By: Dannie Phan | August 28th, 2020
It’s tough out there right now. The economy is slow, jobs are in jeopardy, and costs continue to rise. There are so many reasons you may find yourself out of the running for a “real job.” Maybe you need more flexibility than the standard 9-5 can offer, or you just hate the thought of slaving away for somebody else’s benefit. Maybe you need to stay home to care for family members.
Whatever the reason, there are a lot of ways you can earn cold hard cash by mixing and matching side-hustles and contract gigs to get you to the end of the month. Take control of your personal finance – check out these 18 ways to earn money online without having a job.
Ways to Make Money Without a Job
1. Complete Online Surveys
Sign up to earn money by filling out surveys, playing games, watching videos, or doing other activities you already do online. Check out survey sites like Swagbucks.com to find loads of ways to earn extra money, in the form of cash or gift cards. While you won’t make a fortune by filling out surveys, you can earn a decent side income if you put your mind to it.
2. Help Local Businesses with Bookkeeping or Accounting
Small business owners often struggle to keep up with monthly book work, like accounts payable and receivable, and payroll. Those with attention to detail and solid knowledge of accounting software like QuickBooks could contract out to local businesses, whether you want to work full-time or part-time. Not familiar with the software or the skills you’d need? Take an online course and you’ll be set to be a freelancer in no time.
3. Freelance Writing or Graphic Design
Are you an artist? A wordsmith? Can you code, build websites, or are you a wizard at editing photos? Maybe you’re talented at getting attention through social media. With a little business know-how and marketing prowess, you can contract out for freelance writing, booking jobs whenever you have the time. Not up for the task of cold calling prospects? Self-publish your own fiction or non-fiction e-book. Or join up with UpWork, Fiverr or ClearVoice to sign up for creative jobs that are right for you. You can also try Freelancer.com to find data entry work right away.
4. Try Your Luck at Electronic Scratch Tickets
With the free app Lucktastic, you can play scratch tickets on your phone for the chance to win up to $10,000 in cash or gift cards for the daily tickets, or up to $1 million in some contests. It’s free, right? It’s worth a try…
5. Become a Mystery Shopper
Love shopping? This may be the gig for you. Businesses pay savvy shoppers just like you to go into their outlets, shop, buy things (the costs of which are reimbursed) and tell them about your customer experience. Sign up for multiple companies (choose ones that are members of MSPA to avoid any scams) to get the most mystery shopping earning opportunities.
6. Sell Your Wares Online
Sewing is not the most common skill these days. If you’re a dream seamstress, you can sew and sell quilts, baby clothes, even scrunchies online to people who just love to support individual artisans. Woodworkers, up-cyclers, and craftspeople can sell things online too. If you don’t have those skills, you could try personalizing t-shirts or other items to sell. Make money selling on Etsy, Ebay, Kijiji or on local Facebook ‘buy and sell’ groups to get an income from your hobby. Or, if you prefer the old-school method, set up a garage sale to sell things you find in your attic or garage.
7. Spend with a Cashback Rewards Card
As the old saying goes, sometimes it takes money to make money. And that’s how it is with cashback credit cards. Sign up with the right card, and you can earn for every purchase you make – groceries, gas, a mani/pedi, you name it. A Citi Double Cash credit card, for instance, does not have an annual fee and no categories of spending to remember. You just earn 1% back on each of your purchases, then another 1% when the purchase is paid for. To put that in perspective, on your $200 grocery bill, you’d earn $2 immediately, and another $2 when you pay off the purchase.
8. Shop Through a Rewards Site for Your Everyday Items
In the same category of spending for something in return, consider buying next season’s wardrobe, holiday gifts, or even toilet paper through a rewards site membership like Swagbucks, MyPoints, ShopatHome, Upromise, Zap, or Rakuten, or to get cash and gift cards back. For instance, with Swagbucks you can earn 2% cashback on purchases made at Home Depot.
Real money is sometimes made through investing, not by putting in longer hours. Investing can seem really scary, but there are ways to ease into it until you find your feet. Try Acorns, the app that rounds up all your debit card purchases so you can save and then invest the extra change. Or Stash, the one that helps you play the stock market by offering up pieces of giant companies for sale for as little as $1. You can also try Fundrise, the real estate app that heaps money between strangers to invest in real estate so you can earn dividends as your assets increase in value.
