Let's say the next black swan event isn't a pandemic, but a zombie apocalypse. Or maybe World War III breaks out due to a fight for scarce resources. Clearly, instead of venturing out into the wild, we all need to find the easiest way to make money from home!
The pandemic has been a little strange for our family. Before all the lockdowns began, I had already decided to try and make more money online. My son turned two in 2019 and we faced a new expense: $1,950/month for preschool. The weight of $2,200/month healthcare premiums plus $1,950/month preschool tuition started cracking my back.
We wanted him to go to preschool to learn how to play with others. With an anticipated more difficult pregnancy with baby number two and another expected 3-6 months of sleepless nights postpartum, preschool was supposed to be a welcome help in 2020. Then the virus came.
The Easiest Way To Make Money From Home
The easiest way to make money from home is through the internet. However, there are many ways to make money from home through the internet. In my case, it is by owning a personal finance website since 2009. With almost infinite scale, starting your own website is a no-brainer. And a blog is the easiest type of website to start.
Since I've owned Financial Samurai since 2009, the pandemic didn't disrupt my workflow too much. I had a full 11 years of practice before our world changed in 2020.
The biggest lifestyle disruption was having kids. Therefore, don't take lightly your decision to have kids. It may be worthwhile to first come up with a net worth or career goal before having them. Work out your relationship problems beforehand too. Raising kids is tough!
While the lockdowns disrupted our ideal lifestyle, they only disrupted our income flow for a short two months. Further, I never stopped publishing at my three-times-a-week cadence since 2009. With something always happening in the world, it's too interesting to quit.
Making money online is truly the best way to earn money going forward. I hope more people seize the moment and start building their websites and doing more virtual consulting.
Online Income Defensibility
Below is a chart that demonstrates advertising rates as measured by Revenue Per 1,000 sessions (RPS) during the pandemic. In other words, if a website had 100,000 sessions in a month at $20 RPS, it would make $2,000 that month.
After a big dip in advertising rates in March and April 2020, advertisers resumed their normal spend (see below).
What's good to know is that RPS is seasonal. It generally starts the year low and peaks during the holiday season when consumer spending is generally highest.
Given the defensibility of online income, I would say one of the best ways to make money from home is with a blog.
If you love to write, any online advertising income earned is a bonus. After all, you would gladly write for free since writing itself is a reward. Further, the value of your website increases because its earnings is harder to shut down.
The Joy Of Making Money From Home
Here are three posts I wrote during the scariest time of the pandemic, right when lockdowns began in March 2020.
How To Predict A Stock Market Bottom Like Nostradamus (3/18/20)
The Economy Or Maybe Your Life: How Much Pain Are You Willing To Endure? (3/22/20)
FIRE Confessionals: How A Bear Market Has Impacted The Financial Independence Movement (3/27/20)
All posts were written in a way to try and help us make sense of the chaos. The first post hopefully helped you not freak out and sell all your stocks near the bottom. The second post tried to figure out what the right balance was between giving up our freedom and staying safe. Finally, the last post discusses how we might change the way we approach financial independence going forward.
Not only were these posts a joy to write, but they were also good for my uncertain soul at the time. I started Financial Samurai during the height of the global financial crisis in July 2009. Writing has always been a cathartic way for me to deal with my concerns. There's probably no better free therapy, which is probably why I've written so much during the pandemic.
The drop in online advertising from March – April 2020 didn't matter because it has always felt like a bonus. Once you install the advertising code on your website, it just programmatically displays hopefully relevant ads. Therefore, such advertising revenue is relatively passive. Once installed, I can then focus on what I like doing best, which is to write.
If you write for a long enough time and with enough passion, I truly believe your website will grow into something meaningful. With almost 8 billion people on Earth, you will naturally attract like-minded people.
I call this my green marble theory. You might have the ugliest, most unimpressive green marble. But if you put it on eBay, you are bound to find someone who wants to buy it.
The Best Work From Home Job
Now that I've argued the easiest way to make money from home is through a website, let's move on to the best work from home job. After all, not everybody has the desire to launch a blog, despite how cheap and easy it is to do nowadays.
