The First 6 Money Makers I've Tried

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The First 6 Money Makers I've Tried header image

I’m always on the look-out for potential money making ventures to add to my side-hustle portfolio. Over the past year I’ve tried several income generating ideas. Here’s a rundown of my favourite 6 so far, and how lucrative I have found them.

1. Self Publishing: PROFIT = £2,236.69 in 12 months

Becoming a self publisher is the most exciting and engaging side hustle I’ve found so far. My plan is to quit my day job and work on this full-time, supplemented by some of the other items in this list.

So far I’ve published 2 non-fiction books across 3 sales channels (ebook, paperback and audiobook). I’m working on a 3rd book, with several more in the pipeline. Want to hear what the best bit is?

I haven’t written a single thing!

Yes you read that right, I didn’t write any of the books myself. You see it’s possible to publish books by using ghostwriters to create your content. As a publisher you simply become the grand co-ordinator for all the tasks that need to be done to publish the manuscript once you have had it written.

The earning potential here is huge, only limited by the number of books you have in your portfolio. What’s truly wonderful is that once you’ve put in the work to get a book written and published, the royalties keep on rolling in month after month with minimal work required. The only effort now needed for my published books is to market them periodically and track sales so that I can monitor the effectiveness of my marketing.

The reason I’ve only published 2 books in a year is really down to my time availability and the fact that I have many other things going on, meaning that this hasn’t been my sole focus. Since I’ve been working a full time contract for the last year I’ve struggled to find enough time to really crank out a high number of books while sustaining a work life balance that I’m comfortable with. However, I know that it’s possible to create enough books within a year to be earning thousands of pounds a month. The reason I know this, is because I was inspired to give publishing a go by a fellow blogger Huw at Financially Free By 40 who quit his job within a year of starting. Since then I’ve come across many more publishers who are making their living from self publishing.

The First 6 Money Makers I've Tried, working on my laptop from coffee shop

I love self publishing because of the flexibility and variety it offers. As long as I have a laptop and an internet connection (most of the time) I can work pretty much anywhere. There’s a vibrant community of publishers who I can connect with. I can choose what book topics I want to work on. I have learnt so many new skills, and to be honest, although hard work at times, it’s a lot of fun.

I like the potential this side hustle offers. Let’s just say I take a pessimistic projection of earning £1,000 profit per year per book, then each book I add to my portfolio gives me an extra £1,000 profit per year. So on that basis:

  • 1 book = £1,000 per annum
  • 10 books = £10,000 per annum
  • 50 books = £50,000 per annum
  • 100 books = £100,000 per annum

Getting 100 books published may sound like a lot, but chances are, somewhere in your list of books will be a few that are superstars and generate significantly more income, so it’s unlikely 100 would be needed to be generating £100,000 in this example. I imagine most people would be able to transition from their current job to full time publishing way before the £100K profit point, which means that they would have more free time to create additional books. Win win!

To get started with Self Publishing: Join my mailing list because I will be writing lots more about my publishing business in future posts. In the meantime, please feel free to ask me any questions you may have in the comments below.

2. Free Gambling: PROFIT = £349.56 in 12 months

The First 6 Money Makers I've Tried, free money image

This is an easy and relatively fun way to make a bit of extra cash assuming that you have the self discipline to stop as soon as you have used your free allowances up.

Essentially free gambling is where you sign-up to gambling websites and make use of the free offers they send out by email (so it’s important to opt in to email communications - I have a separate email address I use just for gambling sites). I have found that offers most often come out on Fridays and are valid only for the weekend. These are usually for casino games, such as Deal or No Deal, or slot type spin games. The number of free games or spins I’ve received tends to be between 1-5.

My biggest win came when I combined a cashback offer on topcashback (see point 3 below) for a new gambling site sign-up offer. Here I received £25 cashback for creating a new account and then to satisfy the sign-up offer I gambled £10 of my own money on a casino game (which was covered by the cashback I would receive). I then received £30 to play on casino games with a minimum bet threshold of £450 before I could withdraw any winnings. This sounds like a lot, but using the free £30 on spins I won £300 which I then continued to gamble with, monitoring exactly how much I had bet overall. The moment I hit the £450 threshold I stopped playing and had a profit of £340.10 which I was able to withdraw.

This was a very happy day!

I know that luck played a part for this big win, but the way I see it, this is a numbers game. The more you participate in the free offers the more chance you have of a big win. So I always take 10 mins to quickly do free spins whenever I get offers. The great thing is, most gambling sites have mobile versions which means you can take the spins on your phone wherever you are.

I feel that I should add that I’m not an advocate for outright gambling. I know people can get into trouble with gambling addictions, and this is a side hustle which requires patience and self-discipline to be able to stop the moment you have used up your freebies. Please only ever consider this income source if you know that you can be restrained.

To get started with Free Gambling: All you need to do is sign-up with different online gambling websites and opt-in to their email lists. Soon enough you will be receiving mails offering free spins. Two sites I’ve noticed that frequently send out free offers are Paddy Power and Betfair.

If you’re looking to sign-up as a new customer I would highly recommend that you take a look at points 3 and 4 below to ensure that you don’t miss out on any cashback and welcome offers for new customers.

3. Cashback Sites: PROFIT = £156.28 in 12 months

I use two different cashback sites, Topcashback (affiliate link) and Quidco (affiliate link).Topcashback picture These are great because you can get some great money back offers on shopping which you would be doing anyway. You make use of the cashback sites by opening an account with them. Then whenever you need to shop online, make sure that you first visit either Topcashback (affiliate link) or Quidco (affiliate link) to see if there is a cashback deal available for the retailer you’re planning to shop with. If there’s an offer, you simply click the link on the cashback website to take you to the retailer’s site. Quidco pictureWhen you make your purchase this is tracked by the cashback site, and assuming all goes well, you will receive cashback into your account within the timeframe stated on the offer.

