The internet is a great way to earn a side income or even start a full-time business. It’s a great opportunity for those who stay-at-home with kids or anyone needing some extra money. But with all the flashy ads and websites out there promising overnight riches, it’s no surprise people are a little wary of treading in the online space. However, the following side hustles are legit and honest ways you can make money online.
Of course, you’ll have to put in some serious time and effort to see a nice profit (in most cases), but the juice is worth the squeeze.
There isn’t one magical way to create success online as everyone takes their own path. But if you put in the work and make the right moves, you should see your bank account start to grow.
**This post contains affiliate links meaning if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.**
1. Sell Your Stuff
Sure, you could have a garage sale outside your house. Or you could get your used items in front of people searching specifically for the things you’ve got. There are many websites and apps you can sign up for (for free) to sell your things.
Some common sites to sell different types of items include eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, and Facebook. You could also list on Amazon, but most people use Amazon to buy new items. (If you want to go this route, I recommend giving retail arbitrage a try.)
There are also many sites for selling used clothes. If you have many pieces to sell, you’ll probably have more success selling on one of these sites.
You’ll also want to make sure the things you sell are still in good condition. No one wants a book with 10 pages missing out of it. Or a game with most of the pieces missing.
To make your work easier, categorize your items before getting them ready to list. Keep any books together, clothes in a folded pile, etc. This way you know exactly what you have and can move forward with a clear head.
You’ll want to take quality photos for each item you sell. It gives your listings a professional look and increases your chances of selling an item.
Use a white backdrop (you could use a sheet, a blanket, a white desk, etc.) and make sure you use a bright light or edit your photo to brighten before listing.
2. Work-From-Home Companies
Create a resume before you apply and, depending on the job, you may need some qualifications.
You’ll find job listings for call centers, translating, and data entry among others.
If you’re lucky, you may even find an entry-level job available remotely.
Fill out remote applications as you would any other job application.
Do you love to take photos? You can get paid decent money to sell your photos to stock websites. People who work in the online space, print advertising, and many other businesses are constantly looking for stock photos to use for their articles, magazines, and ads. Many stock photo sites will charge users a membership fee or one-time download fee for images.
Rates per image will vary among sites.
This is a great way to get yourself and your work in front of the public while making some extra cash.
Sites that will buy your photos include:
You could also create your own website to sell your photos or even work out deals with bloggers and businesses who need quality images. I personally like this route better as you can set your own rates for each image.
You could even gain subscribers by offering a free stock photo set download each month to keep people coming back to you for images.
4. Survey Sites
Normally, I think survey sites are a complete waste of time. For the amount of time spent taking surveys versus the payout, your time is normally better spent somewhere else. If you choose to go this route, go with either Swagbucks or Inbox Dollars. They offer more ways to earn money besides surveys.
For example, I’ve already made almost $100 with Swagbucks since switching over to their search engine. You can earn Swagbucks simply by browsing the internet! You can also earn money back on purchases from many big retailers when you activate the Swagbucks codes on their site.
Swagbucks also has an app so it’s easy to earn points while you’re out and about.
You can redeem your Swagbucks through gift cards. Things like Visa cards, Amazon cards, and Walmart cards among many others. They also offer sales on their gift cards so you could walk away with, say, a $25 gift card for fewer Swagbucks than usual.
I’ve used Inbox Dollars in the past but didn’t use it long enough to make more than about $10. Like Swagbucks, they have a search engine you can use to earn, so it’s worth checking out.
5. Freelance Writing Gigs
Do you love to write? There are plenty of freelance writing jobs available online. The only problem is, this is yet another very competitive space. Those with the most experience usually get the jobs, so you’ll want to build a portfolio and really have a solid online presence.
It takes time to build all this and gain momentum in this space, so you must have patience (and probably another income stream) while starting to freelance.
Avoid content mills since you can end up writing A LOT for pennies on the dollar (or for nothing at all). Most platforms will give you anywhere between 50 cents to a dollar per word. If your content gets accepted that is. You may find you’re doing a lot of work up front for your content to not get accepted. It may also take months to even hear back if you hear back at all.
You may find your writing efforts are better spent elsewhere.
Find a good gig, however, and you could earn a few hundred bucks per post.
Some websites that pay for posts are:
6. Websites That Pay
If you have a special skill or service you could offer, you could sell your help on certain websites.
