It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who’ve done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. Or you can even buy into well-established franchise businesses like Rhea Lana that sell fashionable, affordable kids clothing and get the backing of a proven organization to fuel your online sales. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.
Better yet, you can even upload your own book to one of the world’s largest book sellers: Amazon. With Amazon self-publishing, you set the price, retain the rights to your book, and get access to Amazon’s massive audience. For every sale, you keep 70% with Amazon taking the remainder as a fee. If you want to get started, check out Tara Gentile on CreativeLive as she shows you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Who knows, you might just write one of the best business books or blogging books of the year!
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More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.
The downside is that the hiring process is highly competitive, so you’ll likely need to demonstrate prior experience or make a great impression on the hiring manager. If you’re hired, you’ll need to complete a paid training course that lasts five to seven weeks. And you’ll need to spring for a legit home office, which Apple describes as “a quiet, distraction-free room with a door that can close to keep out ambient noise … a desk, an ergonomic chair, and your own high-speed Internet connection from a reliable provider that meets the minimum requirements of 5 megabits per second download and 1 megabit per second upload.”
The following are a variety of legitimate ways to earn extra income, get a second job, launch a full-time solo career, or start your own small business – all from the comfort of your own home. Some of these opportunities build upon hobbies that you might already pursue without economic gain; you’ll find many in this article from Top Trends Guide on income-producing pursuits.
You can find plenty of translation jobs on general freelance platforms like Upwork, but the quality of opportunities on nonspecialized platforms tends to be uneven. Earning potential also varies widely. Entry-level, nonspecialized translation work often pays less than $10 per hour, while highly technical jobs can pay more than $50 per hour. Generally speaking, you’ll earn more as you gain experience, improve your fluency, and attain vertical-specific credentials.
If it’s not clear yet, information and expertise are two of the most consistent and lucrative ways to make extra money online. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can sign up to get paid to answer professional questions on JustAnswer. There are thousands of questions being asked every month from people looking for help from lawyers, doctors, mechanics, vets, and more. To apply, you’ll need to supply your professional verification, resume, and a form of identification.
Once you’ve gathered a list, put together an outreach email template (as you’ll be doing this over and over) that’s short and clear with expectations. Tell your potential interviewee who you are, what your podcast is about, and what you’re asking of them. Do a few test interviews with friends and family to make sure everything is being recorded at the quality you want and then book your first episode.
Getaround is the sharing economy's answer to rental agencies. The company allows you to rent out your car on an hourly or daily basis, starting at $5 an hour. Depending on your vehicle's market value, you set the price per hour, and Getaround takes a 40% cut to cover 24/7 roadside assistance and driver insurance. According to the Getaround, earning potential for renting your car when you're not using it is up to $1,000 a year.
You can juggle all these obligations yourself, or you can outsource much of the heavy lifting to a pet sitting platform like Rover. Think of Rover as the Airbnb of pet sitting – a scalable platform that handles a lot of the behind-the-scenes work of running a profitable home-based enterprise without micromanaging your work. Rover claims its pet sitters earn up to $1,000 per month, though actual earnings vary by client volume and the amount of time you put into the business.
Once thredUp receives the bag, they’ll inspect your items before choosing which ones to list. The site says they accept less than 40% of items on average. To increase your chances of getting accepted, make sure your items are clean, name-brand, less than five years old, and are in excellent condition. Depending on the popularity of the items you send, you’ll be paid either after processing or once your items sell.
Let’s say I’m an Amazon affiliate for camping gear, and I want to write an exhaustive, in-depth blog post and review of the “50 Best Hiking Backpacks for Adventuring Outdoors.” By running a quick Keyword Planner check on the organic search volume I can see that there’s around 5,500 monthly searches for the keyword ‘hiking backpacks’ alone. I’ll then start with putting together a blog post outline to highlight my unique angle and make sure I’m doing the best possible job of answering reader questions—while striving to avoid common blogging mistakes along the way.
Advertising and Promotion. You won’t have a huge budget to promote your at-home business, so use cost-effective outreach targeted to your most likely customers, such as fliers in local craft and clothing stores, a basic website (preferably with booking and payment portals), a referral network, and friends and family willing to sing your praises. Also, consider joining the American Sewing Guild for $50 per year. It’s a great way to meet other enthusiasts and get your name out there.
Other opportunities are easier to get but not nearly as lucrative. Many market research companies have video-watching verticals through which participants can earn points for each view. Swagbucks and InboxDollars are two legitimate options. You can earn points with them, which you can redeem for gift cards and occasionally cash. The hourly rates working out to less than minimum wage in most cases but aren’t bad for a few spare minutes of your time here and there.
Know What to Charge (and When to Charge More). Setting freelance writing rates is notoriously challenging. The value of your work depends on many factors, including your writing style and quality, your niche, your subject matter strengths and professional credentials, your research skills, your production speed, and your ability to work on deadline. As a rule of thumb, licensed professionals (such as lawyers, CPAs, and physicians) can charge more than nonexperts with above-average writing skills. But don’t assume your earning potential is static. As you gain skill and familiarity within your niche or with individual clients’ needs and your professional visibility improves, you’ll become more valuable to current and future clients.
Find work. When you first start out, you may have to accept work writing about a topic you don’t find all that interesting. You must keep an open mind and be willing to accept work that may not be in your desired field. However, as you continue to write, you not only learn about more topics, but you also build your reputation. With time, you can be choosier about assignments you want to accept.
