50+ Ways to Make Money Working For Yourself
“If you don’t build your own dreams someone will hire you to build theirs.”Tony Gaskins
I have always wanted to work for myself, but when my small home roasting coffee business didn’t do quite as well as I hoped it would, I knew it was time to start looking at alternative means of income.
As I would love to be able to work for myself as well as become location independent I decided to try and find as many online and remote working opportunities as possible.
This is not always easy when you’re not as tech-savvy as the younger generation and don’t have any real online knowledge, skills, or qualifications.
Luckily there are hundreds of ways to start working for yourself these days and I’ve found some that, are easy and straightforward enough so that even I can do (most) them.
Here are 50+ Ways To Start Working For Yourself
This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you choose to purchase/subscribe through any of these links I provide – this will be at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more details
1. Sell Low Content Books Online
In June 2021, I started designing low-content books with KDP. I still have a lot to learn, but this is a great way to make extra money and even create a form of passive income for the future. It is also a great option for anyone who wants to work from home. Amazon used to only pay South Africans with cheques that they send via the postal services, which was a bit of a nightmare taking into account just how unreliable our postal services are. Luckily now we can open a Payoneer bank account that gets linked to your SA bank account. You can even get a bank card that you can use wherever you see the MasterCard sign. Your account is free as long as you get money paid into it within a year from opening it.
2. Advertise Your Freelance Services Online
If you really want to be your own boss and work from anywhere in the world, I’ve found that joining a site like Fiverr can be a big help. Here you can offer your services to a global audience. It is free to sign up and you can offer any service you can think of as long as it’s legal and complies with Fiverr’s terms. You can also find freelancers at very competitive prices to help you with any tasks that you are not able to do yourself.
3. Complete Surveys & Play Games
Online Surveys are probably one of the easiest ways to make a little bit of extra money. Swagbucks has been the online survey site that has worked best for me. The great thing about Swagbucks is that it does not only pay for surveys. You can also earn Swagbucks by playing games, watching videos, shopping online, completing daily checklists and goals. Swagbucks even has a Swagbutton that can let you know whenever there’s a new survey available. Another great thing about Swagbucks is that if you refer your friends and family you can earn 10% of their earnings for the life of their account. Swagbucks can be redeemed for vouchers like Amazon, PayPal, or even Payoneer
4. Start Your Own Blog or Website
Take a step towards working for yourself by creating your own website. On your website, you can start an online shop, build up a portfolio, practice your writing skills, do affiliate marketing, and a bunch of other things that can help you move forward in your quest towards becoming your own boss as well as location independent. If you are looking for a company to host your website Bluehost is amazing. They can get you started with a hosting plan tailored to your specific needs.
5. Teach English Abroad or Online
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Teaching English is one of the fastest-growing careers for remote workers. You will need a TEFL certification if you want to teach English online and/or around the world to non-native English speakers. The TEFL certification is a globally recognized qualification.
6. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate Marketing is when you get a commission for advertising and selling other people’s products and services on your website, social media sites, etc. This is probably the biggest money-making option for most bloggers and I have read of bloggers that make more than $50,000 per month with Affiliate Marketing. Here are some affiliate marketing and referral programs that I am currently using: Fiverr, Payoneer, Template Monster, Bluehost, ShareASale, & Swagbucks.
Also, read – Affiliate Marketing Programs Worth Having A Look At
7. Become a Freelance Writer
If you’re a good writer, who loves to write, consider a job as a freelance writer. Freelance writing can pay really well (if you choose the right companies to write for) and you do not need a degree to do it, all you really need is a niche, and a passion for writing. Plus it is now easier than ever to eliminate grammar mistakes, improve word choice and style, detect unoriginal text, and automatically cite your source with Grammarly
Also read: Freelance Writing Opportunities
8. Start Your Own Podcast
If you think you will be a good radio host or if you just like talking a lot why not start your own podcast. Here you can talk about anything you are passionate about. You can even invite guest speakers to talk on your podcast. If you’re in a hurry to start you can start with just your phone and a recording app. But you might need to invest in a proper microphone with a stand later. You will then also need a laptop and recording software. Podbean is a podcast publishing and monetization service, providing free and premium hosting packages for individuals and businesses. Sign up with this link and get one month free on a premium package.
