There is a new kind of boon in the economy. While a regular corporate job is a dream for most people, many have been lured by the path less taken – Working as a freelancer or working from home. This is a relatively new phenomenon with home-based jobs coming of age during the last 10 years or so. More than 75% of the people work from home at least once a week.
Surprisingly, the concept of working from home is an age old one[i]. From the at-work home of creating, chopping, baking, tailoring, pottery, weaving and blacksmiths, to the 1950s multi-level marketing jobs and selling jobs – all have come back in a new format to give way to new age occupations that are not only earning money but also providing incentives to create new jobs for hiring more people.
Working from the comfort of home has gained prominence again owing to the culture of flexibility and the realisation that the need to balance work with everyday life is essential. For expecting or new mothers, for people with special situations where a family member requires constant care – telecommuting or remote work opportunities have been a boon.
Let us look at various ways in which you can make money online sitting in the comfort of your home.
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- Full-time telecommuting jobs – Believe it or not but there are a number of full-time corporate roles which can be done from home. Jobs in functions of accounts controller, software development, front end and backend engineers, assistants and virtual assistants, writers, operations – all have versions which can be worked out of home. Companies need to define a structure and infrastructure needs to be made available to ease the engagement.
- Startups– A number of startups and new ventures prefer to engage remote workers now. A study by WonkBlog Analysis[ii] determined, how an average worker spends 31.3 days of a year commuting to and from the workplace. This adds to the cost to the company with a real estate space and hiring graduates with high skills which would work out very expensive for a startup. The entrepreneurial culture has given rise to the alternative method of employment – by the hour or by the project. Even full-time workers with time on their hands delve into the world of freelancing to earn extra, create a distinct credibility from that of a corporate company.
- Online Trading – This might be a difficult area to tread in for a lot of people but anyone with a keen eye and interest to study the markets can create their own methods and philosophy of trading. Forex trading and stock trading are the most common ways that people with intermediate to expert levels can look at making money. There are various guides, online blogs, video tutorials to help a person get started. However, trading is not for the faint hearted and it as the potential to lose a lot of money is real. Investing in instruments such as derivatives without studying the potential risks and analysing your own risk bearing capacity can be detrimental to your savings. Hence, one can start by using a simulated program on trading where you can create a portfolio virtually and track your own performance.
- Multi- level marketing – In simple terms this is using the power of word of mouth or networking to see a product or service. The idea is not only to sell but create a larger web of interested sellers who will create further sellers and sell more. Gone are the days of selling only Tupperware or AMWAY products. This list will give you the idea of varieties of selling and network creation one can do. Another aspect is buying in wholesale from a manufacturer and creating a website/using social media groups to promote the product or simply selling on websites like Amazon as a seller.
- Blogging /Affiliate Marketing – The reason we are grouping the two is because affiliate cannot work without a good blog. It involves engaging brands and partners who align with your core selling point of the blog. This way you can showcase them by writing unique and specific content. You link the part so your blog to their unique affiliate code received while signing up for that program and if someone purchases by clicking that link, it earns you money. Another extension is an affiliate ad network.
- Consulting – Your expertise in a specific niche could become a healthy business tomorrow. You can help people, become a mentor and actually service clients willing to pay the right price. People can charge flat fee on hourly basis or project basis. Slowly you can work your way up to a retainership which will help you increase income.
- Surveys and Reviews – You can help market research companies in gaining data on consumer insights, behaviours and preferences by filling in regular surveys by registering on various websites online. These pay anywhere from 5 pounds to 20 pounds or even more for detailed surveys. Many websites pay for writing reviews after asking you to test a product or service where you are reimbursed for the purchase.
- Mystery Shopping – Similarly, one can also work as a mystery shopper to go to designated stores, restaurants and act like a regular customer while collecting detailed data on the setup, sales behaviour, decor and sales push. You would be required to prepare a detailed report and submit probably with sound recordings or photographs and send to the company for approval post which you are reimbursed and paid.
- Freelance writing – This has to be one of the most common online jobs available. From large publication houses to small websites and individuals might require content which is unique and specific. With blogging and Google Adsense with various Google algorithms in place, SEO has become commonplace. This is a new skill which can help a writer charge higher by showcasing his SEO expertise.
