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Many Americans often find themselves with less money than they need.
Some don’t have enough left over at the end of the month, while 34% have no savings at all. If that sounds like you, there’s a solution.
With access to an internet connection, and some creativity and hustle, you can make extra money from home for your monthly budget, emergency fund, retirement savings, or vacation stash.
Before you get started, be clear about what you want to accomplish. Your “why” will keep you motivated on the path to making extra money from home. Then, think about what skills you have to use, whether it’s writing, proofreading, marketing, or even teaching piano lessons.
Combining your skills with goals and planning, you can make extra money and have the income to pad your savings, pay your bills, or eliminate your student loan debt.
7 Smart Steps to Make Money Online from Home
If you’re unsure how to formulate a plan to make money from home, these steps provide a guideline. Following them in order will yield the best results, but it’s okay to go through them in a way that makes sense for you.
1. Give Your Extra Money a Purpose
Before you start trying to make extra money online from home, think about why you want to. Do you want the money for a specific purpose, like saving for a house or taking a big trip? Are you working toward longer-term financial goals, like adding to your emergency fund or saving for retirement?
Choose a specific goal, and think about how this will change your life. Buying a house might give you more space and stability. A big trip will create memories that will last a lifetime. Saving for emergencies or retirement will reduce your financial anxiety and help you feel more confident about your financial future.
Whatever it is, envision your life when you meet this goal. Write it down so you can revisit your goal and vision when the work gets tough.
2. Set a Specific Earnings Goal
Set goals for your earnings. How much money do you want to make per week or per month? Decide how much you want to earn in the first six months. If you have a specific number in mind, you’ll push yourself to reach it, and that will help boost your earnings significantly over the long term.
To determine your earnings goal, ask yourself some questions. What will you do with the extra cash you make? Will you put everything straight into your savings or re-invest a portion into the business? Making a plan up front, before the cash starts coming in, will help you stick to it and use your extra earnings wisely.
Related: 18 Simple Ways to Make Extra Cash
3. Know What to Look For
Once you have a plan for your money, you can start thinking about how you’re going to earn it. Look for opportunities that don’t have a lot of overhead.
Industries like freelance writing and virtual assistant services don’t require anything except a computer, the internet, and your expertise. Be wary of businesses that require you to buy products up front because that will increase your investment and risk.
Think about things you enjoy when you’re choosing how to make money from home. Do you like writing? If so, freelance writing, copywriting, or proofreading could be for you. Are you a marketing guru? Consider starting a Facebook ad agency to help other entrepreneurs.
There are plenty of options, but if you’re unsure what to choose or you don’t know how to become a virtual assistant or start a Facebook ad agency, do some research. Ask others how they’re making extra money from home.
Also, be honest with yourself about what you can do. If you have a day job, think realistically about how many side jobs you can take on. Plan for unexpected delays and make sure you have enough time to do the job well.
Some people might prefer deliverable-based businesses, like freelance writing. Others might want to devote a fixed number of hours per week, which would lend itself to being a virtual assistant.
Even if you don’t have tons of free time, you can still find ways to make extra money online from home. For example, you can get paid to watch Netflix in your spare time or take online surveys for money. Just be sure to work with a reputable site. You don’t want to spend precious time and lose money instead of earning it.
4. Watch Out for Work-from-Home Scams
If a work-from-home job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are plenty of work-from-home scams out there, so when you are considering working with a person or company, do your research.
Look at how long the company has been in business. Check out their ratings in the Better Business Bureau. Try to find reviews online from other side hustlers who have used the service.
Also, a legitimate job will never ask you for money up front. If you’re asked to pay for training, equipment, or something else before starting a job, it’s probably a scam.
According to Learn How to Become, an online career resource, there are a few common work-from-home scams. Medical billing is a common example. Scammers sell software, equipment, and “client lists” to individuals. They don’t tell you that medical clinics rarely hire individuals to do this job.
