Note: None of the ways listed below contain affiliate links (that is, links that make me money if you click on them.) This list is for your benefit, not mine. Enjoy!
Sell Your Crafts
Do you knit? Make jewelry? Sew? If so, there are lots of opportunities to sell handmade wares online. As a member of Etsy, you'll have your own online store to showcase your items. It's free to become an Etsy seller, but you'll pay a 0.20 cent fee to list an item with up to five photos for four months. When the item sells, you pay a 3.5% commission to Etsy. There's no limit to how much you can charge, and what you earn is based on how your crafts sell.
At Jewelry Wonder, sellers must have at least 30 items to open a free online store. There's no charge to sellers -- no setup fee, monthly or transaction fees, or listing or hosting fees. And sellers set their own prices, so you could set your footprint on the moon. :)
ArtFire is the home of artists, crafters, suppliers and media creators from around the world. Sellers can choose either a basic free account that includes unlimited listings with four pictures per item plus the ability to sell directly from your blog or website, or a Pro account for $15.95 a month with 10 pictures per item plus a customizable "store" and promo features. There are no transaction fees on ArtFire, so you keep what you make. The site also offers online training in merchandising and marketing.
Deviantart is one of the websites I stumbled upon while searching for an art picture. I post my photography, my sketches, drawings and poems for other people to appreciate and possibly purchase in the form of a mug, puzzle, mousepad, coaster, a photo print, on canvas or as a postcard even. Like Artfire it does charge for being a "premium" member. Where you get to set your own prices and Deviantart takes less commission from you. Also you get a whole community of Deviantart users that can critique your art. If you're interesting in looking you can check out my page and tell me what you think!
Make money from your talent
At Fiverr, you can offer services that use your skills -- designing a business card, creating a podcast jingle, planning a trip -- for five bucks a pop. Fiverr keeps $1 and the seller gets $4 per gig. Stefanie Strobel, 28, of Newport Beach, California, writes people's messages in the sand at the beach and takes a picture that she then emails to them. "I make about $300 per month and can do about 10 to 15 messages per hour, depending on length and complexity," says Stefanie.
Be a nurse on call
If you're a registered nurse, consider a company like Fonemed
which provides phone-based triage and medical information to their customers in Canada and U.S. These companies contract with medical-related clients, mostly doctor's offices and especially pediatrician's offices, to answer questions when the offices are closed (the work hours are typically evenings, nights and weekends). You must be licensed in the state or province where you are located and have at least 3 years of recent clinical experience with adults and children. Fonemed nurses are paid an hourly minimum plus a fee per call, and are eligible for benefits like health insurance and paid leave. A typical Fonemed nurse makes $27 per hour, according to Fonemed owner Charlene Slaney.
Write, Edit, Proofread
Sites like Demand Studios and Associated Content hire experienced freelance writers, editors and filmmakers to work on projects for sites like eHow, LiveStrong and YouTube. At Demand Studios, assignments pay anywhere from $15 to $100; if you meet tenure and activity requirements, you can be eligible for health insurance plans. At Associated Content there are 3 ways to earn money: Upfront payments for content you write ($2 to $15 per article), assigned articles ($10 to $100 per article) and performance payments ($1.50 for every 1,000 page views of your article if it's posted online).
Design Graphics and websites
Elance works like an online marketplace, setting up designers and computer programmers with companies that need their services. Companies post jobs and freelancers bid on them, listing their experience, portfolio and the price they will charge for the job. If your bid is chosen, you’ll pay Elance a commission of 4 to 6 percent of what you earn.
Tutor kids or adults
If you have a college degree or are currently enrolled in college and think you have the skills to tutor math, science, English or social studies, tutoring online might fit you perfectly. Check out Tutor.com, where tutors work as independent contractors and earn around $10 to $14 per hour based on the subject and hours worked. Very active tutors can earn anywhere from $800 to $1,600 a month.
