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Real Ways to Make Money Working from Home

Real Ways to Make Money Working from Home

    Most of those “work from home” opportunities that you see on TV, in the newspaper, or online are scams or pay you so little for the time you’ve invested that it’s not worth your while.  In my quest to figure out a way to ditch the 9 to 5 job so that I could work from the comfort of my own home, I have come across many different opportunities.  Whether you want to work from home so that you have more time with your kids or because you’d rather wear your jammies instead of a suit, the following are some great ideas on how to earn your living by working from home.  I can’t promise you’ll get rich overnight or quickly earn enough to replace your salary, or that it will even be easy, but if you stick with it and keep trying you’ll eventually have achieved your goal.

    Start your own website.

    There are two kinds of websites – the ones that sell products and the ones that provide information.

    If you can think of a good idea for a webstore and invest enough time and energy into marketing it, you might do well.  But keep in mind, you will have to constantly keep at it.  There will be orders to fill and plenty of accounting and inventory work to keep you busy,  provided you have a good product, there’s demand, and you’ve marketed yourself well.  The “If you build it they will come” slogan does not apply to websites.  If no one knows you’re out there, the chances of them accidentally stumbling upon it are virtually nil.  It can also be expensive if you don’t know how to create or operate your website, or how to market it.  You may very likely need to enlist the help of paid professionals.

    If the idea of running an online store does not appeal to you, perhaps you’d like to create a website that offers information, rather than products.  It could be that you make brilliant cartoons and think that would get a following, or perhaps you’d like to start up a news blog or maybe even a site for dog owners.  There’s no limit as to what topics you have to choose from, but my advice is to choose something that you love.

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    My experience:

    I started up a news website along with my husband in 2006.  We are both news junkies who love to write.  I always wanted to be a journalist,  but I knew where that career field was heading and I didn’t really want to be an intern or do time as the obituary writer.  So we took our passion for news and for writing and our love for our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and we started up a news site.

    I can’t say that we’ve gotten rich off of it,  but it helps pay the bills.  It’s daily traffic rivals and surpasses that of established news media outlets in our market, and we’ve brought on board some award-winning journalists in recent years.  It’s also gotten us other opportunities over the years, such as press passes to concerts and sporting events, chances to test out new products or listen to unreleased CDs, and so on.

    We’ve stuck with it for so long because it is something that we enjoy.  I can’t stress this enough – if you start a website about something that you are not passionate about, chances are you will burn out pretty quickly.  It takes a lot of work to build up a successful website, and you have to be willing to put in the time yourself until it is big enough that you need to bring in some extra help.

    We’ve saved a lot of costs because I know how to build websites and have a background in graphic design and a bit of SEO know-how. If you don’t have these skills, or a friend who might be willing to lend some of their talent, it will end up costing you more.

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    Answer questions, do surveys, and conduct searches.

    This tactic to making money online will most definitely not make you rich, but can help you earn enough to pay for the little things you’d be buying anyways, or give you some extra spending money to treat yourself every once in awhile.

    There are plenty of opportunities to take surveys for money.  This has never appealed to me, so I can’t honestly direct you to a legit one.  They’re out there, but do your research first.  Otherwise you might just find yourself added to another spam distribution list.

    If you’re good at searching for information online and have an interest in a wide variety of topics, becoming a ChaCha.com guide might be up your alley.  People ask questions, you find them the answers, and then you get paid.  The more time you spend working, the more you will make.

    If you use the internet, you probably use a search engine regularly.  Well what if all those searches you conducted could earn you money?  With SwagBucks.com, you can earn money for your searches.  It pays you to do what you’d already be doing on Google, Yahoo, Bing or whatever your favorite search engine is. You again won’t get rich by doing this, but you can build up enough points to score gift cards to Amazon.com and other places.

