Lost your job due to COVID-19? Here’s 15 things to do instead of joining an MLM

I know things are tough right now. I know that many people have lost jobs and are looking for ways to supplement their income. You might be thinking, “Should I join an MLM?”

Contemplating buying into an MLM? (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

Can I suggest that a multi-level marketing scheme or direct selling company probably isn’t your best option? The MLM scheme is an extremely unsustainable business structure. The profit you make off your products is insignificant unless you are turning over significant amounts of product or recruiting new sellers in the layer below you, which amounts to the same thing: pressuring your network to buy from you. There’s a reason the remuneration schemes for these programs are so complex.

There’s a lot out there about the issues with MLMs so instead of harping on about that, let me give you 15 ways to make money that allows more flexibility than your traditional job. These ideas are not ‘get rich quick’ schemes and won’t replace a fulltime job overnight. But neither will an MLM. However, these 15 ideas are legitimate ways to earn money and generate value to your community.

1. Try freelancing

There are a lot of platforms online where you can sell skills you already have and they support you with the contractual arrangement. Check out Upwork.com or Freelancer.com to start with.

2. Learn and sell copywriting

Copywriters are the ones that produce that long story that appears on the ads in your Facebook feed. They also produce short blog content or review products. There are numerous platforms online where you can sell copywriting, including the freelancing platforms mentioned above.

3. Start a blog

Starting a blog is fairly affordable, with a lot of ways to start a blog for free. You earn through affiliate marketing (see idea 4) and advertisements. There is a course on Udemy that takes you step-by-step through the process of setting up your own blog to monetising it: Blogging for a Living.

4. Genuine affiliate marketing

Although it may seem like these programs are similar to an MLM, there are genuine affiliate marketing programs such as Amazon where you are rewarded with a commission on all sales made when people visit the shop from your links. You can combine this with blogging or Instagram to generate income. (Note, the link back there is one of my Amazon affiliate links.)

5. Work remotely for a startup

Particularly if you have digital marketplace skills like programming, design, or copywriting, but essentially if you can bring any skills from a prior career, check out opportunities for parttime or remote work with international startups through a site like Angel.co. Of course, be careful about the deals you make with startups, particularly if they’re unfunded, but this can be a great opportunity to expand your experience and even earn some equity in the company you work for.

6. Start online classes, especially if you offer fitness services

If you have any kind of skill or hobby that others want to learn, you can start your own class. You can do this through education platforms like Udemy or Skillshare or you can create your own website and sell from there. This could be anything from marketing skills to knitting to personal training online.

7. Drive for Uber or clean for Jarvis

The sharing economy is ripe these days and not just for driving or delivering food. There are apps like Jarvis, where you can get cleaning and other odd jobs, as well.

8. Start a YouTube channel

Although the formula to becoming a YouTube star overnight is not accessible to everyone, just like starting a blog, it is possible to create a supplemental income from the advertising revenue and a Patreon if you have an idea with a potential audience and produce content consistently.

9. Sign up for an influencer platform

You can be an influencer without millions of followers. Many of the influencer brand platforms where professional Instagrammers find their marketing deals accept users with as few as 300 followers. And again, building a following is about consistent content, engagement, and an interesting take on your topic.

10. Participate in user research or market research

Websites such as Askable.com are used by reputable user researchers and market researchers to find people that fit certain demographics. You can sign up to complete research ranging from surveys through to focus groups through to one-on-one interviews (which can be completed on video calls). Starting at $5 to $10 per research you participate in, you can generate a nice side income on this platform.

11. Publish a Kindle book

Did you know anyone can publish a book on Kindle? Particularly if you’re already blogging, you can put together a short ebook and sell through Kindle Direct Publishing. If you have a blog following, this can be a great way to supplement that income. But even if you don’t, why not pressure your friends to buy and read your thoughts, rather than signing up for a program where they have to buy products they don’t need and then recruit their own network to make any money?

12. Buy and sell on Gumtree or eBay

This does require a bit of seed money, but if you have the time and patience, you can find some great bargains on sites such as eBay, Gumtree or Craigslist. You can then onsell these items at a profit to start building some nest egg savings.

13. Online tutoring

Similar to starting an online course, as many families have been forced to homeschool, why not advertise your tutoring services for online tutoring? Running these sessions online will expand the pool of students you can help as proximity is no longer a problem.

14. Do micro-jobs

Similar to freelancing, there are platforms like Fiverr and Airtasker that allow you to complete odd jobs for others which could be anything from proofreading university work through to building a website for someone through to helping someone clean their gutters.

15. Get an internship and student job

Given you’re here looking for non-traditional income streams, this one might seem a little harder but it’s worthwhile. If you’re struggling to find a job in an area that inspires you, why not test run some jobs? You’re not working full time anyway so now is the time to seek out an internship to try out your potential dream job. You can support yourself through a job in some of the industries that still have a high demand for employees such as supermarkets, couriers, or delivery agents, or any of the other ventures listed above. Who knows, maybe during the internship the company will see firsthand the value you can add and you’ll land your dream job.

#earningmoney #internships #work