Good With Excel? 6 Ways to Make Money With Your Spreadsheet Skills
Do you know your CONCATENATE from your CONSOLIDATE? You could make extra money with your spreadsheet skills.
Kate Snyder spent years working with Excel as a management consultant.
“I got a little burnt out,” she said. “I made a lot of data models.”
Looking for a more flexible way to make money, she listed a handful of income and expense trackers for sale on Etsy. Today, Franky Template Design has sold thousands of spreadsheet templates.
How to Make Money With Your Spreadsheet Skills
Selling templates is just one way to make money with spreadsheets. Some coaches make millions showing other people how to use Excel! More realistically, there are plenty of data entry jobs to go around.
All you need is skill and software. Excel starts at $6.99 per month and Google Sheets is free.
“A lot of people don’t have Microsoft Office, so I tend to have an alternative product available in Google Sheets,” Snyder said.
Think you have what it takes? Get inspired by this list of spreadsheet side hustles.
Sell Spreadsheet Templates
People use Excel for everything from bookkeeping to wedding planning. They try, anyway. Sometimes, people struggle to build a spreadsheet that meets their needs. That’s where templates come in.
A customer can pay for their ready-made workout tracker or financial forecaster – just add data.
Snyder posted her first few small business spreadsheet templates, there were plenty of similar products on the market. She didn’t let that stop her.
“They weren’t of the quality that I could do,” she said.
To stand out, pick a template you know how to make and make it well. If you’re an animal lover, make a pet budget. If you’re a mental health advocate, make a mood tracker. Create a template that is truly worth buying.
“A lot of my sales volume is on Etsy,” Snyder said.
Peek at your competitors’ storefronts to get an idea of the right price. “If it’s too high, it won’t sell. If it’s too low, it won’t seem trustworthy,” Snyder said.
And don’t freak out if you end up listing the spreadsheet you spent five hours on for $2.99.
“You put in the effort up front and recoup over time,” she said.
Earn up to $69/Hour as a Small Business Owner
Does earning $69 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work remotely while helping others succeed?
Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a CPA and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers through online courses called Bookkeepers.com.
You don’t have to be an accountant or even really good at math to be successful in this business. In fact, all you need are spreadsheet skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems. The ability to stay moderately organized is helpful, too.
You can make up to $69 an hour, according to data from Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks, and you have no commute. It’s a great opportunity for parents who want a part-time job, recent college grads or anyone who wants to bring in real money working from home.
Robinson shares what it takes to be a virtual bookkeeper, plus tips for making this career work for you in his free class at Bookkeepers.com. If you stick with the classes, you could be running your own business in just a few months.
Teach Spreadsheet Skills
Have you ever heard of Miss Excel? She has over 900,000 followers on TikTok, where she shares spreadsheet tips in short and sweet videos. She also sells courses on her website. At one point in 2021, she made six figures in one day. One day.
Reality check: You probably won’t make your millions teaching people how to use spreadsheets. But it shows just how much demand there is for quality Excel training.
Before you start, be honest with yourself. Do you have the skills to teach another person Excel? If you don’t know your way around a pivot table, don’t offer expert-level Excel training.
If you are confident, competent, and ready to go, it’s time to find some students. There are two main routes you can take: online and offline.
You can develop online courses on the usual platforms: UDemy, SkillShare, and Teachable are popular options. You can also go the content creation route. It doesn’t make you money immediately, but it can direct more students to your courses.
Don’t sleep on in-real-life opportunities. Ask around at local businesses. Could they use an office coaching session? Advertise on Craigslist for in-person tutoring sessions. Are there college students in your area who could use a marketable skill?
Businesses often outsource tasks to Excel consultants. What kind of tasks? Anything a spreadsheet can handle.
Examples of freelance gigs Excel consultants can take on include:
- Data analysis
- Data visualization
- Financial forecasts
- Process automation
It’s easy to find this kind of work on Fiverr, but you can get paid more if you reach out to businesses directly. Don’t be shy! Send a cold email. You might end up with a $1,000-job.
Not interested in starting a business? Go back to basics. Get a data entry gig.
The work is simple: enter data in a spreadsheet. The pay is often low: according to Payscale, the median rate is $15.27 an hour.
If you have intermediate or above spreadsheet skills, you can probably find a higher-paying side hustle. But data entry is a place to start.
Get a Job
And there are plenty of opportunities out there. Data analysis is one of the most in-demand skills for employers in 2023. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
Not just anybody can make an elegant, time-saving macro. Go get that money.
Contributor Ciara McLaren is a freelance writer with work in HuffPost, Insider and The Penny Hoarder. You can find her on Substack (@camclaren).