There are those who make money by going to a sleek, contemporary office, perhaps one with tall glass windows, and are happy that way. Then there are those who would like to make money from the comforts of their home, and there are people who want to make money, but don’t like to be constrained by the regular 9 to 5 grind. Or maybe you have a child or teenager who keeps badgering you for money—why not teach them how to make money online? They’re always on the computer anyway.
If you’re worried that signing up for certain websites will only waste your time and clog up your laptop with unnecessary ads or are stepping into a shady business, check out our list of ways to safely make money online.
Press Trial, Earn Bacon.
There are websites all over the Web that are willing to pay you to test out websites, answer some surveys, or even to play games or go online shopping! There are websites such as InboxDollars, SwagBucks and Cashcrate that will pay you to do just that.
Download an App.
Your smartphone isn’t only for taking photos of your food, pets, answering calls and texts—by downloading the right apps, your phone could also be making you money on the side. If you’re an avid phone photographer, you can price and sell your photos on Foap. You’d be surprised at the number of people who are more than willing to pay for a photo of your pet being its cute self. If you’d like a use for all those receipts you accumulate from shopping, download Receipt Hog. In exchange for photos of your receipts, you can get coins that you can trade in for either Amazon gift cards or cash, if you have PayPal.
Craft for Cash.
If you’re handy with crochet, beadwork, wood or can even create clothes, consider selling your products online. Aside from the ever-popular Etsy, there’s a website called ArtFire where you can post “wanted” ads for customized products. Who knows, somebody may be interested in buying what you make, from bath bombs to plush animals—and even jackets and shirts.
Be the Best Blogger.
If you already run a blog, then you should know that you can make money off of it. If not, and you enjoy writing and posting about a single topic—often enough that you can call yourself an expert at it—then get a free blog over at WordPress. From there you can pay for them to be your website’s home, or host. Post about subjects you’re interested in, and monitor which subjects net you the most readers. After your blog gets more than 1,000 visitors every month, you can try to apply for Google AdSense, which pays you for every person who clicks on the ads on your blog.
Unfortunately, AdSense takes away a sizable portion of your income, which can be too much for people who are just beginning to make money from their blog. Consider contacting advertisers by yourself so that you won’t need to give anyone else your profits. Look for ads that are always, always relevant to the traffic your blog receives, because it makes zero sense to advertise for, say, cookies when your blog is all about beauty products.
Maximize the Microniche.
If your website uses “rare” keywords, you could earn more money. Take the word “cake,” for instance. It’s a commonly used word anywhere in the world, so if that’s your keyword, you have a lot of competition for top rank—it’s extremely difficult to be the best website about cake, if there are millions of people who write about and have blogs and entire websites dedicated to the history, origin, sale of and reviews of cake. But if you narrow it down and your website utilizes rarer, long-tail keywords, like “sweetest cake in Korea,” then not many people outside of Korea will use this keyword, and you can monetize without much competition.
If you’ve accumulated a lot of items at home that you no longer use, but it’s still in good condition, think about selling it on eBay. It takes a while before you build up a reputation that will make people trust you enough to buy immediately, but if you’re willing to put in the effort, go for it.
Be a Fantastic Freelancer.
Signing up for websites such as Upwork or Fiverr could net you a steady stream of clients. Upwork is a place for freelancers to sell their services and for employers to rummage through until they find the perfect freelancer for their needs. If you’re not so sure about pricing your services, try Fiverr, where each project (it’s called a “gig” over there) costs five dollars. It’s a nice place to successfully compile a portfolio so future employers can see how skilled you are, and may net you more work that pays a lot more than just five dollars.
Self-publish your own novel.
If your true passion lies in writing, and one of your goals in life is to see your own book being sold online, Amazon has the Kindle electronic bookstore, enabling you to earn money from sales royalties. You can choose to either have a 35% royalty plan, or a 70% one. The main difference lies in how many countries can receive your book. If you choose a 70% royalty plan, you get to sell your book in select countries, which would be good if you have a definite target market, such as people living in the USA or in the UK only. This would be better if your book tackles themes and has jokes that only people from that country will understand. If you choose to have the 35% royalty, it ensures that as long as there are people who are interested in your book, they can buy and receive a copy, no matter where in the world they happen to be.
