We’d all like to earn more money, but when you’re sick and either housebound or not able to work your usual job, it’s even more important to find ways to boost your income, especially when you have high medical bills. There are plenty of guides online claiming ways to help you ‘get rich quick’ or make huge amounts of money from home, but as you may have found, they’re about as realistic as England winning the World Cup. Here are 15 ideas I’ve picked up along the way while considering pretty much everything to earn some cash.
NB. This is directed at a UK audience, what with me being British n’all but I’m sure it’s all transferable to basically every country, except maybe Antarctica. Although Is that even a country…?
1. Welfare benefits
Make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to, whether it’s sickness benefits, housing benefits, benefits for children and the appropriate tax credits. Try EntitledTo or Gov.uk’s Benefits calculator. If you’re in another country, check out the relevant authority websites to see what you could claim. Loads of people (read: I can’t find the statistics) don’t claim everything they’re entitled to, so it’s worth checking it out. Not all benefits are tied to your income so often you can work from home and still claim some extra money.
2. Your usual job but at home
If you worked in an office before you got sick you might be able to continue your job from home on reduced hours or responsibilities basis. It might mean a pay cut but some income is better than no income right? Due to the wonders of the internet a lot of work can be done remotely now, and even in your pyjamas!
If you’ve got a good phone voice and a bucket load of patience, you could try getting a job in sales or customer service from home. All you’ll need is a phone line, and er, did I mention a bucket load of patience?
4. Sell your handmade stuff
If you’re a creative type, you can make things from home and sell them online. eBay is the obvious choice but you might find you have a better audience and a higher profit margin by selling hand-made items on a specialist site like Etsy and Red Bubble. You could also set up your own online shop, but factor in a lot of time and effort for the marketing side of it.
5. Buy & Sell
If you have some knowledge and experience in certain niche areas like old vinyl, vintage clothing or whatever, use your skill to spot bargains from eBay or car boot/yard sales and resell them for profit on eBay or specialist auctions houses. The key is to do your research, make sure you know what you’re buying and if and where there’s a market for it.
6. Rent out your space
If you have a spare room you could consider getting a lodger, with set ground rules they don’t have to be too bothersome. Horror stories about 3am parties are just that, horror stories. If you vet potential people well you should be able to avoid any nasty surprises. Try SpareRoom. Be picky and find your perfect roomie. (I once had not one, but two interviews to get a flatshare I wanted, seriously… )
If you have an unused driveway in a densely populated city with no free parking near a station or other attraction, you can earn money by renting out your driveway. See Your Parking Space.
Have an unused loft space or garage? With the boom in large self storage companies there’s also been a boom in people renting their unused space to people in their area who only need a small amount of storage. Try Share My Storage Just be sure to check the ins and outs with your home insurance and never store anything illegal, obviously…
If you go away a lot to see family or get medical treatment away from home, you can rent out your home for short-term lets for very good rates on AirBnB. Connect directly with people and cut out obstructive and overpriced estate agents. (I can feel your glee from here…!)
7. Sell your photos
Got a decent camera and take great snaps? Sell your shots to stock photo websites like iStock Photo and Alamy. You need to meet strict submission criteria though, so check each website for them (e.g see Alamy’s criteria here) as well as commission and copyright/legal stuff. Doesn’t sound like your bag? You can also sell photos taken with your camera phone at Stockimo!
8. Sell your writing
There are loads of ways of making money from writing, Freelance writing, blogging, or writing a book are the most obvious. You don’t even have to be a ‘tortured soul’ type who gets all existential about the artistic nature of their craft. If you like spewing out lots of words, there’s probably a medium to suit you. If you do a bit of Googling there are literally hundreds of websites with tips and tricks. What I will say though is that blogging is damn hard work to make money out of. You need a lot of traffic to be able to get money from advertising or affiliation. Writing a book is very much a labour of love, and although you can self publish to cut out the soul destroying rejections from publishers, you have to know how to market it or hire someone who does. Freelance writing is competitive but you can jump right in and earn money fairly quickly.
9. Sell your knowledge
Could you teach something? From extra tuition for children, to painting classes, to baking. If you’ve got a skill, you can teach it. You might even be able to do it from your own home. Make sure you’ve got relevant insurance and accreditation (like hygiene certificates or CRB checks for working with kids).
Consultancy is also a fancy word for selling your knowledge on a subject. Whether it be financial consultancy or marketing, if you know stuff, sell it to people who don’t know, but need to know stuff.
10. Look after other people’s dogs/kids
As an aspiring crazy cat lady I have no idea why you’d want more dogs in your life but I have it on good authority that lots of people like dogs as much as I like cats. However, unlike cats, dogs require a whole lot of exercise and to be kept company. As this is difficult with modern hectic life entrepreneurial
weirdos people are setting up their own dog walking or doggy daycare businesses. If you already have a needy adorable hound and walk it regularly, you may as well walk someone else’s while you’re at it and get paid for it, right? For doggy daycare it might be a good idea to get some kind of certificate to prove you’re good with dogs and aren’t going to spend the whole time dressing them up as Santa or whatever. (Cos that’s what I’d do.) See WalkMyDog and PawsDogDaycare
It’s the same with kids, if you have some of your own, you could look after other people’s after school for a few hours and earn extra cash without much change to your routine. Or if you’re not up to that, you could babysit for a few hours at the weekend on an ad hoc basis. You’ll need the relevant checks in your country but then you’re good to go!
11. Party Sales
If you’re the outgoing type, you could cash in on your charms by selling things in your area on commission. For example, Ann Smmers, The Body Shop and Party Lite. Avon and similar companies also give you commission for flogging their stuff.
12. Market Research groups/Mystery Shopper
Market research groups can pay well for just a few hours, they’re often at a specified location but can also be over the phone or online. A good list of UK based ones can be found here.
No one likes ironing, and people are sometimes willing to pay someone to get out of doing it. So if you’re handy with an iron, you can make money by doing piles of it while watching telly. Take out ads in local papers and away you go!
Just need a bit of extra pocket money when you’re in a good patch? Consider these;
- Vote counting during elections
- Life modelling
- Be a TV Extra
15. Be money savvy
While not earning money in the strictest sense, you can make a big difference to your finances with a few tweaks.
- Use cashback credit cards
- Switch to higher interest savings
- Move any credit card debt to a 0% interest card
- Check out better energy tariffs
- Find grants for making your home more energy efficient
- Hunt for coupons and vouchers
- Sell unwanted items gathering dust in cupboards
- Get cashback when buying things, e.g Quidco
- Check you or a partner is on the right tax code or due a tax rebate
- Reclaim utilities credit if you’ve recently switched
Unfortunately there’s no easy way of making money, you have to put the time and effort in to get anything out of it, but if you have specific skills, that’s already putting you head and shoulders above the other plebs on the internet, use those skills, put the effort in and you’ll do well. Remember to take into consideration your limitations. There’s no point doing something if it’ll make your health so bad that you can no longer do it anyway. Good luck and let me know in the comments if you’ve found a great way to make money since you got sick!