Whether you’re looking for a side hustle, or hoping to replace lost income due to circumstances out of your control, you might be looking to lay the foundation for making money from home.
From selling your skills, strengths and experiences as a packaged freelance service, all the way through to building an online business of your own, we’re covering the most attainable (and scalable) ways to generate some extra income from the comfort of your own home this year.
1. Find Great Freelance Gigs
It can take time to build up momentum with a full on freelance business, sure. However, there’s never been more demand for shorter-term, contract-based help as more companies learn the advantages of tapping into the global (remote) talent pool. This increase in demand has opened up a flood of opportunities for skilled workers to get in on the action.
The quickest way to start earning from home as a freelancer, is to join one of the top freelance job websites. This ranges from the massive marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour—all the way down to the more freelance job board-oriented services like Flexjobs, Contena and Remote.co.
To maximize your chances of landing the right gigs, take great care to highlight your strengths and experience on your profile, while also showcasing your most relevant work samples to help connect the dots for your prospective clients. After your first gig wraps up, always remember to ask for a referral to other business owners who might be able to use your services, as a low-friction way to potentially land more great projects.
2. Monetize a Blog
If there’s a topic you’re passionate about, then starting a blog as a means to share helpful content for readers around the world can eventually become very lucrative, though it’ll take time for most new bloggers to get to a meaningful level of income (weeks to months). That being said, the income possibilities are vast, ranging from simply displaying advertisements, to soliciting more in-depth sponsorships, the sales of your own digital products, forging affiliate partnerships and beyond.
To get your own blog off the ground today, I recommend choosing WordPress, which is by far the most popular content management system—used by a whopping 35% of all websites on the Internet. From there, you’ll need to get your WordPress-powered blog set up with a hosting plan (in order to get your blog “online”) from a reliable web hosting company like Bluehost or Dreamhost, and you’ll be ready to design your blog, begin publishing content and working to attract an audience you can help.
While display advertising and partnership with brands can help you monetize free content, more and more content creators and writers are turning to subscription models to have a direct relationship with their readers. Patreon allows you to easily monetize your offerings by allowing you to set the price directly with your readers. Set up a subscription model and start earning money for each reader who subscribers.
3. Sell Physical Products
In just about every country around the world, consumers are becoming more and more accustomed to shopping online for their needs—which creates a massive opportunity to sell useful products that can match that growing demand. Whether you’re thinking of selling your own handmade products on marketplaces like Etsy, eBay and Amazon Handmade, or figuring out a clever set of white-labeled goods you can purchase for a low cost on Alibaba in order to resell on your own website at a markup, you have to consider factors like inventory management and purchasing costs.
An alternative route to the more traditional product business that’s become popular in the last few years, is drop shipping. When you start drop shipping, you’re essentially finding a manufacturer or wholesaler you can partner with, in order to sell their products on your own website. With this approach, you won’t have to pay in order to buy inventory, take the risk of not being able to sell your products, or even handle the logistics of shipping products yourself. If you have the skill to create an eCommerce site using platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, stock it with drop shippable products and drive in online customers, you’ve got the foundation of a great way to make money from home.
4. Monetize Your Photos
If you’ve got a knack for taking high quality photos (and the right gear), then you can make a pretty meaningful amount of extra money from home, by listing and selling your photo work on the top stock photography sites. Just know that you shouldn’t expect to quickly earn hundreds or thousands of dollars selling stock photos.
Through sites like Adobe Stock, you’ll earn a 33% commission on the sale of any of your photos and vector art, which typically ranges from a $.20 to $5.00 payout per image sale. While the payout per sale isn’t the highest on the market, the benefit of a stock photography site like Adobe Stock however, is the vibrant community of existing customers already in the Adobe ecosystem that contribute to a high number of transactions. Other stock photography sites like Getty Images, Shutterstock and iStock tend to generate fewer sales, but often have higher commission rates (ranging from 20% to 45% of the sale price for your images.
