New blog – for today’s blog I thought I’d tackle the subject of earning money offline. By offline here I don’t just mean not using the internet but also doing things out of the house in the big wide world that require interacting with others. If you’re interested in ways you can earn money from home take a look at my blog here
For this blog I’m going to focus on five key areas that people can make good money from whilst still working full time and enjoying a life outside of working/earning money!
1. Mystery shopping:
The first area I’m going to talk about is mystery shopping. Mystery shopping involves visiting venues (anything from a major retail store, a supermarket to a pub for a couple of drinks and a meal) and assessing the venue against a pre-defined set of standards. E.g. sales technique, cleanliness, availability of stock, sales person’s product knowledge etc. You get given a brief before visiting a venue so that you know what to look out for. You often have to make a product purchase as well (which you’ll get refunded for) so it’s a good way to get some freebies! I often get a free breakfast and free lunch (proving that there is such a thing as a free lunch!) without having to walk more than 15 minutes from my home!
It can though be nerve-wracking at first until you get used to what you’re doing. I remember spending quite a bit of time filling out my first reports before I became more confident with what was being asked of me. Now I can make an easy £15 an hour (or sometimes more) from doing mystery shops plus travel expenses! If you’re new to mystery shopping I’d recommend starting off with a company called Marketforce (click here to sign up). Marketforce don’t pay as highly as some of the other mystery shopping companies out there but they hold your hand through the mystery shopping process, telling you exactly what you need to do so that you can get used to the nature of the job before signing up for some of the other higher paying agencies. I’ll write a separate blog post about mystery shopping in detail which will contain some good tips and tricks as well as recommendations for other companies to sign up to but one piece of advice I’d give to anyone mystery shopping is don’t be afraid to negotiate on the pay offered for doing a task. I’ve had £20 for visiting my local Homebase before for a 15 minute visit and then another 15 minutes to write up a report afterwards so it’s always good to negotiate!
2. Pet sitting:
Pet sitting in the UK is a massive growth area as people’s lives become busier and busier. I know people who earn hundreds a month from doing this for a couple of days a week each week so it’s well worth exploring! Tasks can vary from being a dog walker, training pets to just spending time with them while their owners are out (much like being a babysitter). Obviously you have to love animals and be good with them but in return you get paid for spending time with a wonderful pet! There’s a few different ways to setting yourself up as a professional pet sitter. You can advertise your services via the facebook marketplace, in your local newspaper or in shop windows. Or you can sign up for a professional pet sitting agency. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who are doing pet sitting and they first started off through an agency before building a network of clients independently of the agency so this may be an approach that you want to take yourself. If you do the most popular agency in the UK is a company called holidog. I’ve included a link here if you want to give them a try (it’s free to sign up as a pet sitter). My top tip though is to be reliable. If you commit to sitting someone’s pet for them than make sure that you turn up and do a good job. For your first few jobs until you’ve built up a good reputation you may want to set your fees lower than the market average. You can soon increase them when people see how good a job you do and you’ll be on the path to earning hundreds a month! And don’t think it’s just dogs that need looking after. I also know some successful cat sitters as well!
3. Task based apps:
I’ll let you into a secret. I’m addicted to task based apps! So much so that I very rarely do mystery shopping for mystery shopping agencies these days as the benefit of task based apps is that you can perform a mystery shop or a store audit and submit the report there and then without having to do it at home later! This makes it much easier to earn money quickly over the course of a day as you can do a few tasks an hour. I often earn over a £100 a day by visiting a large town or city and doing a variety of tasks on different task based apps in the local area.
But what are task based apps? Well basically these are apps that are run by marketing companies which you can download onto your smartphone and are based all around collecting data about different venues or even performing mystery shops in them. I’ve done everything from checking on how many ready meals are in stock in Morrisons, to taking photos of car park entrances to mystery shopping washing machines. They’re good fun but the criteria for submissions is very high and most of the tasks require you to submit high quality photos so you need a decent camera on your smartphone. As a minimum I’d recommend an I iPhone 5s or a Samsung galaxy s5 if you’re on Android.
The apps I use are the following:
Task 360 (this is ios only so you need an iphone for this but it’s my biggest earner by far!). The tasks are usually fairly straightforward and well paid. It’s also very rare to get a task rejected on here which is even better! Payment is straight into your bank account and they pay fairly regularly.
