These options offer the best bang for your buck when weighed against how much of your time they will take up.
Many of us would love to add to our income, whether it is through a raise at work, passive income or a “side hustle.” A coveted source of passive income is a rental property but that’s not an easily attainable option for many Canadians. As the cost of living has increased, more people are looking into second jobs or side hustles that will allow them to earn some extra income without taking over their lives.
So, for those who don’t have an extra investment property lying around or thousands of social media followers, here are five flexible and realistic ways to boost your income without draining all of your spare time.
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Estimated pay: $18-$28 per hour
If you have teaching qualifications and experience, one of the best ways to earn some extra cash is to teach English online. There are a number of websites that will allow you to do this, but one of the most established and popular ones is VIPKID. VIPKID requires a four-year degree and two years of experience, along with being authorized to work in the U.S. or Canada.
The biggest draw to teaching English online is the flexibility. You can create your own schedule working when you want and as much as you want. With VIPKID, there is also no minimum hour commitment. Plus, the classes are only 25 minutes long. Another advantage is that you don’t have to do any lesson planning, the company has that all taken care of and you just need to follow the curriculum.
The downside of teaching English online is that it can be incredibly competitive. You also have to sign a contract (for VIPKID it’s six months). VIPKID’s contract does not guarantee a full schedule and does not impose requirements for how many classes you must teach. The contract also includes stipulations for base-pay and details such as the fees for cancelling classes at the last minute, or not showing up at all.
Also keep in mind the peak teaching hours can be quite early in the morning or late at night as many of the students are in China.
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Estimated pay: Unlimited
If you are looking to make passive income then consider selling digital products. The possibilities here are endless. Digital products can be anything and everything from digital artwork to travel itinerary planners, calendars to place settings for weddings, ebooks to photo editing pre-sets etc. If you are creative or knowledgeable you can easily come up with a product to sell digitally on a platform like Etsy.
The big advantage to this type of work is that you just have to create the product once and then you can sell it over and over again to your buyers. Since these are online sales for digital products, you don’t physically have to do the work to sell or ship the item. Everything is set up to go automatically, which means this type of work is considered to be passive income. However, the downside is that you need to put in the work to make sure that your product is seen and stands out from the competition, which means dabbling in marketing and advertising. Not only can this be time-consuming, but it also means it can take time before your products start to sell.
Those who are successful have the potential to make thousands of dollars per day. However, that’s not the reality for most people. That being said, if you have a good product(s) that targets a specific niche, you can make a few hundred or even a couple thousand dollars per month by selling digital products.
Estimated Pay: $20/hour
If you enjoy social media and online work then you can offer services as a virtual assistant (VA). Many bloggers, influencers, and even local companies need some help with everyday online work. This can include scheduling and posting to social media, responding to emails or doing research for upcoming projects or articles.
VA roles are generally pretty flexible with the schedule, which makes it an easy job to do after hours and from the comfort of your home. Depending on who is hiring, they might offer anywhere from five hours a week to 20, which means you have a good chance of finding work to fit your schedule and needs.
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Estimated Pay: $30/hour
Another option to supplement your income in a work-from-home environment is to try your hand at freelance writing. While print journalism isn’t as common anymore, there are plenty of online outlets looking for writers and contributors on a variety of topics. Pay can vary drastically depending on the type of writing you are doing, the subject, and the client. New writers can make as little as $0.01 per word while more established writers in a niche market can earn $1 per word
Since the work is freelance, it’s up to you to decide how much work you want to take on. You are also able to work around your schedule. The trickiest part of being a freelance writer is finding clients. Pitching can be time-consuming and not always lucrative, especially if you are new to this type of work. In this case, you can look to websites such as UpWork where you can browse through potential projects and clients and pitch there. The advantage of this kind of platform is that it’s easier to find clients. The downside is that these tend to be low-paying clients and the platform also takes a cut of your payments.
Estimated pay: $25/hour
Having an online presence is a huge part of today’s reality, personally and professionally, meaning that photographers are more sought after than ever. There is demand for the usual suspects, like weddings and headshots, but also for small businesses looking to photograph products, or families looking for someone to capture their vacation memories.
While having an established presence is always helpful, there are a number of websites where you can advertise your services so potential clients can easily find you, such as Airbnb Experiences. This type of work can be fun, flexible, and lucrative but depending on demand, it may not be as consistent as the other side hustle options on this list.
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Hannah Logan is an Ottawa-based writer and blogger who specializes in personal finance and travel.
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