How to make money when you have a chronic illness

Published by Mica Howard on

How to make money when you have a chronic illness is a question that has probably been on your mind before if you’re chronically ill. In reality, it’s unlikely that the standard 9 to 5 jobs will work for us. The hours are long and there’s a big lack of flexibility for when your body says you need more rest. So what are our options when we’re too sick to work, but need money for the basics of staying alive?

Small glass of money with a small plant growing out of it

How can I make money with a chronic illness?

Of course there is always the normal option of going out there and getting a job if your health allows. Depending on your circumstances, if you have an understanding employer this could be a good option, especially if it comes with health insurance if you don’t live in a country that offers free healthcare.

Sunglasses, a notebook, pink flowers all placed on a table with paper with the words written "work smarter not harder"

But if you’re reading this post, it’s safe to assume that getting a “normal” job won’t work for you. Your illness could be unpredictable, like epilepsy, or you could live with an illness like chronic fatigue syndrome that drains you of all your energy. Whatever the case, heading into work for set hours, 5 out of 7 days, probably isn’t ideal and could possibly worsen your health.

Moving on from the doom and gloom, all is not lost! There are plenty of ways to make money without heading out of the door on a regular basis – yes, you can even make money while bedridden! Now I’m not claiming that you will become a millionaire overnight, but can work smarter to ensure that money is much less of a worry for you.

By working smarter, I mean making the same amount of money, or more, with less effort. Less energy spent creating the means to pay for basic necessities and more energy to enjoy life!

Ways to make money from home when you’re chronically ill

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of different ways to make money from home when you have a chronic illness. Some ideas may or may not suit your specific needs, because each requires varying inputs of energy. But there’s something for everyone, keep reading and see what can work for you.

Use the skills you already have to freelance

Before you think “but I don’t have any skills”, trust me you do. There are people out there who are really so busy that they will pay you to organise their email account. That’s it! This is just one example to prove that you don’t need a big bucket of specialist skills to freelance.

One of the best things about freelancing is that you manage your own clients and time. So if you tend to feel a lot better after a slow morning, then you can organise your work for the afternoons. Don’t have the energy to leave the house? Set your client meeting over a Zoom call and do the meeting in your pyjama bottoms.

If you’re looking for a consistent income, do a skills audit and think about things that come easy to you. For some inspiration, here are a few things you can do consistently working from home with a chronic illness:

Laptop being used in bed
  • Social media manager
  • Virtual assistant
  • Freelance writer
  • Online tutor (teaching English as a foreign language, any of the usual school topics, teaching music, or whatever else you’re skilled at!)
  • Website designer
  • Freelance transcriber

If you want to find odd tasks to make some extra money here and there, try out:

Don’t forget, it’s never too late to learn new skills. If you envision yourself as a thriving website designer or social media manager but don’t have a clue where to start, take a self-paced online course and up-skill yourself. By taking an online course there’s no rush, you still get the skills but work to your own deadlines.

Create an online course

Speaking of online courses, why not create your own! In the words of Dean Graziozi, you’re actually doing the world a disservice by not sharing your knowledge.

The beauty of creating an online course is that you create it once, and then people all over the world can buy it over and over. You can be making money in your sleep – how amazing does that sound!

Letter board that reads "I will start working when my coffee does"

If you aren’t sure what you could create a course about, think about what you could talk about for days on end. Are you constantly watching tv or reading books on a certain topic? Have you watched every YouTube video out there on how to make an origami crane? Have you read every book on crazy taxidermy? Are you amazing at keeping houseplants alive? Whatever it is, you can you can make a course on it and make a profit.

Trust me, there is an audience for anyything. There are even paid courses out there on absoutely everything, you name it; and their creators are getting passive income no matter how small the niche is.

If you want some help creating your online course, take a look at this in-depth guide by Podia. Don’t forget to check out the different platforms like Udemy and Teachable when choosing where to set up your course.

