Through this experience, one thing I learned is that development, and the selling of the product you develop, takes time and money. This is a lesson I took to heart when I built another software company, SPI Labs, with my partner Matt Gartland. SPI Labs is behind the Smart Podcast Player, which was a significant undertaking that started out as a custom solution for AskPat and eventually became a successful WordPress plugin used by thousands of fellow podcasters.
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.
There's an audience for everything, whether it's making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. With a specialty e-commerce store, you can reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. All you need is a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, and your business will be operational in no time. You can even work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don't need to own a lot of inventory. [See Related Story: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]
Sell blood or donate plasma. Plasma is a component of blood, and the process of extracting it is similar to donating blood: your blood is drawn, the plasma is separated, and the red blood cells are returned to your body. Laws may not technically permit you to sell your plasma, but you can be compensated for your time spent donating. In the United States, you can make about $200 a month by registering with a plasma center near you.
This job involves scanning text for grammar or syntax errors and correcting them. Proofreaders need to be able to identify errors such as misspellings, run-on sentences, comma splice, pronoun errors, mistakes in apostrophe usage, lack of subject/verb agreement, misplaced modifiers, incorrect sentence structure, using a wrong word, etc. There are also software programmes designed for proofreaders such as Grammarly or Ginger Software.
If you’re passionate about writing and feel strongly about certain subjects, type your way to riches by creating your own blog. Launching your own blog doesn’t require a great deal of technical or computer skills. It is important, however, that you do know what you’re talking about relative to the subject you’re writing on. Over time, you’ll start to develop an audience since people will trust your expertise and knowledge.
I surprisingly get a lot of people asking to detail their car. I never intend to make a business of it, but I love doing it to my cars and people ask me to do it to theirs. All it takes is a cheap orbital buffer (mines a used craftsman) and a shop vac. I normally get easily $100 for a basic wash/wax/vac, or $200 to remove scratches and polish then wax the car.
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.
Everyone knows that the quickest way to learn a new language is to mingle with native speakers. If you were lucky enough to be born in an English, French, Spanish (insert any of the world’s main languages) speaking country, then missing out on the opportunity to cash in on the skills you take for granted is exactly that – missing out! Use online communication tools, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, to connect with learners and leverage your privileges. Time is money, so package your hours into teaching sessions and you’re good to go.
Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of.
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Create a stylish and functional website. Elegant or funky, classical or hipster, your online store should reflect what you’re selling. No matter what your style is, it's important to give off a professional air. Since you won't be able to earn people's trust in person, your website will have to do the selling for you. Your site should be engaging, and most importantly, easy for customers to use when they're ready to make a purchase.
Yet there are plenty of companies you’ve probably never heard of, too. Appen, which tops the list, develops high-quality training data for machine learning and artificial intelligence; not surprisingly, they’re hiring web search evaluators and a slew of linguists in lesser known languages like Sudanese Arabic and Xhosa. BCD Travel, the Dutch managed travel provider, is hiring remotely for their customer service, business development and travel consultant roles. Three universities—Grand Canyon, Western Governors and Walden—make the list as well. To say there’s an abundance of work from home jobs available out there would be an understatement. For most people, there are more than they could ever imagine.
If you're a person who loves leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, stop doing it for free. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and a lot of businesses are willing to share a portion of their profits with persuasive individuals who will promote their products to the public. If you have a personal website with a large following, this might be easier to accomplish (PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates they can send free samples to). Smart Passive Income breaks down three types of affiliate marketing and explains which one is most profitable.
Startup costs: Freelance writing is another of those service-based businesses with very low start-up costs. There are tons of places online where you can find clients for free. At worst you can sign up for an Upwork account for $10 per month, just don't plan on staying there forever. The most lucrative writing projects are rarely found on platforms like Upwork.
Work at home transferring data from one source to another. Most of these companies do not require past experience, although with few exceptions the pay may not be enough to consider it a stable income. Before you begin applying to any of the companies below (many of which sadly are almost never hiring), you might want to read the post I wrote about data entry jobs from home. It explains what your expectations should be prior to pursuing a career in this industry.