10. Rent Out Unused Equipment
Do you have a sewing machine you never use? How about an electric tree trimmer? A trailer? All of these things are in hot demand for folks who don’t own them. Instead of letting them sit collecting dust in your garage, why not rent them out? Use a peer-to-peer rental market place like Buro or Ruckify to earn a little on the side. Buro recommends charging 5-15% of the item’s purchase price per day, depending on its age and personal importance to you. If you have a whole house, or even just a room to rent out, try using Airbnb and let the cash roll in.
11. Become a Delivery Driver
Long gone are the days when only select restaurants would deliver food to your door. Nowadays, hungry folks can order from a vast array of restaurants through food delivery apps, and you can be their driver. Sign up with Uber Eats, GrubHub, or DoorDash, and accept deliveries that work with your schedule. Drivers get paid either hourly plus tips or, as in the case of Postmates, depending on your performance. Rather drive people than food? Try driving for a ride-sharing service like Lyft.
12. Thrift and Sell Clothes
Now that people are really waking up to the waste Fast Fashion causes, there are tons of opportunities to thrift and upcycle clothing. Your keen eye for brands and styles du jour and your love for the hunt could earn you good money from tracking down clothing at consignment and vintage shows or thrift stores, and then reselling them online.
13. Restore and Reupholster Furniture
In the same vein, good, solid furniture is in high demand. If you have a keen eye for quality furniture you can find old pieces at antique stores and shows, at garage and estate sales, or on Craigslist. Restore or reupholster them for a really lucrative side-hustle.
14. Become a Professional Organizer
Marie Kondo has set quite a trend. Purging clothes, toys, books, and extra kitchen items and putting remaining items back just so is easy peasy for all you A-Types out there, and darn near impossible for many others. Make a living simplifying people’s lives as a professional organizer. There’s even an association that can provide support and help you find training.
15. Try Affiliate Marketing
Do you enjoy blogging, have a podcast, or excel on Instagram? Then you may have a great vehicle for earning passive income. Some companies, including big players like Amazon, will pay you each time followers buy products via links on the blog posts. Create meaningful content and include a product plug and you could be well on your way to turning your own blog into a successful side hustle.
16. Become a Guru with Online Coaching
Whether or not you realize it, you know a lot of things. By the time you get to be a human adult, there’s a good chance you know things that other people would like to know. Capitalize on that by starting an online business! You can set up online coaching programs to teach people how to market their quilts or resolve conflicts in the workplace.
17. Be a Handy Helper
Are you gifted with a skill saw? Do you get giddy when you find a repair job around the house? You could get paid for your power tool prowess by doing handy work around your neighborhood. Not all homeowners have the tools or know-how to fix a toilet or install their new light fixtures, and even fewer want to spare the time. While contractors can be costly and need to be booked weeks or months in advance, you could pick up and do the same job whenever you’re ready. Make it easier to find jobs using an app such as TaskRabbit. According to research by Entrepreneur’s, the average employees earn around $110/mo, but some reports say taskers earn a lot more.
18. Give Your Time
If you’re better at working with people than plumbing, you could sign up to help with child or senior care, pet sitting, or to help Junior with his math homework through Care.com.
Don’t be fooled into thinking working for “the man” is the only way to earn a buck. While most people are happy to settle into the daily grind in return for a steady paycheck, enterprising people find work freelancing here and there and make a fine living doing it.
There are loads of options aside from those mentioned here – high school students have been earning money babysitting, mowing grass, and dog walking since time immemorial! Not everybody can do the things you can do. Be creative and reach deep into your skills bank to find the real gems. Just be sure to keep track of all your earnings, and put some of your earnings aside for tax time so you don’t wind up owing Uncle Sam.
Pay attention to those other little things bosses do for their employees, like health insurance and pensions. If you’re contracting out doing side jobs you’ll need to do them for yourself. Reward your hard work by looking after yourself well.
Besides that, enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with deciding what you do and when you do it!
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