Your Guide to the Top Side Jobs You Can Do from Home
Everywhere you look today, it seems people write or talk about their side gig. In the 1970s and 80s, nearly every family became a two income family by both spouses working. In the 2000s, you cannot wait to get married to obtain a second income. That leaves it to each person to implement a side gig or land a side job.
You can land a side job that places you in a second office or you can work side jobs from home. The choice is yours. If you want greater scheduling flexibility and more creative control, you chose the side jobs from home.
Choosing Your Side Gig
For the purposes of this article, lets assume you do not want to simply pick up a second job. When we’re talking side jobs, we do not mean weekend hours at Wendy’s asking if you want fries with that. A side gig in this case means a second career.
When picking from the many side jobs available, side jobs from home offer the most flexibility. This typically means you will be self-employed or you will start your own business. The type of business you choose determines the level of preparation you require.
First: make a list of things you love to do.
Do not limit yourself by only listing things you love to do that you can think of an immediate way to make money from doing. Just list what you love.
Second: make a list of jobs you can think of immediately that you are already qualified to do.
Think of this as free association or free writing and simply list out the things that you know you could do today to earn money legally.
Third: compare those two lists.
The items that have crossover – like reading as a love and book editor or copyeditor or proofreader as a job – top your list of possible side gigs.
Fourth: using a major search engine like Bing or Google, type in the name of each hobby you love.
For example, type “play guitar” if that is your thing. Do not hit enter. Leaving your cursor in the search box will key the search engine to suggest various searches that would finish it. The word “lessons” will probably appear. This represents something you could do from home as a side gig to earn extra money. Add these to your list made in step two.
Fifth: still in your search engine, enter the phrase “get started” followed by the activity/
For example, “teaching guitar” or “editing books” or “proofreading articles.” Read the top two results for each to learn the process for getting started working in that specific field. Every career differs in its requirements although starting a business typically follows the same steps.
Sixth: choose the career or side gig for you.
The best choice is the one that requires no additional training and that you could start today. That is the one of the many side jobs from home you should start today.
Three Things to Remember
In her book, “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life,” entrepreneur and journalist Kimberly Palmer explains the three keys to side gig success.
- Launch before you think you are ready. “Experiment and try new things.” Get started selling your product or service, then tweak it to make it serve the target audience while still ensuring you do not violate any laws.
- Study the blogs, videos and social media accounts of other entrepreneurs in your niche. Follow their accounts and make friends with them. This helps you grow your business.
- Practice resilience. Success does not come overnight. Setbacks will occur. Stick with your career and your side gig to make them work.
Motivations for Side Jobs from Home
When Palmer launched her side business of money planners on Etsy, she did so because her main industry had become overrun with firings and layoffs. Her concerns centered around loss of income. She wanted to ensure she had a backup income. As she talked to other entrepreneurs on Etsy, she learned most of them shared the initial motivation of making money. Palmer’s interviews for her book uncovered three initial reasons for launching a money making side gig:
- Putting more money into savings
- Paying off debt
- Affording a better lifestyle.
For many of her interviewees though, it morphed into something deeper. The entrepreneurs realized the side gig provided for their creative expression and created enhanced personal satisfaction that their full-time careers or jobs did not provide. By creating a product or service that people found useful, they found validation.
So, if you are looking at the need for money on a quick turnaround, rather than taking out paycheck cash advance after paycheck cash advance, start a side gig. You can create a fulfilling second career out of side jobs from home.
Palmer suggests that to build a successful business, you choose something that costs little to start, scales easily, fits into your schedule well with your full-time career, creates no conflicts of interest with your main career, embraces your passions and creativity and provides enjoyment. As Palmer explained to Forbes, “You have to love your side business because you’ll be working on it at night, on the weekends, and in almost every spare hour you can find.”
The Stumbling Blocks to Success
Personally, I see these discussed online everyday in the forums of the writing desks and virtual desks I use. I see it in my Twitter feed, too, since MultiCareerGirl centers around helping females of all ages launch their second career and create a work-life balance. Guys follow and read it, too. The biggest stumbling block is if your product does not immediately sell.
This week I read the lament of one new content writer who started out writing on speculation. Out of the 38 pieces she had written in September, three had sold. I wish I had been able to speak with her before she launched. Rather than starting with spec work, I would have suggested one of three other virtual desks that assign articles with finite acceptance windows.
Another problem Palmer writes about in her book that can happen often is if a client fails to pay for the work or product. This causes multiple problems. First, it robs you of deserved income. You needed that payment to continue paying your bills and covering your overhead. Second, it hurts you psychologically. You might wonder, “Was it not good enough?” Third, you can wonder what made you seem so unapproachable that they could not have simply requested an edit, returned the product or requested a service change. You can find a quick fix to the first problem with cash loans online, but the latter two you must tackle on your own with positive self-talk and investigation into your own business processes.
