How to make money without a normal job?
In the 90s, and early 2000, this question is mostly frowned up upon. That’s because most people’s career path is the traditional 9 – 5 employment. No one ever sets out to become self-employed as people feel that there’s such a high risk with self-employment due to the variable income component.
With a traditional job, you can expect your paycheck within 2-weeks of starting your day job. It’s safe, secure, and a fast way of making money.
Most people looking to make money without a job are either lazy, entrepreneurs, or lazy-ass entrepreneurs. Well, actually most entrepreneurs are lazy-ass entrepreneurs, that’s why we’re willing to work so hard in building businesses just so we never have to work a normal job again.
If you’ve ever read that book “The E-myth”, you’ll find that most entrepreneurs are an interesting bunch. Most people set out to start their own businesses or self-employment ventures in the hopes of working less. You know you work 8-hours a day, at least 5 days a week with a regular day job. Most would-be entrepreneurs don’t like this idea, we fantasize about days when we never have to work 8-hour days. You know, the sitting on the beach, while the money flows in ideology.
The truth of the matter is, making money without a normal job will sign you up for longer work hours than when you were an employee. You see, the only way that you can make money without a normal job is through entrepreneurship or self-employment. As Robert Kiyosaki puts it in his classic best seller book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, “Ultimately, we’re all employees”, whether you work for yourself or someone else, you’ll remain an employee, you just work differently.
I’ve been self-employed since 2013, having been laid off in 2012. I would prefer to say that I made full-time income the first year, but I will do you a disservice by doing so. Good thing, my wife and I have always been frugal. That was allowed us to survive with not a lot of income during the first couple of years while I was trying to establish myself as an entrepreneur.
I have been making money without a normal job for almost 9-years now. I didn’t like the experience of being laid off from a normal job, especially with a same-day notice. In Canada, there’s no such thing as job security, any employee can get laid off anytime. It could be due to work shortage, company or department shutdowns, or maybe, your boss just doesn’t like you.
After that experience, I’ve set out to find a job without the risk of being laid off. It turned out that such a job doesn’t exist in the normal job realm, so I ended up working for myself. Well, actually I work for many people, not just one company. As an entrepreneur, you don’t really work for yourself as most people think, you actually work for your customers!
Searching this question on the internet will lead you to articles and work from home ideas that can bring in some money here and there like making money with paid surveys, reading emails, surfing the web, etc but the fact of the matter is that none of these ideas will actually help you build a sustainable business or self-employment venture that can actually replace your full-time income.
When I got laid off in 2012, I was all around the internet searching for ideas on how I can make money consistently without ever working a normal job. Paid surveys can give you some extra spending cash but $3 per survey won’t necessarily pay your bills. By that time, we had our first child, and we were renting an apartment in Canada. If you’re reading this from the US or Canada, you know how rents cost in North America, and since I’ve decided to burn the ships, there was no going back.
In 2009, I’ve signed up for Sitesell.com, an all-in-one niche website building software suite and course. With that, I’ve built a niche website that targeted the vampire crowd. That website then went to ranking #1 on Google for its main keyword and has started earning me between $200 – $400 a month from Google Adsense. On top of that, I get a commission here and there from Allposters.com, and other affiliate programs. The site’s earnings weren’t much but I’ve learned a lot from that experience. I’ve since sold the website before moving to Canada since its earnings weren’t enough to support a family in this part of the world.
With that experience, I’ve set out to be an “internet marketing consultant” as a way to make money without a job. Being new to the country, I didn’t have any business contacts in my small network of mostly newcomers. Without any marketing budget, I’ve struggled to find clients who would pay me to do search engine optimization work on their company websites. Since I’ve already sold my first website by that time, I didn’t have any proof that I can actually deliver results, so I decided to build and rank a local lead generation for garage building services, and sold the leads to a fellow whom I’ve met in one of the self-employment programs I’ve enrolled in. With that, ranked number 1 on Google search results, I thought I can now promote my services to offline businesses so they too can get customers from the internet. I quickly learned that most local businesses weren’t willing to pay $2,000 for a website that will rank on top of Google, they just didn’t get the concept. Instead, I decided to put my search engine optimization skills to work and build more home services websites, and rank them on the search engines up to a point when they start getting leads of potential customers who need the services, I then contacted a couple of home services providers and offered them a trial period to receive the leads. This experiment leads me to do rank and rent when there was no name for it back then. Though promising, this didn’t turn out to a full-time gig, and with two websites working, I’m currently earning $582 a month from this venture. I could be making more since other local lead generation companies are charging upwards of $500 a month per website.
