The allure of working and making money online at home is undeniable. A stressful, polluted commute, a long workday on the company’s schedule, and limited earning potential bring little joy to the average worker, who’d much rather be making their own schedule, diversifying their revenue streams, and enjoying more time to spend on the people and things they love. In today’s gig economy, turning your home base into your work base is an attainable goal. It’s all about finding and monetizing your special skill — and you’ll be amazed at just how much sells.
1. Start a Vlog
Top Earners Make: 50 million dollars. Around $57,200 a month for an account with 1 million subscribers
Relevant Websites: YouTube Video marketing stats
You’ll need: A decent video camera and microphone
You may never be cast in a network reality show, but sharing your vlog with the world is the next best thing. Believe it or not, sharing videos of your adventures, experiences, opinions, and feelings can really rake in the views on YouTube, which pays content creators that drive traffic to their site.
Another important aspect to being successful? Quality videos, which many starting vloggers lack. Shaky, grainy videos with bad audio don’t tend to get repeat views, which means if you really want to monetize your vlogging, you’ll need to invest in a quality camera and a decent mic.
2. Create a Niche Website
Top Earners Make: 25K+ per month
Relevant Websites: Amazon Niche Website guide
You’ll need: A domain and web hosting
You may be sensing a trend here. Part of the beauty of the Internet is that users can often find exactly what they’re looking for, no matter how obscure, because of the sheer volume of information and products made available globally. This means niches sell big time, with blogs and online sellers that focus on the specific rather than the general seeing a decent amount of success.
Whether you’re itching to talk about your topic of expertise or have an idea for a niche drop-shipping site in an un-cornered market, there are opportunities to create a revenue stream. Like monetizing a blog, it may be a slow start, but focusing on SEO using free tools like Google Keyword Planner and choosing a reasonably priced host like Bluehost means your up-front cost is minimal and you’re hitting the targets needed to be favored by algorithms.
3. Amazon FBA
Average Pay: Over 1K monthly
Top Earners Make: Millions of $$$$$$$
Relevant resources: How To Start An Amazon FBA Business – FBA Stars
You’ll need: A product you’ve mass-produced
Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer, with their popular Prime subscription service offering two-day delivery on millions of items to consumers around the globe. It’s not surprising, then, that people with something to sell want a piece of that action. Amazon established FBA, or Fulfilled by Amazon, to give sellers the opportunity to boost their sales and visibility through the service — and, of course, to take a sliver of the pie while it’s being served.
It’s a fantastic relief space-wise for online sellers, as the concept relies around offloading goods being sold to Amazon, who will then store the goods in any of a number of warehouses. Getting started is fairly easy — you’ll open a FBA account on Amazon, ship them your products, and create product listings. Amazon hangs on to the items until a customer orders one, and then ships it as-ordered to the consumer. If there’s ever an issue with damaged goods or postage, Amazon takes the heat and handles the refund, whether it’s to you or the consumer.
Of course, for all this, you’ll be taking a cut in the form of a 15% referral fee and an additional shipping and handling cost for each product, so it’s best to price your items accordingly. Likewise, if you’re keeping your products at fulfillment centers for long periods while they’re not selling, you can rack up storage fees — only send what’s needed on a month-by-month basis.
I would also recommend you check out FBA Stars. Its the most comprehensive video training course on the market. It’s produced by Vik JC who is a certified Amazon FBA business owner AND who actually makes his living from selling products on Amazon.
Average Pay: $34K per annum
Top Earners Make: $60K pa
Relevant Websites: Upwork, Freelancer, CareerBuilder
You’ll need: Grammar, spelling, and usage skills
If you’re an expert at the written word who often finds themselves taking the metaphorical red pen to the news and prose they’re reading, you may have a career as a professional proofreader. It’s an especially good pick for those who don’t excel at creating original content, but who have an eye and mind for the rules of grammar and usage. Unlike editors and copy editors, proofreaders aren’t responsible for adding or eliminating content, only editing for grammar, typos, punctuation, and spelling.
While some companies keep proofreaders who work remotely on their payroll, freelance and as-needed proofreading jobs are far more common. Sites like Upwork and Fiverr are great places to get started — though you may make a low per-hour wage starting out, a high rating and good reviews from clients will quickly lead to opportunities to increase your rates.
5. Take Surveys
Average Pay: Anywhere from a few to a hundred dollars per month
Top Earners Make: 2-300 dollars a month
Relevant Websites: Swagbucks, Online Surveys Guide
You’ll need: A laptop, computer or smart phone.
