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In today’s world, hundreds if not thousands of startups come to market every year to propose innovative solutions to society’s problems. Through the fog of new products and services, one trend shines bright and true: entrepreneurs want to help consumers make passive income any way they can. Whether it’s walking dogs, answering personalized surveys, or charging electric scooters, the array of earning opportunities is ever-expanding.
If you have a specialized area of expertise, you have even more earning potential, and that’s worth diving into. Today we’ll discuss how a deep knowledge of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can open up a variety of key financial opportunities. Depending on how much time and effort you want to put into this endeavour, it could be a side hustle or a full-time commitment. And depending on your disposition, you could turn into an AI thought leader or a CTO. Let’s explore.
Use Machine Learning to Make Money
To get things going, you should strongly consider getting into freelance AI programming. If you have a degree in Computer Science or equivalent experience through other means, you’re more than qualified to start looking for short-term gigs. You’ll have to go out and find clients which can be challenging, but once things start moving this route can be incredibly lucrative. First things first, you’ll need to get your resume and portfolio website looking spiffy, and be sure to update your Linkedin and Github accounts with your latest projects. Even if your past AI coding experience is somewhat rudimentary, you’ll need to have something to show for yourself.
There are a handful of really great sites where you can set up an account, upload your portfolio, and list your personal rate for different kinds of services. We recommend starting with Fiver, RemoteML, and Upwork. With these sites, you can start applying directly to jobs in-platform. Once you secure a job, you might even want to consider teaming up with any friends who are also looking to make extra money. That way, you can divide up the workload and take on more tasks at once. If you go that route, tools like Trello and Todoist are great project management tools you can use to assign tasks to your cohorts.
You can also go the route of creating a product for personal use or trying to sell it to a company. You could use your machine learning prowess to create, for example, an automated trading bot that essentially uses algorithms to trade stocks and/or cryptocurrency for you. One existing product that accomplishes this feat is Finnly.
This bot uses trend-based trading algorithms to generate passive income. You set its parameters by choosing what to buy/sell, and then it takes over for you, only trading what you have already decided to invest in. You may find yourself asking: why would I create something that already exists? Well, for one, Finnly trades exclusively crypto on Coinbase Pro, a popular exchange. That means that all of the other exchanges are still up for grabs, as well as the various stock markets.
Plus, your bot could be better and more powerful. If this idea sounds enticing, check out this rudimentary walkthrough on creating an auto trading bot here. You can also head over to Github and scour any trading bot repositories you can find for examples. But remember, this is just one application, among many, of the technology at hand.
Making Money with Data Science
If you’re well-versed in the field of data science in general, not just specifically AI and machine learning, there are other potential methods available for generating passive income worth looking into. For one, you should consider becoming a thought leader on the subject. You could reach out to new AI startups, or really any that you find exciting, and offer to create blog content for them. Most of these companies will have a dedicated blog page and limited resources, so they’ll be happy to hear from you. If you play your cards right, that could be a steady side gig.
If you’ve really done your research, you may even want to consider writing a digital or print book. There are so many different niches and applications that you could drill down into, and the payoff could be significantly greater regardless of whether you sell the book or self-publish it on Amazon.
Plus, having your own book would be a fantastic calling card for future job applications down the road. Whether you start creating short or long form content, you should also start branding your social media accounts accordingly. Create a presence on Twitter by putting out smart, thoughtful tweets and engaging with other experts in the field.
If you’re finding that you want to take this skillset and combine it with some business acumen, you may even want to look into launching a start-up. AI and machine learning is one of the most exciting, in-demand fields in the world of technology today. It would be wise to strike while the iron’s hot and find your AI niche. Specificity is truly key here: big corporations don’t have the capacity or time to tackle small niche issues. That’s where small tech companies truly shine. Peak, for example, uses machine learning to provide data analytics as a service directly to companies.
Another example is the well-funded Reonomy, which is an AI-powered data platform for the commercial real estate industry. Our advice would be to generate a list of world issues that you personally care about. Whether it be climate change, poverty, or the homelessness crisis, find a problem you want to help solve. Then you can think on a granular level about how you could use AI to solve it. Maybe your algorithm could help track CO2 emissions at factories, or maybe it could connect homeless shelters around the country to help pool and better distribute resources. The possibilities are truly endless.
For tips on creating a pitch deck, check out this piece here.
Either way you take it, there’s a truly incredible lineup of options to pursue. If you find yourself more business-oriented, the startup route could be perfect for you. If you’d rather write and/or teach, the educational route might feel more natural. If you’re more of an AI hobbyist, then the contract work option would be a great side hustle to keep going. And if none of the above sound appealing, we encourage you to dive even deeper. There are some other options that we didn’t fully dive into in this piece, like Kaggle competitions.
Kaggle hosts a wide plethora of contests geared around different computing problems. For example, one current contest offers $20,000 to the first programmer that can create an AI capable of solving reasoning tasks it has never seen before. And if the competitive spirit inspires you, check out the similar options available at Numerai, or the various Hackathons that take place throughout the year.