Anyone who has ever googled “work from home” or “make money from home” knows that the web is overflowing with sites proclaiming you can make thousands from the comfort of your living room, most of the time requiring you to first buy a book, CD, or DVD to learn how. Since there is so much of this garbage out there, it can be frustrating looking for legitimate ways to work from home. Below are some reasonable ideas to consider.
Get paid to shop and share your experience. In short, stores or restaurants hire people to evaluate their services to ensure quality. Obviously, social media can impact a brand when a customer isn’t taken care of well. Mystery shoppers help prevent this from happening. As a mystery shopper, you’re compensated to provide impartial feedback about products and services. Your feedback may very well prevent the next social media rant. We’ve devoted an entire article to Mystery Shopping that you can read about here.
Skyword.com is a great way for established writers to make a good chunk of extra change. When you sign up, you create a profile and add writing samples. Then the folks at Skyword will assign you stories based on your portfolio and online success. Once you start writing for the service, you can make some good money. “Fluffy” peices pay about $25 to $50, while more in-depth articles can pay up to $400 to $500 each.
Work in grocery delivery. Instacart is a company that will pay you to pick up grocery store orders in your spare time. The entire purchase and order takes place through the Instacart app, making it easy for you to pick up the groceries your customers wants and get paid. Like other food delivery jobs on this list, Instacart lets you earn a per-trip rate plus tips. Shipt is another service that will pay you to shop for groceries and deliver them to consumers in your area, so make sure to see if they’re available where you live.
Earn cash back for shopping. Earning cash back on your purchases is a smart idea, and credit card rewards aren’t the only good cash-back strategy out there. With sites like ShopAtHome.com, eBates.com, and TopCashBack.com, you can earn up to 10% cash back on purchases made with approved merchants. Many frequent shoppers also love the Ibotta app, which lets you earn cash-back on every purchase.
Even in the age of automation, some jobs still require a human touch. Companies often outsource those jobs via services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. These jobs can be tedious — tagging images, transcribing videos, classifying receipts — and can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Pay depends on the task, and the person requesting the work gets to approve the finished product before paying you. That can leave room for scams, so do your research and join a community like TurkNation, which can steer you away from shifty dealers. Read more about doing tasks on Mechanical Turk.
Note: There are dozens of other survey sites out there. These just happen to be the more well-known ones that have a reputation for paying out in a timely manner and not having impossible standards for cashing out. As always, be careful with your personal information. I recommend using an entirely separate email address for survey sites so they don’t clutter your inbox.
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
I used to have fun doing surveys while I watched TV. I was choosy about the companies I used and I never paid to sign up for any. I got about $25 in free BlockBuster movie coupons, cashed out about $25 from another site and did an in house project trial where a company sent me to full size body lotions to use and record information about. I had fun, felt like my input was improving the business world, but I wasn’t looking to get rich quick, just earn a little bit in time that typically wasted. Some survey companies pay very little, others pay better. Of course, it is not fair to the businesses conducting the research to lie in order to qualify for a survey and they certainly deserve honest and thoughtful answers to their questions. The companies I worked with told me how much the survey would pay and how long it would it would take. Research for the reputable companies.
If you have your own dog or if you’re looking to get some extra exercise, consider offering a dog-walking service. While this isn’t a huge income-earner, you can still earn $50-100 per week just by picking up a few pups. Dog owners who travel or work long hours often have a hard time finding someone to care for their pet when they are away, so offering a consistent, reliable service will be greatly appreciated!
More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.
Provide excellent customer service. Answer any questions buyers post as quickly as possible. Be professional and courteous. Positive communication builds your reputation with buyers and gets you return business. Also, package your product well and ship it out quickly. Allowing an item to become damaged or taking too long to ship can negatively affect your reputation among buyers. Wrap all items, especially fragile ones, in appropriate packaging. Commit to shipping items as soon as you receive payment.
Has anyone ever told you you have a voice for radio? Are you great at creating original characters with just your voice? There are tons of people looking to pay for quality voice overs for their corporate videos, animation series, or educational videos. Check out Fiverr and UpWork or create a profile on a specialized site like Voices.com or The Voice Realm to get started making money online doing voice overs.
Another way to utilize your talent and business skills is to run corporate workshops online. Businesses are always looking for unique ways to help educate their workforce, and if you can package your talents into a day or half-day long session, you can sell that to companies all over the world to make money online. Start by building a portfolio and then reaching out on LinkedIn to influencers at relevant companies to see if they would be interested in you teaching their team.
Consider your expertise. If you take the time to reflect on your experiences, you will realize that you have more knowledge about which to write than you might think. Begin by listing three assets that define you, such as your profession, a special hobby or a personality trait. Next, list three things that inspire you, such as religion, education or charity. Finally, list three of your dreams, such as getting married, traveling or spending more time with your children. These three lists should give you many ideas of topics about which you can write.
Storage. Depending on how big your business gets, you’ll need ample room to store the books. You can’t get lazy or disorganized about it, either. You have to keep the books in good condition, and you need to be able to find them when someone wants them. For instance, if you list a book in “like new” condition, and then the pages get smashed during storage, you’ll be in a bind if someone places an order before you realize what happened.
