Where can I make money online?
July 10, 2009 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Where, oh where, can I make money online? I have a great computer expertise!

Help! Where can I make money online? I have excellent computer expertise (not programing) but am quick to learn anything with a computer.
I am also a good writer, and am good at helping others with computers. I am not opposed to doing mundane tasks such as moderating web boards, or customer service..
I have tried online surveys with Pinecone Research but I have made $18 in two months and I am looking for something more,
posted by ptsampras14 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Mechanical Turk?
posted by box at 12:07 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

So maybe don't refer to 'moderating web boards' as 'mundane' on a web board with official moderators.

What did people tell you the last time you asked this question?
posted by 8dot3 at 12:07 PM on July 10, 2009 [8 favorites]

Learn PHP. For reals.

Spend your time focusing on learning programming skills and those skills will pay off in the long run more than immediate "mundane" tasks. I spent a few years learning programming starting in seventh grade (didn't even start web programming till ninth grade) and by my junior year I was making $20-30/hour doing freelance work.

If you do want to find random work, however, maybe you should consider being a ChaCha Guide or a KGB Special Agent?
posted by jgunsch at 12:16 PM on July 10, 2009

No offense, but:

a) your computer expertise and writing skills are not rare, and it might be possible you're overestimating them.
b) not only are there people willing to work for less money than you are (e.g., people in India), there are also people willing to do it for free (e.g., people who moderate Linux forums).
c) if there was an easy way to make tons of money on the Internet, there'd be a big line of people waiting to exploit it.

I don't mean to be a downer--good luck with your search.
posted by box at 12:17 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

I know I'm a dime a dozen but any ideas are excepted.
(Above quote copied from your previous looking-for-computer-work post)
Here's a quick tip - do not list being a "good writer" on your CV if you don't know the difference between "accepted" and "excepted."

There really aren't huge sums of money to be made online, unless you launch a successful website with ad revenue. If you really want to exploit your computer skills, you're probably going to have to go the route suggested previously - typing term papers and resumes for students.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:36 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

I am not opposed to doing mundane tasks such as moderating web boards, or customer service.

Aww that's cute.

Where I live making basic websites is in huge demand and something that someone with decent expertise can make a basic, not luxurious, living at. So become a domain reseller where you have space for 100 domains and then sell local businesses nice little five page websites with maintenance packages that give you a small recurring income. Charge extra for turnkey stuff like online stores and whatnot.

I'm not sure if you want to be entirely virtual but those "eBay it" places do okay, basically photographing and selling other people's stuff for a 40% [or whatever] cut.

Moderation jobs are tough to come by without experience and often they don't pay at all. If there is an online community that you are currently really involved in, you might like to look into whether they have any paid staff.
posted by jessamyn at 12:37 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

How quickly do you want to make money? How much or little effort do you want to expend?

In my experience anyone who makes good money in the Internet industry (as opposed to "making money online", i.e. selling on ebay or etsy) is generally one of the following:

1) A successful, enthusiastic, dedicated entrepreneur (these include software entrepreneurs and content entrepreneurs, such as successful blogger) who works at their creation for years
2) A top notch programmer, designer, or salesperson who can sell their skills at a high price

In other words, to "make money online" requires a high level of dedication, effort and expertise similar to any other highly paid profession. Anything you can do that's a mundane taskl, someone overseas can do more cheaply.
posted by lsemel at 1:03 PM on July 10, 2009

I think you'd be better off using your skills offline. As mentioned, you could help students with term papers or teach people in the community how to use/maintain the computer. My grandparents, for example, have a lot of trouble learning the ins and outs of the computer and also have trouble keeping it running properly (regular cleanups, scans, defrags, etc). They would probably utilize your services if available. Perhaps you can sign up as a virtual assistant but I must be frank - you need to work on your writing skills if you plan to go that route.
posted by ml98tu at 1:22 PM on July 10, 2009

I will tell you right off the bat that if you want any substantial amount of money you are much, much, much more likely to get it by going out and getting the kind of job that people your age get. There is literally nothing special about your skill set and the supply of people who would like to earn money from home vastly exceeds the supply of jobs that fit the bill.

It is possible to earn money from home via the computer and telephone, I have been doing so for the last 5 years. It is not at all easy, and you have to drum up your own opportunities to get anything like remotely decent pay, and there is no conventional solution or one-stop-shop to find it. I have to tell you very honestly that if I had a line on something that you might be competing with me for work, there's no way in hell I'd tell you about it. But the baseline reality for me is that I can manage to make some money because I have specialized knowledge and education that is relatively rare.

I'd recommend looking at the following threads - one - two - three. Everything that looks too good to be true absolutely is.
posted by nanojath at 1:48 PM on July 10, 2009

Let's see... you were a junior in September of 2008, so you'll be entering your senior year shortly.

Do what most people do (myself included) and get a real job where "work" matches the physics definition (actually moving stuff places).

As everyone's said already, the internet is not California circa '49. You won't get rich without any programming skills unless you're a whiz-bang blogger or entrepreneur.

I got my first job in a brick and mortar store summer after my sophomore year, and even though it was a minimum wage, high school job, it was very satisfying on payday.

