It's the beginning of November 2013 and you're already starting to think about Christmas. It's the holiday season, and shopping gets started earlier every year. But money's tight, and you are worried that you won't have enough money to give your kids, family, girlfriend, boyfriend, or best friend the type of Christmas they deserve.
This situation is not uncommon. And you are sure that there is some way that you can use the internet to make some extra money for Christmas.
Especially in recent years with the way the economy has been in the toilet and there are so many looking for work that they can't find, I expect that there are plenty of folks searching Google for some way to get a few hundred extra dollars for holiday shopping.
You're Too Late
Unfortunately, it's a little to late for this year. Well, almost. If you were thinking that you would use the next month and a half to start a new online business venture, website, find some other type of quick-money business opportunity, it's just not going to happen at this point.
There just isn't enough time
Any type of program, system, or training is going to take at least a few days, and probably a couple weeks for you to learn, understand, and implement efficiently enough to be profitable. Then the money you make has to be held for a period of 30-60 days to account for refunds, fraud, and payout thresholds. Then a bank transfer can take up to 3-4 working days.
In total, if you started TODAY, you might be able to have some spendable cash in your bank account by the middle January. Even then, that's BEST case scenario. Most likely, you're going to need six months to a year to start any kind of profitable business venture.
Let's talk after Christmas, and in the meantime, you can set some realistic goals for making money online.
Avoid Scams That Say Otherwise
I don't want to turn this blog post into a scam rant, but there are plenty of places out there that will tell you that you can start making money this week, today, or whatever. Technically, this is true.
I can buy a product, join the affiliate/reseller program, and sell a copy to my brother the same day. Hey, I just made some money.
Or they say things like, “Have a website that can start making you money today”. Then they give you a low-quality cookie cutter website. True, it has the ability to make money, but it won't.
It's all in the clever advertising. Beware of companies that prey upon your emotions, and if you are seeing red flags or warning signs, you are probably right! Trust your instincts.
On Last Chance To Make Money Before December 25th 2013
Your best chance to make some cash for this coming Christmas and Holiday season is to get paid to do odd jobs on the internet. Yes, kind of like an internet handyman.
If you can't code, can't design, and don't have many computer skills, there are still a few things you can do.
Amazon Mechanical Turk
I haven't made any money here because I haven't tried to, but there are plenty of folks that do. It's a legit website from Amazon where website owners and businesses go to “crowdsource” small projects. If a web master needs 1 million pictures labeled, they won't pay 1 person to do it. They'll pay 1,000 people to do 1,000 pictures to get it done faster.
At AMT you'll do little tasks like data entry, labeling things, sorting items, or maybe even taking small surveys. They are small, easy tasks, that pay small amounts of money. Prices range from 1 penny to a couple dollars per task.
Tasks are usually fairly priced, and what you can/can't do will depend on your personal interests and skill sets. It's no fun to work for less than minimum wage, but if you can fit in 100 hours between now and January 1st, at $5 per hour (guesstimating here), that's $500. Five hundred bucks is certainly enough for a couple of decent presents and some decorations.
Be a Virtual Assistant
Being an assistant sounds boring. Well, it probably is.
But on the internet it can be exciting because you aren't just shuffling papers and working a 9-5. What's even better is that the jobs come and go, and you can be a Virtual Assistant (or VA for the cool kids) for a few days, a week, or a month. It just depends on the job.
VA's do a variety of things. In fact, they can do anything. You might find it hard to land a long, well paying job as a VA without any experience, but if someone needs you to take care of random tasks for about a month, this could work.
If you have to balance a regular job on top of being a virtual assistant you may find it challenging to respond to requests, take care of tasks within the allotted time, or meet with your client, but it's still worth a shot.
You don't have a lot of marketable skills to break onto the scene here. Being organized, friendly, and willing to learn new tasks is often enough. In fact, it can be an asset to an employer if you don't have any bad habits from previous work, and are ‘on your toes' trying to impress them for your first job.
You can apply to VA networks (but I don't know any good ones to share with you), or be an independent freelancer on sits like oDesk, Freelancer, or Elance. Links below. You generally get paid on a weekly basis if you are paid by the hour, or at the end of a project if you are getting paid a one time fee. Depending on the site you join, you may also be able to work out installment payments with your client.
Freelance Writing is actually what I think most people would be best doing. Well, most native English speakers anyway. The internet is very English centric, so if you struggle with English, consider being a virtual assistant or looking at what other skills you might be able to use on the internet such as graphic design, image/video editing, translation, etc. Look at jobs on the jobs board and see if one matches.
But getting back to freelance writing, this is an awesome way to get started in the world of making money online. It's not the “automated millions” that you hear about, but it's real work, that really pays, it pays quickly, and all you need to be able to do is type.
A huge part of freelance writing is being able to do proper research and writing content that actually makes sense. You would be surprised at they type of emails I receive every day, where people seem to not even be able to put together a real English sentence. No doubt they have been to school, know how to capitalize the first letter of a sentence, end it with a period, and use spell check.
These small details are going to be crucial for getting a good rating from your client. But other than actually being able to structure simple sentences, you need to be able to get your ideas down on (virtual) paper.
If you are not a professional writer, don't worry! You will definitely have to put in some extra hours when you get started, in order to practice your writing skills. But the more you type, the faster you become, the less mistakes you make, the more you can “wing it”. But seriously, if you bid for some low paying jobs, they will not critique your every word. “Average” will be fine when you are getting paid just a few bucks for an hour of work.
It used to take my 1 hour to type out a 400 word article. I can do about 1500 words in the same amount of time now.
For a native English speaker you can expect to get paid AT LEAST $1 per 100 words, and very often it's $2 per 100 words, depending on the subject matter. Good writers, with excellent writing styles and expertise in a certain area can get paid $10 or more per 100 words. For a 500 word article, that's $50. Write just one article per day, and that's several hundred dollars per week.
Now, don't get your hopes up for striking it rich with freelance writing. You've only got about a month til Christmas (and probably less once the time this blog post ranks). But even if you have to work your ass off for the next 4 weeks, sleeping less, and typing away for 4 hours per day for just $50 per week (highly unlikely you will get paid this little for this much work), that's still a couple hundred dollars more you have for buying gifts.