- Personal Finance
Making Money Online and Super Boosting Your Income!
Once upon a time making extra money from home was very difficult to do, limited to becoming an Avon representative or delivering Yellow Pages in your local area. With the advent of the internet however, there are now many opportunities for a making a bit of extra money (or in some cases quite a lot of extra money) online. Everything in this article is genuine, they are not scams but neither are they ways to get rich quick. There is some genuinely free money to be got on the internet, and I’ll show you where these can be found (mostly this is companies offering incentives to try to get you to spend money with them, but without obligation), but most of the opportunities require you to work at it.
A word of warning before we get stuck in – don’t rely on any online source of income. Genuine established businesses might go bust and be unable to pay you, and sometimes companies charge their terms and conditions, withdrawal limits etc. So a good rule of thumb is once you’ve earned money and reached the threshold where you can withdraw / be paid, then take the money, it is not guaranteed until it is in your bank account.
Right, here goes...
Many companies offer commission to websites which direct paying customers to them. This might be an insurance company offering £25 for every new customer taking out a policy with them, or a company like HMV or Play selling DVDs offering 5% of a customer’s total spend as commission. What cashback sites do is pass on some or all of that commission to you, the customer. The best cashback sites pass all of the commission on to you (they will still make some money as they will receive bonuses that don’t get passed on). Some cashback offers will either give you more in cashback than you are required to spend, or even give you cashback without you having to pay anything, because they are trying to get you as a new customer.
There are a number of cashback sites in the UK, and similar sites in other countries. One of the best is Quidco which passes on all of the cashback, but deducts a £5 admin fee each year (this is only deducted from cashback earned, if you don’t earn enough cashback you don’t have to pay anything). I will use this site as an example, and will list some of the current offers. These change regularly, so may be different when you visit the site. Just seach for the name of the company on the main quidco search page to find them.
To go to the site, click on the following address:
NOW TV/ Amazon Prime - both a free trail and additional cashback.
Audible - Free audio book trial and additional cashback.
Experian - Sign up for a thirty day free trial, get a free credit report and additional cashback.
Go Compare and other Insurance Companies- these kind of insurance companies offer cashback if you undertake a quote. No spend necessary. Just do a search for car insurance, no obligation, no card details to give, and you get the cashback. Limited to 3 searches per year.
Betting sites give a higher level of cashback when you open an account and deposit a smaller amount of cash. You can instantly make profit profit even if you lose your bet. There are many betting offers like this, including bookmakers, casinos and bingo etc. There are often free bet offers too, and if you do it right you can make quite a bit of money without risking anything. This is called ‘matched betting’ and is beyond the scope of this article, but there are articles out there that can help.
The High Street Web – 4p per visit (max 2 visits per day) to do a search on this price comparison site and click through to one of their retailers. There are several sites like this on Quidco, and while the amount is small, it all adds up, particularly if you use multiple cashback sites (£20 per month is apparently easy to get if you spend 5-10 minutes each day).
These are just some of the too good to refuse offers where you either don’t need to spend anything, or get back more than you spend. There are many more too, as well as hundreds of sites where you get cashback for spending money (effectively a discount on the product or service you are buying. From cashback for signing up to National Lottery online, to £150 cashback for a new mobile phone contract, you can make hundreds of pounds without spending any more than you already do. It is worth exploring the site regularly for all the good offers.
There are many sites online which pay you for your opinion. They invite you to participate in a survey, typically taking 5-30 minutes and get paid money, often somewhere in the region of £0.50 to £5, though you usually have to reach a payout threshold (often £20 or £30) before getting the money. The surveys might be on anything from a new brand of washing powder to your views on the government. Many people earn £hundreds of pounds per year through online surveys, though how much you earn will depend to a certain extent on how many surveys come up that fit your profile. Here are links to some of the best survey sites.
http://www.valuedopinions.co.uk/ - They only pay in vouchers rather than cash, but pay between £1 and £5 per survey on average. You can choose from many of the major retailers to get your vouchers in, Amazon, Marks and Spencer, Argos etc.
http://www.onepoll.com/ - Snappy, quick polls paying between 5p and £1.00 per survey. Plus £2.50 just for signing up.
