Another great way to earn money from your home office is to sell your skills or knowledge by teaching classes through Udemy or Coursera. For instance, if you’re an exercise guru, you might start an exercise class in a large spacious area in your home. People are willing to pay to learn about many fields of knowledge, from cooking and gardening to soap or candle making. Playing a musical instrument, child birthing, dancing, dog training, yoga, and even foreign languages are all great topics for expert classes.
Freelancing is the next best thing to being paid more for your full-time work, because professional work always pays more than unskilled. To find opportunities, let former colleagues or other personal connections that you’re available for freelance gigs. (Here are some ideas on how LinkedIn could be useful for that.) Or, post on marketplaces particular to your field. For instance, Mediabistro, a journalism site, allows freelancers to post profiles of their experience and services. Though these are more up to chance, designers can bid on jobs at 99Designs.com or submit a design at Threadless, to see if it will be crowdfunded. Elance-Odesk also lists many freelance opportunities, and you can also post your own services on Fiverr, although some freelancers say these services create a race to the bottom on fees and so are not very lucrative. If you're new to freelancing, here's how to set your rates, and here's how to negotiate raises with clients.
Below is a huge list of companies (over 90!) that do mystery shopping, remote call monitoring, or some other “customer engagement research.” We did not vet the companies on this list, we only checked that their websites loaded and that they appear to still be in business. I wish we could've researched this more but that just wasn't feasible. Before you sign up for anything, please review my post about how to spot a mystery shopping scam plus the Federal Trade Commission's tips.
Research Pricing (And Set Fair Starting Prices): Before setting prices for each item, research your local Craigslist website and (if possible) nearby yard sales to get a sense of how to price them. Remember that many buyers will try to haggle – so set prices a bit higher than your bottom dollar, but not so high that you’ll scare off first bids. 10% to 15% is a good rule of thumb. Consider bunching low-value items, such as old CDs, into lots of five or 10, or offer x-for-$y deals.
Complete errands or tasks for the elderly. Older people often need help with buying groceries, cleaning their home, performing home maintenance, and paying bills. To find clients, contact your local community center or church to find out if anyone needs help. Additionally, you might post an ad in your local classifieds or talk to people you know to find out if they know someone who needs help.