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Generating income from home can take less than an hour each day or be a full-time job — it just depends on how much effort you want to put into it. Here are some ideas on how to make money in a way that fits your needs, skills and schedule.
Low effort, low reward
Sell your things. You know that bike you hardly ever ride? And that guitar you thought you’d learn to play? Or how about those toys and clothes your kid never used? Don’t wait for spring to do some cleaning — sell those items online. Use Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for local sales, or sites like Amazon and eBay if you don’t mind shipping.
Take online surveys. The work is easy, but it takes a while to make even a few dollars. The sites are often more useful for earning gift cards than for cash. Read our surveys for money roundup to find out which sites might work for you.
Monetize your website. If you already have a blog or website, let it make some money for you. Programs like Google AdSense allow advertisers to bid for your ad space. It’s free and doesn’t have to add to your workload. Ads run on your blog and you make money when visitors click on them. You can also place a PayPal button on your site to allow readers to donate to you or to pay for any products you sell.
High effort, high reward
Freelance. If you have a skill that’s in demand, such as writing, web design, accounting or even data entry, you can get paid for freelancing your services. You can set a price for your labor and choose your clients. To get started, “go back to former employers and ask if they have any freelance work,” says Katherine Hutt, national spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau and former freelancer. If you don’t have any experience yet, Hutt suggests doing some volunteer work for a charity to build your portfolio.
Start your own small business. You get compliments all the time on the jewelry you create, and your family loved the scarves you made last Christmas. Let strangers love what you make, too, by turning that hobby into a small business. Build a website for your wares, or use a marketplace like Etsy to sell your creations.
Work-at-home scams. Watch out for any job opportunity that promises high pay for low-effort work. “Businesses tend not to solicit employees on flyers on telephone poles or social media messages,” Hutt says. These offers are rarely legitimate, and they might end up losing you money. The Federal Trade Commission lists envelope stuffing, mystery shopping and certain types of multilevel marketing among common work-at-home scams.
No matter your approach to making money from home, be sure to include the extra income in your budget. Also, keep all of your documents and contact information for all the businesses you deal with in an easy-to-find place. In the event that something goes awry, you want to be as prepared as possible.