When you run a blog, you've not only got to write, you've also got to do the following if you want to grow:
- Filter and delete thousands of spam comments
- Design the website
- Update the content
- Optimize the content
- Answer outreach questions
- Respond to comments and requests
- Fix bugs and technical glitches
- Deal with plagiarism
- Find graphics
- Post on social media
- Work on business development
- Incorporating in your podcast, YouTube channel, etc.
All this stuff takes time, which is why I hardly did any of it my first 10 years. I spent 90% of my time writing because that is what I enjoyed doing most. I already had a steady stream of passive investment income to keep my family afloat. Thankfully, Financial Samurai organically grew despite my lack of focus on these things.
However, there comes a point where your site grows to a size that you should spend more time doing these things. For example, at the start of the year, I had over 500 posts that haven't been updated in several years. Spending time updating these posts takes hours. And each hour I spend updating posts is one less hour I have to write. It’s an energy drain that also zaps my creativity.
Therefore, the best work-from-home job is to do something that helps a website grow or improve user experience. Whether you are in high school, college, or working full-time, develop skills to make the internet better.
The Best Work From Home Jobs Ranked
Let me rank the best work from home jobs based on feasibility, joy, and income potential. These jobs provide the easiest way to make money from home.
1) Author Or Writer
Written communication will always be one of the best forms of communication. We can all read much faster than we can watch or listen. Further, we've all taken a language and writing class. Therefore, we all have the potential to be authors or writers.
As a writer, you can be a freelance writer for blogs, magazines, and newspapers. Your income potential could be between 10 cents to $5 a word. In other words, if you write a 1,000-word article, you could make $100 – $5,000 in the comfort of your own home. If you write five articles a month at $200 per article, that's a nice $1,000 a month in income.
As an author, you can self-publish a book that has the potential to earn you passive income for years. The median annual earnings for a self-published author is somewhere around $5,000. $417 a month is not bad! If you can build a platform online, then your earnings could grow much larger.
As an author, you can also traditionally publish a book. The money you will make will mainly be from the book advance. The median book advance for a first-time author ranges between $10,000 – $20,000, and can go way up after more experience.
Wrote A New Book
On July 19, 2022, I published an instant Wall Street Journal bestseller called, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. The book deal should be enough to feed my family for at least six months. Whoo hoo! And because I believe BTNT will be a perennial bestseller, it could pay royalties for years to come.
As a writer, you can also make money with a subscription newsletter. There are platforms like Substack making subscription newsletters easier to launch. Let’s say you have just 100 subscribers paying $10 a month. Not bad!
Just know that making it as a full-time professional writer is very hard. Hence, I recommend writing as an excellent side hustle to complement your main day job income.
2) An Editor
Given the best work from home job is being an author or writer, it stands to reason that great editing skills is not too far behind.
We take for granted many of the things we read because the words have been scrubbed to perfection before being released. Many bloggers are at a big disadvantage when compared with writers at larger publications due to the lack of having a professional editor. Therefore, hopefully more readers can give bloggers more slack and offer suggestions when they see errors. Shout out to FS reader Lily N. for always doing just that!
The problem for editors is that many writers don't think their work needs editing. Therefore, many writers won't want to pay for editing. For example, as a writer, I often wonder why more editors don't write since they have a good eye for words. But I supposed the skillset is different.
I'm thankful my dad has helped edit at least a couple hundred articles since I started. He always finds an error or something missing. His feedback also improves my structure.
Not only should you learn good editing skills, it's good to learn how to manage an editorial calendar. To be a conductor of content is a huge responsibility that can lead to improved brand awareness, traffic, leads, and overall business. Therefore, I do believe the Chief Content Officer is going to be one of the most important jobs going forward.
3) An Optimizer Of Content (Search Engine Optimization)
In the past, I naively thought great writing or really helpful content would always find a way to rise to the top of the search engines like Google. However, what I've come to realize after listening to a lot of podcasts, reading a lot about SEO, and observing other sites grow is that optimizing content for the search engines is perhaps more important.
Sadly, you don't need relevant experience or expertise to write about anything online anymore. If you did, websites that hire a team of freelance writers without the relevant subject experience to write lots of content wouldn't be flourishing. Here are some examples I've observed recently where direct experience doesn't matter:
- A guy writing about investing in real estate, despite having never owned real estate.
