When I first started freelancing, I did everything I could to find ways to earn extra money on the side. At the time, I was working a full-time job and I wasn't making much of anything, so I was desperate to find side gigs that would actually enable me to save and pay off my student loans.
There's no denying that finding alternative ways to earn extra cash can really change your way of living; whether it helps pay the bills, enables you to scale back at your 9-5, funds your travels or simply becomes your “for a rainy day fund” – extra money is good money. It can take a huge burden off your shoulders, ease your stresses and help prepare you for future opportunities. Why wouldn't you want to earn extra money on the side if you could?
Whether you're trying to fill your evenings with a side gig, or you're looking to dedicate a few minutes here and there to small tasks, there are many ways to make a quick buck.
Here are some easy ways to make money on the side online:
1. Online Surveys
A lot of people hear “online surveys” and think “yea right,” but you can honestly make a nice chunk on the side if you have the patience and time… and if you apply to the right programs. There are definitely some scams out there, and there are loads of sites that are not worth your time. But there ARE sites that are worth it. Think about all the time you spend browsing Facebook and Instagram, or watching TV. You could be participating in consumer opinion surveys and earning money! Sometimes it's as simple as answering a few questions about your household demographics, playing a game or even watching a 5 minute video, and cash gets added to your account!
They're FREE to join and it's quick and easy to sign up! Just be sure that you are honest with your answers because you will be sent surveys based on the information that you provide about yourself. Here are some survey sites that I would recommend for earning cash and rewards:
- Survey Junkie – Allows you to sign up via Facebook or Google+ with one click. The company matches you with surveys based on your profile information, making the offers more relevant and enjoyable to you personally. Earn points that can be redeemed on PayPal or with e-Gift cards.
- Survey Momma – Perfect for the stay-at-home mama looking to make some extra cash on the side!
- Inbox Dollars – Be rewarded for watching tv, taking surveys, or making purchases online. Earn a free $5 signup bonus just for joining to start you on the right track!
- Swagbucks – Join for free and get a $10 sign up bonus by using this link!!
- Survey Voices – Take surveys and get paid! All you need to do is instantly qualify, then view exclusive offers in exchange for your opinions and get access to paid surveys, clinical trial opportunities, and part-time work offers.
- MyPoints – This site asks participants to watch videos, take surveys and shop online in exchange for gift cards to top retailers such as Amazon, Walmart & eBay. $10 gift card when you join MyPoints and spend $20 or more with a qualified partner.
- CashCrate – The fact that 4 million people use this site says enough!
You don't have to be a web designer or an accountant to pick up freelance work. Sites like Upwork.com offer loads of different freelancing opportunities that you're bound to find something that meets your skill set. That's actually how I first started doing freelance work – through outsourcing websites. I began on Elance (which Upwork has since absorbed) by picking up small writing and editing gigs here and there. I was bringing in a couple extra hundred bucks a week which really helped my overall income. Three years ago, I was able to quit my full-time job and go full-time with what I love doing.
Writing, editing, bookkeeping, transcribing, translating, data entry, web research, virtual assistant, project management, customer service… the list goes on and on. There is something for everyone!
3. Start A Blog
Not just any blog, a self-hosted blog through an affordable and reliable provider like SiteGround or BlueHost. If your blog is self-hosted you can place ads and monetize. If you aren't self-hosted then you unfortunately are not allowed to place ads. Anyway, a blog is a great way to earn money because there are loads of different money streams – you just have to have the patience to identify them and get traffic. Ads that pay you by impression and/or click (CPC), affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, guest posts, the list goes on! Find a topic that you are interested in and write, write, write! But don't forget to get the word out there – without traffic you will not be able to earn much of anything at all. First comes traffic, then comes money.
If you are interested in starting a blog, please check out my post on how to create a self-hosted blog on WordPress in just 4 easy steps! It's really much easier than most people think, and not nearly as expensive. Besides, as they say, sometimes ‘you've got to spend money to make money!'
While investing is obviously not immediate income, it's still potential income. I have always been curious about investing, especially after observing my husband's investment activities, but haven't ever had the money or desire to drop the excessively high opt-in fees that most online companies require. When I found Stash Invest I was psyched because they only require $5 to join. Say what? Not only that, but the app's interface allows you to really learn about what you're investing in by breaking it down into layman's terms. I'll drop $5 here, $10 there, watch it rise and fall… wait a month, drop another $10 here, maybe $15 there depending on how things are looking. For example, things are currently not looking so good in one of the funds I invested, “Clean & Green.” When this happens, I try not to panic because a) it's all relative: it isn't a lot of money lost, and b) I remember what my husband has told me: “Just because the stock or group of stocks in your fund experience a decline doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. It could be a good thing if it is due to investors overreacting and overselling on negative news.” More on that later!
Stash makes it easy to experiment without breaking the bank; and it's fun to follow what's going on in the world and watch its reflection on my small investments. I consider that money to be the Starbucks that I didn't buy.
5. Become an Affiliate
If you are a blogger, join some easy affiliate programs like Amazon Associates or Share-A-Sale. Chances are you talk about products that you use and love somewhere on your blog… you might as well see if you can get some extra cash out of it! All you have to do is apply, get your affiliate links, apply it to the text in your post and wait for the sales to roll in (well, they don't just “roll in,” you've got to market the posts)! There are also loads of affiliate programs through other bloggers and through the apps you use to keep your blog up and running. Chances are if you have purchased an e-course or if you use an email marketing service like ConvertKit, or social media scheduling tool like Tailwind, there is an affiliate program that you can join. When you talk about how much you love these products, link to them!
6. Create an Online Course or Write an eBook
Do you know something we don't? One of the best ways for bloggers to earn cash is to make a course or write an e-book about something others are trying to learn. Now, this is not to say that you should just write something to write something. It has to be useful and you have to be the professional. First, identify an issue. What does your niche audience need? Next, what can you teach them about that need that will ultimately lead to a solution? Courses and eBooks can be sold on your blog and through affiliate programs, and the more they are purchased, the more you can charge. Courses are another great way to grow your email list, which will ultimately lead to more traffic and more cash, if your blog is monetized.