Many business owners either do not understand the intricacies of using social media to build a brand and cultivate a loyal online following, or don’t even know how to use social media at all. By offering your skills as a social media consultant, you can either help businesses craft a social media game plan, or take control of their social accounts directly and post updates to various platforms.
What It Is: Do people ask you your secret to perfect pie crust or how you made that wreath? "Everyone knows how to do something, or has a hobby they enjoy," says Kimberly Lawson, owner of OohLaLuxe.net, who has created fashion and beauty tutorial videos. "These can easily be turned into profits." Simply sign up for a free YouTube account. Then use a smartphone or digital camera to record yourself explaining and demonstrating how you work your magic. (If you're more tech-savvy or have a burgeoning teenage filmmaker in your house, you can use desktop software, such as Windows Movie Maker, to create a slicker video.) "Once you upload the video to YouTube, enroll in its partner program," Lawson says. YouTube will then place ads inside or near your video, and you will earn money from the ads themselves, video views and click-throughs. "The key is to put a unique spin on your video," says Lawson, especially if there are lots of others on the same subject.
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Need a little extra cash in a hurry? You can feel pressure when you need to make money fast, but you do have options for getting it done. These include selling items, doing odd jobs, and finding money in overlooked ways. These methods may or may not be reliable long-term, but when you need to make some money in a few hours or days, they are your best shot.
This term means the “channel-free” approach to selling, where you offer products to customers to purchase directly from your website. Some companies will enable you to host your online store on their website for free. In other cases, you will need to build your sales website yourself. One area of the market that has used direct selling to great success is service providers, e.g., low-cost travel companies offering customers an option to purchase tickets directly from the website.
This may sound like a dumb idea, frankly, but a lot of banks these days are offering $200 to $300 signup bonuses to customers who open up a new checking account. The catch, though, is that you generally have to really open these accounts. You need to be willing to set up a direct deposit and put money in the account, and you often don’t receive the bonus for at least a month, sometimes even longer. On the other hand, if you were thinking of going to a new bank, anyway, it’s an easy way to make some extra cash.
Formatting is used to make documents appear more professional and visually appealing for a reader. This task involves selecting an appropriate font for plain text (headings, subheadings paragraphs, etc.), choosing the colour of the font, dividing texts into paragraphs, bullet points or numbering, headers and footers, writing quotations in the right way and, if need be, adding bibliographic references.
Also keep in mind that communication with a telecommuting team requires an extra layer of crystal clear clarity. Since almost everything is done via email (and there are no facial or body clues to read), you’ll need to make sure that you mean what you, um, type. I’ve found that shorter, more succinct sentences go a lot farther than long-winded soliloquies.
How to Get It: Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. Fill out an application with staffing companies such as Arise, Alpine Access, VIPdesk, LiveOps, and Convergys, all of which vet the companies who are hiring through them. If you need benefits, search through a staffing company that will hire you as an employee (Alpine Access, VIPdesk and Convergys do this) rather than an independent contractor. If you're a contractor, you may be asked to pay a small fee (between $15 and $35) for a background check. While a fee can be a sign of a scam, independent contractors are responsible for their own expenses.
Define your product or service. Starting an online business gives you the benefit of having access to millions of customers, but you also have a lot more competition. No matter what you're trying to sell, you can bet that hundreds more online retailers have a similar idea. What differentiates your product from other similar products? To help your product stand apart from the rest, you'll need to find a niche.
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The average Uber driver is said to make about $19 to $21 an hour after tolls and some other expenses are factored in — although I’ve seen other numbers suggesting it’s closer to $16, and with Lyft, the average is said to be less (closer to $11). But on the plus side, you can generally get your money instantly, which wasn’t always the case with these ride-sharing businesses.
