In one of my very first posts, I mentioned the wide variety of odd jobs I have worked trying to make ends meet and pay off bills. Finally, I am publishing the list of gigs I have personally done from home, all through the wonderful, awe inspiring power of the internetz. This isn’t just some random list of things you could maybe do to make $3 posted by a spambot trying to get you to click on a monetized link… I can verify that there is real money to be made and it is worth the effort.
I have ordered the list from greatest to least earned income for me personally, but that will vary greatly depending on what kind of person you are and the things that interest you. Keep in mind, these were all side gigs for me, but some definitely have the potential to float you full time if necessary.
- Teach English Online: In case you haven’t read any other posts in this blog, I worked for VIPKID teaching English to Chinese students. On my best months, I was pulling in $1500/month working 20 hours a week. Lots of teachers work many, many more hours so the earning potential here is immense. Also, there are many more companies in the market now, and some only require you to be a native English speaker. They will pay anywhere from $10-$28 per hour. I hear many people also do online tutoring, but I haven’t ventured into that sector yet. Here are some up and coming Online English Teaching Platforms to research: Magic Ears, DadaABC, SayABC, Haowj, TutorABC, Open English, and Palfish (app). These are almost all in the Asian market, but many other regions are developing similar programs. The only real downside to this type of work is the crazy hours…and you are designated as an independent contractor so you better brush up on your tax laws.
- Grade Essays for a Standardized Testing Company: Companies like ETS offer great work from home jobs, but usually require at least a four year degree or equitable experience in education. Your hourly rate will vary depending on what tests you qualify to grade, but I never saw a posting for less than $15/hour, with shifts of 4 or 8 hours per day. The work is also somewhat seasonal, but can be sustainable if you qualify to grade multiple tests. I can honestly say this is an opportunity I really blew. I had gotten qualified to grade multiple tests, pretty much guaranteeing some cash flow year around, but I missed a shift when I went into labor with my first child and somehow got myself blacklisted from being scheduled as frequently. I am still employed by ETS, but I never open my schedule because I rarely get chosen for teams and I can’t stand the disappointment.
- Real Estate Photography: I worked part time for a company called Velocity REOS doing BPO photography for several months…which is basically creeping around taking pictures of houses that were going into foreclosure. You don’t need a degree or anything to qualify, just a cell phone, a car, and the ability to follow their photography template. It’s a little shady, but I rarely had to get out of my car to do it. Bigger jobs would require me to enter vacant properties and take pictures of the inside as well. Pay is structured by the type/size of the project, with bonus pay for short notice or rush orders. The hourly rate fluctuated wildly depending on how many houses I had in a day and how far apart they were distance wise, but I was usually able to make at least $10/hour on a bad day and as much as $30/hour on a good day. Keep in mind gas costs and travel expenses. You will get a ton of work here if you are always on time and submit photographs correctly. You must follow their guidelines explicitly when completing a job, or it will get sent back and they will ding you on whatever secret internal rating system they use. If this happens more than a couple of times, you will start to notice you are not getting any work, and it’s almost impossible to get back in. Start strong and stay strong. This is also a job that you will only do well at in a medium to large city.
- Transcription and Captioning: REV used to be a great, low stress, fun job. The application process is pretty thorough, and they require you to study and pass a test before considering you (although you do not need a degree). They offer transcription and translation jobs as well, but I didn’t have the patience for those projects.I would make $8-$10/hour watching videos and adding subtitles. I even got to pick the content so it didn’t get boring. However, the pay structure has changed a lot and pay rates fluctuate constantly, so these days I would be pressed to make $5/hour. It’s not worth it for me at this point, but the option is always there if I am really in a bind. There are other companies that hire for this type of work but I haven’t worked for or seriously researched any of them, as I hear pay is even less for other companies.
- mTurk: Amazon’s mTurk offers some unique ways to earn money doing microjobs. See my full post on the company here.
- Monetize Your Blog: While I loathe spammy blogs and websites with a million random advertisements for dating Russian hotties, I don’t see anything wrong with recommending products that I have actually bought and found to be useful. You will notice a couple of my blogs here have affiliate links, and yes, they do make me a little money. I usually get about $50/month just by maintaining this blog with a few Amazon Affiliate links. It takes time for it to start flowing, but it is nice to get that little Amazon gift card each month. I am sure I could make more, but I just don’t feel comfortable pushing items unless I really think they provide some value. I also don’t post regularly enough to generate the following many successful bloggers have. This is one of those opportunities that has as much potential as you put into it. Example affiliate link…Hells yea I will promote Amazon Prime! It’s pretty much the best thing that ever happened to me.
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7. Freelance Anything – What skills do you have? What hobbies do you have? Get creative. It takes more legwork, but if you have a skill, find a way to market it. Build a website. Make a blog. The best product you have is yourself, and it feels good to get acknowledged for it. I can almost guarantee there is a freelance job out there waiting for you. I have freelanced independently for many years as a designer and photographer through old school methods…you know, walking around handing out business cards, promoting my personal website, and responding to Craigslist ads. I very recently got accepted at two online freelance job posting sites…Fiverr and Upwork, There are many, many, many websites that post freelance jobs ranging from editing, social media marketing, design, writing and so much more…it just depends on what your skills are. This is a great option for people like me who dabble in a little bit of everything, so get on the Googles and see what’s out there in your area of interest and expertise!
8. Microstock Photography – I will be updating this with an in depth review in the near future, but if you have a decent camera and an eye for commercial images and composition, this could be for you! I am just getting started in this field, so I am not sure about earning potential, but I do know it is FUN. I have been accepted at Shutterstock, Adobe, Getty Images, Alamy, and Snapwire, so I will give you the low down when I have had time to gather more information.
Hopefully there is something here that will work for you! There is great earning potential out there if you have some self discipline and focus.
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