Click for cash: how to make money on the web

You may not get rich, and it can be hard work, but there are opportunities online

If you don’t mind sharing your opinion – and who doesn’t? – there are plenty of opportunities to do so and get paid for it into the bargain. The rate isn’t always great, and some surveys can take up to 15 minutes, but if you do a couple a week the money can build up. Photograph: Getty Images

If you don’t mind sharing your opinion – and who doesn’t? – there are plenty of opportunities to do so and get paid for it into the bargain. The rate isn’t always great, and some surveys can take up to 15 minutes, but if you do a couple a week the money can build up. Photograph: Getty Images

 

“Make €1,000 a day working from home.”

“Earn €€€ working from home, €2,000 a week guaranteed.”

“Want to make €500 a day? Click for more.”

We’ve all seen the ads on the internet, and if you believe it looks too good to be true, you’re probably right to be sceptical. If only all those claims were true, we’d all be making a fortune while working in our pyjamas every day.

But it is possible to make a bit of extra money through the web, legally and above board. It just may require a bit more effort than the previously mentioned ads let on.

A word of warning, though: your tax arrangements are, of course, something you should figure out if you are lucky enough to earn the kind of money from this that puts you into the tax net.

Freelance projects

Clickworker offers a unique service to clients. It takes projects and splits them into smaller tasks, offering them up to its list of independent contractors. They complete various tasks, getting paid on a per-task basis, and then Clickworker brings all these elements back together into a single project and hands it over to the original client.

There’s a bit of quality control in there, but you get the basic idea. For example, you may be tasked with recording a baby crying, or asked to submit a short video of yourself. It doesn’t pay much but it adds up over time, and it can be done at your own pace.

If that doesn’t grab you, you could look at Amazon Mechanical Turk. The website, which is part of global behemoth Amazon, of course, offers what it calls Human Intelligence Tasks for a very small fee. These tasks could be anything from checking a sentence for meaning to transcribing audio clips. And the money really isn’t great, although the more tasks you complete and get approved the more higher-value ones are available to you.

There are hoops you have to jump through to qualify, too, with Amazon reviewing your “application” and sending you an invite should it deem you suitable.

Market research

We’ve all seen the news stories about Dunnes Stores taking the top spot in the grocery sector, or SuperValu holding off Tesco while the German discounters edge their way up the list. But where do the figures come from? The Kantar Worldpanel. In Ireland it is done through Shop and Scan.

To get started you need to sign up for the panel, giving Kantar a bit of information about yourself and your family set-up so they can decide if you fit the profile it is looking for (note: this can take a good bit of time before you are approved).

Once you have made it onto the panel they will send you out your equipment: a small scanner that you use to scan the barcodes of everything you buy in your grocery shopping, and a book that gives you barcodes for special offers and things that may not come with a barcode attached, such as loose fruit and veg or bakery items.

The scanning is tedious but it pays off. You earn points each month for scanning your shopping, which you can then swap for vouchers – Boots, Amazon, Argos, Woodies, even charity donations – and spend as you see fit. So it’s not cash in your hand but it’s as good as.

A few caveats. To stay on the panel you have to scan your shopping regularly, although you can tell them if you are going away on holiday. And you have to leave the scanner plugged in so the information can be uploaded regularly. If you don’t do that you risk losing your monthly points, and could even get removed from the panel.

Want something with a little less commitment? Imagine being able to make a few euro for yourself simply by popping down to your local supermarket or department store. That’s what BeMyEye is offering. All you need is the smartphone app and enough brass neck to get through the task. Some of the assignments require you to take photos of promotional displays; others require you to interact with staff and ask for specific things.

It all sounds very exciting. You get missions with a detailed list of instructions. For example, go to a specific ice cream seller and order a scoop of ice cream, ask for the allergen sheet (making up a story about needing to check with a relative about their dietary needs) and ask a few questions. The fee covers the cost of your product, plus a bit extra for having to get down there and actually eat ice cream and get paid for it.

