How to Make Extra Cash With an Online Side Gig

How to Make Extra Cash With an Online Side Gig

Want more money in your pocket? You could walk dogs, pick up shifts at Starbucks or even rent a clown suit and work kids' birthday parties. Or, you could just kick back on your couch and flip open your laptop.

Check out these five digital side hustles. They require no special skills, are totally legal (we swear!) and will give your budget a solid boost.

Be a Virtual Bridesmaid

Bridesmaid for Hire provides professional services for brides. While some of the tasks involve helping out on the big day (or even standing with the wedding party), many responsibilities are handled remotely via emails and social media.

Responsibilities include things like organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party, managing RSVPs and serving as an on-call therapist and peacekeeper. “I look for people who are problem solvers, can handle chaos with a smile on their face and have experience working with strangers,” says founder Jen Glantz.

Sound up your aisle? Brides and bridesmaids are paired based on personality and location. You could make between $200 and  $2,000 per month, says Glantz, working anywhere from a few hours a month to a couple of hours a week, and you'll generally handle everything on nights and weekends. Most weddings require between 3 to 11 months of your time.

Sell Your Skills

There are plenty of freelancing websites where people put their talents up for sale. But Fiverr is the go-to spot. “Rather than acting as a labor market, Fiverr works like an e-commerce platform, where services are offered as products,” says Aimy Ngo, Fiverr’s business development and marketing strategist. “This makes it easy to control what you will provide and how much to charge.”

There’s a market for nearly every skill, from graphic design and web development to songwriting and astrology reading. When posting a “gig," include details about the scope of your offering, your availability and pricing.

While many gigs start at just $5 a pop (Fiverr takes 20% of the fee), “sellers can create a tiered pricing model for a single service, offering good, better and best options,” Ngo says.

Your paycheck will vary widely depending on your experience and free time. “Fiverr’s marketplace caters to the freelance moonlighter with 10 hours to spare a week, along with the professional who’s relying on this as a primary source of income,” Ngo says, noting that some top sellers make over $100,000 annually.

Get Paid to Hang Out Online

It’s called search engine evaluation. What's it about? Google, Yahoo and Bing rely on complex algorithms to provide accurate results. But they also run the results by humans to make sure they’re relevant.

For example, if you type in “banana bread recipe,” search engines should pull up recipes from major sites first. Posts from smaller blogs or recipes for other, related dishes — like zucchini bread — should fall toward the end of the list. As a search engine evaluator, you’ll be asked to enter specific words or phrases into a search engine, then assess how appropriate and informative the sites it pulls up are.

LeapForce and Appen Butler Hill are two major firms that hire search engine evaluators. (Appen also hires social media evaluators, who analyze the relevancy of a company’s social media news feed.) Appen has potential employees complete an application (project-specific screenings and language proficiency tests may also be required), and LeapForce asks candidates to take and pass a three-part qualifying exam. Both companies also require that you have a new computer, smartphone, high-speed internet, anti-virus software, certain operating systems and be a little internet-savvy.

Although the sites don’t publicly disclose salaries, GlassDoor estimates their hourly rate to be in the $13 to $14 range.

Help Kids Ace Exams

Online tutoring sites such as Tutor, Skooli, WyzAnt and Chegg are looking for patient, creative people willing to use their smarts in a particular academic area to help school kids, college students or adults master that subject.

To get hired, you fill out an application and take an exam to test your knowledge. “If you pass, you go through a mock session with an experienced tutor who assumes the role of student and evaluates your creativity, empathy and teaching skills,” says Cindy Hamen Farrar, Ph.D., senior director of academic tutoring at Tutor. “We look for people who know their subject matter and who can break it down and communicate effectively.”

Students submit questions, essays or homework problems they need help on, then work with tutors in an online classroom, sending files back and forth and having discussions. The work is part-time, and you make your own hours.

GlassDoor estimates that teachers at Tutor earn $9 to $14 an hour. “Depending on the subject mix and number of hours you work, you could make between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month,” Farrar says. Chegg’s rates start at $20 per hour, estimating that tutors can make up to $1,000 a month. WyzAnt’s rates run $24 to $36 per hour, according to GlassDoor.

Rent Your Parking Space

If you live in a major city and are lucky enough to own a parking spot, you can make extra cash by letting other drivers rent your space while you’re away. To facilitate, there’s ParqEx in Chicago, Spot and SpotOnParking in several U.S. cities and ParkingSpotter nationwide.

When your spot gets rented, Spot, for example, takes a commission of around 20%. And you’ve made money by barely lifting a finger.

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