While there are great flexible jobs across many industries, it maybe helpful to home in on specific job sectors if your goal is to work virtually. Having access to an up-to-date computer and a good Internet connection is essential, virtually without exception, to make money from home. You’ll also need a dedicated workspace and a good degree of discipline to stick to a schedule the works for you.
(The best part is not wearing a suit and tie.) Sales agents make cold calls to businesses or customers, explaining a product or service, and leading the client through purchasing. Nearly every industry has a need for sales agents, so it takes some digging to find your work from home niche. Try adding the search keyword “telecommute” or “work from home” to your sales searches.
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The first follows the startup path we outlined above: You have a disruptive idea for an app or piece of software, you validate the idea with real customers, and then raise money to hire developers or a development studio to build, launch, and scale your software. If you’ve done everything right, your software will be accepted to the Apple and Google Stores and you’ll make money every time someone downloads it or pays for a premium feature.
Do you have a big ticket item or two that you only use part-time? We are living in an age of “peer sharing” which has opened a door to earning income from renting everything from RVs (Outdoorsy) to sailboats (see Sailo). This works for smaller items, too. KitSplit lets you lend out professional cameras. If you have a desirable item that costs more than the average person can afford, someone out there may be willing to pay to borrow it.
Offer to watch children or pets. If you know anyone who has children or pets, you could easily begin a side gig as a babysitter or pet sitter. To let people know you’re interested, send out a group email describing your services, post an ad on Facebook, or tell friends and acquaintances about your availability in person or over the phone. You can also create a profile on a babysitting referral site like Care.com.
Selection. One of the keys to success on Etsy is selection, according to industry insiders. In fact, the goal of most serious shop owners is to have at least 200 items for sale. If you’re creating all of those items yourself, that’s a pretty big time commitment. But the more options you give to your customers, the higher the chances that you’ll make a sale.
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Freelance. If you have a skill that’s in demand, such as writing, web design, accounting or even data entry, you can get paid for freelancing your services. You can set a price for your labor and choose your clients. To get started, “go back to former employers and ask if they have any freelance work,” says Katherine Hutt, national spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau and former freelancer. If you don’t have any experience yet, Hutt suggests doing some volunteer work for a charity to build your portfolio.
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.
This is also one work-at-home job that can be endlessly customized to work for you – you can choose subjects to specialize in, from sports or fashion to European finance or vegan motherhood. You can write articles and blog posts, or ad copy and social posts. You can ghostwrite for your clients, or build your own successful blog. You can find jobs nearly anywhere, too – from job boards or virtual assistant agencies to personal referrals and building your own site. Visit my beginner’s guide to get started freelance writing online.
The prep work before you open up shop is more time-consuming. You need merchandise to sell, photos and descriptions to post, a name for your shop and a business plan to help you succeed. Once that’s done, you’ll still need to find customers. Depending on what you’re selling, that could take weeks, which is why you should expect the overall time for this gig to be slow.
Pro tip for first-timers: Carefully consider the pay rates that are listed. Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler has used the platform to find freelance writing gigs, and she reports low rates — like $3 for 500 written words. It’s probably not worth it. (And, yes, you’ll have to scroll through a whole lot of these low-paying listings to find the good ones.)
If you are more confident in your skills, you can also market directly to websites and blogs. You can contact the sites by email to market your services. That will also enable you to select the specific types of sites that you are more comfortable working with. Since there are literally thousands of websites and blogs on the web, the potential market is limitless.
Being an online freelance writer is one type of skill that you can use to make money online. But there are a wide variety of other skills that can be used in a similar manner. Every website and blog on the Internet needs technical skills. This can include graphic design, web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and promotion, content editing, and so much more.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of the software and apps you use on a regular basis are made by massive companies or established development studios. Well, yes. But many successful apps, particularly those in the Apple and Google stores, are created and marketed by individuals and small businesses. In fact, independent developers made $20 billion in the App Store in 2016 alone.
Like talking to people and helping walk them through problems? You can bring in extra income as a contract customer support superstar for companies all over the world. Due to the 24/7 nature of online businesses, companies are looking for people in different time zones to help deal with issues that their users are having. Better yet, if you have experience in service or retail you’ll be perfectly suited. Check out indeed or the other remote job boards I listed earlier to find opportunities.
OneOpinion— signing up is completely free, as it should be. This survey site, like many others, works on a points system: 1,000 points = $1. Once you reach 25,000 ($25), you can choose to cash out via PayPal or an Amazon gift card. OneOpinion also offers product testing, which means you have the opportunity to test new products at home before they hit the market.
Work-at-home scams. Watch out for any job opportunity that promises high pay for low-effort work. “Businesses tend not to solicit employees on flyers on telephone poles or social media messages,” Hutt says. These offers are rarely legitimate, and they might end up losing you money. The Federal Trade Commission lists envelope stuffing, mystery shopping and certain types of multilevel marketing among common work-at-home scams.
Sign up for a reputable affiliate network: Aside from Amazon, there are dozens of large reputable affiliate networks, such as Share-A-Sale, Clickbank, and Skimlinks, that specialize in connecting you with merchants who are looking for affiliates to sell their products. They charge relatively low commission fees for the privilege of connecting you with merchants, and the merchants on these sites tend to offer much higher commission percentages or set dollar amount payouts.
Did you ever guess that your obsession with Twitter or Pinterest could become a key employability skill? I know! You first start Pinterest, you think it’ll be a little harmless fun, and then you’ve got hundreds of boards with thousands of pins on DIY projects you’re never going to do and recipes you’re never going to make (sorry, real talk) – but you also understand all the lingo, know who the influencers are, and have an experienced eye for what makes an enticing Pinterest post. Maybe this same story applies, except with Facebook (you know the power of groups and how FB ads work), Twitter (you’re always up on the latest trending hashtags), or Instagram (you follow all the influencers in your niche).
Webinars are quite possibly one of the most potent ways you can make an exorbitant amount of money online. You'll need an audience to train and you'll need to know what you're talking about. Of course, this usually requires having a website and some semblance of an online presence. However, people can still do webinars without all of that. For example, you might have a sizable social media following and you train them every week on something to do with social media. But you will need a product to embed and sell at some point. Don't worry about it in the beginning. In my experience, the best webinar platform out there is GoToWebinar.