- A gal writing about the proper safe withdrawal rate in retirement while gainfully employed and just several years out of college
- Review of any product that hasn't been tested by the author
When it comes to ranking content online, your expertise and experience are overrated. What's underrated is your messaging and your ability to optimize your content for Google. SEO entails keyword research, keyword density, building intralinks, earning outside links, writing featured snippets, optimizing titles and subtitles, PR, and more.
It is sad that after so many years, Google and other search engines can't fully figure out whether the author has subject matter expertise. But that's just the way it is. You can game the system, which in a positive way, means anybody can grow and make money from home.
Don't make my same mistake. For 10 years, I let pride and honor get in the way of growth. I thought I needed to experience something firsthand before writing about it. If money and growth is what you want, there are plenty of ways to hack the system. Every day I'm reminded that almost anybody can achieve almost anything if they really want to.
4) Virtual Assistant
Given more people are working from home, more people will be on their computers. Therefore, more people will need virtual assistants to respond to e-mails, organize schedules, arrange meetings, and do business outreach.
For example, with Financial Samurai, I get dozens of e-mails a day from people asking me for help or do do a business partnership. I can have a virtual assistant respond to all inbound inquiries.
A virtual assistant can send out invoices and keep track of all invoices as well. Finally, a virtual assistant can send out PR e-mail pitches. There are always an endless amount of things to do!
The more I think about it, the best time to work is during or after a pandemic.
Make Money From Home And Everywhere
My sincere hope is that all of you figure out a way to make extra money from home. You may be blessed with being able to work from home with your day job. However, it's important to build as many income engines as possible so you don't ever crash and burn.
The easiest way to make money from home is through your own website. Build your brand. Even if you don't make much money directly from your website, your website will act as a lead generator for new income opportunities.
The stronger you build your brand, the more income opportunities will come through consulting gigs, book deals, speaking opportunities, new job offers, you name it. It all depends on how much time you want to spend making money.
The best work-from-home job is being a writer or author. If you can figure out a way to write something funny, entertaining, and helpful, you will always be able to make money.
Writing for your website, authoring a book, or being a freelance writer aren't the only ways to make money. You can also write music, TV shows, plays, marketing material, PR announcements, business development plans, movies, and more. If you become a better writer, you will mostly likely excel at your day job. After all, a big part of getting ahead at your day job is selling yourself internally.
Learn How To Write Well
I know writers who've been able to land lucrative jobs at prominent venture capital shops and private money management firms due to their blogs. Investing experience not required!
Heck, you could become such a proficient writer that you also learn how to write real estate love letters, or real estate breakup letters, or even price concession letters to score you a fantastic deal on your next property!
Do not underestimate the power of persuasive writing. It is the easiest way to make potentially a lot of money from home. Writing is also one of the most rewarding ways to create something new.
If you can speak forever, you can write forever. And if you ever lose your ability to speak, may you always be blessed with the ability to write.
Related: Reflections On Making Money Online Since 2009
Readers, what do you think is the easiest way to make money from home? How have you been able to make extra money from home during the pandemic? What do you think is the best work-from-home job we should consider?
For more nuanced personal finance content, join 50,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. I help people get rich and live the lifestyles they want.
29 thoughts on “The Easiest Way To Make Money From Home”
Hey Sam, big fan of your site. I always really appreciate your articles reflecting on blogging. Clearly by the comments alone there are many others who share your passion for writing. I agree completely with so many of your replies to comments. Even I fell pray to focusing on money early on, but when life got busy and distracted me from thinking about my blogging monetarily, I was able to lean in more on just the writing aspect. Sitting down on a weekly basis and just writing about what intrigues me, even if it is a detour from what I advertise my blog fore, can be so therapeutic. I have found comfort in the motto ‘just write and the traffic will come.’ That is clearly an oversimplification, but if you write what you are passionate about, then you find pleasure in the act itself. The rest is just icing on the cake my friend!
Keep up the great work!
I admire your dedication to the site. It is work, but at least writing is enjoyable for you. I lack the commitment to consistently maintain a site like this.
I’ve written hundreds of answers on Quora, many that I think would be worthy of a blog; however, I write them in spurts with gaps of weeks in between (you might notice the same pattern when I comment on your site). I need inspiration and free time to write–neither of which are consistent. I think your readers would go into a panic if you went dark for weeks.
I’m not on any social media. I have don’t feel any compelling need to share my life or be famous (even in an anonymous fashion like you), so that takes away some of the motivation.
