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Personal Finance

How to Make Extra Money From Home

Everyone could use a little extra cash—especially right now. With so much work transitioning to online formats, making money at home is easier than ever. Finding a way to make money from home could help you increase and diversify your income, pay off debt and save for the future.

Whether you have a full-time job and are looking for a side hustle or you're out of work and looking for a new income stream, here are a few ways you can make extra money from the comfort of your own home.

Find Freelance Work Online

People have been making money freelancing for decades, and it's only become easier as the world has transitioned into the digital era. As a freelancer, you'll typically work on projects or assignments with various companies on a contract basis. Freelancers typically get paid per project, per hour or by another measure (freelance writers are often paid per word, for example). Freelancers are not considered employees of the organizations they work with, so things like health insurance and other benefits aren't typically available through their clients.

Depending on your skillset, there could be many freelancing opportunities available online. Historically, writing and editing have been popular freelance gigs, but many opportunities are out there. People with digital skills in things like web development, graphic design, marketing and social media are in need as more businesses move online.

To get started freelancing, check out sites like Fiverr, Upwork and Freelancer.com, which provide platforms for freelancers to create profiles and advertise their services. These sites connect clients with freelancers and typically provide assistance with payment processing and administrative tasks. The catch with these freelance services, however, is that they'll take a cut of your earnings.

You can instead establish yourself as an independent freelancer, creating your own site and marketing to find clients. Becoming active on LinkedIn and using job sites like Indeed can help you establish contacts and get gigs. While it can be challenging to build a clientele when you're just getting started, often a few word-of-mouth recommendations can help you get on your way.

Sell Clothing and Other Items Online

You may be surprised by the potential upside of selling stuff around your house that you no longer use. From clothes to electronics, online marketplaces like Ebay, Craigslist and Poshmark make it easy to photograph, list and sell your unused belongings without having to leave your house.

Take some time to look through your closet and around your house, and find things that you no longer use. If you think the item might have a buyer out there, take a picture of it and list it on the appropriate platform. Craigslist might be good for selling large items like furniture that you can't ship. Poshmark is popularly used for clothing, shoes and jewelry, and Ebay could be used to sell almost anything, especially goods like electronics and collectibles.

Research how much these items (or comparable items) are selling for on the secondhand market, and price and list yours accordingly. Spend an hour or two each week managing your item listings, and you could be surprised at how many of your unused belongings other people are willing to buy at a discount.

Start Tutoring Online

Similar to freelancing, online tutoring is a way to monetize your training and education.

Parents and students are turning to the internet to find web-based tutors to help them prepare for tests, enhance knowledge in an area, as well as get assistance with general tasks like homework.

If you feel you have an in-demand expertise, establish yourself as an online tutor and try to find clients you may be able to help. There are several websites where you may be able to find clients, including Chegg, Skooli and TutorMe. With most of these tutoring sites, you'll need to first validate your expertise and be approved as a tutor. For some, you may need to pass a background check and other evaluations before you can begin working with clients.

You can also set up your own website and find clients on your own, marketing locally through friends, family, independent college counselors, neighborhood websites and schools to get your first clients.

Once established, you can set your own schedule and work with as many, or as few, clients as you'd like—giving you the flexibility to work when you can and earn according to how much time you put in.

Consider Online Investing

If you have extra cash on hand and are simply looking for a way to increase it, you could try online investing. Though online investing isn't always lucrative for novice investors, it could prove so over time. Your money won't earn you much if it's just sitting in your savings account.

Consider investing a portion of your savings in conservative investments that provide at least some return over time. Research bonds or index funds, which typically have low risk and a likelihood of return over time. Investing is never a sure thing, however, so you should be willing to take on some risk if you choose to invest your money.

If you do invest, make sure you leave a healthy emergency fund in your savings account to cover any unexpected expenses. Investments aren't always easy to pull out in an emergency, and it may even cost you to do so if your investment has an early withdrawal fee or the market is down when you cash out.

Become a Contact Tracer

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local governments have hired contact tracers to better understand how the virus spreads throughout communities. Contact tracers follow up with people an infected person may have recently come into contact with in order to warn them of their potential exposure and tell them to take precautions (getting tested and self-quarantining are often suggested).

Over the past months, thousands of contact tracers have been hired to carry out this task.

With the pandemic forcing so many Americans out of work, getting a job as a contact tracer could be a good opportunity to make some money while you await your return to work or as you search for a new position. Contact tracing can be done from home, and the qualifications for the position are minimal. To see if there are positions open in your area, contact your state's health department for more information.

Rent Out Your Car

If you have a car that sits unused for extended periods, you may be able to rent it out using services like GetAround and Turo. Your vehicle will typically have to meet some basic qualifications. Turo, for example, requires that your car is no more than 12 years old and has fewer than 130,000 miles.

Once you list your car, you can set the times it's available and set your rental price. You'll still have to maintain your car, keep it clean and follow any other guidelines the applications have in place. Depending on how often your car gets rented, and what price you set, you could be able to use these apps to bring in several hundred dollars each month.

Use the Internet as a Tool to Find Other Online Jobs

Regardless of which side hustle you choose to pursue, the internet has a seemingly endless array of opportunities for people looking to make money from the comfort of their home. Research all your options, and utilize reliable sites like those listed above to get started.

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