These 15 ways to earn money on the side each require time, effort, and/or money to generate a continuing stream of extra cash for you. Some of these ideas are simple, low risk ideas, while others are more complex and involve varying degrees of risk.
Depending on your age and risk tolerance, you will need to invest in opportunities that match your risk level. Without a secure pension, or pension plan, I would not risk my savings on anything but guaranteed returns. I guess that I may be risk averse ;>) You should determine your own risk tolerance before you set out an investment plan. Please keep in mind that I am not an accountant or certified financial planner, so please check out any idea you consider using with a professional.
- High Interest Savings Account
You won’t make a lot on this low risk method, but it will be add up over time and help to keep your savings from diminishing too badly. Search around for the FDIC insured bank that offers the highest interest rate. I found that it was necessary to start an account at an online bank.
- YouTube Videos
Every video that you upload to YouTube stays there! If you make it interesting and a lot of people view it, you will make a steady stream of income. There are a number of hoops that you need to jump through to make your YouTube videos show ads, but it can be well worth the effort. Of course, if no one watches your videos, then you have wasted your time.
You can find a lot of great articles and videos online that will teach you how to make watchable videos.
- Write a Book
Writing a book requires time and effort, but can earn a residual income forever. Once your write your book, there are a number of publishing choices. By far the easiest and most popular is Kindle, although other platforms may be more profitable for your niche.
Although your ebook will earn money for you as long as people want to read it, don’t expect to get rich from one ebook. Expect to earn between $5 and $50 a month for an ebook that has a good number of sales each month. Full-time authors that I know about, have each published a dozen or more books, usually as a series.
- Stock Photos
While posting stock photos to various sites can bring in some cash, it requires a great many excellent photos to do this. If you are already a photography and have lots of photos at hand, this can be a source of bonus income. I would not recommend that you rush out and buy an expensive camera and try to break into this niche, as you will probably never earn back the price of the equipment.
- Online Courses
An online course can return anywhere between nothing and millions of dollars. The results are generally correlated with the amount of effort expended. To make any money on a course requires you to do research, create a quality product, frequent advertising and much more. If you believe that you have some knowledge that would make a great course, spend the time to find out what exists in your desired market and what is required to make a course successful.
Although creating, marketing and maintaining a course can be a great deal of work, it can also be extremely profitable.
- Online Music
If you are a musician and have created a number of songs, licencing your music can earn you a little bonus income. This is another opportunity that is really only suitable for someone already in the business. If you are not already making music, then this opportunity is not really for you.
- Invest in the Stock Market
This is a potentially very profitable, but extremely high risk method. You can lessen the risk somewhat by purchasing dividend paying stocks, and receiving a regular payout from the stock regardless of how the price moves. The payout is not guaranteed and is usually in the 2% – 5% per year range. Be sure to get professional advice before you risk your capital in the markets!
- Become a Source of Capital
There are a number of peer to peer networks available recently. These allow a smaller investor to lend money for a reasonable return, and without a huge risk. You can find these networks online if you have a decent amount of capital to invest. Again, get professional advice first.
Investing in an entrepreneur with an idea can be very profitable, but is extremely risky. To do this successfully, you will need to understand the market the company is entering, and have a complete understanding of the situation of the new company. Most great new ideas (about 6o%) never get off the ground, or fail very quickly because of a lack of knowledge, planning or financing. Not a method for money you can’t afford to lose!
- Create an App
If you are familiar with a computer language, and are creative, this can be a great opportunity. Apps sell very well through the stores for the various tablets and phones. If, and this is a big if, you can create a popular app, you can generate a nice monthly income. More than likely though, you would need to develop a number of apps that each generate a modest monthly income.
It’s possible to develop an app even if you are not a programmer, but this can be costly. If you can map out exactly how an app looks and step by step how it operates, you may be able to engage a programmer to code the app for you.
