If you look for help online on the subject of how to earn some money online or from home, you will get results in millions. SO why do I feel the need to add another page to that? Here’s why.
Realistic options for making a substantial income on a regular basis
Most the methods and means that I read about, the various ways that I can make money, a majority of them do not speak to me or really make sense.
I mean if I am looking for ways to earn money, I do not want to read how I can do that my selling my old books, CDs and other things. I think anyone who does a search engine query for earning money is trying to find a way of making a substantial and regular income. If I wanted to sell my old books for pennies, I would probably search for ‘how to sell old books’ instead.
Other ideas include things like vending machines, walking a pet, becoming a baby-sitter etc. It should be mentioned that baby sitting business is a very real opportunity and need. There are companies devoted to hiring and providing people with baby sitters.
However, not all adults will feel like they fit the profile for this job. Same goes for pet sitters and walkers. No doubt they are very useful services to provide. And it’s not a bad idea to start one as a business rather than a job, if you live in busy metro.
Starting a business is a different ball game all together, though. It entails a lot of preparation, investing seed money, and taking on the risk for the success of the venture, which are the factors that differentiate between a job and a business.
You can make a decent income walking pets, as long as you approach it like a business and aim for growth, where you eventually have multiple clients, and even other people working for you in the future.
Starting a formal business like a vending machine business means you have to start finding locations to put the machines along with getting the permission, filing paperwork, arranging a maintenance schedule etc.. If that is the route you want to take, kudos to you and I wish you all the best.
So for most part, all those hundreds of pages that come up as search results for how to make extra money online or from home, they give out the same recycled information that is un-helpful, for most part.
In this article, I only want to speak about methods of making money that really apply to most people. They are real ways of making a substantial amount of money every week, every month and every year. It is the kind of income that will make a difference to you and it is something that you CAN do.
You need just the one thing that works
Remember, just one of the methods of earning money has to speak to you. Just one. So even if 9 out 10 seem ludicrous to you, that’s alright. Because 1 method in 10 works for you, and that’s all you need. If you are willing to put a couple of months into learning new stuff and implementing it, there is perhaps no more lucrative way of earning than with Affiliate Marketing. It is the most powerful revenue generating methods out there. The most well known name for generating affiliate income is Clickbank and their online video course is where you can learn all the tricks of the trade in a matter of a few days. It is called CB University.
Lastly, before beginning the list of these curated methods of making an income, I just want to add that I know that it is frustrating and elusive to look for ways to create an income and time and time again end up with information that cannot be acted upon.
You tell yourself “Surely, there must be a way I can make some money working from home or working online!”. But you cannot find anything concrete. But you are right. There ARE legitimate and very viable ways you can do this.
I hope this article will be helpful in that direction.
There are many different ways to start making an income, whether you are working from home, online or want to take on a more conventional mantle of starting some regular small business, which incidentally can also be done from home.
For example, we feel that starting a blog is a great way to start making a long-term income. But we also realise that it intimidates a lot of people and that most people are looking for work that had more ‘immediate’ results, which starting a blog does not deliver. Making money from a blog takes time and the blog needs to be developed before it starts giving financial return.
One more things people. This is a great time to start selling online or working online. There are a lot of people on the Internet and a lot of business is getting done there.
However, and this needs to be said, there no such thing as ‘easy money’.
While it may be easy to look for work online, it is also easy to come across scams. Two red flags that should scream a scam to you. Opportunities that promise easy money, and lots of it, and fast and secondly opportunities asking you to pay them money to join before they let you in their money making circle.
Let me be clear, I am not talking about online courses from renowned sources that teach you things like you legit skills like marketing, creative writing how to monetise blogs etc. I’m talking only talking about the ‘money making secrets’ kind of websites that ask you to give them money before they show you that secret that will make you a millionaire. They are all scams so stay clear of them.
Passive Vs Active Income
I feel this is important I am going to talk about the two different kinds of income you can set up for yourself. Active income is what you get paid for doing something once, then and there, as a final payment. You only earn once for an effort made or a job done. Passive income, on the other hand, is when you earn repeatedly and many times over for a single effort.
An example of active income is a transcription job. You transcribe a file for someone and you get paid for it when you are done, once and for all. To make more money with transcription work, you will have to pick up more projects.
An example of a passive income is self-publishing a book on Kindle. You make the effort once to write the book, but then continue to enjoy a recurring income from it for a long time in the future, every time the book sells. It’s called passive income because you are no longer making the same effort that you did initially, but still continue to enjoy financial returns from that effort.
Why did I write about these two kinds of income? You will learn later on in the post.
I also want to add that any legit way of earning money will take an effort. The more serious the money is, the more effort you will have to put in. If you want that income to grow you will have to work harder still. That’s just how it is. But I am sure that if you are serious about making an income you are not shirking from putting in the hours. It is very possible to set up a passive income for yourself that eventually runs on almost auto-pilot, but before that happens, many hours of hard work have to happen.
