Even if you’ve been lucky enough to keep your job during the past few years, you’re probably not happy about your financial situation. Like many consumers, you may have taken on unseemly amounts of debt when credit was easy to find. Now that interest rates for personal and business loans are higher and the minimum payments on many credit cards have doubled, you’re probably regretting your decision to do so.
As your debts mount and you contemplate taking drastic measures to end your financial nightmare, look to the Internet for a possible solution to your problems. The “tech sector” is the one area of the economy that continued to grow during the depths of the recent financial crisis. Today, online businesses are responsible for much of the United States’ meager job growth and support millions of already-employed individuals who work online to supplement their salaries. Millions more work as freelancers and contractors, comfortably completing their part time jobs from home.
With so many online job opportunities available to you, your work-at-home path to financial freedom will be unique. While it’s true that your earnings will ultimately reflect the amount of effort that you devote to your online gigs, pay scales do vary widely between sub-fields. In general, you’ll earn more for completing tasks that require research, background knowledge or specialized skills.
Before you jump full-on into the world of online employment, consider acquiring some familiarity with new technologies and techniques. These might include HTML code and WordPress, both of which will be key components of any blogs or websites that you choose to publish on your own.
1. Survey Taker
If you’re looking to commit just a few hours per week to your part time online job, opt for low-maintenance gigs like survey-taking or stock photography. While they don’t pay very well, surveys enable millions of underemployed Americans to earn at least some extra income.
There are dozens of niches within this booming field. In general, you’ll maximize your survey-taking income by focusing on in-depth surveys targeted to specific groups of people. While you may not qualify for some of the best-paying surveys, which may impose onerous educational or demographic restrictions and require inconvenient follow-up interviews, you’ll find plenty of general-population studies that will gladly accept you.
2. Stock Photographer
Alternatively, indulge your creative side and start a stock-photography side business. All you need to get started is a digital camera, a means of uploading your photos, and access to a stock photo aggregator like ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. While it helps to have a keen sense of frame, you don’t have to be Ansel Adams to attract eyeballs and dollars with your photographs. Simply look around the Web for photo ideas and start snapping away. When you’re ready, you may dispose of your pictures by selling them outright or entering into a revenue-sharing agreement with one of the aggregators.
3. Marketing Affiliate
If you’re looking for ways to monetize your already-existing personal website or blog, consider becoming a marketing affiliate. As long as you’re comfortable with openly promoting products and services from third-party vendors, your affiliate activities will almost certainly increase traffic to your site and earn you some extra funds in the process. To build loyal audiences and encourage repeat business, stick to promoting just a few niche vendors. If you have the time and inclination, consider setting up a separate site for each niche to drive search traffic.
While striking out on your own and participating in multiple independent affiliate programs may maximize your revenue, you may find it easier to manage your workload with an Amazon Affiliate account. Amazon has created a straightforward, easy-to-use affiliate system that compensates its users to the tune of 4-10 percent of all sales attributable to their promotional activities. Even better, you’ll receive an additional kickback for each sale generated by an affiliate that you refer to the site.
4. Freelance Writer
The Internet is awash in quality written content generated by talented individuals in their spare time. There are dozens of reputable sites that serve as platforms for these aspiring writers. Some, like Associated Content and Helium, pay their members upfront for each article that they write as well the subsequent page views that their writings generate. If you’re able to churn out multiple writing assignments per day, you may be able to build a formidable portfolio capable of generating a great deal of income on one of these sites.
Other writing sites, like HubPages, lay out general topics around which writers can dispense their knowledge. The best writers on these “hub” sites tend to attract the most unique views and earn substantial ad-share income for their efforts. If you know a great deal about a single topic, write focused articles that expound upon it. You’ll eventually reap the rewards of your efforts as interested readers from across the world zero in on your newly-established corner of the Internet.
In this difficult economy, working several part time jobs from home may be your best hope of reversing and eventually eliminating your worsening debt problem. Fortunately, there are hundreds of such jobs available online. Whether you choose to become a tireless advocate of a particular product or develop your skill as a writer, you can make real money without ever leaving your home. Get started today and start planning for a brighter financial future.