Write and publish an eBook. You don’t need a traditional publisher and financial backing to publish your own book anymore. In fact, Amazon.com makes it possible for you to publish your own eBook and sell it independently – with no financial investment on your part. And with Kindle eBook publishing, your book will appear on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours. Just be prepared to market it yourself on social media, your blog, or elsewhere if you expect to generate sales.
[JARED DIAMOND:] In Guns, Germs, and Steel I asked why history has unfolded differently over the last 13,000 years in Eurasia, in the Americas, in sub-Saharan Africa, and in Aboriginal Australia, with the result that within the last 500 years Europeans were the ones who conquered Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians and sub-Saharan Africans, rather than vice versa.
When it comes to at-home income, selling your unwanted stuff is the definition of “low-hanging fruit.” Even if you’re resolutely intentional in your purchasing habits, you surely have possessions that you can do without: old kids’ clothing and toys, disused sporting goods, out-of-fashion wardrobe accessories, electronics, entertainment, valuable but non-sentimental keepsakes such as watches and jewelry, broken-in furniture, dusty tools and outdoor equipment, and perhaps even big-ticket items like a motorcycle or second car.
Advertising. You won’t have any quests until you get the word around about your room. Start locally by putting a sign in your front yard and spreading the word through friends and family. Next, build a small website and make sure that you attract the search engine spiders by using the keywords people would likely search for when looking for a place to stay in your area. In addition, there are sites that specialize in promoting specific areas and their attractions, such as HomeExchange, BedandBreakfast.com and Airbnb – your Bed and Breakfast should be listed there.
Nevertheless there are some human groups where productivity is indeed a significant consideration. And that certainly includes businesses, industrial belts, and to a considerable degree, countries. In order to understand how to organize these businesses, we could perform natural experiments. We could set up, if we were rich enough, a hundred businesses, organized a hundred different ways, see which businesses went bankrupt, and after 20 years figure that we now have the correct industrial organization. But that's an inefficient way to do it. We can instead learn from the comparative approach, by looking to natural experiments of history. I hope that some of you will be able to apply these lessons to acquiring the wealth that has so far eluded me.
Tools. You don’t need much to work as a home-based freelance writer, but there are some tools that you must have. The most important will be your computer. Get the fastest Internet access that you can afford. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you get. Just make sure you’re comfortable enough to spend a lot of time with it. Most clients will request that you submit your work as a Microsoft Word document, so make sure that whatever programs you use are compatible. In addition, because you’ll be spending so much time at the computer, make sure that you have a good work area with proper lighting. Some clients will want to be able to reach you by phone or Skype, so have both set up and accessible. You’ll need an invoicing program, such as Freshbooks, and a good bookkeeping system to keep track of sales, orders, and accounts receivables.
You might be desperate for work, but don’t necessarily jump at an opportunity that sounds too good to be true. In my article about common Craigslist scams, I wrote about fake employers who “hire” new employees, then “accidentally” send them too much pay. They’ll ask their victims to wire back the difference, but a few weeks later, when the bank discovers that the initial check is a fraud, the “employee” is on the hook for hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars. If a job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Get paid for your opinions. Taking surveys online can be a relatively quick way to earn enough to afford a few extras. Harris Poll Online, for example, awards points for the completion of online surveys, which can take between five and 25 minutes to fill out. Survey takers accumulate points and can redeem them for gift cards from retailers such as Amazon and Starbucks. Other online outfits that will pay you to take surveys include SurveyClub, Global Test Market and Swagbucks. There's no cost to sign up.
Do you search the Internet? Want to get paid for it? Swagbucks is a site that rewards you for doing various online tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, and using their search engine. When using their search engine, you get reward points after several searches, usually in the amount of 10-15 points. You can start cashing out rewards at the 500 points mark.