For many people, nothing could be better than earning an income from the comfort of your couch. The good news is that with the rise of technology, social media, and digital media, it’s completely possible.
Aside from always having a job, I’ve always had an online side hustle. Whether it was freelance writing or completing surveys, I’ve made some pretty good money online and I want to help you do the same.
The flexibility that comes with working online is one of my favorite aspects and of course, this will vary depending on the job. If your source of income serves as more of a casual side hustle like taking surveys, your level of flexibility is going to look a bit different than that of someone with a service-based job with clients to serve, such as a virtual assistant.
Whether you’re a college student, a stay-at-home parent, or an aspiring entrepreneur ready to take back 9 to 5 and gain more control over your life, there a million and one ways to make money online.
Take a look at these 10 legitimate ways to make real money right from your computer as well as some tips to get you started.
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Blogging is one of the best ways to make money online because the potential for growth is limitless. When I first started blogging, I loved it just because I loved to write. I had no idea you could make money from it. When I found that out, I loved it even more.
I became obsessed with reading bloggers’ income reports and seeing how they were making anywhere from a few hundreds to $100,000+ every single month
The great thing about blogging is that you determine how much you earn. As long as: 1) you’re passionate about what you’re writing about, and 2) you’re willing to put in the required time and effort, the sky is really the limit.
While I don’t think the six-figure range is beyond the realm of possibility, it’s not going to happen overnight. But if you are committed to success, you could see some serious growth quicker than you think. In fact, I know of several bloggers who were able to quit their 9-5’s in less than a year to blog full-time.
How to get started: Check out my step-by-step guide to starting your own self-hosted WordPress blog. Once you have your blog, you can get started creating content and monetizing your blog with methods such as placing ads on your site, writing sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing.
2. Amazon Mechanical Turk
Introducing my #1 side hustle: Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk). I have been a “turker” since 2013 and have made thousands of dollars on this platform, completely on my own schedule.
mTurk is a crowdtasking site where users sign up to complete surveys and other small tasks called HITs which stands for Human Intelligence Tasks posted to the platform by requesters. Payment for each task ranges from a few pennies to a few dollars or more which can then be redeemed for cash via direct deposit or Amazon gift cards.
The low pay per task tends to turn people off, but don’t be fooled: there is big money to be made on this site. As you learn your way around the platform and get into a groove, those pennies really start to add up. Depending on how diligent I am, I usually make anywhere from $10-50+ a day with the potential to earn close to $100 per day if I’m really focused. Last year, we paid for our daughter’s Christmas gifts all with money made from mTurk!
How to get started: Head to the Amazon Mechanical Turk site and sign up to be a worker. Once approved, you can start completing HITs right away with a minimum requirement of 1 HIT per day and a maximum of 100 HITs per day, but only for the first 10 days.
3. Teach or Tutor
While formal education and/or experience in teaching may give you bonus points, it isn’t required to become an online teacher or tutor.
If you have an educational background including experience in teaching, tutoring, or mentoring and a Bachelor’s degree in any field, becoming an online teacher or tutor may be something to consider.
A couple of years ago, I used to get paid to talk to kids in China to help them with their conversational English skills through an app on my phone. (I can’t remember the name of it to save my life. If you know what it could be, please let me know in the comments!)
I was pretty inconsistent with the hours and didn’t stick with it for long and still made pretty good money. I can’t imagine how much more I could have made if I had actually been teaching classes and making $15-20/hour like some platforms are offering.
How to get started: Take a look at these recommended companies that are hiring and the specific requirements for each one.
4. Freelance Writing
If you like writing and you’re good at it, why not get paid for it? As a freelance writer, you will be writing content for businesses or publications.
The flexibility that a career in freelance writing provides is one of the best aspects of the job. You can submit articles to blogs or take on one-time projects and keep it as a side hustle. On the other hand, if you really find that freelance writing is your thing, you can seek out more permanent, long-term opportunities or even launch your own site and start marketing yourself to potential clients.
If you don’t have a website, it’s super cheap and easy to get started. Click here to start setting up your site for only $3.95/mo. with SiteGround.
How to get started: For all things freelance writing, Elna Cain is my number one go-to. She has been earning a full-time income as a freelance writer for years and has a course called Write Your Way to Your First $1k.
In the course, she gives you the run down on everything you need to know, step-by-step to make your first $1,000 from freelance writing. Once you’re enrolled in the course, you also gain access to an exclusive Facebook group where you can connect with other writers and get even more personalized help.
I took the leap and invested in her course and it was no doubt, one of the best decisions I ever made for my writing career. If you’re serious about freelance writing, click here to check out the course and get started the right way.
If you’re not quite ready to invest in the course, Elna has a great post for beginners about where to get started finding freelance writing jobs.
5. Virtual Assistance
As a virtual assistant, you’ll be helping companies and entrepreneurs complete day-to-day tasks for the operating of their businesses. Some common tasks that you could be doing as a VA include:
- Email management
- Social media management
- Content creation/curation
- Data entry
The nice thing about being a VA is that you’re not really limited to any single type of job. You can decide what services you’re going to offer based on your own skills and interests as well as take on different tasks on a client-by-client basis. Again, this is a job that has the potential to grow from a side hustle to the full-time career if that’s the path you want to take.
