There are over 505 million Google search results when you type in “how to make money online” in the search engine. So why am I adding one more to the list? In most cases, the results aren’t very helpful.
Many are nothing more than sales pitches trying to convince you that you can make $1,000 a day online by doing 30 seconds of work. Now while this is possible, the odds of it actually happening are slim.
So I created this guide for how to make money online. It’s not going to try to sell you an ebook or some other product so you can get started. Rather it is going to show you how to actually make money online.
As with anything in life, if you want to make a decent amount of money on something, you are going to have to put in some effort. So I break down the sections below and you can pick which one or ones make the most sense for you.
- Are you looking for a few bucks on the side here and there? Then section 1 is for you.
- Do you want to make more than a few extra bucks on the side? Then section 2 is for you.
- Or maybe you want to try to replace your full time income with your own business? Then section 3 is for you.
There is no right or wrong way to make money online. Some readers may only want to earn a few bucks to offset some of their expenses. Others want something more out of life. All are great and that is why I am breaking things out into the various sections. Let’s get started.
How To Make Money Online
Section 1: Making Money With Little Effort
When it come to making money online with little effort, you have a decent amount of options. Just remember that you aren’t going to make millions of dollars going this route. In reality, you are going to be able make upwards of $100 or so a month.
If this is your goal, then here are some of your options:
SwagBucks: Most people have heard of swagbucks by now. If you haven’t, here is a quick summary. By using the site for playing games, finding content, searching online, shopping online or taking surveys, you earn “swagbucks” which is their virtual currency.
You can redeem your swagbucks for gift cards or even cash through PayPal. If you install their toolbar and do your internet searches through that, you easily earn swagbucks.
What is the catch here? Really all of these “free” ways to make money online are not technically free. While you will never pay them money to use, you do pay in the form of data collection. They take your search history, your survey results, games played, etc. and sell this information to advertisers so that advertisers can better market to people.
Understand they never provide the advertising firms with your personal information other than IP address or zip code, age, gender, etc. Your name, address, Social Security number, etc. are never provided.
To some this might sound a little big brotherish, but most websites collect this information on you when you visit their websites anyways. This is why after you shop for a new set of kitchen knives, all of the ads on various websites are suddenly ads for kitchen knives. In my opinion, they are getting this information from you already, so you might as well make some money off of it!
To sign up for Swagbucks for free, click here.
Inbox Dollars: Inbox Dollars is a lot like Swagbucks. You can make money from completing various tasks, including:
- Taking surveys
- Completing offers
- Reading emails
- Watching videos
- Playing games
- Browsing the internet
And like Swagbucks, they collect some of your information and sell it back to advertisers.
The downside to InboxDollars is the pay-to-time ratio. Some surveys take you 30 minutes to complete and you only earn $0.20 for doing so. In other cases, you have to answer 10 minutes of a qualification questionnaire to see if you qualify to take the survey and in the end, if you don’t qualify, you earn zilch.
But like I mentioned at the start, these options aren’t going to make you a millionaire overnight or ever for that matter. But they will offer you some added income and if that is what you are after, then they are decent options to look into.
Lastly, you can use both at the same time to see which one makes the most sense for you or if you enjoy using both together.
To sign up for InboxDollars for free, click here.
Receipt Hog: This is an interesting one. You simply download the app and then take pictures of your receipts to be uploaded to the Receipt Hog server. Depending on how much money you spent, you earn a varying amount of coins. Collect enough coins and you can redeem them for cash to your PayPal account or for an Amazon gift card.
As with Swagbucks and InboxDollars, Receipt Hog uses the information you give it (in this case your shopping habits) to help advertisers market better. Also, the same idea applies for this option as the two above – you aren’t getting rich overnight with this option. But for me, I find it fun.
To sign up for Receipt Hog for free, click here. If you use my referral code: skiv8225, you’ll earn bonus spins for a chance to win more coins after you submit your first receipt.
Fiverr: Fiverr is a website that allows users to sell “gigs” for $5 apiece. Just what is a gig? There really is no limit to a gig. If you can sing, you can offer to sing custom happy birthday songs for buyers for $5 each.
If you can manipulate pictures, you can charge $5 to edit photos. There really is no limit to the things you can offer to do for $5. I suggest you browse around a bit on the site to see if you have any talents worth selling.
Of the $5, you end up netting $4 after Fiverr takes their cut. So if you sell 10 gigs a month, you make $40. The good news is that you can include “add-ons” to your services. For example, a birthday song might be $5 but for an extra $5 you will deliver the song in 24 hours. Now you just made $8.
