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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 August 20, 2019

    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

    Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

    In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

    5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

    Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

    1. Be Clear About the Objectives

    Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

    It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

    Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

    2. Keep Them Realistic

    It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

    It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

    3. Account for Inflation

    Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

    Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

    For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

    4. Short Term vs Long Term

    Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

    As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

    More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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    5. To Each to His Own

    The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

    It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

    By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

    11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

    Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

    • Ensuring healthy savings
    • Making smart investments

    You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

    Ensuring Healthy Savings

    Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

    This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

    1. Track Expenses

    The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

    Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

    2. Pay Yourself First

    Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

    Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

    The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

    Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

    3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

    Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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    Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

    At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

    Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

    You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

    4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

    Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

    If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

    Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

    All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

    5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

    In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

    Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

    Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

    If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

    If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

    So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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    6. Talk About It

    Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

    Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

    7. Maintain a Journal

    For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

    So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

    Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

    When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

    At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

    Making Smart Investments

    Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

    8. Consult a Financial Advisor

    Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

    Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

    9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

    Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

    Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

    Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

    It is here where that classification will help.

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    So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

    10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

    Einstein once remarked about compounding,

    Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

    So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    11. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

    If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

    Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

    As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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