Finally, I’m semi-retired and have more work than I care for managing my wealth.
But still a great post that surely will motivate some people.
I tried writing on Quora for a bit. Then one of my answers got randomly deleted after being a huge share. So I never wasted my time on the platform again. If you have your own site, it’s easier to work hard on it. Working hard to make Quora bigger when Adam, the founder is already a billion isn’t very inspiring.
Perhaps you should start your own site!
Yeah, starting a blog is a lot easier compared to brick-and-mortar businesses, not to mention the effort involved in dealing with crappy staff issues…
Our experience with writing a blog is that the money isn’t great, but the satisfaction of putting something out there that people find helpful is the main benefit! Feels like it takes some combo of luck or superior content (like FS) to get into the upper echelon
I log in almost daily to see if you have a new post. Favorite blog on the internet. And I live in middle Georgia and our lives couldn’t be more different, other than small children.
Creating digital art for downloading via sites like Etsy is a fun work from home job. The art only needs to be created once and is available for customers to purchase and download without you having to lift a finger ever again.
Youtube makes it so easy to upload videos and create your own channel but I’ve heard that it takes a lot of work to actually make enough income to live off of. I keep “threatening” my husband that I’m going to create a Youtube comedy channel about him since he won’t give in to my constant requests to do stand up comedy. He is so freaking HILARIOUS but he doesn’t want to be on stage.
Thanks for the shout out :)
I think being the right kind of creator is the way to go. Writing a book is good because you can keep receiving residual income. The key is for your passive income to keep building on your past work. I need to do that because active income is too much work.
Digital art is good too now that NFT is all the rage.
“ Do no underestimate the power of persuasive writing.” Do not? :) was this on purpose for us to edit?
Yes it was! Thanks
Agreed that a blog is the best form of business because a thing you write once can have 8 billion potential customers. For years to come, so that number is only growing. I was a little scared to start my blog in the personal finance space after blogs like yours are dominating but if nothing comes to fruition, that’ll be OK. At the least, I helped out a reader with their finances!
What kept you going, Sam? I mean, a year to three years, the excitement of starting a blog wears off but you’ve been able to write 3x a week for 12 years so far. It’s impressive.
I don’t think FS is dominating at all. This website traffic is tiny compared to the overall traffic of the Internet. The beauty is, you don’t need a big slice to do well.
And what I see every week is that new sites come up and do well without much experience or subject matter knowledge. I think people are too intimidated to try because they think they need to know what they are talking about. The reality is, expertise is overrated. Positioning, good writing, branding, and SEO are more important.
I keep going because I fundamentally enjoy writing. It’s fun to record thoughts during interesting times. I’m always curious about implementing theory into action and looking back and seeing whether I was right or wrong.
I’m motivated by my children. It’s nice to give them a compendium of articles to read once they are old enough to care. Further, it’s good to plan ahead and create a career insurance policy for them just in case they get rejected by society. I think as a minority in America, you become more sensitive or paranoid to an uneven playing field. So you end up trying hard to make things work out.
What motivates you to keep on going?
Motivating to keep going on my blog? It’s only like 5 months old so the freshness of it all is motivating me, ha.
I’m in the same spot as you, I LOVE writing and getting immersed into the personal finance blogosphere. It’s been so much fun and I know I’ll continue to have fun going forward. I’m worried it might wear off in like 2 – 3 years, but that can be a problem I think about later down the road.
Your website traffic may be tiny compared to the overall rest of the internet, but it is huge compared to the overall traffic of the personal finance blog space :-)
Thanks for answering, Sam!
I own a few websites that generate a lot of traffic and started them over 15 years ago. I’ve had really high CPMs this past month. I suspect that it has something to do with the stimulus money. Our earnings have been strong throughout the whole pandemic with the exception of a dip last March.
I’ve tried blogging but I always stop because I don’t like writing that much. I suspect that successful bloggers would do it for free since it’s difficult to produce unique content on a regular basis.
What type of website do you own and how do you generate traffic? There definitely is a lot of pent-up ad spending demand. I am being bombarded and it’s hard for me to keep up or keep things straight.
I really just want to write what I want to write. And if there is some good synergies with a particular product and my writing, then let’s go and do it.
What I’ve noticed is that there have been a lot of start ups recently and the competition really is fierce for attention.
