Whether you want to earn extra money on the side or are interested in making a complete career change, there are many ways to work towards financial independence that don’t involve extra hours at the office.

How to Earn Extra Money

It is important to first understand your strengths to better play to your abilities. The road to financial freedom is much easier if you are enjoying the ride.

This is perhaps the most daunting task, since it requires some effort on your own part. Not knowing what your goals are will certainly prevent you from pursuing them, so take some time to figure this out. Is this change solely about financial freedom and quick cash, or are you looking to also make a major lifestyle and career change?

These questions are particularly helpful in deciding what type of opportunities are best suited for you:

1. What do I do in my free time?

If you can figure out what you do in your free time, such as write stories, fix computers or garden, then you can figure out a way to turn that hobby into a profit.

2. How much time do I have?

If you are looking only to enhance the income from your regular job, you are probably going to be looking for opportunities on the nights and weekends. If you are looking to create personal freedom as well as financial freedom, you may want to earn your income solely from contract work and need to have a more open schedule.

Jobs Where You Can Make Money on the Side

First, it is a good idea to browse general freelance jobs. Check out Freelancer, UpWork and even the Freelance Gigs section of Craigslist to get a good idea of what kinds of jobs exists.

Once you have an idea of what you are passionate about, what your strengths are and how much time you have to devote, you can then find the perfect fit for your needs. Here are a few ideas on how to earn extra money through freelancing:

1. Creating a Website

The easiest way to make money on the side is to create a website. You can pick anything that interests you, from fashion to saving money to book reviews. Once you decide on a topic, you need a web host to create the site with. Here’s a list of great web hosts that can help:

  • FatCow: Uses WordPress integration as well as offers free marketing bonuses like $150 in Google Adwords credit. You can check out FatCow here.
  • WP Engine: The great thing about WP Engine is it works directly with WordPress sites and optimizes them for you, so you have the fastest and most up-to-date WordPress site. It also has the best customer service in the business. You can check out WP Engine here.
  • HostGator: If you are a little more advanced at web development, you might want to try HostGator, which has all the complicated bells and whistles that web developers need. You can check out HostGator here.

Once you have built your website, you need to make money off of it. The easiest way is to advertise on your website. While most websites are too small to get full advertising contracts, you can start the easy way with an affiliate program. Affiliate programs make deals with companies (everything from Walmart to Amazon) and then allow you to advertise those companies on your website and get a percentage of any sales that are made from the links. For example, if you run a link to Amazon through an affiliate program, and someone buys a book, you get a percentage of the cost of the book. Here is a good list of the top affiliate programs you can sign up for:

  • Rakuten LinkShare: The biggest of the affiliate networks, it has almost everything, but can be difficult to get approved for certain programs. You can check out LinkShare here.
  • FlexOffers: Another affiliate website that offers a lot of companies to choose from, and it is easier to get approved for programs on FlexOffers. You can check out FlexOffers here.
  • ShareASale: ShareASale is a great place to get instantly approved for offers, although some programs do require screening. If you are into fashion, this is the affiliate program for you. You can check out ShareASale here.

2. Writing for Extra Money

Can you write? Try finding blogs or websites that need copywriters. Content writing has recently risen in popularity due to the necessity of online content and marketing for nearly every business in today’s digital world.

Most places pay $20-$200 per post depending on the length and style of writing. Many of these websites require that you hold a bachelor’s degree in any area and that you pass some sort of writing proficiency test (this can include grammar, formatting and writing samples).

Websites like Scripted, Pitch Me and WriterBay offer a variety of different copywriting gigs perfect to supplement your income. The best part is that you get to choose the jobs you want to claim, meaning you can accept jobs that work with your existing schedule.

2. Childcare

Are you good with kids? You can advertise yourself on a secure site like Care.com for evening or weekend babysitting jobs. By contracting your services through a site like this, you are guaranteed more protection than in other ways.

You can create your own profile, set your own schedule, list your certifications and message families privately before accepting a position. The types of positions vary, as some families are looking for a sitter just on the weekends for date nights and others are looking for permanent, in-house childcare.

This type of freelance work is great for those looking to make money fast on the weekends or to supplement their income in the afternoons.

3. Teach or Tutor

Are you an expert in a certain area? If so, you can create your own courses and sell them online. It is hard to find a freelance job in archaeology or astrophysics. However, if you have made a career out of these areas, you can use your many years of knowledge to your advantage.

Websites like Udemy and Teachable offer tutorials as well as the platform to create your own courses and sell them to people who are looking to learn. These sites are free, which means all you have to do is create the course and upload it to their platform. They often help with ideas on content creation as well as marketing to customers.

The best thing about selling a course is that once you have created the materials, it is a form of passive income that earns money on its own. Whether you’re an expert gardener with a green thumb or a master at martial arts, you can turn your passion and knowledge into fast money by creating and selling a course online.

4. Sell Things to Make Money on the Side

Do you create? If you find yourself creating cute birthday invitations for your child’s party or crafting beautiful pieces of woodwork on the weekends, then you can make money.

Etsy and Bonanza are the websites most utilized by creative people. You can build your own brand and advertise for only 20 cents per listing, making it cheaper than a storefront and more effective than a garage sale.

Another increasingly popular option is Fiverr. This website is a place where you can sell anything for $5. This can range from logo design, copywriting and business services to more bizarre jobs such as creating a video greeting, a prank or even celebrity impersonations. While this option may seem like a more tedious way to make money on the side, if you can complete one Fiverr every work day, you can earn up to $1,300 a year.

Making Money Fast from Money You Already Have

If you have already devoted time to creating supplemental income, you might be thinking about ways to grow the money you have earned. This is a great form of passive income that can lead to financial freedom, but it is important to understand the various forms of investment and growth available.

As a general rule of thumb, it is important to spread your earnings out over different types of investment classes, such as bonds, shares, properties and so on. However, for those with minimal savings, here are a few more ways to invest small amounts of cash:

Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs)

DRIPs have become one of the most effective and cheap ways to invest small amounts of money. As you invest in stocks, the cash dividends you receive are automatically reinvested in more of the company’s stocks. This option allows you to bypass brokers fees and commissions by purchasing stocks directly from the company.

Index-Tracking Funds (Trackers) and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

Much like DRIPs, these types of investments allow you to bypass brokerage fees and commissions since they are often run by computer programs that track the stock market as well as commodities. These types of investments are more sensible because they are long-term investments with low charges. You can learn more about these types of investments on sites like Optionshouse here.

Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending works like a marketplace where borrowers and lenders are connected online. This, much like the two previous examples, cuts out the middleman and allows for lower interest rates, simplified loan applications and more personalized investments.

Lending Club is a leading P2P website that can help you grow your savings since it specializes in personal finance loans. This means you can invest your savings as a loan and receive monthly payments of principal and interest as borrowers repay their loans.

Becoming Financially Independent

Making the decision to work as a freelance contractor can be one of the most financially, creatively and personally liberating choices of your career. More and more people are turning to freelance gigs as a way to earn extra money and pursue the path to financial freedom without sacrificing their existing careers. Start your journey today by investing in your future.

Financial freedom is at your fingertips. All you have to do is decide that you want it.