9. Become a Virtual Assistant
Many businesses, especially online businesses, and entrepreneurs sometimes need a little bit (or a lot) of extra help and this is where Virtual Assistants come in. Virtual Assistants do everything an admin person would do and sometimes more, but instead of being in an office he/she does it all remotely. You can advertise your services on a site like Fiverr, your own website, or look for jobs on job boards like Remote.co. Another option is to join VAASA (Virtual Assistants Association of South Africa)
10. Buy & Sell Domains
Domain Flipping (buying and selling domains) can be a very good source of income if you do it right and can choose names that are in demand and that other companies might be looking to use in the future. One-word domains normally have a better chance of selling quicker. You can sell domains on Go Daddy’s Domain Auction site.
11. Open Your Own Online Store
Own your own shop while working from home. If you are good at making things with your hands, why not open your own Etsy Store. Etsy is an online marketplace that connects buyers with sellers. Here you can sell vintage products, handmade goods, and other arts and crafts merchandise. If you’re still not sure what to sell, why not learn how to make your own jewellery with these amazing online jewellery making classes and then sell your jewellery on your Etsy shop.
12. Sell Your Photos Online
If you love to take photos and would love to start making money from them, there are many online sites and apps available. I’m currently using Foap. When a brand, agency, or anyone else likes your work they can purchase it from your online Foap portfolio (mine is @brenmoments). Foap then shares the profit with you 50/50. You can also take part in video and photo missions for brands and win hundreds of dollars. Foap is an app that needs to be downloaded on your phone. The great about selling your photos online is that you can sell your photos a number of times. Other great sites to sell your photos on include: Shutterstock and Getty Images.
13. Receive Donations As A Content Creator
Buy Me a Coffee is a service that content creators can use to receive donations. Signing up is quick and easy. It is also free, there is however a 5% fee for each transaction. As soon as you have signed up, people can start donating to your work. Supporters can also decide if they want to make a one-time donation or a recurring donation (membership fees). Payouts to Paypal are immediate but if you want them to pay out to Payoneer you will have to wait till you have reached $20. Payments to Payoneer occur once a month. Buy Me a Coffee has some amazing other features too where you can sell things like eBooks, art, set up a Zoom meeting or a live event where you can sell tickets to your event.
14. Design & Sell T-Shirts
If you want to design and sell your own t-shirts and other products but do not want the hassle of keeping stock or worrying about how to get your products to your buyers then have a look at Spri.ng. With Spri.ng you can design products and create an online store for free. Spri.ng offers products at a base cost. You choose what products you want to put your design on and then add your price on top of their base price. Then you start advertising and telling all your friends about your products. Spri.ng takes care of the payments and shipping.
15. Get Paid To Read
If you love reading, there’s good news. There are sites all over the internet that will pay you to read. Have a look at Online Book Club, not only will they give you a book for free to read, but they will also pay you between $5 – $60 per review
16. Make Lists
If you love making lists as much as I do, you will want to check out Listverse. Listverse will pay you $100 if you submit a list that gets approved by them. Best of all, you do not have to be an expert writer—you just need to be able to make your list in English, have a sense of humour, and/or a love for things unusual and interesting. Your list has to have a minimum of 10 items on it and there should be at least one or two paragraphs per entry. You do not even have to send photos or videos with your list, Listverse takes care of that part. Listverse only pays out in PayPal.
17. Test Websites and Products
Many companies will pay good money to have people test their products and/or websites and then give them feedback. By doing this they can make sure that their clients get the best experience possible. To apply for jobs as an Online Tester have a look at Testing Time and User Testing
18. Get Paid For Your Opinion
With User Interviews, researchers connect with members to conduct research. Members can apply to researchers that seem interesting to them. To become a member, you will have to create an account and provide some general information about yourself so that you can be matched to studies most suited to you. If you get invited into a study, you’ll be provided specific participation instructions by the researcher and then get paid if you comply fully
19. Create Websites for Other People
If you enjoyed creating your own website and did a really good job with it. Why not do the same for other people? There are lots of people and companies out there looking for web designers and developers. You don’t necessarily need to know how to code or make very complicated sites, some people just want a basic WordPress blog. If you are looking for a hosting company, check out Bluehost. They are the most recommended hosting company by WordPress. They have a 1-click WordPress installation option, so they are really user-friendly, plus they offer 24-hour support. And if you want your websites to stand out, have a look at Template Monster. Template Monster has a huge collection of premium, easy-to-use, SEO-friendly, WordPress themes online. With Template Monster you can build beautiful websites fast and effortlessly whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
20. Do Data Entry Jobs
Often companies need help adding files into databases. If this is something that you might be interested in you can advertise your data entry services on Fiverr or look for data entry jobs on sites like Remote.co
21. Create and Sell Your Own Printables
Canva makes it easier than ever to create amazing designs. You can make and sell any printable from meal planners to logbook entries and so much more. Then sell them via your website or you can open an Etsy store and sell it there.
