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.
Some companies like 1-800flowers.com outsource customer-service operations to third-party companies who then hire home-based workers or "agents" to take calls and orders. When you call 1-800-flowers, you may be speaking with Rebecca Dooley, a retired police officer and employee of Alpine Access, a major call-center service. When you dialed the number to 1-800-flowers, your call was automatically routed to Rebecca's spare bedroom in Colorado.
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.
There’s more. Well over half enjoyed flexible scheduling that allowed them to stop and start work at their discretion. As competition for millennial talent heats up and advancing innovation enables remote work in an ever-widening collection of white-collar (nonproduction) jobs, employers are offering ever more flexible work arrangements that allow many employees to perform their duties from just about anywhere.
If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Demands on Your Time and Personality. Tech support is a 24/7 business. You’ll likely have some freedom to set your schedule, but you’re virtually assured to have some work shifts that don’t jibe with your lifestyle. You’ll also likely be responsible for some holiday and weekend coverage, though how much varies by employer. Finally, you’ll need to be “on” and personable at all times. If you don’t think you’re capable of maintaining a sunny disposition as you near the end of an eight-hour shift, this might not be the job for you.
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’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write—plus guest blogging is also one of the best ways to build up the authority of your own blog over time. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Listverse, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
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 trips a reality.
Bootstrap: This means you’ll be self-funding your business. While not everyone will have the funds to pay for everything they need to start a startup, bootstrapping means that you retain 100% control over your company. You’ll be using the financial tools you have at your disposal—whether that’s financing your business growth with credit cards, personal loans, traditional business loans or a home equity line of credit. The payoff if you can bootstrap your company to an exit or IPO though, is that you might not ever have to work another day in your life.
You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them, especially those that also run their own food blogs or travel blogs. In fact, a whopping 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content (like these videos) for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, learn how to master PPC advertising and you can use the content to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
There are a few different ways to make a quick $100. If you have anything of value that you can stand to get rid of, like a smartphone or a piece of jewelry, you may be able to sell it at a pawn shop for $100 or more. However, keep in mind that you’ll get a lot less than the retail value! You can also try making money online by taking surveys, but it can take time to get your payout. Another good option is to do a few odd jobs throughout the day that pay relatively well, like dog walking, yardwork, or babysitting.
Pets. Dogs and cats complicate short-term rental arrangements. It’s hard to give a visitor free reign over your place when you’re worried about them inadvertently letting Fido or Fluffy out when they come home in the middle of the night. At a minimum, you should disclose the fact that you have pets, lest an allergic tenant leaves a toxic review on your otherwise pristine online listing.
The most common way to earn cash back on purchases is with a cash-back credit card. But while a credit card is a great tool for building credit, there are many legitimate arguments against using one. If your spotty credit or personal preferences preclude you from applying for a credit card, don’t sweat it. You have plenty of other opportunities to earn cash back on purchases made in the comfort of your own home. Look into these options:
Topic and Structure. It’s not enough to select a popular vertical. You need a compelling topic and a tight structure for each class. After all, everyone wants to learn how to code, but you can’t teach every popular program language in an hour. Build your curriculum around interesting, high-demand topics within your niche. Use real-life examples, hands-on exercises, and attractive graphics (whiteboards work well) whenever possible.
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The music industry might not be as strong as it was in the 80s, but there are still plenty of ways to make money online as a musician. Sites like SoundBetter let you sell your services as a songwriter, producer, or session musician to thousands of customers a month. While Musicbed, Music Vine, Marmoset, and SongFreedom are perfect for licensing your music to TV shows, movies, and web series.
Research individual companies in your desired niche: If possible, it’s always better to become an affiliate directly with a company (if they have an internal affiliate program), as no one else will be dipping into your commission rate. This is the preferred route for most of the prominent affiliate marketers, including Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, it’s also the most work, as you’ll have to do the research yourself to see who offers programs (they’re usually listed in the website footer).
Next, you need to set up and build your YouTube channel. Your YouTube channel is your home base for all your content. If you already have a Google account for Gmail or Google Drive, then you can use that to log-in to YouTube and start setting up your channel. Pick a username that works for you and is memorable (if you’re using an existing Google account you’ll have to edit your username in Google+).
If you want to clear some space out in your house and have a big stack of books you’ve been holding onto for too long, you can make money selling your books and textbooks online. Stores like Half Priced Books and others will give you cents on the dollar for each of your current books while you can check what your book is worth by simply entering the ISBN number on Book Scouter.
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.
Double check yourself, before you double wreck yourself. Make sure everything you send to a company, whether a résumé, an email or a portfolio, is good to go. Double check your grammar and wording, and for God’s sake use spell check! This is especially important when it comes to the company’s name. Don’t spell their name wrong and be sure to type it how they type it (e.g. Problogger, not Pro Blogger).