As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, my job is to help people find employment. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, many of my clients ask me how to make money at home for free. This topic has been prevalent for years, but making money from home is even more desirable now. According to The Economics Daily report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 percent of the people employed in August 2020 worked from home!
Now for the good news, you don’t have to have a job to make money at home! In this article, I will be discussing several ways for you to make money from home. Keep in mind, NONE of these options are “Get rich quick” plans, and they ALL will require some effort on your part.
What do you need to make money at home?
First and foremost, you have to have a strong work ethic. If you have a strong work ethic, a quiet space, and access to the Internet (Computer, tablet, phone, etc.), you have everything you need to make money at home for free.
Now add in a little motivation to get you started and you have overcome half the battle. As Jim Ryun says, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going!”
No matter what path you choose to follow in your trek to make money from home, you will need both motivation and habit. The bottom line here is that regardless of where you are when you are working, you still have to do at least some work, on a consistent basis, if you expect to earn an income.
Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home
There are a variety of ways to make money from home. Whether you want to start your own business, work for someone else, or get paid for your woodworking hobby, all are potentially profitable options that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Just be careful to avoid the all-to-common scams that can cost you a lot of money. Now, on to the good stuff!
Blogging: Write about something you love and get paid to do it!
Blogs aren’t just someone’s online diary or a way for bored people to discuss whatever it is that they decided to share with the world. Blogs can be a fantastic way to make money. You start with an idea. It doesn’t have to be a unique idea, but it should be something that you know well because to make money blogging, you will want to show that you are a subject matter expert on the idea you are discussing. Ideally, you will be able to validate yourself as a subject matter expert through some formal training or education, but that is not required as long as you know your stuff.
Now, I know I said that these methods were free, and they can be for sure. However, if you want to make money blogging, you will want to choose and buy a Web domain name (yoursite.com), web hosting, and design your site. Then start populating the site with your content (your blog). The best part about this is that once you monetize your blog with affiliate programs like ShareASale, it can soon become a good source of a passive income! Need some help with that?
- PRO TIP: Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to turn your blog into an income stream from ads and your social media sites. Wealthy Affiliate is an ideal place to start with their free starter course.
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Online Surveys – Get paid for your opinions.
Tons of companies out there will pay you for your opinions. Learning the preferences and motivations of their target audience is vital to many companies’ success, and online surveys are a well-known and popular method used to gather this information.
The great thing about these surveys is that you can do them anytime. Yes, your answers must make sense and be honest, but you can find surveys that take anywhere from a couple of minutes to 30 minutes or longer. You can do as many as you want (or as few as you want) each time you decide to do them. You won’t get rich doing these surveys, but it’s not too difficult to make money at home by signing up with multiple survey companies.
So, which Online Survey Companies are Legitimate?
There are a lot of them out there. The first thing to keep in mind is that you should NEVER pay anything to join a survey company. If they are asking for your credit card information, steer clear. Here are some more reputable and better-paying ones for consumers based in the United States:
- Survey Junkie – This popular survey site provides tons of survey-taking opportunities. Every time you successfully complete a survey, you earn points. You can cash out those points once you have 1,000 points ($10.00)
- American Consumer Opinion – These guys will send out a screening survey each month and a full-length survey about once every three months or so. The screening surveys typically pay around $0.50, but the full-length surveys can pay up to $50 each.
- Swagbucks – This one isn’t great, but it’s not bad either. They offer numerous options to make money at home to include Time-sensitive surveys that pay reasonably well and quick surveys that you can do in minutes but pay very little. They also have daily polls to earn points towards cash out options.
- Opinion Outpost – Similar to American Consumer Opinion, but there are more opportunities. They just don’t pay as well.
Online Focus Groups
Much like online surveys, these focus groups can be a decent source of income. However, they are more selective, and they require more concentration and time than surveys. You may not qualify if you do not fit into the specific income or demographic criteria they are seeking. If you are eligible, you can earn $500 or more each month in cash or other compensation awards.
Sharing your experience and knowledge like this is a more personal method of earning money. Virtual tutoring sessions are usually one-on-one sessions, but you can have as many students as you can handle. To improve your odds of success in tutoring, stick to subjects in which you are highly knowledgeable. Find a good and reputable platform to promote yourself, such as VIPKid, Chegg, and Education First. You will need to make sure your computer meets their system requirements, and you may have to get a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification, but Chegg starts tutors at $20 per hour, and you could earn upwards of $1,000 per month.
Have you got Junk? – One person’s trash is another person’s treasure! – Sell it!
Many of us have closets full of stuff we haven’t even thought about for years. If you want to make some extra money, declutter your space and downsize your junk drawer. Unwanted stuff is a prime example of a “Low-Hanging Fruit.” Look around. Do you have any sporting goods, kids’ clothes, jewelry, electronics, tools, or toys that are just gathering dust? Maybe some out-of-fashion wardrobe accessories, old furniture, outdoor equipment, or even a big-ticket item like a motorcycle or a car you no longer need or want? There are plenty of ways to sell that stuff.
Some popular digital options for selling unwanted stuff include eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. However, there are also a few other options to consider, especially for electronics. Some reputable ones are MaxBack, Gazelle, SellCell, and Decluttr.
