Are you a college student hoping to make some extra pocket money? Or a nine to five employee who wants to start a side hustle without spending too much on startup?
For most businesses, you have to invest something to make something. However, the freelancing market is a world of opportunities for frugal people.
If you want to make money without spending much upfront, this guide is for you.
Let’s discuss the freelancing gigs that you can start without spending a humongous amount on training or buying online software.
Thousands of people are making money writing everything from web articles to scripts for YouTube videos. Whatever you’re interested in, you’ll find a writing gig for it on Fiverr, Freelancer, and other freelancing platforms.
You can start your free blog on WordPress or Blogger and write on any topic you’re interested in. The blog will serve as a portfolio to showcase potential clients your writing skills.
If you intend to monetize your blog in the future, there are plenty of hosting services for as little as $150 a year.
Alternatively, make your portfolio on free sites such as Behance and start looking for work on freelancing sites.
As a beginner, you can charge up to $20 for a 1000-word article. Once you’ve gained some experience, raise your rates, and you’ll start earning a handsome sum soon.
2. Audio Transcription
No matter how smart technology or computer programs get, they won’t ever be as intelligent as a human brain. That’s why there’s still a massive demand for transcribers in the freelancing market.
As an audio transcriber, your job is to type the audio from a phone call or any other form of recording.
If you think you don’t have the creative spark that is often needed for writing, you can look for transcribing jobs instead.
You don’t need a particular skill to earn money from transcribing. All you have to do is listen well and type everything correctly.
Start finding gigs at Rev, which is one of the biggest markets for audio transcriptions. The average rate is around $0.4 per minute. You’ll have to pass a transcription assessment before getting work.
Transcribing for 15 hours a week will make you about $360.
If you speak a language other than English, it’s time to use your multi-lingual skills.
You can find many translating jobs on freelancing sites that pay quite high, depending on the language you speak.
The gigs may involve translating documents, audios, texts, etc. Nowadays, it’s much easier to find translation gigs, as many people are working internationally. Thus, they need translation for legal and medical documents.
For doing translation jobs, you must be fluent in both languages. Some clients might ask you to do a sample test. If you’re fluent, any test would be a piece of cake.
On average, translating rates start from $30 an hour and go higher with expertise.
The rates can also be higher if you’re working on complex projects. For instance, translating a legal document will pay more than a blog post.
4. English Teacher
Even if you can only speak English, there are freelancing opportunities for you.
Many people are willing to learn English online, and you, as a native speaker, can help them. If you want to improve your English teaching skills or make your portfolio look polished, take a free course online.
You can earn anything from $25 to $40 an hour teaching English online.
Even without a degree or certificate, there are plenty of places where you can teach foreigners conversational English.
iTalki is an online platform for one-on-one language teaching. Sign up as an English teacher, and you’ll find plenty of students worldwide.
Siri could have the most soothing and clear voice, but you wouldn’t want her to be the audio behind your kid’s cartoons. Thus, there’s an abundance of voiceover jobs for infomercials, cartoons, Facebook videos, and ads even with all the studio technology we have these days.
It will take some time to have a precise flow to your voice, but your recordings will be flawless with practice.
From recording instructional videos to reading scripts, you’ll find all sorts of voice over jobs on freelancing sites. Alternatively, you can apply at local recording studios or production houses.
You can get gigs ranging from $30 to $50 for a recording, depending on how long it is.
If you’re good it at, the gig might turn into a long-term job for a recording studio. Who doesn’t want to be the voice of Disney’s next big hit?
6. Video Captioning
Video captioning is almost similar to transcribing except that you have to type the audio onto the video. Most YouTube videos have captions for non-native speakers and the deaf audience.
As a video caption writer, your job will be to sync audio and video using text. Since it’s more work than audio transcribing, the gigs pay higher.
You can expect to get up to $0.5 for every minute of video captioning. If you’re experienced, or the audio is complex, you can earn even higher.
Even at $0.5, audio captioning for 10 hours a week makes up to $300. For a side hustle, this is quite an amount. Depending on your experience you may be able to charge more. If you’re trying to target a certain amount of income, use an hourly rate calculator to ensure you hit your annual goals.
If you haven’t got a flair for writing and you’d rather edit other people’s work, there’s a dense market for editing jobs.
You can edit anything from articles to comics and books; the possibilities are endless.
Nowadays, many people self-publish eBooks, so they’re always on a lookout for editors and proofreaders. You don’t exactly need an editing degree, but reading excessively helps improve your skills.
You can earn up to $300 for editing a short eBook.
For smaller articles and blog posts, the rates vary from $20 to $100, depending on the text’s length and complexity.
After gaining some experience, get in touch with publishing houses and work for them. Working with established businesses will allow you to charge a higher hourly rate.
Also, popular company names embellish your resume better than any credential.
8. Graphic Designing
Unlike web and app designing, which involves paying for expensive courses, graphic designing is much cheaper to learn.
You can take Skillshare classes from experts in the field to get started.
If you use an influencer’s or artist’s code, you’ll get the first two months on Skillshare for free. That’s two months of free learning from people who’re working for companies like Pixar and Bloomsbury.
Moreover, you can learn from YouTube videos.
Follow graphic designers on Instagram and regularly watch their stories. Most of them post IGTV videos of their design process regularly. That’s a great way to learn designing tricks and hacks for free.
The average hourly rate for graphic designing is around $30, but you can earn triple the amount depending on your expertise.
Besides, if you find work with a long-term client, you can scrape a thousand dollars easily. For instance, someone might hire you to illustrate a children’s book or design a mural for their office.
Once you’ve started getting clients, build an attractive portfolio on Behance or any other free site.
If you put your heart in it, you can make graphic designing a full-time job with an initial investment of less than $100.
9. Social Media Marketing
While most business owners know the ins and outs of running a business, they’re entirely oblivious of social media usage. However, they’re aware of its power, so they hire freelancers for social media marketing.
You can charge up to $30 per hour on Upwork or Fiverr for social media marketing.
As your expertise increases and the clientele expands, the rates go higher. Imagine making money using Instagram and posting on Facebook. Sounds like a dream job, right?
Social media marketing doesn’t require a specific kind of education, but it helps if you’re familiar with basic marketing tactics. You can take a social media marketing course online for free to make your resume stronger.
Additionally, you must know how to use the business features of all social media apps.
Many people don’t try their luck at freelancing because high-paying gigs like legal consulting and web design have high startup costs.
However, this shouldn’t put you off freelancing as there are many jobs that you can do without spending anything upfront.
In this guide, we discussed some of the best freelance jobs for frugal people.
Whether you’re a college student trying to pay student loans or a homemaker with some extra time to kill, these gigs are a great way to make extra cash every month.