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The Best Ways to Make Money at Home or Online

Published October 1, 2019

8 minute read

By Jim Greene

The internet is full of get-rich-quick schemes. They usually promise huge payouts for doing next to nothing. In reality though, slow and steady usually wins the race when it comes to generating extra cash. Finding an efficient and reliable way to earn extra money at home or online can go a long way toward relieving day-to-day financial pressures. The best options carry no major time commitments while delivering payouts that add up to a decent hourly wage.

For this list, we’ve opted to highlight opportunities you can scale up, repeat, or build into a side business over time. Thus, one-offs like selling unwanted clothing or valuables didn’t qualify. However, just because they aren’t on this particular list doesn’t make them bad ideas. That being said, here are 14 easy ways to earn some extra cash at home.

Micro Jobs

Micro jobs are small, easy tasks that remote workers can complete quickly over the internet. They typically take just a few minutes. Pay varies and is usually calculated as a flat rate. You won’t be blown away by the per-task rates you’ll find on leading micro job sites. Eventually, though, you will find that the money can add up to healthy earnings once you get used to the digital piecework.

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is one of the most popular and reputable micro job sites. It’s been around since 2005 and counting. Others include Fiverr, Clickworkers, SEOClerks, Zeerk, Truelancer, Clickworker, and Guru. There are many more. New workers can get started easily and collect regular payouts from large, reputable companies.

Email Marketing

Building an email marketing business takes time, and there are no guarantees of worthwhile payouts while you work to get things off the ground. However, the potential rewards are amazing. Most market analysts say email marketers earn about $1 per month for every subscriber on their list. You’ll need to develop and optimize your lead magnet and email software skills. Then you need to figure out how to reliably drive recipients into your sales funnel. Refined over time, these skills can lead to excellent paydays.

One of the keys to success is focusing on delivering value to readers through your marketing messages, rather than just blindly pushing them into a sales channel. Achieve this and you could start making thousands of dollars a month, just for writing and distributing carefully crafted, effective email promotions for products and services.

Homestay Hosting

If you’ve got a spare bedroom or even a spare couch, you can advertise it on a peer-to-peer homestay site like Airbnb or VRBO. Millions of people use these sites as alternatives to conventional hotels, helping everyday people like you cash in on unused space in their homes.

The best way to generate regular business is to price your home competitively. Do some research to see what comparable properties in your area go for per night, then set your rate accordingly. Things might be slow going at first until you’re able to generate some positive reviews. Once you manage that, chances are good that your extra space will turn into a healthy, regular dose of extra cash.

Become a Customer Service Representative

A growing number of companies outsource their customer service systems. That creates work-from-home opportunities for people willing to use their own phones or computers to answer incoming queries. Part-time casual work is often an option, given the industry’s high turnover rate at the full-time level. Hourly rates vary depending on your location and the company you’re working for, but they’re typically competitive with what you would expect to earn at a part-time retail job.

Popular job search sites like Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, and the LinkedIn professional network are good places to start looking. Alternately, you can identify companies you’d like to work for and check with them directly for openings. Many major financial institutions and insurance companies hire remote CSRs, as do corporations like Amgen, Cisco, Dell, Oracle, and others. If you don’t have the experience, don’t worry. Training is often provided if you meet the other stated qualifications.

Offer Sitting Services

If you’re free during the day or evening, you might be able to leverage your time into a lucrative side gig as a babysitter or pet sitter. Let people know you’re willing to provide this service from home, and they can drop their child or pet off at your door.

Many sitters are able to build thriving part-time businesses through referrals, making this a great option for animal lovers and qualified childcare providers. Housesitting is also an option.

Webinars

Entry requirements for this opportunity are a little higher, but it’s totally worth it if you can meet them. Webinars are video-based training sessions delivered remotely. They are bought by individual paying customers or companies who distribute your instructional sessions to their employees.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started: a strong, positive social media presence, a marketable and in-demand skill, marketing savvy, and patience. Lots of patience. It can take time for webinars to pay off. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to earn a passive income by collecting income from training videos over and over again. Sites like GoToWebinar offer a great platform for getting started.

Drop-Shipping

As a drop shipper, you will essentially act as a middleman between consumers and companies that manufacture retail products. You’ll set up an online store selling products you don’t actually keep in stock. Then, you will fulfill customer orders by procuring the product from the manufacturer, who will ship it directly to the consumer. You make money either by collecting a commission from the manufacturer for the sale or by securing the product at a lower price from the manufacturer and selling it to the end buyer at a profit.

