If you’re a call center agent, chances are, people around you think that you have no money issues. You receive way more than the minimum Philippine wage and all you have to do is wear a headset, listen to customers and talk. Or so they thought. Little did they know that this job is, by no means, an easy one. And while the paycheck is certainly higher than the standard Philippine wage (which isn’t a lot), that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s enough.
That said, wanting to earn more than what you currently earn from your call center job certainly isn’t a bad idea.
“But where to start?”, you may ask. “I don’t know anything about business. In fact, all I know is how to talk to an irate customer and I even suck at it!”
Wrong. The first lesson you need to learn when creating an extra source of income is this: never underestimate your current call center skills. No, call center isn’t a dead-end job and no, taking calls and talking to irate customers over the phone certainly aren’t your only skills.
When you work as a call center agent, you’re working for a business. That gives you insights on how the customers and the company interact, how the company provides something that customers need, how it makes money during the process, and how it keeps those customers happy to keep making money.
If you’re working for an international account, even better. This allows you to gather valuable ideas to create your own source of income catering to people outside the Philippines.
You may not be one of the decision makers in the company but that doesn’t mean you aren’t learning anything. If you want to start setting up a business or any type of income online or offline, here are 10 extra income ideas for call center agents.
10 extra income ideas for call center agents
1. Call center referrals
Well, it’s rather obvious, isn’t it? Most contact center companies (if not all) offer referral bonus to employees who can refer qualified and passing applicants to them. The highest referral I’ve seen a call center company give their employees was 25 thousand pesos and 4k pesos as the lowest. So why aren’t you doing it?
If you’re not comfortable approaching people on the street to convince them to apply to your company, you can totally do it online and you don’t have to talk to them face to face. Here are my tips when headhunting for applicants to refer:
- Join call center job hunting groups on Facebook.
- Post your company’s job hiring details, with the qualifications, salary package and location.
- When people comment to ask for information, message them, see if they’re qualified and interested to apply.
- Send them to this link for interview tips.
- Or if there’s any specific process in your company’s hiring process they should know about, inform them about it. Increase their chances of passing the interview to increase your chances of earning your referral bonus.
This month, I’m going to write a post about headhunting on Facebook. So stay tuned. 🙂
Online business/ income
“Why online?”, you may ask.
Simple. The world is going digital. Wherever you live, we’re all going digital. Nothing can stop it. It’s the internet age!
Once you start adding the internet into the equation of whatever it is you’re doing, your profit multiplies exponentially. Instead of renting a space in a mall and only being able to sell to the passersby, suddenly, you expand your territory and sell nationwide, even worldwide!
Therefore, if you are to earn good money nowadays, make no mistake of ignoring the money making potential of the internet. Internet is where opportunities sprout the most, simply because that’s where everybody is—customers waiting for you to take their money in exchange for your service. Without further ado, here are several online income and business ideas you can start building now to earn extra income.
2. Online selling
Instead of being the consumer you used to be and giving your money away to buy stuffs you probably don’t need, why not become the seller who profits from them? It’s not rocket science. It’s simple, really. Instead of buy and lose money, why not sell and make money?
- basic knowledge in computer and internet (to post, list, and advertise your products in social media)
Online selling steps:
1. Decide what kind of products to sell and look for a reliable supplier.
For example, if you want to sell clothing and you live in Manila, then you’re lucky. Go to Divisoria, Baclaran, and Tiangge in Taytay Rizal and you’ll find an unlimited supply of apparel products. You can also choose a niche where you only sell to a specific group of buyers.
If you’re a man who doesn’t know a thing about women’s clothing but an expert of men’s, or a mother who only wants to sell mother and children’s clothing, then that isn’t going to be an issue. The clothing suppliers I mentioned manufacture clothing of all ages, sizes, and gender.
2. Decide which shopping platform you want to sell in.
I recommend selling in Shopee for complete beginners, because the sales are commission-free. Unlike Lazada and Zalora who charge a certain percentage of their sellers’ sales, Shopee only earns from the shipping fees that buyers pay. Once you get the hang of selling, refunding, dealing with friendly and difficult buyers, you may then expand your online territory by adding Lazada and Zalora in. If you want to expand after that, go create your own store website. The possibilities are endless! All you gotta do is start. Right now.
As a starting guide, check out this article I wrote: How to Sell on Shopee and Earn Big Time: Everything You Need to Know.
When blogging, you need to decide what niche you want to write about. A niche is a fancy way of saying “topic”. What is the scope of topic that, after years and years of writing about it, you won’t run out of topic to write about?
For example, this blog only caters to readers working in the BPO industry and only talks stuffs about call center and BPO jobs, how to ace the interview and land the job, perform well in the workplace, and make money on the side.
If you have a lot to share about beauty and fashion, that’s another niche. Or maybe you like cooking and even take beautiful photos of foods, start brainstorming the ideas that you might want to write on a blog and see if it’s a niche fit for you.
How do blogs earn?
You write an informative article on your blog that really helps people, and when they read it, they’ll see an advertisement inserted on your blog. If a reader clicks on that ad, you earn money. What a very passive way to earn! After writing a post, provided that it does help the readers, that post is going to make you money forever.