There are other add-ons you can include to make even more from a single sale. With just an additional add-on, 20 sales per month doubles your income to $80 monthly. Not too bad if you can complete the gig in a short amount of time.
Click here to check out Fiverr.
UserTesting: This way to make money online is fun – at least I think so! The way it works is that you get paid to test out websites. The process of testing a site takes around 20 minutes and you get paid $10 for each one you complete.
Why would websites pay you to check out their sites? There are a number of reasons, including checking for errors, dead pages or broken links. In some cases, the site owner watches the tester browse around their site, seeing where they click and how they get around. This helps the site owner with creating a more user-friendly site layout.
You can learn more about User Testing here.
Surveys: While both Swagbucks and Inbox dollars allow for surveys, you can just do surveys as well. There are a lot of options out there. Some are better than others. There are two that I have used and have paid me money (surprisingly, you will find some that let you take the survey but then never follow through with payment).
The two I use are Pincone Research and SurveySavvy. While I recommend both, I like Pinecone the most. They pay me $3 for taking a survey (which takes me about 15 minutes max) and I get a couple each month. While the money isn’t putting my future kids through college, it is nice to make a couple extra hundred bucks a year. Unfortunately, you can’t just sign up. You have to be invited by a current member. With that said, if you want to join, shoot me an email and the next time they have open recruitment (a few times each year) I will submit your name.
As for SurveySavvy, the amount you earn for a survey varies. Most are between $0.50 and $1.00 but there are others out there worth $5 or more. You can sign up at any time too. Here is my referral link for you to learn more and sign up.
Section 2: More Money, More Effort
So let’s say you want something more than just an extra $100 or so each month and you have the time to devote more hours to your money making ventures. Section 2 might be for you. In this section, you can make a few hundred dollars per month and in some cases even more. It really depends on how much time you devote to it.
If this sounds like you, here are some of your options:
Freelance Writing: There are a lot of websites out there and there is a lot of content that is written on the websites. As a result writers are always in demand. As a freelance writer, you can make money writing for various websites.
Just how much money can you make? Starting out, you can make around $0.01 to $0.03 per word. But as you build a portfolio of work, you can increase your rate to up to $1.00 per article. For a 500 word article, that means you make $500! But it takes time to build up to this level.
In many cases, you have to apply to become a freelance writer. But there are sites that allow you to submit an article to and get paid. These are great for first-timers to build up a portfolio. Here are some sites to check out to get started:
- TopTenz: This site posts “list type” posts, like top 10 or top 20, etc. They require the post to be 1,500 words minimum and pay $50 per accepted post.
- Listverse: Just like Top Tenz, Listverse require you write a minimum of a top 10 list and the post has at least 1,500 words. If your post gets accepted, you will get paid $100.
- iWriter: This site lets you choose the amount of articles you want to write each day and what topics you want to write about. As you get better, you can earn up to $15 per article. This is a good place to start to build up your resume as they aren’t as strict with their acceptance policy.
- TextBroker: TextBroker has you submit a writing sample to get rated before you can begin writing for real. The ranking goes up to 5 stars and at that rate, you earn $0.05 per word. This is another good place to start with building your portfolio.
- Upwork: Upwork is a little different than the options above. Here you create a listing offering your services and then apply for jobs as a contractor. Contracts last a varying of time depending on the job and pay varies as well. You can set your accepted pay range and negotiate with the job poster as well. As you complete more jobs and get rated by the job poster, you can expect to earn more jobs.
Of course, if you want to really make a good amount of money through freelance writing, you have to make sure your writing skills are top notch. Luckily there are some awesome free resources out there that can help. Check out this list of 150 resources to get started. If that isn’t enough, you can also check out this list of an additional 50 resources. Also check out this great guide for writers.
If writing isn’t your thing, have no fear as there are still some option to make money online. Here are a handful of non-writing opportunities for you.
eBay: I sold on eBay when I was in college and it helped me to earn some extra spending money. I don’t use it as much as I have in the past, but it is still a good option to earning some money. Here is how you go about making money using eBay.
Your first step is to search around your house for things you no longer need/want/use. Take a picture and create a listing for the items on eBay. The goal at first is to just get comfortable using the site and understanding how much you can charge and how much shipping costs. You also will get a sense of the time commitment.
From there, it is time to expand into becoming a reseller. To do this, you have to pick a niche you know well. Some people choose kids toys since they have kids. For me, I don’t have kids, so I have no idea when I find a truly good deal on kids toys.
