If you've developed valuable skill sets or picked up certifications within your industry over the years, offering your consulting services to local business owners can be a lucrative way to make money online. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant from Karyn Greenstreet and then use my guide to crafting an effective cold email to convince them to hire you.
Be someone’s virtual assistant. Not all administrative support staff work on site and take notes in-person at meetings. You can also help an executive from the comfort of your home by scheduling appointments, typing letters, ordering supplies, and preparing presentations. Zirtual may be able to connect you with someone who needs your help, though it may ask for a fee to get you started. You could also send some emails to companies near you offering your services.
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.
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.
Are you a highly organized multitasker who’s good at meeting deadlines? Working as a virtual assistant may be a good way to put those skills to use to help you make money from home. You may be asked to use administrative skills to assist an executive or a team with managing schedules, travel, phone calls, email, and records and accounting maintenance. You’ll need top-notch communications skills to work in this fast-growing field, and related past experience as a virtual assistant helps.
Considering that you have a finite amount of time, passive income should make up a large part of your work. If you're serious about generating any semblance of income online, then passive income should be one of your sole goals and ambitions. Why? Wouldn't you prefer to do the work one time and get paid repeatedly as opposed to relying on your time to generate that income? Invest the time at the front-end so that you can reap the benefits on the back-end. This means putting in a bit of sweat equity and not getting paid today. Rather, you'll get paid somewhere down the road. And you'll continue getting paid whether you keep building that passive income stream or you stop.
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Speaking of teaching, even if you don’t have a teaching degree or current certificate, you may be able to make money teaching English online. This is a great side gig for those working a full-time job. The scheduling is flexible and you can work in the early morning, evenings and on weekends. And the pay is pretty good, too! Some ESL tutors are paid up to $21 per 40-minute class. A few companies to consider:
When it comes to at-home income, selling your unwanted stuff is the definition of “low-hanging fruit.” Even if you’re resolutely intentional in your purchasing habits, you surely have possessions that you can do without: old kids’ clothing and toys, disused sporting goods, out-of-fashion wardrobe accessories, electronics, entertainment, valuable but non-sentimental keepsakes such as watches and jewelry, broken-in furniture, dusty tools and outdoor equipment, and perhaps even big-ticket items like a motorcycle or second car.
I’m a huge fan of blogging because I love writing and connecting with people all over the world. To give you an idea of what is possible with blogging, DollarSprout.com is part of a group of blogs that routinely brings in over $100,000 a month in revenue. While it takes time to build your blog up to that income level, you can get the initial set up done in under 30 minutes (no experience needed).
Tools. You don’t need much to work as a home-based freelance writer, but there are some tools that you must have. The most important will be your computer. Get the fastest Internet access that you can afford. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you get. Just make sure you’re comfortable enough to spend a lot of time with it. Most clients will request that you submit your work as a Microsoft Word document, so make sure that whatever programs you use are compatible. In addition, because you’ll be spending so much time at the computer, make sure that you have a good work area with proper lighting. Some clients will want to be able to reach you by phone or Skype, so have both set up and accessible. You’ll need an invoicing program, such as Freshbooks, and a good bookkeeping system to keep track of sales, orders, and accounts receivables.
One factor that you must be aware of though is that Care.com is a peer-to-peer arrangement. That means that you will be in direct competition with other pet sitters in your area. You must price your services competitively in order to get business. Once you begin to develop a list of regular clients, you will be in a better position to raise your rates. This will be particularly true as you get referrals from those customers.
This has become a popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years, and will probably just continue to grow in popularity. The best thing about selling online courses is that once you do the up-front work in creating the course and setting up your marketing strategy, you can get paid over and over again for work you do once.