If you don’t relish the thought of hustling to a workplace every day or you’re having a hard time securing a local gig, there’s never been a better time to work from home: More than 40 million Americans do it, according to the advocacy group Telework Coalition. And as the economy improves, more companies will be looking for additional staff. For most at-home jobs, you’ll need a computer and an Internet connection, some basic skills and a can-do attitude. Click through this list of 10 employment areas that are booming right now.
The Job: Survey Taker
What It Pays: $1 to $50 per survey, depending on how much time is required
What It Is: You might take an opinion poll, answer questions about shopping habits or review a product. You’re generally paid in cash (PayPal or mailed check) or with points that can be redeemed for gift cards.
How to Get It: Visit companies such as DarwinsData.com, PineconeResearch.com andPaidViewpoint.com. (Search “surveys” on RealWaystoEarnMoneyOnline.com for more options.) Then sign up with as many sites as you can. The sites will contact you when surveys that fit your demographic pop up, and you take them right away. A word to the wise: Do not register anywhere that has a membership fee, asks for your Social Security number or bank information, or is vague about payment.
The Job: Website Tester
What It Pays: $10 to $15 per test
What It Is: Many companies pay online testers to make sure websites are intuitive and easy to navigate. “You basically follow the instructions you’re given to check out the website,” says Anna Thurman, founder of RealWaysToEarnMoneyOnline.com, a site that has reviewed more than 500 online work opportunities. “It usually only takes about 15 minutes per test.” Thurman recommends registering with 10 to 12 different companies since the opportunities to test these sites are doled out first come, first served. “There are people who make $100 to $200 a month by staying on top of those tests,” Thurman says.
How to Get It: Begin with sites like UserTesting.com, YouEye.com and Userlytics.com. Register with multiple companies for opportunities to test as many websites as possible. Once you’re in the system, you’ll be emailed when testers are needed, and if you’re one of the first to respond, expect to spend 15 to 20 minutes completing the test. Many sites require a microphone and/or webcam, which are built into most laptops—but if you need to buy one, they aren’t expensive. The tester sites typically pay within a week or two via PayPal.
The Job: Film and Post How-To Videos
What It Pays: $1 to $2 per 1,000 hits; Payment depends on how many people click on your video. Views on popular YouTube tutorials range from 20,000 to 300,000 and higher.
What It Is: Do people ask you your secret to perfect pie crust or how you made that wreath? “Everyone knows how to do something, or has a hobby they enjoy,” says Kimberly Lawson, owner ofOohLaLuxe.net, who has created fashion and beauty tutorial videos. “These can easily be turned into profits.” Simply sign up for a free YouTube account. Then use a smartphone or digital camera to record yourself explaining and demonstrating how you work your magic. (If you’re more tech-savvy or have a burgeoning teenage filmmaker in your house, you can use desktop software, such as Windows Movie Maker, to create a slicker video.) “Once you upload the video to YouTube, enroll in its partner program,” Lawson says. YouTube will then place ads inside or near your video, and you will earn money from the ads themselves, video views and click-throughs. “The key is to put a unique spin on your video,” says Lawson, especially if there are lots of others on the same subject.
How to Get It:If you shot the video with your phone, open the YouTube app and hit “send.” If you’re uploading from a computer, visit YouTube, and click the “upload” button in the upper right corner of the screen. You’ll see a place to drag your video file. To enroll in the partner program, click on YouTube settings, check the circle next to “Allow Advertisements,” then click on “View Additional Features.” On the YouTube monetization page, opt in. Generally, you must earn a minimum before you get paid, and YouTube pays monthly—if you don’t earn enough in one month, the balance rolls over.