Get paid to write
Creating articles and features or even your own regularly updated blog can generate a reasonable income if done properly. You must have a good command of the English language and be able to produce unique content that is of use to the reader.
Spelling mistakes and keyword stuffing are two of the biggest errors that newbie publishers make. Incorrect grammar can also put readers off and will be punished by search engines. My personal choices for writing online content are Squidoo and more recently, Infobarrel. Squidoo offers a building block approach with various modules allowing you to add text, photos, videos, Amazon products and maps. Pages are known as "lenses" and are ranked on a daily basis by HQ depending on visits, clickouts and time spent on the page. Lens rank falls into four tiers with advertising revenue pooled each month and paid out to writers according to the tier.
Infobarrel has rather less modules for building content but is simple to set up and use. One advantage of it is that the publisher keeps a majority of the revenue that their web pages earn and the money is visible in your account straight away. I also think that Infobarrel is a newer platform with greater opportunity for future growth.
If you already have content on the internet it may be an idea to rewrite it on a different site. I have found that a lot of my older offerings have been stuffed with keywords and have been written for the benefit of search engines, not the reader. This is no longer acceptable and when Google crawl your work, overuse of keywords will kill your chance of featuring on the first page. My opinion is that keywords should be used just twice within the body of the text and that writing in the first person is the most effective way to increase organic traffic. Never copy anything, kepp it unique, personal and informative.
Earning money with this method has the advantage of generating a residual income. Once the main body of the text has been created there is very little work required to maintain a revenue stream that can last for many years.
Sell your stuff online
Individuals have never had so many options for selling unwanted goods. Ebay has the advantage of being well known worldwide with a simple and safe way to receive payment via PayPal. Although the online auction site offers a wide audience, I find the fees and buyer protection policy make this an expensive and time consuming option for your average "man in the street". Facebook Marketplace has allowed me to sell many unwanted household articles and items of clothing entirely for free. The buyer also collects from your home and pays cash, eliminating the expensive "middle man". For unwanted items such as CD's, DVD's and books, Zapper.com is useful if you have a large collection that you wish to offload quickly. For books my personal reccommendation is Amazon, especially for rare and antiquarian publications. This site is also useful if you want to get a rough idea of how much something is worth. Having a valuation in mind can help you to negotiate if you decide to sell your unwanted books to your local bookstore instead. The local store is instant money in your pocket but it's possible that you will get less than 50% of the actual value.
Partnering with online retailers is popular and can be very lucrative. Several companies allow you to affiliate with hundreds of online stores and earn a commission on each sale generated as a result of clicking on your link. Affiliate Window is my personal choice as it has a wide choice of partners and is free to join. There are programs available for the UK, USA, Canada and Ireland. Not all programs are easy to join, you will need your own website in order to be accepted for some and need to give some information about the promotion method to be used.
Amazon also has its own affiliate option enabling you to build product links in addition to using Amazon modules on publishing sites. Amazon seems to have wide acceptance accross the web and it also allows you to build affiliate links to post directly on to Facebook. If you are a social network hit it's possible to generate sales by placing product links on your timeline.
The main drawback of affiliate marketing is that too many links harm your page credibility and therefore ranking leaving you with less traffic. Many publishing sites are now restricting the use of partner links unless strict guidelines are met.
Sell your skills
Offering your unique skills and abilities online can generate a regular stream of income, especially if you can build a regular client base. Sites such as odesk, Picky Domains, elance and Cash Crate each have their own style for creating an income. Picky Domains allows you to create website and trading names on behalf of its clients with a fixed price for those used. Elance enables you to compete for secretarial, writing and research work with reasonable payments for work completed. For me it is odesk that appears to have the edge. Once you have registered you need to complete a basic test to prove you know how to use the site.
There are dozens of other tests you can take to prove basic competence in anything from basic English to computer programming. For freelance work it seems to offer the best overall package for the worker with a sophisticated system for ensuring that you get paid for each hour worked.
You don't need a computer
Don't just concentrate on soft skills when looking to earn extra money. Hard skills such as cooking and craft offer great potential to make serious money. People will pay handsomely for individually designed cakes and even simple buffets. If you are just starting out in catering you can consider using church hall kitchens for food preparation in order to navigate food hygiene regulations. Don't prepare food for other people without taking out insurance and ensure that you are able to prove due dilligence by following a HACCP policy.
Providing a cleaning service, dog walking and even dog breeding are all money making opportunities that do not require a PC. What is always required though is a commitment to providing the very best product to the client if you want to have repeat custom for years to come.