Real, non-scammy, non-MLM ways to make money online.
The internet is a powerful tool for work-at-home moms and other telecommuters to support their families, but it’s also full of scammers, spammers, and identity thieves presenting phony work opportunities. It goes without saying that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is—the abundant Facebook ads and email spam advertising “$200/hour working from home” can safely be ignored—so here are some opportunities that you can find (or make) to legitimately support yourself from home.
1. Data entry
I supported myself through my first several years of college by doing data entry for an accounting firm; there are thousands of large and small firms looking for individuals skilled with Microsoft Excel, Access, and other database and spreadsheet software. While most of these jobs will require at least some time in-office early on, forward-looking employers are often willing to negotiate exclusive telecommuting arrangements once you’ve demonstrated accuracy and reliability. You’ll probably start around $10/hour, but the money and time you can save by staying home makes it a better opportunity than it appears on paper.
2. Web development and design
3. Sell stock photos
So, this entry is a little bit of a cheat—all you technically need is a laptop, but it helps to have a decent camera. If you’re already a photography buff with a professional-quality camera, you can turn your home office into a small photography studio for stock photos today. Check out iStockphoto.com for what is selling well, and try something similar.
Don’t think of your hardware as an absolute limitation; many bloggers are not interested in the kind of high-def images you can only capture with a $5,000 camera, because it doesn’t fit the overall feel of their site. If you don’t have a pro-level camera, computer-generated images also sell well on stock photo sites (of course, this only works for notebooks with relatively high-quality video cards)
4. Niche blogging
While you’re not likely to compete with big-name sites with big SEO budgets, you can use Google Analytics to find a small, unfilled niche and start writing. Set up AdSense to automatically monetize your blog, or look into affiliate marketing, and then start contacting established blogs in related (but not competitive) fields, and offer to guest post. You provide great content, they provide exposure, and the additional traffic will start your blog making money, no matter what monetization strategy you pick.
5. Freelance copy writing
This is a universally-available option for anyone with a home computer, without any other skills, equipment, or credentials. Sites like Mechanical Turk connect companies who need simple copy with online writers. The jobs are very small—many take a minute or less, and only pay $0.25 or $0.30 apiece, but they can add up to $8 or $10 an hour if you’re disciplined and can type quickly. As you prove your ability to create clean, accurate copy, your ratings will increase and you’ll gain access to more sophisticated, higher-paying jobs. You can sell your talent on sites like Gigserr.com
Julia Peterson is a writer for AndGeeks.com, a popular website that provides up-to-date news, detailed commentary, and unbiased reviews on cell phones and related topics. Julia resides in Galveston, Texas in a cozy little house in the country with her husband, young son, and their Labrador retriever, Darby.