NOTE: As of 2016, some of these needs editing, but the list is still valid.
Squidoo ( Which Has Been Acquired by HubPages)
This was one my favorite sites to work for because you have the creative license to design a web page tailored to your niche. The web pages called lenses make you money through traffic, ads, and the effort that you put into them to turn them into money-making machines.
During the transition from Squidoo to HubPages, much of my hard work was deleted or lost in translation. Since then, I have not made anything on the site. However, I do hear from some people that they have recovered from the acquisitions.
I earned a little over $1,500 per month through this site by creating audience-worthy web pages that bring in traffic and sales through Amazon and other affiliate sites that I use. This is not a get rich quick site....know that before you start. It took me three years to get to that amount of profit, but you can do it too if you take the time to create audience driven web pages with unique content and information that drives the reader to purchase something. So if you are interested in designing web pages and putting in some hard work, this is a great at-home way to make extra income or spending money (hello! free Christmas).
Freelance Magazine Articles
This is the biggie and we all hope to break into this niche if we are aspiring writers, but it isn't easy. I wouldn't even say that I have "broken into the industry"; rather, I would say that I am making a name for myself one tip, article, and column at a time.
Writing articles for magazines requires confidence, expertise (or the ability to demonstrate expertise), and excellent organizational skills. If you can work from home and get it done, then this may be something you may want to start working on getting into in order to make an income.
I started submitting query letters five years ago and I didn't get an acceptance letter for about nine months afterwards. The competition is painful. I started writing for regional magazines that fit into my point of view and once I gained enough clips, I pursued the big names of the magazine industry. Again, this industry requires persistence and a system.
For example, my rule is that I send out five query letters per week and continue writing on spec articles in case I hear back from those publishers. Moreover, there are some months where I am writing twenty articles/tips/columns and there are months where I am lucky to get two acceptance letters. It is dependent on the needs of the magazine and your ability to sell that pitch. As a freelance writer you will feel exhausted, chaotic, and a bit defeated at times, and you may find that it isn't for you, but I would suggest starting slowly,perhaps one query per week and see how it goes. In the meantime, you can write on spec articles or utilize the aforementioned at home jobs to hone your writing skills.
Honestly, I did read a ton of freelance writing books to start out in this industry. I read terrible books, and I found gems that I still use today. Here are my favorite "freelance writing" books:
- The Complete Guide to Article Writing: How to Write Successful Articles for Online and Print Markets
- The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
I only recommend books that I've read. Be cautious about freelance writing books that promise to make you money within a certain amount of time...an author can't guarantee that. Ever.
Liveperson is a site that you can offer your services or expertise in a specific subject matter. This is the website that paid for many of my expenses during my undergraduate degree. As a college student who was writing academic papers, editing the school newspaper and racing through Organic Chemistry courses, I found that students were interested in my expertise of writing and revising papers. I thought to myself, "I wish I could turn this skill into a business," and I scoured the internet for remote positions that would allow me to edit and write papers for others (now, by write, I mean revise).
I found Liveperson, set up my profile and within months I was earning $500 per month helping colleagues and students edit, brainstorm, and revise their academic work. The site features niches such as editing, computer programming, homework help, and many other expertise niches that you could look into as a steady income. Students, especially college students are always looking for an expert to provide them help for a lower price than a local professional. Hence, you can do the work for 75% of what you would charge in person and make money by helping others in their academic and professional endeavors.
If you would like to work from home, but work within your community, as well, then I would suggest hunting through the writing gigs and jobs posted on Craig's List. I started doing this about three years when a professor told me that he started his editing career via Craig's List. He was not lying either; you can find real, high-paying gigs and remote positions in the field of writing and editing. I take about two or three "gigs" per month from Craig's List that would otherwise be unknown to me had I looked for editing/writing jobs on "Big Box" employment websites. Moreover, on occasion you can secure a part-time job in your community that is mostly remote with a few in person meetings too. This way you can build your skills and rapport with real people who can give you great connections in the business. At the moment, I make anywhere between $500-1,000 each month working through the Craig's List ads.
To secure quality, legitimate gigs and jobs on Craig's List, I would suggest developing a writer's resume (or editing), as well as a stunning cover letter which details your ability to meet the demands required of a freelance journalist or editor.
These sources of income earn about $2,000-3,000 per month which enables me to cover my rent, my child's schooling, my graduate tuition, utilities, groceries, and anything else that must be paid each month. Additionally, this stream of income allows me to save quite a bit of money that I am putting away for a home. Earning income from home is not a myth, but it does take excellent time management skills, dedication to the craft, and a keen eye for real work vs scam. Now that you have the resources, get out there and work towards earning an income from home!
How do you pay your bills?