22. Become an Audiobook Narrator
There is a big demand for good narrators. So if you like to read and have a voice people like to listen to why not audition to become an audiobook narrator at ACX. According to the ACX website, the audiobook you produce will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. You can choose your own per-finished-hour rate, paid upon successful completion of the audiobook, or share royalties from sales with the Rights Holder. ACX also has a bounty referral program to help narrators earn up to $75 each time a new Audible listener becomes a member using their referral link, in addition to any royalties earned from the sale of the audiobook.
23. Invest in Crypto Currency
Like so many others I also bought cryptocurrency (bitcoin & ethereum). The thing with these cryptocurrencies is that even though you can make a lot of money, you can also lose a lot. You have to be careful when and how much you invest. What I like about Luno is that you do not have to know how to trade (like me). Luno also has an affiliate link that you can share with others. If someone decides to join, they can click on your link. They then have to buy R500 in BTC. After they have done this Luno gives the person who joined as well as yourself R25 free BTC
24. Review Calls
A lot of companies record calls when their clients’ phone. Reviewing these calls is a real job. All you have to do is listen to the recorded calls, answer a simple question or two, and then get paid for doing it. One company you can do this with is Humanatic
25. Become a Transcriber
With more and more podcasts, Youtube channels, and people preferring to take notes via recorders, the demand for transcribers keeps growing. Transcription involves listening to a recording or a video and then typing what you hear up into a document. Look for transcribing jobs on job boards like ProBlogger & FlexiJobs or advertise your transcribing services on Fiverr. You can also join Way With Words Jobs. And if you are interested, there is a free mini-course you can do on Transcribe Anywhere.
26. Join a CashBack Program
When a friend told me about a network marketing company that I could join for free and where I didn’t have to sell any products I thought I’d give it a chance since I’ve got nothing to lose. With this company, you make money by doing something we all do almost every day – Shop. Shoppers receive up to 5% cashback with every purchase they make at one of the shopping partners. Most of my cashback comes from Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay, Foschini Group, Dischem, Makro, and Spur, but there are 1000’s of different partners in over 50 countries as well as online that you could shop at. Click on the cashback link to join for free or for more information on how to build a real business with this network marketing company, please whatsapp Cindy who has introduced me to this program, as she will be able to answer all your questions. (I’m on the free option of this program and not on the business building part)
27. Search Online Job Boards
You can search and find online jobs by searching job boards like ProBlogger, FlexiJobs and Recruit My Mom. ProBlogger is one of the leading marketplaces for blog-related jobs, while FlexiJobs help people find remote jobs in various career fields from entry-level to executive level, part-time and full-time, all around the world. This is one of the best ways to get your “working from home” business going.
28. Start a Drop Shipping Business
Dropshipping is when you can sell products online without having a physical inventory. When a customer orders a product from you, you then buy the product from a third-party wholesaler, and the wholesaler ships the product directly to your customer. For more information on how to start your own online Dropshipping Company have a look at Shopify and Ready Made Stores South Africa
29. Do Micro Jobs
I started using Clickworker a little while ago. It provides digital tasks to registered users. This can be anything from taking and sending a photo to translating and researching something. What I like about Clickworker is that It pays out in Payoneer.
30. Become a Translator
Do you speak more than one language? Then you might be able to become a translator. To register as a translator have a look at sites like Say Hello. If you’re Afrikaans, like me, have a look at Afrikaans Jobs on Upwork. There are almost always people and companies looking for Afrikaans translators on there. And as a translator Linguee (an online bilingual dictionary), is a great website/app to have, even if doesn’t have Afrikaans as one of its options.
