AI disrupted the tech world a year ago and keeps transforming our lives in many ways. It can write my paper for a class, create a piece of code I need for a custom browser plugin, organize my calendar, plan an itinerary for my next vacation, explain string theory in simplest terms, or just chat with me and entertain me when I'm bored. Yet, most importantly, it can help me make more money. In fact, it has the potential to make all of us richer.
The AI market is currently valued at $100 billion and is expected to grow continuously, contributing $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2032 – and everyone has an opportunity to take a bite of this lucrative pie. Matt Higgins, a successful businessman, author, and the co-founder and CEO of RSE Ventures, is positive that you should get in on the AI game if you want to be rich – the earlier, the better. He calls AI "the greatest wealth creator in history" because AI, unlike people, is free of bias and allows equal opportunity to everyone regardless of "where you were born, whether you have money, whether you have a PhD."
However, despite removing many barriers, AI isn't a silver bullet. It cannot create money if you don't provide some input – either skills or at least time and effort. Without due diligence, you are likely to get into an embarrassing situation like that lawyer in New York City who got into hot water after using ChatGPT to write a legal brief where AI cited fictional cases or a big news outlet that was forced to issue corrections after the published AI-assisted story appeared to include awkward inaccuracies in basic math.
You see, "get rich quickly" schemes rarely are as good as they sound, and AI is not an exception. It's a brilliant tool and an important milestone in tech development, true. Yet, to earn a decent income with its help, you will need to do your part – at least, learn to wield the algorithmic power to elicit the desired results. Below are some realistic ways AI can help you make money.
Invest in AI
AI is poised to become a huge part of our everyday life, dividing it into before and after. It's a massive paradigm shift – as was the internet, the television, the electricity, or the steam power before. This shift toward AI starts with major corporations like Meta and Google, but it is expected to spread and have a ripple effect on all industries. AI and big data will power everything. Not only strictly tech domains like cybersecurity or face recognition but all spheres of life: healthcare, entertainment, retail, communication, etc. "You can't see it yet, but you can feel the ground rumbling," says Michael Loukas, principal and CEO at TrueMark Investment firm, about the profound influence of AI on human civilization.
According to investing experts, this is a force to reckon with – and invest in. There are several ways to do it:
- AI-focused ETFs. ETF stands for exchange-traded fund, a bundle of different assets, stocks, and bonds. A single ETF can contain dozens or even hundreds of different stocks, commodities, or anything that can be considered an investable asset. The biggest advantages of ETFs are portfolio diversification and risk management, which is just what you need with something as new and dynamic as AI.
- Individual AI stocks. AI technologies are emerging in every industry, but it's important to understand who will be merely benefitting from AI – like banking or transportation, and who will be the living blood of this revolution, producing processing power and storing data. If you want to invest in the "next Google" or "next Apple," keep an eye on chip makers like Nvidia and data platforms like Splunk and Snowflake, for example.
- Known giants. Plenty of highly visible and successful corporations use AI to maximize their profits and net worth. Alphabet uses AI to improve search engine capabilities, Amazon makes better product recommendations and optimizes logistics, and Tesla is exploring self-driving features for vehicles and even dabbles in robotics. Watch famous companies who keep up with the times – these household names are the blue chips of tomorrow. They should be your choice if you favor stability and low risk over quick gain.
Create content with AI
Investment is all nice and well, but what if you don't have two cents to rub together in the first place? I know, I know. I promised a revolution, and it all seems like the same old "rich become richer" deal. Fret not! As a student, you can monetize your time, basic skills, and positive attitude with the help of AI. One of the ways to do it is by creating content with AI. Here are some ideas about what you can do.
- Start an affiliate marketing blog
This has always been a good option for a part-time gig, but now it's way more approachable for students and beginners because AI makes it simpler and less time-consuming. You can use AI to create a website, content plan, and articles promoting products you would sell, including tweaking texts for SEO and coming up with attention-grabbing titles. Of course, you will need to fact-check and edit those materials, but it will take you far less time than writing it from scratch could take.
There is one possible limitation – free AI tools like ChatGPT aren't current. They are trained on datasets that are one or two years behind, so news outlet is out of the question. Better concentrate on evergreen general advice.
- Freelance writing or image creation
If you don't want the responsibility of a big content project of your own and would like to keep things casual, freelancing as a content creator is also made easy with AI's assistant. As a freelance writer, you would create marketing copy, articles, blogs, podcast scripts, captions for TikTok videos, etc. Another way might be to create illustrations, logos, and other visual materials with the help of image-generation tools like Midjourney and DALL-E. This doesn't require any particular artistic skills – only a way with words to create pinpoint-precise prompts. You will still need some expertise in writing or image editing to process the output and refine it because, in its raw form, it is likely to contain mistakes and inaccuracies. Still, as an editor, you can be much more productive than a writer or a digital artist.
