Raise your hand if you love the idea of earning extra income or ditching the office life to work from home. Well, you're not alone. According to a 2017 telecommuting report by FlexJobs, the number of U.S. employees who worked from home at least half of the time has grown 115% in twelve years, from 1.8 million employees in 2005 to 3.9 million in 2017.
In 2010, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my entrepreneurial journey. I had paid a developer a large sum of money to develop a couple of WordPress plugins I had ideas for. I had seen others successfully create and sell WordPress plugins, and I wanted in on it. But the problem was that I rushed into it. I made the mistake of chasing the money, and didn’t actually validate the idea, or consider who the plugin was for. The result? Nobody wanted them. I didn’t even sell one. I spent $15,000 to get the plugins developed, and they didn’t go anywhere.
Anyone who has ever googled “work from home” or “make money from home” knows that the web is overflowing with sites proclaiming you can make thousands from the comfort of your living room, most of the time requiring you to first buy a book, CD, or DVD to learn how. Since there is so much of this garbage out there, it can be frustrating looking for legitimate ways to work from home. Below are some reasonable ideas to consider.
Affiliate marketing presents a very low friction entry into selling products online. While you do need some type of audience to sell these products or services to, you could make a significant amount of money from home while doing it. Some products or services have very high earnings per click. That means, if you play your cards right, you could easily make a large profit on conversions by driving traffic to specific offers as long as you target the right interests.
If you live near a university, there are likely all sorts of research studies looking for participants. While I was an undergrad at Virginia Tech, I got paid $500 to participate in a 6-week dietary study. The study provided all my meals and paid me, but I had to eat a 5,000 calorie diet of 50% fat for 6 weeks, plus I had multiple muscle biopsies, urine/blood testing, etc.
Sole proprietorships offer maximum control and are easy to set up, with low startup costs, but they come with some disadvantages too: the owner has full legal and financial liability, meaning if the worst happens and the business gets sued, the litigant can go after the owner’s personal assets. It’s also harder to raise capital from investors or to get business loans because this is the type of business that is built to remain small. It’s not built to last, either — since the business and the owner are the same entity, the life of the business is dependent on the working years of the proprietor.
Once you’ve chosen a name and business structure, filed paperwork with the state and set up your website, you’re ready to get going with your online business. Remember that the Internet is a busy place and you can’t sit back and wait for customers to come to you. Look for ways to actively promote your business through online advertising, social media and old-fashioned word of mouth.
Overall, the Internet itself is overflowing with one money making opportunity after another. While making money online for most people isn’t their primary source of income, it can net a very solid supplement stream of incoming dollars each month. There are some online entrepreneurs, however, that are managing to mine gold due to all the effort, persistence, and time they’ve invested in order to make that dream come true. Can one of these online money making options work for you?
Similar to a virtual assistant, you’ll need to have very strong organizational and communication skills if you want to become a social media manager. It helps to be a strong user on Facebook or Twitter, but it might be even more important to know how to use social media insight tools, including HootSuite or SocialFlow, Facebook Analytics and more. Just like with a virtual assistant, you want to be able to communicate what your efforts are targeting and what your campaigns have accomplished so your employer can recognize your value.
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
Your Idea. It’s not enough to say that you’re going to offer an exercise classes. The people considering your classes will want to know exactly what they are going to get for their money, and it will be up to you to explain it concisely and effectively. Understand that you’re basically giving a sales pitch to potential attendees. You’ll have to really narrow down your topic.
Our first overlooked opportunity is selling your knowledge. In this instance, we are talking about creating a course or eBook that you can make available for purchasing online. Because of the automation available today, you may be able to put in the work once when creating your packaged information and then enjoy those checks coming in for months or years to come.
Content is what drives web traffic. Websites are always pumping out fresh, new content for their readers, and they are always looking for writers! If you aren’t quite ready to launch your own blog yet, this might be a good option to see if writing is for you. Since competition is high, we don’t recommend starting from scratch as a freelance writer. Want to see success faster? Learn from a veteran, six-figure freelance writer.
