It’s crunch time for those looking to make a little extra cash before the holiday shopping season begins. Black Friday is only two weeks away after all! For many people, that means finding ways to monetize your free time. Any little blocks of time you have available whether it be lunch hour, commercial breaks or sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room could be spent doing something that produces income these days.
If you are like most people trying to earn a side income, you have a lot of little money-makers going at one time. It’s so easy to lose track of what you have earned and where, who has what payment method or threshold, or simply where you should be spending the majority of your time.
Today, I wanted to share a few resources to help you better optimize and organize your time and earnings. Systems for the win!
To start, I have a great free printable income tracker. This three-page tracker will help you set and keep your weekly goals, track your daily earnings and keep track of your favorite extra money apps and their payment methods and thresholds.
In addition to a paper system, it’s never a bad idea to keep a secondary, more complex system. You will appreciate the easiness of running an income and expense report come tax time! It can also help you stay on top of quarterly tax payments, if necessary, and give you an overall big picture of your side hustle finances. I highly recommend QuickBooks Self-Employed. It's super-affordable and can pull in income and expenses directly from your bank or PayPal account. There is also an app available that allows you to send invoices, track mileages and upload receipts on the go.
Optimizing & Organizing Your Side Income
Earning a side income can turn into a big headache if you aren’t careful. So many opportunities. So many rules. So many chances to hit it big or fail miserably. There are a few things you can do to increase your chances for success.
Set Up a Dedicated Email for Your Side Income
There are so many reasons to have more than one email address. When it comes to side income, it can help you keep track of everything from login emails to preventing task notifications from getting buried. And it doesn’t cost you anything! Head over to Gmail and set up a new email address to use strictly for signing up for opportunities.
Most work-on-demand or small task gigs have a limited number of spots to fill or work to be done when it comes up. It’s so important you respond as soon as possible whether it’s picking up available transcription work or qualifying for a survey. Once the quota is full, it’s full. You will have to wait until next time. That dedicated email address will help you spot available opportunities more easily.
Track Your Time vs. Earnings
It’s always important to know how you are spending your time. While there may be some things that require hardly any commitment or brain power that you don’t mind doing for a few cents, if a side gig is requiring you to think, research, work on a schedule, commit to hours, etc. you may be better off elsewhere if it’s paying you $3 per hour.
Complete Your Profile
This is so easily overlooked on some sites. You are in a hurry to start earning! Your completed profile may determine your eligibility for some surveys. If you forget to fill out that payment page, you may not get paid. Take a look around and make sure those boxes are ticked.
There are scammers everywhere. They are looking to prey on those in search of easy money. Don’t be a victim! Learn how to spot a scam.
- Does it sound too good to be true?
- Do they want you to pay for something?
- Are you being asked for your banking information or usernames/passwords?
- Are you being asked to cash a check, buy something and send back the remaining balance? No! No! No! No!
- Are you using a reputable virus protection like AVG to ensure you aren’t getting any viruses or malware when clicking links?
- Do you know who you are dealing with? What’s the BBB say? What do Glassdoor reviews say? Are they on social media? Is there contact information and a business address on their website? Are they using a branded email or a free email like Gmail?
Refer Your Friends
Many extra cash opportunities will give you a nice bonus for referring your friends. This can be a great way to increase your earnings quickly. Check around in your profile or the site’s help desk for referral program information.
Don’t Forget to Cash Out
Some sites will require a manual cash out as opposed to paying you automatically or on a recurring basis. This is another reason it’s so important to keep track of who owes you money and how they pay. Make sure you are logging in on a regular basis and requesting your money if necessary.
Legit Side Income Ideas
A few of my favorite legit opportunities for side income:
- Rev.com or TranscribeMe – transcription
- PineCone Research – survey
- mTurk – small tasks
- Fancy Hands – small tasks
- HealthyWage – bet on your weight loss and activity goals
- Swagbucks – surveys and small tasks
- Apps like Uber – get paid to drive or deliver
- Instacart – get paid to grocery shop
- BookScouter – sell old books
- Amazon Trade-In – trade in your old books, electronics and more for Amazon gift cards
- Mystery Shopping
- eBay – sell stuff on eBay
- Appen or Lionbridge – search engine or ad evaluation
Opportunities I don’t have first-hand knowledge of but have read good things about on Reddit:
- Respondent – research studies
Find more opportunities to earn extra cash in your free time:
A little extra cash could come in handy for most of us. Whether you are using those funds for paying down a loan, putting it into an emergency fund, padding your grocery bill or just saving up for this season’s shopping extravaganza, a good tracking system can help optimize and prioritize your spare time on income-producing activities.