How to Make Money at Home Using Microsoft Excel
There are numerous ways to make money from home using Microsoft Excel. It is a very powerful tool, and most people only know a fraction of its functions. You can make a decent side income by creating spreadsheets for small businesses or teaching others how to use the program for themselves. You can make anywhere between $300–$500 a month by updating and maintaining around 8–10 spreadsheets and helping with other minor computer issues.
It doesn't take a state-of-the-art computer to run Excel. You can purchase a modest laptop and include the cost when selling your service to a small business.
Create Spreadsheets for Small Businesses
You would think that most established businesses already have computer systems installed with software to run their operation, but you would be surprised at the number of old-fashioned businesses that are still around. These are usually very small companies that are often owned by an older person who may be computer illiterate and reluctant to switch over from their familiar book system. Some people simply don't understand how beneficial technology is to their lives and their company. These are the kind of people you need to approach. You can convince them that computers are not just complex machines, but a useful tool to make our lives easier.
Here are three examples of small businesses to approach:
1. Rental Agents and Landlords
There are many small real estate agencies and landlords that only deal with paper. They often have plastic folders full of pictures and scrappy notes. A good money-making idea that you can do from home would be to approach them (with your laptop in-hand) and present a sample spreadsheet. Before approaching them, you could also embed a picture of their properties into the spreadsheet to make it look even more impressive. I have successfully created spreadsheets for three small rental companies in the UK.
What to include in the spreadsheet:
- tenant name
- contact details
- move in date
- payment type
- paid (yes/no)
- late payment reminders
2. Mechanics and Used Car Dealerships
In one particular area in Birmingham, UK, I saw six used car garages without computer systems. They had old cars, an old office and a very old owner, but there's no excuse not to have a new computer system. I didn't get involved with this business since I already had a number of projects to do with the rental agencies, however, a colleague of mine at the time designed two spreadsheets for a car dealership—one was a cost calculator and the other was a database for customer details.
What to include in the spreadsheet:
- cost of car
- year made
- MOT (if in the UK)
- exterior condition
- interior condition
- recommended selling price
3. Hobby and Craft Shops
These are some of the most unorganized shops I have ever seen. Many owners are simply not interested in introducing technology into their business. However, with a little convincing, a simple money-making idea such as an invoicing spreadsheet can make their lives much easier. Their accounting probably consists of loose papers for separate items filed away in drawers. I have made money in the past by introducing simple ledger systems from templates I didn't even make myself.
The Trick to Making Steady Side Income
To sell your services to these small businesses, you will need to impress them enough for them to accept and buy your work, however, at the same time, you mustn't give too much. To keep making money, you need to allow for improvements and maintenance in your work. That way, the business will continuously ask you for updates which will allow you to make further money. For example, a small rental agency may expand its business with different types of properties and clients which would require you to make changes to the spreadsheet. Of course, there will be some periods of drought when no maintenance or upgrades are necessary, however, this comes and goes in waves.
Charge Money for Private Lessons in Excel
If you are proficient enough in Excel, why not earn money by teaching it to others? There are thousands of people, mainly middle-aged, who would pay for lessons because going through a manual is too troublesome. You could easily advertise your services on Craigslist or any other similar classified ads section. This can make a perfect a side job. Simply offer the first trial lesson at a discount, or even for free, to get clients rushing in. If you are confident in your skill, then you will not need any specialized certificates.
Get Creative with Other Microsoft Programs
Money can just as easily be made using other Microsoft programs:
PowerPoint: I have created presentations for international moving companies. Moving household items from one country to the next is a large process, and people feel comfortable when they can see a visual plan of what will happen to their belongings.
Word or Outlook: Many small companies would greatly from a letter or email merging tool using Microsoft Word or Outlook. You'll be surprised at how many small offices have a computer, but hardly use any of its functions to assist them in their business.
Web Design: If you have computer and web knowledge outside of Microsoft Office, go a step further by designing websites. There are numerous website hosts out there that cost only $6–8 dollars a month with a one-time setup fee of $10–15. Not only that, there are hundreds of professional templates to use. You could have a website for a simple small business done in hours. Approach small business directly with a small portfolio or example of what you can offer. Have a look at what the professional web designers are charging—you could charge a quarter of the price and still make a reasonable profit for an easy side income.