Writing copy for websites is another great freelancing option for those who have a way with words. Copywriting can involve writing the text for websites, press releases, promotional offline materials including leaflets and brochures, and any other professional text for businesses. While writing blog posts is well paid it won’t make you as much money as writing copy for sales pages. However, clients can be more fussy, as they want the highest quality writing for the forefront of their website or advertising campaigns. Many freelance writers offer both copywriting and blog writing amongst their services. This can be a good way to juggle regular but lower paid clients (blogging) with the higher paid but ad-hoc project based copy work.
Great list! I have another to consider that I personally have 35+ years experience providing. Clean up litter outside commercial properties on foot using inexpensive hand tools. It’s almost as easy to do as going for a walk! I started doing this as a side gig in 1981 and soon grew it into a profitable full-time business. I share my experience in my book, Cleanlots.
A lead magnet is basically a piece of content that you give away for for free to potential customers, in order to capture their attention and convince them to hand over their contact information. Most people aren’t going to sign up to your mailing list just for the sake of it, so a lead magnet allows you to ask for something in exchange for something your audience finds valuable.
Write and publish an eBook. You don’t need a traditional publisher and financial backing to publish your own book anymore. In fact, Amazon.com makes it possible for you to publish your own eBook and sell it independently – with no financial investment on your part. And with Kindle eBook publishing, your book will appear on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours. Just be prepared to market it yourself on social media, your blog, or elsewhere if you expect to generate sales.
Starting an online ecommerce store can be a huge undertaking and require a lot of upfront investment. Not only do you need to design a website and create product listings, but you also need to buy, store and ship the products you sell. Dropshipping stores are different, though. With a drop shipping store, you only have to do a fraction of that work. Dropshipping stores allow you to create a website and sell products, but without having to keep inventory or ship the products yourself – it’s all taken care of by a third-party wholesaler. When a customer buys a product from your website, you place an order with the third-party manufacturer or wholesaler, who then ships it directly to the customer on your behalf. Dropship stores save you time, money, and resources. Creating your website or product gallery doesn’t even have to be difficult. You can build an online store using WooCommerce or easy-to-use templates on platforms like Shopify, and apps like Oberlo. You can literally set up an online dropship store with thousands of products in just a couple of days.
Using the money you already have to make more money is usually a pretty smart move. A service like Lending Club is a great way to act as a lender and earn interest on your money. Essentially, you act as the bank, which is pretty neat. Lending Club is the world’s largest online credit marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. Definitely something worth looking into!
Work as an online interpreter or translator. If you’re fluent in a foreign language, it makes sense to look for work as an online interpreter or translator. Depending on your individual skillset, you could find work translating blog posts or eBooks, transcribing recorded lessons or speeches for clients, or translating through Skype or another online video service. And, thanks to the increased use of foreign languages in the United States, getting started could really pay off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for interpreters and translators is expected to increase 17% nationally through 2026.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
One factor that you must be aware of though is that Care.com is a peer-to-peer arrangement. That means that you will be in direct competition with other pet sitters in your area. You must price your services competitively in order to get business. Once you begin to develop a list of regular clients, you will be in a better position to raise your rates. This will be particularly true as you get referrals from those customers.
Another strategy to make money online is to become a social marketing manager. Being present on social media is key for any business that wants to attract new customers, promote their products and grow their following. However, constantly posting, liking and commenting on the numerous social media channels is extremely time-consuming. More and more businesses are recruiting social media managers to run and organize all their social media. And to save money, social media employees are often employed as online freelancers.
Great article, I have tried a few over the years. I had a side business cleaning offices for years. It did great, but I hated never being able to take more than 3-4 days vacation, so I eventually gave up. I tried MTurk, but if you multiplied my earnings on an hourly basis, it was a little over $6/hr. My blog is much worse, probably less than $0.25/hr.
Don't use jargon. If you are offering technical expertise, include descriptions that appeal to your client base, not your peers. For example, if you are showing that you can code with PHP and AJAX, don't say "in this case, if the input field is empty (str.length==0), the function clears the content of the txtHint placeholder and exits the function." The person who needs you to work on their site will just scratch their head and say "huh?" Say, instead, "Start entering text into this field, and it will auto-complete."
Need more ideas on how to make money online? Another strategy is using webinars to market your product, service, or course. I’ve done webinars to promote my financial planning practice and to drum up interest in my online course for financial advisors. With a webinar, you’re basically offering a lot of tips and advice for free — usually in a live format. At the end though, you pitch your paid product or service with the goal of securing a few deals.