With the cost of living rising at an alarming pace, many households may be considering how to make some extra cash.
This doesn’t necessarily mean getting a second job. In fact – so long as you have a broadband connection – there are numerous ways to make money online without leaving the comfort of your home. We’ve rounded up some top examples.
1. Have your say
There are websites that will pay you for your opinion on anything from the latest hit TV show to shampoo or dog food. To get started, sign up to survey sites such as i-Say (previously Ipsos), Swagbucks, YouGov and Opinion Outpost. Once you’re a member, they’ll send you details of surveys you’re eligible for and how much they pay.
Focus groups are more in depth and usually mean attending a session in person. They can pay well though – up to £100 for an hour or two. Takepartinresearch.co.uk or Paidfocusgroups.co.uk are good places to start.
2. Get into dropshipping
Selling items on eBay and Facebook is so last year – now it’s all about dropshipping, which is a ‘fulfilment method’ used by retail businesses. Dropshippers buy goods from a third party and then have these goods shipped directly to customers. Crucially, you don’t need to buy, or physically hold, any stock.
To make money you need to identify a product you think will sell in the UK. Chinese mega-website AliExpress is a good place to look for something suitable.
Next, you need to set up a shop on Shopify or account on eBay and find buyers – perhaps using ads on Facebook or Instagram. You advertise the product at a higher price than you’re buying it for – this mark-up will be your profit.
When someone buys the product, you buy it from your supplier (i.e. AliExpress) and have it shipped directly to the buyer.
3. Pocket some ‘passive income’
Passive income refers to income that doesn’t need a significant commitment of time or money on an ongoing basis.
Investing in the stock market, for example, can generate passive income – but you’ll need a long-term investment strategy to see gains. And, of course, you may get out less than you put in.
There’s a lot of hype around cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum but you should think twice before jumping onto the crypto bandwagon.
These virtual currencies are notoriously volatile as well as being the subject of various scams – check out Trust No one: The Hunt For The Crypto King on Netflix for a story about how it can all go horribly wrong.
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4. Become a virtual tutor
This side hustle is best suited to brainy university students happy to tutor schoolchildren approaching the 11-plus, school entrance exams, GCSEs or A-levels.
The pandemic meant that pupils became accustomed to remote learning so there’s no longer an expectation that you will travel to tutor your pupils in person.
The better your GCSE and A-level grades in maths, English and science subjects the better – you can earn up to £20 an hour helping kids to improve their grades.
You can find clients using sites such as Superprof or MyTutor or by word of mouth recommendation.
5. ‘Flip’ domain names
Most domain names sell for a few quid – but there are some which change hands for millions of pounds. Domain flipping is when you buy a domain name as cheaply as possible then sell it for more than you originally paid for it.
If you could go back in time, you should have bought the domain name Cars.com – according to GoDaddy, it’s now valued at $872m (£707m). Sex.com is worth about $13m (£10.5m) and shoes.com $9m (£7m).
The key to making cash this way is to identify a domain name that might become mega-desirable in the future and buy it while it’s still cheap.
6. Sell your old tech
Most of us like to upgrade our smartphones and other devices whenever a shiny new one comes out. This means that, across the UK, there are countless drawers and cupboards containing old smartphones, cameras, and games consoles.
According to MPB.com, which specialises in selling photography gear, half of UK adults have six or more devices sitting around. These could be worth an average of £1,332 if traded in.
If you’re upgrading your phone, you might be able to recycle it with your network. For example, O2 Recycle gives you a discount on a new device if you trade in your old phone.
7. Create content and influence people
It’s not just celebs making money from Instagram – ‘micro influencers’ are normal folk who make cash creating and sharing content. The key to success is building a large, engaged and enthusiastic following who will react to your social media posts with likes, shares and comments.
Most social media influencers start off by collaborating with brands by plugging and picturing their products (which they usually receive for free) before graduating to getting paid cold hard cash for product posts on Instagram and Facebook.
There are rules about this type of advertising though – you’ll need to use hashtags such as #ad to make it clear you’re being paid to post.
8. Become a ‘comper’
‘Compers’ make money by entering and winning online, TV or radio competitions.
Radio stations, in particular, regularly give away five-figures sums of money in competitions you can enter with just a quick text. Other typical prizes include cars, holidays, tech products, kitchen appliances, gig tickets and… just about anything.
Pro compers enter hundreds of competitions each week which they find by subscribing to Compers News or Theprizefinder.com. Before you get started, set up a separate email address just for competitions – otherwise your email index will get swamped with spam and newsletters.
In general, you have the best chance of winning competitions where you have to make some kind of effort to enter – thinking up a slogan, for example.
Do I need to pay tax on ‘side hustle’ income?
Since 2017 Brits have benefited from a £1,000 ‘trading allowance’ whereby it’s possible to each earn up to £1,000 a year tax-free from ‘side hustles’ such as flogging items on eBay or making money from online surveys.
If you earn more than this from online extras, you’ll need to register as self-employed with HMRC and pay tax on your profits.
Money you earn on investments such as dividends is taxed separately – this article explains how.