And, trust me, you can do much better than $18/month doing ANYTHING. Set up some gigs tutoring math/english/whatever to middle school kids. I did that this year for $18-$25 per hour. The sky's the limit... don't limit yourself to the internet.
posted by Precision at 1:50 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

You don't sound realistic about your writing skills, which makes me wonder if you are realistic about your computer skills. For instance, your question is misspelled ("programing") and poorly paragraphed, you doubled one period, and you substituted another with a comma. Novelists can get away with these lapses, but technical writers cannot—and they are positively sales-death to anybody trying to create a presentable image online.

The suggestion above about helping students with term papers is a good one. Students at that level often need more basic help that might be within your reach (particularly international students), as well as just another person to bounce drafts off and get feedback. And doing that sort of work will improve your own skills, too. Inquire at a community college or post on Craigslist.

As a general proposition, when somebody says, "I have skills X and Y and want to make some money," it is typically the case that either (1) no market exists for those skills, or (2) many, many people have and are selling the same skills, and thus the bar to entry is very high. Your circumstance appears to fit this. This is not to say that you cannot make money online (you can, and have), but it is likely that your immediate future would be more profitably spent either (a) investing considerable effort building new, niche skill Z, or (b) working a low-entry job like retail, food service, etc.
posted by cribcage at 2:06 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Moderation jobs are tough to come by without experience and often they don't pay at all. If there is an online community that you are currently really involved in, you might like to look into whether they have any paid staff.

This. I am a developer on a website with a ~50k member userbase and a large percentage of them active. We receive thousands of dollars in donations (no ads on the site) that go straight to server costs. Out of four developers, one designer, two managers, a few writers and a dozen moderators, not one of us collect any money for the work. We put in countless hours for the love of our community. You're not likely to find otherwise.
posted by jgunsch at 3:24 PM on July 10, 2009

A lot of people are being really snarky about it, and that's not entirely fair, but they have a point. Unfortunately there is no gold ticket. You might be best by getting a real job, and working in your spare time toward the goal you'd ultimately like. If you'd like to be a paid writer, write for fun on a blog, or just for yourself. Do what you like, for free at first, and if you're good enough and driven enough to succeed at it, you should have a great shot at ending up in a paid position somewhere doing something similar.
posted by swrittenb at 3:59 PM on July 10, 2009

if you're talking about just making some extra money, cha cha might be a good option.
posted by sucre at 10:33 PM on July 10, 2009

On the other hand, you might, just might be able to make some money focusing on a simple specialized skill. Register at Warrior Forum and the Digital Point Forum; look at the specific services people are hiring others to do (e.g., make Squidoo lenses, craft Wordpress themes, write articles, etc.); spend $50 on a guidebook teaching you the relevant task; and then start advertising your services.

While any given craft might cease to be lucrative as the technology changes, still you might have the time and wherewithal, at that point, to learn whatever the Next Big Thing is... or, better, to hire someone else to learn it, while you make deals based on the credibility you've accumulated up to that point.

Copywriting is something easy to break into, and potentially very lucrative; one of the oddities of the craft is that you needn't actually be a good writer in the ordinary sense-- you needn't be a gifted stylist or an expositor-- you just need to remember and apply certain cut-and-dried formulae over and over, without hesitation, without qualm, without remorse. The practice of ripping off existing sales letters and just inserting new product names is pretty much universal; it is in fact a mark against one's professionalism to not have a batch of other people's letters that you steal from. All of which makes it, again, a good route if you want to start a new career without formal training and you want to get started fast.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:33 PM on July 10, 2009

Response by poster: Hello all, I was very surprised by the response I received for this post. I'd like to answer a few of the comments made here:
1. Yes, I have posted this question before, 7 months ago. New people have join AskMefi, and I have received many more responses second time around so I don't believe that is a problem.
2. I apologize for naming moderating web boards as mundane. I just believe it requires less skill than others jobs.
3. I realize my skills are very common, and if makes any difference @box I am Indian and willing to work cheap.
4. I am just looking to make some small residual income. I do have a "real" job, in fact I have two: local grocery store clerk, and doing yard work both minimum wage.
5. I was familiar with ChaCha, and to all those claiming that such a job doesn't exist: I have found a job writing computer tips where I can make up to $200 to $300 a month, which I have been doing for two years now.
6. My final point is that I understand my punctuation, grammar, and spelling in my previous posts is not the best, but when I take my time and interest, I am a very capable writer.
Thank you for your suggestions and please keep them coming.
posted by ptsampras14 at 10:04 AM on July 11, 2009

posted by jopreacher at 2:32 PM on July 11, 2009

I think the reason people become so irritated by these questions is because they wish they were making money online.

Here's my suggestions:

Demand Studios

There's lots of people claiming they're making a full-time income writing for DS.

No Job For Mom

This blogger has a list of legitimate and scam sites under Opportunities.

Just stick with it. I've managed to increase my online earnings to the point where I'll never have to get a job outside the home again.

Good luck!
posted by VC Drake at 6:26 PM on January 2, 2010

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