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As long as you have an internet connection, you can legitimately earn money online from anywhere in the world. In this article, we’re sharing all of our best ideas to help you do just that.
Instead of using the internet to browse Facebook, stalk your ex on Instagram, or discover what type of bread you are via a Buzzfeed quiz, you can do something more productive with your time!
Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a college student, or merely working part-time, you can leverage even the smallest window of opportunity to earn money online.
Our team scoured the web, wracked our brains, and consulted other side hustle experts to put together this genius list of ideas so you can make money online starting today.
Low effort and low commitment. The ideas in this section are all about making money online fast without too much work!
1. Participate in Market Research (Up to $100+ Per Month)
Market research companies like to collect data on consumer interests, and spending habits, so brands can learn how to better market their products. They primarily do this research this via online questionnaires, and they’re always on the lookout for new survey participants. And yes, they’ll pay you.
If you’ve ever spent time taking paid online surveys, you know that you can earn money online every month while sitting at home in your PJs. If you’re a first-time survey taker, we recommend starting out with Survey Junkie.
Here’s how Survey Junkie works:
- Take Surveys: Build your profile (takes less than 5 mins) and you’ll be matched with surveys.
- Earn Rewards: Complete surveys and earn virtual points.
- Get Paid: Redeem virtual points for Paypal cash deposits or e-Gift cards.
- DollarSprout’s Survey Junkie Review
2. Take Advantage of Cash Back Signup Bonuses
Want $15 for a few minutes of your time? Of course you do! Lucky for you, there are sites like Ebates and DOSH that are offering cash incentives for people like you to join their sites.
What’s the catch? None, really. Cash back apps act as affiliates for many online merchants, which means that whenever you make a purchase through one of the apps, they get a small commission — but then, they give you a portion of that commission as “cash back”. For example, if I buy a pair of Nike shoes through the Ebates app (or website) and spend $75, Ebates may get a $10 commission but then they’ll pass $7 back to me. It’s basically a way to get sale prices on stuff that isn’t on sale!
Ebates: $10 signup bonus after making $25 of qualifying purchases within 90 days.
DOSH: $5 bonus issued instantly after you link a credit or debit card to the app. (Note: Sometimes they bump the signup bonus to $10)
Since they’re free, we recommend signing up for both. Whenever you are online shopping, just compare deals between the apps to find the best one.
3. Open a High-Yield Online Savings Account
Do you have money sitting in a savings account that’s paying .05% interest?
If so (or if you don’t have a savings account at all), it’s worth your time to spend a few minutes opening an online savings account.
Online savings accounts usually come with crazy good interest rates to help you grow your money faster (regular in-person banks can’t offer rates as high). We’re fans of CIT Bank and Discover Bank (among others) because their interest rates are often over 25 times the national average. That means the money in your savings account will grow 25 times faster than the pace it’s most likely growing at now. Really, though, you can’t go wrong with pretty much any online savings account that offers over 1.50% APY 🙂
Online Savings Account Comparison:
If you want to go after higher returns, be sure to check out our best apps for investing money online.
4. Earn Money by Watching Videos on Your Phone
I mentioned Swagbucks earlier as a reputable survey site, but it turns out that’s not the only thing they’ll pay you for.
You can also earn money online with Swagbucks by watching short videos in whatever category you choose, like entertainment, news, or fitness.
5. Download the Nielsen App and Collect $50 Per Year
Have you heard of Nielsen, the company that tracks TV ratings? Turns out they collect data on a lot more than just TV. One area they’re really into is internet usage research.
What does that mean for you? It means Nielsen will pay you $50 a year to keep their app on your favorite internet browsing device. The app itself collects statistics on your internet usage anonymously, so you never have to worry about any data being linked to you. And the best part is, the app takes up barely any space and doesn’t slow down your phone or tablet at all!
Here’s how Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel works:
- It is noninvasive and won’t impact device performance.
- After you’ve installed the app, just use the internet as normal.
- You’ll earn $50 for the first year you have the app installed.
6. Earn Money Online by Surfing the Web
InboxDollars is another market research company that pays you to use their search engine instead of some of the more prominent ones like Google and Bing. The idea here is that they will learn more about people search habits and uncover patterns that may be valuable to companies trying to better understand consumers.
InboxDollars isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but if you’re wondering how to make money online for free, you may as well make a few extra bucks for searching the web like you normally would.