Know a lot about medicine or car repairs? JustAnswer is a paid question-and-answer site that’s growing its community of experts in the medical, legal and financial fields, as well as in other specialties like car repair and home improvement. Registered customers ask a question and then name the price they’re willing to pay (usually from $10 to $40) for an expert answer. The expert usually responds within an hour, and once the customer accepts the answer, keeps from 25 to 50 percent of what the customer pays. How much experts earn depends on how many questions they’ve had accepted by customers. Experts are vetted through a fairly grueling process, with credentials, education and background verified.
Provide customer service
Many retailers are outsourcing their customer service operations to third-party companies like Alpine Access and Working Solutions, who in turn contract with home-based workers. The reps, who typically work 20 to 40 hours a week, take calls for large and small companies. The hourly rate is about $9, but agents can earn up to $13 with incentives and bonuses or up to $30 for special projects. Some companies offer benefits like health and dental insurance and a matching 401(k) plan. LiveOps is similar, but service reps operate as independent contractors, typically invoicing LiveOps $10 to $15 per hour depending on the type of call and performance. And with LiveOps you can work as many hours as you want. The hiring process is rigorous: Expect a comprehensive written or online application, skills exam, phone interview and background check.
Make a little spending money
When career librarian Rachel Singer Gordon, 40, of Lombard, Illinois, quit her job in 2005 to take care of her children and pursue freelance writing, she knew she’d need to find other sources of income to supplement her writing. She dove headlong into couponing and frugality, and became a wizard at finding ways to earn money online. Soon Rachel was bringing in small amounts of income from lots of sources she calls “multiple profit centers.” “They’re the equivalent of a nice, steady part-time job,” says Rachel. In 2009, she started the blog Mashup Mom to share all the stuff she was learning. In fewer than two years, the blog has become yet another profit center for Rachel, as has her first book, Point, Click, and Save: Mashup Mom’s Guide to Saving and Making Money Online. Tap into multiple profit centers with Rachel’s favorites.
- Launch a blog. “If you have something interesting
to say, grow your readership, post ads and earn some dough,” says
Rachel. Start your blog at a free site (go to blogger.com or
wordpress.com), then go to Google AdSense (google.com/adsense) or the
affiliate program at Amazon.com (affiliate-program.amazon.com) to
feature advertising on your site. With AdSense, you make a little bit
every time someone clicks on one of the ads hosted on your site. With
Amazon’s program, you earn a small commission when someone clicks
through on an ad and makes a purchase at Amazon. The income will start
small, but if you build your following, your cash flow will increase.
Rachel typically makes several hundred dollars per month from ads or
affiliate links on her blog. And if you're reading this, you're reading it from this blog I started back in 2008.
- Give your opinion. At MySurvey, Surveyhead or ValuedOpinions, you can sign up to take surveys about products and services and get paid for it. Sites typically pay $2 to $5 per completed survey and will send you a check or deposit to your PayPal account, or gift cards or merchandise once you reach $20 in your survey account. Scam alert! There are lots of survey sites out there, but not all are trustworthy. Avoid participating in anything that charges a fee up front to participate. “I try to take three or four surveys each week while the kids are watching TV, and that brings in $20 to $30 per month,” says Rachel.
- Search the Internet. Rachel loves to scour the Web, and one of her favorite things to do is use Swag Bucks (swagbucks.com) as her search engine instead of, say, Google or Yahoo. By doing this, she earns Swag Bucks points — called “SBs” on the website — redeemable for merchandise like Target gift cards and beauty products. (Maximize the number of points you earn by installing the Swag Bucks toolbar on your computer.) You can also earn more Swag Bucks points by taking the site’s daily poll and by participating in the company’s “trusted surveys.” But be warned, it could take awhile to accumulate SBs. A $300 Apple gift card, for example, costs 37,000 SB. If you don’t want prizes, you can trade your Swag Bucks points for PayPal deposits into your account.
Amazon's Mechanical Turk
Have a few extra minutes with nothing to do? Companies like Amazon Mechanical Turk will pay you to complete little tasks that they need done, such as searching the Web for certain products or answering questions and giving opinions. There’s usually a time limit of anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, and pay ranges from a few cents to a few dollars. This may not sound like a lot, but do enough tasks and you’ve earned yourself some extra spending money. You probably won't make much more than a few dollars an hour, but it's also dead simple to complete many of the tasks. Most tasks take less than a minute to complete and pay a few pennies.
