Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash
Like everyone else, I am currently on lockdown and cannot go out and about. I was thinking about what I could write about and so I thought it might be useful to share a few ways that I make a little extra income from home. I do have a 9-5 job, and my extra income in no way would allow me to give up my ‘normal’ job (not at the moment anyway).
I think most people use eBay these days. I have been selling on eBay for a long time, years in fact. I first started when I was made redundant back in 2008, I had a wardrobe full of clothes, shoes and bags that were just possessions that I did not need and with the thought of not having a job and no income, they had to go. Once I got myself back on my feet and into a new job, I kept selling on eBay as I like to buy clothes and by selling the ones that I no longer wore, It enabled me to keep refreshing my wardrobe. As I have got older, I buy nowhere near as many clothes as I did when I was in my 20s, but now I sell all-sorts form around my house that I do not use. For example, I had some printer cartridges from a printer that I no longer own so I listed them on eBay and sold them for £20 each. I do try and donate some items to the charity shop as well, I know online selling gets some stick for taking away from charity shops. If this is something that concerns you, eBay has an option to donate a percentage of your sale to a charity of your choice. You can donate anything from 10 to 100 percent of your sale and the majority of charities are on there, even my local cat shelter is on there, which is where I normally donate. If you are going to sell on eBay I recommend using the postage service that eBay offers, you just need a printer to be able to print out your labels and some weighing scales. I use this because it puts the tracking numbers directly onto your listing and for packages, you can see when your parcel has been delivered. There is also a small discount on the cost of the postage for using this service. Like most sellers, I have had issues with fraudulent buyers in the past but they are becoming less frequent. If you send items tracked and/ or get a proof of postage, you are mostly covered. Today eBay is definitely a safer place to buy and sell than it used to be, but there are still loopholes and the fraudsters will always get through them. Just do as much as you can to protect yourself as a seller like accurately describing items and obtaining proof of postage.
I discovered Depop a few years ago after watching a YouTube vlogger say that they were using it to sell their used clothes. Depop is an app, I do not think that you can sell via their website at the moment, you have to do it via the actual app so if you do not have a smart phone, you will not be able to sell on here. The app is really simple to use, you describe what you are selling, take some photographs, you can also take a 30 second video if you wish and then list your items for sale. You are paid via PayPal and you can print your postage out via PayPal, like you can on eBay. Depop take 10% of the selling price and then PayPal take their small fee. I do not sell as many items on Depop as I do on eBay and I only sell clothing and shoes on here, but I do get some sales and so far I have not had any issues using the app. Like with eBay, make sure you accurately describe items and get a proof of postage.
Photography has been my hobby for about ten years. I try and get out with my camera as much as possible, especially in the summer months. Although I have been practising taking product photographs whilst on lock down. I started selling stock photography about 8 years ago. The first website that I uploaded to was Bigstock and over the years I have expanded to selling on iStock, Dreamstime, Shutterstock and Adobe Stock.
I am not an exclusive photographer on any one site, you can earn higher commissions if you upload your images exclusively to one particular site, but I generally upload my images across the different sites. I want to stress that selling stock photography does not earn much money for the amount of time and effort that you need to put in. Firstly, you need a camera. I use a Canon 5D MK IV. With it I have 24-105, 100-400 and 16-35 lenses. Camera kit is not cheap and as I said earlier, I was already a hobby photographer and already had the kit. I did, however start selling stock when I was using a Canon 450D, so you can use cheaper gear to get started. Also, there are agencies that allow images from your phone, Stockimo by the agency Alamy allows you to upload pictures from your phone. In addition to camera equipment, I use Photoshop to edit. When you upload your images, you need to describe and keyword your images, this can be very time consuming and some sites allow you to copy similar titles and key words. There are also key-wording websites that can help you with your keywords. I use Microstock, which can save you some time.
