Learning how to make money from home might be one the best decisions you make in your life.
“Having my own business gives me the flexibility I need as a single mom,” says Shan Thomas, a strategic business advisor and founder of Credible Visibility Agency, an Atlanta-based website design agency for women in business.
“Corporate America just didn’t afford me the flexibility I needed to be available for my kids,” she says. “An online business affords me that. I have clients all over the world, and have been able to access and service them online. It’s cost-effective and has opened so many more doors.” Thomas notes there are clients in rural communities who wouldn’t be able to access professionals like her if it weren’t for her having a 100% online company.
The ability to make extra money online from home has created a new category of work: “anywhere workers.” That’s the takeaway from a recent survey of more than 1,400 respondents from 67 different nationalities conducted by Lonely Planet and the freelance marketplace Fiverr. According to the survey results, 54% of workers considered themselves “anywhere workers” in that their ability to make money online and pursue financial independence was not contingent on a particular location.
If you’re curious about how to make money from home, advantages and disadvantages to selling online, and how to generate extra money with a location-independent online setup, here’s some advice and tips from experts who’ve done it.
Advantages to Making Money From Home
Making money from home can be a great way to have the best of both worlds. You generate income while having no commute, and for many the prospect of flexible work creates solutions for childcare or other personal responsibilities that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
“The work-from-anywhere movement is real,” says Yeves Perez, an entrepreneur and CEO of Workbnb, an online travel agency and Airbnb-like service for traveling workers. More than 40 million Americans will be working remotely in the next five years, according to the 2021 Future Workforce Report from Upwork, a gig economy platform. Some want to develop a side hustle that brings in a few hundred dollars a month, while others leverage an online store, online courses, or other money making ideas to make money online full-time.
Here are some of the biggest advantages to making money from home.
Your Work Location Can Be Flexible
If you have a computer and an internet connection, you can earn money from home. Most workers who work from home have location independence, which is one of the biggest perks to having a side hustle, negotiating a remote job, or launching your own small business.
“I left my traditional job in 2014 and have been building a business from home since,” says Gabby Wallace, an entrepreneur, YouTuber, and founder of Go Natural English, a company that provides ESL training and on-demand online courses. Wallace’s passion for teaching and content creation have helped her build her YouTube channel to 2.2 million subscribers.
“I have three streams of income that allow me to make four times what I made in my previous job as a teacher,” she says. “I have homes in different states, travel abroad often, and move around when I feel like it. In everything I do, I want to have flexibility in my life; making money through content online has allowed me to do those things.”
If you desire to travel, have to be somewhere else, or want to hang out at your favorite coffee shop, online tutoring jobs and other money making ideas allow you the flexibility to be on the go and still bring in cash.
You Can Create Passive Income
Passive income frees up your time and allows you to pursue other ventures while still making money.
“A home-based business allows you to incur an income from anywhere in the world passively,” says Blake Nubar, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Laptop Freedom, an online business that has 10,000-plus customers in 96 countries. “I travel twice a month and the same amount of income still comes in because of the business we’ve built.”
One of the more challenging parts of entrepreneurship can be finding the initial capital you need to even start. If you decide to earn money from home, your start-up costs can be low to nonexistent depending on which income model you choose. Popular approaches include creating your own website, setting up your own online store, or being a virtual assistant, and you can work as little or as much as you want to fit your personal and financial goals.
You Can Cultivate a Higher Quality of Life
The longer your commute, the lower your quality of life, according to a frequently-cited 2008 study published in The Scandinavian Journal of Economics. Commute time statistics are shifting thanks to the increase in remote and hybrid work, but 22% of Americans still commute for 30 minutes or more each way, according to a survey published from Statista, a data analytics company. A separate survey from YouGov last year found that no commute was the most-appreciated perk of working from home.
Many workers note that working from home can create better solutions for childcare or work/life balance. As COVID-19 protocols continue to ebb and flow, figuring out how to make money online is an attractive option because you’re in an environment you know and can control.
Disadvantages to Making Money From Home
Anyone can make money from home as long as you have internet access, and there are definitely perks. But there are also some disadvantages to consider when deciding whether to pursue an online side hustle or other form of remote work.
It Can Get Lonely
Having a work-from-home career often means spending hours staring at a computer screen or sitting in on Zoom meetings where only one person can speak at a time. Virtual coffee chats and happy hours can create rapport, but there may be large blocks of time in which you’re sitting and working alone.
You Can Become Easily Distracted
Your favorite streaming show is only ever a few clicks away when you’re working from home. No boss is looking over your shoulder or monitoring your output when you have your own website. It can be easy to blow off what you need to do and give in the many possible distractions all around you.
