Extra Income from Home: 7 Ideas for Animal Lovers
By Paula Fitzsimmons
If you want to supplement your income, getting a part-time job is just one option. I have ideas for seven part-time, low-risk gigs you can do from home.
Earning potential often depends on your skills and the effort you’re willing to put in. There are no guarantees, and no quick and easy fixes to success that I know of – you still have to put in the work. But it doesn’t have to feel like work when you enjoy what you’re doing. I can attest to that.
Sell your stock photos & art
Do you get compliments on the photos you take of wildlife and companion animals? Selling your photos via a microstock photography site is a low-risk way to earn passive income. When someone purchases your photo, the microstock site pays you a commission – you could, quite possibly earn while you sleep.
You don’t need to be a pro to make money doing this, but you should understand basic photography concepts and be able to take pictures that people are willing to pay for. According to Everything Microstock, you’ll need a decent camera (sorry, cell phone won’t quite cut it) that shoots at six megapixels or higher. A DSLR camera is optimal, but a good point-and-shoot will work, too. I’ve taken some pretty amazing wildlife pics with my Canon point-and-shoot.
Everything Microstock has a handy chart of microstock agencies accepting contributors, information about entering the business, and a “Is Microstock Right for You?” guide and worksheet you can download for free. They also have sections on selling your illustrations, artwork, and videos.
License your art
Another fun way to earn passive income with your animal or nature-inspired art is to license your work to an agency or business. In exchange for granting permission for a company to use your art on their products – such as tee shirts, adult coloring books, and calendars – you earn royalties.
Regardless of where you choose to sell your work, you should retain copyright ownership. It is your work, after all.
Write for animal-friendly businesses
If your dream is to write for national magazines, go for it, but know that it’s also not the lowest-hanging fruit. Working with businesses and non-consumer publications is less competitive, and likely to yield better results. A few ideas of potential gigs may include writing website copy for a pet food manufacturer or articles for a veterinary specialty publication.
Many professional writers (including yours truly) recommend against writing for what is referred to as “content mills.” Why write for a penny a word when you can focus your energy and talents on clients who value your writing skills?
There are a ton of freelance writing resources out there, ranging from awesome to poor. One source I can recommend with confidence is Freelance Writers Den, because I’ve been a paying member for over two years. If you don’t want to be a member or are on a waiting list to get in, you can still purchase their e-books. The Step-by-Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success E-Book provides solid advice on how to land good-paying clients. (Note: These are affiliate links, so if you purchase something from the Den, I earn a commission.)
Teach online classes
Do you have specialized knowledge on a particular animal-related topic? Maybe you know how to bake the yummiest & most nutritious cat treats. Or you’re an expert on pet massage. Make extra cash by creating an online course and teaching your skills to others.
You can create your own course – check out Penny Hoarder’s article about how to create and sell your own short course. Or you can work through a platform like Udemy. Some of the animal-related courses listed have included first aid & CPR for dogs, natural first aid for pets, and making cat toys. You can find more about becoming a Udemy instructor on their webpage.
Provide care for animals . . . it’s not just for the dogs
Pet sitting is the classic pet lover’s gig. And there are no signs of the market slowing down, according to numerous reports, including “2016 Trends in the Pet Industry,” published in BlogPaws.
This business is not just for dog people to consider, either. People who share their lives with birds, bunnies, horses and other types of animals also need reliable and knowledgeable sitters.
I knew a woman who ran a part-time companion bird boarding business. Because she had an interest in avian welfare, learned all she could about birds, and got to know bird lovers, she was able to sustain her business primarily by word-of-mouth.
To learn more about being a pet sitter, I recommend the IAP Career College Become a Pet Sitter book. It offers a thorough look at the business, and discusses a wide range of important topics such as getting experience, finding clients, promoting your business, understanding licensing requirements, and setting fees. IAP also offers a pet sitter course with diploma. (Note: This is an affiliate link, but I’ve test-driven this product and feel comfortable referring it to you).
Invent something awesome . . .without the risk
Do you have a winning idea for a product that will improve the lives of animals or the people who care for them? Maybe it’s a unique pet toy, a gadget, or documentary. If you don’t want to risk thousands of dollars on an idea that may or may not make it to market, working through a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, may be a good option.
Doreen Ingram has taken to Kickstarter to get funding for her project “The Great Apes Survival Game,” a board game that not only entertains, but educates players about the perils great apes are facing. There are several benefits of working through a crowdfunding site – low financial risk, community support and feedback, and inherent built-in promotion. You keep ownership of your project, and pay Kickstarter a five percent fee if your project gets fully funded, plus payment processing fees of three to five percent.
Indiegogo is a similar site that has tools to help with fundraising, marketing & promotion, and fulfillment support. From idea to market without the big risks.
Run your own animal-themed blog
There are definite benefits to blogging for yourself – you maintain creative control, can use your blog posts as writing samples if you’re a freelancer, and don’t have to hustle for clients. There are a variety of ways to make money with a blog – as a brand influencer, with business sponsorships or network ads. But it’s also a lot of hard work, takes time to grow a reader base, and despite what you may have read, is not a quick way to get rich.
If you do choose to start your own blog, I suggest choosing a niche topic. Animal Jobs Digest is an example. Writing about everything related to all dogs, for instance, is too broad. Instead, try pairing it with another topic you’re interested in, such as Dogs + Health or Dogs + Hiking, and see what you can come up with.
One of my favorite resources for creating your own blog is How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soulby Ruth Soukup. It’s a non-technical, no-nonsense guide, full of inspiration and useful tips for blogging success. One of the things I love about Ruth’s book is that she doesn’t make unrealistic claims – she advises beginners to take their time. (This is an affiliate link. If you purchase the book via the above links, I earn commission . . .but I’d still recommend the book even if income wasn’t involved.)
Another resource I recommend is BlogPaws – it’s a blogging community specific for animal lovers.
Your turn: Do you know of any fun ways for animal lovers to earn extra income?