The Ethics of Making Money Online

A Person with Skills Scrubbing Toilets

The other day, I ran across a blog post from a trans lady living in Canada in a Facebook group that I’m a member of. She was lamenting the fact that before her transition, she was a highly sought after print journalist, but after, she had a hard time finding a job scrubbing toilets.

“I couldn’t Imagine Making Money!”

It was evident from her blog that she is a good writer. Like really good. So, I mentioned in the comments that she should consider self-hosting a blog and monetizing it, or writing an ebook. She responded back with the idea that she writes because she feels compelled to, but she couldn’t imagine charging anyone to read her stuff. And that she already has 10 books, but gives them away for free.

At that point, I stopped responding because there was obviously no convincing her because after all, if you’d rather scrub toilets than make money doing what you feel compelled to do, and love doing, then to each their own I guess. But, I’ve been thinking about that this past week.

Is Making Money Online Ethical?

My thoughts on the topic: I have an astounding amount of content online that I offer for free. Like 99% of it. The two main things I charge for are my books: The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure Your Financial Future and How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams.

I do genuinely want to help people get a university job in South Korea and I also want to help ESL teachers abroad figure out their finances. But, since I put in a significant amount of time and energy into these books and am offering people valuable, useful content, it only makes sense that I could get something in return for that. I charge around $3 for each book, which is less than the cost of a draft beer or coffee here in South Korea, so it’s not exactly a burden. Ethical? In my world, it most definitely is and I don’t lost any sleep whatsoever thinking about this.

You can Make Money Online Without Charging for Books

Even if this lady didn’t want to charge for her content, there are other ways! She could put up Google Adsense on her blog. Or, she could give her books for free away on Amazon and link to them with an affiliate link and make money on whatever else people bought after clicking her links. Another idea would be to move some content over to a place like HubPages where they take care of all the ads and just send you money via PayPal every month. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a million other ways to make some money online while still offering people free content.

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