If you’re thinking of taking on a side job, you’re not alone. Although the idea of a second job is nothing new, the “platform economy” of online business and commerce has made it a lot easier. So much so, in fact, that the PEW Research Center found in 2016 that a quarter of all American adults were using the platform economy to earn extra money.
But what about you? If you’re interested in earning extra money through side jobs online and want to know where to start — and how to tell legitimate opportunities from scams — here are a few ideas to help.
4 side jobs online that pay more than the typical ‘second job’
Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of the traditional second job is that it usually involves working at night or on the weekends for minimum wage or tips. Even when you need the extra money, it might not always seem worth losing time with family or precious hours of sleep.
Luckily, there are plenty of online side jobs that enable you to work from home when you feel it’s convenient, and that pay more than the minimum wage.
1. Transcribe audio and video recordings
Love to type? Have a few extra hours on weekends, or even an extra hour a day? You can generate income during that time if you sign up to transcribe audio and video recordings.
Kollin Lephart, founder of travel and lifestyle company Every Girl, Everywhere, decided to try this to earn extra money to pay off her student loans while she was traveling abroad. She’s been using a service called Rev that pays $1 per minute for transcribing audio or video or 10 cents per word for translations.
To start, you must first sign up and take a transcription test. According to Lephart, making out the words can sometimes be a challenge due to different accents or muffled voices. If you pass, you can start transcribing anytime, but if not, you can try the test again in 45 days.
Once you’re in, you can log in whenever you want to see if there are jobs available. Recordings might be a few minutes or several hours long — so you can choose based on how much time you have at the moment. Lephart says she normally sees 10 to 20 jobs available whenever she logs in, and she does the work in her spare time:
“I like to wake up in the morning, and while I’m drinking coffee and eating breakfast, I’ll transcribe. And maybe at night right before I go to bed, I’ll transcribe.”
She also transcribes on the rare weekend when she has downtime. So how much has this helped her? Lephart says it can take awhile to get good at it, but now she’s earning an average of $250 per week. Not bad for extra work in your pajamas.
2. Use your skills to build a business online
Some jobs seem like they could only be done effectively in person. But with a little creativity, you might find that your skills are marketable online as well.
That’s what happened with personal trainer and nutrition coach Niccole Hendrickson, although she discovered this new opportunity by accident. Since she can only ever be in one place at a time, and sometimes her clients couldn’t make it to meet her, they started to ask if she could do more for them online. Then, when she moved from San Diego to Denver, building out her business online further enabled her old clients to keep working with her.
So how do you manage to do a personal training class online? For Hendrickson, it started with documents outlining basic nutrition and fitness plans. Slowly she started to add video clips of exercises, and now she’s working on revamping her entire brand to work better online.
This doesn’t just give Hendrickson a way to scale herself and earn more, it also helps her save money. Since she has to pay for gym time train to her clients (and commute there and back), doing so much work online saves her massive amounts of overhead.
So far, her online business has brought in an additional $500 to $1,000 per month. In her words, this is only the beginning.
Think about your job or the skills you’ve developed. Just as Hendrickson started online personal training with a simple document, there might be a creative way to do online what you do in real life and thus scale your income-earning abilities.
3. Turn your time on social media into money
The average Facebook user spends nearly an hour of their time each day on the platform, including Instagram and Messenger. In a lifetime, we’re projected to spend five years on social media overall.
That’s a lot of time going down the drain. So why not turn it into income? If you learn how to use social media for business marketing, you can. What’s more, with sites like CloudPeeps, you can even start out a side job as a freelance social media marketer without having to chase down clients yourself. You simply create a profile and wait for new opportunities to pitch.
As for how much you can earn, CloudPeeps currently boasts social media managers at the rates of $30 to $80 per hour, or $300 to $1,000 per month. If you sign up for CloudPeeps’ free plan, they’ll get 15 percent of your rate. At the lowest end, you’d still make a decent wage, and if things start going well, you can pay a monthly membership rate instead and decrease CloudPeeps’ cut.
Other sites enable you to do this as well, such as Contently, although that’s geared toward professional freelance writing, not just social media.
4. Consider becoming a virtual assistant
If you’re incredibly detail-oriented and organized, virtual assistant work might be the perfect way for you to earn extra money online. The only challenge might be fitting this in with a day job if you need to, though the hours required will depend on the clients you take on. The current median wage for this work is $15.75 per hour.
Blogger Kayla Sloan decided to try virtual assistant work and earned $15 per hour out of the gate. She loved it because she could work from home, set her own schedule, and skip the commute (including the costs that come with it).
In fact, Sloan got started in this work before knowing what it was — someone simply offered her the position after seeing her blog. Her advice to others is to begin with their network, including any entrepreneurs or small-business owners they might know. And if that comes up blank, Sloan suggests trying online job boards, though she does also warn that jobs posted on such sites typically pay less.
Try to choose online side jobs that fit into your lifestyle
Taking on extra work, even when it’s a side job online, is a tough endeavor when you’re already overloaded with things to do and short on time. That said, if you can find a side job that works with what you already know, then it can be a lot easier.
Career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching Angela Copeland stresses that you should choose the most flexible work that doesn’t “interfere with your current full-time work.” She also suggests trying sites such as Upwork to find opportunities in line with your skills, as long as you’re aware that the fees you can earn on the site vary quite a bit.
In the end, if you can manage to find a side job online that’s fun or interesting, then what felt like a drag could end up being something you’re actually happy about — and not just for the extra money.
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