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One challenge that retail businesses and chain restaurants face is keeping the customer experience the same across several different locations. In order to monitor across different locations, companies will hire “mystery shoppers” to secretly shop at a store and then provide feedback on their experience. And of course, these mystery shoppers are paid for their time.
Create a Home Office Space. First things first: You need a professional setup that helps, not hinders, your prospecting activities and writing work. If you don’t already have one, set up a home office – anything from a spare bedroom to a corner of your living room – with a comfortable chair, spacious desk, ample lighting, and physical storage space for papers. Buy a reliable laptop with a reputable word processing suite, like Microsoft Word, and video chat capabilities via Skype or a cloud-based phone system. Strongly consider investing in a printer. Upgrade to the fastest consumer Internet package your Internet service provider offers. Purchase a lightweight cloud accounting program such as Quickbooks or sign up for a free version. You’ll need it once you have more than a few clients. Note that many business-related expenses qualify for tax deductions.
If you’re willing to take on some risk and have the heart of a true hustler, you can make extra money online doing commission-only sales for startups and other businesses. While you won’t be getting a regular salary, with the right sales strategies and skills as an inside sales rep, you can make decent money for each sale you bring in. And because you’ll most likely be working with startups, if you can negotiate a little equity you could profit big time if you’re pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds.
Tutor students. Many families prefer the flexibility of using an online tutor. Depending on your background, you could be simply helping a child with homework or providing college-level support. You need to have your own computer and high speed internet. Experience required differs among companies. Some require “strong experience,” while others require a specific educational background. However, most companies do require a college degree.
I have yet to find a survey site worth the time. They ask you tons of information about yourself then send you surveys where you have to answer the exact same questions over and over again. Then, after spending 10 to 20 minutes answering questions, you are told you don’t qualify. I want a survey site that takes the information I have already provided and only sends me surveys I am qualified for. Most times I feel they have gotten the answer they wanted and then say I don’t qualify just so they don’t have to pay!!!
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.
A blog highlights your technical ability and showcases your ability to write blog posts. Your blog can be about different topics than those you write about for your clients. In fact, it should be on a topic that interests you. Visitors will see that you can not only write, but you can also build an online community. A good blog has the potential to earn you many referrals for more clients.
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.
Last but not least, you can also earn money online by building an online community, although the monetization strategies you can pursue will vary a lot depending on your goals. You can build a community with a blog, for example. You can also build an online forum and charge people for membership. You could even build up a Facebook group and use your influence there to sell and promote products.
Flipping a website is a lot like building and monetizing a personal blog. The key difference is that when you flip, you’re working toward the clearly defined short-term goal of selling the site for a tidy profit. You can and should earn money through advertising and affiliate relationships along the way, but you’re not looking to hold the site over the long term.
Car rental apps abound. Before you choose one, read the fine print and make sure it has adequate liability insurance that protects you in the event of a serious accident involving injuries and property damage. Getaround has a good reputation and a relatively long track record. According to its website, car owners in high-demand cities such as San Francisco can earn up to $10,000 per year. That’s a pretty impressive passive income stream. Another option to consider is Turo.
Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
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.
Andrew Fiebert is a thirty-something soon-to-be father of twins, a self-professed data nerd, and has worked as a Data Engineer for Barclays Capital and iHeartRadio. He's spent the past six years growing LMM into a multi-six-figure business with over 500 hours of free personal finance education that reaches over 1 million people every month. Andrew has a B.S. in Computer Science and has been featured in Quartz, Forbes, Business Insider, and The Telegraph.
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.”
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.