In this tough economic environment, everyone has had to find ways to tighten the belt, from firing the maid to moving to a smaller apartment. Whether you’ve suffered reduced hours at work or a salary cut (or both), you may be cutting back on extras in your budget (and even the basics) and trying to sock some money away just in case of a layoff. But if you’re just not making ends meet, and there’s nothing left to slash in the budget, you’re going to have to find some creative ways to earn a little more, and one of the best methods is working from home. Believe it or not, there are a million ways to earn money around the house, from collecting cans and bottles for recycling to selling off vinyl records on eBay. But here are just a few at-home jobs that can play on your skills to net you a pretty penny.
- Take crafts to the next level. Do you bake decorative confections, create graphic tees, or piece together scrapbooks in your spare time? Then why not turn your passion into a profession? You can start by posting flyers at craft stores or your kids’ schools to advertise your services, or talk to local business owners about selling your wares on consignment (or even buying them outright).
- Do your duty digitally. If you’ve spent many years doing clerical work, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t become a virtual assistant. You’ll basically be doing the same job as a secretary or personal assistant, but remotely. So you can expect to filter email and phone messages intended for your boss, send out correspondence, do some filing (or data entry), and even book travel. Basically anything that a personal assistant would normally do in-office will be on your virtual plate. Oh, except picking up coffee or dry cleaning – score!
- Get graphic. If you’re handy with programs like Photoshop, Quark, or Maya, you may have an in for online work. HTML skills are even better. You might be surprised by the amount of work available for graphic artists – you just have to know where to look. Sites like ODesk and Elance are great because you get to sign up and create a profile for free and then start applying for jobs with companies seeking your services (they pay for their memberships, so you can be pretty sure they’re on the up-and-up).
- Build up a blog. Do you love to give your opinion to anyone who will listen? Would you like to get paid for it? Good news! Blogging provides an outlet for people like you to mouth off as much as you like, and make money for doing it. First you’ll need to find your niche (and a decent domain). From there it’s just a matter of learning some basic SEO techniques to bring in more traffic, which will score you advertising dollars and possibly even affiliates. Within a year you could be earning a fair amount of pocket change, maybe more.
- Online surveys. Another way to earn from your opinions is to take online surveys for money. I know what you’re thinking: these things are all scams. That is where you’re wrong. Although there are many scammers out there trying to get money from people desperate for work, you just have to use a little common sense to avoid them. Never send in money and never volunteer your bank account number or other personal information. Legitimate survey organizations will pay you through PayPal and they should never ask for money in advance.