If you’ve ever done SEO, you know how much time and effort it takes to rank a website on the first page of the search results. Based on my experience, it takes roughly a year for a website to rank organically on local search. I may be slow, but I prefer building a solid foundation, instead of tricking the search engines because it tends to last longer than when you simply pump a website with all sorts of links.
This would have been my full-time gig but considering how much time it takes for SEO results to kick in, I had to look for another source of income. I was then introduced to the financial services industry by mid-2013. I got my LLQP license, and I would say that I have done well as a financial security advisor, working for myself, and earning a full-time income without a normal job for well over 8-years now.
If you’ve been following this blog. You know that I write mostly about blogging, e-commerce, and online business that’s because the future of business is online. With the internet, there are a lot of ways you can make money without a job. A blog, for example, is an excellent organic marketing engine that can promote your brand, and deliver your message organically through content marketing. While it takes time for SEO and organic traffic to kick it, I’m quite convinced that content marketing and SEO offer the highest ROI of all your marketing efforts.
Of course, what worked for me may not necessarily work for you. You may not have the background or skills to support a financial advisory practice but you must have skills that other people are more than willing to pay for. So while I’ve given you two ideas that worked for me in the past, I will list down a couple of solid business, and self-employment ideas that can make you real money without working a normal job.
As a self-employed, without a registered company, you’re technically a freelancer. A freelancer offers mostly services, as a solo operator. The internet has made freelancing so much easier to make money from for most people who have skills or can create products that are deliverable online.
Everyone has skills, skills that you can turn into a career that can replace your full-time income. If you can’t come with ideas of what services to offer, the easiest one is by offering cleaning services. This isn’t lucrative since you’re doing the “dirty job” but if you need money fast, and you don’t mind doing some elbow grease, offering cleaning services as a freelance cleaner can help you make money fast, without a job. Nowadays, you can just post your services on your Facebook wall, on Facebook Marketplace, local classified ads website like Craigslist, or you can join marketplaces like Care.com.
If you know how to design, code, write, or edit videos, you can join Freelance websites like Upwork, or Fiverr, and post your services or apply for job posts online.
As a freelancer, you still work for someone else but in most cases, it’s on a per project basis.
One of our family friends, who recently got laid off from his IT career, now has been maintaining computers for one of the local schools that didn’t have a dedicated IT personnel. He comes in as a consultant for routine maintenance, check ups, and troubleshooting.
Get into Sales
A lot of people are scared of a pay-per-performance career since they don’t get paid if they don’t perform. I have to admit that it’s in fact quite scary at first but come to think of it, everything is scary the first time. That’s because something new hasn’t sunk into our reality yet. Though you get paid variable income as a self-employed sales professional, you could earn more money in this type of career than you would in a normal job where you’re paid fixed income. With sales, you decide how much you want to make, the more you perform, the higher your income. With a normal job, you get paid the same as everyone else no matter how hard you work.
If you don’t mind working hard, and you have a great interpersonal skills, you can become a successful independent sales professional.
Rent Your Car for a Living
Car rental is a huge industry. A lot of people travel for work, and a lot of families travel for fun everywhere. If you’ve come to observe, most car rental companies run out of inventories during peak seasons. If you don’t mind having someone else drive your car, you can turn that money-sucking machine into an actual asset, and make it work for you. Renting one car may not replace your income but it can earn you extra to save up for another car, then another car, and pretty soon, you’ll be renting a fleet of cars, right from the comfort of your home.
