By Norberto Mercado
Want to really make money from home online? Let’s face it. Despite unpredictable advancements in technology and the radical change of the global job market in the last twenty years, there persists a stubborn strand of thought that still dominates society. That thought, of course, is that earning money from home is a childish—and overwhelmingly useless—venture. Though countless success stories have sprung up over the last two decades, expectations dictate that you must get a “regular” job.
But what does that even mean?
The answer you might expect is that a regular job is defined as any continuous work that will allow you to adequately support all of your basic needs—and ideally those of everyone in your immediate circle. Now hold on before you say anything.
I already know what you’re thinking.
Where exactly is that job? Unless you are living shelled away in a ritzy mansion somewhere in Beverly Hills, I’d wager you at least know someone who is unable to get a “regular” job. It might even be you.
Despite what appears to be a continual lack of faith in the workforce, a majority of people still scorn the prospect of working online. Something about the idea just unsettles them,. They will tell you—have told you, I’m sure—that it’s impossible to make a living online doing… well, whatever it is those people do. They might even question your work ethic (especially, I might add, if you’re a millennial). But don’t let those chants of “When I was your age, I was already working two jobs” or “How could you try something so risky when there are real jobs out there” discourage you. I’m here to tell you that there is a market out here for your services, and though it may sound unbelievable, profit is just a few clicks away.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that easy, and maybe that’s why many people are so hesitant about the notion of working online. You see them everywhere—those little messages that promise you a fortune and fill your inbox with endless spam. At first, they might have seemed worthwhile—or at least worth a try—but now you recognize them for what they really are: meaningless get-rich-quick schemes designed to take advantage of those attempting to escape from a bad situation.
In this type of environment, it’s understandable that you might have second thoughts about working from home. After all, aren’t all online platforms the same? What if they’re just trying to steal my information, or, at the very least, my hard labor?
Take a deep breath.
And calm down. If you are thinking similar thoughts, you first need to realize that there exists a vast and varied free market online that can offer you legitimate results. But before you embark on your own online journey from the comfort of your living room, it’s important that you re-examine your expectations. Before you even consider jumping into the online labor force, it is important that you realize that work is work. Virtually no one gets rich overnight, and holding these expectations can only reduce your drive for success. Remember: the principle goal of any worker is to meet his basic needs and work on establishing a life of comfort so that his wants are also fulfilled. Am I saying you won’t end up incredibly successful?
Of course not.
As someone who works online myself, I have met individuals who have achieved a great deal of success. I am merely pointing out that those levels of success are often contingent on the establishment of reasonable expectations and on the maintenance of a work ethic that fulfills those expectations.
Now that that’s cleared up…
What possibilities are out there for you? This article will examine a variety of options that can lead you to success in making money online. As with any trade, you might have to try a few before you find what job truly fits your needs. So here, in no particular order, are five ways to earn a living from your home.
Freelance is perhaps the most common method of earning money online. Think about all the websites you visit, all the independent articles you read. Chances are, a freelance writer was hired to write them. Virtually everywhere on the Internet, you can find examples of freelance—whether it be article-writing, translation, or even video-editing.
Would it surprise you to know that even those spam letters you keep getting are written by a freelancer? Come on, you didn’t really think that the founder and executive of Easy-Fast-Nutrition (lose weight in minutes!) was writing those things himself, did you? Truth is, the online freelance market is incredibly diverse, and you can get a job free-lancing just about anything. A good starting place is fiverr.com, a great online platform that allows you to sell your services to customers at completely customizable rates. For anyone with an article to write, a video to edit, or a back-track to create, online freelancing is an extraordinary way to earn money from home.
Another great thing about online freelancing—in particular the aforementioned freelance platform—is that you can even take on jobs without having years of experience. If you are a recent college graduate disappointed in the job market and are being continuously turned down because you lack experience, you can avoid the minimum wage problem altogether by setting your own rates. Sounds great, right? I bet that’s something all those naysayers haven’t told you.
2. Virtual Assistant
Admittedly, this is basically freelance in another guise, but I have decided to separate it on a crucial difference. Whereas many freelancers (whether they be writers, musicians, or artists) tend to take up jobs sporadically. This is not to say that they don’t make a good deal of money—but the majority of them do not work with one particular person over extended periods of time in order to gain their profits. Instead, they work with a variety of clients to maximize their revenue.
