The world is at your fingertips. In every literal sense, yes. This applies to making money as well. With internet explosion and a surge in the number of smartphone owners, a vast majority now have access to doors leading to new opportunities. However, it is important that we unlock the right door.
Be it a side-hustle or just something to do in your spare time, there are hundreds of mobile apps out there designed to generate supplemental income. You may not become rich with these apps but you can make some pocket money by performing some simple tasks from the palm of your hand. On that note, make sure that you do not fall prey to those click-bait adverts that scream ‘become a millionaire overnight.’ Cybercrime is rampant now, and with easy advertising legit-looking scam accounts and businesses are booming. “It is all fake,” says Brinda Menon, a 22-year-old law student from Mumbai. “I heard this YouTuber called ‘Investor’ talk about earning around $150 per day for just listening to music. He was so convincing. I followed all his instructions but did not earn a penny,” she says. Like Brinda, several others have been tricked by various YouTubers who claim to have earned a fortune using the apps suggested by them. According to Akhil Khatri, a YouTuber and an expert in the online money-making field, out of one thousand videos on ways to make money online, two might be legit. “Most people are confused and they think that easy money means no work. But making money, be it on an online platform or offline, needs dedication,” he says. His YouTube channel ‘Paisa Waisa’ not only informs people of legit online methods to make money but also calls out scams. Akhil started his journey in 2007 when he was in college. He started with blogging initially but curiosity led him to try out other verticals. “My first payment was $8. I wrote four articles for $2 each,” he says. But before you get started, be wary of potential scams that ask for a fee to register or over-exaggerate the potential earnings. Always, look at the app ratings and read the user reviews. Surely, most of us use our phones to access our bank accounts and pay bills, so why not leverage the device to earn some extra money?
For the freelancer community
Recently, the concept of freelancing got popular among young people for all the right reasons. From flexibility in working hours and environments to getting paid for a tiny bit of extra work, the concept is too good to ignore. But it definitely takes some patience to get the ball rolling. One of the oldest freelancing websites in India is Freelancer. One can find on this platform roles like basic data entry, research, writing, web designing, building blogs and digital marketing. The app is now available on Android and iOS. Although it is trustworthy, it does not have a user-friendly design. But with a little patience, you can zero in on a project. Another popular freelance platform is Upwork. While getting accepted on Upwork can be tricky, once you are in, you can make a lot of money. And again, staying on this platform demands consistency and building a good reputation. Among the lot, Fiverr is an app that stands out, both in terms of app design and usability. Besides programming, technical writing and translation projects, one can find freelancing options in voiceover, video editing, photography, music composing and mixing and even astrology. “Fiverr SEO is extremely important,” says Akhil. “Do not create a gig just for the sake of creating one. It is key to put in thought and be creative. Another thing to keep in mind is to create all seven gigs. Not by copy pasting your previous gig content but with proper Fiverr SEO marker.” He also emphasises on going through competition and finding loops in creating gigs that draw attention and putting out sample work.
For Shikha Singh, a former English teacher at a private school, Fiverr is her main source of income. “I earn around Rs50,000 per month sitting at home. It started after I got pregnant with my first child and I had to leave my job as I was asked to be at home for medical reasons. I did not want to sit idle and I needed an income,” she says. Shikha does ghost writing and proofreading for a minimum of $15 per gig. “People need to understand that without doing work, money does not come.”
For the photographers
If you are into photography, you can make a few extra bucks. The ability to make money as a photographer, like a YouTuber or Instagrammer, is all about harnessing that same creativity at the heart of your work and applying it to the monetisation of your talents. “Someone who is into stock photography won’t rely on just one platform to sell their work, but multiple ones. I am on over 30 platforms,” says Akhil. Shutterstock tops the list in this category. It is a micro-stock site where photos are cheaper and non-exclusive, and the way to increase downloads is by contributing a large quantity of images that can be used as visual metaphors. “It is an excellent platform if you are just starting off,” says Samuel Soundararaj, a wildlife photographer. “Don’t expect to earn a lot here. But this platform gives you an idea of what kind of photos get more traction. Currently, I use 500px which is a great platform for serious photographers.”Payouts are based on your earnings over time. There is also an affiliate programme where you can earn additional money if you refer new photographers or customers. On the higher end of stock photography sites, Getty Images attracts brands and publishers looking for high-quality or hard-to-find exclusive images to license. The standards for becoming a contributor are predictably higher than many other stock photo sites. Next on the list is Twenty20. It started as a tool for Instagram photographers to sell their images to brands. Now, it is an extensive stock photography site where you can sell photos online and connect with potential clients. You can earn money three ways: selling a photo, cash prizes from photo challenges and commission from whatever brands hire you for scheduled shoots.
Adobe Stock is also considered one of the best places to sell photos online because when you list a photo sale here, it is also available on stock site Fotolia. One can earn around 33 per cent commission on the photos that sell through Adobe Stock. The last one on the list is Foap. It offers contributors five ways to earn money: $5 for every photo sold, $100–$2,500 for missions, $0.25 per photo for album-specific photo sales, submitting photos to Getty Mission (payouts vary), and selling photos online via partner platforms, such as Adobe and Alamy. Basically, it is a crowdsourcing platform for brands and advertising and marketing agencies to find and purchase images from Foap’s registry of more than 2.5 million photographers around the world.
For the opinionated
Your opinions matter. At least that is what most companies base their business plans on. And the best part is that most companies are ready to pay for your honest opinions. Google is one of the trusted platforms and its rewards-based programme Google Opinion Rewards tops the list in this category. With this app, one takes surveys that are run by market researchers. Survey frequency may vary and one does not have to answer all of it. Payouts are usually through Google Play or PayPal credit for each completed survey. Topics include everything from opinion polls to hotel reviews and merchant satisfaction surveys. You can redeem the points to buy Android apps, movies, books, and music from the play store. “I would not call this the best survey app but I have managed to earn some Google Play credits for buying paid apps on Play store. Once you register for this app, Google offers you approximately 20 surveys a week,” says Shibin Mathew, a software engineer at private company. If you are looking at more than just Google Play credits, then Swagbucks is the app for you. You can find it in the Play Store under the name SB (Swagbucks) answers. This is one of the most straightforward money earning apps. Swagbucks lets you complete a number of tasks and activities to earn money. Here, all you need to do is take up surveys and answer them promptly. Each study on Swagbucks carries a certain amount of earning points which can be redeemed later as gift cards on Amazon and PayPal. It goes beyond surveys though, Swagbucks offers activities like playing games and watching videos as well.
The truth is that although your opinions are taken into account, it does not fetch you a lot of money. Definitely not the price it deserves. But again, tiny drops of water make an ocean. Going by that, every penny counts. However, is it worth the time we put in? Maybe not. What about gamers who claim to earn big bucks by just betting or creating a virtual cricket team? “Don’t fall for it,” says Akhil. “There are several apps in India that are designed for people who are into betting and fantasy cricket and football. However, I feel that it is all a scam. From my experience, I have found that people who claim to win these fantasy cricket challenges are mostly bots.” Looks like it is all about taking a risk, a lot of trial and error and, most of all, patience.