These days, it seems like everyone needs more cash. Unemployment is skyrocketing in the United States, the economy is poor, and finding a job in this market is nearly impossible unless you have an absolutely stellar résumé.
Fortunately, there is one way to make quick money that doesn’t require a killer résumé, or any type of cash investment, or any extremely specialized skills. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a decent grasp of website or graphics design, programming, or the English language. You should also be able to manage your time, work efficiently, and work without a boss looking over your shoulder.
I’m talking, of course, about freelancing. As a freelancer, you don’t have to spend any money to make money. Finding work is pretty simple unless you’re expecting to get paid $50+ per hour. And most people have some skills that can translate into cash.
The easiest way to make cash as a freelancer for most people is through writing. You’ll need to have a pretty decent grasp of the English language, including the proper use of spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be passable.
Freelance writers typically make about $3 to $10 per article for web content. You could make more writing for print publications, but those are significantly harder to get work with.
I know $3 doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but with practice you could easily churn out 3-5 articles per hour, which would earn you a minimum of $9 to $15 per hour. That’s not bad considering you can do it from home, you don’t have to fill out a job application or sit through an interview, and it’s about as easy as it gets as far as making some quick cash.
Plus, as you earn a reputation, build a portfolio of sample writing, and get some testimonials, you can raise the price you charge for your writing. You could easily be earning $7 to $10 per article in no time. That would mean you would be making $35 to $50 per hour. That’s definitely not bad!
I’ll show you some places to find work later, but for now let me tell you about a site that will pay you for articles. You can get some quick cash writing articles for Associated Content (http://www.associatedcontent.com) if you’re in the United States. Unfortunately they don’t currently accept writers outside the U.S., but if you’re American they’ll pay you a few dollars for every article you write, and they will accept most articles if they’re on a good topic and well-written.
Freelance Website or Graphics Design
If you are a website or graphics designer, or if you’re able to hire someone to do the work for you, then you can make pretty good money doing designs for people.
You can get paid anywhere from $10 for an advertising banner up to a few hundred dollars for a complex website design. If you’re really good, you can get higher prices than normal, especially once you get some testimonials!
You’ll need to be able to show some samples of your work, so you’ll need a website where you can showcase it. You can send potential clients there to see your work, check out your prices, and contact you if they want to hire you.
You can also make some quick cash by creating websites for local businesses. Visit some of the local businesses in your area and talk to the owners. Ask them if they have a website, and if so, ask them how well it’s performing for them.
Even if they have a website already, they might be willing to pay you to make some changes, do some SEO work, or set up and email list for them so they can keep in touch with their customers.
Selling Turnkey Websites
If you don’t want to design sites for people on a custom basis, you could build websites and sell them. This is easier, in many ways, than building custom sites. You don’t have to worry about building the site to the customer’s specs. You build it your way, and if someone doesn’t like it, they just won’t buy it.
Some places to sell turnkey sites include:
If you have any programming skills, there is a huge demand for quality programmers. It can be incredibly difficult to find an honest, reliable freelance programmer who will complete a job on time, do quality work, and won’t run off with your money, so there’s plenty of room for you to step in and get work.
Good programmers can get paid by the hour or by the job. It’s probably better for you personally to charge by the hour in case you run across a picky client who wants endless changes, but some people may want a firm quote based on the job.
Programming is very skilled work, so you can make a bit more for it than for writing or design. Just be aware that you will be competing with freelancers from around the world, and some of them may have less living expenses than you do.
Finding work is the toughest part of being a freelancer by far. Many freelancers have found it impossible to find enough work, because they just didn’t know where to go to find clients.
The first stop for many freelancers is the various freelancing and outsourcing sites. There are quite a few of them you can try, but you’ll be facing a lot of competition from all around the globe. Some people are writing articles for as little as $0.50 each on these sites! The quality is horrible at that price, but they still manage to get work.
Some freelancing sites to try:
A better way to get work is on the various internet marketing forums. These forums are full of successful marketers who need services like these! It can be pretty hard to find a good, reliable freelancer, so they’ll be more than willing to give you a chance. You can also get slightly better prices than you can on the freelance sites.
Some forums to try:
Don’t go spamming the forums with offers! You’ll need to follow their rules, and you may need to pay to post an ad to get business. But paying $10 or $20 is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money you can make from a single offer.
If you don’t have the cash to post an offer, you can try selling something on eBay. Just find something around your house that’s worth more than $20, sell it on eBay, and have the buyer pay you by PayPal. Then you can use that money to pay to list your offer!
Extra Tips for Freelancers
Freelancing isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. There are a few potential bumps and snags to look out for. I’m going to give you a few additional tips to help make your job a little bit easier.
- Remove distractions by closing down your email and web browser, turning off your phone, and going behind locked doors if necessary.
- Always make sure to stay in communication with clients, especially if you know their project is going to be a bit late. Most people will understand as long as you stay in touch with them. If you don’t, they will think you ran off with their money and they will get upset quickly.
- Always do your very best to get projects completed on time. Repeat business is the bread and butter of the freelancer, so treat every customer well.
- If you run into a client you can’t seem to please no matter what you do, or who expects too much, is abusive or rude, or who just makes you miserable, don’t be afraid to fire them. Don’t be rude. Just say, “I really don’t think we’re a good fit for each other. I’m refunding your money so you can find someone who is better able to help you.” People like this are not worth the hassle!
- Offer very low prices in the beginning to build testimonials, references, and samples. Once you build a reputation, you can raise your prices.
- Don’t hide behind an alias unless you have a very good reason to. Using your real name will boost your credibility. Using a photo will also help give you a lot more credibility.