How to Make Money Online for Beginners: 50 Legit Ways to Earn from Home
Our readers always come first
The content on DollarSprout includes links to our advertising partners. When you read our content and click on one of our partners’ links, and then decide to complete an offer — whether it’s downloading an app, opening an account, or some other action — we may earn a commission from that advertiser, at no extra cost to you.
Our ultimate goal is to educate and inform, not lure you into signing up for certain offers. Compensation from our partners may impact what products we cover and where they appear on the site, but does not have any impact on the objectivity of our reviews or advice.
Our number one goal at DollarSprout is to help readers improve their financial lives, and we regularly partner with companies that share that same vision. If a purchase or signup is made through one of our Partners’ links, we may receive compensation for the referral. Learn more here.
The first time I realized that you could make money online was my senior year of college.
I was scrolling through Pinterest when I came across an article on how some woman had made a full-time income working online while traveling the world. Like any free-spirited, early-20-something, that was my dream. So of course I thought, “How can I make money online so I can travel whenever and wherever I want?”
I decided to do a little digging to see if there were any others out there living the “laptop lifestyle,” working from anywhere with an internet connection and cell reception. As it turns out, thousands, if not millions, of people make money online every day.
Once I realized there are many legit ways to make money online, I decided to give it a try for myself. Since then, I’ve earned thousands per year all while working from my laptop. And it’s not as difficult to get started as you may think.
Easy Ways to Make Money Online
Some methods of making money online pay higher rates than others, so choose the ones that best suit your lifestyle. Here are some ideas and resources to get started learning how to make money online for free.
1. Participate in market research
Online surveys won’t net you a hefty income, but you can earn a few dollars here and there. Many survey sites pay in gift cards, but some, like Branded Surveys, allow you to cash out your earnings via PayPal or direct deposit. By consistently taking surveys and earning points, you’ll become a Branded Elite member and qualify for additional bonus points and rewards.
We’ve audited dozens of paid survey sites, many of which are scams purporting to represent legitimate entities, so be careful when handing out personal information to a brand you haven’t heard much about.
2. Get cash back and rewards when you shop
Cash-back apps and browser extensions help you save money on everything from groceries to books. Again, you won’t earn a fortune, but you will save money on things you already buy. My personal favorite is Capital One Shopping because it works with my favorite stores like Overstock, Vitacost, and eBay.
If you already use Capital One, you can create a Capital One Shopping account using your regular banking log in. If you don’t use Capital One, signing up is still a quick process. Once you create an account and get the browser extension, Capital One will let you know while you’re shopping if there’s a deal available for that retailer. You can cash in your rewards for gift cards to Walmart, Redbox, Sephora, and other retailers.
Note: Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the Capital One Shopping extension using the links provided.
3. Start a blog of your own
Making money by starting a blog is more realistic than you may think. Bloggers make money by advertising for companies they’re affiliated with. When users click an affiliate link and make a purchase, the website owner earns a commission. There are other ways to make money blogging such as by displaying advertising, selling your own products, or writing sponsored content.
Blogging platforms such as HostGator provide a simple, affordable way to start your own digital business from home for less than the cost of a cup of coffee each month. (It’s the same we built DollarSprout into a seven-figure brand.)
4. Complete micro tasks
Micro tasks are one of the easiest ways to make money online. But micro jobs come with micro pay. You can earn a few dollars a month with Swagbucks by watching videos, playing games, and using the Swagbucks search engine. Other micro job sites pay users for reviewing content, verifying data, or testing apps and websites.
5. Become a proofreader
Proofreaders help authors, bloggers, and even court reporters ensure that their content is grammatically correct and error-free. A proofreader’s role is to be an extra set of eyes after the author and editor have finished their job. They scour content for any errors that may have previously been missed. Learn how to make money as a proofreader.
6. Work as a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant is an all-encompassing title for someone who offers online services for companies and small businesses. Services can range from graphic design, to blog management, to email marketing. A good friend of mine started working as a virtual assistant once she had her first child. She makes $35 an hour offering copywriting and email management to local companies. Working as a freelancer will increase your hourly rate but comes with the downside of having to find your own work. Another option is to work with well-known virtual assistant companies that have a steady stream of clients, but at a lower hourly rate.
7. Manage Facebook Ads for businesses
One of the ways Facebook makes money is by allowing companies to advertise its products and services in users’ news feeds. Most small business owners don’t realize the value of running Facebook ads for their business. By learning to communicate the value of ads in reaching new clientele and building brand awareness, you can earn $1,000 to $2,000 per month for each client you book. Start by reaching out to small business owners in your area or by taking an online course that teaches you how to manage ads on Facebook and start booking clients.
