Side Work – An Earnings Report to Inspire You!

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If you are a home worker, it’s easy to establish some side work alongside your main job – and it’s well worth doing so. I hope to demonstrate that in this article by revealing some of my recent earnings.

In order to produce reviews for this site, I personally try out plenty of side work opportunities. Some of these opportunities are more worthwhile than others, and plenty are abandoned as soon as I’ve learned enough to write a detailed review.

However, some of these side gigs remain in my “freelance armoury” for me to dive in and out of when I have a spare moment or want to draw on some extra cash. I’m writing this with a couple of weeks to go until Christmas, and am pleased to say I’ve already funded a considerable number of my seasonal purchases with income from this side work.

If that sounds like something you’d like to do, be sure to sign up for at least one of the opportunities I discuss below. If you’re already a seasoned pro when it comes to side gigs, please share your own tips and experiences in the comments.

About this side work earnings report

My side work efforts are extremely sporadic. Sometimes I have too much “real work” going on to go near them – and there have been several months since I founded HomeWorkingClub where this has been the case.

As such, this earnings report isn’t a reflection of what you could expect to earn if you worked religiously on all of these opportunities all year round. In fact, if you did, you could expect to earn significantly more than I did. 

Graphs on papers

In addition, I’ve not been making use of any of these side work opportunities for long; I only established this site in late March 2017, so there’s not even a full year of income here. I’ve only been doing several of these things so I can write about them for this site! However, as now seems as good a time as any to spend my side gig money (on paying for Christmas), it seems appropriate to produce this article now!

For each of the side gigs I’ve worked on, I discuss how much time I’ve spent on it. For any that interest you, you can delve into additional articles and reviews, and work out how much these opportunities could earn you, based on the time you have available.

Let’s get started:

Earnings from User Testing

One of the main reasons I’ve carried on doing user testing for websites after reviewing a couple of opportunities is that I really enjoy it. I work with websites every day, so it’s genuinely interesting to see what companies are up to by testing their sites and apps.

What I’ve done:

The two sites I use are UserTesting and UsabilityCrowd (the links lead to detailed reviews). UsabilityHub only brings in “pocket change” really, but it takes literally just seconds here and there. UserTesting is far more lucrative, paying $10 per test.

How much time have I spent on it?

In terms of the work itself, not very much time at all! UsabilityHub tests take seconds at a time, and a recorded UserTesting test tends to take me a maximum of ten minutes.

As with surveys (see below), there have been prolonged periods where I’ve been too busy to do any at all. I think I could have comfortably doubled the money I’d made here if I’d not ignored so many tests! I tend to leave the UserTesting window open on days when I have enough time to grab one if it’s there – which I’d say is less then half the time (I do have real work to do most of the time, so this is very much side work!)

How much have I earned?

On UsabilityHub, I’ve done enough tests for one $20 (£15) payout, and I have $1.80 (£1.34) banked, making for a rather underwhelming $21.80 (£16.28)

However, on UserTesting, I’ve done 31 tests and one “mini” test, earning a total of $313 (£234) – not too shabby at all for side work done during idle moments.

So, my user testing total for very occasional work in the latter half of this year is $334.80 (£250).

UserTesting Payouts screenshot

Side Work Earnings from Surveys

I know that many people probably think I’m crazy to spend any of my time completing online surveys.

They don’t pay a lot, and many are little more than scams. However, I’ve had to play around with some of the survey sites in order to review them here.

As it’s turned out, I don’t mind spending 10 minutes here or there filling in a survey. Sometimes they’re quite interesting. It’s also a far better use of idle moments – at the computer or on my phone – than once again scrolling through a Facebook feed.

And then, of course, there’s the money. It’s not a lot (and sometimes it’s in the form of Amazon vouchers), but it helps to pay for gifts and treats.

What I’ve done:

I complete occasional surveys for both IPSOS iSay and Populus Live (both links lead directly to detailed reviews). Both are reputable and genuine survey sites, with a fairly steady stream of work.

Populus Live Earnings screenshot

How much time have I spent on it?

On weeks when I’ve had a lot of work on, I’ve not been near these sites at all, and have ignored countless emails leading me to additional surveys (and additional income).

Where I’ve had a spare 10-20 minutes here and there, I’ve clicked through to surveys I’ve been offered. Often I’m “screened out” of the surveys for demographic reasons, but on some occasions I complete them and earn points (which convert to cash or Amazon vouchers).