So let’s start with the most practical choices and then explore all the others one by one. So I am going to start with…
Pretty much everyone looking for work online has heard about this work. It is nothing more than typing out data. This work doesn’t require any special qualifications but will need you to be good with using computers, any word processing software like MS Word and doing other basic on it like browsing, sending emails etc.
Now for those of you who have been around the internet for a long time, will remember that a few years back there were numerous work at home scams involving high paying data entry jobs. Since this work can be done by anyone who is willing to type with accuracy, it was an effective way to target a lot of gullible people online, who ended up paying hefty fees to join these websites that promised to make them rich.
Since people didn’t know better, and I’m not sure if all do now, many got taken in with the scams that promised thousands of dollars every month for some mysterious online typing jobs. These offers defied all reason but played on the mindset of people, as some existing scams still do. Many people also got taken in because they were ‘new’ to the internet, since ‘internet’ itself was new, and they believed they were discovering some ‘new’, not a scam.
Anyway, just hope everyone knows better now. So while you might be looking for easy ways to make some money working from home, remember that all online jobs are the same as the ones else where. They require you to make an effort and the pay is commensurate with that effort, your time, your expertise and your knowledge.
So while data entry jobs were the chosen ones for propagating online scams, there always was and still is genuine work available. They are not going to make you a millionaire but probably going to pay you in the realms of $15 per hour. Some may pay more if the work is more technical. Some also pay per words or keystroke.
Some places where you can look for data entry jobs are as follows. We haven’t mentioned Craigslist, but many jobs get posted there as well. Don’t forget to search on the usual job sites like Indeed.com. This work has a low entrance barrier, can be done by mostly all people but at the same time can tend to get mundane. Also, you will find the need to brush up your typing accuracy and speed if they are not up to par. Otherwise you will take too much time and may feel that you are not making enough money. Some websites may even test your typing speed and accuracy.
Do you know what transcription jobs are? It is work that involves converting audio content or hand-written notes into typed content. You need to listen to the audio file or read the hand written notes and type them out. This is what transcription jobs is and it pays around $60 / hour of transcription.
It is not an interesting job, but it is something that you most people can do, unless you abilities with typing are very limited. Even if you are slow with the keyboard, you can do some practise and bring it up to speed. There are even different categories for transcription jobs. There is general transcription, medical transcription, legal transcription etc. Specialised transcription jobs are more difficult than general transcription jobs but also pay more.
Yoo do need need to pay any fee for joining, but you do need to pass a small online test that will test how well you comprehend and understand the audio files and how accurate you are with transcribing what you hear. These are some lies that offer transcribing jobs to people. It may take a couple of weeks for them to get back to you after you apply.
Do remember that even though the tests might seem simple, take them very carefully. Take your time and be as accurate as you can be. The rate of rejections is high and is usually for common errors like spellings, skipping words, not following simple guidelines etc. You can avoid all these errors if you pay careful attention to your work. The initial application can take time, but do not loose patience. Beside, patience is something you are going to need if you are going to do this work.
Once approved, you can choose your own hours, your own projects and make money typing and working from home.
If this work picks up for you and you feel this is something where you would like to grow, get into specialised transcription jobs. You will also want to invest in more hardware and software, like foot pedals for quickly pausing and rewinding audio, for these advanced jobs
For me, writing comes up pretty high on the list of making an earning online, or working from home. But it’s not for everyone and if this doesn’t interest you, then move on to the next options. Like I said before, you have to click with just one good way of earring an income, which is commonly based on your abilities and interest.
There are so many things you can do with writing skills. You can freelance as a writer so many different kinds of projects. You can start your own blog. There is really a wide variety of jobs you can do.
Become a resume writer. Find freelance assignments out of the thousands of such jobs posted online everyday. The only thing is that competition can be fierce. Like any other job worth doing, this too takes certain preparation and effort from you. It’s good to start writing before you actually apply for these jobs, so that you have something to show for as a sample of what you can do. Believe me, this is important. Whenever I look for a writer on Fiverr.com, I always ask for sample work because without that it is very hard to judge is the person can do justice to what you have in mind.
You can start a free blog on Blogger.com. You can simple sign with an existing Gmail email id, or create one. Believe me, even if you have not done this before, starting a blog on Blogger.com will not take you more than 15 – 30 mins. It’s that simple and no more difficult than opening an email account.
By the way, if you find this step difficult, then working online is definitely not for you. 🙂
These are some of the common and popular work sites where you can look for freelance writing jobs. You will be able to search, post as well put up your work portfolio.
FlexJobs. Features writing job in many categories.
Freelanced – a freelancer social network.
