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Decades ago, you needed a traditional job to make money and be “successful”. But thanks to the rise of the internet and a culture shift set off by the pandemic, it is now easier than ever to make money without traditional employment.
Today, more and more employees are making the switch from traditional employment to remote work, freelance consulting, or early retirement. Employees no longer want to be tied down and work with employers who aren’t willing to allow flexibility into their schedules.
I’m one of those employees. I quit my job to pursue freelance writing and virtual assistant consulting. It’s a switch anyone can make, you just have to decide to make it.
If you’re interested in transitioning to remote work or online job(s), you’re in the right place. Here are a few tips on how to make money without a job.
What Are Some of the Top Ways to Make Money Without Traditional Employment?
When I think of this question, Uber, Lyft, and Instacart immediately pop into my head. These ride-sharing and delivery services are definitely ways to make money without traditional employment, but there are tons of other options as well.
In this article, I’ll explore some of the top ways to earn money without traditional employment.
Best In-Person Odd Jobs
These days, it’s possible—even easy—to work online, but that doesn’t mean in-person odd jobs have gone out of style.
Being in the “older millennial” crowd, I grew up doing odd jobs. These were extra tasks that your neighbors or other people would pay you fast cash for.
You can still make money through family friends, neighbors, and other local people, even as a teenager.
- Mowing lawns
- Yard work
- Helping people move
- Cleaning jobs
- Retail flipping (buying things on sale and reselling)
- Helping friends and family that own small businesses
- Pet sitting
- House sitting
Best Online Odd Jobs
While there are always in-person jobs, the biggest resource for non-traditional employment is online.
- Freelance writing and editing
- Affiliate marketing
- Online surveys
- Selling on Etsy, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace
- Starting an online business
Freelance Writing and Editing
As I mentioned earlier, I do a little bit of freelancing and virtual assisting to make extra money. You can set your own rates, and find freelance writing and editing jobs on websites like Fiverr and Upwork.
You can also make money online through taking online surveys—only it’s not usually very lucrative.
My personal favorite survey website is Swagbucks. Each survey can help you earn a gift card or cash.
Keep in mind that you won’t always qualify for every survey and they can be time-consuming. Some other survey sites include Inbox Dollars, Survey Junkie, and the like.
Starting an Online Business
Another great online option for non-traditional employment is creating an online business. This could include things like:
- Creating digital products
- Selling physical products
- Writing a blog
- Starting a YouTube channel
- Developing a podcast
As you can imagine, you can’t start a business overnight. It takes time and there is often a bit of upfront work required. This is especially true for creating a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast. In order to use Google AdSense on a blog, you often need to have a high number of page views per month.
Creating digital products may be a bit quicker if you already have the digital products ready to go. Creating physical products can take longer, depending on what you’re making.
Supply chain, the time it takes to make it, the raw materials needed, and shipping the product all have to be taken into account.
YouTubers are often pretty transparent about how much money they make online. They sometimes provide income reports, which can give you a sense of what to expect for income if you do become a Youtuber.
- Writing Skills
- Software Skills
- Growth mindset
- Soft Skills
If you’re interested in freelance writing, you’ll be happy to know that you can pretty much write about anything. There are many types of freelance writing subjects and styles. Copywriting is a lucrative kind of freelance writing where you write content for businesses, marketing, or advertising.
If you’re more interested in editing, you can explore freelance editing and proofreading opportunities.
Writing and communication skills are helpful for any type of work, traditional job or not.
The more software you can learn how to use, the more marketable you are as a remote worker.
Knowing how to use software can be very advantageous, and can allow you to raise your freelancing rates.
Salesforce, a customer relationship management software, hires for remote work. Getting a certification in Salesforce software is a high-income skill that many companies hiring contractors look for. Other free certifications in software can help land other freelance contracts.
Microsoft Office and Google G-Suite are other software programs that can come in handy when looking for remote work. Almost every employer has required Microsoft Office skills since I started my career.
Having a growth mindset can also help you land contractor jobs or grow a higher income. Opportunities in technology are always changing with the next big thing.
Before you turn down a lower-paying opportunity, consider if you could learn anything from the project. I’ve received a lot of benefits from lower-paying jobs because I had the chance to learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), how to make my own personal blog more lucrative, and other skills I wouldn’t otherwise have learned about.
Lower-paying work can potentially expand your skills, and help you work towards higher income opportunities. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone or try something new.
Soft skills are important to have, even if you work online. Soft skills can include critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and more.
Freelancers may not have bosses, but they have clients. It will serve you well to know how to communicate with the people you work with and ensure you’re happy with your work and have happy clients.
In addition, many online customer service opportunities require soft skills. These customer service jobs often pay higher than online surveys and other similar jobs.
Along with soft skills, networking can also be a great skill to find online opportunities.