Fiverr is a great platform to make money online where everything costs five dollars. There are a lot of people offering services on the platform so you’ll have to make your profile stand out from the rest. Things like writing blog posts, editing videos, and even recording background vocals are a few among the hundreds of available gigs.
Likewise, if you need help with a service, you can pay $5 for help with any project!
As any blogger would tell you (if they’re doing it right anyway), blogging is by far the most enjoyable way to make money online. It’s a great way to write about topics you love (or are interested in) while building out multiple streams of income over time.
A money-making blog goes beyond just setting up a site and writing articles. It becomes your business and can earn as much money as you make it earn. There’s no cap here.
However, it’s also one of the hardest, time-consuming ways to earn an income online. You have to have a lot of patience and be willing to put in MANY hours of work and learning time without getting paid. Sometimes it can take years before you see a nice profit. This isn’t always the case for everyone, but many give up after a few months when they don’t see the results they were expecting.
Again, this isn’t a get-rich-quick plan like many (shady) bloggers will tell you. It takes a lot of time to really understand what you’re even doing here. You’ll run into A LOT of questions and mistakes when starting a blog, so you should understand it’s both a journey and a commitment.
There are many great blogging resources that have helped me along the way. I highly recommend these programs to get your feet on the ground if you’re interested in this route:
- Dare To Conquer
- Wealthy Affiliate
- Style Collective (for fashion and beauty bloggers and influencers)
Dropshipping is a brilliant way to sell products online without having to invest and hold inventory or handling shipments. With drop shipping, you’re simply the middleman. There’s no risk of loss with this model. SaleHoo is a site that connects you directly with drop shipping companies and the products you want to sell.
I highly recommend joining their program if you go this route. It can take a long time to research legitimate companies to work with when drop shipping. You might spend a lot of time researching companies that sell specific products, only to come up blank with companies that dropship. Or you may run into scam websites.
They charge a yearly fee of $67, but it’s worth the investment and really not much considering the time you’re saving and the hookup you get right away! You also have access to their online community, where you can get support from people already in the game.
Since you won’t have much control over the shipping times and such, you should review companies before working with them. You’re the one who will be dealing with customer service as well as put your business name on the line so it’s important you understand their structure beforehand.
9. Start an E-Commerce Site
Do you have products you’re looking to sell or create? Are you interested in retail arbitrage? You could set up an online shop to get the money flowing your way.
An easy and quick way to open up your online store is to start an e-commerce website on Shopify. They have so many helpful resources and blog posts to help you make the most of your website. They also offer a free trial so you can see if the platform is right for you. If you have the money to invest, this is definitely a great way to quickly get a site up and running without really having to overthink it.
With Shopify, you won’t have to find a hosting provider or anything else that comes with starting up your own website.
However, if you’re looking to start an e-commerce store with no website startup costs (aside from your domain name and hosting fees), you’ll want to go with a wordpress.org site and install WooCommerce. There’s a little more upfront work going this route, but it’s no doubt a great route to go.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce give you step-by-step instructions on how to set up your shop. Simply list all your products and start promoting.
You could even start a blog to go alongside your shop to engage visitors and keep them coming back.
An e-commerce site is a great way to make money online.
10. Apps That Pay
Some apps can become a side job or pay you back for the shopping you already do.
If the thought of driving strangers around doesn’t bother you, pick up a side job with Lyft or Uber. All you need to do to apply is to download the app and sign up to drive. Once you’re approved, you can start making money right away. Both companies offer rewards and bonuses in their programs to help you earn even more.
If driving others around isn’t your thing, Uber has another program called Uber Eats that allows you to deliver food to customers. There are a few other apps that you can deliver food and groceries with:
Want ways to earn cash back while you shop in-store and online?
Apps like Ibotta will pay you for shopping at over 300 retailers across the country. All you need to do is verify an online purchase or scan your receipt to start earning money on purchases you’re already making.
Another great app is Ebates. Same concept as Ibotta. Just scan your receipt to start earning.
You can also earn cash back through the Swagbucks app.
Making Money Online
If you want to make money online, understand it’s not an overnight process. You may be one of the lucky ones who do see success quickly, but it’s not how it works for most. It’s the small wins, working smart, and consistency that’ll launch you to success.
Keep these ideas in mind and you’ll find yourself making some money online before you know it.
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