Some key things to say about cashback sites:

  • You can only make money on them by spending money, so they’re not a passive income source. However it is nice to be able to shop for less
  • The best cashback deals I’ve seen have been for insurance products, mobile phone products and gambling websites. Some companies only offer 1% or 2% cashback and if your purchase amount is small this can end up being pennies (but it all adds up right?)
  • Many of the best cashback offers are only for new/first time customers to a retailer

To get started with Cashback sites: Simply sign-up for accounts with Topcashback (affiliate link) and Quidco (affiliate link), then bookmark these in your web browser. Whenever you need to shop online in future, check your cashback websites first and if there’s an offer follow the link. Simple! You’ll soon see the money rolling in.


4. Matched Betting: PROFIT = £87.19 in 12 months

This particular side hustle, as far as I am aware, is only for people living in the UK. For anyone already familiar with Matched Betting, my profits will appear miniscule compared to what can be achieved. This is because I haven’t spent that much time doing it, I’ve just dabbled so far.

Matched betting involves taking advantage of the many special offers presented by online gambling websites. For example, “Sign up to {generic gambling website} and receive a {£XX} free bet”. Benefitting from one of these offers involves placing a qualifying bet first, then you receive a free bet to use on another bet. So for example, you could have to place a £10 qualifying bet first, after which you receive £30 to bet on something else.

In order to guarantee profit (rather than it just being classed as gambling) it’s possible to place a “lay bet” with a betting exchange website which offsets the risk of the original bet placed.

All that laying a bet means is that you bet on all the other alternatives to your original bet on a different website. So, if you were betting on a football match and your qualifying bet was for Team A to win, then your lay bet would be for the 2 other alternatives: Team B to win or for there to be a draw.

In betting and laying, no matter what the outcome of the event you are betting on, you can’t lose money (except for a very small fee to be paid for the lay bet at the exchange website), because no matter the outcome you will win either at the exchange with the lay bet, or at the site you placed the original bet.

The First 6 Money Makers I've Tried, man confused about matched betting

Still with me?! I know that it can be a bit difficult to get your head around the first time you hear of this concept, but it’s actually pretty simple. Here’s a website which I’m sure does a better job of explaining matched betting than I ever could…

Matched Betting Guy: Getting Started

Anyway, after placing your qualifying bet and lay bet (where you will essentially break even) you then have a risk free bet to place because it has cost you nothing.

At this point you have 2 options depending on your strategy and attitude to risk:

  • You could choose to use the free bet to place a bet without laying it - which means if your bet wins the returns are higher, but if it loses you get big fat nothing (higher risk strategy)
  • You could lay the free bet, which means you guarantee that you will make money, but not as much as if your free bet won and you hadn’t placed a lay bet. This option guarantees profit, just not with such big gains. This method is normally the one advised with mainstream matched betting (lower risk strategy)

There is quite a community of people making a lot of money from matched betting. If you are prepared to put in the time and effort it’s possible to make thousands of pounds per month.

To get started with Matched Betting: There are websites you can sign-up to who will help you find offers and place suitable bets. I would highly recommend that you use one of these sites because they step you through the process and make it so easy. The one I have tried is OddsMonkey (affiliate link) who offer introductory training guides and walk you through your first couple of offers for free. If you choose to sign-up with them, they offer options of monthly or annual subscription packages and it’s easy to earn back the subscription cost very quickly using matched betting, after which it’s all pure profit. Lovely.

5. Ebay: PROFIT = £79.22 in 12 months

This is money which I have made simply by selling unwanted items on Ebay. The strategy I use is to research items I want to sell on Ebay to see what similar products have already sold for. Then I set up a Buy It Now listing (not an auction) and leave it running. I’m happy to wait for a buyer to come along who is willing to pay my asking price.

I haven’t got lots of things for sale on Ebay, and I haven’t put a lot of effort into making money through this medium as of yet. However I’m not ruling out looking into this more in the future. I like the idea of scouring shops for bargains to then resell for more on Ebay.

There are many people who make a living from re-selling on Ebay so it’s definitely a viable money making option if this is of interest to you. There’s also niche markets that you can venture into which can be very lucrative such as selling your old, smelly shoes!

To get started with Ebay selling: Sign-up for an account with Ebay, and it’s best to also set-up and link a Paypal account into which you can receive payments for items sold. Then simply list items you want to sell. You can choose to either set them up to run on an auction, or under the Buy It Now setting. Don’t forget to factor in the costs of posting your item to make sure that you make a profit on your sales.

6. Blogging: PROFIT = £50.00 in 12 months

Making money from blogging is very new to me. I am still learning of different methods for making money from blogging. I made this £50 by writing about a new online company who offer the ability to sell and buy gift cards (I wrote about this on a different blog). As part of writing the article I received £50 worth of gift cards from the company I was writing about, so that I could use their website and therefore explain to my readers how it works.

My initial thoughts on making money from blogging is that there is a lot of time to be put in with setting up a blog, and consistently writing articles, before it’s possible to start making money. There are different monetising models which can be used such as advertising, writing sponsored posts, using affiliate links and selling your own products.

To get started with making money from blogging: There is so much involved with this particular money making method that it really requires a blog post (or several) to do it justice. I would recommend signing up to my mailing list or checking back regularly to my blog to see future posts about this. If you have any immediate questions about getting started with blogging, please let me know in the comments below.

Have you had success with making money this year? Or would you love to get started with a side-hustle of your own, but perhaps don’t know where to start? I’d love to hear from you with any questions or thoughts in the comments below…

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