Employee or Contractor?

Do you know the difference between an  independent contractor and an employee? The status affects how you are taxed.

If you are an employee, your employer must withhold income taxes. They must also withhold and pay Social Security, Medicare taxes, and unemployment taxes on your behalf. As an independent contractor – you are personally responsible for these things.

If you own your own company, it is critical to understand the difference between the two and why one might be better for specific roles you need to fill to avoid financial penalties.

Independent Contractors:

Independent contractors are self-employed. They are contracted for a specific task. They typically set their own hours, and often work for multiple businesses at one time. Since they are self-employed, you are not responsible for their taxes or benefits.
At year end, you are responsible to provide contractors a 1099-MISC (Copy B), and to report payments made in excess of $600 per calendar year. You are also responsible for filing the corresponding 1099-MISC (Copy A) with the IRS.

Independent contractors are often paid more per hour because of their expertise in the job you are hiring them for. Since you don’t have to pay for benefits or taxes, contractors are still often more cost efficient.

In order to determine if the person you work qualifies as a contractor, the IRS has 3 questions:

Behavioral: Do you have the right to control how, when and where a worker does their job?

Financial: do you control how a worker is paid – reimburse expenses and pay for supplies?

Type of relationship: Is there a written contract or implied permanent status? Do you provide employee-type benefits such as insurance or 401(k)? Is the work that is performed a core business practice?

The IRS looks at the entire package. The law presumes workers are employees unless they meet strict legal requirements that establish someone as an independent contractor.


Employees are hired directly by your business. You set their hours and their duties. It is likely you provide them a workspace (or give them permission to work remotely), and the tools to complete their job. YouR responsibility is to withhold taxes from their paycheck, employment taxes, and any benefits your company offers.

At year end, your business provides them a W-2 form to report wages and the payroll taxes withheld from that compensation. Employers must mail W-2 forms to their employees by January 31 of the following calendar year.

It is important that as a business owner you fully understand the difference between these two types of workers. A misclassification can cause you financial  issue, and a big headache.

Data Entry

Do you have great typing skills, an affinity for computer programs, and can sit in place and concentrate for extended periods of time?  You may want to consider freelance Data Entry.

Many businesses need people to simply enter or transfer different types of data into their various systems.  Data that might be used to track inventory, shipments, billing, personal records, measure performance or output, or simply for required storage . 

Data Entry

Data entry jobs usually consist of receiving data via paper or computer – and transferring it into either a standardized form, document or spreadsheet. Having fast and accurate typing skills is a definite plus, as time is usually of the essence in entry projects.  If your skills are rusty, Keybr is an online tool to practice your typing and increase your speed.

Many data entry jobs are able to be done remotely, and on a flexible schedule.  As a freelancer, you will need to have an up to date computer set up to accept jobs.  A dual screen would be a huge advantage, but not necessary.  Two monitors side by side can be a huge time saver, allowing you to more easily transfer information from one document to another. Data entry work is often paid by the piece, so you’ll want to utilize the tools that help you work quickly.

You can create accounts on bid sites offering your services.  Sites like this often pay little, as clients go there to bid on jobs, and many accounts will work for ridiculously cheap rates to gain business.  However, often once you do quality work with a client a couple of times they will keep you and pay your asking rate.



Amazon MTurk 




Some companies specifically hire for remote data entry jobs in one format or another. Some will require you to train onsite before cutting you loose to work from home. Others may require proof of your words-per-minute (wpm) via typing test.  Listed are a sampling of companies with current listings.

Cass Information Systems

The Smart Crowd 

Dion Data 

Xerox data entry jobs

Data entry opportunities are also sometimes available on job boards. Listings change often, so check back regularly, or set up email notifications.




If working remotely and being able to be accurate over long periods of time is your thing, then this might be a great way to make side cash.  Don’t expect that data entry will make you a lot of money, but a few hundred dollars a month might be worth the time spent.

Become a Translator

Did you know? You can become a translator without a degree or ever studying translation. The most important requirement for translators is fluency in at least 2 languages.

Become a Translator
Become a Translator

Specific jobs and certain types of translation, such as sworn translation, may require a Bachelor’s degree. There are also specific trainings and certifications available that can make getting, and doing the job much easier. If you want to work as a translator in the US, you might consider becoming ATA certified. This is a highly regarded credential that can improve your chances of finding higher paying translation jobs.

