t making enough money. So when she heard about egg donation from a friend, she jumped right in. In two years, she donated her eggs six times and says she made $100,000.

Most donors don’t make that much; in her guide to egg donation, Belynda Cianci says you can expect $3,000 to $5,000 the first time, and $8,000 or more after you’ve had successful donations.

But several ABC News employees learned that their height, ethnicity or education could make their eggs more valuable.

6. Create a Blog

Blogging might not be a quick path to riches, but it can certainly bring in some money.

For example, The Work at Home Woman profiled bloggers Miranda Marquit and Lisa Weber. Weber makes $300,000 a year from her blog about celebrity babies, and Marquit has earned “between $95,000 and $120,000 a year for the last few years,” primarily from her personal finance blog.

Their advice is to find a niche you like, produce good content, connect with other bloggers and stick with it. For more on how to start a blog and make money as a blogger, check out our guide.

7. Invest in Marijuana Stocks

Some say investing in penny stocks is a fast way to lose money, but it can also be a way to cash in on marijuana legalization in Colorado. Kent Holesinger made $100,000 in pot stocks, reports Cannabist.com.

Want to gamble on these long-shot investments? An online list of marijuana-related stocks includes dozens of options to choose from.

8. Sell T-Shirts Online

“I’m tired of listening to people say ‘get a real job’,” says Benny Hsu. And why should he work for someone else? He made $30,000 in 30 days with an iPhone app.

Then, he did even better selling T-shirts online. In five months, he made a net profit of more than $101,000, using Facebook ads as his primary sales strategy. The most important lesson he offers is to keep trying; he says he had 21 failures before earning a profit.

9. Sell Things in a Game

“One gamer has made over $100,000 creating and selling in-game items in SOE’s Player Studio program,” according to Gamer.com. The program lets you create in-game items and, after they are approved, sell them directly to other players. As a seller you get 40% of the net proceeds from sales of your items.

10. Invest in Bitcoin

How old do you have to be, and how much money do you need to make $100,000 investing in Bitcoin? Erik Finman was only 15, and he started with just $1,000.

Eighteen months later, he sold his Bitcoin currency for $100,000, which he is now using to launch his own startup.

You can buy Bitcoin from websites like CoinBase.com, but the biggest gains in value may be past, so keep your eyes open for the next up-and-coming cryptocurrency.

Add to your skill set without going back to school. We have great deals on courses you can complete from home.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. Of the more than 100 ways he has personally made money, writing is his favorite (so far).