The internet can be a lot of fun, but it also can be quite lucrative.
Regular people can use the power of the internet to quit their 9-to-5 jobs for a more enjoyable and fulfilling career path. Here are six steps to making the transition.
1. Identify what you have that others do not
Start by figuring out what you can offer that others can’t provide for themselves. Take stock of your assets and talents and ask yourself: Would others be willing to pay for what I have or what I can do?
For inspiration, check out “25 Hobbies That You Can Turn Into Moneymakers.”
Go ahead and write down all of your possibilities, and then narrow them down to the one most promising prospect. Focus your energy there to start.
2. Find the right platform
Now that you know where your moneymaking potential lies, find the right website to help you market it to the world.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are several sites worth considering:
- Sites like Airbnb, Homestay and VRBO let you rent out a room or your entire home to travelers.
- Fiverr and Thumbtack are among online marketplaces that enable you to offer various services — anything from writing to computer programming to legal services.
- If you’re handy around the house, TaskRabbit may suit you better by letting your offer your skills to others.
- If you have a car and are comfortable giving strangers a ride, sites like Lyft and Uber may be for you.
- If you would rather use your car to buy and hand-deliver groceries for others, sites like Instacart and Shipt might be for you.
- If you are comfortable renting your car to strangers, check out a site like Turo.
- Boatbound lets you rent out your watercraft to strangers.
- Rover may be perfect for pet sitters and dog walkers.
- Rover and Thumbtack also connect would-be house sitters with potential clients.
- Sites like ToursByLocals enable you to become a tour guide in your own town.
- Etsy is among the most popular places to sell handcrafted items.
- Ebay and Craigslist can, of course, be used to sell just about anything under the sun. To maximize eBay’s potential, read our article on buying and selling for profit.
3. Charge what you are worth
On almost all of the above sites, you’ll find people buying and selling services for a song. But if you want to live off your talent, you need to charge enough to pay the bills.
Of course, unless you have a rock-star resume, you’ll probably need to offer reduced rates to start. However, once you begin to develop a positive reputation, don’t be afraid to charge more. Yes, you’ll lose some customers, but you’ll probably gain others if you market yourself right.
Remember, bargain-basement prices may be a turnoff for consumers and clients seeking quality.
4. Don’t forget about taxes and insurance
Now that you are self-employed, you will have a lot of expenses that normally aren’t part of a 9-to-5 job. The $50 made creating a spreadsheet as an independent contractor is not the same as the $50 made doing the same thing as an employee of a company.
For starters, you must pay self-employment tax. This is the money that gets paid into Social Security and Medicare. If you have a regular job, your boss splits this tax payment with you. When you work for yourself, you’re on the hook for the whole kit and caboodle. For details, see “What You Need to Know If You’re Self Employed.”
Plus, you now have to find your own health insurance and retirement savings account, possibly among other perks that often come as part of a compensation package for employees.
On the flip side, you may be able to deduct certain expenses, such as a home office or your vehicle. However, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. Again, check out that article for details.
5. Check out local and state laws
Before you get too deep into an endeavor, make sure your idea doesn’t run afoul of local or state laws. For example, you might need a kennel license to board dogs.
6. Remember that it’s still a job
Finally, an internet platform doesn’t eliminate the need to work hard. You need to market yourself, offer customer service and do a darn good job at whatever service you’re providing or product you’re making.
Do you dream of escaping your 9-to-5 job for something else? Share your thoughts by commenting below or on our Facebook page.