The one thing I’ve learnt since being diagnosed with a chronic illness, is that it’s damn hard to keep a job and earn enough money to live when you’re sick a lot. Either you can’t do as many physical tasks at work as you used to be able to, or you’re drained and tired most of the time which makes going out to work incredibly difficult.
I had to give a few things up and cut down on a few other things after getting ill but this left me worried every month about how I’m going to make money for bills and food. So I started doing more work from home and making passive income, which allowed me to work during flare up days. Days where I now don’t have to make the pain worse doing a physical job every day or doing a regular 9-5. I can be more flexible with my work hours and I don’t have to hide my pain behind a smiley face for customers.
In this post, I’ve listed some ideas you can use to make money, most of which are from home so you can work in comfort.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I only endorse products/services that I believe will be a benefit to you and would never recommend something I don’t like or trust.
Social media manager
If you’re good with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and enjoy marketing, social media management might be ideal for you. It’s something you can do from home and doesn’t require you to be physically active. You could do it from a laptop in the comfort of your own bed if you really wanted to. Flare up days don’t have to be a problem with work if you’re working in bed or on the sofa in your pj’s.
A lot of your work can be scheduled too, so you if you do have a day that’s absolutely the worst and you can’t focus on working, if you’ve scheduled your statuses, tweets, pins and insta’s out ahead of time: it’s all good!
Here’s a great blog post about how to become a social media manager from home.
One of the top reasons I started taking my blog seriously and posting regularly was to eventually be able to work more from home, doing less physical work. My wedding photography job can be extremely physically demanding and I figured if I was going to be poorly a lot, I wouldn’t be able to do as many weddings a year as I’d like to do, therefore I’d need a supplement stream of income. I didn’t start my blog with the intention of making money from it at all and I think that’s important because you need to write about something you’re genuinely passionate about. Even if you do start a blog with the intention to make money, it needs to be about something you enjoy writing about and the content needs to be good quality, otherwise it won’t be worth doing.
There are several ways you can earn money through blogging, such as: Affiliate marketing (which I’ll talk about further down in the post), Google Adsense, Sponsored Posts, Sponsored Ads etc.
Before you start your blog, have a good think about what your main blog subject is going to be. Maybe lifestyle, beauty, sports, DIY, health? Try and think of how you can make your blog unique and how you’ll stand out against the other blogs in your chosen subject. Perhaps you could be a beauty blogger who only uses natural beauty products, or a health blogger who blogs mainly about a specific health problem – you could even blog about your chronic illness and offer other people with the same illness, tips and advice. I chose to blog mainly about Social Anxiety because at the time, I wanted to see something on the internet about Social Anxiety that wasn’t just medical. I wanted to see something relatable, funny and extremely candid. So I started putting that out there myself.
Starting your blog, you will definitely benefit more from being self-hosted than on a free blogging platform, especially if you want to make a profit. You have a lot more freedom with a self-hosted website and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. I pay less than £4 a month for my hosting.
If you don’t know where to start, SiteGround is a great hosting service and their customer support is brilliant. I also recommend installing WordPress into your website and using that as your blogging platform, it’s literally amazing what you can do with WordPress and it’s completely free to install.
Pick a memorable name for you blog and check that it’s available as a domain, also a quick tip would be to make sure it’s also available on all social media platforms too, as you’ll probably want to keep the same name on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. I’m anxiouslass on every social media platform, it took weeks to come up with my new blog name and I wanted to make super duper sure that I loved it.
Content is the most important thing when starting your blog but I still fully recommend having a nice design that fits nicely with the kind of stuff you write about. My blog is mainly about Mental Health but also Female Health too, so I chose a feminine, bright and positive design that fits within my “brand”. Most of my readers tend to be female between the ages of 16-30 so my design is aimed towards those readers. If you want to attract a specific type of reader, you may want to think about what colours and fonts would have that effect and how your design fits in with what you’re talking about.
You can install lots of lovely free themes within Wordpress itself but because I had something very specific in mind, I chose to purchase a fancier theme. For Anxious Lass, I currently use the Genesis Framework by StudioPress with WordPress and my theme is Fun by Pretty Darn Cute Design – I’ve never been more in love with my website and I get so many compliments on how well it’s put together. I think if you have a vision for your blog, it’s worth investing a little in its design to improve your readers experience.
If you really like the idea of starting a blog and making income this way, I’d fully recommend Blog by Number by Suzi Whitford who writes startamomblog.com – You don’t have to be starting a parenting blog for this to work either, the exercises work for any blog niche.
Sell your digital products
I sometimes sell my photoshop actions and lightroom presets and now that they’re already made, all I have to do is renew my etsy & creative market listings and they keep selling. It’s great passive income which means you spend a bit of time making the product but then you can enjoy earning from them forever.
You could also sell photoshop templates for business cards, brochures or maybe even illustrations, printable’s, invitations. There are lots of things you could sell as digital downloads.
Another job you can do from home in pyjamas with a heat pad and a cup of hot chocolate if you really want to! If you don’t have much experience with web design or coding, or you need to brush up your skills, you could learn this from home as there are thousands of good tutorials and guides on the web.