- Translation – Another special skill which you can utilise is your knowledge in specific languages. You can register with one of the websites providing these services and get regular work without the headache of acquiring clients or ensuring payment. Many contractual websites – Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer and many others enable a security factor to safeguard the freelancer payment and also ensure payment only after timely, approved delivery.
- Podcasting – You can be a YouTube star. Not necessarily a singing or dancing one but by sharing your knowledge with the world, something which people really need, in anpproachable and friendly manner will create your regular watchers who will Subscribe and Comment which will increase the traffic to your YouTube link. This will attract brands that can be associated with your niche and might pay your creating specific content or sponsor it.
- Virtual Assistance – Small and large companies require a lot of backend work to be handled. Hiring multiple administrative people might not be possible. Virtual Assistants are a boon to handle operational, clerical and repetitive tasks. Besides dedicating few hours, being with a company that will help you pick up few skills or industry insights will only help you polish your profile.
- Starting a Website – Creating a basic to medium level website is no biggie using the various applications – Wix, WordPress and many others. You can also buy the domain name and hosting. It is important to then work on tools like Google AdSense and many others that can help you create pay-per-click revenue from Google.
- Tutoring – Tutoring and teaching is an evergreen profession. If you have the right subject skill set and knowledge you can assist in K-12 education to university level students in solving problems, creating assignments and teaching additional courses. There are various online websites where you can register to have surety of payment and depending upon the number of hours you can charge anywhere ranging from 10 pounds per hour to 100 pounds till university levels.
- Web designing/Digital Marketing – With internet and Google transforming the business of business, the need of the hour for every business no matter how small, is to have an impactful online presence. If you can code or create beautiful and functional website for various sizes, it will help in generating requisite compensation easily from home as most clients would prefer talking over phone, email or video conferencing. Website maintenance will be an added revenue stream.
- Writing your own book – If you are one of those who is bursting with advice, ideas and is good at expressing them, you can look at this as one of the revenue streams. You can look at Kindle e-book as an option for self-publishing. With as little as few minutes and you can publish a book within 24-48 hours. You can look upto royalty of 70% [iii] across sales in countries like US, Canada, UK, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and few others.
- Peer-to-peer Lending – This is an old age lending transformed onto the online platform. Finding moneylending marketplace which lends to people to whom ordinary moneylending channels will not be granting loans can earn you good interest in your money. However, one should keep in mind few risks such as no direct interaction with the borrower and no credit knowledge. You have to rely completely on the word and documentation of the P2P platform. However, if you are willing to take these risks, you can earn from 10 % upwards.
- Micro-worker – These can be deemed as small research, lead marketing and various tasks which an individual or company wants to outsource. Writing reviews, commenting, finding contacts, and various such small activities can earn you while you browse. You can browse sites such as mTurk, MicroWorker, SEOClerk, ClickWorker, GigWalk to take advantage of such activities. One can also look up for such work by searching through Google – Search near me option to see the local clientele having such requirements. This will bring you more in touch with the local and regional job market.
- Teach English or various Languages – Having an English degree will help immensely to create a credibility to teach spoken and written English to non-English speaking people looking to expand their horizons. You can charge on hourly basis or course-wise depending upon the kind of client requirement. China and South East Asia countries have a good clientele ready to pay earnestly for a good English tutor. This is also useful non-English speaking students in universities having difficulties in following the curriculum due to lack of languages comprehension.
- Freelance Recruiter – This is a very commonly placed profile which can come handy to prepare you for a full-time job as well. Connecting with potential candidates, maintaining a database of people along with finding the recruiters who are willing to match the candidates’ requirements is an interesting yet daunting work. Many tools, networking websites can help you in this work and also give a head start in dealing with people and various HR issues. You will also learn about salary structuring, contract creation, negotiation and various other things. You can earn a good percentage of the profile positions’ compensation structure. The more senior positions you can fill, the higher your earning.
With various opportunities available and more still opening up, as companies move towards standardization, there will be no dearth of work from home opportunities in the next decade. It is smart thinking to gain skill-sets in a regular job and keep an eye on the freelance market to know your market value and the changing size of the market. It will be a good foundation to setup your own practice as an independent entrepreneur during important life events such as maternity or any unforeseen situations that might force you out of a job.