Mystery shopping and envelope stuffing are also examples of common work-from-home scams. For instance, some mystery shopping sites will promise free clothes or free meals as long as you pay a membership fee to get access to their service. Avoid these offers. Instead, look for ones that don’t require an upfront payment.
The same goes for envelope stuffing scams. If a company says you have to pay a fee before receiving your supplies, avoid them. Legitimate work-from-home companies will pay you for your services, not the other way around.
If you’re still unsure, your best bet might be to start your own business selling services, rather than joining a company advertising work-from-home jobs.
5. Decide How You Want to Make Money
Now that you know what you’re trying to accomplish and what to look out for, it’s time to decide exactly how to make extra money from home. There are so many ways you can make extra cash online, so it comes down to finding the right fit for your skills, interests, and schedule.
If you love to write, freelance writing could be a great fit for you. You can make money writing content for companies, bloggers, or news sites.
Holly Johnson is a professional writer and columnist for Lending Tree, US News & World Report Travel, and others. She has grown a six-figure freelancing business by finding great jobs and producing quality, consistent writing that editors want.
To be a successful freelance writer, you’ll need to know how to craft clear, organized, and effective content. Basic knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques is also helpful. Consider targeting a specific niche where you already have expertise, like travel, finance, or beauty. This can help you build your brand as a freelancer.
As you take on writing jobs, make sure you’re meeting deadlines, producing solid content, and communicating with your clients. This will help you build your reputation and grow your network. As those grow, so will your client list and, eventually, your earnings.
Interested in launching a freelance writing career but not sure where to find writing jobs? Finding a freelance writing gig can be tough because they’re not always advertised. Fortunately, courses like Holly Johnson’s Earn More Writing can help you get started.
Earn More Writing teaches you how to find writing jobs, set your rates, and figure out what editors really want. Holly will also teach you how to work efficiently to increase your hourly rate. This is a great course for beginner freelance writers or more seasoned ones who want to ramp up their earnings.
The primary responsibility of a virtual assistant job is helping other entrepreneurs, and there are a variety of tasks you perform as a VA.
For instance, if you work with a blogger, you might format posts, create graphics, and manage social media posts. A VA could also manage events like sales webinars, post pins on Pinterest, run Facebook ads, and more. You can work with online or brick-and-mortar businesses, too. Many small businesses hire assistants to manage their online presence.
With over 150 different services to offer as a virtual assistant, the opportunities are nearly endless. If you decide to look into VA roles, think about how you want to structure your business.
Will you offer a block of hours or work on an hourly basis? Will you perform general VA tasks or stick to specialized skills? Consider how you like to manage your time and go from there.
Not sure how to start your VA business from scratch? Are you wondering where to find clients, what to offer, and how much to charge? Consider learning from an expert.
Gina Horkey is a mom of two who grew her virtual assistant business to $4,000 a month within a few months of launching it, all while working her full-time job. Her VA course, 30 Days or Less to VA Success teaches everything you need to know to build a VA offering from scratch.
Writers, authors, college students, and other professionals often need an extra set of eyes on their work. That’s where a proofreader comes in. To make money proofreading, you need to have a good working knowledge of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Familiarity with a specific niche could also help you make a name in that particular area.
That’s what happened to Caitlin Pyle. In 2007, she began proofreading essays for college students. Over time, her proofreading business grew. These days, she teaches others how to do the same. The best part about proofreading, Caitlin says, is the ability to work from anywhere. She spent a whole year living and working in South America.
Caitlin founded Proofread Anywhere to help aspiring proofreaders start their businesses. She offers the perfect course for beginning proofreaders. Not only will you learn the basics of proofreading, you’ll learn how to market your business effectively. There’s also an advanced course for proofreaders who are interested in working with court reporters.
You might enjoy blogging if you want to work for yourself instead of someone else, you enjoy creative freedom, and you like when every day is different. No day in the life of a blogger looks like the day before. One day you might write a post while the next you’re creating a graphic or managing Facebook ads. The variety keeps it interesting.
