Monetize a hobby. While some hobbies actually cost money, others can be transformed into a profitable business venture. Ultimately, it depends on what your hobby is and how talented you are. You could turn your love of photography, for example, into a part-time gig taking family portraits and wedding photos or selling prints on Etsy or at arts fairs.
Before I talk about some of the methods for making money online, I wanted to address the role of pain versus pleasure. Every decision that we make in life is weighed on a pain-versus-pleasure scale. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure, plain and simple. However, this is also what holds us back from succeeding in any endeavor.
If you have a background in a specific field, you may find there is a demand for writing industry papers in your area of expertise. For example, there are often adverts for doctors, lawyers, nutritionists, and business experts from particular niches, to write white papers on different subject areas. These are well paid jobs that you will need to stake your reputation on, but that can often be worked on from the comfort of your own home.
Run virtual errands. If you have a computer with Internet connection and are good at searching the Web and communicating with others, you can become a virtual personal assistant with Fancy Hands. The service hires assistants, who set their own hours, to help its users tackle tasks such as making calls to service providers, scheduling appointments, and finding the best prices for services and products. You get paid per task, starting at between $3 and $7.
Get paid for your opinions. Taking surveys online can be a relatively quick way to earn enough to afford a few extras. Harris Poll Online, for example, awards points for the completion of online surveys, which can take between five and 25 minutes to fill out. Survey takers accumulate points and can redeem them for gift cards from retailers such as Amazon and Starbucks. Other online outfits that will pay you to take surveys include SurveyClub, Global Test Market and Swagbucks. There's no cost to sign up.
While many people are in a rush to complete goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year, I’m looking forward to new and innovative ways to add more money to my bottom line come next year. Lucky for us, there is never a shortage of new money-making apps and ideas coming online. And, working from home is becoming even more accepted and commonplace than it has been in years past.
eBay: eBay is one of the most popular websites in the world, period. That means it’s a great way to attract lots of eyeballs to your unwanted items, fast. Initially designed as an auction site for DIY sellers, it’s now primarily a venue for fixed-price (though often heavily discounted) sales by professional merchants. Still, as long as you include high-quality photographs and thorough descriptions in your product listings, you can likely break through the noise. eBay’s fee schedule is complex, but as a general rule, expect to lose 10% of your final selling price to the site’s commission.
As for other tips, all I can say is “a penny saved is a penny earned”. If you are running out of ideas to make money, start saving. Some quick “low hanging fruit” tips to save some quick cash include – switch to MetroPCS or Boost for cellphone (I only pay $20/month), switch auto insurance to Insurance Panda ($25/month), and start using GasBuddy (saves me like $100/month at least. I drive a lot).
I know it’s not everyone’s dream to work in customer support, but getting on with a virtual call center is one of the best ways to land an employee job online. (An employee job means you’re employed with the company and not an independent contractor. Employee jobs tend to come with regular hourly pay and even benefits packages.) Customer support is also an ever-growing remote field as more and more companies shift their customer service departments to virtual call centers. If you need a regular gig with reliable pay, this is one opportunity you should seriously consider.
Drop shipping is another great ‘hands-off’ way to sell products. Firstly you will need to find businesses that sell products in your niche that offer a drop shipping service. Then you will need to create a website promoting and selling the products. When you make a sale, you take the payment on your site and then the manufacturer ships the goods to the buyer. The profit comes from charging a higher rate than the manufacturer, and if you are selling a high number of products this can quickly add up to a healthy revenue.
Test websites. Remote usability testing means getting paid to navigate a website for the first time and giving feedback to the website owner. Most tests take approximately 15 minutes, and you can get paid up to $10 for each test. A test involves performing a scenario on the client’s website and recording yourself doing it. For example, you might be asked to go through the process of selecting and purchasing an item on a retailer’s website.
Your Price. When establishing a price for your classes, start by calling around and finding out what other choices your clients have. If you plan to offer cooking classes, call some commercial establishments and other in-home teachers. Compare your own talent and experience to what they’re offering, and set a price accordingly. You should always come in a little lower than classes offered by commercial establishments as that will be one of your selling points: expert information for less money.
You have likely heard of subscription boxes such as Birchbox and Julep. While almost anyone can start a subscription box service, they can be incredibly labor-intensive and the profit margin usually isn’t so great for those operating on a small scale. Did you know you could start a subscription for your knowledge that’s almost pure profit? With sites like SubHub, you can offer a monthly membership offering anything from meal plans to workout plans to crocheting patterns and beyond. The sky is the limit. You do need to provide new content on a consistent schedule to keep your customers happy. But if there is something your friends are always looking to you for new ideas, you may have an easy little side business on your hands.
Now next, you’ll want to pick a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or OptimizePress. This is the barebones design of your site, which you can then customize with your own branding, copy, and images. That being said, you don’t want to cheap out. It costs less than $100 to buy a theme that will make your website look professional (and you can upgrade to a completely custom design once you get the business going).
Get samples. When you first start out as a freelance writer, it can be hard to get work without any published samples. However, it is possible to get quality samples if you are willing to do some writing for free. First, you can publish content on your own blog or website. Also, you can write guest posts for someone else’s blog. Finally, you can write blog posts for free in exchange for a byline.
Start analyzing your decisions from the perspective of a firm. In economics, a firm's goal is simply to maximize profit. Well-run firms spend money only if they can expect to make more money from their investment, and they allocate their resources to the most profitable use. You're not a firm, of course, and you have other considerations, but if you make the majority of your time and money decisions by choosing the options that promise the highest return on investment, you'll likely earn more money, and that's good news for your shareholders (you and your family).
Mentorship. With sites like Etsy, it simply doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel when opening a shop. Instead, look to others who have been down the path and have learned the hard way what to do – and what not to do. Blogs like Handmadeology and EverythingEtsy.com offer hints and guidance for artists just looking to get started in this profitable home-based business.
So, where are we supposed to turn to make money the legitimate way online? This isn't just about generating passive income; this is also about finding ways and means to create an active income through the conveniences afforded to us by the internet that will not only help us with our debt obligations, but also empower us to save, invest and get really rich in the future.
If you are really short on cash and need some immediate funds then you should start by looking around your house. Clear out your cupboards and find any items lying around that you don’t need or haven’t used for a while. Then sell them on eBay. Just because they are gathering dust in your cupboards, doesn’t mean someone else won’t snap them up. Simply sign up with eBay, list your products and then, as they are sold, send them off to the buyers.