Turo allows private car owners like you and me to rent their cars to earn money from a depreciating asset, turning it into a money-making asset instead. A couple of rental cars in a decent-sized city could easily earn you full-time income without a normal job!
Become a Courier
If you have a car (or a bike), you can become a courier. With Sites like UberEats, SkiptheDishes, and Postmates, courier registration is a breeze, and you could be delivering stuff in a breeze. Just like any other self-employment opportunity, becoming an independent courier helps you make money without a normal job. If you love driving (or biking) around the neighborhood or a certain area in your city, this could turn into a full-time gig, and actually one of those self-employment opportunities where you could make money right away. Not that it will make you rich since you still trade your hours, and isn’t as scalable as online business opportunities but if you need money fast. This is a legitimate way of earning a part-time or full-time income, depending on the hours and effort that you’re going to put into this gig.
Rank and Rent Websites
As I mentioned above, rank and rent websites, is one of the things that are generating me somewhat of a passive income. Well, I still have to maintain the websites, update them with content, and make sure that the call tracking system works so my clients actually get the calls. Your website’s job is to make your client’s phone ring, or make potential customers fill-out the lead form, so your client, the service provider can in turn return the call request to schedule an estimate or to book the appointment.
Rank and rent websites are like blogs, they’re semi-passive once they get going but it takes time before you start making money from them, well not unless if you’re paying for traffic, in which case, I suggest that you go on a per lead pay basis but then based on my experience, not unless that there’s a high percentage of prospect who become actual paying customers for your client, most clients aren’t comfortable with paying on a per lead basis.
Offer Mobile Car Wash, Oil Change, or Detailing Services
In most cases, if you have a highly sought-after skill, you need not work for someone else if you know how to put the word out (marketing). More and more, cars are becoming a necessity around the world. Most families now own at least 1 car, people will appreciate the convenience of having someone come over to their homes or work to have this servicing done. Mind you, a high percentage of car owners don’t know how to change their own oil or would not want to do it themselves. This is a big opportunity for someone who loves cars, knows a lot about cars, and ones who doesn’t mind rolling their sleeves and getting dirty.
Become a Mobile (or Homebased) Mechanic
If you love cars, are a mechanic, this is an obvious choice. If you don’t know anything about cars, please don’t offer car repair and maintenance services, you’re better off with the former. Most mechanics work for someone else because they don’t have their own shops or the funds to rent a facility. In this day and age, people appreciate the convenience of things being delivered to them, so why not deliver your car maintenance services to your customers instead of them lining up at a car shop? Well, it’s a bit more challenging than when you’re working with a hoist but it’s a first-world problem, most small and medium sized car shops in developing countries don’t even have a hoist.
Become a Handyman
Love working with your hands? When we bought our home, and rental property, I didn’t realize how expensive the rates are when it comes to skilled trade like handymen and home renovation contractors. In North America, home have more mechanical stuff that needs maintenance, and some stuff in your home does breakdown, and may need maintenance. If you love working with your hands, the home services industry is huge since most people would rather hire someone else to fix stuff at home.
You can market yourself through local classifieds, your social media profiles, the Facebook marketplace, and Instagram. If you’re serious about this, I would recommend that you invest in a Web site, and a bit of local SEO so people who are looking for services you provide will find you on search engines but to get started, just let everyone know in your contact list that you’re now offering handyman services, and is open for business.
Another way to find small jobs as a Handyman is by joining home services marketplaces like Task Rabbit.
I don’t know all the aspects of offering handyman services because I’m not so talented in that realm but one thing I know, is that if you’re good at what you do, home services is a huge business, specially in North America.
Become an Electrician
Offering electrician services is similar to becoming a plumber, and a mechanic, most countries require people offering services in these type of trade to be licensed, certified, and insured. Due to the obvious risks involved in offering such services, you may need to study and get the proper certification required by your state, province, or city.
One of our clients, who was new to Canada back then, was an engineer in the Philippines. Since, getting his engineering certification will take time and money in Canada. I suggested he take a look at becoming a certified electrician instead, since his engineering background is related. He studied for two years while he was working a full-time job, and 2-years in a new country, and he was already a licensed electrician. Electricians in Canada, makes at least $40 an hour.