How much have I earned?

On IPSOS iSay, I’ve earned enough points to cash out six £5 Amazon vouchers, totalling £30 (just over $40).

On Populus Live I’ve earned 31 points, worth £31 ($41.50). I don’t get to cash these out until I reach 50 points.

So, the total for surveys is £61 ($81.50). This doesn’t sound like a lot until you remember that:

  • I didn’t sign up to the sites until a fair way through the year.
  • I’ve gone weeks on end not doing any surveys at all because I’ve been too busy.
  • The surveys themselves don’t feel like work, and have just been done during spare moments.

Most importantly, let’s not forget that this is just one of many side work angles I have going on!

IPSOS iSAY Earnings screenshot

Cashback Earnings

There’s one opportunity for free money where it genuinely irks me when people don’t get on board, and that’s earning cashback from things you purchase anyway.

Sites like Quidco and TopCashback offer cashback on everything from buying takeaway pizzas to switching energy suppliers. These are things we all do, so anyone not trying to earn the cashback is literally turning down free money.

I’ve been using TopCashback for a couple of years, so in the interests of total honesty, I’m only including cashback I’ve earned since I started HomeWorkingClub.

What I’ve done:

Basically nothing! All I do is make sure I try to remember to visit TopCashback before I buy anything online, in case there’s cashback available. I don’t always remember!

How much time have I spent on it?

Seconds. Clicking through from TopCashback is literally seconds of additional effort compared to going directly to a retailer’s website.

How much have I earned?

Since starting HomeWorkingClub and writing my review of TopCashback, I’ve earned £198.08 ($265) for doing nothing. There’s too much of it to fit on one screenshot!

TopCashback earnings screenshot

I really cannot emphasise enough how daft it is NOT to use a service like this when you’re buying online. And yet – depressingly – as the image below shows, despite 87 people using my referral link for TopCashback, only eight people have actually signed up, and only two of them have used the site properly.

I can only assume from this that people dislike free money! This is a shame, because that £198 has paid for plenty of Christmas presents, and with my wife doing it too (see later in the article), there’s even more cashback coming into our household.

eBay as Side Work

I have previously discussed in detail whether eBay selling is still worthwhile. I think it is.

Now I must point out, at this stage, that eBay is very much a teamwork thing for my wife and I. I’m the one who finds the clutter to get rid of and sell, and I do most of the photos and descriptions. She does the uploading and the post office bit.

What I’ve done:

As with many of these things, not all that much! We simply sell things we don’t need anymore – usually things like computer games, board games and DVDs.

How much time have we spent on it?

In fairness, more time than we have on our other side hustles. eBay is undeniably time-consuming – listing, packing, dealing with queries (some more stupid than others!), and going to the post office. However, we’ve only been doing eBay on rare occasions – sticking a few items up maybe one week in four.

How much have I earned?

Listing eBay earnings is rather subjective because you’re selling items that belong to you and have a value. However, I’m firmly of the belief that once you’ve bought something like a computer game, you consider that money spent! Therefore stuff you decide to sell is still money in the bank.

We don’t buy items to sell on eBay for profit (at least not at the moment), so this is income for selling personal possessions. We certainly see it as extra income, but I do understand that cynics would argue that this shouldn’t be seen as pure profit.

However, rather than further discuss the semantics, let’s look at the numbers.

eBay Sales income screenshot

Since the launch of HomeWorkingClub (approx nine months ago), we’ve made £789 ($1056) selling on eBay. This has all been personal items, and usually small things like console games. We did, however, sell two of our old iPhones, both broken(!) that added handsomely to the total.

Side Money from Facebook Marketplace

I wrote an article only last week about my love for Facebook Marketplace. My wife and I now use it to sell some of the unwanted items that we’d previously have put on eBay. It’s particularly useful for things that are too bulky to post.

The same caveats apply that I mentioned for eBay. This involves selling items we’ve paid for, so it’s not “pure” income, but it brings in money we can spend, so I think it’s valid to include here!

What we’ve done:

Purely sold a few items we don’t need any more. These have included a cheap sofa bed we had to move to make way for our new baby’s cot, a bike I never used, and some items our son had grown out of, including a car seat.

Facebook Marketplace has also proved useful to get rid of things we didn’t think had any value, including a mouldy old gas barbecue that someone bought in order to salvage a part, and an old futon mattress that somebody purchased very recently to create some additional sleeping space for their Christmas guests.

How much time have we spent on it?