Build your brand online folks! And opportunities will come.
I have a finance site and an education related site. Basically tools that people can use. We’re programmers so we were able to code everything ourselves.
We get mostly direct traffic as well as traffic from google searches. We mostly use Adsense and Amazon’s ad programs as well as a few niche affiliate programs. It takes out the work in vetting advertisers and collecting payment. We get tons of emails from people trying to optimize our ads but they’ve never worked, so we just ignore those emails now.
Cool. That’s a great example of using your technical background to generate traffic and income from a finance site. A finance background is not needed right? This is one of the key points I’m trying to make in the article. People need to stop thinking they need subject matter expertise to make money online. It’s more about doing things and executing.
Have you heard about Pi Network, a new blockchain being developed by some Stanford graduates with expertise in blockchain technology and social network. It currently is in testing phase. The development team expect to have the blockchain go live by the end of 2021. It’s a crypto project with no garantee for success, as clearly indicated by the project lead. But the Pi mining mobile app now has 15 million users globally, many hoping Pi coin will have some real value like bitcoin when the mainnet starts (now Pi is not tradable so it has 0 value). The users do not need to invest money. All the users have to do is download the app and push a button 1 or 2 times a day and there does not seem to be any obvious data security risks. Any comments? Thanks.
Today I’m gonna work on my serving and volleying. Double season is opening up for USTA soon and I need to get ready.
LOL Thank you for the response and good luck with your tournament!
you two are late to April fools
I have been able to take advantage of technology my entire career, and appreciate this post a lot. I love having a blog to be able to have a good stress release, and to learn and grow. The money is definitely a bonus!
I loved to write growing up, but never really thought I was any good. But I’m glad I gave it a try and used my day job to practice. I learned how to hone my soft skills when I had to write emails to clients on sensitive issues. And I developed quite a knack at it that my boss always asked me for my input, edits, and review whenever he had an important email to send out of his own. Over time that gave me the confidence to start using my writing and editing skills more and more in my day job and on the side.
Working from home is my favorite way to work now. Sure it’s hard with kids, but I’ve learned to utilize all the help I can get during the day, and work late at night to help get things done.
Nowadays it seems a lot of kids dream about making money from their own youtube channel. At least that’s the feedback I got from my nephews and from observations in the media. Heck, 9-yo Ryan Kaji making $30 mil a year last year from his toys reviews is an inspiration to us all!
“You may be blessed with being able to work from home with your day job.” — It will be interesting to see how companies come out of the current WFH environment. If WFH becomes an actual option, and if someone is in a career they love, I’m thinking that sticking with their career becomes the best option for making money at home, according to the article’s criteria of “feasibility, joy, and income potential.” Depends a lot on the person and the industry, of course.
Based on the latest notifications from Google, JP Morgan, and other big companies in industries that allow employees to work from home during the pandemic, it seems like the vast majority of employees must come back by Labor Day. WFH will need permission.
So if the biggest payers are forcing employees back to work, others will likely follow.
First, I want to say your awesome! I have been reading your blogs for about a month now and you have really influenced me to open my own blog by months end the latest.
I do have a few questions for you though. As far as SEO, how to you write to the words you are putting in your blog page when writing? Do you choose your words by SEO popularity or do you use long tail pro? Just trying to figure this out before I start writing.
Also, do you choose where your adwords from google are going to go on your blog or is this an automatic placement when you write? How do I sign-up for that?
I don’t. I just write what I think is interesting and relevant. It’s pretty soul sucking to write for the search engines.
But after I write what I want to write, then I will try to optimize it and make sure the structure is there. It’s important to also intralink relevant articles as well. Better reader experience!
I think for beginners, some might be too caught up in trying to game the system for search. I think it’s better to just write what you enjoy so you can last a long enough period of time to see things grow. And then, if you wish, you can monetize and optimize.
But I’ve seen so many people just focus on the money making part first. More often than not, they don’t last.
Heck yeah. My entire career was built on the backbone of the internet and websites! But I have always wanted to write and never made time to, so it’s been nice to start AR and take the time to explore topics that I enjoy. So far it’s been very rewarding and therapeutic!
Yes, the therapy of writing is huge! Cannot be underestimated. Instead of drinking, drugs, or smoking to deal with anxiety and uncertainty, write!