While many people are in a rush to complete goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year, I’m looking forward to new and innovative ways to add more money to my bottom line come next year. Lucky for us, there is never a shortage of new money-making apps and ideas coming online. And, working from home is becoming even more accepted and commonplace than it has been in years past.
In a recent FlexJobs study, they found “Sixty-seven percent of freelancers report that the amount of work they’ve gotten online has increased in the last year, and 64% of freelancers found work online, up 22 points since 2014 according to the “Freelancing in America: 2018” report. The percentage of freelancers who earn $75,000 or more annually has increased 15 points since 2014.” That's awesome news for those looking to make money from home.
Here are some cool ways to earn money from home this upcoming year.
1. Online ESL Tutoring
Speaking of teaching, even if you don’t have a teaching degree or current certificate, you may be able to make money teaching English online. This is a great side gig for those working a full-time job. The scheduling is flexible and you can work in the early morning, evenings and on weekends. And the pay is pretty good, too! Some ESL tutors are paid up to $21 per 40-minute class. A few companies to consider:
2. ACT Test Prep
Not necessarily new, but definitely a great opportunity! Jen Henson was a teacher in Ohio when she was approached by her principal to tutor an athlete preparing for ACT testing. He had a full ride offer from a college but need the test scores to seal the deal. After hearing about the results Jen was able to help this student achieve, he’s in the NFL today, she started being approached by other coaches.
She both taught full-time and tutored on the side as long as she could. This year, she decided she could no longer handle both. She was able to walk away from her 22-year teaching career to pursue ACT test prep full-time.
Jen has found a lot of fulfillment in the work she now does. In addition to the student now in the NFL, she has tutored two others now playing in the MLB. Her biggest accomplishment, however, is all of those who she has helped secure a free education or a spot at their dream college because of their ACT test scores.
Companies hiring in this field:
- Aim-for-A Tutoring
3. Become a Courier
Many of my readers aren’t hip on the idea of becoming a rideshare driver. It can be a little intimidating being in a car alone with a stranger. A great alternative in the same industry is becoming a courier. Sites like Postmates, UberEats, Amazon Flex and others can be a great opportunity to earn extra cash delivering everything from lunch to packages. These can be good side hustles with flexible schedules. In some areas, I have also seen a big boom in medical courier opportunities, and these don’t pay too shabby!
4. Share Your Stuff
Do you have a big ticket item or two that you only use part-time? We are living in an age of “peer sharing” which has opened a door to earning income from renting everything from RVs (Outdoorsy) to sailboats (see Sailo). This works for smaller items, too. KitSplit lets you lend out professional cameras. If you have a desirable item that costs more than the average person can afford, someone out there may be willing to pay to borrow it.
5. Rent Your Knowledge
You have likely heard of subscription boxes such as Birchbox and Julep. While almost anyone can start a subscription box service, they can be incredibly labor-intensive and the profit margin usually isn’t so great for those operating on a small scale. Did you know you could start a subscription for your knowledge that’s almost pure profit? With sites like SubHub, you can offer a monthly membership offering anything from meal plans to workout plans to crocheting patterns and beyond. The sky is the limit. You do need to provide new content on a consistent schedule to keep your customers happy. But if there is something your friends are always looking to you for new ideas, you may have an easy little side business on your hands.
6. Get More Cash Back
Who doesn’t love cashback opportunities like Ebates? It’s one of my favorite ways to earn extra money with little or no extra work. But what about in-store cash back? Dosh is a newer app that offers just that. You can earn cash back on things like getting your oil changed or eating out in addition to the usual in-app and travel purchases. They give you $5 just for downloading the app and connecting your debit or credit card.
7. Invest Your Change
We all know we should be investing money, but it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. This is especially the case for those with limited dispensable cash or inconsistent income. Acorns (get $5 to invest when you sign up through this link) is an app that will allow you to round up your everyday purchases and invest that spare change. While you may be unable to write a sizeable check for investing each month, you may not notice an extra $.25 tacked onto your morning Starbucks. Stockpile is another micro-investing platform I love. Get $5 to invest free when you sign up here.
8. Refer Your Friends
How many times have you told your friends about a great service or product you love? Could you have been compensated for that referral? Many companies today have refer-a-friend programs that will pay you in cash or store credit for bringing them new customers. Look in your online profile for these opportunities. The website will often provide you with a link you can share on social media or in an email. If it’s a product or service you are asked about a lot, it may even be worth your time to get cards printed up with your link for handing out.
9. Turn Audio Files Into Text
Transcription is a work-at-home opportunity that has been around for years. Recently, we have seen an influx of short task and crowdsourcing sites popping up offering transcription services at an affordable rate and a quick turnaround. That's good news for those new to working from home.
These small task sites like Rev.com and TranscribeMe may not require prior transcription experience. That opens a door for those looking to give transcription a try. Transcription is production-based pay in most cases. That means the faster and more accurate you can listen to those audio files and type them into text, the more you can get paid.
Once you have a little experience under your belt, start applying to those better-paying transcription jobs. There's no shortage of them!
10. (Get Someone Else to) Cancel Your Subscriptions
We all sign up for subscriptions that we eventually don’t want. As I’m sure you have found out, sometimes cancellation isn’t so easy. What I love about Trim is that they will identify these recurring charges in your bank account, let you know what you are being charged for and then give you the option to have them cancel them. They can send an email, make a phone call or even send a certified letter if that’s what the company requires. This service is currently free. Trim can also negotiate things like your cable bill. For that service, they charge you a percentage of your annual savings. Sign up here.
