Remember the start of 2020? What a time to be alive.
The only worries we had were getting through the last few weeks of Panto, Britain leaving the EU and the guilt that your January wasn’t quite as dry as you had intended.
Who would have guessed that, by mid March, most of us would be forced to stay in our homes, cruises would be cancelled, studios would pause production and theatres would all be closed by government order.
Thankfully the world has pretty much opened back up by now and the industry is mostly back on its feet.
But the last couple of years have left a lot of us questioning the stability of what we were doing before. If you, like many of us, are looking for a way to supplement your income by earning a bit of easy cash on the side then this is the article for you.
Is this a get rich quick scheme? Absolutely not…
It’s 17 of them!
Legit No Bull Strategies
This article is going to focus on legitimate, above board ways that you can earn real money, in substantial enough quantities to make it worth your time.
All the strategies outlined here are legal ways to earn money. If you wanna explore your lifelong ambition to be a drug dealer there’s a great youtube documentary here. On your head be it! You won’t earn quite as much money here but you also won’t have to fear for your life, in most cases!
Some of these strategies can get cash in your hand the day you start, but all of them are a weeks’ wait at most for you to see the green. This article is not about the best temp-jobs for performers; it’s about ways that you can earn some quick cash on the side.
There is little to no investment required on your part to get started, most of them allow you to get working with the things you’ve already got; phone, laptop etc. If you do want to invest a bit in some of them you will see a faster increase in earnings but most of these are free to get started.
All of these strategies are easy to get started with. If you have some skill and technical ability you can move on to more advanced versions of most of them but if you are literate then you should have no problem getting started.
I’m leaning on strategies that you can do from the comfort of your own home, for the most part these are all achieved from your computer or phone anywhere in the world.
Unskilled Vs Skilled Vs Fanbase
I’m breaking these strategies down into three parts;
- Unskilled: things that anyone can do,
- Skilled: things that rely on a particular talent, ability, skill or knowledge, and
- Fanbase: things that work best if you have even a modest ready-made fan base you can lean on.
Let’s rock and roll.
Part One: Unskilled Work
These money making strategies require nothing but basic literacy along with the tools and knowledge that almost everyone has; a phone, a laptop, an understanding of emails etc.
Remote Admin & Tasking
Remote admin work is where you perform basic administrative tasks for a business or company somewhere else in the world. Also called virtual assistant work or VA work this is the easiest thing in the world to get started with.
Where remote admin usually sees you doing ongoing hourly work for one company or a few clients, tasking is where you do a single, or a couple of identical tasks over and over again for lots of companies or clients.
There are hundreds of platforms for you to find work and thousands of companies around the world need remote assistance now more than ever.
Fiverr started off as a platform to allow freelancers to offer 5 minutes tasks for $5 to unlimited numbers of people who needed the service (I discuss that in greater detail under Skilled Work below) but over the years Fiverr has developed into a much broader freelance remote work platform where you can add “Gigs” to your profile, name your price, and go out and suggest yourself to clients on the platform. Basic VA jobs like web research and data entry pay about £5 – £10 a task, depending on how fast you are you could do multiple tasks an hour.
Much like Fiverr, UpWork is a marketplace for freelancers to sell their services to businesses. Upwork is more business focused than fiverr, there are less creative categories and more traditional hourly work contracts for hire on the platform. Generally the quality of worker is higher on UpWork so you can set your rate higher and pitch yourself for hourly jobs with a small set of clients as opposed to lots of one-and-done gigs on Fiverr.
A lesser known but great platform for remote workers. FreeUp is more of an online agency for remote work. To get on the platform you have to meet minimum requirements (for example a minimum proficiency in english) but then the rates for work are much higher than other platforms. I have 4 staff members who work remotely for me through FreeUp.
User Experience Testing (UX)
UX testing is basically where you get paid a little bit of money to sit at your computer and try out a website for 10-15 minutes and give the company your feedback. You sign up for a service, they usually email you when a test comes in that you match and after answering a few eligibility questions you take the test, fill out a survey and get paid within 7 days.
UserTesting seems to be the only really reliable site to do this on but most users only report around £150/m in earnings as tests only come in once a day or so. This is best for a little extra dollar if you’re sat at your computer all day anyway.
Retail arbitrage is a fancy name for acquiring stuff in one place then selling it somewhere else for a profit. There are a few ways to do this, some are free, some cost a little money to get started and some are a bit questionable.
5. Marie Kondo Your S**t
Chances are you’re gonna spend a significant amount of your time between jobs with nothing better to do but watch Netflix. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and watch Tidying Up then spend a week blitzing your house. I guarantee you’ll end up with a tonne of crap you can sell on eBay for some quick cash.
6. eBay Flipping
A process coined by Gary V in 2017 and repeated as an experiment in 2019 turning $47 into $430 on eBay. You can take free stuff from Gumtree and resell it on eBay. You can scour your local charity shops or pre-loved stuff on Depop and resell items for profit.
Dropshipping is where you buy in bulk from a wholesale warehouse, often overseas and then resell those items individually on places like Amazon & eBay. The most popular website to do this from is AliBaba (who have even partnered with european governments during Coronavirus to manufacture and ship PPE and medical masks!)
8. Amazon to eBay Flipping
This one lies firmly in the questionable bracket and does require a bit of effort. The basic principle is, you find an item that sells pretty well on eBay, you list that item for sale and then as soon as it sells you buy the same item cheaper on Amazon using your Prime membership and have it shipped as a gift to the person who bought it from you on eBay! As far as amazon is concerned you are just a customer, (although they might not look too kindly on you using your prime membership to get free shipping). eBay have indicated that they don’t condone it but don’t seem to be actively stopping anyone from doing it.