If you want to sell stock images, do your research. Make sure you understand what is required from you as a photographer. For example, ensure that your images are not blurry or too grainy and are focused at 100% zoom. If you are selling commercial pictures of people, you will need a model release if they are recognisable, and the same for buildings. Make sure there are no visible brands or logos in your commercial images. Editorial images are a little different and not all agencies sell editorial photographs. When I first started selling stock, I made the mistake of uploading pretty images of places I had been, such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park. If you do a search on Dreamstime for the Grand Canyon, over 71,000 images come up, your pictures are competing with all these images and it is almost like looking for a needle in a haystack. Most of my best selling images are unique. For example, I made a $50 commission from an image of a funny wooden sign, just because it was the only one on the site. Most of the images that I sell, i get between 25 cents and $2 in commission with the odd $20 and even $50 commissions, these do not come very often though. I am always taking pictures and I will always sell stock as I genuinely enjoy doing it. I currently have about 1000 images on each site and I have probably made about $800 in total over the past 8 years, which is not a lot, but like with everything else, it all adds up.
If you are a graphic designer or videographer you can also sell your work on stock websites, I only sell photographs but know people who make a decent amount of money selling vector images.
There are other stock sites; Can Stock PhotoCanStock, Alamy, 123RF and a few others, but I have had little or no sales on these sites and so I do not tend to upload to these any more.
Selling Photographs as Art
Other than selling stock, I also sell my photographs for people to buy them printed on posters, postcards, mugs and to be printed on clothing, etc. Most of my sales come from a website called Redbubble. You don’t need a fancy camera to upload to Redbubble and you can also create your own art, drawings and graphic images to upload. Redbubble allows you to set your own commission percentage, I have mine set to 5% and so I do not make a great deal, but it means your customers pay less as you take less. Redbubble do all the printing and posting etc. All you have to do is upload your images. I have an artist friend who also sells on here, she digitally scans her paintings and uploads them to be purchased as posters and postcards, she makes a decent amount of sales as her images are unique.
I also sell on Fine Art America and Teespring, but Redbubble is definitely where most of my sales come from.
A Few Other Ideas
Writing on medium.com. I have only just signed up to Medium as a contributor and so I have not had much time to try it out yet. It works by contributors submitting stories and you get paid per view from paying subscribers. If you are a writer or researcher, definitely check this one out.
YouTube. I have had a YouTube account for a few years, I am definitely an introvert and do not like to be on camera, I prefer writing a blog, but I understand that today vlogs are much more popular than blogs. A lot of YouTubers that I watch started off blogging and made the switch over to YouTube. I have a few videos online, and once I have finished my Masters Degree, maybe I will practice being on camera. To make money from advertisements you need 1000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of overall watch time within the past 12 months to enable monetization of your channel. Here is my channel if you are interested in seeing my attempts of video making.
Cash back sites like Quidco and TopCashback. These aren’t necessarily ways to make money, but if you shop online, I definitely advise using these to shop through. Quidco do have offers where you don’t have to spend anything. For example, if you search on Sky Scanner, you can get 0.25p cash back just for doing a search. I also recently signed up for a bank account through Quidco for TSB, the account is free and I got £50 cash back just for opening the account. All I had to do was pay in £500 a month for 3 months and make 2 payments per month,easy.
Surveys. If you have extra time on your hands, there are some survey websites that will pay you for taking surveys. I only use one for paid surveys which is Viewsbank, but I believe there are others which do pay more. I do, however fill in surveys to earn Avios points. I take surveys on www.e-rewards.co.uk and https://www.rewardsforthoughts.co.uk/ and collect Avios to put towards British Airways flights.
Qmee puts an extension on your browser and when you search for things on Amazon, Google and eBay, etc, links for products pop up on the left hand side of your screen, if you click on the links a small commission goes into your piggybank, it is only usually about 0.5p. You can also do surveys via their website and app. I currently have £9 in my piggy bank, which I have been collecting over the past year or so. It isn’t much, but again, it all adds up.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope this post can be of some use.