8. Host a digital course
Digital courses are one of the top ways to make money online today. Outschool is a teacher-recruiting platform specifically designed to help online course creators monetize their knowledge. Its classes range from architecture to yoga to learning about Pokémon characters. According to the site, the average teacher earns $40 per hour, and you don’t need experience teaching to use Outschool.
9. Teach English as a second language
Having been a VIPKid teacher myself, I can honestly say it’s a legit way to make money online. VIPKid hires native English speakers to teach English to children, most of whom are based in China. Your pay is based on your level of teaching experience and how well you do in the demo interview. When I worked for the company I had zero experience and regularly made $1,500 to $2,000 per month teaching part-time. For a complete look at the pros and cons, check out our VIPKid teacher review.
10. Sell your unused gift cards
If you have gift cards lying around that you don’t want, you can sell them on Raise. When you enter your gift card, Raise will give you a suggested selling rate. You can change this to set the price at whatever you believe is fair. It’s free to list your gift card on Raise, but once it sells, the site will keep 15% of the selling price and you’ll receive the remaining 85%. For example, if you list a gift card with a $50 balance for sale at $45, Raise will keep $6.75 and you’ll receive $38.25.
11. Become a private tutor
With the variety of online tutoring sites available, you can earn money online by teaching anything you know. Some sites dictate the amount you can charge while others allow you to set your own rate. You can start booking clients by creating profiles on sites like Wyzant or Tutor.com. Depending on your subject area and whether you prefer to teach in person or online, you could also advertise on Craigslist or at local schools.
12. Sell your gently-used clothing
One of the easiest ways to make money online is by selling things you no longer use. If your clothes are designer and in high demand, you may earn more by listing them individually on Poshmark or eBay. On the other hand, if your items aren’t in as high demand or you don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling them yourself, you can order a Clean Out Kit from thredUP. Pack the bag, and collect your earnings when they sell. For a local alternative, try Plato’s Closet or Buffalo. (From my experience, however, you won’t earn as much as selling your clothes online.)
13. Get paid to test websites
Website testers give their opinions on a website’s design and user experience. This allows companies to make changes to their websites in order to provide a better experience for their users (and hopefully increase sales). With sites like UserTesting, you can earn $10 for every 15- to 20-minute test you complete. Tests involve recording your screen with feedback and answering follow-up questions. Check out other places you can get paid to test websites.
14. Invest in fine art
When people think of investing, they imagine the usual: stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. But you can also invest in physical items, such as fine art. Up until now, it wasn’t possible for most ordinary people to buy famous and original works of art from artists like Picasso, Monet, or Rembrandt.
Masterworks is a company that makes it possible to buy “shares” in a painting, just as you would buy shares of stock. It’s a good way to make money online if you know your art and don’t need the money right away.
15. Write for websites and business owners
Writing is one of the fastest and most accessible ways to make money online. You don’t need perfect grammar skills or a padded portfolio to become a freelance writer. You can use personal blog posts, newsletters, or stories you’ve written in the past as samples of your work. Join the ProBlogger and Freelance Writing job boards to start pitching your services to clients.
16. Pick up freelance work
I’ve earned thousands in extra income over the last three years as a freelance writer, web developer, and, most recently, project manager. The fastest way to sell your services online is to offer what you already know. If your day job involves managing social media, or if you learned to edit podcasts from working on your own personal podcast, those are legitimate services you can offer to clients. Sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.com offer a network of professionals looking for freelancers with your skillset.
17. Sell what you make on Etsy
Etsy is known for its variety of handmade and vintage items, but users have seen success selling everything from handmade knitwear and upcycled jewelry to budget printables and home organization binders. Whatever your talent is, there’s a chance that you can sell your crafts digitally and earn some extra income.
18. Create YouTube content
YouTubers primarily earn money through ads, which average $0.01 to $0.03 per view, or $3 to $5 per 1000 video views. If you create consistent, engaging content and build a following, you can make money on YouTube with Google AdSense. It’s free to start a creator account, but you must meet YouTube’s minimum requirements before you can monetize your videos.
19. Work as a mystery shopper
Companies like Secret Shopper, BestMark, and IntelliShop pay workers to provide feedback on a company’s products or services. For example, you might be asked to visit a local electronics store, ask someone in the phone department specific questions, and complete a survey about your experience. You can complete applications with mystery shopping companies to start booking gigs online or in your area.