11. Score Tests
I've been getting some really good feedback from my audience about scoring tests from home. Companies like Measurement, Incorporated hire remote workers on a per-project basis to read and evaluate student tests. These are often temporary positions. Measurement, Inc typically has their biggest need March to June.
Evaluators usually need a bachelor's degree in any field. You will also need to pass the scoring company's test and training.
Even those these are temporary positions, many of my readers state they are asked back year after year as long as they stick with the guidelines and attendance requirements. This could be a great egg to have in your work-at-home basket if you have a bachelor's degree!
Companies to check out:
- Measurement, Inc.
12. Offer Video Services to Others
For many years, freelance writing has been a great opportunity to earn extra cash with a flexible schedule. The latest online content need is video. If you can turn your client’s written content into professional, high-quality video, you may find yourself with no shortage of business. And these don’t necessarily need to be you in a “talking head” video. They could be PowerPoint presentations, screencasts, photo montages, animations and more. Use an optimization service like TubeBuddy to help them get even better rankings and engagement on YouTube.
13. Freelance Writer
If you can write a complete sentence that holds someone’s attention, there will always be work for you on the Internet. I’m not kidding! The Internet is endlessly hungry for content, and that content doesn’t make itself. So work on those composition skills you never thought you’d need in “real life,” and put your language skills to work!
This is also one work-at-home job that can be endlessly customized to work for you – you can choose subjects to specialize in, from sports or fashion to European finance or vegan motherhood. You can write articles and blog posts, or ad copy and social posts. You can ghostwrite for your clients, or build your own successful blog. You can find jobs nearly anywhere, too – from job boards or virtual assistant agencies to personal referrals and building your own site. Visit my beginner’s guide to get started freelance writing online.
14. Customer Service Representative
I know it’s not everyone’s dream to work in customer support, but getting on with a virtual call center is one of the best ways to land an employee job online. (An employee job means you’re employed with the company and not an independent contractor. Employee jobs tend to come with regular hourly pay and even benefits packages.) Customer support is also an ever-growing remote field as more and more companies shift their customer service departments to virtual call centers. If you need a regular gig with reliable pay, this is one opportunity you should seriously consider.
You can find some flexibility here, from working during business hours to working during the evening (plus weekends and holidays). These positions also require you to have a home computer with high-speed Internet access (they’ll check), and sometimes a headset.
Keep your eyes open for positions offered by:
- Sutherland Cloudsource
- and others
15. Social Media Manager
Did you ever guess that your obsession with Twitter or Pinterest could become a key employability skill? I know! You first start Pinterest, you think it’ll be a little harmless fun, and then you’ve got hundreds of boards with thousands of pins on DIY projects you’re never going to do and recipes you’re never going to make (sorry, real talk) – but you also understand all the lingo, know who the influencers are, and have an experienced eye for what makes an enticing Pinterest post. Maybe this same story applies, except with Facebook (you know the power of groups and how FB ads work), Twitter (you’re always up on the latest trending hashtags), or Instagram (you follow all the influencers in your niche).
Any way you slice it, this experience has been preparing you for the role of social media manager – this tends to be an independent contractor gig, but you can make a pretty penny if you can help small businesses or other professionals build buzz and their social media following. So if you can write a mean tweet (in a good way) or lay out an attractive Pinterest graphic, consider going full social: check out my post on how to become a social media manager.
16. Specialized Transcription
There are always a ton of transcription jobs out there, and it’s one of the most commonly suggested gigs for work-at-home newbies. However, run-of-the-mill transcription also doesn’t generally pay that well. Where earning a respectable transcription income comes in is in specializing so that you can do more specific and sensitive transcribing quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Some transcription skills you can only get through transcription experience, but other skills may come from your background or require you to complete a certification course.
If you’d like to specialize in medical transcription, there are certification courses you can take; you can also benefit from having healthcare-related experience so you’re familiar with the terminology. The same applies for legal transcription – you can do a certification course, and it’s helpful if you know legal lingo or even have legal reference materials at home. If you’d like to do law enforcement transcription, that most often has overlapping requirements with legal transcription.
Coding – whether for developing apps or designing websites – is another big business online! It’s a pretty egalitarian business as well, since you can teach yourself to code in many languages and you can code from wherever you are. At its most basic, all you need is a computer (or laptop or tablet), an Internet connection for connecting with project files or far-flung colleagues, and a text editor. (The software involved can get more complicated than that, as you go along.) There are more small businesses wanting customized websites and startups trying to create that next great app every day, and coders can make a living along the way.
18. Virtual Assistant
This is another popular job for work-at-home folks and no wonder! Everyone needs help sometimes – from small businesses to entrepreneurs to corporate leaders – and turn to the Internet to find virtual assistants who can handle everything from sorting their email to managing their schedules to making their travel arrangements. And that’s just one small example! If you work with a web development company, you may find yourself creating social media schedules for their clients or drafting copy for various websites. You might work with an attorney and make non-sensitive client calls or with an entrepreneur who needs you to do market research for the product they’re developing.
Becoming a virtual assistant is one of those jobs that can basically work for anyone, regardless of the type of experience you bring to the table – as long as you’re organized, responsive, and communicate well. You can find a job at a multi-VA firm:
- Worldwide 101
- Time Etc
- and others
Or, check out my How to Become a Virtual Assistant guide as well!
I hope I’ve inspired to you take the leap into earning money from home!
Originally published December 2017. Updated December 2018.