A Bean Counter's Way

10 Great Online Side Job Ideas

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The price of everything keeps rising but it seems that most people’s pay is not keeping up.  When you’re a teacher, like I am, you start to just figure that each year your purchasing power is going to diminish.  Teachers have summers off if we aren’t working summer school. Many people look to bridge the gap between our pay and our bills by taking on side hustles.  These side jobs can be done by anyone. Here are several side hustle ideas you may be interested in.  All of these ideas are side hustles that Jia or I have either done, know someone who has done it, or would do.

  1. Start A Blog, Then Monetize it

Okay, so this is a hobby that I am doing right now. It’s not easy, will likely cost you some money if you want to do this right, and there is no guarantee that you will even make five dollars.  Most bloggers give up before they are profitable.  Blogging takes time.  I have started many blogs and given up.  This site is a joint effort so Jia and I can encourage each other to keep going.  She is mostly responsible for the content; I design and manage the site (which can be a huge job).  For the blogs, I have owned over the past 20 years.  I have not made a profit.  I did once have a blog-type site that earned between five and 10 dollars a month.  This didn’t pay for the site hosting but it was great to see that money could be generated to go along with the bills.  Experiences and research tell me not to expect to be able to break even on a website, no matter how great it is, for at least the first 12 months.

  1. Tutoring Online –

This is a job most teachers I know have done. It’s in our nature, we teach.  Both Jia and I have been tutors in the past.  My first job tutoring was for the History department at a community college in San Diego.  It used to be that tutoring required teachers and students to meet up somewhere.  Often at students’ homes. Today online platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom have made it easier for teachers to connect with students from a distance.  Anyone can teach and there is always a demand for tutors.  As you become more proficient at teaching, you will likely become more in demand.  Parents often talk to each other to find tutors, just get your name out there.  Supply and demand can determine your rate.  For example, the supply of calculus tutors is extremely low, if you can tutor higher level math like this you can earn a lot of money.

  1. Sell teaching materials

Yes, this is another job I have done.  I have made a total of 3 dollars and 68 cents on teacherspayteachers.com.  Long ago I thought, hey I’m going to create an online course that addresses all of the 2nd grade standards.  I will start with math.  So, I made videos and worksheets.  While I was proud of my finished product, I realized that I wouldn’t buy it as an online course, and these days online learning games, videos, and interactive courses like IXL do a far better job of teaching than even traditional classroom coursework.  I suppose this idea is a little controversial.  The teaching profession moves slowly but really if I want to learn a new language Rosetta Stone is much better than taking a class, for learning to code I’d start with coding games using Blockly rather than cracking open a book or listening to a lecture.  I think the best teachers realize that we are now facilitators of learning and not lectures. But I’ve digressed. 

            I have spent hundreds of dollars on materials from teachers’ pay teachers.  I know some teachers have made so much money creating materials that they no longer teach. If you’re going to make real money creating teaching materials, you need to understand that it’s a lot like blogging.  You have to create a lot of content, to truly be successful you have to spend time marking your content on sites like Pinterest, and most top content producers also have their website.

  1. Create An Online Course

As I stated above, an online course is something I’ve tried.  My problem was the topic I choose to teach.  In reality, there are not many parents who are going to buy an online course for their elementary school child when there are so many free or lower-cost resources out there.  However, topics like cooking, crafting, building, painting, and even blogging can be lucrative.  I think the key is that the course has to either add value to a person’s life by saving them money or helping them make more money. A course that has helped me make 1,000 a month would certainly work a one-time $100 fee.

Enrichment courses can even be a great gift for others. I have taken a couple of courses on Udemy and I had a subscription to Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning).

It takes a lot of work and expertise to create an online course, but if you do well, you can publish your course to sites like Udemy and Teachable. They provide a platform for you to post materials and videos for your course. Then you can resell them for a handsome profit! The best part is that you will be earning money while you are sleeping!

  1. Be a freelance writer

There are plenty of opportunities to make money writing online. These jobs are easy to find.  You can simply typewrite for websites on google and you will find numerous blogs extolling the many different websites you can write for online.  The going rate for someone who is just starting and can write a decent one-thousand-word article seems to be right around fifty dollars a post.  That comes out to five cents a word.  Of course, you can negotiate a higher rate if you can show that you have great writing skills.  You will find that websites usually want posts of at least one thousand words and they prefer three-thousand-word articles.  Right now, Jia and I write all of the posts on our site, but who knows, someday we could even be looking for a great freelance writer.  The usual websites of Upwork and Freelancer also have many writing jobs available.