20. Buy and sell domain names
Ever since I started my own website in 2016, I’ve purchased domain names whenever I think of one that could be worth something. Recently, I sold one of them on GoDaddy for $1,200 — a domain I originally purchased for $12. If you have a penchant for thinking of unique names for websites or businesses, domain flipping could potentially be a lucrative way to make money online. Here’s a great how-to guide by GoDaddy that shares tips for flipping an inexpensive domain for thousands.
21. Work as a matchmaker
Tawkify matches online love-seekers based on shared values, interests, and other dating preferences. As a matchmaker, you’ll work one-on-one with clients and line up their next date with handpicked matches based on these factors. You don’t need experience in the field to apply. According to its website, some of the qualities Tawkify looks for in matchmakers include empathy, intuition, and high EQ.
22. Teach business owners how to use Asana
Many small and large businesses alike have trouble organizing and managing projects and teams, which is where project management software like Asana can help. As an Asana consultant, you’ll help business owners set up their teams, streamline and optimize projects, and train them on Asana best practices. After your first year of consulting with businesses, you can apply to become an Asana Certified Pro. Certification comes with in-depth training, and you’ll be featured on Asana’s Certified Pros page to make it easier for clients in your area to find and work with you.
23. Start a dropshipping business
Dropshipping businesses have become an extremely popular way to make money online over the last decade. Dropshippers source products from manufacturers, then sell the product through their online store. When a customer places an order, the item is shipped from the manufacturer directly to the customer’s home. You never have to store inventory or manage orders. Shopify, one of the most well-known eCommerce platforms online, offers a free 45-minute workshop on how to start and launch a dropshipping business.
24. Create an app
You don’t need to be a software engineer or developer to create an app. If you have a great idea, find someone on Freelancer, Upwork, or Fiverr with the technical skills who can help you bring it to life. You can also use a platform like Build Fire or Appy Pie to create your app with no coding skills needed. Once your app is live, you can make money by displaying in-app advertisements, offering a premium version, or selling your app to a larger company.
25. Trade in old phones or unused technology
I used to have a habit of holding on to all my old laptops and cell phones, even after I upgraded to a newer model. That changed when I discovered Buyback Boss and sites like it where you can sell your old electronics.
I recently got $60 for trading in my old iPhone 7 that’s been sitting in my closet for two years. Buyback Boss gives you an instant quote and offers a highest-price guarantee. If you find a better deal on another site, send it your quote and it’ll match it, no questions asked.
26. Start a paid membership community
I’m a member of several paid membership communities — some in life coaching and personal development and others related to online business. Membership sites can be a great way to share your knowledge, build a community, and create recurring revenue. A membership typically includes some form of core content, such as a course. The ones I’m a member of also release weekly or monthly content, including live coaching calls where members can volunteer to be coached in front of the community. For more information, check out this in-depth guide on how to create a paid membership site.
27. Sell your personal photos
If you enjoy taking pictures or have images on your camera roll that you’re not using, you can make money by selling them online. You only need a smartphone camera to get started. Some apps will pay you for your selfies while other sites, like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock, pay for stock photography they can sell to business owners. Learn more about how to get paid for your pictures.
28. Offer virtual interior design consults
One of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow is Galey Alix. Galey documents her interior design projects — a business she started and runs on the side of her full-time finance job. Her successful business is proof that you don’t need a degree or experience to start a business or offer services in a new area.
View this post on Instagram
📸👱🏻♀️⚒ Before & after shots from my weekend project: converting my traditional master bedroom fireplace to Modern Coastal. To see the ‘how to’ video & a description of everything I did, check out my previous post. Also, left a little surprise at the end here. Do WHAT you love, LOVE what you do.👌🏻😏. . . . #design #interiordesign #coastal #moderncoastal #fireplace #shiplapfireplace #coastalfireplace #shiplap #boxers #lighting #coastalsconces #diy #coastaldecor #bedroom #masterbedroom #home #cozy #cozyhome #bedroomdecor #homeinspo #potterybarn #crateandbarrel #homegoods #myflor @florsquares @palmbeachwoodwork @crateandbarrel @potterybarn
Start by working with friends and family for free. Document your work online and on social media, and collect testimonials. Once you have some experience and a feel for your process, you can create service packages and sell them to new clients.
29. Self-publish an eBook
Self-publishing has become popular among new authors. If you already have a blog or personal website, you can use it to sell your book. The most common method seems to be self-publishing through Amazon with Kindle Direct Publishing. Once you’ve written and formatted your book, you can upload it directly to your Amazon KDP account. Learn more about how to publish and sell an eBook.