The key to becoming truly successful at monetizing your photography work over time, is to expand beyond just selling stock photos and into building your own photography website, showcasing your portfolio online, growing your social following and pitching yourself for a wider range of services like private corporate work, wall art commissions and otherwise.
5. Online Coaching
Just as you can take your existing skills, strengths and experiences over to building a source of income as a freelancer from home, you can also position yourself as an online coach (or consultant) in order to charge for your time advising people through the kinds of challenges you’re experienced at solving.
Whether you’ve achieved a level of reasonable expertise in your field at work, in personal fitness and nutrition, at navigating the process of career advancement, resume writing, or one of any countless other skills, you can pass those lessons on through online coaching. If you have a skill, there are undoubtedly people on the Internet willing to pay for your time to help them advance their own skill—and your expertise is the product you’re marketing.
Start by checking out a few of the most active online coach marketplace websites like Coach.me (general), Clarity.fm (business) and Trainiac (fitness) to see which ones you should consider applying to, in order to tap into their existing network of clients already looking for coaches to help achieve their goals. Aside from having a presence on the existing marketplace sites, the best way to grow your coaching business is to drop some lines out within your network to see who you know that could use a little help in their advancement. Word-of-mouth referrals will be a powerful tool in attracting new clients with this business model.
6. Write an eBook
Coming back to a similar theme here, if you have a set of skills or wealth of experience at a particular subject, another way to provide value to people around the world (and make money from home in the process) is by packaging your advice into an eBook.
With the eBook format, you can easily do things like teach a useful new skill, help someone advance in their career, navigate a common set of challenges people face in their personal lives, or even focus on simple entertainment with your writing.
If you have an audience of your own through social media, on your blog or through your existing business, then you’ll already have a built-in customer base to start selling your eBook to. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, you can upload your eBook to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform and tap into the millions of customers browsing Amazon for helpful book titles every day. Not only do you get to set your own price, but you’ll maintain the rights to your book as well. You’ll keep 70% of each sale you make on Amazon’s platform, which is a pretty low price to pay in exchange for the massive additional reach you can get in the right topic areas.
7. Record a Podcast
With more than 850,000 active podcasts today, this medium is fast becoming one of the most popular ways we consume content, which also makes it a great opportunity for earning some extra income from the comfort of your home recording studio.
While it undoubtedly takes a good amount of time and consistent publishing effort to build an audience large enough to attract high-paying advertisers that’ll sponsor your show for large sums of money, the opportunity to start making progress toward that goal has never been greater. Podcast listeners are always looking for high quality new shows, and if you choose the right niche topic to create a show about, your growth potential is massive.
Thankfully, it’s never been easier to start your own podcast, given that a high quality recording microphone, the editing software and publishing tools you need can be purchased for less than $100 altogether. After getting your equipment dialed in, it’s up to you to craft a unique podcast format that’ll engage your listeners and get them wanting to share your first episodes with the people in their communities. Work to build meaningful relationships with other podcasters in your space and promote your shows to each other’s audiences to begin building up a regular listenership.
8. Join a Remote Company
If you’re hoping to make a shift in your career and begin working remotely from home, while still maintaining the security of a full-time job that keeps the bills paid, there’s a happy medium in finding a remote job that’s right for you.
Luckily, there are thousands of progressive companies who hire remote employees from around the world. With the incredible advancements in collaboration and communication tools like Slack and Zoom, it’s easy for remote employees to work from home without losing any semblance of productivity for the business.
Websites like We Work Remotely, RemoteOk and Remotive all cater specifically to job seekers that want to find the best remote roles available in their fields. From writing to marketing, sales, engineering, design, customer support, product testing and plenty of other non-technical positions, these job boards will steer you in the right direction when it comes to identifying great remote roles for you to apply to.
Ryan Robinson is a blogger, podcaster and side project aficionado that teaches 500,000 monthly readers how to start a blog and grow a profitable side business at ryrob.com.