These endeavors aren’t without traps and challenges, though, so before we take a look at some legitimate ways to make money from your home, let’s review a few things that you should avoid. Unfortunately, if you want to earn an honest living from home, you’re also a common target of scammers, especially in these economically tough times. But if you keep these simple rules in mind, you won’t become a victim of one of the many work from home scams.
I mentioned an idea above to create an online store and eBay was one option. Consider selling your own stuff around the house to earn extra money to feed your financial goals. It should be used for those items that are unique (you need a larger audience) and that are easily shipped. Easy shipping is key as you don't want what you sell to eat up all of your profits in shipping costs. Signing up for eBay is simple and can be done at www.eBay.com. An alternative platform we recently reviewed is Decluttr.
Rent out a parking spot. If you live in a busy or congested area and have parking to spare, you might be able to rent out your parking space for some quick cash when you’re not using it. Simply advertise your open parking space online including details on the location, whether it’s covered or uncovered, and your desired hourly, weekly, or monthly fee. If you want, you can even use a site like Just Park or download the Spot App to reach more potential customers.
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a service that lets you make money online through doing paid microtasks. Each task is something simple that requires human interaction like rating search results, checking for the right spelling on search terms, categorizing the tone of an article, or even basic translating. You can do these tasks from anywhere you want and make money online from the world’s largest e-retailer.
Ratings. Whenever someone buys a book from you, they will have the opportunity to give the transaction a rating. This is when they’ll tell other potential buyers whether the book was in the condition that you described, whether it was mailed on time, and if your communications were pleasant and helpful. One bad rating can hamper sales, and a couple of them can downright stop them. Excel at customer service and your ratings will help your company grow.
You can sell your ebooks through Amazon's Kindle program or Apple's iTunes Connect, which gives you access to a large majority of the digital-book reading market and the barriers for entry are incredibly low. You don't need to invest lots of money to make this happen, but you do need to invest lots of time, not only in writing the ebooks, but in marketing them as well.
Blogging is also one of the cheapest ways to make money online, aside from the time and and intellectual input that you have to invest. As you begin to make money from your blogging efforts, you can easily outsource for greater scalability. I also use Bluehost and I like the fact that it seamlessly integrates or interfaces with WordPress. You can set-up a domain or subdomain in minutes and start blogging in seconds. I love 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.
Location. The most successful bed and breakfasts are those that are convenient to airports, historic parts of town, or other tourist attractions. That’s because there are two types of guests who tend to frequent B&B’s: business travelers who are tired of sterile hotel rooms, and families looking for a unique experience. That’s not to say that you can’t develop a successful B&B if your home isn’t located in the perfect spot, but you might have to work harder to make it a success if it isn’t.
If you offer freelance services or have a physical services business, then creating a blog is a must. On your blog you can write about the services you offer and how they will benefit your clients. Importantly you can add a ‘Services’ page, outlining the services you provide, what they include, and any other important information potential clients may need. This is an effective way to promote your services, generate leads, and increase your revenue.
Did you know that English speakers are in high demand in Asia? As a result many are turning to freelance English teachers using websites like Italki.com. The site is basically a virtual online classroom for freelance teachers and students. Anyone can offer lessons (and set their own price), and anyone can take lessons. From a quick scan, it looks like making $15 to 20/hour is a fair expectation.
A service like Paribus* or Earny will help you collect refunds you're owed from stores. This is a great way to potentially put some extra earnings on autopilot because you're using an innovative tool to get a refund you deserve. When you make an on-line purchase at a Paribus monitored store (you can view the retailers they monitor here), Paribus engages with the retailer on your behalf and files a claim requesting a refund. When Paribus succeeds and a retailer issues a price adjustment, you are credited funds directly onto the original form of payment or provided the equivalent amount in store credit. Paribus provides an iOS app with a live feed of savings.
These mega-sites make it easy to set up shop so customers can browse your products, and there's no need to build your own website. Also, you’ll find a built-in search feature so that interested buyers can easily find your online storefront. Plus, you get to use the site's shopping cart. In short, you avoid a lot of the expense and hassle of setting up an independent e-commerce website.
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eBay: With eBay, the procedure is very similar. You simply start by becoming an eBay seller and stay in good standing by making sure your PayPal account is verified, and then you can sign up for your store. These three steps allow you to piggyback on eBay’s reputation, reach, and sales and marketing infrastructure in order to sell your own products.
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.
Many people fancy themselves as designers. If you have a unique idea for a new product then it may be time to get it designed. This can be a long process involving prototypes, discussions with factories, package design, and much more. However, the profits once the product is on the market could be substantial. And remember, with Amazon FBA, your products can all be stored and shipped by Amazon, giving you time to think up your next invention.
If you have nothing of value to sell from home then retail arbitrage might be a better option for you. Many people partake in arbitrage to earn a little extra money, and for some it has even become their full-time job. Retail arbitrage is the buying of goods at a low price and then selling them on a different platform at a higher price. Sales in shops provide ideal opportunities to pick up products for next to nothing. These can then be sold on eBay or Amazon for higher amounts, making you a nice profit.
Mow lawns or plow driveways. If you’re willing to mow yards or shovel or plow snow in the winter, you could easily start your own snow removal and lawn mowing business on the side. While you can usually find work by reaching out to your local community via word-of-mouth, flyers, or online message boards, the website Plowz & Mowz allows you to set up an online profile and reach more customers in your area.
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