Who couldn't use some money in their pockets these days? Whether you're working full-time and eager to supplement your income or you're job seeking and in need of part-time cash while searching, there are several Web sites that may help you do just that.
Many of these new openings are jobs in fields that were outsourced overseas but are now coming back.
Sales is often thought of as an "in-house" position, but Elance.com sees growth in this category as businesses are eager to boost revenues by hiring freelancers to assist with sales tactics from cold calling to writing sales materials. This is an area where U.S. workers have an edge over overseas competitors.
Solid communication, writing and language skills, plus an understanding of the domestic marketplace and current business climate help drive results. You can make $15 to $50 an hour depending on sales skill level and expertise.
oDesk.com is an online marketplace on which businesses post freelance projects, and anyone can apply. The site connects technology service providers with people who want to hire them.
There is significant competition from overseas workers, but American service providers do very well in in positions including software programmers, Web developers, search engine optimization specialists and Web-savvy writers who create compelling content for English blogs and Web sites.
The average pay for this work on oDesk is $21 an hour.
Be Thorough, Accurate in Online Job Search
A few key tips to keep in mind when bidding for work on online sites:
Create a thorough profile. Respond to every question, check for typos and proper grammar, and carefully complete the skills assessments in your area of expertise. Link to a portfolio to showcase your previous work. Sample work is a powerful selling tool. If you expect to land a writing assignment, then writing samples are a must.
Research the competition. Review the profiles of other service providers, paying particular attention to their rates and their experience. This helps you determine what's realistic to charge. You might opt to lower your rates to land your first few assignments, but don't try to be the lowest because someone can and will always undercut you. Instead, to get going, aim for the lowest rate within your skill set and level of expertise.
Cover letters and phone interviews count. Don't be generic; treat it as professionally as you would treat in-person conversations.
Use social media to attract interest in your skills. Your Facebook, Twitter, VisualCV and blogs should promote your skills. Post comments on related blogs and message boards touting your knowledge too.
Freelance graphic artists and Web designers who create logos, Web sites, letterhead, business cards and so on are competing for projects on the site 99Designs.com.
Each month about $125,000 in business from the site goes to U.S. designers; the average payout is $350 per designer. Even more importantly, many designers use this as a springboard to find new clients and develop long-term relationships to build up their freelance business.
Customers pay for online chat time with experts and advisers in a wide range of categories.
It's great for the consumers because they can get help at their convenience and pay less for the information. And it's great for the experts because they can make money when they're available to work. Popular topics range from relationships to home repairs, legal and medical advice—you name it.
The experts are often college league-educated, stay-at-home moms or retirees, professionals with disabilities that make going into an office difficult, and even people who live in rural areas where there aren't client bases for their services.
There are a number of Web sites with these gigs. JustAnswer.com says many of its 20,000 registered experts earn between $20 and $1,000 a month, depending on the time logged, the feedback received and the area of expertise. Medical, legal and mechanical issues rank highest.
On Crossloop.com tech specialists provide instant message and chat support via its award-winning free desktop sharing software. The most demanded expertise involves problems related to Windows, Vista, networking, iPhones and virus/antivirus software. The new company says more than 3,000 home-based specialists are earning more than $1,000 a month for their expertise.
There are sites that offer a wide range of opportunities for tutors and teachers in subjects ranging from test prep to extra help in just about every subject for students of any age.
Two sites in particular -- SitterCity.com and Care.com -- feature more than 10,000 such listings a month. The average pay is between $10 and $15 an hour and up, and both sites feature salary calculators and extensive advice to help you determine your hourly worth based on where you live and the experience you bring.