I also suggested, he registered a company, and get the necessary third-party liability insurance so he can operate as a self-employed electrician. Last time, I came across him at an intersection, he was driving his own utility van, with his company logo plastered on the hood, and on both sides. He’s now a full-time, self-employed electrician, making money without a normal job.
Offer Appliance Repair Services
In our part of the world, most appliance repair professionals charge a call fee of at least $40 just for them to come look at the issue you’re having with your appliances, then they estimate how much it would cost for parts and their labor to do the repair. It costs a lot to repair appliances in Canada that’s why sometimes, it’s better for you to simply buy another one than having the old one replaced but you wouldn’t know unless you’re a technician yourself. If the cost is maybe around 25% of the cost of getting a new one, it may be worth it to have your appliances repaired – well, in this case, you’re the one who’s going to offer the repair services.
From what I know, there are no certifications required to offer appliance repair services but as a professional technician, you should know what you’re doing. It’s also important that you get third-party liability insurance since you’re getting in and out in your customer’s homes, and if you can, register your business as a corporation or an LLC (US) to minimize your personal liability.
Buy a Rental Property or Rent an extra Space in Your Home
People will always need a home, yet most people aren’t home owners, this means that if you have a home or can buy one, you can rent out either a space in your residence or rent a house in it’s entirety. Now, just like any business venture, renting out one house or room won’t necessarily replace your full time income as the net cash flow with property rental is a bit on the low end of the income scale but the beauty of renting out a house is it’s almost passive.
In North America, the average net cash flow of most rental properties is between $200 – $300. You may think that rental property investing isn’t worth it at the start because of the low net cash flow but if you focus on building your rental property portfolio, you could eventually create a semi-passive to fully-passive income from your rental properties.
Say, for example, you have 10 rental property units, just giving you an average of $200 a month of net cash flow (net of mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance), that’s $2,000 a month of monthly income. Over the years, the mortgages on these homes will eventually go to zero. At that point, your ongoing expenses will only be property taxes, insurance, and maintenance, which is roughly around 20% of your gross rental income. If you do the math, you’ll see that even though rental property investing is a slow way to build a full-time income. It’s worth it in the long run!
If you don’t own a home and you don’t have the budget for a down payment, you can rent out a space in your pad on short term rental sites like HomeAway, and Airbnb, a lot of people prefers renting from private individuals than hotels nowadays due to obvious reasons, like lower prices, and the ability to cook their meals which they can’t when staying in hotels.
Become an Online Content Creator
There’s a new career in town! It’s called content creation, you may be following influencers on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Tiktok, and you wonder why these people spend so much time building content. Well, some of them do it for fun or as a hobby but the majority are in it to build their influence and business.
The most obvious path is YouTube, if you don’t mind talking to a camera, filming yourself doing stuff that other’s may benefit or entertained from, you’re in business. A couple of videos usually doesn’t make the cut to profitability. If you’re in this, you have to commit to producing consistent content in the long term.
A blog or a niche site business also falls under this category. These businesses don’t make money right away, it may take at least 6 months, to actually see some results, and 1 to a couple of years to completely replace your income. Online content creation isn’t like your traditional brick-and-mortar business where you could expect sales a couple of weeks after you open your store. It will challenge your discipline, it will let you work without getting paid for your efforts that’s why you need to love what you’re doing because, at the start of your content creation journey, you really don’t get paid for your time but content creation is a proven business model that will not only replace your full-time income but will help you earn passive income more times over once your influence or platform blows up.
Sell On Amazon, eBay, or Shopify
Ecommerce is a multi-billion dollar industry and is still yet to blow up. Selling online is a bit more technical compared to local selling since you can’t just throw in a product and expect customers to buy. Before you even buy your inventory, you have to make it a point that your products will actually sell, otherwise, you’ll end up with hundreds of inventories you can’t move.
