Mechanical Turk operates much like TaskRabbit and GigWalk: it’s a corner online where Amazon gathers tasks to be done, people willing to do them, and people willing to pay for them. On Mechanical Turk, you get to do the oddest jobs you can imagine as an online business idea, made possible by a parallel online universe that runs on hits, visits, surveys, reviews, pins, likes, CPCs, reads, and other metrics. But don’t get too ambitious. The small sums being paid out to human Mechanical Turk users rarely add up to anything seriously substantial, even if you invest most of your spare time into it. It's a better opportunity for internationally-based people with internet access and lower costs of living than in the US. Here’s one person’s account of his former life as a Mechanical Turk talking through how he got started with this business idea and what the experience was really like.
Hi Edwin – Maybe start by taking a look at products you really like, then see if you can improve on them somehow. Can you make it better? Can you make it cheaper? Can you deliver it faster? Can you find a market niche where the product will take off. It’s not necessary to come up with a whole new product, which is also very risky. But if you can take an existing product and make it better you’ll have a better chance at success. Also take old product and see how you reinvent them. That’s what Howard Schultz did with Starbucks. He virtually reinvented coffee, which is something no one thought could be done at the time.
If you need financial assistance, a commercial loan through a bank is a good starting point, although these are often difficult to secure. If you are unable to take out a bank loan, you can apply for a small business loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) or an alternative lender. [See related story: Best Alternative Small Business Loans]
I think what you’re asking is how you can make extra money to pay your real estate taxes. If that’s the case, it depends on your current financial situation, the amount of your estate taxes, your skills, and more. If you visit the “Make Money” section of our website, we have a few articles with different ideas that may be helpful for your situation: https://www.dollarsprout.com/category/make-money/
If your mastery of another language is good enough to have the grammar and spelling down, translating is a great side business idea to set up for yourself and can even be done remotely. Flexjobs has literally hundreds of freelance, remote translator jobs available right now and if you're looking to land more remote work on the side of your other pursuits, then browse through these remote jobs websites to find the right opportunities for you.
If you can create a regular audience for your podcast on a specific topic, this is a great way to get sponsors and fund this side business idea. My podcast, The Side Hustle Project is actually my current side business idea, and because I had an existing audience here on my blog at the time I launched the show, I was able to broker a $5,000 sponsorship from Freshbooks to place ads on the first ten episodes before I even got started.
Gardening has been one of the most popular hobbies throughout the U.S. and Canada for the last twenty years and today its popularity is increasing, perhaps thanks to people's increasing interest in the quality of food they're feeding themselves and their families. (Plus, as an avid gardener myself, I can vouch for the fact that there's nothing tastier than something fresh pulled or dug from the garden!)
How to Get It: Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. Fill out an application with staffing companies such as Arise, Alpine Access, VIPdesk, LiveOps, and Convergys, all of which vet the companies who are hiring through them. If you need benefits, search through a staffing company that will hire you as an employee (Alpine Access, VIPdesk and Convergys do this) rather than an independent contractor. If you're a contractor, you may be asked to pay a small fee (between $15 and $35) for a background check. While a fee can be a sign of a scam, independent contractors are responsible for their own expenses.
If you had a knack for standardized tests and had no trouble acing the SAT, ACT or other college exams, why not start tutoring high schoolers as a side business idea? Parents of all economic backgrounds are more than willing to shell out upwards of $100/hr to the right tutor, if it means their son or daughter will get admitted to the college or university of their choice. See this quick checklist for starting an SAT tutoring business from the Work At Home Mom. Whitney over at Rookiemoms also has a cool story to share about a stay-at-home mom making $40/hr helping kids out with homework and turning it into a profitable side business idea.
What It Is: Companies like Google and Yahoo give you information to search for, and you tell them how closely their results matched what you were looking for. Does a search for Lady Antebellum turn up sites about the music group or links to pre-Civil War period information? If you are Latina, for example, you might be asked to search the way a Spanish speaker might perform a search in English.
Having a eureka moment is great, but it can be hard to put that idea down on paper in a way that will speak to a potential investor. If you have owned your own business in the past or earned a business degree, why not help those with a eureka moment start something they love? Plan your fee around the various packages you are prepared to offer your clients. You can either:
A good offshoot to starting a house cleaning service is home and office organizing. It’s not as competitive and commoditized. A super cheap / beginner home organizer starts at $25/hr, but $35-$50/hr is pretty standard. Even higher if you have a specialty (hoarders, ADD/ADHD, etc), are certified, have YEARS of experience and/or are based in a large metro area. You do not have to be certified, however. Starting as a house cleaner will definitely give you an inroad (as there is more demand in terms of volume and helps with regular cash flow). That’s how I started and eventually phased the cleaning out. Offering pre-paid discounted packages (with a contract) and taking deposits from 1st time clients helps to keep problems away.
Starting any business has a price, so you need to determine how you're going to cover those costs. Do you have the means to fund your startup, or will you need to borrow money? If you're planning to leave your current job to focus on your business, do you have money put away to support yourself until you start making a profit? Find out how much you're going to need.
If you have a proven track record in a particular field, can prove past success, or have trained in matters of the mind, life coaching or mentorship could be for you. People, especially soon to be entrepreneurs, seek guidance through mentorship and life coaches. You can setup your services from the comforts of your home with no monetary investment.
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Regardless if you need to earn some fast cash or we're just talking about making money in the grand scheme of things, there's an important psychology that needs to be mentioned before getting into the strategies. If you study Freud's model of the mind, you'll discover the Psychic Apparatus. It's the three-part construct in your mind that controls all of your behavior.
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.