Is it possible to earn money from home? The short answer is yes. But don’t expect to be sitting back sipping lattes while the Euros roll in.
It takes time, research and a keen eye for scams. If you have a particular qualification or skill, that’s a big help, and most of us have more skills than we know. Buckets of determination and persistence are the real essentials, though, and it’s handy to have a solid network of contacts, online or IRL. Here are a few ideas that just might work for you:
1. Market research panels
Joining a market research panel is more of a sideline than a rock solid revenue stream. The rewards are fairly small and tend to come in the form of shopping vouchers rather than cold, hard cash. A popular panel is Irish Opinions which offers vouchers for Easons, Boots, Tesco and other retailers. You’re paid to complete surveys on a range of topics that the researchers decide are relevant to you, on the basis of your age, gender, location, etc. Payment per survey varies between 25c and €5, and some of the questionnaires can be time-consuming to complete. You receive survey invitations by email and ideally, you’ll want to ensure you’re receiving as many as possible. The reward you clock up can be requested in the form of online or hard copy vouchers.
2. Stella & Dot
Sported by everyone from Katy Perry to Glenda Gilson, the Stella & Dot range of jewellery and accessories is a fashionista’s dream. The company also offers the opportunity to become one of their stylists, selling their collections on-line or through ‘trunk shows’ (think Anne Summers or Tupperware, but with a funkier edge). Stella & Dot offer what they call a ‘business in a box’ – all the online and off-line kit you need to attract and supply a client base. You will have to make a cash outlay though. That can be as little as €199 for the Basic Kit to €699 to the Business Builder package. The estimated earning per stylist per trunk show is €100. They’re very clear about the dangers of being misled into thinking it’s easy to achieve high earnings – and the fact that it’s illegal to promise those to others. The offering is extremely clear, as are details of the outlay of time and money needed.
If you don’t have the time or the readies to take on a stylist’s role, Stella & Dot also offer opportunities to host trunk shows by connecting with their team of stylists in your area. Earnings for the hostess come in form of discounts and free products and it’s a good way of figuring out if the stylist’s role might be for you one day.
If you’re more into designing your own jewellery, accessories or craft products of any kind (except the edible variety), running an online business through Etsy could be more you. The platform allows you to set up your own online shop in a matter of minutes and if you’re not a maker yourself, you could choose to sell vintage items or craft supplies through Etsy. The platform offers the potential to reach 30 million site users worldwide. There’s no membership fee, but there is a change of $0.20 per item to list something until it sells. When you do make a sale, Etsy takes 3.5%. You also need a credit card to sign up, but that’s for verification purposes and bills for listings and commission are sent to you on a monthly basis.
There’s a really useful Seller’s Handbook with nifty advice on how to photograph your products, grow your business and keep up with trends in your area. There’s also the inspiring story of Londoner Rae Birch-Carter who started up her own bridal accessories business, Agnes Hart, while on maternity leave and never went back to her ‘day job’.
4. Farmers markets
If you’re a grower, a baker or a maker of any edible produce, it’s worth considering joining your local Farmer’s Market. Some of these also have stalls for crafters. Their popularity is at an all-time-high right now and top-notch producers can expect strong custom at weekly markets as well as those that spring up at fairs and festivals over the summer. This is now a highly competitive space and some markets have long waiting lists for stalls. You also need to consider the cost of renting your stall and the behind-the-scenes work needed in your own kitchen.
If you’re starting out, it may be easier to access your local Country Market, Their website is full of useful information, including an essential guide to food preparation hygiene. There is a charge of €30 to join a local Country Market, with yearly renewal costing €25. However, there’s no stall rental and a great network of fellow producers. If there’s no Country Market in your area, you could register to start your own – the only snag is that you’d need to find 19 fellow producers and a suitable venue.
Remember that college qualification gathering dust at the back of a drawer somewhere? If it’s in an area relevant to the school curriculum, and you have a grá for (or better still, a qualification in) teaching, you could consider giving grinds. The big ticket subjects at second level are Gaeilge, Maths and all of the science subjects. However, English and languages are always in demand too.
The area is competitive however. If you’re in a small town, there’ll often be a number of experienced people already offering grinds, so you need to be ready to travel. Also bear in mind, that students will be putting a large part of their hopes for exam success into your hands, so you’ll really need to know your stuff and to know the school curriculum, exam papers, past questions, etc. Earnings tend to vary and generally start at around €25 per hour. You can offer grinds in your own home, but be aware of child protection issues and everyone may feel more comfortable with another adult around.
6. Online training
If you’re passionate about teaching and technology, you could consider producing courses for sale on line through platforms like Udemy.
As well as offering flexible online training in a range of areas from app design to yoga, Udemy invites people to become instructors with the potential to earn commission from the sale of the courses they create. You can literally teach anything you like and Udemy provides support on how to create and upload your videos so that they meet its quality standards. The support team will assess a test video of around 30 seconds and give you personalised feedback on things like sound, picture and editing. Udemy also offers advice with marketing your course. That’s essential because all revenues you earn come from sales.
Creating a course is no small undertaking, though. You could be preparing up to three hours of video per course. While Udemy has instructors who earn up to $5,000 per month, these are generally experts in leading edge skills.
There’s no charge for creating and uploading a course. You keep all of the revenue paid by students you bring to your course – e.g. through your Facebook page, etc, but Udemy – who will also market your course – will keep half of the revenue when they bring a student to your programme. You can price your course anywhere between $29 and $99, but it’s a good idea to look at similar offerings on the site.