Here’s how InboxDollars works:
7. Get Paid to Test Websites
Website testers give their opinions on websites, including the design, quality, and ease of use of a site. This allows companies to make changes to their websites in order to provide a better experience for their users (and hopefully increase sales).
Of course, they are willing to pay for your feedback, which makes this one of the easiest ways to make money online without paying anything yourself.
- UserTesting: $10 for every 10-15 minute test completed. No webcam needed.
- WhatUsersDo: $8+ for 15-20 minute tests. You’ll need a microphone.
- UserTest: $10.50 per study. Get started in as little as 5 minutes.
Earn Money Online as a Freelancer
We’re picking up the pace now. These side hustles require a bit more effort, but your income potential is also higher.
8. Freelance Writer
The term “starving artist” definitely does not apply here. There are many successful freelance writers out there who’ve used their business to replace their full-time job.
You don’t need a background in English or writing to make it as a successful freelance writer. For instance, Holly Johnson from Club Thrifty started doing freelance writing on the side with no real background, and now makes over $200,000 per year from her writing!
She recently put together a free workshop where she teaches others how to get started earning money online with writing. See below:
How to Build a Six-Figure Writing Career [Workshop]:
- Learn the techniques Holly’s used to build her writing income to over $200,000/yr.
- Tips to get your foot in the door and increase your income over time.
- Register here for free
9. Freelance Proofreader
Put your eagle eyes to good use by earning money as a proofreader.
Caitlin Pyle of Proofread Anywhere made $43,000 in her first year proofreading while working part time studying abroad. Impressive, right?
Once she realized the demand was so high for proofreaders – far too high for one proofreader to fill – she created an online course to help others start their own proofreading business.
She also has free workshops almost every day.
In Caitlin’s Free Workshop, you’ll learn:
- What a successful proofreader does (and doesn’t do)!
- How to elevate your skills to become a GREAT proofreader.
- How to use one of the most popular proofreading tools out there…and where to a find clients!
10. Virtual Assistant (VA)
Writing and proofreading aren’t for everyone. Some people prefer more administrative or data-oriented tasks, which is exactly the role of a virtual assistant.
Businesses use virtual assistants for things like booking travel, answering emails, social media management, email management, and more.
As a virtual assistant, you can choose which services to offer clients and at what rates. The more value you can provide, the more you can charge.
Some stats about VAs:
- The average North American virtual assistant earns $35 to $50 per hour.
- There has been a 95% increase in demand for VAs in the last three years.
- There are over 150 different services you can offer as a VA.
11. Online English Teacher
Have you heard of VIPKID? Here’s a snippet from their site:
For just 90 minutes a day, you can easily make over $500 per month. All you need is a Bachelor’s degree and English classroom experience.
More information on VIPKID:
- VIPKID teachers make $14-22/hr.
- All classes are taught online via webcam.
- Bachelor’s degree required for all teachers.
There is a five step application process to become a teacher.
12. Website Designer
If you have a knack for computers and an eye for design, you can easily make $1,000 or more a month by building websites for businesses.
Want proof? We paid a designer over $6,000 to custom design our theme! There is serious money to be made in freelance web design work.
If you aren’t quite sure where to start, check out this article by Creative Market on how to become a web designer.
Start an Online Business
If you are looking to earn serious income online, you might want to consider going all out and starting your own online business.
In most cases, owning an online business won’t help you get rich overnight — it’ll require real skills as well as a significant time investment (and probably some cash investment, too).
Here are a few options that can eventually lead to a full time income online.
13. Start a Blog
Do you feel like you have a message to the world, but you don’t have a platform to deliver it? Maybe it’s time for you to start a blog.
DollarSprout started out just as two college buddies who liked to talk about money. A couple years later, and now we have a growing team of entrepreneurial money-nerds on board to help spread our message. What started as an online side hustle has turned into a full-blown business!
Here are some ways that bloggers make money online:
- Selling advertising space on their blog
- Promoting affiliate products and earning commissions
- Selling their own products and courses
- and more!
Starting a blog is easy, but turning your blog into a successful business – that’s hard! If blogging is the side hustle OR full-time business of your dreams, we’ve put together a helpful guide to help you get started.
Here’s a quick rundown of the process:
-Find your niche: something you are interested in writing about (you do not need to be a world class expert).
-Set up your blog: We recommend Hostgator for new bloggers (costs as little as $2.75/mo).
-Start writing content that helps readers solve a problem.
-Build an audience. Pinterest is a great starting point.
-Monetize. Ads, affiliate marketing, products — it’s up to you!
