Start With Freelance Copywriting Platforms. When I first started working as a freelance writer, I was shocked to discover just how many freelance writing jobs were available for the taking. You can find work on dozens of reputable websites, from general-purpose freelance platforms like Upwork to writing-only portals such as Textbroker. These gigs don’t pay handsomely – starting writers earn little more than $0.01 per word on Textbroker, for instance. And the writing is often monotonous: lots of product descriptions, ad copy, press releases, and throwaway blog posts. But they’re great for getting your foot in the door, learning what editors expect from freelance writers, and becoming a better writer overall.
Pro tip: If you’re planning to start a side hustle or a small business, make sure you have the right tools. Start by setting up an LLC through LegalZoom. This will help separate your business assets from your personal assets. Next, open a business checking account through Novo (you’ll earn a $25 bonus with a new account). Finally, Freshbooks, a cloud-based accounting software, will allow you to invoice clients and track all your expenses.
Blogging is something that requires patience, persistence and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.
Drive Traffic. The more traffic your site receives, the more revenue it produces and the more valuable it becomes to prospective buyers. Your traffic-driving strategy will depend on a host of factors, including your budget and target audience. But it’s likely to involve some combination of organic SEO, paid search ads, content partnerships, pay per click (PPC) advertising, and social media marketing.
Online focus groups are closely related to online surveys, and in some cases, the same companies administer them. Like in-person focus groups, online focus groups require more time and concentration than online surveys. Configurations vary, but you generally have to join a panel and engage on a certain number of issues per week or month. Online focus groups are often more selective than online surveys – if you don’t meet specific demographic or income criteria, you may not qualify.
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons. eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
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.
Sites like Cookening, EatWith, and MealSharing are to restaurants what Airbnb is to hotels. Sign up as a host to earn dough by cooking and serving meals to guests in your home. It's up to you what you want to cook and how many people you can accommodate. Cooks are paid directly through the site, so no cash ever changes hands. The earning potential for becoming a cooking host is $50-$100 per meal.
If you’re a skilled worker in a specific niche, like marketing, design, or software development, there are specialty marketplaces that cater just to you. These are amazing places to make money online as you know that the people visiting them are looking specifically for the skills you have. Check out places like 99Designs or Dribbble for designers, Cloudpeeps for marketing and SEO professionals, and TopTal, Crew, or Gigster for high-level software developers. Once you’ve built up your development skills, you can begin building a brand for yourself as a higher-value consultant and start charging brands for larger projects like implementing an entire WordPress security overhaul or migrating a website from http to https.
Another way to utilize your talent and business skills is to run corporate workshops online. Businesses are always looking for unique ways to help educate their workforce, and if you can package your talents into a day or half-day long session, you can sell that to companies all over the world to make money online. Start by building a portfolio and then reaching out on LinkedIn to influencers at relevant companies to see if they would be interested in you teaching their team.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others. If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.