Don’t Look at Dubious Ads.
By now, you’ve certainly seen ads such as “Google pays me $777 an hour” and “Stay at home mom earns $5K/month from home” whenever you’re browsing. Don’t click, lest you be scammed. These scams often entail you to pay a certain sum of money to receive a manual or a DVD that will explain how to make money through a special program or for instant-access to an exclusive, members-only portal that’s sure to make you money. If you give your credit or debit card information, you could receive monthly fees without gaining anything. Essentially, you just gave somebody free money and got nothing in return.
Proofread Google’s Search Results.
Search engines often use algorithms to determine the order that the websites will show up on your browser. But like humans, search engines are far from perfect and may show up full of misspellings and errors. This means that they also need humans to review search results and correct any mistakes that they may spot.
Stay away from multi-level marketing schemes.
If anyone comes up to you with a “unique business opportunity,” and wants to meet up with you for coffee, it’s a classic opening line for a scam. Multi-level marketing requires you to recruit people (often your friends and family members) and you either ask them to buy a certain product or you ask them to pay up a small amount of money to “profit with you.” If you sell the products, the recruiter gets a portion of the sale as commission. So to fully profit, a person would have to recruit more than 5 or 10 people. This is one example of a pyramid scheme where you, the person on top, profits from the people below you.
After recruiting a certain amount of people, all you have to do is to wait for them to make a sale and you can get your cut with no effort. But if everyone below you stopped selling, your ‘passive income’ will disappear. A surefire way to know if it’s a multi-level marketing scam is if you’re advised NOT to tell people about the company name, or if the recruiter doesn’t tell you the name of the company outright, as then you would have access to Google and to all the naysayers who can change your mind. It’s interesting to note that speakers from these multi-level marketing companies sound more like motivational speakers, rather than actual businessmen.
Write On The Side.
If you can stand sitting at a keyboard and mashing out documents of well-written articles, then you may be interested in looking for job boards that specialize in freelance writing. There’s ListVerse, a site that pays money for every article that gets published. The minimum requirement is 1,500 words and it needs to be in the form of a list. If you’re more inclined to other forms of writing, or can even code webpages or create graphics, there’s Freelancer, a website where people can hire freelancers, and the freelancers can advertise and accept jobs that they like.
Check out Crowdsourcing.
If you have a great idea and can get enough people to back your project up, you can make it come to life (and to the hands of your backers, of course.) Kickstarter is one of the well-known names in crowdsourcing. Your backers are paying for your project to become a reality. If you’re an artist who wants to make money doing what you love best, consider trying out Patreon. While it’s also a crowdsourcing gig, the main difference is that with Patreon, you have patrons who pledge a certain amount of money every month to receive the content that you’re offering. Between the two, Kickstarter requires a bigger leap of faith and backers may donate once, while Patreon is made up of a community of fans that want to support you each month by paying you to keep churning out your art.
Get into Personal Branding.
Have you ever wished that people associated your online persona with a definite “label”? Make some noise. Ensure that the Internet knows that you’re there. Nowadays, with nearly everybody having Internet access, having a website or a blog is vital if you want to get anywhere with your personal brand. In personal branding, you’re essentially telling people that you have something to offer that they must have. You do this by working with social media for maximum exposure, do what you love and promote yourself and your brand as much as possible. There are many food bloggers or bakers that once shared recipes and photos online for just anybody to access, and by promoting themselves and their personal brand, they were able to secure collaborations and partnerships that could lead to tours, workshops and even TV appearances.
And finally, work hard and trust your instincts. Avoid any company that asks you to pay up to learn more about its services, and avoid those pay-per-download companies. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. If you’re dedicated enough, you can quit an 8 hour job that you dislike in favor of doing what you’ve always wanted to do, whether that’s give workshops for a living or design websites. You can find clients that can take you higher than you’ve ever dreamed. There is no magical gateway to earn five or six figures in a few weeks. All of our tips need considerable skill, and effort. But it is, without a doubt, fifteen of the easiest ways to get your foot through the door to bigger and better things.