You may already have all the tools you need to make money on your PC. That laptop or computer on your desk isn’t just for browsing the internet or doing your banking. It’s a tool that could make you richer. In some cases, you may even be able to supplement your income without doing anything bar leaving your machine on.
To help you get started, we scoured the digital world and picked out our top six ways to make a bit of extra cash with your PC. None of them are going to make you rich overnight, but with a little motivation, some spare time and perhaps the right PC accessories, you might even get to a point where you’re working from home full time, if you like. You might even change the way you think about saving and investing, particularly considering making a low-risk loan could offer you returns far beyond those of a regular savings account.
If you’re ready to make money on your PC, read on. The digital world is your oyster, and these are some of the best ways to get a bit of extra change in your pocket.
1. Sell your skills
Got a talent? Get it out there. Whether you’re a dab hand at tech support, an expert designer, a skilled writer or anything in between, social media and online classifieds are a great way to get yourself noticed, and your PC – and perhaps a couple of vital PC accessories like a webcam – will often be everything you need for the job. With the aid of software like TeamViewer (opens in new tab), many tech support tasks are trivial – obviously, basically every creative pursuit has moved towards the computer desktop.
Taking tech support as an example, start by putting your name out on localised sites like Gumtree or Craigslist to potentially attract geographically reasonable clients; it’s the modern equivalent of putting a card in the newsagent’s window.
Then set yourself up with a page on Facebook – professionalism is key here – and make sure your friends, family and colleagues like and share your presence. Word of mouth still has a vast amount of value, particularly when it comes to trust.
When you’re established, there are plenty of ways to get paid, from a PayPal account to services like Square which also deal with invoices and receipts for you. Whatever you choose, bear in mind you’ll be liable for tax on anything you earn.
2. Lend to others
You have to spend money to make money, they say, so why not invest your excess funds to help people who need it? Peer-to-peer lending is a great way to grow your cash with minimal risk. Head over to Zopa (opens in new tab) to find out exactly how you can invest, and to check out your options, which range from a low-return scheme which will release your funds whenever you need them, to a scheme with much higher interest but a greater risk of your borrower defaulting.
If you’re saving anyway, putting your money with Zopa (with a low-end 3.1% yearly return for minimal risk) is not a bad choice. If you’d rather not lend to individuals, Funding Circle allows you to put spare cash into businesses instead, and there’s a higher predicted yearly return (7.1%) although a fair amount more risk.
If you need a little reassurance, the UK government has put a cool £20 million (around $24 million, AU$33 million) into Funding Circle to help growing companies, and you can too. Although you don’t have to invest quite that much…
3. Flip websites
What was once known as cybersquatting has a new face today in the form of flipping. Think of it in the sense of flipping a house – buying it and selling it on for a profit – and you’re going along the right lines.
Flipping domains is going to require some savvy thinking and even savvier marketing on your part. You’ll need to start by scouring the web for potential bankable URLs.
It pays to have a bit of insight (or just foresight) into your specialist subjects for this part. Find a growing industry or business, and pick names which will be memorable and, most importantly, valuable to someone. When the time is right, head over to flippa.com (opens in new tab) and put them up for auction – you could, with a bit of luck, bag a decent profit.
If you have a lot of time on your hands, there’s money to be made flipping whole sites. But this does, of course, involve building, marketing, and running a website for a length of time, attracting an audience, and then finding a willing buyer. That’s much easier said than done, so find a comfortable spot in your home where you feel most productive, and prepare yourself for a lot of hard work.
4. Take surveys
Marketers, advertisers and creators know there’s nothing more valuable than an honest opinion, which is why you’ll often get paid for taking surveys. There are tons of options, although none will really pay you more than a little change on the side so this can’t be relied upon for any sort of income.
Google Opinion Rewards, one of the most popular choices, only offers Play Store credit – great for picking up paid apps for nothing, at least – while MySurvey (opens in new tab) issues vouchers for some bigger online retailers. It’s probably the most well-compensated survey site, and one of the largest, meaning you’ll get more boxes to tick and more (virtual) money in your pocket.
Bear in mind that you’re likely to get more surveys to fill in if you fall into a less-represented category. 30-something males may be less attractive to those issuing the surveys than 50-something females. Indeed, they may not want your opinion at all if they’re looking to do market research on something that’s absolutely not targeted in your direction.
5. Become a virtual assistant
Can you lend yourself to any task? Are you a dab hand at admin work? Do you not mind a little drudgery? Then you may be a perfect virtual assistant, doing temp jobs from the comfort of your laptop. A huge number of companies are looking for help with data entry, filing, analysis and more – you could even land yourself full-time work if you’re good enough.
US readers will want to look at Virtualassistantjobs.com (opens in new tab), a marketplace for workers and employers that’ll match you up with tasks which suit you. In the UK, TimeEtc (opens in new tab) leads the way for this kind of work. You will likely need to have proven admin or secretarial skills beforehand, but it’s a great way to add flexibility to your lifestyle and keep you on your toes.