Working from home takes a lot of self-discipline. Before you become a remote worker, make sure you have a good system for keeping yourself organized and on task. Use whatever works for you – make a bullet journal, organize your duties on Trello, keep a detailed Google Calendar with Calendly for setting meetings. Just make sure you have a self-management scheme that keeps you going. I really like the new Focused Collection from Erin Condren.

Answer surveys. Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Survey Junkie, ProOpinion, Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost, Survey Spot, National Consumer Panel, VIP Voice, Earning Station, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.

This has become a popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years, and will probably just continue to grow in popularity. The best thing about selling online courses is that once you do the up-front work in creating the course and setting up your marketing strategy, you can get paid over and over again for work you do once.


Every year, hundreds of millions of documents are notarized in the United States: wills, mortgages, citizenship forms, handgun applications. While for decades, this has all been done in person, there is a budding crop of sites that allow notaries to take their services online. If you’re already a notary, you can sell your services online. Or, if you want to get started, check out the National Notary’s checklist for becoming a certified notary.

Finding a niche is the best way to start out in the gift basket business. Are you a dog lover, horse lover, or exercise guru who could put together baskets that hold the things that people with this interest would like? Do you already create a product that a gift basket could be built around? Have you made your own soaps for the past 10 years? A gift basket that included one or two of your soaps, hand lotion, a scrub brush and manicure kit could be a lovely basket to receive.

You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service and refunds. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. It is hard work, especially on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not. 


Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to monetize something you love via a niche website as a side business idea. That of course, is easier said than done, something not intended for the faint of heart. Prepare to invest a lot of your time, but if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it.
Direct Sales Home Businesses – Host “parties” at your home to get discounts and a little cash, or become an independent sales rep yourself to make even more money.  Many of them offer online shops that you can set up under your name.  Some of the most popular ones are:   Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Thirty-One Gifts, or Pampered Chef; there are also numerous companies selling candles, jewelry, children’s books, children’s clothes, etc.)
If you have graphic design skills then you could make money online by creating and selling your own design elements, like templates, fonts, graphics, and other assets. This is a great way to earn extra money and build up a portfolio of work, which could lead to you picking up freelance graphic design jobs. Websites like Envato Elements pay you a fee per element sold, which can become quite profitable if your work is popular.
Mentorship. With sites like Etsy, it simply doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel when opening a shop. Instead, look to others who have been down the path and have learned the hard way what to do – and what not to do. Blogs like Handmadeology and EverythingEtsy.com offer hints and guidance for artists just looking to get started in this profitable home-based business.
Pitches to be your own boss. Our Consumer Action Center is hearing from a lot of callers who go to help-wanted sites, find an opportunity that looks good and then contact the supposed employer. It turns out to be a pitch for owning your own business, with promises of huge money. Unfortunately, the only ones making money are the people pushing startup kits and related costs.

Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
Persistence and Commitment. You’ll need to have a good amount of persistence while pursuing freelance writing gigs. This business is subjective, and while one person may love your writing, another may not. Do your best to always produce good, solid copy and hold on to your commitment to do the best you can for your clients. Just by committing to do those two things, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.
Pitches to be your own boss. Our Consumer Action Center is hearing from a lot of callers who go to help-wanted sites, find an opportunity that looks good and then contact the supposed employer. It turns out to be a pitch for owning your own business, with promises of huge money. Unfortunately, the only ones making money are the people pushing startup kits and related costs.
Ratings. Whenever someone buys a book from you, they will have the opportunity to give the transaction a rating. This is when they’ll tell other potential buyers whether the book was in the condition that you described, whether it was mailed on time, and if your communications were pleasant and helpful. One bad rating can hamper sales, and a couple of them can downright stop them. Excel at customer service and your ratings will help your company grow.
There are many freelance options for graphic designers who are looking to make money online. Designing layouts and graphics for promotional material, corporate reports, magazines or book covers, are all tasks that businesses are looking for online freelancers to complete. Due to its flexible nature, graphic design possibilities can range from one-off projects to ongoing work with regular clients.

If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.


Your Ads. The key to success will be in your ability to get the word out about your classes. Word of mouth will play an important role in your marketing efforts because taking classes is something that friends like to do together. Don’t just rely on friends and family, though. Post fliers in supermarkets, churches, and school bulletin boards. You’ll definitely want to have an online presence so people who are searching your area for such classes will be able to find you. You can establish one by creating a website, and then using digital media to spread your message. And don’t forget your neighborhood as a source of business. Take some time to visit your neighbors, even if you just visit one block a day, and tell them about your new business.


With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
Use your home to work from home. If you live in an area where there is a demand for short-term rentals (like near a university or the downtown of a large city), you may well be able to find renters by networking in your community. However, with the rise of Airbnb and places like it the Internet has once again made it much easier to make money from home. Using these sites you can rent out a private room, shared room or even your whole house for a night or month or whatever period of time you like. 
Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online. 
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