Everywhere you turn, there’s a million articles showing us how to make money online as well as working from home. But a large majority of them are either scams, involve an insane amount of dedication to earn pennies, or you have to pay start-up fees.
Yeah, no thanks.
As we’re nearing the end of paying off our debt, we’ve trimmed back our budget as much as possible. Since we can’t find additional places to save, we have to figure out how to earn more in order to keep the debt snowball growing.
Which is all fine and dandy, but we both have full-time jobs. And two kids. And a household to run, activities to shuttle kids to, and – gasp! – want two seconds to sit on our duffs and relax. Crazy, I know.
I’ve freelanced and done side hustles since I graduated college in 1998. Maybe it’s the introvert in me (of course it is!), but the idea of going out and picking up a second job at Tim Horton’s or Macy’s or anything involving customer service makes me cringe. (Plus, I’d spend my paycheck on donuts and coffee, no question.)
I much prefer to earn extra money online, rather than picking up a second job at a store or office. This means that I usually end up doing freelance work as a web designer or developer, along with several other easier options listed below.
But what if you don’t have those skillsets, or the time to learn them? There are still plenty of legit ways to make money online, and still have time to relax in the evenings.
Here’s the ultimate list of how to make money online, grouped from easiest to most time consuming:
How to Make Money Online Fast
You can make money online fast with these. Though, one note to remember is that the easier something is, the less you’re make at it.
Survey Sites and Rewards Programs
Survey sites usually fall into one of two categories: either you just do surveys, or there are a variety of activities you can do to earn cash. The latter usually includes anything from watching videos, taking surveys, filling out forms, clicking through links in emails sent, to playing games.
- Swagbucks is a great way to grab some extra cash while watching TV in the evenings or during some down time. It pays you for a variety of activities, including surveys, watching videos and signing up for different offers. I’ve done some in-home surveys through here that turned out to be pretty fun!
- InboxDollars is very similar to Swagbucks as far as the activities involved. I felt like I made more on Swagbucks, but this is a nice alternative to try out as well.
- Springboard America emails you when there are surveys available that match your profile. I really liked using this to earn gift cards, because it cuts down the possibility of not qualifying for the surveys, so you’re wasting less of your time. I like that it pays out both via gift card and Paypal.
- Survey Junkie is very similar to Springboard America. You can pre-qualify for surveys as well as dig through a large inventory of them available. Points that are earned can be redeemed for gift cards as well as Paypal.
- Vindale Research is different in that it has high paying surveys, which other survey sites generally don’t. You earn cash, not points with them, and can redeem by check or Paypal. Survey topics include sports, new technology, travel, shopping, health & beauty, restaurants, and home improvement, to name a few.
- Survey Club is a fun site where you can sign up to be matched with available studies in your area. The studies include surveys, focus groups, phone interviews, and even daily polls. There’s an opportunity for a lot of variety here, and having done focus groups, I can say they’re actually fun. Earnings are paid out via PayPal, Amazon gift cards, or check.
- MyPoints is a rewards site where you can earn points by shopping online, taking surveys, watching videos, reading email, and more.
- Pinecone Research primarily involves doing online surveys, though they occasionally do in-home product testing and panels as well. Points can be cashed out through Paypal, check, a prepaid VISA, or you can use them to shop for products.
Sell unused gift cards to a site like Raise.com.
Raise.com is an awesome website where users can sell their old gift cards at the price that they set. They can be discounted up to 30% by the seller. On top of that, Raise.com runs specials that discount some cards even further. Amazing, right?
Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking – used gift cards, yikes! But before you jump ship, hear me out. The great part is that Raise.com has a 1 year guarantee for any card purchased. If it doesn’t show up (physical card), has less available than expected, or any other problem, you just contact them within a year of purchase and they’ll replace it. Easy peasy!
More importantly, there are no fees, sales tax, processing or shipping fees ever. So the price you see is the price you pay, period.
Use Ebates, Swagbucks, and TopCashBack on purchases.
- Ibotta is an app that gives rebates for everything from groceries to alcohol to booking a hotel room. They’ve recently overhauled the app and have expanded the stores you can submit receipts from, including some online! To use ibotta, you just unlock the rebates you want after purchasing them, scan their barcodes, and submit images of your receipt. It’s that easy! Get $10 for just for signing up!