One thing I am guilty of is finding one thing I like and sticking to it without ever trying anything new. I’ve caught myself doing this with cash back apps over the past year or so. I used to exclusively use Rakuten because it was easy and usually got me cash back, but now I make a point to do a quick “comparison shop” between cash back tools to make sure I am getting the best deal available.
Spotting Scams. Lots of at-home voice work is legitimate, but there are plenty of scam artists too. Don’t invest any money upfront without thoroughly checking your prospective employer’s credentials. Start with the Better Business Bureau and cross-reference with first-person testimonials at watchdog sites such as Ripoff Report and career boards such as Indeed.
Accommodate Multiple Forms of Payment. Many deal-seekers carry cash, but you want to accommodate every potential buyer. So in the days leading up to the event, consider purchasing a point-of-sale system that can accept credit cards. Square is a popular and relatively cost-effective option. It doesn’t cost anything upfront and bundles credit card processing fees into one relatively low fee: 2.6% plus $0.10 per transaction, for a net of $97.30 for every $100 charged. It’s a small price to pay to capture the ever-growing cashless consumer demographic. On the day before the sale, visit the bank and grab $100 in small bills and coin rolls to ensure you’ll have enough change for buyers who do prefer cash.
Once you have a little bit of money, you need to start investing it. The goal, of course, is to turn your investments into a passive income stream that will pay you for the rest of your life. It doesn't take much to get started. You can get started investing with as little as $1 with these free investing apps. Then, add another $100 each month and you'll grow your nest egg into something powerful.
If you have to pay it now, you have to take out a loan, ask for an advance on your salary or borrow money from friends or family. If it can wait, the amount will accumulate interest until you pay it back. If it's just one month out of twelve, and the other eleven you always have money left over, there's not really anything to worry about. Put the left over money aside to pay this month's expenses. Other than that, there are only two things you can do: spend less, or earn more. Sell your car, move to a smaller place, get a roommate. Cut whatever expenses you need to break even. Try for a second job, a raise, or sell something you make.
And while it will take time to build up a big-enough audience to attract advertisers and other ways to make extra income from your podcast, the opportunity is there. John Lee Dumas interviews entrepreneurs seven days a week for his podcast Entrepreneur on Fire and now makes more than $200,000 a month from it. In fact, John publishes all his income online and showed that he’s made almost $13 million since launching in 2012.
Have an extra room in the house? Try renting it out on Airbnb.com. According to Smart Asset, you can pay up to 81% of your rent by listing one room in a two-bedroom home. If you're really looking to ring in the cash, renting out a private home or apartment is the way to go. According to Smart Asset's findings, rates for full apartments are significantly higher than those for just rooms, with annual profits ranging from $15,000 to $31,000 for a two-bedroom apartment.
Research Costs and Set Fair Starting Prices. Before setting prices for each item, research your local Craigslist website and nearby yard sales to get a sense of how to price them. Remember that many buyers will try to haggle, so set prices a bit higher than your bottom dollar but not so high you’ll scare off first bids. Roughly 10% to 15% higher is a good rule of thumb. Consider bunching low-value items, such as old CDs, into lots of five or 10.
It can take time to build up your personal freelance business. Yet, there is more demand than ever for freelancers. So, if you want to kick start making money online through freelancing you can join one of the top freelance networks, such as Flexjobs, SolidGigs, Contena, Upwork, Fiverr, or PeoplePerHour. Sign up, build your profile, upload some samples of your work and start making extra money by doing small freelance jobs.
If you’ve got experience and expertise in a specific area of business, there are hundreds if not thousands of business owners who would love to jump on a phone call and pick your brain. This can be an easy way to make extra money online and to hone your skills to use in your consulting or freelance business. Sites like Clarity.fm let you create a profile where entrepreneurs and business owners can pre-pay to book a phone call with you for a set amount of time. Whether you’re an expert in raising money for startups, building apps, or running a restaurant, you can make extra money selling a few minutes of your time to people in need.
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be making extra money online. Major brands, gear companies, and even startups are willing to shell out $500-$5,000+ per post to get in front of your audience. While it’s getting harder and harder to build a massive Instagram audience, if you already have a solid niche and are posting quality content regularly with a great camera for taking Instagram photos, with a few small tweaks you can make yourself an influencer. Check out this awesome article from Shopify on how to build and grow your Instagram following to get started, and as your following grows, you can start a blog to really build up your blog business plan and take things to new heights.
Flexible Schedules With Long Blocks of Uninterrupted Time. Simultaneous game tests typically occur at the client’s convenience. If your game’s developer is based overseas, that could mean testing in the middle of the night. For night owls, that’s not a big deal, but 9-to-5ers may struggle. Also, tests typically take several hours, so this isn’t something you can do for 20 minutes at a time and move on.
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
Become a dog walker if you live in an area where they are in demand. You can walk dogs for people who own dogs but who are too busy to walk them. However, this can be a demanding job, especially if you end up walking a few dogs at once or if you are walking dogs throughout the day, so ensure that you have the physical stamina for this type of job.
How much will you make? I think my best month with Google AdSense was almost $5,000 over the last ten years. That amazing month blew my mind since it was actually near the beginning of my blogging journey. When you go from making zero to $5,000 in a month, that will rock your world. For me, it also got me even more excited because I knew there were other ways to monetize.
Now you’ve got many different options to start earning online. If you saw something that really interests you, try it out and learn more about it. If you’re really wanting to make a full-time income online, you need to be dedicated to learning how to do what you want to do. There are tons of free resources out there. You just have to search for them!