In tough economic times, most people are looking for new and creative ways to make extra money. Whether you are looking for supplemental income or to work from home full time, there are lots of options for those of us who are short on cash and willing to be creative. These are a few of the avenues I have explored as a full time student to make some extra income from home.
This can be the most profitable way for you to generate income without ever leaving your home. In fact, some people make entire careers out of freelancing. If you have web design skills, graphic design skills, langauge skills, editing and grammar skills, are a proficient writer, or possess some other useful skill, this can be a great option for you. Be prepared to provide samples of your work to prove that you are the best person for the job. Just like any online activity, beware of scams and never pay for upfront for access to job listings. I suggest using the site Elance because it is a legitimate website with lots of opportunities.
Money Making Apps
If you have a smart phone and some extra time on your hands, there is money to be made using several free apps. Companies have realized the cost effectiveness of crowdsourcing some marketing and advertising research tasks. Apps such as Easy Shift, Field Agent, and Gig Walk list simple tasks such as taking surveys and photos of merchant displays for an average payment of $4-$8 per task. The great thing about these apps is that you can complete them while doing your regular shopping.
Become a Tutor
For those of us with specialized skills and an entrepreneurial spirit, tutoring may be the best option for you. There are several online tutoring companies that will provide you with clients or you could venture out on your own marketing yourself on Craigslist and other sites. The latter will guarantee a higher pay but the number of clients depends on your ability to market yourself. I went out and created my own tutoring company. Be sure that you have a plan when going into tutoring sessions because knowledge alone will not guarantee success.
Amazon Mechanical Turk
Amazon realized that despite how advanced modern technology is, there are some tasks that humans complete much more efficiently and effectively than computers can. Mechanical Turk works on the basis of crowdsourcing. Companies list tasks called Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) for workers complete. There are a wide variety of HITs available ranging from recording contact information from business cards to transcribing audio or even taking surveys for academic studies. As workers complete HITs they develop a rating. The higher this rating, the higher their qualifications and the more HITs they eligible to complete. Unfortunately, HITs do not pay much. My advice is never to complete HITs worth less than $0.10 or $0.20. After a while, you will get the feel for these tasks and be able to complete them quickly. This is a great option for someone like a receptionist or security guard who is already being paid and wants to instantly increase his or her hourly rate but there is nothing wrong with completing HITs from home.
While it seems too good to be true, there are in fact companies that are willing to pay for your opinion. Sites such as SurveySavvy.com, TreasureTrooper.com, and SurveySpot.com will pay around $1-$3 per survey you complete. You won’t get rich this way, but is always good to have some extra cash on hand. Again, beware of scammers and never pay upfront for access to surveys.
Creativity is the Key
The key to successfully earning money from home is to be creative and learn to market your exisiting skills. If you are a fantastic cook, why not become someone’s personal chef or sell your baked goods at farmers’ markets? If you are good with people on the phone, why not become a virtual administrative assistant? If you have a spare room in your house, why not consider renting it out? While each of these options may require compliance with local laws and regulations, they are great options for those with the creativity and drive to succeed. The key is to think outside the box and find a solution that suits your individual situation.