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Working Online: Supplementing Household Income


Working online is a great way to boost your household income.  The costs to start an online business are low, and you can work at home.  There are many online money making opportunities, but you must be careful what you choose to pursue. Here are four legitimate business ideas that you should consider:

Sell Used Books

Even if you haven't used Amazon to purchase books, you've probably heard of it. About one-third of all online purchases are made through Amazon. It's reputable and well-known. You wouldn't have much marketing to do, other than to list your books at a great price. The process is to find used books and sell them through Amazon. Amazon takes a commission, plus small closing fees from every sale. You keep the profits. You can sell the books you currently own, plus find books at yard sales, your local library's book sales, and on Craigslist. Non-fiction books like textbooks, business books, and money management books are good sellers. Bestsellers are often not good picks because everyone's already got a copy. It will take some time to learn the art of picking the right book, so start now and test what works and what doesn't.

Become a Virtual Assistant

Many business owners need help, but lack funds to hire a staff.  Offer your services online to other business owners if you have administrative experience or can perform typical secretarial tasks.  Charge an hourly rate or flat fees, depending on the work. You'll need a computer, a telephone, a printer, internet access, and computer software related to your industry. You can automate your virtual assistant practice using forms and ecommerce tools, just like any other business. You can also find work online using websites like Elance and Monster.

Write as a Freelancer

Writers are always in need. It may be hard to sell your fiction novel, but it's relatively simple to find other work writing. There are many resources online for freelance writers including employment opportunities. Several websites are looking for writers to research and write articles.

Freelancers also find success writing for businesses. Every business owner markets, and every marketing campaign involves writing. These include brochures, websites, blogs, classified ads, and press releases. Market yourself as a copywriter to take care of business writing needs. Even if a business owner wants to write their own material, they may need editing help. You can also offer editing services.

Market Other People's Products

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn supplemental household income. Find a product you like and would recommend to family and friends. Market it online by writing about it and directing people to the seller's website or affiliate sites like EJunkie. You'll earn a commission on the sales. The key is to provide an honest product recommendation or review. Credibility is key when marketing other people's products. Don't recommend anything that you wouldn't use. You can either write articles about it or blog posts. As your business grows, you might consider using Google Adwords or buying ads on websites.

As with any new business, there is a learning curve to overcome when starting an online business.  The sooner you start, the better.


Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.

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