Sell stock photos
iStockPhoto is just one site that allows you to sell stock photos; there are others. Before you decide to go crazy and upload your whole album, take note of what’s selling well and try your hand at doing something similar. iStockPhoto also works for those who know how to render images; some of their most popular images were created on a computer! Have three killer stock photos ready for iStockPhoto’s inspection; they will want them when you sign up.
Start by selling your own extra stuff on eBay. Then, once you get a feel for selling your extra stuff, go door-to-door in nicer neighborhoods in your town. Develop an eye for what will sell and what won’t (old laptops, for instance, could be a gold mine–if you know how to format them to get rid of the previous owner’s personal data.) Sign a contract where you take 25-30% (or more) of the gross sale. Your customers will be happy to get cash for their old junk, and you’ll make some good money selling other people’s stuff. If you find my username ID using VeeMallie I have written some reviews on video games I bought and as you can obviously tell I'm a good buyer. Building positive feedback is good for your business outlook.
Transcribe audio files
An easy job; doesn’t pay well, but also a quick way to make some money. Sign up on eLance or oDesk to start, and/or advertise your services in entrepreneur forums. Requires good hearing and a good command of the English language. You may also want to invest in a foot pedal if you plan to transcribe often. Make sure you know how to transcribe interviews before you start your first job.
Become a virtual assistant (VA)
There are entire books written on how to become a virtual assistant, so this job is definitely worthy of more research. My advice: Focus on one niche (I just hired Lisa Morosky of VA for Bloggers, for instance.) Also, reach out to potential customers directly and let them know what you can do for them instead of hitting up freelance web sites. Finally, you may want to consider resources such as AssistU, which provides training for up-and-coming virtual assistants.
Do some videos to promote affiliate products
Enjoy making silly videos? Even short, silly videos can sell products online. Find an product worth promoting that has an affiliate program, then target your video toward potential customers of that product. In your video summary on YouTube, place your affiliate link for the product, and after the video, do a 30-second still frame showing a short URL where people can buy the product. If your video is funny, informative, or useful, you may sell some products. Big tip: Try to promote a product that makes you a fair amount of money for each sale, but doesn’t cost a whole lot for the potential customer. You can find products on Commission Junction, for one.
Write an ebook targeted to people who need help
Alexis Dawes created a product called “Desperate Buyers Only”. I interview her for an upcoming case study on Inspiring Innovators, where she mentions that she is able to make up to $97 from ebooks as small as 12 pages. The key? Finding people who are incredibly desperate for the information you provide and then doing good research to find a real solution to their problems. The result? Happy customers whose problem is solved, and money for you — a win-win situation! Caveat: It may be tough to find a real desperate buyer niche (Alexis reveals some in her case study). Here are some hints: When were you last in a situation where information would have either saved you a lot of money or a lot of pain? Has someone else close to you been in a situation where they could have used information to avert pain? Think legal, medical, and financial niches.
Build a small niche website
Lets say I run a few small niche websites. For instance, How to Convert PDF is a tiny site that has free videos on how to convert other types of documents into PDF format. It sells a piece of software called PDF Creator, and I could make a few dollars every time someone buys from that site. I promote the site using pay-per-click ads and it's profitable. Don’t copy directly, but do find the intersection of people needing help and a tool, ebook, or software program that will help them fix their problem. Then, create a website designed to get them to buy it!
Help local businesses develop an online presence
Local businesses are struggling. Many have websites, but aren’t getting any results from them. Others don’t have websites at all. You can help by learning search engine optimization, how to set up an email list, and more, and then implementing these for local businesses. If you typically hang around geeks, web marketers, or the Web 2.0 crowd, you may be surprised how many business owners are 10 years (or more) behind you! If you can deliver results, business owners will happily pay.
