In no particular order:
1. Work as a freelancer, offering your services at sites such as elance.com, odesk.com, freelancer.com and guru.com
If you have a specialized skill that is in demand, then you can enjoy the freedom of choosing the hours and contracts that are most suitable for you. It can also be less stressful working from home than working in an office environment. The downsides include less steady income compared to a typical 9-5 job and fierce competition for the best contracts from a global pool of freelancers.
Elance and Odesk merged together at the end of 2013 but are currently still keeping their sites separate. Their global 3rd quarter online report suggests that the fastest growing positions based on freelancer earnings are:
- Customer Service Agents (think telephone support)
- User Interface Designers (making the front end of programs look good and easy to use)
- Front End Web Developers (web programming)
- IOS Mobile Developers (mobile app programming)
- Video Producers (I presume this is for sales/marketing videos or video tutorials)
2. Negotiate a pay rise with your boss
Seriously! If you don’t ask then you don’t get. However this requires careful preparation and skill at negotiation – simply storming into your boss’ office and demanding a pay rise is not going to work. You need to understand:
- what the market rate is and the pay available at competitors
- exactly why you deserve a pay rise. Prepare a detailed justification beforehand
3. Eliminate debt and cut unnecessary expenses
If you are in debt you should work to clear it as soon as possible to avoid paying large amounts of interest over time. If you cannot quickly clear your debt the next best option is to transfer the balance to a company offering a lower rate of interest. Always clear your credit card bills on time and live within your means.
Look at your expenses and try to identify if there are any unnecessary outgoings. For example, if you have recurring subscriptions such as gym memberships or satellite TV, ask yourself if you honestly make use of them. It could be cheaper to adopt a pay-per-use model instead.
Moneysavingexpert.com (UK) is an outstanding resource to help you cut costs.
4. Matched betting and cashback arbitrage
Only available in the UK, you can quickly make some cash by taking advantage of cashback sites and the free bets offered by bookmakers. You need to be mathematically minded, careful and precise in order to succeed, but this technique definitely works.
5. If you own your own home, rent out a spare room on sites such as airbnb.com
If the idea of acting as a host appeals to you, this is a great way to earn additional income. Advertise your spare room, set your price and wait for bookings. Airbnb charge a 3% commission fee on bookings and has a $1,000,000/£600,000 host guarantee in the event of guest damages.
6. Offer to do quick tasks on sites such as fiverr.com and peopleperhour.com
Each task (gig) you advertise on Fiverr is sold for $5 but the site takes $1 in commission, so you only earn $4 per gig . In order to make this financially viable, offer to do a task that will take you no longer than 15 minutes (unless you enjoy earning minimum wage). There is also the option to upsell, by combining multiple $5 gigs together.
7. Become a private tutor in your local area
There is always going to be a demand for private tutors in highly regarded school subjects such as: English, Maths and Science. However, if you have any useful skills there is a potential market that you could tap into. Finding enough clients might be tricky if you live in a less populated location – you could also consider tutoring online via Skype instead.
8. Set up a website and start your own online business
This has huge potential but is also extremely difficult to succeed at. Roughly half of all start up businesses fail after 5 years according to US government data on business survival rates.
9. Sell your own hand-crafted products
If you are skilled in crafting, sewing, pottery etc. sites such as Etsy allow you to quickly set up your own online store to display your wares.
10. Sell photographs online
There will always be a demand for photographs to make websites look more interesting and even the most mundane image could be worth money. If you fancy yourself as a photographer, you can upload and sell your pictures at sites such as shutterstock.com.
11. Become a business angel and invest in startup companies
If you have ever watched Dragon’s Den and wished that you could invest money in new businesses that are just starting up, well your wish just became a reality! Websites such as Seedrs.com now allow anyone to invest in startups for as little as £10 (this may vary depending on each company’s share price and whether or not the startup is a fund). This is high risk because the majority of new startups will fail, but the potential reward on investing in successful startups is huge . You would lose all the money invested in any failed startup, so you should never invest money that you cannot afford to lose. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme either, you would typically be expected to hold onto your investment for 3-5 years.
12. Become a dog sitter
If you enjoy looking after dogs then you can get paid for it. Websites such as mydogbuddy.co.uk and dogvacay.com (US) allow you to connect with dog owners who require someone to look after their dog for a short duration of time. This is common when families want to go on vacation without their dog and would rather pay for a minder until they return.
13. Lend money out to small businesses and collect interest on the loans
Peer to peer lending platforms such as zopa.com and fundingcircle.com (or prosper.com in the US) allow anyone to lend money out to small businesses, starting from as little as £10-£20. There is a small risk of some loans turning into bad debt but this is offset by the higher interest rates available (5%-7%) compared to say a cash ISA (2%).
14. Provide home-help services with taskrabbit.com
They take 20% of your hourly rate but in return, Taskrabbit.com connects you with local people who require help with:
- Personal Assistance
- Moving Help
15. Become a local tour guide at vayable.com
If you have an intimate knowledge of your local area, you can create and sell a unique experience to travellers on vayable.com. Examples of tours include: street food tours, modern architecture tours, cycling tours, photography tours – the possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
16. Be a temporary exam invigilator
Universities and schools hire temporary staff during busy exam periods to invigilate exams. This typically involves collecting/distributing exam papers and making sure all exam procedures are followed correctly. Not the most exciting work and only available at certain times of the year, but it does pay.
17. Interview people for market research
You can either do this via phone or in person (also known as a field interviewer), market research companies are always looking to collect more data from members of the public. You will need to be friendly, self-motivated and possess excellent communication skills to succeed at this role.
18. Get paid to try out websites
Companies are willing to pay money to find out what users think of their website (about $10 for a 20 minute review). You need a microphone, a webcam and a fast internet connection to upload your recorded video. The supply of testers exceeds the demand of companies available, so don’t expect regular work. However, on the upside there are many websites available for you to sign up as a tester, including:
19. Use your smartphone as normal and earn some pocket change
Those sneaky advertisers are now targeting your smartphone lock screen as a location to display ads. Screenpay.com and getslidejoy.com are two smartphone apps that pay you a small amount of money to display ads on your smartphone lock screen. Since most people unlock their smartphone multiple times each day, you are effectively getting paid for carrying out your normal activity. This is currently a US-only opportunity, but if it takes off, expect to see these apps being offered globally.
20. Work as an Internet Assessor at thesmartcrowd.com
Help Google decide which results are relevant when searching for keywords. A smartphone is required to apply for this job opportunity.