When it comes to making money online, some people are in it to replace their day jobs. Others want to earn money around their other priorities (like caregiving or going to school). And there are those of us who want to work from home to have a little extra tick in the pocket. Maybe you are one of them.
If you’re looking for ways to make money online without quitting your day job, you’re in luck! Today is what we are all talking about. And the great news is, you have a ton of options. Here are some of my favorites.
For just a little bit here and there
If you’re basically looking for something to make money while you’re bored, there’s an app for that! Several apps and websites, in fact.
Perhaps the easiest way to throw in a bit here and there during your downtime, or while you’re watching TV, or bored on the computer, is to take online surveys. There are apps to do that on your smartphone too. I highly recommend the following:
- Ebbets – I love, love, love Ebbets. It’s not uncommon for me to earn $300 to $1,000 per month with cash back bonuses and referring my friends. And, the program is free! They’ll even give you a $10 gift card for signing up (and you will too).
- Swagbucks – This program has come a long way from the start of earning for search. Today you can earn SB for taking surveys, watching videos and more. Redeem your SB (aka Swagbucks) for cash or gift cards (Members redeem approximately 7,000 gift cards per day!) Receive a $5 signup bonus when you earn 2500 SB in your first 3 months.
- Ibotta – This nifty little app can help you make money doing something you should be doing anyway – grocery shopping. It’s like coupons, but instead of cashing off at the counter, you get cash back on select items each week. You can cash your rebate through PayPal or use it to purchase gift cards from great merchants like Amazon. They have an amazing referral program. Get $10 for every two friends! If you sign up through my referral link, you’ll get another $10 bonus when you redeem your first rebate.
Mystery shopping is another way to make money from home. It’s conducted online, but it usually involves leaving your home to “shop” at a store, restaurant, or mall kiosk, so they can be a good excuse to get out of the house and try something new. Doing so (and usually pocketing some extra cash in the process).
Freelancing allows you to set your own workload
If you’re looking to earn some serious cash entirely from home, freelancing may be the answer for you.
The great thing about freelancing is that there is a market for you no matter your skill level. If you want to learn something new (like designing pins or ebook covers) you can start at a low rate on a site like Fiverr or Upwork and learn as you go.
If you think you’re a decent writer, freelance writing might be just the ticket for you. Many people have built a freelance writing business that replaces their full-time income, but many keep it part-time and make a healthy side-income.
Writing isn’t the only freelance service you can offer, though. There is a huge market for virtual assistants at all levels, from low-level data entry work to transcription to highly specialized skills such as web design, video production, and running advertising campaigns through Facebook or Adwords. Odds are good that if you’ve got a good computer-driven “tinkering” hobby, there are business owners who will pay you to do some of that “tinkering” for them.
Freelancing offers a healthy hourly rate and the ability to set your own workload and hours, making it a great choice for people who feel they have skills to use. The potential downside is that you’re dealing with clients who may require you to work a certain amount of hours per week (especially if you’re a VA). If it’s a complete turn off, be prepared to turn down some potential clients; Otherwise, you may be interested in other opportunities.
Sell products online
If you’re a writer, a teacher, or someone who’s always putting together handwritten “guides” and worksheets to use in your own life, selling digital products may be in your future!
Feed your inner novelist by selling your ebooks on Amazon. It costs very little to get started (although you’ll definitely want to invest in a good cover) and once your book is uploaded, you’re mostly done. Your sales will benefit from some optimizing and ad campaigns, but these are all things that require some upfront work and very little maintenance afterward.
If you are an expert in something that many people want to know more about, consider writing a guide and selling it online. Once your guide is ready, you’ll need to set up an SEO-optimized sales page to get as much organic traffic as possible, and you’ll need to have a way to sell it (which can be as simple as paying) to a processor and sendout like PayPal or Stripe. or as complex as a shopping cart service like E-Junky). Again, advertising can help your sales, but ultimately the work for this project can be front-loaded and then go more or less on automatic pilot.
Worksheets and other “printables” are another great opportunity if you’re that way inclined! All kinds of people need help planning and organizing everything from their mega-wedding to their morning routine. If you can put together some cute printables, you can turn around and start selling them online in your own online store, on a site like Etsy, or through your blog (more on that in a second). This can be a lot of fun if you want to create digital products like invitations, announcements, and custom printable files (like custom first-day-of-school printouts).
Blogging combines all the “perks” of freelancing — you can use your skills, set your own hours, etc. — so you’re 100% self-directed. While it’s possible to start making money fairly quickly from freelance writing, it’s hard to make huge bucks while you’re at it. Blogging, on the other hand, may start off a little slow in terms of income but has a lot of potential in the long run.
When you start your own blog, there are many ways you can monetize it Ultimately, though, you need to deliver good content fairly consistently. There is no strict schedule for this, but at the same time it requires your time and investment. You can’t just stop publishing and keep making money. Fortunately, you can still run a blog even if you don’t have a ton of time
Another great thing about running a blog is that you can start selling your own products on your blog. And many bloggers will also add a hire me page to their blog, which can help them with freelance writing.
Blogging is extremely flexible and I (of course) love it, but it’s not all about making money.
Selling physical products
If you like the idea of making money in your spare time and you’re not really interested in freelancing or blogging, you may want to look into opportunities that allow you to sell a physical product. There are several ways to do this, some involving inventory but others not.
You can sell physical products on places like Amazon and eBay. There are ways to do this with your own inventory, but you can also sell or drop-ship items on demand. (Not sure what’s right for you? Get some expert advice here.)
Etsy is another marketplace where you can sell your handmade and digital products. This is a great place to start, for example, if you’re always crocheting something in your down-time and you want to sell the surplus.
Finally, don’t forget your direct sales opportunity! The general rule of thumb when you’re going into direct sales is to only sell products that you actually use and like. Your motivation should come from a desire to share something great, not from pumping your network to make a sale. Done right, you can make a lot of money from direct sales without your day job. And there are many companies that don’t require you to keep your own inventory — your customers will buy directly from the company rather than from your stock.
More thoughts on working online around your day job
Whether you love your day job or you’re not ready to start working from home as your sole source of income, there are plenty of opportunities to make some extra money on the side. All of the ideas I’ve listed here are difficult, and they’re the primary way people start their “side hustles,” but it’s really just a starting point for you.
Which idea are you most interested in and why?