One of the most popular online income ideas you will come across is data entry, and you probably never thought you could make passive income from it. Data entry is perceived as such a long daunting task. But it can actually be done passively and you can make good money from it.
Can you make passive income from data entry? You can make passive income from data entry if you make your data entry business passive. Instead of manually copy/pasting information, you can use tools like macros, scripts, API integrations, and scrapers to automate the work. Instead of being paid an hourly wage to manually copy/paste information, you can get paid much more ongoing or per project.
If you play your cards right, you could earn a good living from this kind of service, especially if you decide to outsource part of the work. If you want to make money off data entry without having to sit in front of a computer all day feeding numbers into spreadsheets, here is how you can do it.
Choosing Your Ideal Client
Before you get started, think about who your ideal customer would be. Would you like to work with small businesses or large corporations? What departments would you like to serve? What industries interest you the most? What are your current skill sets and how can you stand out from the crowd?
Knowing these things will help you niche down and provide fair pricing depending on your skillset and the demand in that market. Although it may be tempting to take on any job in the beginning, keep in mind that you have the choice of deciding who you want to work with.
Gathering The Necessary Tools
Data entry jobs require that you have certain software to facilitate the process. We will talk about some ways to automate data entry and some tools you can use for that, but for now, just keep in mind that you will probably need some software. Some companies might even require that you fill in the data online on their own platforms. Be aware of this before getting started as not using your own tools may limit your capacity to make passive income.
There are some basic things you will need such as an internet connexion, a billing system and payment options for your customers to pay you. You may also want to make a landing page that showcases your talents. Make the process even more passive by allowing customers to purchase your services directly from that page. Having your own site will also save you platform fees which you would pay if you use a peer-to-peer service to find clients. Fortunately, these tools do not cost much, and there is a very good chance you have them already.
Making Data Entry Passive
Most people see data entry as copy/pasting information to an Excel spreadsheet. It does not have to be that way. You can spend way less time and charge more for the value of your work, rather than getting paid for an hourly wage.
1. Macros & Scripts
A macro is a piece of code that follows a rule, pattern, task or sequence mapped out according to a defined procedure. Therefore, it is a piece of code that can automate and run the tasks that you normally have to carry out manually. Instead of you doing the same job over and over to enter data to a spreadsheet, for example, you can create macros scripts to run those jobs for you automatically. You do not have to be a programmer in order to do so, although advanced macros will require more extensive knowledge. Watch the video to learn more about macros in Excel.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6Lg5t4OlZ4
2. API Integrations
This requires more extensive programming knowledge, so if development is not your forte, read the next section on automation software. However, if you are a developer, these types of API Integrations to automate data transfer and entry are currently an incredible business opportunity.
If you are looking for a way to make monthly recurring revenue as a developer, creating bridges between apps can be an excellent way to make money on a regular basis by providing connections between apps that people and businesses need. Apps need API bridges to expand their offers and provide more services. Businesses need these connexions to automate data entry from one database to another.
For example, Ecwid eCommerce integrates with POS systems, and Amazon and eBay via third-party apps in Ecwid’s app market. Such powerful integrations allow merchants to seamlessly sell in-store and online. The client who makes a purchase on Amazon is directly added to the POS while inventory is updated in the POS. If a sale is made in-store, the information is updated on the store’s site and on Amazon. These powerful integrations reduce the need for human interaction, lowering costs and saving time. As a developer, you can charge a monthly recurring cost to offer these integrations as a SAAS solution.
3. Automation Software
Automation software allows any users (no need for programming skills) to create automations between apps. Our favorite tool for this is Zapier. We use it for our online store. When an order is made via our Ecwid eCommerce store, Zapier takes the order information and sends it to Freshbooks automatically for easy accounting tracking. This integration avoids manual data entry and saves us copious amounts of time. Zapier integrates with over 1,500 apps including Google Sheets, Slack, Trello, Hubspot, WordPress, YouTube, PipeDrive and more. And it is very easy to set up!
4. Data Extraction Software
Web scrapers and data extraction tools allow you to extract data from websites. Web scrapers can be run right within browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Explorer. There are many web-scraping software tools out there, but you need to be sure to be using them for a legitimate reason, otherwise what you are doing may be illegal.
Remember that your ultimate goal is to create a passive income off data entry jobs. One way to make data entry as passive as possible is to eventually outsource the work. Outsourcing consists of hiring people remotely to carry out tasks for your business.
You will have to screen potential candidates properly so that they can do a job that meets the needs of your clients. Otherwise, you should also appoint one of them to be in charge of your operations so that the business can run without the need for your input. But at first, you will have to invest some time into running the business yourself to find your ideal market, to set up your processes and pricing, test them, and improve. Here are some ways you can automate data entry idea even further.
Getting Clients at Start
Here are some ways you can build your client list when you are first starting out.
Making a Portfolio Website
To create passive income from data entry, you should think of this side hustle as a business. One way to do this is to launch a website to promote your services. When looking for clients, they will have greater confidence in your services when they can look through your site and see that you are a serious data entry service provider. Address all the problems your target customers have and explain how you resolve them.
A website is not a build it and they will come product. You will probably need to promote your business in order to get customers. With proper marketing, you can get the clients you are looking for. If you defined your target market precisely, you can run ads to your site directly targeting these people on Facebook or Linkedin. Email is also a way to reach out to potential customers, but it may not be as effective or appreciated depending on how you obtained your list. Be sure to respect emailing laws if you reach out to people who did not provide you their email directly.