Creating and selling an app is not a guarantee of income. If, however, you can design and program an app, your risk is only your time. On the other hand, if you need to engage a programmer, you risk not only your time, but your money.
Again, researching your market and knowing what people need or want is the lowest risk way to enter this market.
- Affiliate Marketing
Selling someone else’s products can be a low risk option in most cases. Beware of those that require you to invest in their product before you can sell it. Although they can be legit, many earn them income only from sales to affiliates, rather than from the sales that the affiliates make.
Online affiliate marketing generally does not require an investment in the product, but you will need to advertise somehow. The most common and least expensive method is through a website, blog, or social media account. Companies such as Amazon have affiliate programs that allow you to receive a commission for recommending their products.
- Sell Digital Files
This is another great idea that can be used without expending a lot of money. Digital files can be anything from templates to spreadsheets, to charts and graphs, to video and audio files, to pdf files – well you get the idea. As long as there is a need, or a desire to have your files, you should be able to make a few bucks.
The more effort you put into the marketing your products, the more likely you are to sell your files. You can use both free and paid advertising, create your own website, use a sales site like Etsy, etc. The more visibility your material has, the more likely you are to make sales.
- Vacation Rentals
People travelling or vacationing require accommodations every night. If you own space suitable for short term occupancy, you can rent it to these travellers or vacationers. You could even buy or build space for this market.
If you have a well appointed spare bedroom, especially if it has an ensuite, you can be in business as quickly as you can advertise. Most travellers and vacationers expect to receive breakfast as part of the package. You can make this as simple or complex as you wish. We have stayed in places that offered a full, fresh, hot breakfast made to order for each guest. At other places, we have had yogurt, a muffin and access to a coffee machine.
You will need to post pictures of your space, and include details including the meal offered, the price charged, and the minimum rental period. There are sites such as Air B&B that can handle all of this for you.
- Printed Products
No need to carry an inventory of your product! You create or design a clever graphic for a mug, t-shirt or cap. A print on demand company will look after printing and shipping your product. You charge your customer and pay a share to the print on demand outfit. Advertising and sales are your problem, but you can outsource the manufacturing and distribution.
Just beware of spending more on advertising than you are earning from your product.
An easy way to handle the sales and manufacturing process is to use Printify and Etsy. You create an account on each. Upload your design to Printify, place it on the products you want to sell, and then connect the account to your Etsy account.
You can then display your products and write the appropriate advertising copy to entice people to buy your product. People will then buy your product on Etsy, Printify will automatically print and deliver your product, and you pocket the profit. Don’t forget to include the Etsy fees in the calculation of your profit.
- Drop Shipping
Another great idea where you sell products that you do not own or stock! Start by wandering over to www.alibaba.com and setting up an account. Now you want to peruse “ready to ship” products. Enter your area of interest or specialization to cut down the number of products shown. Once you find the product you are interested in, contact the seller to ensure that drop shipping one product at a time is available – many products require minimum purchases.
Your dialogue with the seller allows you to find out whether or not the seller can communicate clearly with you.
Your role is to set up a sales platform. Etsy or Amazon provide websites for your product, or create your own website. Each has its own set of pros and cons. You need to decide which one works best for you. Once you have your sales platform established, purchase your product through your site. This will allow you to know how well the process works, and the anticipated delivery time. Check the packaging to see if can be easily damaged in transit. Use the product and write a truthful review. Do you still want to sell that product?
If all is well, then you need to concentrate on advertising your product. Most successful sellers only market products with a high profit margin (75% or more) as this allows them plenty of room to advertise. Once your product has started to sell profitably, you will normally find that advertising costs per sale will drop and your profit will rise.
Although all of these ideas are currently providing a profit for someone, there is no guarantee that you will earn a profit from any of them. There are too many factors in play for anyone to guarantee your success. However, your best chance of success is to work diligently on the idea of your choice. Don’t get involved in spending a lot of money that you can ill afford to lose.
Good luck and pick an idea that gives you enjoyment.