You could work on specific projects for clients or you could create web templates to sell as pre-made designs, or you could mix a bit of both.
The Designer Guidebook blog is an excellent resource for posts about running a web design business.
There are lots of website/blogs that will pay you to write for them or send in articles. Some of them paying between £20-£100 per article, sometimes even more.
Here’s a fab list of 121 Blogs That Pay To Guest Post that might help you get started. If writing is your passion but you don’t want to write a book or become a journalist, this is a great option to express your creativity while getting paid to do so.
To make enough money from answering paid surveys, you’ll want to sign up to several survey programs to increase your chances of being eligible for surveys on a regular basis and maybe schedule some time each day to complete them.
My favourite site for surveys is Swagbucks – you earn points from surveys that you can redeem for paypal cash or gift cards but you can earn points in other ways, so when you’ve completed all the surveys you can that day, there’s a ton of other ways to earn points. I also use their search bar and earn points just for searching. You can also earn for watching videos, completing offers and with cashback on website you already buy from like eBay, The Body Shop, Argos etc.
Another absolute favourite of mine is InboxPounds – I literally made £3.20 in my first 15 minutes on the website. Same as Swagbucks, you can earn money from surverys, offers and searches but you can also get paid for reading emails too!
I spoke briefly about affiliate marketing earlier, when we discussed blogging. Affiliate marketing is basically where you get a special link to recommend a product or service and then if someone clicks through your link and purchases that product or service, you get a percentage of the sale. You have to disclose that you’re recommending affiliate links on your blog or if you use social media to do it but I wouldn’t suggest recommending any links just because you will earn a commission anyway. It’s best practise to recommend products you actually love and swear by.
There’s a few ways to go about affiliate marketing; You can use your blog and post affiliate links within the content or you can post your links in Pinterest descriptions for example.
There are several programs to sign up to, all have their own terms and conditions so be sure to read thoroughly so you know a) where you’re allowed to post the links b) how long after clicking your link will a purchase count as commission for you and c) what percentage your commission will be.
Some of my favourite programs are:
ShareASale – You can join several programs for different companies from this one and you can get text links, banner ads, product showcases etc.
ClickBank – This program is for digital products and services, like ebooks and courses. The fab thing about ClickBank is you don’t have to wait ages to be approved for their programs, you can start referring the products you search straight away.
Amazon Associates – I believe you’re only allowed to sign up to Amazon Associates for one project and you’re only allowed to post the links on the website you have chosen. It’s a little more strict from what I remember. I don’t use them on this blog but I have used them on my wedding photography blog and have made a good commission from them. Great thing about this one, is that even if someone buys a different product, as long as they buy it from following your link, you get a commission on whatever they buy. Once I recommended a remote control shutter on my photography blog and someone went on to buy a tripod from that link and I still made commission. Here’s a fab guide on making over $1,000 a month with Amazon affiliates.
Webgains – This one is aimed more towards people who want to advertise bigger brand names and you can choose your country so the advertisers are tailored to where you live or where your target audience live.
If you want some crazy affiliate marketing inspiration, I’d recommend reading Michelle’s income reports over at Making Sense of Cents. I love reading her income reports, she makes over $50,000 a month in affiliate marketing, it’s insane but makes me want to work so much harder at it. Imagine your extra income turning into something that resembles double your yearly salary in a month, I couldn’t even.
Fiverr / Fivesquids
Basically you advertise things you can do for people for a fiver (create a logo, edit a picture, write a short article) and you earn £4 and fivesquid keeps £1. This is one of my favourite ways of making a little extra income, it might not make me loads but it takes maybe 10-20 minutes to complete a fivesquid job and that earns me £4. It soon adds up when people start paying for your gigs. I just leave mine to accumulate in there until I really need it. I sometimes earn more on there for a gig as you can also do some for £10, £20, £50 etc. and you can also create a custom order for someone.
Here’s my current revenues (I now have my best seller badge so hopefully that will lead to more):
Renting home / room
Maybe you have a spare room or a holiday home you could rent out when it’s not in use? It might be a great way to utilise something you already have to make money.
I haven’t done this myself yet but every time I read a guide on how to make money from blogging or at home, I keep reading that Ebooks are the way forward. I know so many people who make a good portion of passive income from Ebooks.
If you write an Ebook and market it well, it should keep paying off.
Here’s a guide on How to write your first Ebook in 30 days.
If you have a good eye for photography but your chronic illness means you can’t do the more physical jobs that photography leads to, you may want to consider selling stock photos as a form of passive income. On websites like Shutterstock, you can upload a library of images and sell them to people looking for photos for their website, articles, design project, books etc. and you’re not limited to how many people you can sell them to. So you can make money from the same photos over and over.
The key is to stand out and take photos that people will likely want to use for their projects. Here’s some tips for shooting better stock photography.
Saving money you already have
So you might not have a lot of money to save but it’s surprising how much money racks up over time, when you’re putting little bits of money away here and there. I’m a bit shit at saving, so I use a free service called Plum, that works through Facebook messenger. It links to your bank account and uses a fancy schmancy algorithm that analyses your spending and puts away small amounts of money for you now and again, without sending you into an overdraft. Sign up here!
How does work affect your chronic illness? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.