A few things to note. Some of these missions, as they call them, require multiple steps to get your cash. If you are supposed to photograph the existence or lack thereof of a particular promotional feature, that’s going to mean a lot of photos. That means you are going to draw attention to yourself. My first attempt at this ended in a warning from security in one shop that I wasn’t allowed to take photos without permission from management.

There is also GDPR to consider, although BeMyEye does warn you that you can’t include images that show people’s faces or vehicle registration plates, for example. If you do you may not get paid because the “mission” will be rejected.

In a crowded shop it is surprisingly difficult to pull off. Add to that the fact that BeMyEye requires you to use their camera in the app to take the photos, so you need to retake the same photo multiple times. So be subtle or prepare to be told to knock it off.

If you have ever worked in retail you’ll know the horror that the thought of being mystery-shopped can bring. But being on the other side of the system can earn you some extra cash. There are several companies offering mystery shopping services in Ireland. The most well known would be Ipsos, which took over GfK last year. Once you sign up you can tell the company what areas you are willing to work in, and then choose from its list of available assignments. The rate isn’t enough to retire on, but as a side job it’s not bad.

Surveys

If you don’t mind sharing your opinion – and who doesn’t? – there are plenty of opportunities to do so and get paid for it into the bargain. The rate isn’t always great, and some surveys can take up to 15 minutes, but if you do a couple a week the money can build up.

Not all of them pay out in cash; like Shop and Scan, some pay out in vouchers for certain retailers. Check out sites such as IrishOpinions.com, MySurvey.com and Opinion Hero.

One caveat: they require a lot of information to fill out your profile. So if you find the idea of answering questions about your family set-up or income levels uncomfortable, this may not be the option for you.

Another thing to remember is that most of these sites require you reach a certain payment threshold before they will pay out.

Selling online

Extra clothes or fashion accessories hanging around the house? Decluttering has become a trend lately, with the KonMari method helping people to rid their living space of unnecessary possessions. It can also work in your finances’ favour. While eBay has traditionally been the choice for offloading unwanted gear that still has some value, there are other options. If you have clothing and accessories that you need to rehome, Depop is a popular fashion marketplace. Once you sign up you can start listing items, uploading photos directly from your smartphone and clearing a bit of wardrobe space while making some extra cash.

If you are a bit craft-inclined you can also make some cash out of that. Etsy is an online marketplace that is geared towards handmade, vintage or custom creations from jewellery and accessories to homewares and collectibles. Plus there is a thriving Etsy business for wedding decorations and accessories that fit into the custom-designed shabby chic look. Think mason jars and rustic centrepieces made of chunks of wood.

If your crafts look more like a Pinterest parody, there are other options. Have a good eye for a photograph? There are apps and websites that allow you to sell your photographs for editorial or commercial use. There are strict guidelines for commercial use – you have to have permission if the picture contains people, buildings, logos and so on – but you could put your landscape photos, macro shots and cat pictures to good use. Look at apps such as Stockimo for uploading photos directly from your iPhone, and sites like Shutterstock if your camera equipment is a little more advanced. The rate per photo won’t blow you away but it all adds up.

Affiliate networks

If you follow bloggers and Instagrammers you might have noticed the #AF on some posts. That’s because they are part of an affiliate network, so if you buy something through their recommendation – via the link in the post – they will earn a commission.

You could try your hand at becoming an influencer, although it’s a tough field to break into. There is plenty of competition out there, and while the well-known influencers can command a higher price for their posts, it’s a tough slog to build up a competing following. Plus there are plenty of advertising rules and standards you have to meet these days, so you need to tread carefully.

You don’t have to be a blogger or an Instagram celebrity, though. There are certain companies – legitimate ones – that will pay you for referring a friend to their service. The catch is that your friend not only has to sign up but they also have to use the service for you to get your cash.

For example, online banking app Revolut is currently offering €10 to users who recommend a friend. Once your friend signs up with your affiliate link, adds money to their account, orders a physical card and makes their first payment, you get €10, and so do they. If enough people do it, it can add up to a nice payday for you.

That’s just one example: there are plenty of companies offering similar referral schemes so keep an eye out.