It’s hardly uncommon to be prompted to take a survey online — it’s how many companies obtain market research data, like demographics and opinions. If you don’t mind clicking through them and answering a few questions, you can score a few bucks in the meantime when you choose the right sites.
Websites like Swagbucks and others provide users with the opportunity to take surveys for a predetermined amount of dollars and cents. After a user clicks on a survey, they’re usually prompted to answer some preliminary demographic questions to determine if they’re a respondent the survey creator is looking to hear from. If they’re not, they’ll be returned to the page they came from; some sites reward a few cents for this inconvenient. If they fit the criteria, they’ll have the opportunity to answer the questions for the indicated amount.
Though these surveys often have low monetary value, it’s not wise to rush through them in order to take as many as possible. Many surveys have control questions posed as logical inconsistencies or inquiries about fake brands that, if answered incorrectly, can disqualify respondents from their payout. Likewise, giving answers over time in different surveys that are inconsistent, especially about job, income level, and other demographic facts, can lead to disqualification from an entire survey site.
While there are some survey sites that pay handsomely for feedback from users of certain high-level software and engineering tools in their career fields, most surveys for the average person don’t pay enough to generate a full-time income. However, it’s a simple way to make money and earn a bit of beer tokens in your downtime!
6. Become a Virtual Assistant
Average Pay: $26K pa
Top Earners Make: $43K pa
Relevant Websites: Horkey Handbook, UpWork, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn
You’ll need: Experience in a business climate is helpful
Long gone are the days when an assistant needed a desk right outside the boss’s office. Now, it’s just as easy for a virtual assistant to facilitate business needs from home, and some of the world’s top companies and executives utilize virtual assistants to cut down on carbon footprints and the need for physical office spaces.
A virtual assistant’s duties are fairly simple — they’ll schedule meetings, arrange travel and accommodations, field phone calls, and answer emails for the person or people they’re working for. Some positions may include unique needs, but the position is basically secretarial, and it’s suitable for anyone with a stable, powerful internet connection, experience with VoIP communication software like Skype, and a timely, organized workflow.
VA positions are often on the payroll, so scoring a position can mean a bit more job security than the average freelance gig. Sites like Indeed and Monster often include virtual assistant listings from large international businesses, so they’re a great place to get started in your search.
7. Online Tutoring
Average Pay: $25K pa
Top Earners Make: $50K+ pa
Relevant Websites: Kaplan, Tutor.com, GoFluent
You’ll need: Educational credentials, at minimum a high school diploma
If you’re a teacher or academic with skills and time to spare, working as a tutor online can help you monetize your brain power without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Jobs in the field abound, from organizations that are strictly tutoring-centric to major universities like Johns Hopkins, and they’re available for many subjects and skill levels.
If you feel like you’ve got the knowledge and patience needed to be a tutor, know that most reputable sites will ask for evidence of your educational credentials before taking you on, and some may even require a background check. If you’re looking to tutor a little more casually, it’s possible to set up a one-off gig for tutoring in your skill set on sites like Fiverr.
8. Social Media Influencer
Average Pay: $50K pa
Top Earners Make: $100K+ pa
Relevant Websites: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat
You’ll need: Camera, social media accounts
If cultivating an envy-worthy social media feed is something you specialize in, being a social media influencer may be second nature to you. You’ve no doubt seen accounts loaded with pretty, poised pictures including products and brands that influencers are paid to market, and though the competition is fierce, there are always new, up-and-coming brands looking for influencers to showcase their wares.
Getting noticed is easier than you’d think — simply posting regularly with hashtags that reflect the brands and lifestyles you’d like to represent can net small offers of swag and follows. Taking the initiative to tag a brand when you’re repping their product even if you’re not being paid is also a gesture of good faith that may land you a social media influencer role. Those who work as social media influencers often diversify their income by representing several brands, but advertising for competitors is always a non-starter.
Average Pay: 30K
Top Earners Make: 44K
Relevant Websites: UpWork, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn
You’ll need: A degree in accounting, CPA or payroll experience
If you’re a certified public accountant or have experience in the payroll field, working from home as a bookkeeper is a career option you may not have been aware of. Balancing the books and doing basic accounting work can easily be done remotely here in the future, which means that an experienced number-cruncher can cozy up on the couch to do the same work and bring home a similar paycheck to their counterparts.