“What people tend to struggle with is [the fact that] they are surrounded by distractions,” says Tony Whatley, a serial entrepreneur of 20 years, best-selling author, and speaker. Whatley has been making money from home since 2001.
“Maybe you’re too close to the bedroom and want to take long naps every day,” he says. “Maybe you’re addicted to Netflix, and the TV is within your view. Whatever your distractions might be, they exist at your house.”
Whatley’s advice is to dedicate a specific area or extra space in your home to working. This is your space to sell online or develop your online portfolio. Then, set non-negotiables to help you accomplish your goals for making money online.
The Internet Has Competition
One in three Americans have a side hustle, according to a survey of 2,001 Americans conducted by Zapier, a marketing automation company. Selling information online in the form of an online course or online store is appealing, but others who are also location independent have the same opportunity as long as they have internet access, which means there are people online trying to build the same side hustle as you.
Do I Need To Invest to Make Money From Home?
Depending on which strategy you choose to make money online, there could be upfront investments associated with getting started. Some of the most common costs include:
- Website hosting and buildout if you decide you need your own website.
- Monthly charges for an email service provider if you intend to build an email list of customers or readers.
- Earmarking money for taxes, especially if you’re a sole proprietor.
- Possible costs for hiring professionals to guide you and help you get a running start.
The good news is that you can start and make money from a side hustle or online business with few costs. You can get the strategy and exact steps you’ll need from YouTube videos, podcasts, books, articles, and other forms of online information.
5 Ideas For Making Money From Home
There are many practical ways to make money from home. Here are five popular side hustle options that have low costs to start and tremendous potential for extra cash every month.
No. 1: Sell a Digital Product
Your knowledge and experience could be packaged into digital information products. Some examples include an eBook, a video course, an audio product, or short informational guides.
“Almost everybody has some skill they can package into a digital product,” says Arne Giske, an online entrepreneur and co-founder of the Insider Investors Club and Groups Funnels. He’s built a digital product business with over 5,000 clients.
“You just have to learn the process of putting together an offer that people are willing to pay for,” he says. Giske notes that you can turn a lot of information into a digital product that sells passively once you build an audience. There are few costs to creating digital information products, which creates an opportunity to bring in money immediately and develop good profit margins.
Package what you know into a digital information product. You can create an eBook, course, or informational guide once, then sell it online over and over again to generate passive income.
No. 2: Offer Freelance Services
Businesses and individuals are always looking for help, but they don’t necessarily need an employee to get the job done. Often, hiring virtual assistants or a freelancer is a better fit, and freelancing is a great way to make money from home. Some of the most popular freelance ideas include:
- Managing someone’s social media accounts on their behalf.
- Creating content for a business, whether it be articles, blog posts, or newsletters, to drum up spare cash.
- Offering virtual assistant services, in which you are paid by the hour to help someone with administrative tasks from the comfort of your own home.
Related: Freelancing v. Coaching v. Consulting, Explained
No. 3: Become an Online Coach or Consultant
Some people prefer to work with an expert one on one. What you know can be taught to others in the form of coaching or online tutoring, and with access to Zoom and other software tools, you can coach clients from anywhere in the world.
“We don’t offer done for you; we offer done with you,” says Isaac Mashman, an entrepreneur and CEO of Mashman Ventures, a company that helps business leaders with personal branding.
“We consult our clients and work with them to build out their brands,” he says. “We’ve built a team of 12 independent contractors who consult our clients virtually.” Mashman says being able to consult from home has been great for himself and his team.
If you’re not familiar with the process of coaching, there are options for training and certification. You can step up an online coaching side hustle with just the costs of using conference software and promote your offers on social media.
No. 4: Teach English
If you speak English, there are options to find online tutoring jobs and teach others how to speak English. This side hustle can be done anywhere, and the potential to make money is good.
“I was bringing home at least $2,000 a month when I was teaching English full-time. I taught six to seven days a week. There are ESL certifications you can get to teach English as a second language, and there are platforms in the U.S. now, such as Outschool.”
Branch says there are apps such as iTalki, tutor.com, Cambly, and many others that offer the opportunity to teach English. You can become certified and get paid to teach from the comfort of your home. The hours can be flexible, and it’s a side hustle with very few expenses.
No. 5: Become an Affiliate
If you don’t have time to deliver a product or service, promote someone else’s offers instead and rack up commissions. You can sign up to become an affiliate with large companies such as Amazon or other retailers or service providers whose products you use.
Being an affiliate means you get paid every time someone buys with your affiliate link. There is no cost to be an affiliate, and you can be paid (from home) to promote things you’d probably talk about anyway.
Start Making Money From Home Today
Online side hustles and remote work can be great ways to make extra income, and they also act as a safeguard if something happens unexpectedly in your career. Evaluate which strategy to make money from home aligns with your life and goals, do your research, and then start taking action today.