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You like people, but would rather work alone. You have your own pace and your own way of doing things. You don’t like shared responsibility, being part of a team, or even “networking” or self-promotion.
If you can relate, you’re probably an introvert like me, at least to some degree. Sadly, as much as you would like to spend your days working by yourself, you still have to get out there among the people to make a living.
Or do you?
Maybe not. I’m lying in my bed alone as I write this. Creating articles for blogs is an obvious choice if you prefer to work alone, but maybe you’re not a writer.
Fortunately there are many other ways for introverts to make money, including the following, which I’ve divided into four basic categories of income, starting with…
Jobs for Introverts
A recent study shows that introverts have much less job satisfaction than extroverts. That’s not surprising since most jobs involve working with customers, coworkers, or both. Even worse, the same study shows that income is much lower for introverts versus extroverts.
Fortunately there are positions that allow you to spend most of your time alone. Some of them even pay above-average salaries. Here are a few examples.
1. Night Watchman
As a security guard in Florida a few years back, I enjoyed quiet night shifts most of all. I spent my time alone in a golf cart, riding around watching alligators or taking breaks at the beach.
A friend had a night watchman job where he was even encouraged to read to stay awake between hourly rounds.
The biggest problem with these positions is the pay, which averages just $12.39 per hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For better pay, we move on…
Want to go on a treasure hunt for minerals and oil? Become a geoscientist. The BLS says the median annual pay is close to $90,000, and the work can involve “extensive travel to remote locations.” Alone, much of the time. You’ll also spend a fair amount of time alone in front of a computer, or in a laboratory.
Steve Fuller is Yellowstone National Park’s winter caretaker. He says he gets to read a lot, and enjoys being alone, hours away from the nearest store (by snowmobile).
Positions in isolated areas are not common, but most caretaking work is done alone. You can check CaretakerJobs.com and the Caretaker Gazette for openings, but you’ll have to sift through unpaid or poorly-paid house-sitting jobs to find the better opportunities.
What would you do as an archivist? According to the BLS you would “Appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents.” Doing some research is typical too, but you’ll be alone in quiet rooms most of the time, and the median annual wage is over $50,000.
Observe the skies, mostly alone. Record and interpret data, again, alone. Your loneliness will be compensated with a median annual wage of $104,740, but you’ll probably need a Ph.D. in astronomy to get hired.
6. Night Stocker
Not ready to spring for that Ph.D? An obvious job for a loner without a degree is stocking shelves in the middle of the night.
For statistical purposes this falls under “store clerks” in BLS data, which shows a median annual wage of just $23,840. You might do a little better than that because many stores pay a “shift differential” (a higher wage) for late shifts.
7. Forest Fire Lookout
If being alone in the wilderness sounds good to you, consider becoming a lookout. You can find open positions posted on the website of the Forest Fire Lookout Association.
These jobs are typically seasonal and have an irregular schedule. For example, a current listing on the FFLA website is for a lookout in Glacier National Park from spring to fall, working 10 days on and 4 days off. There are also many volunteer positions, which could provide the experience needed to get a paid position.
8. Telecommuting Jobs
The data shows more employers are offering employees the option to work at home. This is especially true for customer service positions, where all you need is a phone and a computer.
You do have to work with customers, but it isn’t in person, and you won’t have to deal with coworkers or workplace drama. Before you consider this option, read my post on the pros and cons of working at home.
Businesses for Introverts
You might think being in business involves a lot of social interaction, and that is a part of some businesses, but not all. Here are some good examples of business and self-employment opportunities that let you spend most of your time alone.
9. Vending Machine Route
When you own vending machines you typically don’t interact with people too often. You run your route regularly to fill the machines take out the money (go early to avoid crowds). You can order supplies online or buy them locally.
The difficult part for an introvert is the sales work needed to place the machines in the first place. Fortunately, if you want to avoid this part, you can use the services of a company that places vending machines for you.
10. Book Author
I was paid a nice advance to write 101 Weird Ways to Make Money, and I did my research and writing at home. But I hated negotiating with the publisher, discussing content decisions with editors, and making TV appearances.
To avoid that unpleasantness you can self-publish paperbacks for a few hundred dollars or e-books for almost nothing. Over the years I’ve sold thousands of copies of both types (various titles no longer available), and I never once talked to a single person to do so (other than by email).
Open a Kindle publisher account as an easy way to get started at no cost.
11. Blogger and Website Publisher
My wife and I used to have dozens of websites generating thousands of dollars monthly for many years. Our niches ranged from literature to brainpower to removing carpet stains and lightweight backpacking. Most of what we made came from Google AdSense — one of the easiest ways to monetize traffic.
Everything was done from home. This is a tougher business to succeed at now, but it’s one that requires very little capital and it’s ideal if you like to work alone at home.
If you want to get started on a blog, Frugal For Less has partnered with Bluehost to give you a special deal of $3.95 on hosting. Not only that, but you also get a free domain your first year, something that would normally cost you around $10.
12. Online Store
Selling isn’t so bad for an introvert, at least when it’s done online. Almost everything can be automated, and customer service can be handled exclusively by email.
There are several “store” options depending on what you decide to sell. For example, you can open an eBay store to sell almost anything. If you make crafts of some sort you can sell what you make in an Etsy store.