A career in writing is interesting, varied… and a tricky one. Important things to do before starting a freelance writing career include building a portfolio, learning how to write appealing proposals and promoting your business effectively. If you are a newbie in this field, you may want to try websites for freelancers, where you can simply create a profile and start submitting your proposals to potential clients. Some of the best-known sites for freelancers are Upwork, Freelancer or Clickworker. Listed below are various types of writing work that you can do as a freelancer.
Who can resist the dinging sound of a new email? You, that’s who, especially if you want to stay on task. And forget about signing in to Facebook “just for a minute.” It’s easy to get distracted when you telecommute—unlikely distractions that just don’t exist at work abound at home. At the office, for example, you might visit the company kitchen once in the morning and once in the afternoon for a cup of joe (because that’s what’s appropriate), but at home, you’re hitting the fridge every hour on the hour. Or more.
Noticeably absent from my list is “blogging”. I enjoy blogging and sharing with readers ways to save money, inspiring success stories and of course geek culture. However, blogging is not the path to quick money online. Despite what many bloggers and peddlers of courses may suggest, blogging is very hard work and it takes a sizable audience to make even a modest return.
If you have an idea worth pursuing, crowdfunding can be a helpful way to find the money you need to get your idea off and running. For example, you can run a Kickstarter campaign. On SPI 223, I covered this with John Lee Dumas who launched a super successful campaign. Besides John, I know a lot of companies who have started on Kickstarter. I’ve been a backer of dozens of different projects, and a lot of those projects were just ideas when the campaign started. There are ways to get paid for your ideas up front. Using Kickstarter, you can validate those ideas and start to build community at the same time, which is a great way to get a boost at the beginning stages of your online business, especially if what you’re creating takes some money to get started.
If cooking is one of your personal passions, there are dozens of opportunities to turn it into a decent business venture. You can start by setting up a catering website, experimenting with pop-up food stalls and local food markets, or joining platforms like MenuNextDoor that encourage cooking enthusiasts to squeeze some money out of their passion. And if you’re not camera-shy, you can teach people how to cook special meals by selling online classes.
What It Is: Think Mary Kay (cosmetics), Pampered Chef (kitchenware), or Rodan + Fields (skincare)—over time, you build a base of clients to whom you sell a company's wares. "There are several reasons why I decided to become a consultant," says Rodan + Fields independent consultant Debbie Royer. "I had seen how much of a blessing the business had been to a friend of mine and my sister-in-law. Plus, everything can be done from my phone, and being a mom to a preschooler and an infant I don't have a lot of extra time to be sitting at a computer."
Getting a raise is harder than getting a promotion. Think about it from your boss’s perspective, would you rather a) pay more money for the same service, or b) pay more money for additional responsibilities. Regardless, sometimes a raise is in order, especially if you have worked for several years without one. Check out Ramit Sethi’s guide on asking for a raise.
The German Economist Schumpeter once said that there are “no original ideas”, only new combinations of old ones. Curation of curiosity-fueling content is an intriguing and little-known business model. One of the best success stories out there is Brainpickings – a platform that describes itself as “an inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more”. The subscription-based model and successful utilisation of affiliate links have turned the blog into a self-sustaining business.
Once a site or blog is created and optimized for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, the search engine marketing (SEM) begins. The potential for earning income in this area is literally through the roof if you know what you’re doing. An expert in SEO management is responsible for successfully marketing a website and can choose to promote it in a variety of ways.
Do you search the Internet? Want to get paid for it? Swagbucks is a site that rewards you for doing various online tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, and using their search engine. When using their search engine, you get reward points after several searches, usually in the amount of 10-15 points. You can start cashing out rewards at the 500 points mark.
Find focus groups in your area. Focus groups are comprised of people that can provide a company, organization, or individual with feedback on a product, design, idea, etc. Monitor local postings or search a site like FindFocusGroups.com to find some in your area that you are eligible to participate in. Some of these sites promote online-only tasks, such as serving as an “e-juror” for lawyers working on a case. The pay for these tasks can be relatively good, and can be disbursed quickly.
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