30. Become a voice-over artist
Voice-over artists provide their voice for professional audio work such as games, commercials, and cartoons. If you have a voice for radio, this could be an easy way to make money online. You can find voice-over work on freelance sites like Fiverr or niche sites such as Voices.com.
31. Sell digital products
If you don’t have the time or just don’t prefer to work with clients, selling digital products offers another way to make money online with your know-how. There are many types of digital products you can create and sell, such as planners, templates, or workbooks. You can drive people to your digital products through Pinterest, social media, or creating content such as blog posts that rank in search engine results.
32. Sell your home-grown produce
A friend of mine recently fulfilled a decades-long dream of owning chickens. According to his calculations, his 20 chickens should provide 15 or so eggs per day. When I asked what he planned to do with all the extras, he said, “Hadn’t thought of that. I guess I’ll sell them.” His new hobby became an unexpected side hustle. If you love to garden or grow your own produce, consider selling the excess to friends and family or on sites like Facebook Marketplace.
33. Work for a call center
A call center agent is one of the best online jobs for people who work in customer service. U-Haul, Apple, and American Express are a few companies that offer remote work in this field. This role can either be full-time or part-time depending on the company, and training is typically provided, which means no previous experience is required.
34. Apply to work as a data entry specialist
Data entry includes inputting hard-copy information into a spreadsheet or scanning documents into an online program. It doesn’t require a specialized degree and pays upwards of $13 per hour depending on your level of experience, which makes data entry an easy way to make money online or from home in your spare time. Sites like FlexJobs and Microworkers offer data entry jobs for all skill levels.
35. Transcribe audio files
The most common transcription jobs fall into three categories: legal, medical, and general. Companies in the medical or legal realms may require that you have some knowledge or experience in the respective field. As a transcriptionist, you’ll listen to audio files and transcribe them into written content. Pay varies depending on the industry and your level of experience. If you’re interested in transcription, here’s a free 7-day course that includes more details about what it takes to work as a transcriptionist and how to get started.
36. Design and sell T-shirts
If you’re creative or can come up with catchy sayings, you can make money online designing and selling your own T-shirts. Sites like Teespring, Bonfire, and Printify allow you to design and sell custom shirts without paying anything upfront or holding inventory. Similar to dropshipping, you create your own storefront that includes your personal designs. When a customer places an order, the site creates the product and ships it on your behalf. You’ll still need to promote your storefront to make money online with this idea, so it’s helpful to have an online following, whether it’s on Instagram, YouTube, or another social media platform.
37. Offer consulting services
Consulting has an inherently corporate connotation. However, anyone with deep knowledge in a particular subject area could make money as a virtual consultant. Unlike freelancers, a consultant’s work is less hands-on. Rather than doing the work yourself, you provide clients with the expertise that allows them to take informed action. If you’re an expert in search engine optimization, for example, you may consult with clients to create an SEO strategy, then teach their employees how to implement the changes.
38. Coach in your area of expertise
Where consultants provide a plan of execution for clients, coaches help clients create a plan for themselves. When I started my financial coaching business, I thought I would mostly tell people what to do with their money and then they would do it. But I quickly realized that what my clients needed most was help overcoming limiting money beliefs and staying accountable to their own goals and plans. You can become a coach in any area from Instagram marketing to personal finances and business. Tools like Acuity and Zoom can help you book and meet with clients virtually.
Related: How to Become a Personal Trainer
39. Start a new online business
Take notice of the things you hear others complain about or problems you face yourself. Is there a way to turn the solution into an online business? Or if you already offer an in-person service, is there a way you can take your in-person business online? For example, a massage therapist could host online classes teaching couples how to give each other a massage. A baker could host an online workshop about how to make their most popular recipes. There are thousands of online business ideas outside of the ones listed here.
Real Ways to Make Money from Home Offline
Not all work-from-home jobs are tied to an internet connection. The following guides and resources can help you learn more about these real ways to make money from home for free.
40. Sign up for a food delivery service
While this isn’t technically a way to make money from home, delivering food or packages is an easy way to earn extra income outside of a day job. Instacart shoppers typically earn between $10 and $20 per hour. As long as you have consistent access to a vehicle, you can make deliveries on your own time and start earning as soon as you’re approved. Shoppers also get comped memberships to Costco, BJs, and several other wholesale retailers (in addition to tons of free fuel points)!
