10 Great (& Legitimate) Ways to Make Money Online
Whether you're trying to ditch your cubicle in favor of a remote job or just make a bit of extra money on the side, the Internet is ripe with opportunity for creating an extra income stream. Sitting down at a coffee shop, opening up your laptop and making real, legitimate money sounds like a reality that only a select few get to experience. The truth is that this lifestyle is becoming more feasible every day for the average worker.
You might have been turned off by a work-from-home "opportunity" in the past. It probably promised high pay, a flexible schedule and room for growth, all without any prior knowledge or experience. These job descriptions are categorically vague about what exactly their employees do -- and almost all of them are a scammer or "guru" trying to sell you their online entrepreneur e-course.
Making legitimate money online isn't about finding a clever loophole or a get-rich-quick scheme; it's about finding a way to provide real value to other people. If you have any marketable skills at all, you can find a way to make money online. It just requires some creativity and a willingness to try new things.
With that in mind, here's a list of 10 great ways to make money online. Every idea is categorized from entry-level to expert, so whether you're a seasoned sales executive or a recent high school graduate, there is at least one idea on this list that you can use.
1. Sell your stuff (Entry-Level)
Chances are, you have some stuff lying around the house that you don't use or want anymore. Take ten minutes and list all your unwanted possessions on Ebay or Facebook Marketplace. While it might not be a long-term income source, it is a way to make a few extra bucks quick.
Selling used items on Ebay is a perfect first step for someone looking to start an online career. For one, it gives you a bit of capital that you can use to invest back into another idea. If you want to start an online business, use the proceeds from your Ebay sales to help pay for web hosting or ad credits. It could also help you uncover a valuable niche market. You might have noticed that the sneakers you listed sold much quicker than your other items; explore that market. You might find a steady income stream from buying and selling high-demand used items.
2. Become a Virtual Tutor (Mid-level)
Online tutors and teachers are in high demand. If you're a confident communicator and love teaching, this can be a great option. Tutors make money online by tutoring specific subjects with companies like Chegg; others teach ESL (English as a second language) to non-native English speakers through services like VIPKid or Boxfish. Most require a bachelor's degree, but many don't require a teaching-specific degree.
3. Start a Graphic Design Business (Mid-level)
Graphic design is one business that will likely never go away. Startups and established companies alike are always in need of quality graphic design work. As a designer, you carry a crucial aspect of a company's brand. The visual assets you create will determine how customers feel about and interact with a brand. You can offer a specialized service like logo or website design, or offer total-package branding services. If you've got a good eye for design but lack the technical skills to design a website, there are some handy courses available through sites like Udemy that can get you up to speed in no time.
4. Sell Products on Etsy (Skill level varies)
Etsy is a massively popular online platform that connects customers to artisans selling all things unique and handmade. If you have a knack for making anything from home goods to t-shirts, you can potentially make a full-time income selling through Etsy. The key to doing well on Etsy is understanding how the platform works and what marketing methods will get your products a lot of exposure. Of course, you should first focus on developing a product people will want.
5. Rent Your House or Car (Entry-level)
Airbnb has empowered thousands of homeowners to list their property as a hotel. Homeowners make mostly passive income allowing travelers to stay in their homes. If you live in a city with lots of travel, this can be a lucrative option. Some entrepreneurs make a business of buying old houses and turning them into rental properties.
Turo allows you to list you car as a rental car through its app in a nearly identical fashion to Airbnb. The market isn't quite as big as Airbnb, but again, it has a lot of potential and is mostly passive.(1)
6. Sell Your Photography (Mid-level)
Websites like Zenfolio make it possible for photographers to create an online store with their professional-grade photos. You can also sell products like canvas prints of your photos.
7. Become a Programmer or Coder (Expert-level)
Programmers generally make great salaries as they offer such a specialized skill. You could code as a freelancer, or you could pursue a full-time job with an established company. If you lack experience, you could pursue an online certificate program as well.
8. Google AdSense (Expert-level)
Google AdSense contributes to the majority of ads that you see online. Website owners agree to let Google advertise on their website, and the owner gets paid a certain amount every time a user clicks on the ad. It's fairly easy to set up -- the hard part is building a website with enough traffic to make it profitable. If you're knowledgable or passionate about a particular subject, you could start a blog and build a following through that niche. Once you have a steady amount of online traffic, AdSense could become a profitable income stream.
9. Sell An Online Course (Expert-level)
Course instructors make great money selling courses on writing, design, marketing, and even sourdough bread-baking. Platforms like Teachable or Udemy allow you to create and sell a course in a platform that already has a dedicated user base. This is another great way to pursue a passive income stream -- provided you create a quality course.(2)
10. Start a Podcast
It might seem like there are too many podcasts already. Maybe there are. Still, the market continues to grow -- and the opportunity for profit with it. If you're confident in your ability to hold a captive audience, start a podcast around a subject you're passionate about and monetize it through sponsored ads.
There are plenty of legitimate ways to make extra money or even full-time income online. While online work offers a unique level of flexibility, it has its downsides -- just like traditional jobs. Whichever online job you pursue, make sure it's something you know you'll enjoy in the long run.