If you have a degree or experience in a specialized field, This could be a great way to stand out. As an expert in your field already, it can give you an advantage over a generalized translator. 

A high number of translators are freelancers who work remotely. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, a good, full-time translator job can earn you upwards of $90k.

You can start finding jobs for freelance translators on sites such as fiverr.com or Upwork.com

Get paid to answer Questions

Ever had a specific question you needed an answer for and didn’t know exactly where to turn?  There are several websites specifically built for this reason, beyond the obvious “ask Alexa”.

You can become the person to get paid to answer questions if you have a license, credentials, or have an affinity and knowledge towards a particular subject.


Sites like JustAnswer.com , where you can  ask a question to verified doctors, lawyers, vets, mechanics, and more online.  Best of all, you can ask questions and get answers within minutes, 24/7, without wasting time on hold or in a waiting room.

JustAnswer will match your question with the most qualified Expert available. You get unlimited back and forth until your question is answered for a fraction of an in-person appointment.

There are no scheduled shifts. 

You can make your own hours and work only when you want.  JustAnswer pays Experts every month via Paypal. 

Adept at Electronics?

FixYa.com  is a community based troubleshooting resource that provides consumer generated, practical product tips to help others get answers on over 19 million products. Fixya is a place where you can share real experiences and provide practical advice. 

From fixing cars, to cameras, to mobile devices, Fixya empowers over 30 million monthly visitors to repair and improve upon products they already own.


StudyPool.com is a great option for education related questions and tutoring. 

Students post detailed questions.  Tutors are recommended based on the subject question. Messages made through Studypool’s chat feature, and they pay at the conclusion of the chat.

Tutors are on a bidding system, and the hours are completely flexible. Studypool makes getting paid easy for tutors. Payment transactions are made via Paypal or Transferwise.

Business Consulting

Join maven.co to profit from your knowledge and connections, network with other smart professionals. Profit from what you know. A “microconsulting” platform puts real value on your knowledge and gives you the power to manage your own private and secure professional network. You decide with whom to connect and consult and what types of opportunities are appropriate for you.

In just a few flexible hours a month, you can make some pocket money by utilizing the knowledge already in your head!

Monetizing your Blog

Have you always wondered how blogs actually make money?  No, it’s not just from sitting and writing.  There is a strategy to monetizing the work that comes from the writing. Let’s look at how to go about monetizing your blog:

Once you have built a blog that has a good number of followers, consider involving other companies and brands to make it mutually profitable by monetizing your blog.

Typewriter Monetize your blog

Google Adsense

Google will provide you a code to copy and paste onto your website. You get paid any time someone clicks on your ads and/or makes a purchase.

Text Links

A text link is a highlighted word you can click on in a web article to take you to another web page. There are many companies who are willing to pay for you to link from your website to theirs.

Sponsored Posts

With a sponsored post, a company pays you to talk about their product or service on their website. I recommend only promote companies you believe in and feel good about. Otherwise, you most likely won’t build trust with your readers.

Affiliate Marketing

By adding affiliate links to your website, companies or services will pay you to promote them by using pre-made ads and clickable banners provided by them. You will be paid for each completed transaction originating from your unique link.

Display Ads

With display ads, you actually get paid based on the number of times your ads are viewed. For that reason, these ads will work best for websites with a huge viewership.

Side Hustles and the IRS

Nearly one third of Americans are now earning extra money on the side.  But when working as an independent, do you know that you are responsible for paying taxes?

If you don’t receive a W-2 from an employer, you must self-report any additional income to the IRS. 


Failure to report earned income from any source is tax fraud. If you don’t report income on your jobs, and you are audited, you could incur a penalty equal to 0.5 percent of your unpaid taxes PLUS the back taxes and interest. In addition, you could be assessed a penalty equal to 20% of the underpayment if it is determined that you purposely underreported your income and tax liability. 

Make sure to keep receipts for any expenses you might incur from your jobs. You may be able to minimize your tax bill by taking advantage of tax deductions.

Medical Transcription

Becoming a Medical transcriptionist can be a flexible job that offers the possibility of working in a structured office environment or from home.   A Medical Transcriptionist translates recorded dictation from physicians into written reports. 

There are no formal requirements for this job other than a high school diploma. However, certification training can make you a more competitive candidate.

The majority of your time is spent listening to doctors’ dictation and transcribing that information into written form. 45 words per minute allows you to transcribe quickly and accurately.  You can practice and test your typing speed on typing websites.

