Donna Freeman side hustles for a living. She has written several books, contributes articles to MSN, TheSimpleDollar and MoneyTalksNews. She blogs, coaches other writers, and sometimes uses her free time to complete paid surveys, too. The one thing that all of Freeman’s side hustles have in common. They’re jobs you can do in pajamas.
This is handy for Freeman, who lives in Alaska, several time zones away from many of her clients. But when it comes to side hustling online and from home, she’s far from alone. As the freelance economy has burgeoned, so have the opportunities to work from home, where there’s no dress code nor need to fix your hair or make-up.
Jobs you can do in pajamas
Throwing off the conventional accoutrements of an office has a visceral appeal. But there are financial benefits too. Working from home eliminates the often substantial cost of commuting, including the cost of bus or metro passes, or gas, repairs, insurance and maintenance for your car — possibly even the need for a car altogether. You can also stop buying business suits, uncomfortable shoes, and a laundry list of personal grooming products. You avoid the expense of lunches out and $5 coffee breaks, and don’t have to contribute to the copious fundraisers and collections organized by your co-workers.
Some work-from-home side hustles, like Freeman’s writing, are well-paid opportunities. Others generate less than minimum wage. But what all work-from-home options provide is the ability to work at almost any hour, from almost any location, wearing pretty much anything you like. But you may have to convince people that you’re actually working.
“My dad has a hard time processing that what I do is a job,” says Gina Loukareas, social media strategist, who does almost all of her work from home. “For him, it’s not work unless you leave the house.”
What jobs can you do in pajamas and how much can you earn? We’ll take them alphabetically:
Creating art has always been a solitary profession. But selling often involved going into a store or studio. Now there are as many art studios online as there are on Main Street. If you’re not tech savvy enough to launch your own website, art sites such as Zibbet and Etsy will help you set up your store and market your goods. Another option are so-called “print-on-demand,” services such as Society6 and Redbubble. These have you upload your art; choose the products you’d like to sell it on — from t-shirts to phone covers. When those products sell, you get a royalty.
Estimating how much you’ll earn by producing art is tricky. Prints on Etsy and Zibbet can sell for a few bucks to several thousand dollars. The artist pays for all the supplies, determines the price and keeps the bulk of the proceeds, after paying a commission to the site that sells the piece. Society6 and RedBubble flip the formula. Aside from a PDF of the art, the artist does not pay for any of the supplies. The print on demand shop provides, say, the coffee cups; places your art on it and pays you a royalty for each sale.nThe royalties are relatively small — usually a few dollars per sale. So the only way to make real money selling here is to produce a popular product that flies off the shelves. Your best bet: Take a high-quality photograph of your high quality, best-selling art (that you might sell on an Etsy or Zibbet, for instance), and then use the same piece to generate additional revenue (and artistic buzz) with print-on-demand.
Attorneys working high-value cases will often hire mock juries, who read or listen to the attorney’s case and weigh in on whether they think it’s effective. If you are willing to play this role, you can get paid between $20 and $60 for 20 minutes to an hour of work — a lot better than the pay you’d get for serving on a real jury. And if you sign up at Online Verdict, you can do it all at home.
Freeman likes a site called Swagbucks, which encourages you to share your opinion on a wide array of products, sometimes sending participants the product to try in addition to paying a small fee for taking the survey. Swag Bucks, the site’s currency, can later be exchanged for gift cards. Several other survey sites, such as FindFocusGroups, SignUp Direct and Consumer Opinion Services. do much the same and some pay better and in cash. Still, it’s rare to earn even minimum wage taking surveys. Why bother? Freeman does it largely as a diversion when she’s waiting at the airport or at a kid’s soccer practice – the way other people might pull out a crossword puzzle or Sudoku. Since it doesn’t require much concentration, she figures she might as well earn a buck or two while she’s killing time.
Be a virtual assistant:
Stars and successful business people often hire assistants — in person, and virtual — to handle everything from scheduling their appointments to managing their email. Where in-person assistants might end up watching the kids and picking up dry cleaning, virtual (i.e. online) assistants could be doing anything from handling the client’s social media accounts to making dinner reservations. These jobs, offered via WorldWide 101, Belay, Time Etc., among others, typically pay between $15 and $25 per hour.
If you’re artistic and have a journeyman’s knowledge of Word Press, you can make a good living in web design. Indeed.com estimates that web designers earn an average of $22 per hour. However, skilled designers can command considerably more. Some sites that can help find this work: Belay, Upwork and Fiverr.
There are plenty of content mills that attempt to pay writers pennies per piece, but there are also an array of great options for writers. The Washington Post, for instance, has a “talent network,” which is seeking writers and photographers in foreign lands where the Post doesn’t have a staff presence. Contently seeks writers who can help businesses tell their story or populate their blogs. Cracked looks for a funny take on a real topic. Problogger and FreelanceWriting.com operate job boards and newsletters to alert writers to new opportunities.