“Online work” used to mean “money grabbing scam.” You might find a job selling things online for a commission or writing blogs for money, but these rarely provided a living wage, or even enough spare change to justify the time commitment. Times have changed. The internet has finally become profitable, not just for startup entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, but for regular people with everyday skills.
That’s not to say the scams are gone. In fact, you need to be more careful than ever as the fake opportunities have become more sophisticated in their marketing. Click here for 5 online job scams and learn how to spot them.
You don’t have to build your own website or incorporate a business (although these things certainly help.) You can enroll in a ready-made network and ply your trade among similar-minded craftspeople.
What are these services? How can you sign up? Here’s a list of side-gigs to get your hustle on.
You’re an ace with a camera. You capture eye-catching images, and you know how to set the scene. You can turn that skill into online income by listing your images on stock-photography sites like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock. You receive a royalty when customers purchase the right to use your work. These sites are always looking for a variety of images, whether it’s lavish food photography or eye-catching scenes of natural beauty.
These services don’t want pretty snapshots. Sellable stock photos are professionally shot and edited, and they often require certain file formats. Review the companies’ requirements carefully before uploading. If you cannot afford Adobe Photoshop, click here for a free program that does basically everything it does.
You already watch plenty of videos online, so why not make a little extra money while you’re doing it? Swagbucks is a site that rewards its users with gift cards for taking surveys, watching certain videos, or conducting web searches with its search engine. You earn points by participating in Swagbucks activities and you can then redeem those points for gift cards or cash back from PayPal.
Do you have blazing fast typing fingers? Online transcription company SpeakWrite hires independent contractors and lets them set their own hours and work from home. SpeakWrite says its typists on average earn around $300 per month, while the top earners pull in over $3,000. You must first pass a typing test that judges you for speed and accuracy and requires you to have some previous experience in transcription and word processing.
Artists and designers upload their original work to Society6, which then prints the images onto a variety of products. Society6 offers an incredible range: T-shirts, pillows, wall hangings, duvet covers and iPhone cases, among countless others. Society6 handles all the fulfillment; artists can focus on their designs and receive a commission on anything sold. It’s a little like Etsy, but you don’t have to deal with physically creating or shipping your work.
Amazon describes its Mechanical Turk service as a “marketplace for work.” When you sign up as a worker, you can then choose which tasks to complete. Those tasks might involve translating text from one language into another, rating search results, determining if a website is suitable for an audience, correcting spelling, or pulling usable information from images. In general, the tasks don’t pay a lot, but they also don’t usually take much time.
TaskRabbit lets people post simple jobs like furniture assembly, home cleaning, grocery shopping or moving help. You can sign up as a “Tasker” and make money completing those tasks. With its new options, tasks can be confirmed in five minutes and completed within 90 minutes. Not only is that good for users in a time crunch, but it also gives Taskers more opportunities to work throughout the day. Click here for other opportunities great for retirees.
Whether you’re a seasoned interior designer or are just starting out, Homepolish gives you the freedom of being an independent contractor, but you get access to Homepolish’s network of clients, support, and advice. Currently, Homepolish is available in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Richmond, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C. And it’s coming soon to Houston, Jersey City, Miami and Portland.
Massage therapy is a rewarding field, but starting out is tough. You have to build a client list or find a job at a massage center. That’s where Zeel is looking to change things. The app lets clients connect with massage therapists for same-day massages in their homes. As the massage therapist, you receive a notification when someone near wants an appointment. Zeel says that massage therapists get a 75 percent cut of each payment, plus it automatically handles fees for late cancellations. For safety, Zeel says it has an ID verification system on the client side, and massage therapists can rate clients, so problematic ones get weeded out. It’s currently available in over 50 cities.
UserTesting hires contractors to try out websites and provide feedback through videos. Companies use this as a way to see how well their sites work and test new re-designs. Workers typically get paid $10 per test. Some testers report that opportunities can be sporadic and competitive. But as a recurring gig, UserTesting can be a real boon for people who are already online.
Pack and Ship Packages
If you’re a packing whiz and like to drive, Shyp might be a good fit for you. When customers have something to ship, they can summon a Courier (you) through the Shyp app. The Courier shows up within 20 minutes, packs the item with the appropriate materials and takes it off to ship with the lowest priced carrier. Shyp is designed to take the hassle out of selling on eBay, sending gifts, and returning online purchases. Right now, Shyp is available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago.
Be a Modern-Day Butler
Unless you’re a rich aristocrat, you probably never thought you could have a butler. Hello Alfred wants to bring butlers (or Alfred Client Managers, as they’re officially known) to regular households. For $32 a week, clients can claim one butler-like visit for tidying up and grocery shopping. Clients can arrange more visits per week or pay extra on a per-item basis for picking up special food items, dry cleaning, shipping items and other errands. If you’re interested in being an “Alfred,” you can earn up to $25 an hour.
If none of these are of interest, maybe you can sell handmade crafts, get paid for your opinion, make and share videos, or even get paid to watch television. Click here for even more legitimate ways to earn money online.
What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.
Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.
Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.