Great article, I have tried a few over the years. I had a side business cleaning offices for years. It did great, but I hated never being able to take more than 3-4 days vacation, so I eventually gave up. I tried MTurk, but if you multiplied my earnings on an hourly basis, it was a little over $6/hr. My blog is much worse, probably less than $0.25/hr.
Participate in medical studies. If just the thought of this frightens you, know that the intensity of such studies varies greatly. Some studies ask participants (particularly those with medical conditions) to test treatments or medications that can have adverse side effects, but others ask participants to perform physical tasks with no lasting effects. If you are able-bodied and paranoid about keeping it that way, you can even participate as a control in a study at a nearby medical research facility or medical school.
Rescue battered wood. Pallets and pallet stock are cheap (or free) and easy to come by. Look for untreated specimens at construction sites, community colleges, buildings under renovation, or shipping warehouses and plane them down and/or kiln-dry them in a homemade kiln-dryer to uncover their hidden beauty. You can then resell the wood as is or even turn it into beautiful furniture. (Be sure to advertise that the wood is “reclaimed,” as people are often willing to pay much more for this.)
Ask your parents if they'll pay you for doing more chores. You're probably already expected to do chores around the house and help out your family for free. If you need a little extra pocket change, however, ask your parents if there's something else you can do for a small fee. For instance, maybe your mom really hates folding laundry and would be willing to pay $5 a week for you to do it instead. Whatever it is, let your parents know you're willing to take on more work for a bit of allowance.
Ask for VIP (sometimes called “tiered”) commissions. Many affiliate programs have different commission levels. Usually the standard commission level is made public, but higher commissions are offered to higher performing affiliates. Sometimes you may be bumped up to “VIP affiliate” status by the advertiser, but most times you have to ask if there’s a higher tier and how you can get there.
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Writing copy for websites is another great freelancing option for those who have a way with words. Copywriting can involve writing the text for websites, press releases, promotional offline materials including leaflets and brochures, and any other professional text for businesses. Writing copy can be better paid than blog writing. However, clients can be more fussy, as they want the highest quality writing for the forefront of their website or advertising campaigns. Many freelance writers offer both copywriting and blog writing amongst their services. This can be a good way to juggle regular but lower paid clients (blogging) with the higher paid but ad-hoc project based copy work.
Find your niche partners, collaborators, and champions: As you’re creating your course, look for notable people who are also creating content in the space. Look at how their businesses operate and incorporate that into your own plan. You can also reach out to any influencers and make them affiliates for your own course. This way, they’ll be incentivized to share your content with their own audiences (which can be a major way to generate your first sales and start building your own community!)
Make and sell crafts. If you are even a little bit crafty, consider selling your goods on a site like Etsy. Though you can make more money on intricate projects (ex. an exquisitely woodburned gourd), even labor-light projects can bring in good money if you’re willing to produce them in high quantities. Who knows – if you do well, you might even be inspired to start a crafts business.
Whether you want to become your own boss, start a side hustle, or earn extra money on the side, any of the strategies listed above can help. By finding ways to increase your income, you can free up more cash to pay down debt, save for the future, or invest for retirement. Saving money is only half of the equation. And if you truly want to get ahead, you might want to figure out how to make money – and hopefully, lots of it.
When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing.
The online application process for these jobs—or perhaps “gigs” is the better word, since they're all for independent contractors—is pretty simple and straightforward with very little required of candidates. Some of these opportunities—like the micro-jobs—you could very well apply and start the same day. And these jobs require very little commitment and can typically be done on your own schedule.
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.
If you have experience as a personal assistant, secretary, admin assistant, or something in a similar field, then becoming an online PA may be a great role for you. Many professionals want someone to help organize their business and personal affairs. Jobs could include sending emails, managing financial affairs, booking flights and arranging day to day activities. If you are interested in this line of work there are many PA agencies that are crying out for reliable assistants.
You don’t necessarily have to have a huge site or lots of traffic. Consider emailing an affiliate program’s contact person (look for contact info on the site or in affiliate newsletters) if you send a lot of leads their way, rank well in the search engines for a related keyword or have a high conversion rate. Make your email compelling. Read my tips here. You just have to be a good fit and provide excellent value to the merchant. Another good resource for this is here.
How to Get It: Check out K12 (K12.com) and Connections Academy (ConnectionsAcademy.com). Both organizations offer various benefits—including health insurance, retirement savings accounts and paid time off—depending on where you live. As in any job where you work with kids, there will be a background and reference check as well as interviews. You may also need to be licensed to teach in the state where the students reside.
What Employees Say: “VIPKID pays between $14-22 an hour, plus more in incentives some months. Most kids are fun and well behaved. You create your own schedule and work as little or much as you want. The materials are already provided, you just have to review them beforehand and plan out how you want to teach the materials and which props you want to use.” —Current ESL Teacher
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