31. Become a Copywriter
What is a copywriter? According to Wikipedia, “Copywriting is the act or occupation of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy or sales copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.” If you want to become a good Copywriter make sure to use Grammarly. Grammarly helps you to eliminate grammar mistakes, improve word choice and style and detect unoriginal text. A good place to look for copywriting jobs is on Indeed (South Africa) or on Upwork (Worldwide). Or you can advertise your copywriting skills and services on Fiverr.
32. Create Videos For Companies
Do you know how to make amazing videos? Then why not turn it into a career? Depending on your interest you could offer various companies high-quality videos to help them promote their products and/or services. If you love to travel, you could try and work with tourism boards and travel agencies. These companies make use of professional videographers on a regular basis.
33. Become a Street Performer
I must be honest I didn’t really know what busking (another word for street-performer) was, until the start of the Busker Festival in Cape Town years ago. Busking can range from singers and dancers to clowns and mimes. If you can sing, play a musical instrument, or perform any sort of act that can be done on one spot, why not take those skills public and become a busker. Just find a busy spot with lots of traffic and tourists and you could start making good money. Just note that most cities require a permit for busking and some rules on where you can perform. To apply for a busking permit at the V&A Waterfront (the #1 tourist attraction in South Africa) click here.
34. Work on a Cruise Ship
You’re not really your own boss when you apply to work on a cruise ship, but you do get to travel and see parts of the world you otherwise might not be able to. Apparently, there are no maximum age restrictions for working on cruise ships (but I have heard that if you are older than 35, getting a job on a cruise ship might not be that easy). For cruise ship jobs have a look at MSC
35. Do Consulting Work
Are you an expert in a certain field? Then why not offer your services to companies looking for people to train their staff in the field that you are an expert in? If you are good at what you do this can take you all over the world.
36. Tutor Students
There will always be parents looking for tutors to help their children get their grades up. If you are really good in subjects like Math, English, Chemistry, or any other school subject, why not start your own online (or in-person) Tutoring business. Word of mouth works really well, but you can also advertise your services on Fiverr or look for jobs on Tutors.com (worldwide) or Turtle Jar (South Africa)
37. Become a Copy Editor and Proofreader
Proofreaders help authors and even bloggers catch spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Phon Baillie offers a Masterclass where she teaches you proofreading and copyediting skills for free or you can do the copyediting and proofreading course through SA Writers College (not free). But you do not need a degree or training to become a really good proofreader. You just need to have a great command of English and a good eye for detail. You would definitely also need Grammarly – The World’s Best Grammar Checker
38. Invest in Fine Art
Are you an Art Lover? Do you know the difference between paintings and giclées? Investing in art is a long-term investment and can be very risky. You need to know what you are doing and you need to do your homework. Have a look at Sotheby’s and Artnet for artwork being auctioned off. For investing in fine art visit Masterworks and Maecenas
39. Offer Online Courses
Offering online courses is another way to make money out of a skill or expert knowledge that you might have. You can create and sell online courses from your own website with LearnWorlds or you can make use of sites like Udemy. Also, have a look at iSpring Solutions and Teach.able
40. Print on Demand
I had a look at Print on Demand a while back and it looked like a really good business opportunity. It is a lot like dropshipping, where you do not have to carry any inventory. The only difference is that with Print on Demand you can add your own designs to the products that get shipped to your clients. Talking about shipping, that was one of the things that made me think twice about starting a Print on Demand business. The shipping cost is very high. If you are interested in Print on Demand have a look at Printify and Printful. Spring that I mentioned at #14 also falls under Print on Demand.
41. Create an Ebook
Amazon KDP has made it easier than ever to create and sell ebooks online. Read “How to Publish an eBook: Step-By-Step eBook Publishing” on Self Publishing and for book ideas visit Content Bistro and read: ” 42 Easy and Effortless eBook Ideas For The Time-Starved Entrepreneur“. Also, make sure to use Amazon’s Keyword Research to see what other people had searched for and what is popular on Amazon. To make sure you don’t just get results that are tailored for you switch to the Incognito window in Chrome (File > New Incognito Window). To market your book, consider giving it away for free for a few days. This will help you rank higher in search results and might help you get some reviews.