Part Two: Skilled Work
These strategies are perfect for anyone who has any sort of skill that people pay for out in the world. If you are an actor you already have such a skill but especially if you are a voiceover, singer, musician, teacher, or you have another skill like photography, design (or a nerd like me who codes). If you don’t have a skill like this… you have no excuse not to learn one!
Quick tasks are the “skilled” equivalent of remote admin. When the thing you do can be done in 15 minutes or so you can offer it as a quick task on a market place and have people book you over and over again.
The ultimate skilled quick gig marketplace, Fiverr has been on the receiving end of some bad sentiment in the entertainment world for people offering their services for what seems like almost nothing, thereby “undercutting” their fellow performer. I don’t share that opinion. On fiverr you can offer, for example “£10 to narrate a 5 min youtube video.” In the voiceover world a job like this might cost £250+ but the business owner is unlikely to have ever spent that money otherwise. You could make £40+ an hour doing this. The same is true for any skill, even editing someones instagram photos for £4 a picture!
Hourly Remote Work
If your skillset is more technical or digital rather than creative then you might find UpWork a better marketplace for you. If you are good with words then writing, research, presentation tasks might be good for you, or if you are great with social media management or a bit of a nerd like me and can build websites or code then UpWork will help you shake the money tree.
If you’ve always said you’d be great as somebody’s PA or assistant I pay mine £14/h in Bulgaria!
If you already have a technical skill that you know you’re already good at, particularly anything web related then Freeup might be a great agency for you to sign up with as you’ll have a much better pool of work and less competition than with UpWork.
If you’re great at customer support emails or think you could manage a facebook group I pay mine £22/h in Egypt!
If you’re already a teacher or a coach in normal life then you have absolutely no excuse not to translate that into an online income stream. Students all around the world were looking for ways to stay productive while isolating and many of their coaches and teachers who couldn’t teach in person never made the move online so it’s the perfect opportunity for you to plug that gap in the market.
Recently I helped my fiancée get herself setup for free with a completely online system that manages itself in less than 30 minutes. Start with a free Zoom account connected to a free Calendly account and you now have a fully integrated booking and meeting management system ready to go.
If you upgrade to a paid Calendly account (only £8/m) you can even take payments right then and there for sessions through Stripe and you don’t have to mess around with PayPal from the dark ages, or proper old-school invoicing like she was going to do (why would you want that trouble!!!).
Part Three: Fanbase Income
Let’s be honest if you’ve found yourself in a situation where you’ve gained ten thousand followers on instagram who are fans of the show you’re in or you’ve been around the block a bit and have gained a substantial fanbase online then you wanna know how to capitalise on that while you’re out of work right?
Exclusive Fan Content
Creating content exclusively for your fans is a killer strategy to start increasing your monthly income from your following. Having a predictable source of monthly income that you can get from a subscription service can even quickly dwarf the income you make from your real job, if you have a big enough fanbase.
Be very careful with OnlyFans. It’s attractive because it offers a really easy way for your followers to pay a small subscription fee to access exclusive content that you produce just for them. Sounds great right? Unfortunately OnlyFans has become synonymous with illicit, adult content. Basically users of OnlyFans have come to expect nudes and sexual content, so much so that now, even having an OnlyFans means your friends and colleagues will assume that’s what you’re using it for. If that’s cool by you go for it; no judgement here!
Usually reserved for youtubers and online teachers Patreon is a great platform for performers to share exclusive content with fans for a small monthly subscription fee. Fans can become Patrons of your work and you can share all kinds of content from small live performances, behind the scenes, rehearsal footage, and even give early access to events and vip experiences. An example is Ben Folds who is currently pulling in $9000+ a month from Patreon alone just casually live streaming as he writes music from his house.
Remember back in the day when people had famous actors record the answering machine message on their phones? Enter Cameo – the app that allows fans to request personalised messages for themselves and their friends and family. You set your own price and promote your profile and your fans tell you what they want you to say. A great example of someone we all know and love using Cameo is David Hunter who records personalised improvised songs he did over 100 of these in just the first two weeks!!
If you’re a singer or musician then gigging is already in your blood. Taking that online might be scary at first, you might be a bit intimidated by the technology but I can promise you; it has never been easier to stream solo gigs from the safety of your own front room to potentially hundreds or even thousands of paying fans.
16. Private Facebook Live Or YouTube Live
The most low tech option to achieve this would be to set up a private facebook group, have fans pay you by PayPal then send a link to anyone who paid by email. You could then only approve group access to anyone who’d paid you on Paypal and stream straight into the private group. You could then kick everyone out afterwards or if you want to be really clever, offer a subscription to one gig a week and keep the private group alive in between to build buzz for each performance. You could do the same with a private Youtube stream although it’s harder to restrict access as anyone could share the private link.
17. Live Presentation Apps (Webinars)
The best option for this would probably be a webinar app, usually used by online course creators and digital business owners to deliver live workshops. The advantages being that this would handle payments, content access and reminder emails for you as well as give you a dedicated virtual room for fan engagement and you could even bring fans online to chat or ask questions. The best option here would be Demio who even have a 14 day trial to get you up and running. You could also use Zoom for this if you wanted to get started for free but as it’s an enterprise class business tool you’ll have a much better experience using a nice looking modern interactive tool like Demio!
Bonus: The Holy Grail
If You’re Not Quite Skint Yet
All of the above are ways you can make a little bit of money very quickly with little or no cash investment. If you’re in dire straits these are the best options for the short to mid-term.
But what if you’re not quite skint yet? What if you have enough savings or a bit of money still coming in from somewhere and you want to do something seriously productive with your new found time that might result in a second income stream for life?
18. Start A Side Hustle!
But that’s a subject for another article…
What do you currently do to earn a bit of cash on the side while in between auditions and temping? answer below!