After deciding on a niche, you can already set up your blog.
Let’s say you want to buy a new smartphone. You just don’t buy any model you set your eyes on. What’s the first thing you do? You check for reviews from real people who actually used the item. Once you click on the link they attach to their blog, you’ll be redirected to the page where you can buy it. Once you buy it, the affiliate blogger gets a commission from your sales.
The good thing about it is it doesn’t only apply to gadgets, it applies to almost any product you see online. You also don’t have to be in any specific country to earn money. You can write and operate your affiliate blog anywhere in the world and you’d earn just as much money. This is absolutely great if you love to travel but still earn.
Vlogging is just like blogging, only it is in video. If you like taking videos of your experiences and yourself and sharing them on social media, it’s about time that you don’t just get likes from them but also make money from them. Like blogging, you need to choose a niche to discuss and focus on. It doesn’t even have to be serious and informational. A lot of YouTube channels and Facebook page do comedies and people love them very much. After all, who doesn’t love to laugh?
If you love to share experiences about your life, travels, thoughts, beauty and makeup, or anything about your life you can create a lifestyle blog. Viewers usually view a lifestyle vlog because they’re interested about the vlogger’s life. Celebrities usually don’t have a problems gaining traction in their channels since people already know them. But don’t let that hinder you from creating your own lifestyle blog. You’ll start from small subscribers for sure, but if viewers like what they see, then your following will slowly, but surely grow.
And…hey, you might even go viral!
The only criteria, really, is this: make it as engaging as possible and don’t bore your audience. If you meet that requirement, you’ll have a successful vlogging career.
How vloggers earn
See the ads that play before, or sometimes in the middle, of every YouTube videos? In fact, Facebook recently copied the same tactic, inserting ads in the middle of the videos, just when viewers are engrossed in what they’re watching. Annoying, eh?
As annoying as that might be, that’s actually how most vloggers earn a living and continue making videos for you. So if you want to keep seeing your favorite vloggers, a 10-second ad probably wouldn’t hurt? 🙂
Big time vloggers earn a lot from sponsorship as it’s usually the bigger brands that approach. Brands’ product and services gain exposure in front of the vloggers’ followers, and at the same time, vloggers earn a hefty sum from it.
Of course if you’re a newbie, you’d be the one to do the approaching and your earnings might not be that high. But keep making high quality videos that engage people’s attention and you’re on your way to bigger offers.
Yes, just like blogging, you can do affiliate marketing on your videos. It’s even more effective if you mix it with blog. Unlike sponsorship, you only earn if buyers click and buy through your affiliate link. But hey, provided that you write a detailed review about an excellent product that customers would surely buy (like an iPhone!), then earning from it is truly, truly possible.
What you need
1. Basic video editing skills: Google it, there are plenty of free software out there that lets you edit your videos. All you need are time and curiosity to fuel your willingness to learn the art.
2. Set aside a time to spy other vloggers’ videos: You aren’t copying, you’re just getting inspiration on how vloggers usually shoot their videos, how they don’t run out of things to say, how they’re comfortable being on camera. There are even YouTube channels out there that’ll teach you nuts and bolts of vlogging. Watch them! And if you feel that vlogging is what you love to do, as well as earn from, then congratulations, there goes your passion figured out!
Can’t decide between vlog and blog?
Why not mix them together? Google search engine loves blogs with different medias in it, like photos, audios, and videos. This means your blog is likely gonna show up on the first page and more readers will click on it. What’s more, you’re hitting two birds with one stone. When people checkout your blog, then they’ll likely check out your embedded YouTube video as well. Double views, double earnings.
5. Sell digital products.
Perhaps you know a lot about a certain skill. Let’s say you’re a professional photographer, or you know a great deal about something, that an average person doesn’t. You can make money from it. And no, you don’t have to personally teach one by one. You can put them all in e-book, video or a combination of both, then sell them.
The good thing about it is you create your tutorial in videos and e-books once. and you’ll continuously earn money from it. You’re gonna have to make little updates here and there, but no more than that.
What you need:
- A knowledge on how to create your own videos and e-books and edit them
- If you don’t have the basic skills, it certainly doesn’t hurt to invest in yourself and take online courses. You can take them anytime, anywhere, and you don’t have to go to a physical school to learn. I recommend SkillShare and Udemy. The fee is way lower than what you would have to pay if you’re enrolling in a regular school, yet you’ll surely learn lessons that are necessary for you to succeed.
Home-based jobs: Extra income ideas for call center agents
Okay, so maybe financing a business is a bit overwhelming for you. You’d rather work as an employee but still earn extra money. After all, it’s simpler that way. But there sure are things that you’d like to change in your current situation.
For one, you don’t want to talk to customers anymore. You want a non-voice account. Second, if you could just cease seeing your TL’s grumpy face, that would be fantastic. Third, maybe you don’t want to wake up 5 hours before your shift just to make room for the traffic that would be perfect!
I’m not saying that you should leave your call center job. I’m suggesting that perhaps, it’s about time that you learn a new skill!