One way to get clients quickly without a site or reach out is by joining marketplace platforms that offer data entry work. As it was mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are many marketplaces for freelance jobs. Some are better than others. Fiverr is an excellent place to start. Once you upload your service offers, you can get direct projects and even negotiating your own deals with the client without the need for your own website to act as a go-between. You can eventually work with the clients off the platform, but this is frowned upon or can even get you banned on some platforms.
Job Listing Sites
You can find companies or clients that will let you do data entry jobs as a freelancer on job listing sites. You can get a lot of work this way if you are lucky to land such gigs. Again, this brings up the need to have your own portfolio website focused on providing this service. A company with a lot of work to offer you will have more confidence in the services you and your team can provide if you have a clear website. The more it talks about how you resolve their pains and understand their specific market needs, the better.
Understand that some job offers may want to interview and screen you, sometimes by phone. Generally, they will want to know if you can meet their conditions and requirements. Therefore, you should understand what the data entry job you are seeking entails as you apply for these positions to ensure that your applications are successful. But in addition to the technical skills required to perform the job, they will also need to know whether you can meet deadlines and work without supervision.
If you created an integration between two popular applications, working with both platforms to promote your integration is one way to get the word out about your product. Some things you could coordinate with their marketing team include blog posts, digital downloads, and email marketing campaigns. Also, be sure to be listed in their app marketplace for more visibility. Make sure to add a landing page about your app integration to your own website.
How Much can You Make with Passive Data Entry?
How much you make from data entry will mostly depend on the project, the client, the market, the complexity, and the method, but you can make a couple hundred dollars or monthly recurring revenue depending on the type of service you are offering.
For example, you could easily get paid .10 cents per lead extracted in an Excel spreadsheet. Depending on the information you are extracting (make sure do be doing this legally) a scraper automate the work, making you $500 for 5000 leads, with setup of only a couple of minutes.
If you create an API bridge between two apps, you can charge a monthly recurring fee to clients for the integration. Depending on the level of ongoing service you offer, the type of integration and it’s complexity, you can charge between $5 and over $250. If you offer an API integration between two apps to 10 clients for $50/month, you can make $500/month. The initial setup takes a lot of time, but ongoing maintenance should be less time-consuming.
How Passive is Data Entry?
Setting up a passive data entry business is not passive. It will demand a lot of work, skill, trial, and error. If you create API integrations, it will take a lot of time to setup. However, once you have found your target market and have a repeatable process in place, you can outsource the rest of the work and make passive income. This can be very passive if you are not manually entering data, and, instead, using some of the automated techniques we cover above.
Data entry can be very scalable depending on the type of service you are offering. If you are carrying out data entry manually, copy/pasting information to spreadsheets, well, that is not passive nor scalable at all. However, if you are offering API integrations for popular apps, this can be very very scalable depending on the number of users you can acquire. If the target market for your integration is international, you can easily scale your business and make stable monthly recurring revenue.
Data entry is not an expensive business to start. Even without any capital, you can get started since all you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a few basic software tools. Some are free, most are fairly cheap. Even making your own website is cheap these days, especially if you use Wix or Ecwid to sell online. So, there is little to worry about as far as the cost of running this business is concerned.
Data entry is not difficult. Even using automation software is not very difficult for beginners. However, API integrations are more advanced and do require development skills. Making the business passive will take time and effort, as you have to set up a website, get screened by your potential employers, and screen and interview the people who will keep your business operation running so that it can make it into a passive source of income.
You will have to be a little patient as you get into this line of work because you will need a bit of time before it takes off. You will have to decide on your target market, choose your area of expertise, develop your processes, make sure your processes are automated and outsource. Potential clients will not hire you without ensuring you are up to the task they will to pay you for, so you will have to create your profile and maybe even a website. Similarly, you will need time to recruit the people who will be working for you once you set up your own data entry business. This all takes time. Depending on your dedication, skill, and execution, it can take a couple months to years to fully set up and automate.
There could be some seasonality involved in data entry depending on the industry you choose. However, overall this is a service that is required by businesses at any time of the year. So this should not be seasonal, but be attentive to this factor when choosing a target market.
Running a data entry business is not the riskiest job, however, you do need to make sure you comply with some regulations. Talk to a qualified lawyer in your area if you have any questions related to processes or data extraction methods.
There is also the risk of failing to create a successful operation as you will have to put some effort into getting clients who can provide you with a good supply of work. But even then, you will not lose much, other than time, as the business does not require much money to start.
Return on Investment
As far as passive income streams go, making money through data entry work offers pretty good ROI. Firstly, you don’t have to invest much to get into this business. The software you will use is not very expensive. You do not have to charge per hour if you are using data automation tools to extract and build data. You can charge per project, per line of data, or per month depending on the type of service you are offering. Therefore, you will have very little expenses and yet have the potential for pretty good profits.
How can I make data entry passive? You can make data entry more passive by using online tools like macros, scripts, API connexions, import/export software, integrations, scrapers, and automation software to automate the work. Instead of being paid an hourly wage to manually copy/paste information, you can get paid much more money ongoing or per project.
Can a phone or a tablet handle data entry work? A phone or tablet can handle data entry work to some extent. However, you will face limitations since some of the software designed for this work (macros, extraction tools etc) offer more features and better functionality when used on a desktop platform.
Do I decide the hours or does the client make that decision? Usually, you get to decide the hours, although you will often need to communicate with your clients to let them know when you will be available to work on their projects. Otherwise, you can discuss with clients and come to an agreement as to the deadlines you should meet, and it’s up to you to find the time to do such work in order to meet those deadlines.