Perhaps something does make you out-of-pocket for a changes request. Maybe your return policy requires too much from the client. When a client does not pay, use the bad experience as a catalyst for improvement.
Don’t lose momentum!
The third most common reason side gigs fail is the entrepreneur loses momentum following a scathing customer review. Hey, it happens. I began writing as a career in my freshman year of college. It felt and feels great to have been paid for nearly three decades now for doing what I love. A few months back, I received just such a scathing review. Rather than letting it set me back, I added new ways to contact me directly via email – the customers main complaint. Look for the problem you can solve with your product or service in the negative review. Rather than letting it tank your momentum, let it jump start your evolution.
Steps to Starting a Side Gig
Some side jobs from home require you to do nothing more than register with a website, submit a work sample and pick up your first assignment. Others need a longer application, require multiple qualifying tests, etc. Some side gigs you start on your own as a business or startup. Research what your idea requires.
Ideally, your side gig or side job from home should cost $100 or less to launch.
Certainly, if you launch a full-fledged startup, you’ll probably require a loan. You’ll find most loans based on income tough to land if most of your income already goes to rent and bills. You can find cash loans online by using Cashry.com or Loanry.com, loan malls that specialize in making it simple to compare loan rates and lenders.
Force yourself to start on a shoestring budget. Use Budgetry.com to create your budgets and learn how to budget, if you do not already know how.
- You’ll need to calculate your overhead.
- Set your rates or the cost of your product.
- Determine how to market it.
- Create your marketing budget.
- Apply for applicable business licenses.
- Apply for or set up virtual desks.
- Take and pass qualifying tests.
- Market your business.
- Purchase and set up needed equipment.
- Determine whether to pay federal taxes annually or quarterly.
- Land your first client or sale.
- After all of that, you get to do the work.
- Bill the clients.
- Follow up and get paid.
- Pay your business bills.
- Pay your taxes.
Potential Websites for Side Jobs from Home
The fastest way to start a side gig is to leverage an existing e-commerce site that lets individuals and companies advertise their needs. These include:
Those four sites allow a plethora of work types. You can find side jobs from home for answering clients’ voice over IP lines, setting appointments, data entry, answering emails, or other tasks that a personal or virtual assistant does.
Those sites also include numerous creative tasks. You could find work as a blogger, copyeditor, research assistant, professional writer, speech writer, graphic artist, photographer and many other positions.
A smaller portion of the work on sites like Upwork also includes tech jobs like application design, web design and web development. You can also find a number of other sites that offer similar tech jobs. These include Dice, Guru and FlexJobs.
Let us say that you would like to enter the blogging field, but you do not want to start your own blog. You could register with sites like Textbroker, Writer Access and Verblio. Take their writing test. Get started earning.
If you make handmade items, try Etsy. If you want a job as a driver of people not pizzas, try Lyft or Uber.
Potential Side Jobs from Home
Perhaps you would rather work independently. You can set up your business and advertise it in the traditional manner.
Palmer suggests professional services if you want a business that helps you earn quickly. Website design and development, marketing, researching and writing business plans all provide ample clients for those who are really great at them.
You can turn any professional training into a side gig. A high school teacher who also coaches football could create a football summer camp with other coaches in the county. All you need is the practice space which could be on a farm. Clients could come from throughout a tri-county area providing plenty of participants. As long as you want to work in summers, you could still coach and you might discover a new star for your team.
Regardless of your level of education, you can do meaningful work. People need pet sitters, dog walkers, dog groomers, babysitters, horse groomers, ranch hands and more. None of those jobs require a degree.
Testing the Ideas
Perhaps you came up with two or three ideas for a side gig. Test them to find out which would make the most money. Do not spend money on the side gig until you have tested the ideas for each. Your idea of a cake decorating business would require a completely different set of equipment than a photography sideline.
Once you choose from your potential side jobs from home, you need to formally prepare to open your business. If you plan to join a virtual desk like Textbroker or WriterAccess and write blogs, you can probably skip the step of writing a business plan. The same goes for if you plan to drive for Lyft or Uber. If you plan to create a startup and author an app, make sure you have the business plan. A startup requires funding. You’ll need the business plan to apply for business loans or to present to venture capitalists or angel investors.
It can happen that you start selling something on an e-commerce site like Etsy and have it become such a hit that you then need a business plan. That happened to Palmer. She started without one. Now, she has even written a book on the whole process.
Business Processes and Procedures
I heard that groan. Yes, even if you plan to sell on Etsy or eBay, you will need to have developed these. Etsy provides some boilerplate, also known as pre-written text, for some procedures, but on eBay you must author your own.
You will need to choose the shipping services you will use and which of their options you will offer. Also think about creating your returns policy and an exchange policy. You must choose your methods of payment and set up your online accounts.
