With everything from interest rates and tax, to electricity and petrol prices, increasing faster than our salaries, it is not surprising that it is becoming more difficult to make ends meet. If you have stretched your budget to its limit, it is time to start thinking outside the box to find ways to make extra cash.
1. PAY-PER-TASK SITES
Pay-per-task websites have transformed the work environment by creating platforms where companies list jobs that can be done remotely.
This phenomenon has been called crowdsourcing, and is usually used by small and medium-sized companies to hire skilled people internationally.
For example, a South African company may enlist the skills of a writer in Australia to do their press releases. A company in the UK may hire a South African to design a new website. These are all contract based and don’t need you to sit in an office.
Some freelancers make their living off these sites, but many full-time employees moonlight during evenings or at the weekend to supplement their income.
Use your freelance skills
If you have skills such as web development, graphic design, proofreading, writing, typing or even book-keeping, there are many opportunities for freelance work on websites like upwork.com or peopleperhour.com, but you have to build up your online credibility.
The downside is that thousands and thousands of people are using these sites, so competition is fierce. You may have to accept lower-paid jobs until you have built up your rankings.
Ros Brodie, a freelance subeditor and proofreader who uses upwork.com, recommends that if you don’t have very specific and in-demand skills, you may want to price yourself very low when you first start.
“Since you have no work history or ratings, price is the only factor that you can compete on. There are a lot of people from places like India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines who are willing to price themselves very low. Try to apply for jobs that have some sort of ‘test’ attached to the application so you can prove your abilities and show the quality of your work,” says Brodie.
The more good work you do, the higher your ranking, so you get even more work. The opposite can apply and a negative review could hurt your chances of future work.
In terms of payment, this is done via PayPal, a US company operating a worldwide online payments system. Brodie says that although she has never not been paid for a job, there is an element of trust involved.
“Just as employers rate freelancers, freelancers also rate employers,” she says.
You are able to see the employer’s history in terms of how freelancers who’ve worked for them have rated them, and also how much in total that employer has already paid out for all of their jobs. Be wary of scammers – no legitimate site will ask you to pay a registration fee because they make their fee by taking a percentage of each job.
“Obviously, you’re taking a chance on a brand-new employer who has no history, and any employer is taking a chance on a new freelancer who has no history, but I think any sensible person can gauge from correspondence with the prospective employer whether there are likely to be issues or not,” says Brodie, who adds that the website also has a dispute-resolution process.
Check out these websites:
Ideal for call centre agents
For example, Mechanical Turk, which is run by Amazon specifically for its website, hires people for specific internet-based tasks. It runs what it calls human intelligence tasks, where you are given a specific time period to complete the task and the amount of money paid is clearly indicated. After the requester approves the work, the money is deposited into your Amazon payments account.
The tasks can range from filling out a multiple-choice survey to finding the Twitter account of a website URL and categorising images.
The amount paid is very small – often less than R1 – so you need to do quite a few tasks in an hour to earn any real money.
Trent Hamm, author at thesimpledollar.com, tested out Mechanical Turk to work out how much he could make in an hour – he made about R80, which is not a bad income to make on the side.
He says there is very little skill involved and it is often a repetitive task, so it is best done sporadically during the course of the day. This could be ideal for someone, for example, who is manning a call centre and can complete a few tasks during delays between calls and earn extra cash.
He recommends avoiding very low-paying tasks, but says you must refresh frequently because well-paid tasks get picked up quickly. Writing tasks are better paid, so if you can write quickly, especially about a topic you are familiar with, you could earn a better rate. You can earn a qualification that makes some higher-paid jobs available by completing an online test.
For students or weekend work
The US has several sites where people and companies can post small jobs and errands – like collecting laundry, summarising a lecture or finding a band for a party. These sites are specifically designed for students who have a few spare hours a week to help people who are often too busy to get the day-to-day stuff done.
In South Africa, unfortunately, these sites are not as prolific. There are some sites, like rent-a-student.co.za, that list some jobs, but if you have a car and can run errands, then list your services on websites like gumtree.co.za and olx.co.za. A word of warning: There are some strange people out there, so vet them carefully before you take on the job.
2. DRIVE SOMEONE HOME SAFELY
As South Africans become more aware about drinking and driving, many driver-assist businesses have opened, creating a job opportunity at the weekend.
As the demand for this service peaks at the weekend, there is a high demand for part-time drivers to work a 12-hour shift.
Unlike a regular taxi service, in the driver-assist model, the driver is dropped off at the location by a “chaser” and drives the client home in the client’s car. The “chaser” follows and collects the driver once he/she has dropped off the client at home. This means there is no need to have special insurance or a public driver’s licence, and it can be a perfect part-time job for a couple.
What you need to know is that hired drivers and chasers all need to submit to drug screening on request and are subject to background checks.
As the driver, you would usually receive a training course before you would be allowed to drive clients.
Companies use different models – some pay a set fee for the 12-hour shift, while others pay for each trip taken with a minimum booking fee. Over and above the booking fee, a driver can make good tips.
Alan Wheeler of Cape Town-based Drunk Driver says tips can be about R300 a shift.
3. GET YOUR HOME ON TV
There is a huge demand by both local and international film and photography crews for locations for photoshoots, especially in Cape Town. You don’t necessarily have to have a designer home because many TV adverts are looking for ordinary homes to shoot commercials in.
Jeanne Watson of shootmyhouse.tv says the weak rand is making South Africa a top destination for international adverts. The catch, however, is that the house needs to be fairly generic and easily adapted for an international look.
“We are looking for homes that are fairly generic but that are open-plan with a lot of space where small changes can be made to suit the requirements,” says Watson, who adds that kitchens tend to be the most in demand for shoots.
The photographic crew will need to make some changes to your home, such as putting in additional counters or putting up blinds, but these are all changed back after the shoot.
Watson says insurance is taken out by the film company to cover any damages, but in her experience this is seldom required because the crews are very careful. A generic home for an average commercial can earn between R8 000 and R10 000 a day.
Before signing up, you would need to submit photographs of your home. If it meets the criteria, professional photographs will be taken and listed on the site.