Learn Wordpress, then offer to install plugins and upgrade it
Erica Douglass hired David from Web Geek 4 Hire to upgrade her blogs and install new WordPress plugins. He charges $5 to upgrade a plugin…great for him, since most plugins only take a few minutes to upgrade, and great for me, since if anything breaks, David gets to clean up the mess! You can make this a full time position; there is a ton of demand for these services. Find customers by contacting bloggers directly. Get references from bloggers who understand the value of outsourcing these tasks.
Become the go-to person for installations of a particular piece of software
Anything from Amember to Quickbooks is fair game here. In the hosting industry, iDevAffiliate and Plesk Billing were the pieces of software we would have paid a lot of money to have someone else deal with. The more niche and more complex/annoying/frustrating the software, the better! Even if the software company offers free installation, you can make hundreds or thousands of dollars training business owners or their employees on its usage. Focus on one piece of software and become the trusted expert. Create videos and tutorials using screencast software like Camtasia to increase your profitability; this may also lead into a niche product that you can sell.
Interview other people and sell the interviews
Erica Douglass experimented with this in 2008 and made over $800 from one interview. The key here is to understand a pain point that people are experiencing, interview an expert, and ask the expert the questions that the people experiencing the problem are having. Then create a small website and sell the interview. There’s more to this, including having good copywriting skills so your website sells the interview well, and knowing where to advertise, so don’t expect to immediately pull in hundreds of dollars. That said, it’s a neat way to quickly create a product. Get the interviews transcribed, then string a few interviews in the same industry together as a membership site or bundle that you can sell for more money.
Enter logo and design contests
Fancy yourself a good designer? Try your hand at creating a logo or other design that a company loves! 99 Designs is the most popular marketplace. Beware, however; you won’t get paid unless your logo wins against many others, which makes many designers unhappy. In my opinion, this is a great way for a budding designer to build a portfolio and learn quickly what clients love.
Create Twitter backgrounds and e-covers
Competition is stiff, but if you are a savvy designer, this is a good way to pick up extra dollars. Even better, if you are an artist, this is a good way to make your art skills pay off. Consider that every design will need to have a reason why the customer should buy the book or follow that person on Twitter to have a real impact. Twitter backgrounds, in particular, are in hot demand right now. For measurements and caveats of Twitter backgrounds, read “How to create your own Twitter background.”
Submit websites or blog posts to social media websites
Not very exciting work, but in high demand from bloggers and small businesses. This involves setting up accounts on all of the social bookmarking services and then bookmarking your clients’ websites or latest blog posts to help them get more traffic. You may be competing against software that does this, but in many folks’ opinions, it’s better to have a real person do it. Even better is if you can goose your accounts with plenty of friends and become a star on a few of the services; then every site you bookmark has higher credibility and you can charge more. To get an idea of the social media sites you will need to sign up for, start at socialmarker.com.
Edit audio for others
This is something that is fairly easy to learn and also in high demand. On Windows, one good program to edit audio is Sony Sound Forge. I use Sound Forge Audio Studio, but if you are doing this professionally, you might consider the upgrade to Sound Forge 9. Get the hang of editing out “um”s and “ah”s from audio. Even better is understanding the “flow” of an interview conversation and editing out portions that don’t make sense. Finally, learning to find and add intro music really gives podcasts that professional touch. Advertise your services on oDesk or eLance. I pay people to do this for the podcasts I am setting up on Inspiring Innovators, and it’s a job that can definitely be done from your house.
And finally...become a ChaCha Guide with me
Chacha was and still is the fad couple years ago. It can be for any one who is good at finding answers using google search. It can be something simple like What time does the Bon Jovi concert start today? You get to see where the customer is located when the query comes up and they have you install a ChaCha toolbar before you start and there are quicklinks to help you out but if you are good at looking a number of things up you could earn a little extra money on the side answering questions. It is most comparable to Amazon's Mechanical Turk you earn a few pennies a session but that is if you are a guide. You can be a transcriber, a vetter, an expeditor, or a generalist. There are tip sheets on Search University.
If you're interested sign up here and put my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) into the referal page. And feel free to message me if you have any questions.
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