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6 Ways to Keep Earning in a Poor Economy

Home > Everywhere > Misc | Self Help | Lists
Published December 5th 2012
A selection of online, freelance, and teaching jobs
Recent worldwide economic and employment challenges have given rise to many creative opportunities for those who are willing to try something a bit 'out of the box'. With further predictions for a downward trend in the job market, it's a wise idea to be aware of alternative options to the traditional 9-5 office position. Even when economic conditions are at their best, the following opportunities serve as a source of extra income, an enjoyable hobby, and as a possible safety net for sudden changes in employment.

Stack of coins. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Notetaking/Mentoring at Universities

Academic Support Services at many universities offer a notetaking or mentoring service for students with disabilities. The role of a notetaker is to attend lectures and take complete notes for a student who is incapable of taking their own notes. The role may also extend to lab work or mentoring services. Depending on your level of training and subject area, this position can pay quite well. See for instance the job description at the University of Nottingham.


The internet has opened up so many opportunities for writers, bloggers, and editors. The difficulty is in separating the legitimate opportunities from the scams. Job bidding sites, for instance, are usually not going to pay enough for the time you're investing and should be avoided.

With a personal website or blog you have authority over the content, but it may take some time to gather an audience. For more stability and a foot in the publishing door, it is useful to get connected with a publisher. Many publishing companies hire freelance editors, proofreaders, and writers - Sage Publishing, Avalon Travel, Lonely Planet, to list just a few.

Personal Business Development

Corporations have been letting their employees down in recent years, so the obvious way to escape from misdirected management is to become your own manager. Keep in mind that every major business started as a small operation and your idea very well could be the next big thing or, more reasonably, the next thing that supports you and your family. It's very easy to set up a small business website, to do a bit of community marketing, and to begin connecting with potential customers. For example, in recent years many enterprising people have found success with selling jewellery, artwork, clothes, and other handmade products in community forums like Etsy. Of course, large-scale and long-term success takes years of investing and working with your business idea.


As an educated person, you have a great skill set and knowledge base to offer to students. Private academic tutoring, music lessons, sports coaching are all possible ways to earn some money and make a difference with students. There are many e-tutoring companies that connect you with students, so that you can start working more quickly. For example, Kaplan Test Prep Centres offer both virtual and in-class teaching opportunities, as well as a training programme for both experienced and new teachers.

Home-based Sales

Similar to starting your own personal business, home-based selling opportunities, such as PartyLite, Scentsy, JuicePlus, offer flexibility and almost limitless growth potential depending on your level of participation. These opportunities fit a certain personality better than others (i.e. the outgoing hospitable type) and require up-front investment in relationships and marketing before true gains are made. Still, if you can see it through the difficult initial start-up stages, these opportunities have the potential to be a full-time career or at least an enjoyable way of connecting with people.

Staffing Agencies

Anyone who has spent time unemployed understands the difficulty of job searching, which often tends toward fruitless internet searches, months-long interviewing processes, and a continuous cycle of frustrated waiting. This is where staffing agencies can be a great source of relief. If you're looking for something quick, an agency can be a good alternative to a long-term job search.
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Why? A selection of creative employment opportunities
Where: Mainly online or in the classroom
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Thank you Erin. You've inspired me. I have now been accepted as a writer for Copify. And it's thanks to you! Thank you.
by Sally Writes (score: 2|539) 3754 days ago
I definitely think there will be a trend in the near future for people shifting from traditional 'careers' to self-sufficiency. This system is too shaky. Interesting perspective, thanks for sharing!
by backp (score: 0|6) 3700 days ago
An interesting article with some fresh ideas
by Oxford Explorer (score: 2|655) 3758 days ago
Nice list of opportunities and new information where I'm concerned. Thanks!
by Melbournefreelancer (score: 2|335) 3755 days ago
Interesting article Erin. It was something interesting and refreshing to read.
by danim (score: 0|7) 3751 days ago
I hadn't thought of those ideas. My list involves things like telemarketing - a great paying job if you don't mind hanging up on people whilst they're abusing you :)
by tara j (score: 2|103) 3758 days ago
I definitely think that we will see a trend in the near future from traditional 'careers' to self-sufficiency. This system is too shaky for people. Interesting perspective, thanks for sharing.
by backp (score: 0|6) 3700 days ago
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