What I will hereby define as “virtual assistant” is similar to the freelancer in that she gives her services for a particular rate. The distinction I make is that virtual assistants often work full or part-time (on such great platforms as Upwork and Freelancer) with a particular client for a rate that the client generally decides. While rates can be negotiable, they are generally set before the assistant even applies for the job.
Let me give you some examples. A freelance writer working, for purpose of example, on fiverr.com will set her own “gig” for a base price that the consumer must pay in order to get her services. Conversely, the virtual assistant might apply online to perform a task that already has a set rate. For example, the virtual assistant might happen across an offer that reads “Need a Part-Time Writer/$5 an Article.” In this case, the assistant might be chosen from a list of other candidates (and in this case, he will sometimes need to be more experienced than the freelancer, who offers his own services).
Being a virtual assistant is a great way to earn a steady flow of income online, though you might need to “assist” a few people before you see any significant changes in your bank account. The great thing about working online is you don’t have to just choose one. Once you feel confident doing the work that you do, you can branch out—offer your services and take others up on their offers. Over time, especially as you gain a (preferably good) reputation, you will start to attract more clients and earn more profit. IN this way, you can work from home and really earn a living.
Transcription is another—perhaps more difficult—way to earn money from home. While freelancing and being a virtual assistant are vast fields that allow you to take on many opportunities, transcription is a rather narrow job that requires a particular level of patience. Transcription websites like scribee.com allow you to sign up for free and begin transcribing right away.
The act of transcribing sounds easy at first, but it is often quite arduous. Workers are asked to transcribe available files from audio to written format, and oftentimes these files are difficult to hear. While every platform is different, the general idea is that you receive a certain amount of income for transcribing the audio and also get paid a set rate for the hours you work. While you can earn a decent amount of money this way, it is often more taxing and takes longer to adjust to than freelancing. If you feel like you can handle transcribing audio files with frequent bursts of static or speakers conversing at low volumes in hard-to-understand accents, then transcribing might be for you.
All sarcasm aside, transcribing is a viable way to earn money online. For some people, it is just a way to earn extra money, but others are able to use their skills and turn it into a real job that pays for their livelihoods. Because you can set your own hours and work from anywhere—even your bed—that’s not such a bad deal.
4. Mystery Shopping/Reviewing
Okay, so I know this is technically two, but the two really go hand-in-hand. For those unfamiliar, mystery shopping is basically a marketing tactic companies use in order to avoid having to shell out millions in advertising. The company will hire a shopper to enter a location and review the service provided by the outlet. Things a mystery shopper might note in her review are the customer service, displays, and other aspects of the shop’s operation.
With the advent of the Internet, this concept has come roaring into the twenty-first century. Now online mystery shoppers can be paired with retailers based on their certain interests and review online a shop’s good and bad aspects. This might include visiting a website and interacting with customer service, among other things. In her review, a mystery shopper would comment on the site’s accessibility, on the quality of the customer service, and on whether the site has a good display and overall layout.
Online mystery shopping sites advertise that mystery shoppers can make up to $500 a week. That’s some pretty good money. Of course, it will take some work to get to that level, but the work is relatively simple, and you get to look at great shopping deals while you earn your money. Not bad, huh?
Online review websites have offered similar ideas, minus the anonymity. There are several review websites online that allow you to record yourself maneuvering and assessing a website. You grade much the same stuff as a mystery shopper, but you must record yourself and send your video off—you can’t goof around.
Outside of freelancing, blogging is perhaps the most popular way to earn money from home. If you have a hobby or a special knack for finding interesting things, you can turn your daily life into a blog that will generate revenue. This revenue can be increased if you turn your blog into a video blog (vlog), especially on sites such as YouTube. There are people who have become literal millionaires doing this…
But hold your horses. Blogging may sound easy, but like the other jobs listed on this list, it is a job, and it requires practice. Trial-and-error cannot be underrated for the blogger. You must have the clarity to write (or speak) about your interests, and you must be able to continually present your audience with interesting material. For those of you out there with a creative side, this job will certainly feed your inner desires the most.
So what are you still doing on the couch? It’s time to get up. Go! Start your journey!
Or, you can just stay there. That’s the beauty of working from home. Go ahead. Lie down and peruse the Internet. Find the option that’s right for you, make a plan, and then work for it.
Online entrepreneur, content marketing expert and developer of online business.