What It Is: Think Mary Kay (cosmetics), Pampered Chef (kitchenware), or Rodan + Fields (skincare) — over time, you build a base of clients to whom you sell a company's wares. "There are several reasons why I decided to become a consultant," says Rodan + Fields independent consultant Debbie Royer. "I had seen how much of a blessing the business had been to a friend of mine and my sister-in-law. Plus, everything can be done from my phone, and being a mom to a preschooler and an infant I don't have a lot of extra time to be sitting at a computer."
What It Is: Many companies pay online testers to make sure websites are intuitive and easy to navigate. "You basically follow the instructions you're given to check out the website," says Anna Thurman, founder of RealWaysToEarnMoneyOnline.com, a site that has reviewed more than 500 online work opportunities. "It usually only takes about 15 minutes per test." Thurman recommends registering with 10 to 12 different companies since the opportunities to test these sites are doled out first come, first served. "There are people who make $100 to $200 a month by staying on top of those tests," Thurman says.
Usability testers are asked to perform tests based on their demographic profile (education, knowledge of the web, age, social media use, etc.). They are then given questions to address and/or tasks to perform, such as registering on a website and then providing feedback online. Reviews usually take about 15-20 minutes and earn typically about $10 each. After completing a review, testers are not paid until the client accepts their feedback. Work can be rejected and unpaid for technical problems, lack of detail, or other issues the client determines.
Freelance writers can more easily be thought of as a “writer for hire” or someone who is contracted out to write about a particular topic. If you have some writing chops, but don’t want to deal with all the extra work that goes into running a blog, you can hire yourself out and write for newspapers, large online publications and even other bloggers.
While most of these companies advertise that you can earn upwards of $18 or so an hour, the reality is that you're not going to make that much once you figure in your gas expenses and wear and tear on your car. Also, work may not always come in consistently. I would recommend doing more than one of these if you really want to make it worth your while.
How to Get It: You can apply directly through companies, such as Stella & Dot, a jewelry company that had over $100 million in sales in 2010, who is always in need of stylists. A few others include Avon (household and personal care), The Cocoa Exchange (chocolates and more), and Alice's Table (flowers). You can also visit the Direct Selling Association website — all the companies listed there agree to abide by a code of ethics, so they only offer legitimate opportunities. Typically reps make a small investment to get started (this is a legitimate and standard practice), and sometimes pay a fee for the merchandise being sold. After that you can work as much or as little as you want, and see profit based on how much you sell.