The down economy has hit many people hard. Some have lost their job and are struggling to find another. Since many companies still aren’t hiring, a growing number of job seekers are turning to the Internet in their search for a paycheck.
What they find is that there are plenty of potential opportunities to make money online, but many of them require a big wad of cash to get started. How can you possible make money online if you don’t have any money to invest in one of those ideas? There are opportunities to make money online that don’t require a single penny of investment from you. If you need to make money, and want to try an online option, look into some of these.
Become an Affiliate Marketer
If you currently have a website or blog, consider affiliate marketing. Basically, you get a referral commission when someone clicks a link on your blog to make a purchase on another site. Other variations may be that an amount is paid to you when someone follows a link and then takes some other action like leaving an email address, completing a survey or something similar.
Affiliate marketing is fairly simple to set up. An Internet search will reveal many opportunities. You sign up for the program and then set up referral links on your site. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to sell or ship any actual merchandise. There is no cash outlay. You get paid for simply making a referral that leads to a purchase.
Affiliate marketing works well on an established blog since you have a level of trust with your readers. You should exercise caution, however, because the wrong type of affiliation can break that trust. Pushing too hard or promoting low quality products can damage your reputation.
For affiliate marketing to work, you need to have traffic to your blog, find relevant, quality products and you need to write good sales copy that will put visitors into a buying mood.
Get Paid to Take Surveys
Companies and their advertising agencies know that consumers today tune out television ads and skip over ads in magazines. They also know that people will hang up on telemarketers. In order to create effective marketing, they survey ordinary consumers to find out what type of ads work. But they have also discovered that they have to provide incentives to get opinions. Some pay cash, others offer coupons, gift cards or entries into a sweepstakes.
Although there are questionable sites, not all surveys are scams. It is also not a get-rich-quick scheme. You won’t get paid big money, but you can get paid to take surveys in your spare time. If you’re between jobs or just need to supplement your income, you can earn between $1 and $5 per survey. It may not seem like much, but it can add up over time. As advised by survey guru Spencer Mitchell, you probably won’t do well if you just sign up for one site. However, multiple sites means that you need to stay organized and keep track of your activity on each site. Many sites have a minimum payout amount. Note every survey you take and keep track of the payment promised so that you’ll know when to ask for your payout. It might also be helpful to get a separate email account just for surveys. That way you’ll never miss an important email related to this opportunity.
Sell Your Services Online
Many companies are shying away from hiring fulltime workers. They would rather employ contract or temporary workers. For many of the jobs, they would even like to avoid providing office space. If they can arrange to hire a freelance worker who works from home, all they’re paying for is the end result.
There are a number of freelance sites that you can join. You fill in a profile, list all of your skills, bid on jobs and then accept contracts. They don’t cost anything to join, and they can be a source of legitimate work.
There are many facets to this opportunity. Freelance writers, programmers and office workers can all find work on these freelance sites. There is a bit of competition from low-paid foreign workers and it can take some time to get your first contract. But by applying consistently to several appropriate opportunities, eventually you may come across the right one.
The key is to have a good, complete profile that details all of your previous experience, skills and talents. This allows prospective employers to compare your qualifications to those of other bidders. Many times, employers will prefer U.S. workers as long as the price is not out of line. They can hire foreign workers at a greatly reduced rate, but oftentimes word selection, grammar and content are simply not acceptable. Provide a quality profile and quality samples of your work and you may stand out.
Become a Virtual Assistant
For those with office skills, this is another freelance opportunity. A growing number of small companies and entrepreneurs are now hiring virtual assistants. While they don’t need fulltime office help, they do need quality, consistent help with day-to-day tasks. Again, if they can get that help without having to provide office space, so much the better. An assistant that can handle day-to-day tasks like answering emails, writing letters or other mundane tasks can free them up to handle other important matters.
As this trend picks up steam, you can expect to see a greater demand for virtual assistants. There are number of online resources that can help you get started, increase your skills and market yourself. An Internet search on “virtual assistant training” will give you thousands of blogs full of experiences and advice, training programs and other resources to choose from, much of it for free.
Since many of these opportunities are part time, you may need a couple of contracts. Hopefully, though, as a qualified virtual assistant you will have the organizational skills needed to juggle several assignments.
Write Online Content
If you have writing skills, you may also be able to find work as an online content writer. While this may not pay as much as freelance writing does, you may be able to find consistent work at an acceptable rate of pay. Depending on your quality, you’ll probably make between 1¢ and 2¢ per word. As you build up your speed, you may be able to make $10.00 or more per hour.
While not comprehensive, this list of Internet jobs that don’t require any cash to begin should point you in the right direction. With a little searching and a lot of ingenuity, you may find that your dream job is waiting for you online.