How to get started: If you just want to get a feel for the work or pick up some jobs here and there, check out the following beginner-friendly sites that provide potential work opportunities:
If you decide your ant to get serious about your VA biz, it’s as simple as setting up your own website then getting your name out there! Start getting your site set up with SiteGround here for less than a cup of coffee.
6. Sell Products on Etsy
With so many different platforms to host your online store, selling your own products has never been easier.
If you’re the crafty type, Etsy is a good place to get started. They do take 3.5% of sales which will soon be increasing to 5%. That isn’t ideal, but if you’re new to the whole eCommerce thing, it’s a good place to get started without the stress of setting up your own site. Etsy is one of the top platforms for selling hand-made crafts and gifts, but even if crafts aren’t exactly your thing, printables, party decor, and clothing are a few of the other things you can sell on the site.
If you decide that you want to host an eCommerce store on your own site, you can use a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce which will help you list your products and keep your stats, details, and business information organized.
How to get started: Etsy charges $0.20 per listing on the marketplace which will stay current for four months. If you already have your products in order, it’s a pretty small investment to get started on Etsy. Now, all you need is a set-up to display your products and a quality camera to take pictures of your inventory (you can even use your phone if it has a decent camera).
7. Flip Websites
If you like building websites and have some SEO and marketing skills, this might be the perfect money-maker for you. Using broker sites like Flippa, people are making real money by creating sites from scratch, monetizing them, then selling them for a big profit.
How much you can make on the sale will ultimately depend on how much traffic your site gets and the quality of your content, so you won’t see quick results from this. It will take you at least a few months to build up your website and increase its authority before being able to make a good profit from it.
How to get started: First, you’ll need to purchase a domain and hosting. Click here get both through Siteground, the site I personally use and recommend. Next, you’ll need a nice theme to make your site attractive to visitors. Finally, start creating quality content and marketing so that the traffic can start rolling in. Sign up with Flippa and start tracking your site stats to ensure a smooth sale when the time comes.
8. Write an eBook
If you’re an expert in a topic, why not write a book about it? With technology these days, you can skip the more difficult, expensive process of getting a book printed and published and write an eBook instead.
How to get started: The great thing about writing an eBook is that the start-up cost is very minimal. You most likely have all of the materials you need to get started: a computer and a word processor! Now, you just need to think of an idea for a book that will sell. Once its written, you publish for free with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and start selling or sell it on your own site.
If you prefer delivering your content verbally as opposed to writing it, hosting a podcast can be a very lucrative method of making money online.
I never really understood just how much money could actually be made from podcasting. That was until I saw John Lee Dumas’ income reports for his podcast Entrepreneurs on Fire. For the month of June 2018, John earned over $165,000 from the podcast with a net income of over $9 million since the launch of the podcast in 2012. Needless to say, there’s money to be made in podcasting.
Similar to starting a blog, you need to decide on a topic that you’re passionate about, define your target audience, then start marketing to that audience and monetizing your podcast by connecting with sponsors, selling products or services, or even through listener donations.
How to get started: Although a podcast can really pay off, the start-up costs can be a bit pricey for things like the recording equipment and editing software. If you’re serious about starting your podcast, my biggest piece of advice is to just do it! If you can’t afford the fancy equipment right now, bust open that recording app on your smartphone. The audio may not be the highest quality, but the most important thing is that you started. You can always upgrade later. Once your podcast is launched, here are some ways to spread the word:
- Your own blog or website
- Apple Podcasts
- Social media
- Podcast communities
If you’re more of a visual person, making videos on YouTube may be more your style. From lifestyle vloggers to beauty experts to gamers, you can find videos on just about any subject on YouTube. Not only can it be a fun hobby, it can also be a decent side hustle or even more if you monetize your YouTube channel.
Monetizing on YouTube is just like monetizing a blog or podcast. Sponsorships, affiliate marketing, sales, and viewer donations are just some of the ways you can make money. If your channel really takes off, you can build your following on other social media channels and start dabbling in social media influencing, something that really seems to be popular with the rise of social media these days.
How to get started: Take the same piece of advice I provided for podcasting and apply it here. If you really want to start a YouTube channel, don’t wait until you have the expensive camera, microphone, and lighting equipment. Use the webcam that’s built into your laptop or grab one of these phone tripods to set up and record from your phone then upgrade at a later time. Plus, your audience will enjoy watching you grow.
If you have a computer, you have money right at your fingertips. While these 10 methods are great, they’re only a small number of opportunities out there to earn money online. As long as you’re passionate about what you do and you’re willing to put the time and work in, there is something out there for you.
You’ll have some failures and that’s okay, but with all of them, there will be lessons that will prepare you for your next endeavor. Don’t leave money on the table (or in this case, at the computer) when everything you need to create the life you want is right in front of you.
What do you think about these money-making ideas? Are you currently doing any of these things for income?