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We test drive 3 'make money online' jobs

6 October 2023
5 minute read
woman smiling at laptop

Who needs extra cash? Everyone! One way to earn money is to work online, where the opportunities range from selling your skills and services, to testing, reviewing and even micro-jobbing. We investigated the world of online work and found some good opportunities to earn a few extra rands - and dollars!

Reviewing and testing

Creators of websites and apps want to be sure that their product will be a success, so they ask people to test and review their sites and apps before launch. You can be one of those reviewers and earn money per review. Sites to consider include Usertesting and Userfeel. Apperwall and Appcoiner are also options, but they have more mixed reviews from users than Usertesting and Userfeel.

We also investigated reviewing books and music. Online book reviews do pay, but the time you spend reading a book may not be worth the pay you receive (a few dollars). Music reviews are less time consuming, but rewards are often in the form of points or discounts that you cannot use in South Africa. Sites we looked at include HitPredictor and Radioearn.

You will need: A microphone. You should also be able to write detailed and articulate reviews.  Creators are looking for your opinions, with explanations of how you use the site or app, and why you like or don't like each feature.

Be wary of: Not being thorough and/or helpful. Your review is reviewed and future work and pay may depend on how thorough you are. Whether you dictate or write a review, spend time on each feature and page so your review is comprehensive and detailed.

How much can you earn: The amounts quoted are low (a few dollars), so don’t expect to earn a huge amount, but the US dollar exchange rate means even small amounts add up in Rands!

Become part of a focus group

The most well-known site here is Respondent. You have to sign up and create a profile listing your interests and experience. When these match with a particular focus group or research study, you can apply to be part of that group. If selected, you earn money either per hour or per study.

You will need: To be able to work outside South African work hours as many matches happen in US time, and slots for each group or study can fill up quite quickly.

Be wary of:  Expecting too much too soon – users say you need to be patient and persistent. You can increase your chances of being matched when your social profiles, such as on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, are updated with information about your interests.

How much can you earn: A few dollars an hour, the average seems to be in the $20 an hour range.

Virtual assistants

Virtual assistants are on the rise, with people offering online assistance for a wide range of services including typing, transcribing, telephoning, marketing assistance, website and graphic design, copywriting and bookkeeping, as well as tech skills such as coding. LinkedIn has virtual assistant job vacancies, and sites such as Recruitmymom also offer virtual assistant opportunities. You can apply for international jobs on sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer and Flexjobs. Finally, consider online groups such as the Facebook group, Virtual Assistants South Africa.

You will need: The relevant software and skills, for example bookkeeping, graphic design etc.

Be wary of: Clients will expect you to be available when they need you, so establish upfront what services you offer and when. Spend some time selling yourself, such as preparing a one-pager describing what services you offer. You will also need to be persistent as it can take time to build a client list.

How much can you earn: Earning potential ranges from a few hundred dollars to thousands. You will also be able to earn rands if your services are used locally.

More options

Stream on Twitch: Into gaming? You can make money creating and gaming online on Twitch.

Create a class or course such as a yoga or cooking: Sites to consider include Festi and Udemy.

Tutor online: Put your qualifications and skills to good use and help others learn. Sites to consider include Tutor, Preply, and locally BrightSparkz Tutors and Turtle Jar tutoring.

Micro-jobbing: Sites such as Clickworker offer opportunities where you perform small tasks such as taking photos of a particular item. However, work is not always regular or that well paid!

Selling your photos: Take photos or create videos in your spare time? Why not sell your creations! You can sell photos and videos online on sites such as Getty Images, Alamy, 500px, Vimeo, Shutterstock, iStock and Adobe Stock.

Become a social media influencer: Brands are looking for “real people” to talk about their products. You don’t have to have a Kardashian following, a few thousand followers can help brands reach a target audience. Check out the TikTok Creator Portal, a hub designed to help creators learn more about the basics of TikTok, like how to connect with your audience, grow as a creator and expand your reach, as well as best practices for your videos.

Important points to consider

  1. You will need an account such as PayPal where you can earn US dollars and transfer them locally, unless you work only in South Africa.
  2. You must be very wary of any site or service or opportunity where you need to pay upfront such as a joining fee or for training – these are more often than not scams.
  3. Know that work opportunities can be irregular – in some months there will be plenty of opportunities, in others very few.
  4. Read and view online reviews for more information on the options you are considering, keeping an open mind! You can pick up good tips on how to make money, and get an idea if the opportunity is worth your time, or if it is a potential scam!
  5. Increase your earning potential by upskilling! Become an expert in your chosen field or learn new skills.
  6. Always keep your personal information safe, including address and bank account details.

Do what works for you

There are many opportunities to make money online and they are growing. But, you do need to be sure of what you are getting into and take time to find the opportunities that work for you – and pay! With a little time you can earn money online, either as full or part time worker, and you get to choose your workhours and work from home!

Original article published on: 27th August 2019
Updated on: 13 September 2021
Updated on: 5 October 2023

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