These days all you need is a laptop and an internet connection and you can quickly start earning money online. The question is: how do you make the most of your skills and identify the best online money-making opportunities out there?
What do I need to think about?
Every business needs to understand its financial health and that is why the skills of an accountant are always in demand, with an estimated £17bn being spent on accounting services annually (Source: CCAB).
The emergence of cloud accounting means that today those services can be delivered remotely. Using accounting software such as Xero and Sage it’s possible to access live client data, so you can provide analysis and support from your home office. In order to acquire clients, though, you’re going to need to demonstrate that you have accountancy training and real-world experience.
In today’s fast-paced work environment, many business people do not have the time to keep on top of their admin. They also may not have the money to pay for an assistant full-time. Virtual Assistants are a cost-effective way to outsource this work and relieve this burden.
By offering your services as a Virtual Assistant you’ll be remotely looking after admin tasks, such as:
responding to emails
coordinating meetings and calendar management
The extent of the services you offer is really up to you and the needs of your client. Freelancer sites like Upwork and dedicated Virtual Assistant agencies like Virtatalent are good places to start.
With the advent of superfast broadband and video chat applications, online teaching has become an effective alternative to classroom teaching. English teachers are particularly in demand around the world – it is said over one billion people are currently learning English – and you don’t necessarily need to come from a teaching background. You can either sign up to established companies/agencies who will provide the training and support, or you can go it alone advertising your services on job boards or social media groups.
Example of online teacher job posting on Indeed.co.uk
You know those Live Chat boxes that pop up on websites? They’re often operated by people working remotely from home. These home-based chat support roles are often working for brands in the retail and ecommerce sector. Job sites such as indeed.co.uk will advertise these roles. Or you can go straight to the company job board directly.
Example of job advert from SilkFred website
Of all the items on this list, this one arguably requires the least amount of skill. The only thing needed is your thoughts and opinions.
Yes, businesses will pay you to complete online surveys, using your feedback and insights to refine products and marketing materials. What you’re paid per survey might be minimal but you can build up your earnings by doing it a little and often.
“I have earned over £200 in the last year just doing online surveys while watching sport on TV or listening to the radio. The money from these – I always get cash if possible – just helped me pay for my new boiler. Next stop new windows!”
If you’ve got the technical know-how – whether it’s web code, email, apps or software – you can make a very good income offering your freelance or contracted services, working from the comfort of your home. The usual freelancer job sites such as Worksome and Upwork regularly advertise programmer/developer/tester roles for people with coding skills.
Example of freelance job invitations on Upwork
Digital marketing services
Think of all the business owners out there who either lack the experience or the time/resource to promote their businesses effectively. That’s a massive growth opportunity they’re missing out on.
That’s where you can come in and add value. By investing in your marketing services – whether that’s setting up social media advertising, running Google Ad campaigns, search engine optimisation, or building an email marketing strategy – you can help businesses to boost brand awareness, reach more people, and increase sales.
It is said as many as 2 million small businesses are currently operating without having a website (Source: Approved Index). That’s before we get started on the businesses who are just getting by with a badly designed, poorly performing website. Think of all the sales they might be missing out on?
Using your web design skills you can transform their fortunes by building a high-performing website that looks great and delivers on their business objectives.
You see the words on this screen. They’ve been paid for. Every written piece on this website has been paid for.
Written content is always in demand, whether it’s for informative how-to articles, witty blogs, adverts, or the compelling words on a website or an email that will lead you to purchase a product. If you’ve got the flair to write persuasively and engagingly, there’s money to be made selling your words.
Brands are investing heavily in video content in order to better engage with their customers online. The reason? 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos (Source: tubularinsights).
With your video editing skills, you can take written content and turn it into snappy explainer videos using stock footage or animations. You can create snazzy promotional videos. Alternatively, you can offer your editing skills to vloggers and the general public – wedding videos being a prime example. Sites like Fiverr are the perfect place to showcase your portfolio and advertise your video editing services.
Example of freelance video editors offering their services via Fiverr
Vlogging – aka video blogging – is a massive industry today, and has helped to turn everyday folk into international YouTube celebrities. The likes of Logan Paul, PewDiePie and Zoella are some of the most well-known and earn millions through promotional deals and advertising on their channels.
If you think you’ve got something interesting to say and a personality that translates well to video, vlogging could be a fun money-making opportunity for you. Bear in mind, though, you need to build an audience first which can take time.
Social media influencer
In the world of social media, there’s money to be made if you have a decent-sized audience of engaged and loyal followers. Once you get to a certain level of influence, brands will pay you money to feature or straight-up promote their products and services in your posts.
As with vlogging, you need to grow your following before these opportunities will come along. Having a themed focus will help – travel, fashion and food being ideal social media topics – but the main thing is that your followers are invested in what you have to say.
Across the web, there are sites making money every time you click to go to another site and make a purchase. This is called affiliate marketing. Some of the most well-known websites built on this model are the likes of Money Saving Expert and Travel Supermarket.
But, you don’t have to be a household name to do this. Even if you run a low-key website or blog you can still generate income by featuring links to third party products. To get started, affiliate networks like Amazon Marketplace and Awin allow you to easily find products where you can get a kickback reward for every referral purchase attributed back to your website.
The likes of eBay and Amazon Marketplace are great ways to sell new and second-hand items to a readymade audience. All the tools are at your disposal to quickly list your items and the set-up costs are low. Other sites like Etsy focus more on the market for unique and handmade items – perfect if you have art and craft skills.
“My two main online market places are Etsy and Amazon. I mainly chose them because their platform is really built with the seller in mind. With Etsy in particular, there’s a mutually beneficial relationship where the more you sell, the more money they make so they provide you with some excellent tools. There’s a load of statistics and data to analyse so you can continuously optimise your shop as a whole and all your individual items.”
Alternatively, you could set up your own eCommerce website to sell your products directly. The advantage here is there is that you own the real estate so you’re not having to pay commission or admin fees to the likes of Amazon, eBay or Etsy. Of course, building your online brand so people know you and can find you takes time. You’ll need to set some marketing budget aside in order to grow awareness and promote your brand.