As we’ve established, this generally isn’t a job that just anyone can pick up, it’s reserved for those who are qualified. This means that online bookkeeping positions may involve being on a company payroll rather than being an independent contractor, which can make life a bit easier come tax time. Online bookkeeping positions are often listen on sites like Monster and Indeed, but they go quickly, so those on the hunt would be wise to check daily.
Average Pay: About $28.75 per hour
Top Earners Make: $60 – $70K pa
Relevant Websites: Scopists.com
You’ll need: Scoping software, a good headset
If this is the first time you’re hearing of scoping, you’re in good company. Although the skill can pay decent money, it’s relatively obscure, and its name isn’t very reflective of the task at hand. Scoping is the process of translating the spoken words that a court stenographer has taken down in court from shortened “steno” language to verbatim English for the purpose of creating a transcript.
As you might imagine, scoping requires training in order to be effective. There isn’t a degree program for scopists, but there are a number of online courses available that can prime takers in understanding steno and style and translating effectively. Scoping jobs can be both freelance and payroll positions depending on who is offering them — major job sites do list positions occasionally, but those interested may find more success by perusing online classifieds specific to scopist positions.
11. Freelance Writing
Average Pay: $52K pa
Top Earners Make: $85K +
Relevant Websites: Upwork, iWriter, Flexjobs, Freelancer, Textbroker
You’ll need: Writing skills
Those with a gift for the written word will be happy to know that being a freelance writer is one of the easier positions to net as a novice freelancer. Large work-pooling sites like Textbroker give new authors a chance to join with a simple grammar and usage test, rating those who pass and giving them the opportunity to pick up assignments from a pool given to those with similar skill at a pay rate the site determines. Authors can also create a profile stating their areas of expertise, offering samples, and citing their own price for direct orders.
On other sites like Upwork, writers can be a bit pickier about setting their rates when bidding on the projects of others. This can sometimes mean earning a higher rate of pay, but beginners who haven’t received much account feedback can count on having to work their way up the ladder before they see any three digit numbers. In most cases, freelance writing is done on a by-gig basis, meaning that those who choose the field are almost always stuck on the hunt for the next opportunity.
12. Social Media Marketing Manager
Average Pay: $50K pa
Top Earners Make: $90K+ pa
Relevant Websites: UpWork, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn
You’ll need: Social media skills, wit, oranization skills, Sendible.
Eager to corner every potential marketing avenue, most brands have wised up to the fact that a social media presence offers a chance to create a dynamic new face that can appeal to a generation that grew up online. The tongue-in-cheek humor that makes brand tweets go viral is no accident — it’s cultivated by talented social media marketing managers, who are experts at balancing wit with effective advertising strategies and knowledge of industry trends.
If you’re not a natural comedian, don’t worry; brands with serious faces also look to social media marketing managers to establish an online presence that’s shareable and provides opportunities to track engagement and receive feedback. As the name ‘manager’ implies, these tend to be ongoing positions, and previous experience with representing brands on social media and copy writing can significantly improve your hiring potential.
Average Pay: $30K pa
Top Earners Make: $50K+
Relevant Websites: Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, iStockPhoto
You’ll need: A decent camera
If you’re a hobbyist photographer who’s got an eye for angles and composition, selling your skills online is very possible, and beginners don’t even need to bid for a gig. Stock photography is a huge industry, feeding the needs of web and print designers who need general images for use in art and advertising. Sites like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock allow freelance photographers to sign up for an account and post their high-resolution images for sale of usage rights — of course, in this instance, the sites take a cut of the profit.
Looking to hang onto your image rights and, instead, sell prints of your photos? You have two options: Invest in a home setup and deal with printing and mailing orders yourself, or outsource the work to a company like FotoMoto which can easily be integrated into a WordPress blog, allowing users to place orders for your prints which FotoMoto will print professionally and send directly to the client.
There’s a third avenue that’s gaining momentum as a side gig for some talented shutterbugs, and that’s portrait and event photography. Expansive engagement shoots, birthday party portraits, and maternity shoots are especially popular right now, and posing some friends for a quick sample shoot will net you some photos you can use to market yourself on social media.
Once you gain momentum, get positive reviews, and feel more confident, wedding and party photography gigs may be in your future. Again, offering to shoot a wedding for free — even just as a backup photographer — can net you a set of sample photos that are excellent for marketing.