14. Start a Drop Shipping Website
The drop shipping business model is taking the internet by storm right now, and for good reason. It’s a legitimate way to make money online, and requires very little startup cost.
What is drop shipping?
In the words of Shopify,
If blogging isn’t your thing but you still want to start an online business, starting an e-commerce site might be your best bet.
As with any new business, there is a lot to learn. Shopify offers free workshops all the time that are designed to teach you all the basics.
15. Create and Sell How-To Courses
If you have expertise in a certain area, package up your knowledge into an online course and sell it.
This has become a popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years, and will probably just continue to grow in popularity. The best thing about selling online courses is that once you do the up-front work in creating the course and setting up your marketing strategy, you can get paid over and over again for work you do once.
Earn Passive Income Online
The items in this section all require an up-front cash investment, but offer the opportunity for your money to make you even more money — all online. If you are financially able to, building up passive streams of income is a key part of accumulating wealth.
16. Peer-to-Peer Lending
If you’ve got some cash on hand and are looking for a high interest rate investment (more than an online bank), consider putting some money into peer-to-peer lending (aka P2P Lending).
What is peer-to-peer lending?
It’s a financial system that matches prospective borrowers with investors that are willing to fund their loans. It’s like traditional lending, but without a bank as the middle man. As an investor, essentially you are acting as the bank (and collecting interest payments in the process).
How much money can you make?
It depends on what types of loans you invest in and how much money you invest with. If you play it safe, you can expect to make 2-5% per year, whereas riskier loans can pay as high as 12% or more.
Lending Club is one of the largest online P2P Lending marketplaces:
- Open an account and transfer as little as a $0.01 minimum initial deposit.
- Build your portfolio: Invest in a range of loans in increments as little as $25.
- Get paid: Receive monthly payments as borrowers repay their loans.
- 99% of Lending Club investors with a 100+ note portfolios earn positive returns.
17. Invest in Crowdfunded Real Estate
Many people consider real estate investing as one of the best ways to accumulate wealth. The problem is, it usually takes a lot of money to get started, which puts it out of reach for many people.
Luckily, there’s a way to invest in real estate without buying entire properties yourself.
Introducing: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS)
A REIT is a pool of money, managed by financial professionals, that goes towards investing in real estate. Investors put money into the REIT, the REIT buys properties, and the returns are disbursed back to investors. The best part? You don’t have to worry about handling the landlord duties.
Most REITS still require a hefty investment to get in, but we found a place that has just a $500 minimum investment. With Fundrise you can get access to dozens of solid, value-producing assets.
Here’s how Fundrise works:
- Invest directly in a real estate portfolio that a team of professionals identifies, acquires, and manages on your behalf.
- 8 – 11% expected annual returns.
- Read our Fundrise Review here.
18. Earn Money as an Airbnb Host
If you want to get your feet wet in the renting business, Airbnb is a great website to get started. If you own your home or your landlord permits it, you can earn money online by sharing your home with others.
Here’s how it works:
- Create your free listing: Describe your space, how many guests you can accommodate, and add photos and details.
- Pick your price: What you charge is always up to you.
- Get paid: You can be paid via PayPal, direct deposit, or wire, among other ways.
- DollarSprout’s Complete Guide to Profitable Airbnb Hosting
19. Invest in Dividend Paying Stocks
It’s been said that the average millionaire has seven streams of income. Dividend stocks are usually one of them.
What are dividend stocks?
Usually when you buy stocks, you do it with the intent to buy low and sell high. Dividend stocks work the same way, but with one other benefit: just for owning the stock, you are paid a small portion of the company’s earnings. So with dividend stocks, you get paid when the stock goes up in value, and when dividends are paid out.
If you are looking to get started with dividend investing (or any type of stock market investing), consider checking out Acorns. This is a beginner-friendly app that can help you get started with investing using just your smartphone. You can read our full Acorns Review here.
UPDATE: $5 Signup Bonus
Acorns is now offering a $5 signup bonus for new accounts opened. After completing your account registration, Acorns will deposit a FREE $5 into your account to give your investments a head start.
It’s a new age, and there’s never been more opportunities to work from home and earn money online. But you can’t just leave your laptop in the corner of your room and expect your bank account to explode. Unless you have money to invest, you’re going to have to put in some old-fashioned hard work.
One last thing to keep in mind: If you are trying to make money on the internet, chances are you won’t get it right on your first try. That’s okay.
Keep experimenting, keep learning, keep putting yourself out there, and eventually you will find the right online money making opportunity for you.
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