Outsourcing is the new and dominant wave of the business world. As businesses shed employees, they increasingly turn to independent contractors to supply what in-house staff used to do. One of the ways they do this is through virtual assistants. These are people who provide certain tasks online. Businesses can use virtual assistants as much or as little as they need to. If you can make yourself available to multiple businesses, you might have plenty of work without ever leaving your house.
Merch by Amazon is another service offered by Amazon that will enable you to make money online without any initial outlay. To get started you need to create an account with Merch by Amazon. Then simply design some T-shirt logos or slogans, and upload them to your Merch account. You will need to choose a T-shirt type, color, and price, and Amazon will create product pages for each T-shirt. When someone makes a purchase, Amazon takes care of production and shipping. And you are paid a royalty for your design.
Babysitting isn’t just for teens. Everyone from college students to recent retirees can make money watching other people’s children. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are still a great way to get started, but you can also create a profile on Care.com or Sittercity to expand your reach. Note any specialized skills, such as CPR certifications or experience with special needs children, to make yourself more marketable.
This is probably my favorite opportunity on this list because it’s really easy to get started and easy to make your first dollar. Amazon has an affiliate program that allows anyone to sign up for an account and then earn a commission if someone buys something from Amazon using the special link they give you. Usually, you’ll earn 8% of the cost of the item on Amazon but that depends on the category the item is in.
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You can start by going to your personal Facebook page and posting about the teething ring you like and telling your friends about it. Then include your Amazon Associates link to the product. If one of your friends buys the teething ring after clicking on your link, you get a percentage of the sale. Your friend doesn’t pay any extra, and you make money. Win-Win. Oh, and if your friend clicks your link to the baby teething ring and gets distracted and ends up buying a new vacuum–you still get your commission even though that’s not what you linked to! Awesome!
Pro tip for first-timers: Carefully consider the pay rates that are listed. Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler has used the platform to find freelance writing gigs, and she reports low rates — like $3 for 500 written words. It’s probably not worth it. (And, yes, you’ll have to scroll through a whole lot of these low-paying listings to find the good ones.)
Evaluate Web sites. Another way to make extra cash in a short amount time – $10 for about 20 minutes of work – is to sign on with UserTesting and evaluate Web sites. You need a computer with a microphone and Internet connection, and you’ll have to fill out a one-page demographic profile. You’ll receive work if your profile matches that of the target audience of sites being tested. Then it’s just a matter of using UserTesting’s screen recorder, which you'll need to download to your computer, to record your verbal comments and on-screen movements as you click through a site. Site owners typically are looking for feedback about whether the Web site is confusing to navigate.
Sell stuff online. If you have high-quality items to sell, there are a slew of online marketplaces you can use. Just make sure you understand the fees associated with your sale before you take the plunge. Where neighborhood Facebook pages and Craigslist ads are free, many online marketplaces or consignment shops charge for ads or require you to fork over a percentage when you make a sale.
Thanks for writing this Mr. Samurai. I just got over the student loan hump but I feel pretty good about it at 27 having a graduate degree and being 100% debt free. Now that I’m on the other side it is good for my brain to absorb some of your knowledge regarding passive income investments. I love gleaning wisdom from older folks who have been there and done that. Mentors rock!
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
Blooom: Blooom works very differently from many of the other robo-advisors. It helps specifically with your employer-sponsored accounts (401k, 403b, 401a, and 457 accounts). Blooom will go through all the investment choices and make adjustments for you. The service also automatically rebalances the account as it grows. Blooom is very inexpensive when compared to a traditional advisor at only $10 per month no matter how large your 401k grows.
If you can max out your 401k or max out your IRA and then save an additional 20%+ of your after-tax, after-retirement contribution, good things really start to happen. If one is looking for earlier financial independence, such as retiring in their 40s or early 50s, it may be a good idea to skew towards more after-tax savings and investments given one has to wait until 59.5 to withdraw from their 401k or IRA penalty-free.