Mystery Shopping is where people are hired to visit shops, restaurants and other public businesses to rate them on a range of factors. For instance the head office of a major high street chain of shops might contract with a mystery shopping agency for mystery shoppers to visit their stores to test out and provide feedback on how well the stores are serving customers.
Many mystery shopping agencies have their own websites where you can sign up with them and they will contact you when a suitable job comes up in your area. Mystery shopping companies include the following:
The big thing with articles on the internet is the old (as far as the internet goes) adage that ‘content is king’. The more content your website has the more visitors it will get, and the more advertising revenue it will generate. Some websites are built around lots of quality reviews, and the webmasters offer to share the advertising revenues with the people writing articles for them.
http://www.hubpages.com – Hubpages is one such website. It has an American bias, but many people from all round the world earn money on it. You can write whatever articles you like on any topic. You can include photos, polls, product links and more. To get paid though you have to sign up with third party sites like Amazon and Google Adsense and link them to your hubpages account.
http://www.squidoo.com – Squidoo is similar to Hubpages, but you don’t have to separately sign up to third parties like Adsense and Amazon. Squidoo works out the advertising revenues earned from your page and pays you 50% via paypal.
Another great way of making money is by answering questions. There are a number of sites where you can apply to be a researcher, who gets paid to answer questions but most of the time they don't take on new researchers. A site I discovered recently however has a different approach.
WebAnswers is a site where people can ask questions, and other site users answer them. No payment exchanges hands but people make money from Google AdSense revenue, which Web Answers shares with you. 60% of money made gets paid to you, 40% to the website.
There are various sites that bring together companies wanting work doing with people looking for extra work. Opportunities range from bookkeeping to computer programming, typing, transcribing, proof reading and more. One of the best sites I’ve found is Odesk.
Odesk is an American website but don’t let that put you off. There are thousands of jobs at any one time on offer, that can be done from your own home. There is lots of more specialist work, such as accounting / finance work or computer programming, but there is lots of writing jobs too, writing articles, blog posts and more. An example of a job might be someone who wants three short 400 word articles writing for their website, and are offering $10 or $15 (prices are in dollars, but you can be paid via paypal which just converts it to £’s). Many jobs are regular jobs, such as writing an article a week on a particular topic, or writing two blog posts a week or something like that. You simply apply for whatever jobs you are interested in, and wait for employers to contact you. You can also do online tests on subjects such as English literacy, numerical skills or more specialist areas, which employers might use to assess candidates (also you get left feedback for jobs you do, allowing you to build up a good reputation on the site). Note – reference to employers is for people asking for a piece of work, there is no contract of employment.
There are other similar sites, including http://www.peopleperhour.com
Selling Your Stuff
Another way to make money is sell your unwanted clutter online. You would be surprised at what you can get money for. Some people even take it a step further and seek out bargains to sell online and make money on.
The two main ways of selling your stuff online is either to sell directly to customers through one of the internet’s marketplaces such as Ebay, or alternatively there are businesses that will buy certain products such as mobile phones or CDs off you (usually at a lower price than you could get for them on Ebay, Amazon etc).
Firstly I’m going to look at the businesses which will buy from you, as these are much quicker and easier if you are not used to selling online. The first and most common of these sites is mobile phone recycling sites. You may have seen these advertised on the TV. You go on the site, select the mobile phone you want to sell and it will tell you how much it will pay you for the phone. If you are happy with the price, they will send you a freepost envelope to post it to them, then once they’ve received it they will pay you. Most of the time it doesn’t matter if your phone is a bit battered as long as it will switch on. It is worthwhile shopping around for the best deal for your phone as prices on different sites vary, and consider using a cashback site – clicking through one of those will net you some cashback as well as the money for your phone. Some of the best mobile recycling sites are:
These sites and many others are on quidco (and other cashback sites).
You can also sell:
Gold - http://www.postgoldforcash.com/ - Cashback available through quidco also.
