The idea of working from home and being your own boss has gained a lot of traction since the great recession of 2007. Increasingly, people are simply fed up with the corporate world, and are looking for ways to make their own money, outside of traditional venues. This has led to the creation of a movement that’s sweeping the nation. It goes by a number of names, but whether you call it “Solopreneurship” or “The Gig Life,” it’s becoming increasingly popular!
Note: One of your favorite ways to get started working from home is to create an online course and teach something you know about and enjoy doing! This free online webinar coming up this week (the week of [insert_php]echo date(“F d, Y”);[/insert_php]) from Teachable.com will go over the “7 Steps to Launch Your Own Profitable Online Course”.
Everyone who’s interested in jumping into this lifestyle has a different motivation. Many are women with children, who want to find ways of earning money from home so they can spend quality time with their kids. Others have simply seen too many of their former jobs outsourced, downsized, or right-sized out of existence, and are looking for a way off of that treadmill, and others still are newly minted graduates who don’t want to play the game the traditional way at all.
Whatever motivation brought you here, the toughest part of breaking into “The Gig Life” can be simply finding a place to start! You’re in luck. Below, we’ll outline a number of ways you can start earning money from home, and the best part, you can get started with most of these mere minutes after reading this article. Note that not all of these are designed to replace a full time income. Part of the challenge of working from home is finding ways to create multiple little income streams you can combine to earn a decent living, and the ideas below will certainly help get you there, so let’s get started:
1. Music X-Ray
Most people like listening to music during the day, but you know what’s even better? Getting PAID to listen to music throughout the day! Music X-Ray works with unsigned bands, giving them a platform to get their music heard. They pay listeners a dime per track to listen to, and rate the music they hear. Set up a free account, select your musical preferences in your profile and get started. The site has a $20 minimum payout, and at a dime a song, this one won’t make you rich by itself, but how cool is it to pick up a few extra bucks doing something you’d probably be doing anyway?
There are a number of “business intelligence” companies in operation that do this kind of thing. While this opportunity by itself won’t give you a full-time income, it’s a great way to make extra money doing things you’d be doing anyway. The way it works is as follows: Service and retail companies contract with Business Intelligence companies to have their retail locations “tested” by mystery shoppers. You may be asked to go have dinner at a certain restaurant, or go to a Big Box retail store and by some specified amount of product from it (you get to pick the assignments you want from the list of available jobs). You’ll need to keep your receipt and send them a copy–a photo taken from your smartphone is generally sufficient—and you’ll be reimbursed for your time. Reimbursement rates vary, but generally fall in the $10-$15 per hour range. For this, you’ll be required to fill out a detailed report of your experience. For example, if you go to dinner at a restaurant, you may be asked how many minutes it was before the waitress took your drink order? How long before she came back for your food order? Was the restroom clean? How was the food? And so on, so you’ll need to pay close attention to every detail of your visit. It’s a fabulous, fun way to pick up some extra money!
3. Mock Juror
Do you love crime shows on TV? If you’re a Law and Order fan, this opportunity may be perfect for you! Lawyers love to test their arguments on mock jurors before bringing a case to trial, and that’s where you’ll come in. It’s free to sign up, which enters you into the database. When a case comes up that you meet the juror criterion for, you’ll be contacted and asked to participate. Sometimes, this participation can be done online (reviewing evidence files), and sometimes, you’ll be asked to go to a mock courtroom with other jurors to hear evidence and arguments just like you would if you were tapped for jury duty. This opportunity won’t give you a full time income, and the number of jobs you’ll potentially be eligible for depends on where you live (if you live in a high population urban center, you’re apt to get more work than if you live in the country), but it’s a fascinating way to make extra money!
There are a number of “content mill” type sites on the net, Hirewriters and Textbroker being but two of them. The idea here is that people who need content written (blog posts, image descriptions, term papers, or whathaveyou) will post jobs that anyone can accept. Rates are clearly marked, and you pick only the topics that are of personal interest to you. Individually, these jobs don’t pay a lot, but there’s no limit to how many you can do or accept over the course of a given day. This is an opportunity that you can either do in your spare time, or use to create a full time income for yourself. If you love to write, this is a fantastic opportunity.