Roamler – my second biggest earner which is on both android and ios but they are very strict about the quality of your photos here and following their task instructions to the letter. You also need an invite code to join the service from someone who’s already using roamler (i occasionally have invite codes to issue). Before you’re allowed to do any paid work you also have to do some training tasks in your local area so that they’re sure you’re a good fit for them. Don’t worry though the training tasks are quite simple! Fares for tasks have a tendency to increase over time on this app as well so I often don’t sign up for tasks straight away. Payment is via PayPal but you need to have earned a minimum of £20 before you can request a payment.
Bemyeye (not to be confused with the app for people with visual impairments). This app is available on both ios and android and does have some decent tasks on it. It also has some absolutely horrible ones on it that involve taking dozens of pictures covertly so do be careful about which tasks you sign up for on this app. If you have a task rejected for any reason or can’t complete one you also lose ‘experience points’ in the app which can affect how often you get paid and the type of work you do. That being said I can usually earn some good money from this app as well so it’s worth sticking with. They’ve also recently acquired Task 360 so I’m not sure how long this app will remain on ios for (it can crash a lot which is annoying). Payment is via PayPal or bank account with a £5 minimum for PayPal payments and £20 minimum for payments via bank account.
Other apps also worth a mention are StreetSpotr (mainly tasks at fast food chains here), Field Agent (which used to be a massive earner but now jobs are very rare on it), clic and walk, jobspotter and appjobber. All of these apps are available on IOS and Android.
I’ve also recently signed up for another app called Shepper so I will let you know how I get on with this one as well.
4. Rent a room
Whilst not strictly earning money out of the house you do have to interact with someone else so I’m including this option here. If you have a spare bedroom in your house than a good way of generating extra income can be to rent out your spare room for hundreds a month! Even better you can earn up to £7500 a year from renting your room without paying tax under the governments rent a room scheme. (You do of course need to let your housing insurance, mortgage company and local council know if you’re renting out a room as your circumstances have changed and so you may need to pay extra on your council tax and home insurance). Your mortgage shouldn’t change but mortgage companies do like to be informed that there’s someone else in the house.
I currently rent out one of my spare rooms so I know it can be done! There’s a few different ways of attracting tenants, you can rely on word of mouth via your friends and family, advertise it on community noticeboards in your local shop, put an advert in the classifieds in your local paper, advertise it on the facebook marketplace and use a specialist website like sparerooms.co.uk. My personal recommendation is to advertise it through as many methods as possible so that you get as much coverage as you can. I’d definitely recommend using spare rooms which you can do for free, although it has to be on there for a couple of weeks before people can start messaging you about it. You’ll also find people signed up to this website that are looking for rooms as well who you can message direct. Do be prepared though to find a few oddballs and time-wasters who express an interest in your room before you find your tenant. As long as your price your room at a fair price you will find that it’s a seller’s market so don’t be afraid to hold out for the right tenant to come along. Have a look at sparerooms.co.uk by clicking the link here
5. Part-time work:
Finally, a more traditional approach to earning money is to get a part-time job. As long as you’re not on a zero hours contract then you’ll have the guarantee of consistent income and regular hours which some of the other methods mentioned above can’t offer. However, you do need to watch out for your tax and benefits position to make sure that it’s financially worthwhile. If you have a full-time job you also need to make sure that your current employer doesn’t have any objections to you taking on a second job.
The introduction of the national living wage in the UK for over 25s should mean that you get paid a fair wage for your work. Don’t accept any wage offers lower than this as an employer who’s not paying this is likely to be dodgy. Try and pick a type of work that you’ll enjoy as well. For example, if you can’t tolerate drunken people than bar work probably won’t be for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy interacting with customers than bar work or retail may be ideal. There are often part-time jobs appearing on websites such as indeed.co.uk and monster.co.uk including work from home opportunities. But don’t be afraid to approach employers directly as well. For example, my local estate agent is desperate for someone to come and do some work over the weekend for them! Another website worth checking is Red Wig Wam as well which often has short-term casual work with decent rates of pay on it. Click here to sign up.
Having a good CV is important (although I have gotten jobs as a kitchen porter without a CV before!) so in a later blog I will share some tips to writing a good CV.
One final bonus point to consider is, if you’re already working full time, it may be worth approaching your current employer to see if there are any extra hours you can pick up. They may be looking for someone to do a completely different type of work like manning the reception part-time or being a security guard that you could pick up in your spare time so it’s always worth asking the question!
So there you have it. A few ideas to help try and earn some extra money. Over the next few weeks I’ll dive into some of these in a bit more detail, sharing my own experiences. In the meantime if you have any other suggestions for earning money than feel free to comment. Or even better join the Money Mental community hub/forum and we’ll start a discussion there 🙂