  1. Write A Book or an eBook

Writing an eBook sounds like a daunting task.  I yes it can be.  If you change your mindset and look at writing this book as a journey of smaller steps it can be less overwhelming. It’s important to start with a plan.  I know a few teachers who have written eBooks and excitedly listed them on Amazon.com. They tell all of their friends and family; they get 20 to 50 sales and they are incredibly happy.  Then the sales dry up.  If you spend a year or more writing a 200-page book and you only sell fifty on them.  How much money per hour did you work for? Let’s see, if your profit is $10 per sale then 50 times $10 is 500 dollars. The sense of accomplishment alone may be worth it but to make money a different approach is needed. You have to have a marketing strategy that you are building while you are writing your book.  A person who is a successful blogger and drives tons of traffic to their website would do well to write an eBook and sell it on their site.  Just writing the book and hoping it sells on Amazon, will require quite a bit of luck to see success, no matter how great the book is.

If you succeed in writing a great eBook, don’t overlook the opportunity to create an audiobook that you can sell on Audible or iTunes.  This brings me to our next topic… Podcasts.

  1. Start a Podcast

            Writers rule the internet.  Why do I say this?  Because it usually takes a great script to make a great video or podcast and it’s helpful if your blog is well written.  Bloggers, branch out into video and podcasts have the opportunity to reach a greater audience than those who don’t.  Did you know that there are many online personalities out there who get the majority of their income from podcasts?  If you can find the right niche, there is a real opportunity in this space. 

  1. Sell Online Marketing Services on Fiverr or Upwork

I just hired someone to help me on Fiverr.  Why? Pinterest.  I know nothing about Pinterest other than knowing that many teachers use it to keep collections of great teaching ideas and that it is one of the biggest traffic drivers to websites like teacherspayteachers.com. I enjoy writing, but it’s best to write for an audience, so I hired someone to set up my Pinterest account. I am hoping that they set it up so that it’s done nicely from the start.  This way I can learn from what they have done.

There are many jobs posted on Fiverr and Upwork that can generate a great income as a side hustle.  If you are great at social media, writing, marketing, or any other type of skill commonly needed online. These sites are worth joining.  You may say, yes, but there are so many people from low cost of living countries competing for jobs.  This is true but oftentimes people are looking to hire workers that are in their own country.  The more jobs you complete with a favorable rating, the higher amount of money you can sell your services for.

  1. Become a Transcriber

I have transcribed my own YouTube videos so I could upload the captions for use with closed captions and I have been in long meetings where there has been a secretary whose job it was to take meeting minutes.  So I know this is a job that fills a real need.  Writing down what is said from audio and video files can often be done using computer software these days.  However, there are still some companies that hire people to manually transcribe their media.  Don’t expect the pay to be too high because you are competing for these jobs with people from low cost of living countries. 

If you’ve ever wanted to be able to work from home and establish your hours, and you like typing, you could find this employment interesting. They collaborate with businesses in the medical, legal, law enforcement, academic, insurance, and general commercial sectors. They also work with individuals. You could find yourself transcribing anything from police records to focus groups information on the negative effects of new drugs. Working as a transcriptionist, (is that a word?) is an intriguing work-from-home career because of the various topics you could be transcribing.

Choosing to work by yourself may be appealing if you don’t want to deal with clients or even coworkers regularly. Furthermore, after you’ve established yourself as a competent transcriptionist, you may decide to raise your workload and income. Some people choose to become transcriptionists part-time while their children are in school, while others choose to become transcriptionists full-time to establish a reliable source of income. If you choose to pursue this field you will likely command a higher level of pay if you become certified. These jobs are fairly easy to find through a search online.

  1. Help People on Just Answer

If you are in a highly skilled in-demand profession where people tend to ask technical questions, you can make good money on JustAnswers.com.  This one will work for teachers who have specific skills. Yes, I’m talking to you, upper-grade single subject teachers. If you are a lawyer, accountant, handyman, plumber, electrician, mechanic. This is a good place for you to earn some extra money.  You can sign up, answer people’s questions, and get paid for it. 

Lately, it’s been getting harder for many people to save money.  As prices rise faster than wages, side jobs are becoming more necessary.  If you are disciplined, do everything possible to make extra money, live frugally, and invest wisely it is still possible to achieve the kind of financial independence that will allow you to retire early.  Hopefully, this article on side hustles has pointed you towards a few interesting side job possibilities.


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