Amazon is a good place to start since there are ways on how you can determine whether a product would sell. I’ve been selling on Amazon since 2018. It isn’t as easy as most YouTube gurus would make you believe but it can replace your income if you really focus on learning the ropes.
Amazon’s Fulfilled by Amazon program (FBA), makes it easy for anyone with a little bit of capital to get into the game without worrying about fulfilling customers’ orders or customer service. Your FBA team will take care of all that, your job as a business owner is to source, and send your inventories into their warehouses. Now, it’s not as easy as it sounds but not impossible.
The hardest part is product sourcing.
Anyone can buy any product and send it to the Amazon FBA warehouse, then… crickets. Your inventory just sits on Amazon’s warehouse, collecting dust. As a small FBA seller, you need to only buy inventories that are fast moving so you can re-use your capital to purchase more inventories.
I’ve tried a lot of different approaches when it comes to Amazon product sourcing. When I first opened my Amazon seller account, I started with library book sales, then thrift shops, then retail and online arbitrage. Eventually, I settled with wholesale, now looking at the prospects of launching my own product line.
Ecommerce isn’t get rich quick. It’s definitely as easy as what you see advertised by gurus selling eCommerce courses. Of course, they have to make it appear like everyone’s going to get rich overnight so people buy their courses. In most cases, these gurus don’t even sell on Amazon, most of them are pure scams. Their real business model is actually, course development, not eCommerce. So you have to be careful with these E-commerce gurus who make millions of dollars in 30-days.
Over the years, I’ve learned to screen opportunities. If it sounds too good to be true, it most often is. So, let’s focus on building sustainable businesses that may be slow to grow but compounds over time.
When it comes to Amazon FBA, product sourcing software like Amzscout has its own free courses that can help you start selling online without paying thousands of dollars on eCommerce courses. Instead, focus your capital on finding products that sell, and inventory acquisition.
With eBay on the other hand, you can sell the traditional way where you acquire your inventories first, or you can simply drop ship products on eBay, using tools like ZikAnalytics. It helps you find sellable products that you can flip on eBay as a drop shipper.
A huge percentage of Shopify sellers don’t hold inventories at their homes or warehouses, in fact, they don’t hold any inventories at all. Shopify has made it possible for anyone looking to sell online to start their own eCommerce stores without any inventories. Let’s face it the trickiest and perhaps has the highest potential risk of starting your own e-commerce store is stocking on inventories you’re not even sure are going to sell. Shopify helps you test the products first before ever purchasing any inventory. This doesn’t mean that you start with no capital. While Shopify offers a 30-day trial period, I suggest that you start with at least $500 to capitalize your paid ads campaigns. Unlike Amazon and eBay, launching your own store means that you have to attract traffic to your store, and there are two ways of driving traffic. The free method using content marketing, which takes time before it kicks in, and the paid method, which can give you instant traffic. If you’re serious about dropshipping, the ideal capitalization should at least be $2,000. This gives you some cushion to make mistakes.
Most Shopify drop shippers source their products from China, using product sourcing tools such as EcomHunt (China) and Spocket (US/EU). If you’re interested in dropshipping in general, you can check out 4 Easy Ways to Sell Products Online without Inventories.
So technically, when you’re looking at the possibility of launching an ecommerce business; you have two choices in general. The first one requires that you purchase your inventories first, and sell it on platforms like Amazon, eBay or Shopify. Selling on marketplaces means you already have a traffic source, while selling on your own ecommerce store means that you have to attract your own traffic. The other way you can sell online is through drop shipping, with this business model, you only buy your inventories each time a customer orders your goods. Amazon, doesn’t allow sellers to flip items from other retailers but eBay and Shopify does.
Sell Print on Demand Merchandise
Amazon has a print on demand platform called Merch by Amazon. It allows you to upload your designs, and sell them through the Amazon marketplaces. It’s technically an ecommerce business, but you don’t have to purchase inventories, you either make your own designs or you pay someone to design your ideas. Amazon’s print partners print your designs on demand, which means that the actual inventory is only created when a customer purchases your design.
