How to make money online – Forbes Advisor UK

With the cost of living rising at an alarming rate, many households might be wondering how to earn extra cash.

This does not necessarily mean getting a second job. In fact, as long as you have a broadband connection, there are plenty of ways to make money online without leaving the comfort of your own home. We’ve rounded up some of the best examples.

1. Express yourself

There are websites that will pay you for your opinion on everything from the latest hit TV show to shampoo or dog food. To get started, sign up for survey sites such as i-Say (formerly Ipsos), Swagbucks, YouGov and Opinion Outpost. Once you are a member, they will send you details of the surveys you are eligible for and how much they pay.

Focus groups are more in-depth and usually mean attending an in-person session. They can pay well though – up to £100 for an hour or two. Takepartinresearch.co.uk or Paidfocusgroups.co.uk are good places to start.

2. Start dropshipping

Selling items on eBay and Facebook was last year – now it’s dropshipping, which is a “method of fulfillment” used by retail businesses. Dropshippers buy goods from a third party and then have them shipped directly to customers. Basically, you don’t need to physically buy or own shares.

To make money, you need to identify a product that you think will sell in the UK. The Chinese mega-site AliExpress is a good place to look for something decent.

Then you need to create a store on Shopify or an account on eBay and find buyers – perhaps using ads on Facebook or Instagram. You advertise the product at a higher price than you buy it at – this markup will be your profit.

When someone buys the product, you buy it from your supplier (i.e. AliExpress) and have it shipped directly to the buyer.

3. Earn “passive income”

Passive income refers to income that does not require a significant commitment of time or money on an ongoing basis.

Investing in the stock market, for example, can generate passive income, but you’ll need a long-term investment strategy to see gains. And, of course, you can withdraw less than you have invested.

There is a lot of hype surrounding cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, but you should think twice before jumping on the crypto bandwagon.

These virtual currencies are notoriously volatile and subject to various scams – check out Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King on Netflix for a story about how anything can go wrong.

4. Become a virtual tutor

This side hustle is best suited to smart university students happy to tutor schoolchildren approaching 11+, school entrance exams, GCSEs or A levels.

The pandemic has meant that students have become accustomed to remote learning, so there is no longer an expectation that you will travel to tutor your students.

The better your GCSE and A-Level grades in maths, English and science, the better – you can earn up to £20 an hour helping children improve their grades.

You can find clients using sites such as Superprof or MyTutor or by word of mouth referral.

5. “Reverse” domain names

Most domain names sell for a few pounds, but some change hands for millions of pounds. Domain flipping is buying a domain name for the cheapest possible price and then reselling it for more than you originally paid.

If you could go back in time, you should have bought the domain name Cars.com – according to GoDaddy it is now valued at $872m (£707m). Sex.com is worth around $13m (£10.5m) and shoes.com $9m (£7m).

The key to making money this way is to identify a domain name that might become mega-desirable in the future and buy it while it’s still cheap.

6. Sell your old technology

Most of us like to upgrade our smartphones and other devices whenever a shiny new one comes out. This means that across the UK there are countless drawers and cupboards containing old smartphones, cameras and games consoles.

According to MPB.com, which specializes in selling photography equipment, half of UK adults have six or more cameras. These could be worth an average of £1,332 if traded.

If you upgrade your phone, you may be able to recycle it with your network. For example, O2 Recycle gives you a discount on a new device if you trade in your old phone.

7. Create content and influence people

It’s not just celebrities making money from Instagram – “micro-influencers” are normal people who make money by creating and sharing content. The key to success is creating a large, engaged and enthusiastic audience who will react to your social media posts with likes, shares and comments.

Most social media influencers begin by collaborating with brands by plugging and imagining their products (which they usually receive for free) before moving on to being paid cold hard cash for product posts on Instagram and Facebook.

There are rules for this type of advertising though – you will need to use hashtags such as #ad to make it clear that you are being paid to post.

8. Become a “comrade”

Compers earn money by entering and winning contests online, on television or on the radio.

Radio stations, in particular, regularly give away five-figure sums of money in contests that you can enter with a simple text message. Other typical prizes include cars, vacations, tech products, kitchen appliances, concert tickets, and… just about anything.

Professional compers participate in hundreds of competitions every week which they find by subscribing to Compers News or Theprizefinder.com. Before you start, set up a separate email address just for competitions, otherwise your email index will be overwhelmed with spam and newsletters.

In general, you have the best chance of winning competitions where you have to put in some effort to enter – by coming up with a slogan, for example.

Do I have to pay tax on side hustle income?

Since 2017, Britons have benefited from a £1,000 ‘swap allowance’ where it is possible to each earn up to £1,000 a year tax-free through ‘side hustles’ such than flogging items on eBay or earning money through online surveys.

If you earn more than that from online extras, you will need to register as self-employed with HMRC and pay tax on your profits.

Money you earn on investments such as dividends is taxed separately – this article explains how.