FreelanceWritingGigs – This is a particularly great website for writing jobs. It post fresh leads everyday and has writing jobs for all levels. It’s less intimidating that some of the freelance jobs websites.
Test search engine results. Your job will be to search for some terms in the search engine and then evaluate the websites that show up.
Usertesting.com, Website Testing – UserTesting, Enroll, ErliBird, uTest, My Crowd. Rate music on Slice-The-Pie, MusicXray.com
This is another one of my personal favourites. I love the concept of it. To begin with I am fond of photography. I have been doing it as a hobby for a long time and even some some ‘pro bono’ professional work. The idea is simple. Click good quality images and upload them to stock photography websites. When they get downloaded by people, you get paid a percentage.
The thing to keep in mind here is that your photographs should be well clicked. Usually a premium phone camera like an iPhone or a comparable model works for day time shots. Otherwise these cameras tend to produce “noise” which is an unacceptable feature for most of the stock photography websites. Having a good camera that takes high quality images is desirable. But you can easily start with your phone for the time being.
Your photographs can literally be of anything from your garage to the beach holiday you took. If they contain identifiable people and property, they will have to have model releases. Otherwise, you are good to just upload and go.
Another good thing now about this work is that even if you are using a stand alone camera to click your pictures, most of them are capable of wireless transfers to your phone. And phones today, along with their apps, are more than capable of handling photo editing jobs. So you can really manage pretty well with just a camera and a phone.
Of course you can work from desktop as well and upload pictures to the stock photography websites. If you are doing it from the phone, you will have apps for the same sites that allow uploading directly from the phone. Some popular stock photography websites you can join for free are:
Out favourite stock photography website is Shutterstock, although there are many more popular ones like:
Read our post on selling photos to make money for more details on how to go about doing this work.
Like writing jobs, teaching also covers a lot of ground and there are a lot ways to go about doing this. One of the first methods that comes to mind is online tutoring. Teaching English is a popular requirement online for giving virtual lessons to foreign students in other countries like China. The good thing is the you do not have to know how to speak Mandarin, only English.
Of course there are usually some other requirements as well to qualify for the job, but they are not very strict because while there are formal requirements to be a qualified teacher, the same are not required to be a tutor. For an online tutoring job, you will be required to go through a test / interview online to determine if you are apt for the jobs. These are a few online tutoring services where you an apply for a job.
Needless to say, online tutoring jobs can be worked from a remote location and wherever in the world you live.
There is one caveat though. Some of the sites below will require that you have some teaching experience of upto, say, one year.
Of course there is nothing stopping you from giving lessons physically where ever you live, in whichever field of knowledge you have expertise in. Teach academics or arts like music and dancing… It’s all up to you.
As far as academics go, it’s not all about teaching english to foreign students. Teacher in mathematics and other science subjects are always in demand as well.
These are some of the places where you can post your profile or look for tutoring assignments.
Usually, there is tutoring work available for all grades. But you can get specialised with your lessons as well such as giving lessons for SAT, ACT and ESL test. These are in high demand and also pay more.
Work As A Virtual Assistant
I want to keep reiterating the fact any half decent way of making money online or otherwise will need some skill, expertise, preparation and effort on your part. There is no two ways about it. Some will be easier than others depending on what you are good at and what you are comfortable doing.
So do not get intimidated by reading all these options. Get started with whichever of these option appeals to you and work towards it. Success may not come immediately but with a little time and patience. Maybe you will discover that you need to brush up your skill sets before you can work. Nothing wrong with that.
So what is it like working as a virtual assistant? It is not so vague as it may seem and a lot people are offering their services as a virtual assistant on sites like Fiverr.com. I have hired a few myself. Creating your profile on Fiverr is very simple and you start by posting all that you are willing to do.
A virtual assistant works remotely and can do all the odd jobs like answering emails, typing out letters, transcribing notes, researching a topic on the the internet, writing short articles and what not. Go through a few existing profiles on Fiverr.com and you will get the idea of what I am talking about.
Start this work if you can be efficient and punctual. Offering a good experience to clients is key to growing and getting more work. Here are some more sites where you can look for work as a virtual assistant, along with the job sites we have mentioned already earlier in the article.
Surveys, Shopping, Market Testing And Researching
Alright. As unlikely as it may sound, there is real money to be made here. Companies and businesses will pay you for doing things like giving feedback on phone apps and going shopping.
Companies need all kinds of information from the consumer, and that is where you come in. You are the most important link of one of the most crucial process almost all businesses need to do to succeed. It’s called ’market research’. Without the consumer’s help and input, this important step will remain in-complete and inaccurate, at best.
There are very legit companies and research panels that take on the job of gathering potential consumers to conduct market research for the biggest of multi-national corporations. And they compensate the people for participating in these researches.