You’ve heard of the “Nielsen Ratings” for TV shows, right? Almost everyone has. Some homes are equipped with these little gadgets that allow you to “rate” TV shows. Well, Nielsen has teamed up with a company called IRi to expand what they do. They’ve now got a program where you can scan in items you buy at the grocery store (via an app on your smartphone). You’ll be asked to enter some basic information, such as where you did your shopping and how much you paid, and each week, you’ll earn points based on the items you scan, which you can redeem for cash. This is another one of those little hidden gems that by itself won’t make you a fortune, but since you’re already going shopping on a regular basis, why not get paid a little something to do it? Spots are extremely limited, and there’s a waiting list, but it is well worth it!
6. Fancy Hands
Are you the kind of person who likes predictability in a job? If so, then Fancy Hands is NOT for you. This website is…well, think of it as you being a virtual concierge. There’s no telling what you might be asked to do. You may be asked to research restaurants in Los Angeles to find one that serves the best Ratatouille. Or you might be asked to proof read a paper that an Engineer is working on. In some other case, you could be asked to make a sales call somewhere. The variety is never ending! Of course, you get to pick and choose the assignments you accept, so just take whatever interests you, but you’ll get feedback from your customers, and the owners of Fancy Hands promote from within. Their best-performing virtual Concierges are promoted to supervisors, and get paid extra for reviewing the work of new Concierges. It’s a fabulous way to earn money and make new friends while doing it – Highly recommended!
Have you ever noticed how some websites you visit are REALLY user friendly? Everything is laid out just where you think it should be. Everything is intuitive. That doesn’t happen by mistake! YouEye, and the legion of people working for them probably had a hand in that. What this company does is, it pays people like you to log onto websites and take them for a test drive. You’ll need a computer with a digital camera attached to it to do the work. The company will ask you, for example, to log on to a retail website and find the price of a 6-ounce tube of Colgate toothpaste. The camera tracks your eye movement and the service keeps track of how long it takes you to find whatever item you’ve been instructed to hunt for. Each assignment takes between 15-20 minutes and pays $12. Each test only has a limited number of spaces, and they email you when a new test opens up, so you’ll want to check your email often, but this is a fun (and fantastic!) way to make some extra money!
Do you like making lists? Did you know you could get paid to do it? You’ve probably seen these all over the internet. Things like, “Ten shocking things you didn’t know about Pitbulls,” or, “Ten Amazing Facts About The Statue of Liberty.” There are millions of interesting and entertaining “lists” floating around on the internet. Who do you think comes up with all that stuff? People just like you! Signing up at Listverse is free, and you’ll get $100 for every list they accept. The list has to be at least ten items, at least 1500 words long, and be full of interesting or amusing content to keep a reader entertained. If you love trivia and lists, this one is a perfect match.
This website has been at the epicenter of the “solopreneur” movement since it began. 80% of Etsy sellers are women, and all their top earners are women, but it’s free for anyone to join. You set up a page using a wizard/template-driven system, and can load and sell hand crafted products from their website. The site takes a small commission on each sale, but there are literally thousands of people making a full time income selling homemade goods on Etsy. If you’re artistically minded, and love doing craft-type work (anything from handmade greeting cards, jewelry, purses, clothing, etc.), then you owe it to yourself to check this one out! Browse the site to see what kinds of products are being sold, and if your idea would be a good “fit.”
The secret to making “The Gig Life” work is to have lots of different irons in the fire, and be able to consistently earn SOMETHING from multiple sources. Five bucks may not seem like much money, but that’s per gig. You can offer almost any service on Fiverr, from reading ebooks and writing Amazon reviews for them, to doing short voice recording work – there’s a market for virtually any skill you have! Check the site out to see what others are doing to brainstorm for ideas. The best part about fiverr isn’t the money you’ll make per job, although it’s absolutely possible to turn that into a full time income if you’re willing to put in the time, it’s the contacts and connections you’ll make, which can lead to even more work – possibly even more than you can handle on your own. A great place to begin.
11. Freelance Sites
There are a number of these, but the two biggest are freelancer.com and upwork.com (which recently acquired eLance.com and brought them into the fold). These sites are like Fiverr on steroids. You can find just about any kind of virtual work here you can imagine. From web development and programming, to esoteric things like writing descriptions for artwork (yes, that was an actual job I found while researching this piece). Again, you apply for only the jobs you’re interested in, and set your own pace, within the parameters of the job you choose to work on. This opportunity can not only fill up your day, but the sky’s the limit where potential income is concerned!