And no, you don’t have to go to school to do that. Think online courses. Invest in yourself, upgrade yourself and learn new skills.
You might be the top performing agent in the whole account, but there’ll come a time that you’ll want to change careers, you’ll get tired of the night shifts, or the company will go bankrupt and you go back to basic salary—anything could go wrong. Anytime.
It would be a comfort for you to know that if one job is no longer doable, then you have a set of skills where you know you can be indispensable. That said, here are online jobs that you can apply for with their corresponding needed skills:
6. English Tutor
The pay is relatively lower compared to a call center agent’s at the beginning but it goes higher the more your experience grows. Companies like RareJob and 51Talk allows fluent English speakers to work from home while tutoring people who want to speak English all around the world via video chat.
- Fluency in English
- Flexibility: ability to adjust to the student’s learning pace.
The company prepares a lesson plan for each level so you’ll know what to talk about during the chat. No particular online course has to be taken, as you’ll slowly learn the art of teaching as you go along the way and gain experiences with different students. Just make sure your English is impeccable.
7. SEO expert
Search Engine Optimization making sure that your content (video, blog or product page) appears at the first page, preferably at the top of search engines’ search results. If you’re an SEO expert, and I mean an expert, then finding a job online isn’t gonna be a problem for you. This job is one of the most in demand ones since internet was born.
The world is going online. This means that money is going online, too. People who used to buy at the malls now search Google and buy online without leaving their homes. Since buyers are now online, sellers are now online, too. That’s why, getting to the top of the page search result is a big, big accomplishment for every company, because this means, getting the most clicks, and those clicks are going to convert into sales.
Skills you need:
It’s better to pay for online courses if you want to specialize on SEO simply because SEO is a very complicated specialty and it’s one that changes constantly to keep up with Google’s algorithm (the biggest search engine in the whole world.)
If you’re someone who isn’t bothered with updates, little changes here and there to keep up with the SEO trend, then SEO is for you. Did I tell you that it pays very, very well? Look it up!
8. Virtual Assistant
Essentially, virtual assistants’ basic skills should heavily revolve around clerical skills (answering phones, scheduling appointments, and dealing with administrative tasks.
However, in this busy online world with lots of competition, it’s a big, big plus if you know the following skills:
- writing blog articles
- lead generation
- basic web development (WordPress, usually)
- editing videos
- …and many more
In short, the more, the merrier. And again, you can’t be a virtual assistant worthy of a salary if you don’t take the time and invest in order to learn a skill. So go and pay for an online course now. It’ll be worth it.
Humanatic is an online company that pays for people to listen to call recordings and categorize the calls according to the provided options. The earning is not that high (I earned $4 an hour on days with high call volume and $1 an hour on low call volume), but still a good source of income, as far as “extra income” is concerned. Don’t ever make it as your main source of income because the work isn’t consistent.
Here’s an article I wrote about Humanatic: How to Make Money from Home While Jobless: My Humanatic Experience
Offline businesses: Extra income ideas for call center agents
Online business might have shaken the usual system of how people do business but that doesn’t mean offline ways of making money is going anytime soon. For instance, if you ask a Siomai seller how much he earns a day, I can guarantee that he’s earning way more than a thousand pesos, provided that he sells in a crowded place where people pass by.
I’m not saying you should quit your call center job and sell siomai on the streets, but the fact remains that earning two income is better than one. That said, if the online way of making money isn’t your cup of tea, there sure are ways to do it the old-fashioned way. And what’s more, they are probably less complicated than building a website and learning a new skill.
10. Boarding house/ apartment business
Boarding house business is surely a profitable business if you live in a city. Students and employees who originally live from the province need a reasonably priced place to live. The closer your boarding house to shopping malls, workplaces and school, the better. What’s more, once you’ve set up the boarding house, the income is going to continuously pour in without you doing anything other than the occasional maintenance.
Here’s an article about the basics of building a boarding house business: How to Build a Boarding House Business in the Philippines
11. Leasing a coconut farm or any money making property
If you live in Mindanao where coconuts are everywhere, then you’ll have this opportunity to earn big from coconuts almost without doing anything. The keyword is “leasing” or prenda. You lease the coconut farm for an agreed period of time (mostly years), and within that specified time frame, all money earned from the farm goes to you. Once it reaches the agreed time, you’ll also get your money back.
The good thing about leasing a coconut farm is the income is passive, provided that you employ the proper methods. How exactly is it passive? Read: How to Make Money by Leasing Coconut Farms Without Breaking a Sweat.
What you can do now
Working in a call center is a decent job with a decent pay, but not every call center agent can stand the stress for the rest of their working lives. I didn’t, that’s why, after 4 years, I quit.
You may say, “But I don’t have a choice, I have a family to feed, children to send to school!”
But that’s all the more reason to start exploring options, don’t you think? Complaining isn’t enough. Action, no matter how small, is a step forward.
What you need to do now is to upgrade yourself. Learn a new skill, even pay for an online course, and save to build your capital. It’s an investment. We go to school to land a job, why not pay for something that you know will enable you to reap promising returns in the future?
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