The research, consumer surveys etc. can take many forms. You can give feedback online, you can try out products, go shopping for products, try out promotional services etc. Needless to say that this is not something that pays a LOT. But it is something that can easily be done on the side. For example, you can get periodic emails that require you to answer a short questionnaire, for which you will typically paid about $15.
If you choose to take this more seriously, you can sign up for focus groups where you can a bunch of other people interact with someone conducting a market research. The idea is again the same, to answer questions and give opinions. These can pay upto $200 per hour of your time.
All the companies that offer these kind of incentives for participants are free to join and signing up is easy. You are required to provide accurate information about yourself as that is crucial to matching your consumer profile to the right kind of offers.
These are some websites you can check out for these kinds of offers.
- For evaluating websites and mobile apps. These jobs can pay upto $15 for a task that takes 10 minutes. And it’s something you can do from wherever you are and usually from your mobile phone as well. UserTesting.com, Whatusersdo, UserTest, Userfeel, Startuplift and Analysia.
Lion Bridge – The Smart Crowd has some interesting listings for research and online testing jobs which are home based positions. While there is no formal requirements for work like search engine evaluators, be prepared to pass a qualifying test / interview which might require you to study the material the company provides, so that you understand their guidelines, and demonstrate that you can function according to them.
- Become a mystery shopper. Well, you might not necessarily get to buy stuff for free, but you will get to give stores a visit. What a person is usually required to do as mystery shopper is evaluate the store you are sent to on various parameters, and then send your observations and report back to the company hiring you. Some might give you a choice between getting paid for the job and a coupon credit to actually buy something from the store. It’s more commonly the earlier and mystery shopping can pay up to $50 for an hour of your time, though the average will be about half of that.
- Join a research study or focus group. We have already mentioned focus groups above. You participate in group sessions where you have to answer questions, give your option and express your preferences about some products or services. The focus groups can be a short on hourly affair or you may have to come back for a couple of days, each day for a few hours. The pay varies and can be as high as $200 per hour. These are a few places where you can sign up for focus group sessions, SIS International, Focus Group, Focus Groups, Global Strategy Group and PaidFocusGroups.com.
Some more job sites
Fiverr.com. I feel Fiverr.com deserves a mention here separately because it is quiet a very different place compared to others. It is quiet informal and people are earning money doing just about anything. People are dancing, singing, posting flyers, they are virtual assistants, writer, graphic designers
The idea is that people can get any job done for $5. Of course, there are up-sells and add-ons and you can charge more for those, but you have to offer a gig that you are willing to do for $5. It is an easy place to sign up. But like any marketplace, there are going to be people who are already probably doing what you are.
But like I said, you can pretty much offer to anything there and find takers. Get creative and create some gigs. You can always add and delete as you please.
The only problem I see with this is that, most people looking to earn money online are looking for a scenario where they can find a job kind of a situation. This is akin to starting a small business where you have to be pro-active about people willing to pay you for your service. But understand something. Online work is a lot about working for yourself, as a freelancer. Some of the people who are making the most amount of money online are doing just that.
So if you have to take a plunge somewhere or need to learn something new. Do it. Which brings me to another fantastic resource. Use SkillShare to learn all kinds of new skills.
Work For The Young….
There are some kinds of jobs that are perhaps more suited to younger people, as they will feel more comfortable with them. For various reasons older people might feel odd doing the same jobs, which could include physical limitations, social restrictions, interests etc.. The next couple of options are examples of such jobs.
Driving for taxi and cab services is possibly one such example. As long as you have a clean driving record, have a well maintained and fairly new car and are authorised to work where you reside, you can sign up with online cab services like Uber and Lyft.
The advantage of the job is that you can choose to make yourself available whenever you want, after hours, weekends, its all up to you.
The dis-advatage is that not everyone would like to do this. But it can be a good hustle on the side nevertheless. Another thing, the job doesn’t earn you as much as you might initially think or what Uber might have you believe. What you earn depends on where you are driving, to begin with. For example, New York City drivers seem to make the most per hour. But at the end of the day, the amount that most of Uber drivers earn seems to commensurate with the lifestyle of a young person without too many responsibilities. That is why we put this work option as something a young person might prefer to do as a side hustle.
Check out this link to read a fair article about how much does an Uber driver actually earn.
I have tried to list work that is accessible to most of the people, without the requirement of formal experience, or special training. Well, this is a good example of such work. However, it is something for the younger readership to cash on. I’m not saying that because there is any kind of restriction in place, but because I feel it is the kind of work that some will not like to do.
Anyway, this job is physical in nature and involves delivering all kinds of packages to people’s doorstep. There are companies that are hiring online and you can have a look at them first. A couple of names are such as Postmates Seamless.
Of course, there is nothing stopping you from scourging the local classifieds for more offers in your area. Many places you are not even required to have a car as long as you are happy biking around the place.