Amazon is the largest and best-known platform where drop shippers can get started. However, there are a few others worth checking out. Investigate Worldwide Brands and SaleHoo to see which system you like best.

Join an Online Focus Group

Instead of filling out tedious consumer research surveys online for gift cards or low pay, you can participate in a focus group. Focus groups involve more intensive and deeper interpersonal contact, providing companies with enriched and more detailed insights into your reactions to their products and services.

While many require in-person commitments, others are conducted completely online. Pay can climb into the hundreds of dollars for each focus group you participate in, so check out Google Usability, 2020 Panel, Consumer Opinion Services, C2 Research, and AccuData to get your feet wet.

woman in an online focus group

Shutterstock

Telehealth Nurse

During the pandemic, telehealth took off as the health care system was inundated with people who have been reluctant to visit their doctor’s office. This has led to increasing demand for telehealth nurses who can work remotely from home. For most general health concerns, phone or video appointments are a great alternative.

Some telemedicine companies are looking to hire full-time telehealth nurses. You’ll have to answer specific medical questions for patients. There are also opportunities available for part-time nurses. Just be sure to check on licensing requirements in various U.S. states. Nurses licensed to practice in more than one state are often more in demand.

Travel Agent

The travel industry is today handled mostly online. Virtual travel positions abound and are often handled by people working from home. Remote travel agents manage travel arrangements for various clients, such as a cruise lines, airlines, resorts, hotels and other bookings.

Many virtual travel agent positions offer the benefit of travel credits that could allow you and your family to travel for free. Travel agents enjoy stay-at-home jobs that offer perks the entire family can enjoy. Travel agents can book trips for clients easily and conveniently while working from home and using the internet and a phone line.

Website Developer

Literally every company today requires a website, and existing websites need to be updated and redesigned all the time. This amounts to a lot of work for website developers. And website developers can work from home. Similar to software developers, most website developers only need a reliable internet connection to get the job done.

People who have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or have computer programming experience can easily find work as a full-time or contract website developer. And most of these positions offer flexible hours and remote work locations. In fact, most companies that hire a website developer expect that person to work offsite.

Insurance Agent

Most insurance agents work primarily on commission, and those who work hard can earn a very good living. Agents put money into their pocket with each home, auto and life insurance policy they sell, and most of the selling today occurs online or over the telephone. When was the last time you visited an insurance agent in-person?

Most insurance agents learn on the job and work from the comfort of home. It’s a sales job and requires a high degree of knowledge about the industry and products being sold, as well as an outgoing personality. But for the right people, insurance sales can be a very lucrative job that can be accomplished online.

Online Tutor

Tutoring is big business. Whether it is tutoring a student at the elementary or high school levels, or helping teens prepare for college entrance exams, there is a growing demand for qualified tutors. Experts in math, science, or a foreign language should have no problem finding work as a tutor. And most tutors today, especially since the pandemic, work virtually using video conference technology.

Using video conference technology also enables people to tutor students from all over the world. Many tutoring companies require employees to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, although some people get by on experience alone. Teaching qualifications of any sort go a long way to improve your chances of becoming an online tutor.

video conference tutoring

Shutterstock

Graphic Designer

Graphic design is another profession that is in high demand today, especially for graphic designers who can help develop and design websites. Most businesses require some type of graphic design, whether it be their website or corporate brochures. And it is easy for graphic designers to work for clients online from home.

Keep in mind that being a graphic designer requires experience with Adobe Photoshop and other design applications. The good news is that these applications can be easily learned by people with even basic computer skills. If you’re creative and have always wanted to work for yourself, consider a career from home as a graphic designer.

The Bottom Line

As you expand your search for work-from-home and online opportunities, chances are you’ll encounter some offers that sound too good to be true. They often are. However, others are less obvious in the way they seek to scam or dupe the unwitting. Thus, you should be aware of some red flags that signal things aren’t on the up-and-up.

First, check with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) chapter about any company you’re considering joining. If there are active complaints filed against them, think twice. Next, be cautious anytime someone solicits a payment before providing you with details, training, or instructions on how to run a particular online business. Legitimate companies don’t do this.

Finally, get clear answers regarding payment. Know how you will be paid, when you will be paid, who will pay you, and what you’re expected to do in order to get paid. Regard vague answers to any of these questions as a clear signal you should look elsewhere for a legitimate opportunity.

Jim Greene

Contributor

Jim Greene is a freelance writer based in the Toronto, Canada area. He has been writing professionally since 2001 and has an extensive professional background in consumer research, personal finance and economics.

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