Market Research

Market research has to be one of the easiest ways I’ve ever made money. Rates of pay vary, but for example, I have been paid £40 for a 45-minute phone interview. Much higher than the UK hourly minimum wage – plus what’s easier than getting paid for your opinion!

Market research is a great way to make money from home when you’re chronically ill. Usually, any phone or video calls for the research are done at times convenient for the participant, and you can easily earn £200 for minimal effort.

Piggy bank

If you want to sign up for some market research check out:

If you sign-up, you’ll receive regular emails and can apply to participate in any market research where you fit the criteria.

I’m also going to add in an honourable mention to surveys. Not all are created equal because some will pay pennies for 2 hours of your time. But some survey sites are worth spending some time on, my personal favourites are Prolific and UserTesting.

Prolific finds participants for university research and requires a participants be paid at least minimum wage, which adds up surprisingly quick! UserTesting asks you to review websites and pays $10 per 20 minutes. I’ve never had one that lasts the full 20 minutes. They’re super easy to complete and a great way to make some extra money for food shopping.

Create a blog

There are so many examples out there about people who turned their blog into a 6-figure business. You have to be in it for the long game, but blogging is something you can do in your spare time when you have the energy.

Setting up a blog is a lot easier than you might think. Check out this blog post by The Humble Penny on how to set up your own money-making blog.

You can also use your blog to promote your online course and boost your income for that too. Plus you can use your blog as an example of your work when pitching to clients as a freelancer!

There is no end to where blogging can take you, you could;

  • Collaborate with different organisations, like I did with BBCBitesize for International Epilepsy Day
  • Launch your own line of accessories
  • Launch your own line of stationary
  • Become a coach
  • Teach others how you created your own blog!

Matched Betting

In short, matched betting is taking advantage of the free bets offered by bookies. There is so much money to be made from it!

It does need some attention to learn how it works and can seem a little confusing at first, but my recommendation is to use a platform like Profit Accumulator or Odds Monkey. Both of these websites will teach you everything you need to know and provide a matched betting calculator to do all the hard work.

Have a clear out and sell what you don’t use anymore

This one is “2 birds, one stone” as the saying goes. Go through your belongings and anything that you haven’t used in the past 6 months, or doesn’t bring you joy (following the Marie Kondo method), sell them! As long as your items are in good condition, you can give them a new home. Reusing preloved items is great news for the environment, earns yourself a bit of money and encourages you to have a clear out! What’s to lose as opposed to a load of clutter that’s been gathering dust?

You can sell things on:

  • eBay
  • Shpock
  • Vinted
  • Depop
  • Facebook marketplace

If regular visits to the post office aren’t feasible at the moment, you can also have your items collected by the buyer or courier. All you have to do is upload them to your chosen platform and watch the money roll in and the clutter fly away.

Don’t forget to improve your financial education

Financial education isn’t taught well in schools at all. In fact I don’t remember a single lesson, ever, about money management. It’s up-to us to develop our knowledge on finances. Boring or not, it’s necessary if we want to stop being broke when you’re chronically ill.

Learning how to make money when you have a chronic illness will only take you so far if your money management skills are poor. It’s definitely worth investing a little time and money into improving your financial IQ. After going through all the effort of making money when you’re chronically ill, why not make sure that you can actually keep your money or use it to generate more!

If you’re planning to improve your financial IQ, check out these 4 books*:

  1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki
  2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  3. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason
  4. The Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki

Making money when you’re chronically ill isn’t as difficult as you might think

Hopefully you’ll now be filled with inspiration from this post on how to make money when you have a chronic illness. Don’t forget you can always come up with your own creative ideas too!

There are plenty of ways to create money from home, without even leaving your bed if needs must. You can create an income source that suits you, your health and your life. Combine this new income source with your boosted financial education, follow what you’ve learnt from the books and you never know how much money could be coming in soon. You might never have to worry about medical bills or taking time off sick ever again! Who knows, you could pay for a super expensive experimental research problem that finds the cure fro your chronic illness – you never know!


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