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.
Following 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, then ask yourself: Would others be willing to pay for what I have or what I can do?
For inspiration, check out “25 Hobbies You Can Turn Into a Business.”
Go ahead and write down all of your possibilities, and then narrow them down to the 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:
- 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 have a car and are comfortable giving strangers a ride, sites like Lyft and Uber may be for you.
- If you are comfortable renting your car to strangers, check out a site like Turo.
- Rover may be perfect for pet sitters and dog walkers.
- Rover and Thumbtack also connect would-be house sitters with potential clients.
- Sites like Airbnb, Homestay and VRBO let you rent out a room or your entire home to travelers.
- Sites like ToursByLocals enable you to become a tour guide in your own town.
3. Charge what you are worth
On almost all of the sites previously mentioned, 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.
Plus, you now have to find your own health insurance and retirement account, possibly among other perks that often come as part of a benefits 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.
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
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.
For more wisdom on this, check out “6 Traits of the Successful Self-Employed.”
Do you dream of escaping your 9-to-5 job for something else? Share your thoughts by commenting below or on our Facebook page.
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