[dropcap style=”style1, style2, style3, or style4″]I[/dropcap]n Thomas Friedman’s seminal macroeconomics text, The World is Flat, the renowned New York Times contributor repeatedly warns his readers that economic success in the 21st century will be directly tied to being skilled in a variety of areas. While Friedman is referring more specifically to the breakdown of traditional careers, due to the rise of international job markets in the digital age, he may as well have been predicting the moneymaking opportunities available to normal, everyday people as well as wunderkinds graduating from Kellogg or Kelley with MBAs in tow.
In fact, finding ways to make yourself some quick cash (or set up long-term freelance or contracted gigs) has never been easier, as long as you know where to look and how to market yourself.
Online gigs have provided the extra cash needed for startup entrepreneurs to help finance their new venture, college kids pay their tuition, allowed stay-at-home moms to earn extra cash, and even enabled people with full-time careers to make money to pay for that annual family vacation. Furthermore, many online freelance contracts can be stimulating and help one improve upon a wider skill-set. In fact, some individuals started out as ‘recreational freelancers’ and later turned into full-time freelancers who earn six-figure incomes while blogging in coffee shops. This is the new economy, and it’s important you are aware of what’s out there, in case you need some extra cash or are looking for a lifestyle/career change. With this in mind, Capitalist Creations has put together a quick hit list of 10 rather unconventional ways you can make money right now in the new digital economy, all starting with a few clicks of your mouse.
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1. Got a successful blog? Lots of folks want in – One of the most valuable sources of SEO and page ranking success are referral links (i.e. links to the page you want people to see, posted on independent and respected 3rd party locations). So, chances are if you have a long-running or fairly popular (in terms of clicks and page visits) blog, you can make money easily plugging certain products, name-dropping sites, or referring your readers to companies eager for extra visits to their pages (of course, don’t refer your visitors to sites that won’t be of interest to them – keep you referrals relevant). Check out www.clickchores.com and www.microworkers.com, among many others, to find people looking for blogs to host their links, stories, and branding items and who will pay you easy money for the privilege.
2. Make yourself a taxi driver….seriously – The growth and prevalence of web apps like Uber and Lyft, which allow you to offer your own car as an independent taxi service for the legions of urban visitors needing a ride, allows for a whole new way to make money. Whether you just want to hire yourself out as a driver for a night or two a week, or if you are looking for a steady stream of income, these sites are widely becoming popular in American (and now international) cities, and are an easy way to make money and meet some interesting people.
3. Become a micro task worker – Similar to #1, sites like MicroWorkers and ClickChores allow you to complete random, seemingly pointless tasks with a few clicks of the mouse or the keyboard, and make easy money doing so. While most micro jobs remain in the $.10-$1 range per completion (they typically take just a couple minutes), amassing dozens of these jobs every day can lead to some easy spending money at the end of each month.
4. Rent out your home/apartment/vacation rental/whatever – Another great niche market in the emerging service networking economy remains rental platforms, most notably Airbnb. These sites allow you to list your own properties (owned, rented, whatever) and let people sublease them while you are out of town. While this may be a bit of a leap of faith for some people, others are bringing in everywhere from $50-$1000 a night renting out their pads for vacationers and professionals looking for an alternative to traditional hotel rooms.
5. Write, write, write, edit, write, write – Digital copywriting is one of the best kept money-making secrets of the digital economy today, especially for native English speakers and writers. Digital advertising agencies and freelance web owners and developers alike are in constant need of competent and professional writers to handle their content needs. Besides the aforementioned micro jobs sites, sites like Odesk.com also offer job listings that let you match your English major with people who will actually pay you to write. We know, it’s pretty awesome.
6. Viral videos, for business, for pleasure – YouTube continues to be the launching pad for everyday people to reach the masses with their unique talents, insights, and observations. Fortunately for you, a viral video holds appeal not only in its ability to gain the attention of the international masses, but also for advertising to those masses. Whether you are looking to promote a specific brand or product, or just create something you think will make the rounds on Facebook or Twitter (or these days, Instagram and Snapchat and Tumblr), a successful viral video campaign will bring in both casual advertisers and big fish alike. You never know who’s interest you might affect (or infect).
7. Freelance your creative talents – Sites like ODesk are particularly exciting for aspiring entrepreneurs on both the large and small scale, especially because of the vast international network of employers and workers they bring together. Whether your talents lie in writing, web design or development, video editing, graphics creation, narrating, creating great instrumentals or a million other niche skills valuable in today’s digital economy, browsing ODesk can offer you everything from small one-time gigs, to ongoing collaborative relationships that can bring you income consistently over the long term.
8. Work Craigslist and EBay Like Your Mommy Did (or older brother/sister) – When EBay first emerged onto the national conscious in the late 1990s, part of the hype was the result of people making huge sums selling their trinkets and collectibles through the digital platform. While these sites seem old-school compared to the variety of new apps and opportunities on the web, the same things that made them popular in the first place still hold true; If you have junk/collectibles/niche valuables to sell, you can make a pretty penny (and guarantee payments) through these sites and others that have spawned since.
9. Brand yourself! – With the advent of easy-to-use web design and blogging platforms like WordPress, it has never been easier to market yourself, your skills, and your experiences to the world. Add to these sites the emergence of professional social networks like LinkedIn, which allow you to present a side of yourself a bit more respectable than what may be in your Facebook timeline, and it is an exciting time to craft your image to potential employers. Strongly consider making a personal website that can serve as your resume, portfolio, voice (through blogs or forum posts), and creative outlet, and let potential employers see everything you have to offer them digitally.
10. Stay on top of the newest tech trends – Lastly, these nine ideas are mostly based on technological innovations of the past decade. Why is this exciting for you? Because the next way to make money easily, using the web, may be rolled out tomorrow. Or heck, if you’ve got some talented designer and developer friends, you could create it right now. As the service networking economy continues to show people it is OK to trust the Internet as a place to communicate and do business, there is no limit to the possible ways to make money online in the future. So check out sites like Mashable and TechCrunch, and stay on top of the latest trends in making money in the digital age.
Go cash in on today,