Nearly none! The beauty of Facebook Marketplace is that it is incredibly quick to upload photos and input descriptions. After that people come to your house, remove things you don’t want and hand you money!

How much have we earned?

Facebook Marketplace Sales screenshot

My wife an I have both listed a few items on Facebook marketplace. Between us we’ve earned a total of £364 ($487).

Microworking Side Income

I don’t do “microwork” personally, through the likes of ClickWorker or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

While I recommend it for beginners who are testing the water with earning money online, it would make no sense for me to do it when I already have established freelance income.

However, I did earn €30.75 while I was testing ClickWorker out to write my detailed review and have another €3.76 banked. So that works out to another $40.62 or £30.34.

ClickWorker income screenshot

Cryptocurrency Trading

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll know that I dabble in trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.

Suffice to say that my profits from crypto trading are bigger than all the other numbers in this article. 

I increasingly see crypto trading as “side work” because I do take time out of every day to work on it – hence me including it here. It’s another stream of income beyond my “normal” work (which includes lots of freelance writing, building websites for clients, and IT consultancy work).

However, while I mention it here, it’s not included in my totals below.

My Wife’s Side Work Ventures

My wife works full time as a freelancer too, and rarely has any spare time. However, she’s earned £7.81 ($10.46) from snapping job ads on JobSpotter when she’s out and about. (If you live in a city, this is well worthwhile – unfortunately we live in a small town, limiting the scope of this endeavour!)

She’s also earned £44.16 ($59.13) selling a handful of books via Amazon. We’ve both been learning a lot about this as an alternative to eBay, and it’s something we’ll be stepping up in the new year – so watch this space (and subscribe below) to hear more about it. We’ve always found it really hard to get any money back for books we don’t need anymore – and Amazon’s second-hand marketplace is the best option we’ve found to date.

My wife also has her own TopCashback where she’s earned £31.36 ($41.99) since April when we launched the site.

A Word About Tax

In case you’re wondering, it’s unlikely you can go “full blast” at all of these home working opportunities and do loads of side work without needing to pay tax on your income.

Here in the UK, we’re fortunate enough to have a £1000 annual tax allowance for side gigs. However, it’s important to be mindful and responsible about declaring income according to the laws of your country.

Our Side Work Income Totals

I’ve done my best to give an idea of what we’ve earned from side gigs in this (rather long!) article. I hope it’s been useful.

Before I reveal the totals, I should remind you of a few things:

  • I don’t do any of these side gigs with ANY regularity. It’s more a case of dipping in and out here and there. People could EASILY earn more than this with more effort. I play with these things because I write about them, more than the other way around.
  • These are NOT figures for an entire year – a year’s-worth would mean higher totals.
  • There have been prolonged periods where work commitments have meant I’ve ignored these opportunities for weeks or months at a time.
  • I have NOT included any of my earnings from cryptocurrency trading. I’ve also only included activities we’ve discussed on this site that anyone can have a go at. I also have streams of income from other websites and even some book royalties, but it wouldn’t be particularly realistic or relatable to include them here.

With that out the way, let’s have a spreadsheet!

Side Gig Side Work Income spreadsheet screenshot

As you can see, the side work described above, none of which took that much time and effort, has earned $2376 / £1776 (I’m showing amounts in Dollars and British pounds as the largest proportion of our readers use these currencies).

I’m pretty happy with that!

Why do we do it? Is it worth it?

I strongly believe that the time my wife and I spend on side work is worth every minute of the effort. But I know not everyone is convinced by this.

It’s important to point out that we both have full-time freelance careers as well. That creates the (admittedly fair) question of why we don’t just do more of that kind of work instead?

The thing is, from glancing at the spreadsheet above, nothing up there really feels like work. Sometimes it’s money earned while we’re shopping or arranging things like house insurance (TopCashback), sometimes it’s a handy little boost when we are decluttering at the weekend (eBay and Facebook Marketplace).

At other times, it’s effectively just earning extra money when I’d otherwise be idling away on social media (UserTesting and surveys).

These streams of income, to me, feel more like “hobbies that pay” than “side work.”

And I think the most significant thing of all, writing this (as I am) in the run-up to Christmas, is that there’s more than 2000 bucks there that I earned without all that much effort. I think you’d struggle to find anyone who wouldn’t like to find themselves with that much extra to play with at this time of year.

If this has inspired you, you may also want to check out a recent article on earning freebies online.

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