I’m currently in the middle of a 7 month furlough leave, it was all fun and games at first until I realised I’ve been broke pretty much all year. I need to find something to do to fill my time that isn’t baking banana bread and dying my hair. It seemed like the perfect time to make a bit of extra money on the side. Plus you know what they say, if you want to be a millionaire, you need multiple sources of income. It’s a shame that I’m so remarkably untalented that there isn’t actually a lot I can do in the way of side hustle to top up my missing income. Or is there?
Bored of being poor, I tried 5 different of ways to ‘make free money from home’, and this is what I found:
The idea is to listen to clips from lectures, and get paid to transcribe what you hear into high quality text, sounds easy, right? I can’t say this is anything I’ve had to do in my life before, but my grammar and grasp of the English language is pretty decent so I approached this task eagerly and optimistically.
They run through a list of benefits on the website, how working with them can help you boost your career and get that pay rise you’ve been after, not sure how listening to a four minute clip from a lecture in 1978 about the housing market in America is going to help me get that promotion I’ve been chasing but if Transcibe Me says it can then I believe!
After spending a painful amount of time reading through the extensive list of transcript rules, re-reading them, and reading them again, I was ready to begin making the big bucks. Or so I thought.
To my surprise, you have to pass what I would compare to an A-Level exam to ‘join the team’. I answered a series of multichoice questions, they seemed easy enough, I had no reason to be concerned, all was well. Then you’re hit with three… yes three lectures to listen to and transcribe back perfectly. I spent hours on it, listening and relistening. Researching the terms to make sure I had them correctly. It took a lot longer than I would care to admit.
By the time I’d finished all three, I was feeling pretty confident. Have you seen that punctuation in paragraph 3? Nailed it, mate.
So, have I completed it yet? Oh, nope. Just another 10 multichoice questions to complete first. Never mind, that’s fine, I’ve come this far and I’ve just transcribed three lectures like an absolute pro so I’m not going to let this ruin my buzz.
Shoooooow me the moneeeeeeey.
Aaaaaand…. Wait what? That’s a fail? How is 95.6% a fail? Pretty sure that’s the highest grade I’ve ever achieved in anything and it’s still a fail, what does that say about my life?
Determined not to have wasted an entire afternoon I went back and tried again, if you fall off the lecture horse, get back on, as the saying goes. Shock horror I failed again, 96% this time. After failing twice, I now have to wait for 30 days before I can come back to reattempt this ordeal again, what an absolute buzzkill, guess I’ll have to move on and make my millions elsewhere.
3/10 waste of time. Not sure it’s even that lucrative if you do succeed, £20 per hour of audio, and the clips I was transcribing were four minutes long.
2. Clinical Trials
A friend of mine has made some pretty decent money over the last few years from participating in various volunteer clinical trials. Some of them short and sweet, he’ll take a few pills, follow their instructions over a period of weeks, complete a dream journal or whatever wild and bizarre activities they ask of him, then make a simple £50 at the end. Nice.
Some of them are a little more adventurous, shall we say. He’s made up to £5k from one trial with overnight visits where they observe you for a few days or even weeks at a time.
Although I was a bit dubious, I couldn’t resist a quick prowl to see what was on offer. One trial I found was paying nearly £8k, but you did have to stay with them for a total of 38 nights, which seems slightly excessive. But then again… £8k is £8k.
Would I do overnights? I mean, if the price is right.
I imagine that I would be less likely to admit to other people where I was going or what I’d been up to. I can imagine the horror on my mum’s face when I tell her I’m off to Leeds on the weekend to get pumped up with drugs like a monkey and live in a glass test room for 3 weeks while university students probe me and watch me while I sleep.
7/10 solid way to make money on the side, if you don’t care about your own health or living through your sixties.
3. User Testing
Seems simple enough. You’re paid to film short videos completing certain tasks on client websites. For example, if you needed to check their opening hours, what would you click on first, where on the website would you look and where would you expect it to be? You film a video of up to about 20 minutes in some cases, talking out loud and explaining your thinking as you do so. Which is all well and good until you start trailing off and thinking about lunch, which happens to me quite often.
Naturally, you have to complete a short video to apply for the position and then send that off for feedback, expecting them to come back to you with a pass or fail in a few days!
To my disbelief and despite swearing once or twice under my breath, (it was only a little fuck or two so I had hoped that might slip through the net), my video got accepted! I am now officially a user tester. Once you’ve filled in your demographic info, all you have to do it sit and wait for the tests to flood in. There’s a limited number of places on each one, so you’ve got to be quick when you get that email. Can I add UX to my CV yet?
7/10 for ease.
4. Paid Surveys
What an absolute joke. Okay look, I’m going to be honest with you, although I had a scroll through a few websites and looked for some reviews, I didn’t sign up to any survey sites this time around. I’ve fallen for these many times in my youth as a naïve and money hungry teenager, before you judge me please bear in mind this was the same girl that thought there was hundreds of hot singles in my area just dying to meet me and that I could win £10k from being the 1000th visitor to the Tesco website. They lured me with their promise of choosing my own hours and an easy legal way to make a simple extra grand a month, seems legit right?
Generally, these are a myth. You’re promised prizes in return for completing surveys, but what you end up with is a few free entries into some £250 rollovers that you’ll never win, some vouchers to websites you would never shop on and an inbox flooded with promotional emails until the end of time. These will never end, even if you think you’ve unsubscribed to them all, surprise bitch we’ve passed your details on to our partners and there’s more to come.
You might be able to earn some kind of financial prize if you really kept on and powered through all day like an absolute mental fucking feedback machine, each survey gets you about 3 points and you only need 4500 to get that £10 voucher for Asda, you’ll get there don’t lose hope!
0/10 for being a waste of everyone’s fucking time.
5. Selling Clothes on Depop
Does anyone else find this horrendously tedious or just me?
I start off so optimistic and full of hope, I’ve got loads of clothes I haven’t worn in ages, some of them are still in great quality as well I’ll make a fortune! To be perfectly honest I usually drop off at the sorting through the wardrobe stage. I’ve heard some people have a 1 year rule on their clothes, if they haven’t worn it in the last year they just get rid of it like some kind of savage (classy, boujee, rachet).
I’m running on more of a 10 year rule, yes I haven’t worn it since that year 11 disco and I’m pretty sure I’ve strictly worn nothing but black in at least the least 6 years, but hey paisley flares could come back in right?
Once I eventually completed the heart wrenching task of deciding which of my beloved unworn things has to be rehomed to someone else, I then have the arduous task of taking photos of them, posing in them, finding great lighting or areas of the house and so on. Just to be clear my flat is small, there is no great lighting, and I’m not sure my post quarantine alcohol belly is really selling this crop top.
Finally, I’ve got the pictures, priced them and the items are up, the entire page an array of all my ugliest clothes for everyone to see. Fantastic, just what I’ve always wanted.
And then the cheek of that girl, you all know the one, there’s always one, that’ll pop up and pester you to swap your RTP £65 Adidas jacket for her fucking hideous silver sequin cropped cardigan. That’s right, because I tried five different routes of making extra money on the side to come out of it with more clothes I’ll never wear.
7/10 if done correctly, 1/10 if you’re me.
So there we have it, looks like I’ll be sticking to my day job!