Don’t want to go with a digital selling option? Have a Garage or Yard Sale
Set yourself up for a successful sale with a few simple tips:
- Make sure you hold your sale during a popular time and date. Warmer weather and more extended weekends are great. Some communities also have “community-wide” Garage Sales that can provide you with free or cheap advertising for your event, and they draw in bigger crowds.
- Check the laws in your community to make sure you can legally hold your sale. You may need a permit.
- Advertise. List your sale on local social media sites and your city’s Craigslist page, and put up signs (where allowed) directing traffic to your location.
- Set fair starting prices, but be prepared to haggle. Set your prices about 10-15% higher than your bottom dollar and bundle low-value items into lots of five or ten.
- When possible, offer multiple payment options. Garage Salers typically carry cash, so make sure you have plenty of small bills and coins to make change. However, it’s a good idea to provide cashless payment options too. Point-of-sale systems like Square offer you a way to accept credit cards, and they are very reasonably priced. You may get more bang for your buck as today’s society is tends to carry less cash (or they may try to use that as a haggling tactic.)
How are your writing skills? Sell your words, get paid Freelance style!
- Create a productive home office space. It can be a spare bedroom, a writing corner in your living room, or an actual home office. Whatever it is, make sure you have a comfortable chair, good lighting, and no distractions.
- Ensure you have a suitable laptop with a reputable word processing suite and some way of tracking your income and business-related expenses like Quickbooks. There are some free ones out there, decide which is best for you.
- Find a Freelance Copywriting Platform. Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Textbroker or decent options. They don’t pay great, but they help you build a portfolio and learn what is expected from editors so you can become an even better writer.
- Know your worth. The value of your work has a lot of variables, so setting rates can be a challenge. Typically, licensed experts (attorneys, CPAs, etc.) can charge more but don’t set yourself up with a fixed rate. The better you get, and the more familiar you become in your niche, the more valuable you become.
- Make sure you protect yourself with a contract that can be enforced. You don’t have to be a lawyer to have one; you need to find a legitimate template for a freelance contractor and modify it to fit your needs.
Like reading more than writing? Get paid to proofread and edit other people’s works.
Start small as a new editor. You can look for part-time work or project-based options and maybe leverage some Freelance platforms I discussed previously. If you know someone who uses contract editors, talk to them about assuming those jobs directly. There are several options for working as an online editor. You can be a:
- Copy Editor – Edit and correct written copy before it is published
- Photo and Web Editor – create or edit the visuals that appear on websites and other digital media
- Manuscript Editor – Many self-publishers and publishing houses seek editors to polish the books they’ve written.
- Assistant Editor – Supervise the types of editors mentioned above and the support staff that produced digital publications
OK, reading and writing aren’t your things? OK. Do you like animals? (Hint: You CAN but you may not WANT to work at home for this gig!)
Start a pet sitting business in your home. Don’t get me wrong; I am not suggesting that you turn your house into a zoo! But, there are plenty of pet owners out there that need someone to watch “Spot” or “Fluffy” when they go away for business or vacation. This gig can be fun and reasonably lucrative. Don’t want to do all the heavy lifting involved in marketing, advertising, and legalese? No sweat, check out Rover; they do all the hard stuff for you. You create a profile demonstrating your experience, choose the types of animals you want to care for, and when you want to do it, then Rover pays you two days after you provide that service. Rover claims you can make $1,000 per month doing this, but I am sure earnings will vary based on client availability.
Are numbers more your thing? Then this work at home option might be as easy as 1,2,3 for you!
Become a Virtual Bookkeeper. Bookkeeping is a competitive industry, so the best way to get into it is to take a credentialing training course. There are several out there with various options. Bookkeepers is an online training course, for example, that has three different options that you could look into if this is your niche. CLick below to check out an awesome FREE intro class. They also offer military discounts to Active duty and Retired Servicemembers and their spouses!
Do you have the voice of an Angel (or maybe a Devil depending on what you are reading)? How about getting paid for narrating Audiobooks?
If you can pass the auditions, you can find a good gig narrating audiobooks. Then you can get paid twice! You can earn an hourly rate while you are doing the reading, AND you may be able to collect royalties on the books’ sales. Everyone loves royalties! Oh, by the way, if you are a SAG-AFTRA union actor, you have to charge a minimum of $200 per “finished hour.” So if the book you narrated is 10 hours long, that is at least a $2,000 payday, not counting the royalties.
Speaking of talking for money (see what I did there?)
If you speak a foreign language, you can get paid for translation services. Yes, translation software is great and all, but a literal translation is not always what a business wants. If you are good at wordsmithing and paraphrasing, you can earn a pretty good income using those linguistic skills of yours!
One last thing to remember about work at home options
Most of these opportunities are not likely to make you enough money to live a life of luxury. But if you are looking for ways to supplement your retirement, disability pay, or regular wages, then one of these options might be perfect for you. Many of these options are scalable enough to turn into lucrative careers if you are willing to put forth the effort. If none of these ideas tripped your trigger, figure out something you enjoy doing, and head to Google to see if there’s a way you can make money from home doing it! The only thing stopping you from monetizing your at-home passion project into a paying gig is you! So, what’s your favorite idea on how to make money from home? I would love to hear about it and what you like the most about it!