Working from home has become increasingly popular over the last few years. One in five Americans work from home, and the number is expected to increase another 63 percent in the next five years. Online business can be a lucrative and rewarding venture for anyone, from stay-at-home moms to college students with extra time between classes.
There are plenty of perks that come with working from home. You don't have a long commute, you can set your own hours, and you don't have to change out of your pajama pants if you don't want to. If you're willing to put the time in, you can even earn more than you would at a standard day job. Making money from home is easy and convenient, and it just takes a little effort to get yourself set up.
These are 10 of the most popular sites that help you make money from home.
eBay is an auction site designed for buying and selling basically anything. While it used to be known for celebrity auctions and novelty purchases, the site has since become a shopper's—and seller's—mecca. If it exists, you can probably find it or sell it on eBay.
Getting started as a seller on eBay is easy. Open up a free account and try selling a few personal items you don't want anymore. You'll need to list the items, provide photos of your products, write descriptions, handle buyer disputes and ship packages. Once you get the hang of selling, do some research on different products you'd like to focus on as a vendor and build your way up from there.
Amazon is one of the largest online retailers in the world. The website started as a bookstore but soon expanded to include movies, music, electronics and more. In the United States, Amazon offers almost anything you could need as well as a robust set of online services including video streaming and cloud storage.
Selling on Amazon is incredibly easy. Aside from starting a professional seller's account, you can also opt for their Fulfilled by Amazon service, which takes care of all shipping and handling, postage and customer service on your behalf for $1 per piece of inventory sold. Just send them a box of your inventory, and they'll handle the rest.
To begin, sign in to your regular Amazon account (or open one if you don't have one already), and sign up for an Amazon Seller Account. Follow the prompts and you should be ready to sell in a matter of minutes.
If you're creative and crafty, Etsy could be the best option for you. This online marketplace specializes in vintage finds, artisan products and custom-made pieces. And it has a dedicated buyer community.
If you love finding Christian Dior sweaters in thrift stores or enjoy putting together different crafty decor pieces, Etsy is a great place to start making some extra money from home. It's simple to open an Etsy shop, and it's cheaper to list items on the site than on many other online marketplaces.
Believe it or not, there is an enormous amount of money to be made on YouTube. About 300 hours of video are uploaded to this Web service every minute, from instructions on how to rebuild a car engine to in-depth analyses of why the "Star Wars" prequels sucked.
You can earn money on YouTube through the website's built-in advertising. They tend to pay around $1 per 1,000 views with the top video producers making several million dollars per year. It isn't hard to get started, and if you have something to say about a topic with a large following, you can easily find viewers and start earning ad revenue.
Social media channels can be effective sources of income. If you can amass a large enough group of followers, you can make money from affiliate marketing by posting sponsored content alongside your regular posts. Sites like SponsoredTweets will pay prominent accounts per tweet, and other Web services will even purchase accounts with large followings. If you're a model, Instagram is a hotbed for advertising through popular accounts with some models making up to one thousand dollars per photo post. These social media channels are also a great way to build an online presence for your business.
Building a website is a surprisingly simple process with plenty of tutorials and community hubs focusing on the subject. Niche websites focus on a specific subject like HDR photography or security guard job applications. They can be about essentially anything that someone would want an informed opinion on.
A well-written and thoroughly planned niche website can earn several thousand dollars per month in ad revenue. It can be tricky finding the right area to focus on, but with consistent effort and some trial and error, you could easily build a great source of passive income.
Maintaining a blog can be a full-time job. Most successful blogs follow a specific subject and offer opinions and information on that topic. As with most online content, businesses are eager to purchase advertising space and find new viewers through blogs dedicated to a related product.
If you have a knack for haggling or searching for deals, Craigslist can be extremely lucrative. Craigslist "flippers" make their money by searching out cheap items and selling them for a profit in other markets.
Flipping can replace your day job. Some professional hagglers make thousands of dollars each month by trading cars, boats and electronics.
A relatively new field, click working often involves doing simple tasks like searching the Web, viewing videos, commenting on blogs or transcribing scanned documents. Each task pays only a few cents, but each takes very little time to complete. While it's not as lucrative as other methods, it's easy and can be a great supplementary income when you have free time.
If you have design experience, websites like 99designs and Crowdspring offer logo design contests that pay out a few hundred dollars per design. You'll usually be competing with other designers, so only the winner will earn the commission price. Building a design business on your own can be significantly more lucrative, but crowd-sourced design websites are a great starting point.
The biggest step toward starting a profitable online venture is deciding to do it in the first place. If you're committed and willing to do the legwork, you can easily begin building a strong alternative income from the comfort of your own home.