Monday, May 10, 2010

5 Unusual Freelance Jobs

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word "freelance?" If you're like most people, you said writing. Those two words just seem to go together. There are a lot of people who would love to experience the freelance lifestyle, but just don't like to write. Fortunately, you don't have to be a writer to be a freelancer. You can use your spare time to make some extra money online, or turn your passion into a full time freelance career. Here are just five career ideas based on the hundreds of freelance opportunities I turned up in a recent job search; and none of them have anything to do with writing or article marketing.

Freelance Social Media Consultant

Have your friends been telling you that you spend way too much time on Facebook? Do you tweet so much that you've started speaking 140 characters at a time? You could turn that experience into a career as a freelance social media consultant.

The business world is finally realizing the marketing value of social networking sites. A lot of these companies are putting up their own websites, but have no idea how to attract attention to them.

Since many businesses don't have personnel that know how to take advantage of the big social networking sites, more and more of them are turning to savvy freelance social media consultants for advice on their online advertising .

As a freelance social media consultant, you can earn $120 per hour or more to advise companies on how to make the best use of social networking sites, marketing on Youtube, and even how to add a blog to their website.

Make Money Online As An Online Instructor

If you worked hard to get your teaching credentials but still haven't landed that teaching job, or you've been teaching for a while but are tired of all the bureaucracy, there is a huge demand for online teachers. As colleges and other institutions expand their online courses, they are constantly searching for online instructors.

Freelance ESL tutoring is also on the rise. You can earn $20 per hour or more online to teach English as a second language from home. These part time positions pop up on Flexjobs and other freelance sites all the time.

Many of these ESL online instructor jobs require you to speak to students directly, using Skype. The majority of the jobs that I've seen involve teaching English to business students in Japan and China, and may also require you to write lesson plans.

Make Money Online As A Virtual Juror

A lot of people go to great lengths to avoid jury duty, but serving as an online juror is interesting and pays much better than real jury duty. Most companies pay $20-$60 per case, depending on the scope of the work involved.

These companies summarize real cases and email them to qualified jurors, like you. Once you give your opinion (and get paid for it), the company sends all the data to the attorney that placed the order. By doing this, lawyers can gain new insight into how an actual jury may view the case.

On average, each case takes 30-60 minutes to review, so the money isn't bad. Just watch out for scams. Virtual jury services are becoming popular, so scammers are starting to surface. If a company wants you to pay a fee to join, walk away. There are plenty of legitimate, free to join online jury services out there.

Work From Home As A Virtual Concierge

Are you detail oriented? As a virtual concierge, you can make up to $20 per hour to handle details like making dinner reservations, giving restaurant recommendations, or giving driving directions to clients. Some busy executives even use the services of a virtual concierge to plan birthday parties and vacations. You can do all of this from your phone, by Skype or online.

Scrapbooking Consultant

Are you a scrapper? It may have started as just a hobby, but in recent years scrapbooking has become a multi-billion dollar industry. If you have an eye for layout and design, you can cash in on the scrapbooking and rubber stamping boom as a freelance scrapbooking consultant.

If you're not sure where to start, you can earn free merchandise by hosting parties for companies like Creative Memories and Stampn' up. If you already have a business plan, you can strike out on your own with scrapbooking advice and services; or by making your own greeting cards and other products and selling them on eBay or through your own website.

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Freelancing is not for everyone. A lot of people are seduced by the claims that you can work part time and make thousands of dollars a month; but the reality is that freelancing is a lot of work. Don't fall for the wild claims.
If you have a day job, keep it! Start out slow, test the waters and get a good idea of what's really involved in freelance work. You'll quickly find out that the real freelance lifestyle often involves low pay, long hours, and a lot of hard work. It may take months, or even years to start making a reliable freelance income, and you're going to need that day job to pay the bills while you build your business.