The only drawback with Merch by Amazon is that they delete your designs if they’re not performing, which means you need to keep on creating designs, on the other hand, this helps you clear non-performing inventories.
Beyond Amazon, you can set up your own print-on-demand business on your own eCommerce platform by using software like Shopify, link to print-on-demand service providers like Printful, and Printify. Just like drop shipping, you have to advertise your store so your target audience actually finds your products.
Whether you sell print-on-demand products on Amazon, your own Shopify store, or both, the bigger question is whether or not your designs are going to sell. For this, you’ll need to find what other relevant designs are already selling, tools like Merch Momentum helps you research the market to find, emulate, and amplify what’s already selling. I don’t suggest copying other sellers’ designs as it won’t be good for you or them, and you run the risk of being sued for copyright infringement. Anytime you use spy tools to see what ads or designs are working, always use those creatives for inspiration, and avoid copying your competitors’ creative.
Blogging / Niche Site Publishing
I’ve touched a bit about blogging on the online content creation business idea but I think it should have its own spot in this article. Blogging could be the slowest business that you can start because it won’t make money right away. When I first started blogging, just like every new blogger out there, I had all the wrong expectations.
Most new bloggers think that when they set up a blog, they’re in business. The fact of the matter is, setting up a blog is step 1. You have a blog, creating content that will actually rank on the search engines is another story, and by content, I don’t mean 10 or 20 published articles. As a blogger, you’re a content creator, which means that you’re technically a media outlet of some sort. As such, you have to continuously put out content that is relevant to your target audience’s interest.
Many people think that blogging is dead. No, YouTube, hasn’t killed blogging. It’s more competitive nowadays but you can still turn a business out of writing if that’s your communication medium of choice.
Just like any other business, blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. Most new entrepreneurs fail at the initial steps of their entrepreneurial journey because they have the wrong mindset. The media and the get-rich-quick gurus of the world have made us all believe that starting a business is easy and that you could replace your full-time income in 30-days. It takes time to build a real business. Blogging is probably the slowest business that you could make money from, but it allows anyone, from any part of the world to launch their own communication platform for less than $100. All you need to start a blog is a domain name, Webhosting, a content management system (WordPress), and a theme (design). A domain name and Webhosting are none-negotiables, you really have to pay for these services. WordPress, you can download for free, and you can start with a free theme.
What makes a blog work, isn’t the design but the amount of published content that you have on your platform. Blogging, as a business idea has been heavily promoted as a passive income idea. The very reason why 99% of budding bloggers fail at the initial phases of their blog because all we do is launch, write a couple of articles, and wait for traffic. The result = crickets. No traffic, no income, then we quit.
While blogging allows us to start a business on a shoe-string budget, it does take a lot of energy to turn it into a profitable venture. The first niche website, I’ve ever published started making money after having 200 plus published articles, and the income wasn’t enough to retire me if I was based in North America back then. If you’re going to build a blogging business, you have to commit to writing, and publishing lots and lots of keyword-targeted articles that deliver the information your target audience is searching for. It could take 500, 1,500, or even 5,000 articles before you could call yourself a full-time entrepreneur.
Most people think that they’ve only invested $100 in their blog but they’re not accounting for their sweat equity. While the monetary investment is small, it requires a lot of sweat equity. So, if you are to build a successful blog, you can’t be lazy, you have to be ready to roll up your sleeves, and get to writing!
It’s pretty challenging to look at your options when you feel pressured. You may be tired of working a normal job, or you may not have one that’s why you’re looking at your alternatives. Truth of the matter is, there are a thousand ways on how you can make money without a job. The fifteen ideas I’ve listed here are a few of the ideas that can actually provide you with full-time income if you focus on building a real career out of them.
There are far more ideas where people claim that they make money from but those ideas can’t provide you with full time income. Filling out surveys for example can provide you with coffee or beer money but that’s just not scalable. These ideas are real world self-employment gig that can be a side-hustle or a full time gig.
I hope that you’ve found value in this article, and found one idea that you can put to work so you can start on your journey of making money without a normal job.