Earn a Certificate in medical transcription. Anything more than a high school diploma is not required to become a medical transcriptionist, however, further education in medical transcription will help you learn the medical terminology that is part of the job, and give you a competitive edge in the job market.

There are two certifications available to medical transcriptionists: Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS). Both exams are offered online.

One of the benefits of becoming a medical transcriptionist is that many physicians and hospitals will allow you to work from home. This option will give you the most flexibility. You’ll need a good computer, internet, transcription software and a foot-pedal to start and stop the recordings you are transcribing without having to lift your hands off the keyboard.

“Make your side hustle sizzle with Bacon”

The Bacon Work on Demand app makes it easy to find a “side gig” anytime, anywhere. Bacon connects employers to pre-qualified, available candidates who will work on-demand for as little as one shift. People looking to pick up side jobs can pick and choose a shift for extra cash.

Employers can post shifts, pay and job requirements when they have a need, and then choose the person best suited for the job. Potential employees search for work in their area and apply via the app. After the shift is done, employers and employees rate each other.

Employers benefit by saving the time and expense of interviewing from an agency, or online ads. Bacon can easily conduct background checks needed for any job level and safety requirements.

Bacon is currently in several states and has plans to expand quickly across the U.S.  Many large companies are already utilizing this platform to find temporary workers.

Teach English

Teach English online with VIPKid

This is a website that connects teachers with Chinese students. The hours are flexible, and you can earn up to $22/hour – making it a great online side hustle job. Teach one-on-one with students in China using their platform and custom curriculum.  No making lesson plans!  VIPKid offers full English immersion for students, so there’s no need to know any Chinese either.

All you need is a bachelor’s degree in any field, and experience teaching children. You don’t need to be a certified teacher, you just need experience working with children, which can include:

Raising children

Teaching Bible study

Working at a daycare or YMCA



To start – you will apply, then go through an interview process and practice lesson. you will also need to meet a few technology requirements:

A computer with an HD Camera and a headset with a microphone

Internet connection with at least 20 mbps

You can sign on for a 6-month minimum commitment, but during that time, you can work as much or as little as you’d like.  You set your schedule.

You can also earn a $50 referral fee for teachers who are successfully hired. You get your own referral code to share.

Are you really an Entrepreneur?

The buzzword for 2019 is Entrepreneur, and most people working for themselves categorize what they do in this light.  But – are you really?  Here is a breakdown of the subtle differences that defines your working style.  All of these are extremely important, and business in today’s environment can’t easily function without each and every one.

The term Solopreneur is often interchanged with the word Entrepreneur, but there are distinct differences. If you are a business with no intention of ever adding staff, or scaling into a larger company, you are most likely a Solopreneur.  The differences between Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs can be subtle, especially since some Entrepreneurs do often work alone until they can build their businesses enough to add a team of employees.

An Entrepreneur works hard to build a business but isn’t necessarily attached to the company or concept. Most Entrepreneurs build their businesses with the hope that a larger company will offer a financial buyout once it grows and then move on to the next business idea.

Another difference between the two is that an Entrepreneur may run several businesses while a Solopreneur focuses on their single passion projects.

An Entrepreneur may function as the face of their company, networking and chasing clients – leaving their team to do the day to day work.

Solopreneurs can also be networkers, but divide their time between client meetings and performing the work themselves.

Have you heard of the Intrapreneur?  This can be described as an inside Entrepreneur, or an Entrepreneur within a larger firm, who uses entrepreneurial skills without incurring the risk. Intrapreneurs foster innovation within the company they work for. So although many people dream of starting their own businesses, not everyone is cut out for this – and being employed by someone else offers advantages, from health insurance and matching retirement contributions to a regular schedule.

Now – we come to the Side Hustler.  And we all know that the ultimate goal of most Side Hustlers is to build their side gig(s) to become their main gig, quit the day to day grind and become the true definition of Entrepreneur.  Most Side hustlers want to make a little extra money in the month.  Many do, but often the tasks necessary to building a thriving, long-term business conflict with the time limitations and immediate financial results that Side-hustlers are looking for.  Building a viable business that can be considered Entrepreneurial requires you to work on short-term, revenue-generating tasks, as well as long-term, momentum-building items. Their are definitely Side Hustlers that have turned their side gig into a full revenue generating company with employees over time.

So how would you categorize your working style?