    My experience:

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    I did a few surveys for AOL way back in the day that they paid me for, but these kind of things haven’t interested me all that much because they don’t pay out all that well and I’m more interested in making a living online than earning some extra spending money.  But I know people who have done these and are pleased with it.

    Find a work from home job.

    They are out there, but they’re hard to find and pretty darn competitive.  These jobs can range from a medical transcriptionist to a search engine optimization specialist.  Or, perhaps, you could find a position as a social media consultant.

    My experience:

    I’ve seen these from time to time posted on Craigslist, but I’ve never actually gotten one yet.  My advice to finding them is to scour the job postings on not only your local city, but some big cities like New York as well.  Often times there will be work from home jobs posted on only the NYC Craigslist because that’s where the company is based out of, that’s their local Craigslist, and they don’t want to go to the bother of posting it on all of the cities.   You’d apply for these jobs the same way you’d do any other job, and your interview will likely be over the phone, unless you happen to be near where the company is based.

    Write about what you know.

    Do you have a degree in nutrition?  I know Livestrong.com is hiring writers for their site through Demand Media Studios.  DMS also hiring writers and editors for every other topic under the sun to be published on eHow.com and their numerous other web properties.  You can make about $15 or more per article, and a few dollars for each article that you edit.  You can work as much or as little as you want.  Once you “claim” an assignment, of which there are tens of thousands, you have 7 days to complete it.

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    Yahoo bought up Associated Content and have amassed their own army of writers to create articles on numerous topics.  They also utilize their writers to do local feature stories for Yahoo Local cities.  They work similarly to Demand Media Studios, in that you can “claim” assignments.  I signed up to see how it worked, and it seems as though most of the payment for them is “performance based”.  In other words, you get paid based on the number of hits your article gets.

    Scour the blogger job postings on ProBlogger.net.  There are lots of people hiring everyday for people to write blogs for them on numerous topics.

    My experience:

    I signed up with Demand Media Studios and was accepted, but I haven’t done much since. The number of assignments available and is somewhat overwhelming, but I could easily earn the equivalent of a 9 to 5 salary by writing articles every day.  I’ve written for many, many blogs and websites over the years about everything from lawncare to nursing school and mobile phones.  There are topics, such as new technology, that I consider myself to be well-versed in and there are others that I am not that familiar with, so I do a lot of research to write well about them.

    Turn your talent into cash.

    Most people have at least one talent.  Figure out what yours is, and come up with a plan to capitalize on it. This is what finding a work from home job is all about.  If you love to knit, why not sell your goods on Etsy?  Are you an awesome coder?  There’s more work out there than you’ll know what to do with.  Are you an expert gardener?  Start a blog and share your tips, or maybe even make some expert how-to videos for eHow.com.

    You don’t have to quit your job and start working from home overnight.  It will likely take you some time to progress to a full work from home job, so start out small and work your way up.  If what you do is something that you love you’ll be more successful.  You need to be dedicated and motivated, and not easily distracted by the freedoms that working from home offers.  Successfully earning a living by working at home CAN be done, but it will most certainly take a lot of hard work.

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    Julie McCormick

    Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.

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    Last Updated on June 6, 2019

    The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

    The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

    Are you on track for retirement?

    If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

    Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

    But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

    If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

    What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

    Saving for retirement is tricky.

    Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

    Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

    Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

    Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

    20’s – $16,000

    During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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    Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

    30’s – $45,000

    At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

    Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

    40’s – $63,000

    This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

    50’s – $115,000

    During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

    60’s – $172,000

    By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

    Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

    The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

    Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

    First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

    Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

    Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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    How to Save Money Each Month

    By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

    But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

    Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

    Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

    Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

    Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

    Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

    To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

    How?

    By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

    Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

    If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

    Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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    Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

    Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

    When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

    Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

    Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

    If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

    Why?

    You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

    Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

    Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

    Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

    After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

    You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

    By starting a side-business.

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    This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

    The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

    So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

    Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

    Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

    What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

    My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

    Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

    For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

    If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

    Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

    Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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