CD, DVDs & Computer Games - http://www.musicmagpie.co.uk – You might only get 30p for a CD or DVD, but you could get up to £3, and computer games you could get £10. The idea is you do quite a lot at once (you can do up to 500 in one go!) so you could make quite a bit.
Electronics, Gadgets etc. - http://uk.webuy.com/ - This is the internet division of CEX entertainment exchange stores. You can sell a wide range of electronics, computers, software, computer games etc. I’ve never used the service, but put in a digital camera I bought several years ago for about £90. They were offering me £22 cash or £30 exchange which I thought wasn’t bad. You do have to pay the postage to send most things to them which will eat into your money, but there are many bricks and mortar stores round the country, so if you can get to one you won’t need to pay shipping.
The other alternative is selling directly to other people on one of the online marketplaces. There are many sites where you can sell stuff, but the only two really worth talking about for the majority of goods is Ebay and Amazon. The reason why these are the only two really worth using in my opinion is because other sites just don’t get the traffic. There are various auction sites where it is free to list, but as they hardly get any buyers it is not really worth it.
Ebay – http://www.ebay.co.uk for the UK site. This is the original and best auction site. In its early days Ebay used to mostly be people selling their own things online. Nowadays though, the majority of items for sale are by businesses, but there’s still a lot of individual sellers. You can either sell items using a traditional auction method, i.e. pick a start price and a number of days for the auction to run. Alternatively you can list items as ‘buy it now’. You specify the price and as soon as someone bids that’s it, its sold. The thing to note with ebay is that for most items there is a listing fee to be paid when you put an item up for sale, and this gets charged to you even if the item doesn’t sell. You can specify a postage charge, but there are limits on this in some categories. If the item sells, there will be a final value fee, which is a percentage of the sale price. You almost have to accept payment by Paypal these days which requires a Paypal account. Paypal will charge you a small fee for receiving money. The main thing is to keep a note of fees, and factor this in when deciding what to list for sale and how much to price it at – some items just aren’t worth selling. Listing an item will take a few minutes too as you’ll invariably have to take one or more photos to add to your description, and write a listing, decide on postage amounts etc.
Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk – Whenever you view a product on Amazon, in addition to Amazon’s price there will be a ‘Used & New from...’ price. This is that particular product being offered by Amazon marketplace sellers. It is easy to sell on Amazon, unlike ebay you don’t need to add a photo or a description (other than a note of the condition of the item), and postage rates are set automatically by Amazon. You just type the ISBN number of an item (or product name), choose how much to sell it for and make note of the item condition, and Amazon will do the rest. Once an item sells, Amazon will collect payment on your behalf and send you an email telling you where to send it. There are no listing fees on Amazon, and listed items stay up indefinitely (on ebay items can stay up only for a limited time). The downside is that fees are quite high, and you can only sell certain categories of item (books, DVDs, CDs, games mainly), but it is quick and easy and because Amazon pays you directly, you don’t need to worry about Paypal fees.
The other site I will just mention is http://www.loot.com where you can advertise stuff for sale for free on their website (and it will appear in the local loot paper too). Definitely worth considering for larger, bulky items that would be difficult to post or courier.
And If you are a bit Crafty...
If you like making things, whether it is handmade cards, jewellery, painting or something else, you could try making products to sell online. There are several sites where you can sell your handmade items easily, a sort of Ebay or Amazon marketplace for handmade items. The best well known of these is Etsy, http://www.etsy.com which is an American based site with thousands of sellers. It costs $0.20 to list an item and 3.5% commission when it sells. Another site, http://www.folksy.com is UK based and costs £0.20 to list an item (and for this price you can list up to five of the same item) and 5% commission on sale. http://www.misi.co.uk is another UK based site with a similar fee structure. All of these sites use Paypal, so you will get charged Paypal fees, as ebay above, on any money received.
These are just some of the ways you can make money online. There are lots more, and if you invest the time in setting up your own blog, website or online shop you could make much more. I will consider these in more detail in another article. In the meantime, happy money making!