In Eric Reis’s The Lean Startup, a fantastic book about how today’s entrepreneurs and startup companies are approaching the way they create and innovate, Eric talks about how vital it is to use validated learning and scientific experimentation to be able to steer a company in the right direction. In other words, to use customer feedback and quantified data analysis (of real, non-vanity metrics) from a minimal viable product to make decisions and pivot a business one way or another.
Selling clothes you no longer wear is a quick way to make some money. Start with local consignment shops for faster cash, or use sites like ThredUp and Poshmark to find buyers. If you go the online route, be sure to take clear, well-lit photos of your pieces and research similar items to set competitive prices. Get tips on how to sell your clothing.
One aspect you might want to add to your scoring is “inflation protection”. At one end, bonds and CDs generally pay a fixed nominal coupon that doesn’t rise with inflation. Stock dividends and Real estate rents (and underlying property value) tend to. Not reallly sure how P2P lending ranks- though I suppose the timeframes are fairly short (1 year or less?) and therefore the interest you receive takes into account the current risk free rate + a premium for your risk. Now that I think about it, P2P lending probably deserves a lower score in the activity column than bonds too (since you probably need to make new loans more often).
Blogging is also one of the cheapest ways to make money online, aside from the time and and intellectual input that you have to invest. As you begin to make money from your blogging efforts, you can easily outsource for greater scalability. I also use Bluehost and I like the fact that it seamlessly integrates or interfaces with WordPress. You can set-up a domain or subdomain in minutes and start blogging in seconds. I love it!
Manage social media for businesses. If you have a knack for social media, you could potentially get paid to manage various platforms for others. Many businesses are too busy running day-to-day operations to stay on top of their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts – and will pay someone with the knowledge and time to do it for them. To find these jobs, ask local businesses and check sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
I started out earning a side income with photography. All I did was build up a portfolio taking pictures of models (usually good-looking friends and family members who modeled for me) and then I started a cheap website on Squarespace to list my photography services. The phone didn’t ring often, but I got a few gigs each year ranging from $100 to $2,000 to shoot weddings, engagement photos, senior pictures, corporate events, etc.
Now I’ve been using Swagbucks for a while and have found the money works out to just under $2 an hour so this isn’t something that’s going to make you rich. You’d have to work 2,500 hours to make $5,000 so that’s about three and a half months, non-stop. The thing with Swagbucks though is you can do it when you’re doing something else so I flip through surveys and other stuff while I’m cooking dinner or flipping channels.
Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
For those willing to take on the task of managing a property, real estate can be a powerful semi-passive income stream due to the combination of rental and principal value appreciation. But to generate passive income from real estate, you either have to rent out a room in your house, rent out your entire house and rent elsewhere (seems counterproductive), or buy a rental property. It’s important to realize that owning your primary residence means you are neutral the real estate market. Renting means you are short the real estate market, and only after buying two or more properties are you actually long real estate.
I just started out with Affiliate Marketing (idea # 8) and it is not as easy as people make out to be. For me, the hardest part so far, is learning Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and driving traffic to my website. I’m only 3 months into it, but I am confident that the site will begin to generate some incom., I have to give it 6-9 months, so we’ll see.
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Vanguard: Vanguard has a minimum of $50,000 and a fee of 0.3%. Rebalancing is done automatically once every quarter and tax loss harvesting is done on a client-by-client basis. We included Vanguard because clients who invest between $50,000-$500,000 have access to a team of financial advisors. Those with accounts over $500,000 will have a dedicated advisor.
Online savings accounts usually come with crazy good interest rates to help you grow your money faster (regular in-person banks can’t offer rates as high). We’re fans of CIT Bank and Discover Bank (among others) because their interest rates are often over 25 times the national average. That means the money in your savings account will grow 25 times faster than the pace it’s most likely growing at now. Really, though, you can’t go wrong with pretty much any online savings account that offers over 1.50% APY 🙂