Outsourcing is the new and dominant wave of the business world. As businesses shed employees, they increasingly turn to independent contractors to supply what in-house staff used to do. One of the ways they do this is through virtual assistants. These are people who provide certain tasks online. Businesses can use virtual assistants as much or as little as they need to. If you can make yourself available to multiple businesses, you might have plenty of work without ever leaving your house.
As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.
E-books represent about 20 percent of all book sales in the U.S. The good news is you don’t have to be a publisher with deep pockets to get in on the action. As a solo internet entrepreneur, you can sell ebooks directly from your own website. You can sell your own works or sell a public domain work. Simply upload it to your website (or seller account on Amazon) and start publicizing it on your social media platforms, on your email list, your blog, website, etc.
28. Subscription – If you think of something valuable (newsletter, online magazine, etc.) that you can consistently offer on a certain basis (weekly, monthly, etc.), you may want to offer a subscription service. This could be a fee charged each time your product is sent out or on a monthly basis. Either way, this has to be something that your customers can only get by subscribing to your website.
Think long and hard before shelling out any money: Some work-at-home jobs will require you to purchase materials or equipment to get started, and while that doesn’t mean they’re not legitimate, it should be a red flag. If you are asked to pay for equipment, make sure you understand what you’re buying, and from whom. Also ask about the return policy for your equipment if your new gig doesn’t work out.
Mow lawns or plow driveways. If you’re willing to mow yards or shovel or plow snow in the winter, you could easily start your own snow removal and lawn mowing business on the side. While you can usually find work by reaching out to your local community via word-of-mouth, flyers, or online message boards, the website Plowz & Mowz allows you to set up an online profile and reach more customers in your area.
For those with a large Twitter following, you can make money from your Tweets alone with Sponsored Tweets. You could be paid for sharing a business’s information, recommending restaurants or hotels, or tweeting pictures of you using or wearing products. As with all sponsored posts on social media, businesses will only be prepared to pay you to Tweet if you have a large following that you can influence. So work hard on building up a loyal fan base.
Work remotely for a call center. Because many call center jobs are location independent, finding work in this field is an easy way to earn some money from home. Dozens of sites list job openings for call-center representatives, including Freelancer.com and SimplyHired.com. Meanwhile, you should check local job listings for openings and opportunities as well.
If you have graphic design skills then you could make money online by creating and selling your own design elements, like templates, fonts, graphics, and other assets. This is a great way to earn extra money and build up a portfolio of work, which could lead to you picking up freelance graphic design jobs. Websites like Envato Elements pay you a fee per element sold, which can become quite profitable if your work is popular.
Search engine evaluators work online as independent contractors and give feedback about whether search engine results are comprehensive, accurate, relevant, and timely. They are the human quality-assurance check in a system run by complicated algorithms. Search engine evaluators must be familiar with the language and the culture of the local web search engine users. Typically, these positions are bilingual, but some openings are available for English-only search evaluators.
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
If you have experience and knowledge in a specific area, then consider sharing it with others. For example, if you’re an accountant or lawyer, then you can provide advice to small businesses for a pretty penny. You could also consult businesses on how to use a new software program or how to become more environmentally friendly. (If you're interested, my company offers a consulting guide to get started.)
Using a food delivery service can’t necessarily earn you money, but it can help you save you money if you constantly find yourself throwing out half the food you buy. Food delivery services send a box of food every week with new, sometimes unique vegetables, meat, fruit, and so on. If you don’t have time to shop and want simple meal-prep that leads to a good meal, a food subscription service may be perfect for you.