Bloggers can make money in a number of different ways. With a successful blog, you could bring in revenue by placing ads on your website. Many bloggers make money by promoting other companies’ products and services (affiliate marketing). You could also sell your own digital products including online courses, eBooks, or PDF templates.
Alex and Lauren are an example of how you can make money blogging. In 2015, they were regular 9-5 office workers, struggling with their daily commutes and wanting more out of life.
They founded their health and wellness site, Avocadu, in late 2015 and have since started another site and a YouTube channel. Just a few years after launching their first blog, the entrepreneurial duo is making six figures a month while traveling the world.
If blogging sounds like it’s for you, Alex and Lauren have helped thousands of new bloggers get started, and they have lots of knowledge to share. Their starter course, Launch Your Blog, will walk you through how to start your blog and set it up for success.
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All businesses need to bring in customers consistently, but many entrepreneurs simply don’t have time to learn about digital marketing and execute strategies that will fill their pipeline. They want to focus on their core business, whether that’s real estate or running shoes. That’s where Facebook ads specialists can help.
With a little training, some free tools, and a Facebook profile, you can start running Facebook ads for businesses. You’ll need to create the ads, do some testing, and then automate the way the ads will appear to potential customers.
Over time, you can also track the return on investment for the ads and make adjustments so they’re economical, successful, and have a great rate of return.
In 2015, Bobby Hoyt was a high school band director with a new personal finance blog and a dream. He wanted to share the strategies he’d learned to slash expenses, pay off $40,000 of debt in two years, and beef up his savings.
But Bobby didn’t want this to be his side hustle; he wanted to do it full time. That’s why he quit his teaching job in mid-2015 to focus on his online business.
But while Bobby was monetizing his blog, he needed to make some money, and that’s when he started managing Facebook ads for local businesses. It turned out that this side business quickly replaced Bobby’s teaching income and allowed him to pay the bills while building his website.
And now he wants to share his knowledge with you. Bobby teamed up with Mike Yanda to create a course, FB Side Hustle, on starting a Facebook Ad Business in just 28 days. This course will teach you how to find and pitch clients, create lead funnels, monitor Facebook ads, and much more. It’s a comprehensive guide to setting up a Facebook digital marketing business quickly.
Related: 25 Legit Ways to Make Money Online
6. Stick to One Thing
When you’re first starting out, it’s a smart choice to experiment with how to earn money from home. This can help you determine exactly what you like and don’t like in a job.
Some people learn that they need to work on a set schedule while others prefer flexible hours. You may find that proofreading puts you to sleep or that you’re a true master of Facebook ads.
Once you figure out what you enjoy and what you’re good at, hone in on that particular area. You will be able to master skills and quickly make a name for yourself if you have a narrow focus.
This will help you build your client list, which in turn will give you strong client testimonials and deep knowledge of the job you’re doing. And with those, you can increase your rates and earn more money.
7. Manage Your Time Wisely
Now that you have a business plan — and paying customers — treat your business like a job. Set aside time each week to work on it, and prioritize income-generating tasks first. If you’re working under a deadline, make sure to plan ahead so you’re not rushing at the last minute. Give yourself at least a one day buffer to account for unexpected complications.
If you’re doing a job that requires a specific number of hours per week, block off those hours on your calendar. Arrange for childcare if you need to. Make sure that your time during that window is completely dedicated to the job.
Planning your time is equally as important as planning your money. If you don’t know how you’re going to use it, you’ll find yourself with none left for what matters.
The Secret for How to Make Extra Money from Home
The best way to make extra money online from home is to stay consistent. Don’t give up, even when you feel stuck. Although it might take some time to start earning real money, stay with it. Over time, you’ll keep building your skills and reputation, which will lead to more income.
Be patient, and stay focused. If you keep it up, you’ll start earning that extra income. And if you put in the work, you could even turn your new hustle into your full-time job.
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