I may as well start with something I know well. When I started out as a freelance writer 20 years ago, things were very different. I wrote mostly for magazines, and I had to rely on snail mail to send out drafts and queries. I’d wait weeks for a response from my editors. Not many people had the patience for it, and few stuck around long enough to ever start earning a real income from it.
Next, you’ll need the right tools. You can be as complicated or simple as you want depending on your comfort with audio equipment, but at the minimum you’ll want a microphone and software for recording your voice. Companies like Behringer, Blue, Focusrite, and others sell studio-quality plug-and-play podcast setups that can get you recording today.
There are quite literally hundreds of clever ways to make money online. From taking online surveys, to renting or selling your old clothes, flipping your iPhone to someone in a different country, and even buying low-cost products locally, just to resell them for a higher price on Amazon. There’s truly no shortage of unique ways to make money online.
Diligence. In this industry, the line between scams and honest businesses is blurry, so you need to do your homework before accepting a position. Call the Better Business Bureau in your area to find out if there have been any complaints filed against the company, and do an online search on their name. Alpine Access is a well-respected company in the field, and Call Center Careers is a great place to look for legitimate call centers looking to hire.
After listening to your show, I found a lead to my first side hustle. For my wife’s program and mine, we are required to have CPR. We took our class to meet these requirements, and I talked with our instructor who passed my name to the owner letting him know I was curious about becoming an instructor. I was contacted about certifying myself to teach classes! – John S.
The key is to make the class sound unique and irresistible. Don’t just teach a cooking class; come up with specialty cooking classes. You might teach a class on how to make artesian breads, or cinnamon rolls that rival Cinnabon. The possibilities are endless, and if you consistently offer educational and fun classes, you’ll have people signing up over and over again.
I used to have fun doing surveys while I watched TV. I was choosy about the companies I used and I never paid to sign up for any. I got about $25 in free BlockBuster movie coupons, cashed out about $25 from another site and did an in house project trial where a company sent me to full size body lotions to use and record information about. I had fun, felt like my input was improving the business world, but I wasn’t looking to get rich quick, just earn a little bit in time that typically wasted. Some survey companies pay very little, others pay better. Of course, it is not fair to the businesses conducting the research to lie in order to qualify for a survey and they certainly deserve honest and thoughtful answers to their questions. The companies I worked with told me how much the survey would pay and how long it would it would take. Research for the reputable companies.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.
The audiobook industry is booming, yet only 5% of books ever get made into audio format. If you’ve got a background in acting, or if people have said you’ve got a voice made for the radio, you can make extra money recording audio versions of independent and popular books. Sites like ACX connect authors with audiobook performers. So, whether you’re an author looking for more ways to sell your book, or an actor/voice actor looking to make some extra income, you can sell your services online.
How many email newsletters are you bombarded with every single day? There’s a reason for that. Marketing to an actively interested group of email subscribers is one of the best ways to make money online. There have even been million-dollar businesses built from simple email newsletters like TheSkimm, or Mister Spoils. Each newsletter targets a specific type of user with interesting, daily content, while also partnering with relevant companies and affiliates to bring in extra money. If this seems daunting, it’s not. Tools like MailChimp, ConvertKit and AWeber make it easier than ever to get started with email marketing. And another great option to consider (with the largest free plan available) is SendPulse, with their ability to send up to 15,000 emails per month to 2,500 subscribers, and then affordable plans starting at under $10/month as you grow from there.
Hunt for under-priced used books that you can sell online. Download an app that reads ISBN numbers so you can scan the barcodes on books. This will pull up the book’s current price on Amazon so you can see if it’s worth trying to resell it. Then, visit used book stores, thrift stores, and garage sales to look for high value books. Post the books for sale online using sites like Amazon or Ebay.