The rumors are true: there are plenty of ways to earn money from home, working on your laptop in your pajamas.
However, not all of those jobs are worth the effort.
Take Fiverr, for example. The site is full of people offering to proofread documents, edit videos, create stop-motion animations and more — all for only $5 a pop.
How much work do you think it takes to complete one of those Fiverr jobs? Let’s say, conservatively, that it takes an hour to complete the average Fiverr gig. That means you’re earning $5 an hour — no, $4 an hour, since Fiverr takes 20% from your paycheck as commission.
You also can’t really control how many Fiverr gigs you get; there’s no guarantee that people will buy your services, and that $4 an hour can turn into $0 an hour if nobody wants what you’re offering.
It is possible to ramp up work on Fiverr: to slowly grow a client base, offer add-on products that raise your rates, and turn Fiverr into a true income stream. But a lot of people are only going to earn $4 an hour, and many are going to earn even less than that. (And don’t forget about the time it takes to create your Fiverr intro video, promote your Fiverr service and build relationships with clients — that should all factor into your hourly rate.)
Don’t get stuck putting in a lot of effort for a very low payout. Use these tips to make better choices and start earning money.
Figure Out Your Work/Payout Ratio
The way to determine which “make money from home!” options are best for you is to figure out your work/payout ratio.
When we looked at Slicethepie, for example, we determined that you might be able to earn a few dollars an hour reviewing new music for the site. (As always, some people are going to earn more and some people are going to earn less.)
Is earning a few bucks in exchange for reviewing 30 songs good enough for you? Some people will say yes, and some people will say “no, that’s too much work for too little payout.”
Increase Your Payout By Finding Your Wheelhouse
Let’s go back to that Fiverr example for a minute. Say you’re a really fast proofreader. Maybe it doesn’t take you an hour to proofread a 10-page document; maybe it only takes you 15 minutes. If you had a lot of clients, you could proofread four documents per hour and earn $16 after Fiverr takes its 20% commission. (Like this idea? Click to tweet it!)
That means Fiverr might be a good choice for you. If it’s in your wheelhouse, and you can do the job quickly, it might be worth putting in the effort, creating a great Fiverr intro video, and building up your client base. If that’s your plan, make the most of the site by checking out our guide to Fiverr. (If you’re that good, you’ll also want to start your own freelance proofreading business where you charge clients more than $5 — but we’ll look at how to do that in another post.)
Or, let’s say you’re a speed reader, and you can complete an online survey in 5 minutes or less. It’s worth it for you to sign up to a handful of the best online survey sites and start taking lots of surveys.
Maybe you’re good at tagging images, drawing caricatures or testing websites. Find something you can do quickly, without too much effort, and you’re on your way to reducing the “work” side of the work/payout ratio and increasing the “payout.” Look for tools that also help you reduce that ratio, like the “Hits Worth Turking For” thread on Reddit for Mechanical Turk users.
Avoid Sites That Limit How Much Work You Can Complete
As you’re finding your wheelhouse, avoid sites that deliberately limit the amount of work you can complete. Slicethepie, for example, makes you wait 90 seconds before completing a song review and limits your overall speed by using an “energy bar” that blocks your ability to review new songs if you complete reviews too quickly.
Likewise, some online surveys include timers that prevent you from answering the next question until a certain amount of time has passed. They’re trying to prevent you from rushing through the survey, but they’re also slowing down your work/payout ratio.
When you find your wheelhouse, look for sites that let you complete unlimited amounts of work as fast as you can. That’s how you earn real money.
Use These Tips to Start Earning
Check out our many posts on ways to earn money online. Use these tips to calculate your work/payout ratio, find your wheelhouse and look for the opportunities that let you earn decent money while avoiding the sites where you put in a lot of work for only a very small payout.
Your Turn: What’s your main money-making skill, and how have you used it to make money online?