- Ebates is a great cashback program for online purchases. There’s even a browser plugin so that every time you visit a site that gives cashback through Ebates, it alerts you to both rebates as well as discount codes for that site. Ebates offer rebates on a large variety of stores, and has recently included the ability to register your credit card so that your purchases in certain offline stores count as well!
- TopCashback is very similar to Ebates and works well. It does take a little longer to get your rebates back, but they offer some great rebates. I usually check both sites to see which I can get the higher rebate back from before I make any online purchases.
Install Apps on Your Phone to Earn Money
- Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel will pay you $50 to install an app on your iPhone. Just install it and that’s it! The app measures your activity on your phone, tablet or other mobile device. The app won’t affect performance or battery life, and rewards include sweepstakes entries and cash, depending on how long you stay with them.
- Google Screenwise Panel helps Google to understand trends in mobile and web usage. They then use that data to improve their products. You get paid per week that you have the extension installed on your browser, and can cash out your earnings for e-gift cards.
Side Hustles with a Qualification Process
These ways to make money online involved more than just creating an login; you have to go through an actual entry process. However, they might be a bit more work in the beginning, but they also pay more without a ton of commitment.
- Usertesting.com is a great way to earn money testing websites. You can easily complete the majority of tests in 15 minutes, and get paid $10 a test. You must submit a test review in order to get approved, but once you complete this, you’ll get emails when tests are available. Earnings are paid out exactly 1 week from when you uploaded your test. You’ll need a microphone in order to complete tests, as it records your voice and screen.
- Whatusersdo is another website testing company that pays $5 a test. Again, you’ll need a microphone and to download their screen recorder. Upon submitting a test recording and getting approved, you can start earning. Earnings are paid out once a month on the 25th.
- Enroll is unique in that it’s test are quick, such as deciding which logo you like better or clarifying content. You can take tests from any device, and will get paid through Paypal.
- UserFeel lets you earn $10 for each test which lasts about 10 – 20 minutes. You’ll need to submit a qualification test to get approved. Payments are made through Paypal or Payoneer.
- TryMyUI pays $10 for each approximately 20 minute test. Payments are sent out every Friday once tests are reviewed and cleared by their graders.
If you’re a big fan of crime shows, you’ll love this. You can get paid to review legal cases from your home and provide feedback via an online questionnaire. You’ll be a mock juror and will help attorneys figure out how to try their cases. Online Verdict is one of several online juror websites that you can try out!
There are a ton of data entry jobs available online. Upwork is a great site for finding data entry, along with a ton of other freelance positions.
Sell Your Photography to Stock Photography Sites
Whether or not you’re a professional photographer, there are a lot of opportunities to sell your photos online to make some money. Payment is usually based per purchase/download of your photo. Some of my favorite stock photography sites are: iStockPhoto.com, Fotolia, and Deposit Photos.
Resume & Cover Letter Writing
I cannot describe how much I hate editing resume and writing cover letters. I’ve done this so many times in my life, and yet, I can’t seem to make my resume flashy enough, no matter how hard I try. I know I’d pay for a service like this, not to mention millions of other people!
Amazon MTurk is a site where you get paid for performing simple micro-tasks. You do things like process images, data verification and clean-up, information gathering and data processing. The tasks are listed, and you choose which you want to complete. The longer the task, the greater the payout.
Sell Your Own T-Shirts (or Bags, or Mugs)
Merch by Amazon allows you to sell your own designs without any upfront costs. You create and upload your design, set your price, and Amazon handles the printing and shipping of what you sell. You earn monthly royalties based on your sales, and all without having to invest in product! Another similar alternative site is teespring.com.
How to Make Money Online for the Long-Term
If you’re going to invest the time into earning money at home with these side gigs, chances are you could look into making them a full-time career eventually.