There is, however, one important ethical concern: you should disclose the use of AI to your clients. This is not yet required legally, but from the point of view of integrity and transparency, there are no two opinions about it. At least, in case of a mistake that is AI's fault, you will have approval to have been using it in the first place.
- Sell merchandise with AI-created designs
Stickers, t-shirts, mugs, pins, notebook covers, posters, tote bags, phone cases – what do they all have in common? They all can be customized and sold on websites like Redbubble, Etsy, TeePublic, Printify, etc. With a bit of creativity and AI help, you can learn to create unique, cute, or edgy designs that people will want to buy and have a creator's commission from sales. If you have a niche you are good at or passionate about, all you need to do is generate and upload designs regularly (ideally, daily or weekly), optimize your listings for SEO to make your designs searchable, and maybe use paid ads at the beginning to kick start your growth.
Teach about AI
More of a people person? Teaching others how to leverage AI to get what they want is another emerging profession that might not be in high demand yet but will be quite soon. While there are many online courses and other learning opportunities to understand the basics of AI work, self-learning isn't for everyone. A large portion of the population responds to person-to-person tutoring much better than to being flat-out fed data like a machine. If you are motivated and disciplined enough, you can become an expert in the field of applied AI – at no cost at all. Many high-profile schools, like Harvard or the University of California, Davis, offer free AI classes of various intensity levels, from introductory workshops to several weeks of deep dive into algorithms and data analytics.
Learning all this from free and open sources requires time and effort but puts you in an excellent position to take advantage of the dramatic change humanity goes through and start teaching others professionally.
AI doesn't always understand what you mean from the prompt alone. Most of the time, it must be primed and trained in what answer is expected from it in any given situation. Training AI models for specific tasks is one of the emerging professions you can start mastering right now.
You can try your hand at it by creating various dialogs in ChatGPT and training it by creating prompts and providing feedback. For example, one dialog can focus on honing AI's "sense of humor" and ability to return humorous responses to user input, while another will emulate a caring listener who can analyze user input for tone and emotion and respond accordingly. If you think this is fun and you can be good at it, why not apply to one of the dozens of AI trainer jobs available right now?
Most companies look to hire an AI trainer with a bachelor's degree in computer science or data analytics. However, you don't necessarily have to be tech-savvy or know any coding. Many AI trainer positions require a degree in linguistics, literature, communication, psychology, or social sciences because your task will be to teach AI to understand humans, not the other way around.
Optimize your business with AI
AI offers affordable solutions for small-business owners and individual entrepreneurs to maximize their profits with minimal input: streamline operations, analyze customer behavior, gain competitive intelligence from data analysis, identify new revenue opportunities, and make advertising efforts more effective.
With the help of AI tools, it has also become possible to handle tasks that would otherwise be outsourced to freelancers or agencies, like content marketing, technical writing, visual design, customer support, or SEO optimization, which allows business owners to afford more on a smaller budget. With 24/7 availability and personalized experience, AI is an invaluable helper that never tires and will enable you to do all the work in-house, which is vital if you handle sensitive data.
AI's impact can be as simple but significant as speeding up routine tasks like drafting client agreements or creating product descriptions for your online shop.
In short, AI has made opening your own business more approachable and feasible for everyone, including young people with little experience.
Create a product with AI
Finally, you can create a marketable product with the help of AI. For example, an e-book you can self-publish. From instructions to creative fiction – the sky is the limit. Follow your passions and interests and write something you would want to write anyway – just let AI help do the routine parts of your job, like editing or writing bits you hate. I would definitely outsource action scenes in my YA fantasy novel.
Working for a writing company, I am being a bit content-centric, but you don't have to! AI can create all sorts of things. It can write code, so you can make an app or a plugin with its help. AI can generate artwork you can turn into anything – from artistic prints to sticker packs for social media to NFT objects, all of which you can sell to generate income.
For those who are looking for something more serious than simply a temporary side gig, AI can help to create a product from scratch, from identifying a problem that your product can solve and market research to scaling and improving the existing product through the feedback loop. Ever wondered where all those startup founders get their brilliant ideas? Now, you can be one of them with the help of AI.
In the grand scheme of wealth creation, AI isn't a solo act but an amazing collaborator. It's a tool that can open doors to financial opportunities, creative expression, and a fulfilling career, regardless of your starting point. Wield AI power wisely, and it can be an invaluable partner contributing to your future success.