41. Pet sit at your house
I recently started pet sitting using the Rover app as a way to make money from home. The company allows you to set your own rates, schedule, and choose the services you offer. Since I work remotely, I chose in-house doggy daycare and set my rate at $33 per dog per day. Moose was my first client. For two days of having him over, I earned $52.80. (Rover takes a 20% cut.) I was pleased given that my dog did most of the work entertaining Moose and I got the reward. Other services you can offer on Rover include dog walking, boarding, in-house visits, and house sitting. Learn more about what it’s like to dog sit with Rover.
42. Rent out your space
If you have space in your house that you’re not using, renting it out is one of the best ways to make money from home. There are many ways to rent out your space. Websites like Neighbor.com and StoreAtMyHouse are built for storing items, while ShareMySpace and PeerSpace are geared toward events like meetings, photoshoots, and parties.
43. Offer at-home daycare
At-home daycare offers a fun way to make money at home if you love working with children and have the time to dedicate to caring for several at once. Many parents prefer private daycares to public ones. If you have experience working with kids or a network of parents who trust you, this is one of the best side hustles for moms or dads who work remotely or stay home with their own kids during the day.
44. Flip Facebook Marketplace finds
I love following furniture flipping accounts on Instagram, like Whitney Hansen’s Unsophisticated DIY. The main thing I’ve learned from these accounts: not all flips require significant work. If you can find good enough deals, you can purchase a piece, then turn around and sell it for profit within a week. Apart from furniture, keep an eye out for other flippable items you can sell like clothing with tags, antiques, and vintage collectible items like baseball cards or gaming systems.
45. Sell your favorite recipes
If friends and family rave over your cooking, even a single dish, you can capitalize on your talent to make money at home. That’s what Nikki Girard did. What began as trying to perfect her Haitian patty recipe turned into a part-time side business that brings in $2,000 per month. You can use social media and your personal network to sell your creations. Some states have Cottage Food laws on how much you can sell without requiring a license, so be sure to research this for your area.
46. Fix broken gadgets for neighbors
A few weeks ago my lawnmower broke down and I wasn’t sure where to take it. When I told my next-door neighbor, he offered to fix it for me. It turns out he has a side gig repairing broken lawn mowers for locals. If you have a similar skillset or general handyman knowledge, this may be an easy way to make money from home. Call around to neighbors who might use your services and mention your offering in conversations with friends and family. Word of mouth can be a powerful marketing tool, but apps like TaskRabbit and Amazon Home Services can also help spread the word.
47. Let companies advertise on your phone
Advertisements allow companies a way to reach a new clientele. More brand exposure typically means more revenue, which means you can make money from home by allowing companies to use your belongings as a billboard. Sites like Wrapify and Carvertise pay to place ads on your car while Slidejoy and similar apps pay to rent ad space on your phone’s lock screen. Learn more about how to get paid to advertise for companies and brands.
48. Do bookkeeping for local businesses
As a bookkeeper, you’ll be responsible for things like inputting company transactions, reconciling bank records, invoicing customers, and running financial reports. You don’t need a degree in finance or accounting to make money from home as a bookkeeper. However, you will need to know how to use Quickbooks or other popular accounting software, and you’ll need a basic understanding of accounting principles. Any bookkeeping classes or certifications you complete can justify a bump in your rates.
49. Teach fitness classes
You can teach yoga and fitness classes in your garage gym, spare bedroom, or even your living room. This is an easy way to make money from home if you already have a teaching certification. If you don’t, ACE Fitness offers group fitness certification training starting at $350. Being certified isn’t a requirement, but it can give you a competitive edge in marketing your classes and help your clients feel more confident in your services.
50. Negotiate a remote work agreement with your current employer
If you have a job you love but want the flexibility of working remotely, consider bringing it up with your employer. Depending on your role, you may only be able to work out a part-time remote agreement that leaves you with some days in-office and others at home. Before you initiate the conversation, be prepared to communicate your reasoning and think of any questions or problems your boss may have ahead of time. Having solutions prepared will increase your odds of coming to a mutually beneficial agreement.
Make a Plan for Your Extra Money Ahead of Time
Making extra money online or from home is great. But if your reason for doing so is to get out of a tough financial predicament, you’ll end up in the same place if you don’t create a plan for your money before it comes in. Making a monthly budget or spending plan can help.
Write down your consistent income streams: full-time salary, child support, etc. — any income that stays the same from month to month. Then include your side hustle income as a separate item. Write in less than you think you can make so that you don’t end up going over budget if you make less. Once you have your income, decide how much to save, invest, put toward debt, and then what’s left over to spend until each dollar is accounted for.
They say you manage what you measure. If you’re going to use your spare time to make extra money online, tracking where that money goes will ensure the effort is worth the reward.
Related: 37 Creative Ways to Make Money Fast