But I do know a lot about electronics and thus I use this niche. To find products to resell, you have options:
- Yard sales
- Estate Sales
- Retail stores clearance sections
- Discount stores
If you put some thought into it, you will most likely come up with other places to find deals that are specific to your niche. Simply buy the items and sell them for a profit on ebay. It’s as simple as that.
Just know that it does take time to scout and find items, to list them, sell them and ship them. This is why this money making option is in this section and not the first one.
Amazon FBA: The Amazon FBA program is a lot like selling on eBay, but with a twist. Instead of a listing lasting 7-10 days like it does on eBay, with Amazon, your listing stays live until the item sells or you remove it.
You buy a product and ship it into Amazon, paying a reduced shipping fee. Then Amazon stores the item until it sells. You pay a commission when the item sells as well as the storage fee, which is minimal. You can see the fees in this great calculator.
I’ve had great success with selling on Amazon. They get a ton more traffic than eBay and for me, it’s a lot easier to figure out which products will sell.
Section 3: Replace Your Job
Now we get to the part where you can make serious amounts of extra money. These options allow for you to make thousands of dollars each month. But there is one caveat that I have to mention: This will not happen overnight. Again, you will not be making an extra thousand dollars each month from the start. You will have to work hard – real hard – and in time you will see results. Unfortunately, there is still no guarantee of riches either.
If this sounds like you, here are your options:
Start Your Own Website: I couldn’t write a guide to making money online without talking out starting your own website! When you have your own site, there are a handful of ways to make money through it:
- Adsense advertising: These are the Google ads you see on many websites. In most cases, when a visitor clicks on the ad, the site owner gets a cut of the amount the advertiser paid Google to post the ad. It’s easy to get accepted to place these ads, but to make money, you need to have traffic.
- Private advertising: In addition to Adsense, there is private advertising. This is when companies reach out to you directly to place ads on your site. In this case, you can get paid based on how many people click the ad or how many times the ad appears based on a visitor coming to your site, called an impression. In some cases, you can even get a flat rate payment.
- Affiliate advertising: This is where you promote other companies products and can earn a commission. The amount you earn varies depending on the product. While on the surface it sounds like the more items you promote, the more money you earn, this is not the case. In fact, you tend to earn more when you focus on a small number of products in your niche that you know and use.
- Product creation: This is the toughest way to make online with your website, but it tends to be the most lucrative as well. You create a product or service and sell it on your site. I’ve seen some sites charge a few hundred dollars for their products.
To get started with your site, you need to pick a niche, a domain name and a web host. You can read more about all of this in my guide to niche blogging. There I lay out the providers I use and walk you through the process of building a site.
Work At Home Companies: I will admit, there are a lot of companies out there that call themselves “work from home” that are more scam than legitimate way to make money online. Luckily, I’ve done a decent amount of research and found a handful that are legit and pay a decent wage. Most of these will also allow you to create your own schedule as well as work from home.
- SpeakWrite: This company will pay you transcribe all sorts of information from audio to text. If you are a decent typist, you can make good money with them. They currently pay up to $15 per hour.
- CrowdSource: This company does a large variety of services including copy-writing services, data categorization and reconciliation, search relevance, product matching and content moderation. The pay varies by project but you can expect to earn around $10 per hour.
- Fast Chart: Like SpeakWrite, Fast Chart is a transcription service, but they only deal with medical transcription. They have high standards, but if you meet them, you can replace your current income.
- Liveops: If you aren’t great at typing, you can try out Liveops. They are a call center that allows you to work from home. Once you get all set up, you can expect to make $10 per hour.
- JBS Court Research: This job isn’t 100% work from home. You have to travel to your county courthouse and conduct research through public records. JBS will give you the information you are looking for and you head to the courthouse to try to find the information in public records. While the pay is good – you can make up to $50 per hour if you are good – you have to work between 9-5 Monday through Friday.
So there are you have a complete list of the many ways to make money online. As a recap, your first step is to figure out how much effort you are willing to put into making money online. Once you figure this out, you can see what options there are for making money. Again, don’t expect to be able to put little to no effort into making money online and expect to become rich. No money making opportunity works this way. You have to put in the effort to see the results.
If you think you have found some other option that allows you to make oodles of money for doing nothing, I encourage you to think twice. Most likely it is a scam. After all, why would someone who can make a ton of money by doing nothing go through the effort of trying to recruit others to join them? Wouldn’t it just be easier to keep doing nothing and have the money continue to roll in?
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