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These days, a few extra bills in the bank account would be nice. But who has time when there are extra hours to put in at the office to remind employers of our usefulness? Well, my financially hungry friends, I know of a place that’s full of money-making opportunities you can take advantage of at any hour or any day from the comfort of your own home. That magical place is the Internet.


Those precious hours spent in front of the television watching people get rich flipping houses can be spent making a little dough of your own. These outlets can yield anywhere from $5 to $500 depending on how much time and energy you want to put into your new online employment.


Market Research Studies
Earning Potential: $5 per month—unlimited


You’ve got opinions. And, believe it or not, people will pay money for them. If you have time on your hands, online market research can be quite lucrative. I tested Zoomerang, which was a legitimate, easy service to use. After signing up, they send you links to surveys and questionnaires to complete. They also let you know beforehand how much you will make on a particular survey so you can decide if it’s worth your time. Be aware though that their rewards are not monetary; they’re good and services. At 1,000 points, you can earn a magazine subscription or books. At 10,000 points, you can get an iPod or a Bose home theater system. You could turn around and sell the goods and make actual dollars, though. Also, there are plenty of research studies that will actually pay out. Try: SurveySavvy.com and Surveyhead.com.


Online Surveys
Earning Potential: $25 a day to $1000 per month (dependent on how many surveys are completed)


There are thousands of online survey companies that claim to put you on the road to making money in your pajamas. “Just answer these ten simple questions and you’ll have $50 in no time.” Well, like most things that sound too good to be true, this claim follows suit. It takes a long time—more time than I had—to get to the money-making part of this option. Once you sign up for a particular survey company and answer their ten questions, there are ten more questions from subsequent companies, and then more, and on it goes. I tested Survey Monster, a site that gives you access to online surveys with descriptions and even lists the payouts. However, once you get into each individual site, you still have to continue down the path of questions and answers. Don’t let this stop you, though. If you have the time and patience, by all means, give it a try. A simple Google search for “online surveys” yields plenty to start with.


Online Writing and Naming
Earning Potential: $50 to $200 per month (dependent on how much you submit)


Your random, useless knowledge is finally going to pay off. First, there’s EngiName. Not a very good name (ironically), but a rather good moneymaking service. After sign-up, you’re given a list of companies that have submitted requests for their product or service to be named. It’s your job to submit as many potential names as you’d like. If your name is selected, you’ll receive $50 (payment through a PayPal account), and of course, the fame of having named a good or service. Once your names are selected with frequency, you’ll move up to $75 per name. And, who knows? Those silly names you think of for products—the super thingamagig or whatsihoosit—might actually turn out to make you some cold, hard cash.


Second, there’s eHow. This site is full of articles on how to do or make anything. All those simple things you know how to do—sew a button, caulk a tub, make tomato sauce —can earn you money. Sign up with eHow’s Writer Compensation Program, start writing articles, and get paid based on how many times your article is viewed. eHow provides a list of the most requested topics as well as tips and guidelines on how to attract the highest number of readers. I’ve started doing this myself, and I can testify that it’s easy and, actually, fun!


Advertise on Your Blog
Earning potential: $5 per month to $200 per day


If you’ve ever thought about joining the blogosphere, now’s the time. Select a topic that allows you to create unique content that will attract readers to your site. Then, get blogging. There are many hosting services, like Blogger.com, that are free and incredibly easy to set up. If you’re interested in developing a more detailed blog, check into Typepad or Wordpress. Once you have your blog up and running, enroll in Google AdSense. This program automatically scans the content on your site and places relevant ads on the right or left-hand side of your page. (You get to decide where the ads go.) For instance, if you’re blogging about planting perennials, there might be ads for online seed purchasing. The Google AdSense program leads you through how to incorporate ads onto your site, how to get paid, and any other questions you have. The more you cater to advertising, the more you can get paid. There’s a fine line between just writing about things you know will advertise on your site and clever incorporation into your blog posts; finding that balance is key to success. And, don’t worry about setting it up. For a technically un-savvy person like myself, Google AdSense was a breeze to add to my blog.


Sell Unwanted Items Online
Earning potential: Unlimited


Now, I know you have things around the house, in the basement, in a storage unit, or in your garage that have been sitting untouched for more than a year. We all do. And, as the saying goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. In this case, it’s almost a literal translation. I have a friend that found an old basket, a gift from her parents, listed it on eBay and learned it was a very old Native American artifact. That basket made her $300 richer. EBay is the best and most popular way to go about selling items online. A membership costs nothing and based on how involved you want your posting to be, listing is virtually free. And, as a bonus, eBay has introduced eBay University, which teaches you how to set up an account, list online, add value to your listings and it provides some keys to higher selling potential. If you’d rather keep it local, list items on Craigslist. There’s a Craigslist for every major city and many smaller cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and across Europe. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences buying and selling on Craigslist. Here’s a hint: including a picture with your listing always sells your item faster. Surely there’s an old pair of ice skates collecting dust somewhere. Shine them up and turn them into some green for your pocket.


There’s a stack of money waiting in the online world with your name on it—you just have to commit the time to go find it. Make this the year that you do it.

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