Transcription, Translation, and Captioning Services
Rev.com offers a variety of services, including transcription, translation and captioning. You can choose your own schedule, projects, and get paid weekly. You’re considered a freelancer, but work with a team to grow your skillset. Pay varies based on abilities and role:
- Transcriptionist: $0.40 – $0.65 per audio minute
- Captioner: $0.40 – $0.75 per video minute
- Translator: $0.05 – $0.07 per word
Search Engine Evaluator / Internet Analyst
Leapforce offers a variety of freelance positions, including search engine evaluator and Internet analyst. They required more work hours than other side gigs, but also pay a bit more per hour. You have to go through a qualification process, and knowing additional languages is a plus. There are no set hours, and their positions are flexible so you’re able to work around your personal life.
Proofreading & Copy Writing
If you’re a writer-at-heart, there’s lot of copy that needs written or proofing. You can work for anyone from bloggers to large companies all from the comfort of your couch.
Become a Blogger
I do not suggest this lightly. At all. Blogging is a ton of hard work, but once you start hitting your goals, it’s amazing. Check out my resources page to see what programs and blogging tools I recommend.
Both bloggers and companies often hire virtual assistants to help with their Pinterest accounts. Being a Pinterest VA does require some online courses, but the pay is worthwhile. You can easily build a business out of spending your day on Pinterest for several clients!
Social Media Manager
Like a Pinterest VA, companies pay to have someone handle their social media accounts. Often, being a social media manager means writing content, setting goals, SEO and developing brand awareness.
Affiliate marketing is selling someone else’s product and receiving a fraction of the sale. There are several different ways you can do affiliate marketing, but the easiest is through Pinterest or your own website/blog. With Pinterest, you can create a pin that links directly to the offer. There’s a lot of ins and outs, but also a ton of affiliate programs out there. Start by promoting products you love to make it even easier.
A virtual assistant does anything from scheduling appointments and meetings to answering emails to creating presentations. The job duties, hours and pay vary greatly depending on each position, but at least you know it wouldn’t be boring!
Website Design & Development
With the evolution of HTML, CSS, and CMS setups, website design and development is becoming easier and easier. CMS systems such as WordPress allows you to launch a website in hours, complete with the bells and whistles. Even with minimal knowledge, you can easily get paid to set up websites for others.
Etsy provides a great platform for designers, crafters and the like to sell their products through their online store platform. If you already create products, but are struggling to reach the right audience, Etsy might be the perfect platform for you!
Companies big and small need bookkeepers. If you already know how to run books, you’ll have no trouble finding work. A lot of the positions online are looking for hourly freelancers with experience working in Quicken or Quickbooks.
Start a YouTube Channel or Podcast
It is impressive how many people are creating their own income by running a YouTube channel or podcast. If you’re not shy about being in front of a camera or microphone, creating a videos or a podcast can lead to some big earnings.
Become an Online Teacher
VIPKid is a company that provides international learning to Chinese children. It is one-on-one language and content classes, done from the comfort of your home to theirs. The qualification process can be tough, and a large majority of applicants don’t get approved. But if you make it past the enrollment process, the pay is great and hours are flexible.
Amazon FBA is a fulfillment service that you can use when you sell your products through their site. You send your products to Amazon, which they store at their fulfillment centers. When one of your listings sells, they pick, pack and ship the product for you, cutting out the extra work for you.
Some entrepreneurs are able to “flip” products by finding them discounted or on closeout, and then resell them through Amazon FBA. Learn more about Amazon FBA here.
Online Customer Service Rep
There are a ton of customer service jobs online, everything from answering inbound calls to online chats. Often the hours are flexible and the pay scale can vary, based on each company’s requirements.
Websites to Find Online Side Hustles
These are the best website to start your online side job search:
No matter what your commitment length or skillset, there’s a way for you to make money online. You just have to figure out what works best with your schedule, and how much time and how big of a learning curve you want to commit to.
I suggest mixing it up between two or three methods, so that if one dries up, you’re still able to make side money in another way. Plus, it’s a great way to keep from getting bored! Remember, every little bit of income helps with debt repayment!
Love this? Check out these articles on Shortcuts to Finding the Perfect Side Hustle Fast or The Ultimate List of Best Side Hustles that Aren’t MLMs!
Do you have a suggestion on how to make money online that I haven’t mentioned? Adds yours in the comments below!
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