You can network by finding local networking events in your town, taking classes online or in person, or even by connecting with people on social media.
You can create profiles and connect with people who do similar things as you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
Twitter has been a great tool for me in building my network. I’ve also joined an accountability group, which has helped me find opportunities.
Freelancing and artistic opportunities often require a portfolio that can help showcase your creativity and help clients see your work.
Social media influencers, bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers all need creativity to create interesting and attention-grabbing content.
What Do You Need to Know Before Earning Income Outside of Traditional Jobs?
Things you should learn about are:
- Health insurance and other benefits
- Tracking your income and invoicing
- Working with contracts
Traditional job taxes are very different from non-traditional employment taxes. Typically, employers pay portions of taxes on your behalf. As a freelancer or contractor, you will be given different forms and different schedules for paying taxes.
Another new part of taxes for non-traditional employment is quarterly taxes. Setting aside income for quarterly taxes is a good idea for those starting a side hustle for the first time.
Health Insurance and Benefits
Along with taxes being different, health insurance and other benefits aren’t as available in non-traditional employment. When I quit my traditional job, I had to learn how to build my own benefits package as a freelancer.
Aside from health insurance, another side hustle benefit to look into is different types of retirement accounts. Certain types of retirement accounts are only available through non-traditional employment.
Tracking Your Income and Invoicing
Taxes and health insurance weren’t the only changes I had to make when I quit my job. I started tracking my income more closely. Instead of looking at paystubs, I had to track my income as it comes and set aside enough for quarterly taxes.
There are many online ways to track income such as Quickbooks. These different types of software often include other benefits such as creating and tracking invoices. If you prefer, you can also use spreadsheets or other software to track.
Learning to track your income could lead to opportunities with accounting and similar opportunities as a virtual assistant for those who may be interested in that path.
You’ll need to send invoices to clients, rather than receive weekly or biweekly paychecks. Don’t forget to send, track, and record your invoices to make sure you get paid!
Having a contract sets the expectations for you and your clients. It helps protect both parties in case of a dispute.
Make sure to always read your contracts! And make sure you sign a contract and agree on a rate and project scope before beginning your work.
Where Can You Find Easy Side Income Opportunities?
Some easy places to look are delivery services like the ones mentioned above such as Uber, Lyft, etc.
Some other easy side hustles include using your traditional job skills outside of traditional employment. This is sometimes referred to as a “lazy” side hustle. For example, I used to use Microsoft Excel at my previous job. So I could create spreadsheets, downloadables, or create YouTube tutorials on Excel.
One very non-traditional side hustle is a professional hugger or cuddler. One woman earns up to $60 an hour for professional cuddling.
Other non-traditional side hustles that may be easy and were mentioned earlier, include pet sitting, house sitting, and babysitting.
Sometimes adding another pet or child under your watch for some extra cash can be quick and easy. However, for child care, there may be regulations and other policies to follow. A drawback to pet sitting is sometimes a pet may damage your property.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are answers to some of the top questions about making money without a job.
What Are the Best Places to Sell Items?
Ask your friends and family if they know anyone who sells things on Etsy, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and odds are they do. It’s a highly popular source of supplemental income for people interested in non-traditional jobs.
I know of people who run online courses about Etsy, fund real estate ventures through eBay reselling, sell their household items on Facebook Marketplace and sell textbooks on Amazon.
How Much Money Can You Make Without a Traditional Job?
According to Acorns.com, one in three side hustlers brought in up to $1000 per month in 2021. That’s a lot, but truly the sky’s the limit. It all depends on you, how much you want to work, how high you set your rates, and how many clients you can get!
What Skills Are Most In Demand for People Who Want to Make Money Without Being Employed?
To make money without being employed, you’ll need a combination of writing, software, and soft skills. You’ll need to inhabit a growth mindset and learn how to network. Bonus points if you are creative!
How Can You Make Money from Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of marketing where an affiliate markets another business’ products or services for a commission on each sale they generate.
Some more lucrative affiliate marketing products include books and online courses. I have several friends who have made their own online courses with affiliate programs. I also have friends who are affiliate marketers for some of those online courses.
Often companies will reward users by giving referral codes, affiliate links, or other ways to show that someone has referred another customer to their product.
An affiliate link is an affiliate-specific URL that links to the business’s products or services. It keeps track of where the customer came from, so the affiliate can receive their reward.
Many companies use this method of marketing, and it can be lucrative to make money online.
Some tips for being successful at affiliate marketing are:
- Disclose that you use an affiliate link
- Be patient
- Find your niche (area of expertise)
Here’s a list of the top affiliate marketing programs.
The Bottom Line
If you don’t want a traditional job, there are endless possibilities for making money online. You can offer writing, customer service, or software services, sell products, start a business, and much more. Working for yourself could be your first step to gaining financial freedom. To learn more, check out our course on financial freedom.