Whether you want to sell on Etsy, drive for Uber, write for WriterAccess or sell your coding abilities on Freelancer, you’ll need a little Elon Musk invention called a PayPal account. That is how most companies pay their contractors, sub-contractors, freelancers, etc. You’ll need to connect your PayPal account to your bank account, if you want to transfer the funds to it.
If you are one the unbanked millions in the world, you can simply request a PayPal debit card. Your funds will deposit from your side gigs into your PayPal account and you’ll access them using your debit card.
Before you accept a single assignment though, you need to set up all of these things. Planning to accept payment online whether you cut yards locally or design landscapes across state lines, sets you up for success. The days of cash only died long ago.
Make Your Mark with Marketing
People need to know that you are opened for business. They need a clear idea of what you offer and how it can help them. You need it to cost nothing or very little. Learn to love – or at least tolerate – social media.
Did you write a book or e-book? Post snippets as quotes on Twitter.
Did you create a new product? Post photos and videos of it in use on Instagram.
Do you offer a service that a wide cross section of society could use? Post about it with a video included on Facebook.
Do you make hand-made items that decorators or homemakers would like? Post photos of it with your site in the description to Pinterest.
Each social media has a different audience. Business people flock to Twitter. Millennials favor Instagram. Everybody has a Facebook. Hobbyists and homemakers tend to use the photo-driven Pinterest.
You do not need an account on every social media. You need to determine who your target audience is and choose the social media that they use.
The great news is that social media costs nothing. It is free. The time it takes is not. Sign up for a free Buffer account. Plan out three posts per day for your primary social media. Buffer will automatically post them at the exact times you have designated. Once per day, get on the social media account to like other people’s posts that are related to your product or service or the need you address. You only need to spend five or fewer minutes on there.
Making the Time for Your Side Job from Home
Notice how that does not say finding the time. That is because you make the time. You carve it out like the drumstick from a succulent Thanksgiving turkey.
You need to experiment in where to make the time. Try staying up later. Or maybe working weekends. Try working your day off. Or you can also try working on your side gig from your own cell phone or laptop on your lunch breaks from your main job. No one said your side job from home would always mean you get to work from home.
Ultimately, you’ll probably end up doing all of those things. If you really love what you do and your side gig from home takes off, you’ll work pretty constantly. And you’ll be so happy about it. Eventually, you might take it full-time and only do your side gig which turns into your main gig. It does happen. In 2005, content creation and business continuity plans were my two side gigs. Now, they are both stand-alone companies. I left my full-time position at the University of Oklahoma in 2006. Be fully prepared to dedicate yourself totally and completely to what you love. If you choose the right thing, you’ll find yourself in heaven that you work 14-hour days regularly.
Avoid the temptation to simply cram in time.
Purchase a planner or a planning app that lets you block out time. Name the blocks with the project you are working on that day.
Break down huge projects into tasks. If you do not already know how to effectively divide a major project into pieces, take a Franklin Covey online course. These teach you how to determine “what matters most” and how to prioritize each project and task.
The Covey method also teaches you the importance of continued self-development. Your business can and will stagnate if you do not keep up with and ahead of the times. While you may already be familiar with the concept of continuing education if you work as a certified public accountant or a school teacher, all other positions need it, too. Block out time each month to learn something new.
You probably wonder how you will continue to run your household. Grocery shop online and have it delivered. Whether you want gourmet food or Folger’s coffee, you can get it shipped to your door via Schwan’s and WalMart, respectively. Use sites like TaskRabbit to find someone to pick up the dry cleaning, mow the yard and pick up your new business cards for you. Join the neighborhood car pool, so your kids still make it to ballet and soccer. Effective time management and delegating simple tasks can help you carve out the time for developing and running your successful side jobs from home.
Money to Start Side Jobs from Home
Not every business can start on a shoestring. You may require a small business loan based on income.You can find this online. Visit Loanry.com or Cashry.com. On Loanry, you’ll find a plethora of credit card companies and financial lending institutions. You can make more money by starting a side gig. You have a multitude of side jobs from home from which to choose. It will succeed depending on how much effort you put into it and how talented you are at what you do. Get started today to earn more money from your pick of side jobs from home.
Carlie Lawson writes about business and finance, specializing in entertainment, cryptocurrency and FOREX coverage. She wrote weekly entertainment business and finance articles for JollyJo.tv, Keysian and Movitly for a combined seven years. A former newspaper journalist, she now owns Powell Lawson Creatives, a PR firm, and Powell Lawson Consulting, a business continuity and hazards planning consultancy. She earned BAs in Journalism and Film & Video Studies from the University of Oklahoma. She also earned her Master of Regional & City Planning at OU. Her passion lies in helping people make money while reducing risk.