13. Search Engine Evaluation
Being a search engine evaluator is a job more than a business, but you’re an independent contractor, not an employee. Basically you look at (or listen to) search engine results and rate how relevant they are.
I made $13.50 per hour doing this very tedious work. I liked that I never talked to anyone to get hired, I worked when I wanted for a few minutes or a few hours, and did all the work alone, at home in my pajamas. These companies hire search engine evaluators:
14. Other Freelance Work
Freelance work falls under the category of “business” because you’re self-employed, and not an employee. There are many types of freelance work that don’t require much social interaction.
Investments for Introverts
Making money by investing is ideal for introverts, because so many investments don’t require much, if any, human interaction. Some do require a certain amount of negotiation, while other aspects, like management, can be done by yourself. Here are some examples of investments for introverts.
15. Fixer-Upper Homes
Extroverts who love to talk to people may find better deals when buying homes to flip, but you can still make plenty of money without those sales skills. Just make low offers until you buy something, and then let a real estate agent sell the place once you’ve fixed it up.
My wife and I have bought and sold several properties without ever meeting the sellers or the buyers. We’ve closed many deals by signing e-contracts online, form the comfort of home.
16. Rental Real Estate
When investing in rental properties the crucial decisions are yours alone. There’s no need to confer with partners or team members.
And if you really don’t like dealing with tenants, don’t worry; there are businesses that will do that for you. When my wife and I owned a condo rental in Florida, we hired management, and we never once met our tenant.
17. Online Real Estate Investments
If you really want to avoid all human contact and still invest in real estate, you might consider new online platforms like Fundrise or RealtyShares. They find and fund the projects using a money invested by you and many other investors. You never have to leave the house.
18. Stocks and Bonds
Find a low-cost online stock broker, open an account, and start investing. You’ll never have to even pick up the phone. You can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and much more from the quiet anonymity of your home.
19. Online Loans
I’ve been investing in consumer loans for years using Lending Club. Another peer-to-peer lending platform you can use is Prosper. Invest as little as $25 in each loan, and choose them one-by-one or automate the process.
Others claim to get 10% returns and higher, but my 3% to 8% annual returns are at least better than a bank account, and I’ve never had to contact a borrower.
20. Music Royalties
Want to share in the money made by famous performers, but without getting up there on the stage? Buy into their royalty streams.
Artists sometimes sell a portion of the royalties from a song in order to raise money (perhaps for a house, or whatever). New platforms like Royalty Exchange make it possible to bid on these royalty streams online from the privacy of your home.
Other Ways for Introverts to Make Money
Some ways of making money don’t fit the usual definitions of “job,” “business” or “investment.” We’ll call these “money-making projects.”
These projects usually have a natural beginning and end, making them perfect as a secondary source of income that fits your schedule. Here are some that also let you work alone.
21. Make a Batch of Something to Sell
I once spent a few weeks making walking sticks. I was alone when harvesting trees and carving my creations, but after I had made hundreds of them I did have to sell them.
To avoid too much time with customers, do what I did; sell your crafts wholesale. After I grew tired of craft shows and flea markets, I sold the sticks by the dozen to a guy who dressed them up further to sell at gun shows and pow-wows. Then I sold the last 60 to a flea market vendor.
22. Go on a Treasure Hunt
Treasure hunting can take many forms, but we’ll loosely define it as searching for free things you can sell for a profit. For example, I once collected enough discarded soda cans to make $1,700 turning them in for the deposit (check here to see if your state has a deposit law). It was over a period of months, but it was still a nice extra income.
In the past we’ve covered other ways to make money treasure hunting ranging from gold panning to exploring old buildings to rummage sale prospecting. Watch for more treasure hunting posts here.
23. Go Garbage Picking
We’ve previously covered dumpster diving and garbage picking, which are typically solitary pursuits by nature (and due to embarrassment). I couldn’t count the number of times in my life I’ve sold something plucked from the trash, but I’m a small-timer. Dumpster diver Matt Malone says he could make six figures if he engaged in his hobby full-time.
24. Earn Bank Bonuses
I make thousands of dollars from bank bonuses, and rarely leave the house to do so. I just open an account online, meet the necessary requirements, and collect the bonus. When I’m ready I look for another opportunity.
To learn how it’s done read my post on bank bonuses.
25. Buy and Sell Cars
You might think you need to know a lot about cars and have an outgoing personality to make money flipping used cars. But the way I did it is easier for an introvert; find a partner.
In the past I’ve teamed up with two different guys who know cars and know how to sell. They found the cars, negotiated the purchase, arranged for repairs, and sold the cars for a profit. I just put up the necessary cash and took half of the profit.
Project started… project ended a couple weeks later. I did it when I felt like it, said no when I didn’t feel like it, never met a seller, and never met a buyer.
26. Take Surveys Online
While taking online surveys isn’t often the highest-paying option, I can sometimes earn anywhere between $10 – $15 per hour depending on the survey site.
Keep in mind that most survey sites only have a few good surveys at a time, meaning you’ll have to rotate through multiple ones. This is the only way you could make a living off of it, and of course if you had a lot of survey sites to rotate through.
Here are a few of my favorites:
If you know a way for introverts to make money you can add to this list, please do so below… and keep on frugaling!