This year’s been a tough one – but you can still make money before it finishes! With most Santa’s Grottos closed this year, you can snap up the opportunity to make money as a virtual Santa, instead. Here’s how to earn cash in the next few weeks!
- What Is a Virtual Santa?
- What You Need to Be a Virtual Santa
- How to Market Your Service
- Getting Paid
- More Ways to Make Money
Virtual Santa does the same job as an in-real-life one – except on Zoom! Lots of families will miss out on visiting Santa’s Grotto experiences this year, but still want to entertain their children. That’s where Virtual Santa comes in.
You’ll host a unique video call with the family to talk to their children and give them a special message from Santa. You can choose how long you want each call to be, and set your rate accordingly. Some Virtual Santas have set up entire grottos in their homes, garages, or office spaces to really add to the experience, too!
This is a no-experience-necessary type of job. However, if you have any experience as an actor, or previously as an in-person Santa, that could really help!
You need to:
- Be confident talking to strangers
- Have a great knack for communicating with young children
- Be able to stay in character for the whole video call
As for the equipment you need, it’s very simple! The basics you need to become a virtual Santa include:
- A Santa suit!
- Reliable internet connection
- Decorations for your background
- A high-quality webcam and microphone
- Access to reliable video call software like Zoom
- A diary like Calendly so people can book their call slot.
If you want to go all out, consider roping in a friend to play the part of Santa’s Elf, too!
When you’re taking bookings, it’s a good idea to ask the children’s names on the booking form. This way, you can greet your customers by name as soon as the call starts – which is a great way to play into the “Santa knows everything” ploy!
Finally, if you want to look professional and encourage more sign-ups, consider creating a website using a service such as Wix or WordPress.
Tax and Being Santa
Even Santa pays his taxes! If you’ve not earned anything else through self-employment this year, you may not need to register with HMRC as self-employed. Why? Well, this is a side earner – it’s unlikely to net you over the personal allowance of £1,000 a year that can be made before you must declare it.
However, if you make more than £1,000 – or you have other self-employed activities in this tax year (either completed or coming up before April), you must register as self-employed with HMRC. You might be doing your virtual Santa gig while on furlough or working reduced hours with your day job – you’ll definitely need to let HMRC know about your second income if this is the case. It could impact your tax code.
The great thing about being a virtual Santa is that you don’t need a fancy website to get started. It does help, though, to have a social media profile or two to get started with your marketing.
There are lots of ways you can tell people about your Santa Service, including:
- Post on local Facebook groups
- Use the NextDoor app to tell local people about your service
- Tell your friends and family
- Contact local charities and groups – if you offer some free sessions in return, they will help promote you!
- Get in touch with local nurseries and primary schools
- You could even find your local parish newsletter for an advert!
It’s also worth getting in touch with colleagues, posting on other social media such as Twitter, and you could even make a TikTok video!
The most important thing is to make sure you’re paid for your service. With something like a Virtual Santa job, the amount you’re charging is relatively small. For a ten-minute call, most people would be willing to pay around £5-£10 depending on what you’re offering in the call. If, for example, you and your Elf will sing a Christmas song to entertain your young customers, you could charge at the upper end of this range.
As it’s not a lot of money in each transaction, get payment up front before the call. Once someone is booked into your calendar, send them a Paypal link or your payment details. Make sure you keep a spreadsheet of your bookings, payments, and amount earned. You’ll need this information to report to HMRC for tax purposes!
Getting payment in advance helps guarantee commitment from your customers. They’re more likely to actually turn up to the call if they’ve already handed money over! However, as you know you’re dealing with families with young children, do understand if your customer doesn’t join the call when they’re supposed to. If they apologise with a legitimate reason – including toddler tantrums causing delays! – try to reschedule if you can. Those who simply don’t turn up… well, that’s their loss!
There are plenty of ways you can earn money from home this Christmas, from passive income streams to tutoring online. Try these articles for inspiration: