Who couldn't use a few extra dollars? If you're retired, you know living on a fixed budget can sometimes get tough. If you're a student, it's best to keep focused on your grades and earn your degree, but you could certainly use some extra cash for a fun weekend, to shop for gifts, or to buy a ticket home.
Whatever your reason, making extra money has never been as easy as it is today. There are so many jobs that you can do remotely, or on your own time. You just need an internet connection, a smartphone, tablet or laptop, and the desire to make money.
So, here's a great big list of ideas that can help you start making real money online.
1. Make and share videos
The next time you catch a once-in-a-lifetime moment or silly event on camera, don't forget to share that video online. You might just get lucky enough to have your video go viral, and your momentary internet fame could bring in some big money.
Take Candace Payne, for example. She shared a video of herself wearing a Chewbacca mask that went viral almost immediately. With more than 150 million views, Payne received around $420,000 in gift cards and cash prizes.
Of course, it doesn't happen that way for everyone. But you can still earn money by sharing videos online. Here are the best three platforms:
- YouTube: YouTube is no longer just a place where people post their home videos, it's actually become a place where video makers produce high-quality content. And those who are successful have found that YouTube is also a way for them to make money. Click here to listen to our podcast for a detailed breakdown on how it works.
- Amazon Video Direct: Just like YouTube, Amazon Video Direct lets you post videos for free and anyone around the world can watch those videos. If your video is free to the public, Amazon Video Direct will keep 45 percent of the ad revenue it generates. If you make a video that's available for rent or subscription, Amazon will keep 50 percent of ad revenue. For videos that only Amazon Prime members can watch, Amazon will pay you $0.15 for each hour that a person streams your videos.
- Facebook Live Video: Imagine posting a video on Facebook and getting paid just for having your friends watch it. This is what we saw happen to Candace Payne in the example mentioned previously. But Facebook also allows video creators to include native ads, which could become a source of extra income. Another perk is that Facebook's algorithm pushes videos to the top of news feeds so that they get more clicks, shares and views.
With all of these platforms, the key to turning your videos into a source of income is to build a large following. Produce high-quality content, or content that offers a unique perspective, and you'll eventually attract more viewers - which leads, of course, to more views and attracts advertisers.
2. Sell handmade crafts
Are you a creative and crafty person looking to make some extra money? What if you're a starving artist looking to turn your hobby into a legitimate business? Selling handmade items is a fun way to make money online. Here are a few options for selling items online.
- Etsy: If you're looking to create your own online shop to sell your crafts, Etsy is one of the best options out there. With Etsy, you can create a product catalog, and buyers can purchase items directly through the site. It's free to create your shop, but Etsy does charge a $.20 fee for each item you post, and takes a 3.5 percent cut of anything you sell.
- Handmade at Amazon: To be considered to sell products on Handmade at Amazon, you have to apply here. Once you're accepted, there's no charge to list your products on Handmade. Amazon takes 12 percent of your sales. It's similar to Etsy, but Amazon is a much larger site, which means there's the potential for more customers.
- Craigslist: Although Craigslist doesn't offer an online shop platform, it does connect sellers with buyers in their area. Post photos of the items you'd like to sell, and list your price. Interested buyers can then contact you to work out the final details of the sale. If you go this route, however, you need to be careful.
- OfferUp: Similar to Craigslist, OfferUp connects local buyers and sellers. The only difference is that OfferUp is an app that's available for both Apple and Android users. The app is completely free to download on your phone or tablet, and includes features such as a secure messaging system so you don't have to give out your personal phone number or email address.
- LetGo: With the LetGo app, you can sell a wide variety of items ranging from art, antiques, appliances, cars, clothing and cabinets, to movies, sports memorabilia and just about anything else you can imagine. Once you're registered, you can post your items for sale in as little as 30 seconds. It's free to list items, and each post can have as many as five photos of the item. Then, you can also share your LetGo listing with your friends on Facebook, WhatsApp and other social networks.
- ThredUp: Like OfferUp and LetGo, ThredUp is an app that lets you sell items - however, this app specializes in clothing. If you're interested in selling through ThredUp, just click the sell button at the top of the page. ThredUp will send you a bag to fill with your old clothes. Then, you can drop the bag off with your postman or at a FedEx Store. Once ThredUp looks at your clothes, they'll notify you about how much they're worth - you can earn up to 80 percent of the original value.
3. Become an online retailer
You don't have to make your own products by hand to set up an online retail shop. Almost anyone can start their own business buying and selling products if they've got the know-how and some startup cash. A great place to begin is Amazon. Click here to learn the basics of becoming an Amazon seller. EBay is another popular spot to buy low and sell high.
4. Get paid to write
If you have a way with words, look at sites that pay you to write.
- WriterAccess: This service connects freelance writers with businesses that need a written copy. Freelancers looking for work send their resumes to WriterAccess and complete a screening process that tests and confirms a writer's proficiency. Once confirmed, they join the 10,000+ network of WriterAccess freelancers qualified for the job. WriterAccess then assigns a star rating to the writer, so clients know exactly what they are getting and prices are adjusted accordingly. For example, a 2-star writer will cost $0.02 per word, whereas a 6-star writer will cost anywhere from $0.10 to $2.00 per word.
- Fiverr: Just like WriterAccess, Fiverr helps freelance writers find work, except the starting price for each job is set at $5. Tasks range from writing articles to press releases to marketing materials and social media posts.
- ListVerse: Are you good at making lists? ListVerse will pay you for a well-written list of any kind. ListVerse pays you $100 for any article that you write and it publishes. No ifs, ands or buts. The only real rule is it can't be plagiarized and needs to be more than 1,500 words.
- Write and sell eBooks: Writing a book is one that many people overlook. You don't need to write a novel. It could be something as simple as 20 dynamite recipes. Maybe you have insights on managing a coffee shop. Perhaps you know a bunch of fun things to do in your hometown. Whatever your topic, no matter how big or small, there's probably an audience somewhere. Click here to learn how to write and sell your own eBook.
5. Sell photography
Maybe your skills lie more behind the lens of a camera. Two great photography sites to take a look at are Imagekind and FineArtAmerica. They both make it easy to upload your work and start making money. Or, if you take lots of high-quality images of everyday items and places, check out stock photo sites like iStockPhoto and Shutterstock.
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6. Get paid for your opinion
Businesses are always seeking input from customers on how they can improve their products and services. But did you know you can get paid for offering up your thoughts? Here are some services to try:
- i-Say: A market research company Ipsos operates a service called i-Say. After you sign up, it will send you surveys about a wide range of topics. The average user gets about eight surveys per month. You can sign up to get email notifications, or occasionally check the website. To access and fill out surveys, you can log in to the i-Say site on your computer, smartphone or tablet.
- iPoll: This app is different because it gives you missions. Not 007-style missions, however, but iPoll's missions still offer some cool rewards. You can get rewards just by doing what you may already be doing when you grocery shop or use products at home. Answer surveys, take pictures, or test products to get rewards like gift cards or airfare credits. Whenever you complete a mission your account will be credited by iPoll. You can rack up as many rewards or cash out as early as you'd like.
- Focus group participant: If you like giving your opinion on movies, products and more, check out FocusGroup. While FocusGroup does have tasks to do outside the home, sometimes you can get products to review, especially if you're a parent.
Note: With these types of services you typically get paid in rewards, not money. Every completed survey gives you reward points you exchange for gift cards or products at major retailers.
7. Get paid to shop
Shopping is something you have to do, so why not get some money back on products you've purchased? No, we're not talking about mail-in rebates, which take forever and can be hit or miss.
- Ibotta: This app gives you instant rebates on items you purchase. You can use Ibotta at stores like Walmart, Target, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Sam's Club and many more. Plus, it works for online stores like Amazon and many retailers' online shops. You can even use it on top of other coupons, promo codes and discounts you might have for extra savings. The money you get back from Ibotta can transfer to your bank account as cash via PayPal or Venmo. Or you can turn it into gift cards for Best Buy, Starbucks, iTunes, Amazon and more online places you or your family like to shop.
- Personal shoppers: If you've got an entrepreneurial spirit, you can start your own personal-shopper business. It's a service for people who are too busy to shop and will pay you to do it for them. Many personal shoppers charge a percentage of how much they spend, or simply charge by the hour. To get started, tell all your Facebook friends about your new business. You may want to set up a website, too. Plus, get business cards and hand them out to people everywhere you go.
8. Do tiny tasks for big payoffs
If you don't mind getting out and about, you can take small jobs around your city. These are things like verifying a display stand has been put up in a store, or the arrangements of products on a shelf. If you don't like to travel, some tasks can even be done from your living room. Here are some services to try out.
- Field Agent: It's easy to get started with Field Agent. Just create a profile, then do a few fast "screener" jobs that open up certain types of work. It could be taking pictures of your pet or the kind of beer you drink. Once you're approved, you'll be able to take real jobs. These pay from $2 to $12 a task, which might not sound like much, but if you're already at the store or it's something you can do at home, it's no big deal. Payments are sent through PayPal or Dwolla, so you will need a free account with one of them.
- TaskRabbit: This app puts you in touch with people who need small jobs done in your area. TaskRabbit helps you find micro jobs. To become a "Tasker" you will need to fill out an application, complete an in-person interview and pass a background check. You will also need to read the Tasker handbook and pass a short quiz of 11 questions. This might seem like a lot of work, but trust me, it's not, and it's for everyone's safety. Tasks range from assembling Ikea furniture, grocery shopping, help with moving, or help with planning a party.
- Upwork Messenger: Finding consistent work is one of the hardest things about freelancing. But Upwork Messenger makes it easy to connect with employers who need tasks to be completed. With Upwork, you put in your profile, with your skills. Then, you let employers know you're available for work. They contact you with a job offer, which you can accept or decline directly from the app.
- Thumbtack: If you have a skill and motivation, you can create your own source of income, Thumbtack might be just what you need. It's an online marketplace for local professionals, like painters, roofers, pet sitters, writers and many other jobs. People post tasks that they need done. Those can range from DJing a party, to remodeling their home, to editing a manuscript. To make money, you bid on jobs through the site. If you get the job, the person who hires you pays you through Thumbtack.
- Virtual assistant: Are you endlessly organized? You can become a virtual assistant. Virtual Assistants perform tasks like research, scheduling, communication and solve inconvenient issues that could slow the flow of business. Take a look at Zirtual or VirtualAssistants.com to see if this could be right for you.
- Answering service: Every company needs customer service people, and some hire out to third parties. Put your good phone skills to use and look for answering service jobs on major job boards. A good place to start would be LinkUp and Indeed. Check out LiveOps if you're OK with working as either a sales associate or handling customer service from home.
- Transcription: For those with good hearing and solid typing skills, you might have a future in transcribing interviews, medical notes or TV closed captions. Check out the companies Daily Transcription and Tigerfish.
- Amazon Mechanical Turk: If you don't mind doing menial microtasks, you can sign up as a worker of Amazon's Mechanical Turk service. Although payout for each is low, there are thousands of tasks to choose from - text translations, copy editing, image verification, etc. These are usually tasks that machines can't pull off competently and still require human judgment.
9. Search engine evaluation
If you're on the internet browsing websites anyway, why not get paid for it? Search engine evaluation pays you to run searches for companies and report the results. Take a look at Leapforce to get started.
10. Get paid to watch TV
What's easier than watching TV? Normally TV is a very passive experience, but being involved with fun shows can earn you money. Viggle is like a modern TV Guide, but with interactive features and rewards for watching your favorite shows. How cool is that?
Viggle can figure out what show you're watching just by listening to the dialogue. There are also live chats to discuss your favorite shows and questions about the show you're currently watching. The longer you watch Viggle-supported shows, the more points that you earn. You can then redeem these points for rewards like gift cards to major stores.
11. Be an online tutor
If you have a college degree, Tutor.com is another potential money maker for you. The site only asks for you to be available at least five hours a week, so it's a nice way to earn some extra cash without a huge time commitment. You must be at least a sophomore in college to apply, and Tutor.com has placement tests you must take to make sure you qualify.
12. Start your own blog
Are there certain fields of interest you are passionate about? Maybe you love traveling and you want to share your adventures online while earning an income along the way. Then starting a blog might be just for you!
Check out blogging platforms like WordPress.com or Blogger.com, start writing interesting content you care about and hopefully, you'll get others to follow and share your blog and expand from there. Blogging takes a lot of work but if you're patient enough and have a knack for creating useful content, it has the potential to earn you the big bucks.
13. Dabble in cryptocurrencies
Do you have a few dollars you're willing to risk? Then why not try trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum? Cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in popularity these past few years and if you have a knack for economics and business, investing in a cryptocurrency can lead to a big payout down the road.
The current king of cryptocurrencies is Bitcoin and the simplest and most popular way to manage it is via coinbase.com, a perfect platform for cryptocurrency beginners. Just create a Coinbase account, link a bank account or credit card and you can start buying, storing and transferring Bitcoin through your computer or app. You don't even have to buy one whole Bitcoin to get started, you can opt for a fraction called a Satoshi, depending on how much you're willing to invest.
For serious trading, cryptocurrency exchanges like Kraken, Bittrex or Bitstamp are the largest ones out there. Unlike Coinbase, where relatively higher fees are involved and processing can take days, pure cryptocurrency exchanges have low trading fees and instant transfers, perfect for high volume trading.
Now that you're saving up, here are 3 ways to also save money on your internet bill right now
If you feel like you never have enough money, your two options are to make more or spend less. I'm always looking for ways to share with you to help you make money on the side, on your schedule. Today, though, we're going to talk about how to save money.