42. Create an App
In the past, if you wanted to create an app you had to be a developer with some serious programming skills. Luckily these days you can use platforms like Andromo, AppsGeyser, and GameSalad. To make money with your app consider things like advertising, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and more.
IDEAS FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO SPEND TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
43. Become a Social Media Manager
If you love spending time on social media sites and know your way around Facebook ads, Instagram reels, etc. Why not consider becoming a social media manager. Just be warned it is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of hard work, clever ideas, and long hours.
44. Start a YouTube Channel
Some people make thousands of dollars with their YouTube channels. If you enjoy making videos why not start your own YouTube channel. Videos can be of just about anything from online tutorials to traveling around the world. You can monetize your videos by charging a subscription fee, by adding ads to your videos, or by selling your own products on your channel.
45. Become a Social Media Influncer
There are a lot of people that make a decent living out of being social media influencers. Some of the best platforms for becoming a social media influencer include Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. In order to become an influencer, you will have to have a lot of followers. It is also really hard work, even if it doesn’t always look that way. Influencers normally make their money by doing sponsored posts or by becoming brand ambassadors. Some influencers have their own products that they sell and they often get paid to appear at events.
IDEAS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN HEALTH & WELLNESS
46. Become a Life Coach
Do you enjoy helping people work towards becoming their best selves? Are you a good listener? Do you know how to guide people? If you are interested in becoming a life coach read “Everything You Need To Know About Becoming A Life Coach in South Africa” on the Life Coach Training Academy website
47. Become an Energy Healer
There are many different kinds of Energy Healers. And although I’m not an Energy Healer, a good friend of mine is. She helps people release emotions like sadness, anger, insecurity, abandonment, and many more with an energy healing method called the Emotion Code. With Emotion Code, she taps into people’s subconscious minds to determine what imbalances need to be corrected. She does this via Zoom, making her totally location-independent. Click Here if you want to learn this simple method for energy healing and become a Qualified Emotion Code Practitioner yourself
48. Become a Yoga Instructor
Do you love Yoga and go to yoga classes on a regular basis? Then why not become a Yoga Instructor and start your own online yoga business? You can give yoga classes online via your own website, youtube, or any other membership site.
IDEAS FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO BE ACTIVE
49. Teach People To Surf
Unfortunately, you can’t just wake up one morning and decide that you want to start teaching people to surf, (or sup, or kitesurf) for a living. You first have to become a fully licensed (ISA) surf instructor and obtain a lifesaver certificate. But if you love surfing, working towards becoming a fully licensed surf instructor is a small price to pay for doing something you really love. Become a Surf Instructor while exploring South Africa from Cape Town to Durban with a South African Surfing Instructor Course
50. Get Paid To Scuba Dive
There are various ways to make money as a scuba diver. The most obvious one probably is to become a Scuba Diving Instructor but you can also become an underwater photographer, dive for “treasure” and sell what you find online, offer to clean the bottom of yachts, dive out golf balls at golf clubs or become a Water Welder and make an average of $25.96 per hour. Another fun option is to organise scuba diving trips and outings.
IDEAS THAT INVOLVE SELLING THINGS IN PERSON
51. Become a Direct Sales Consultant
The world of direct sales doesn’t always have a positive image and with good reason. There is always one or two pyramid schemes hiding among the more honest direct sales companies. It normally costs a lot of money to join and then you have to sell products that are so expensive that almost no one can afford them. It is also really hard work and the people I know who are successful in this line of business work much harder and longer hours than those working for a boss. But direct sales can be a very good business if you want to start working for yourself. Before you join just do your homework. Talk to other people that were part of the business you are thinking of joining and visit the Direct Selling Association of South Africa website to see what companies are part of them.
52. Become a Street Vendor
Do you have products or food that you would like to sell but can’t afford to rent a shop? Then consider becoming a street vendor. But before you get excited and go pitch your table or trailer somewhere, you need to apply for permits and licenses. Also, make sure that your products can be easily transported.
IMPORTANT: I do try to screen all the job leads and home business opportunities that I write about or link to, but sometimes some of the information may not be 100% aurate. It is up to you to do your own due diligence when it comes to accepting employment or investing in a business or opportunity. Never pay for a job and never, ever give out your id number and/or any of your financial information to a potential employer until you have checked the company out thoroughly.