If you are wondering how to make money online, you are not alone.
The gig economy, digital platforms that allow freelancers to earn extra money, generated a total of $347.8 billion in 2021. It has been growing in the past several years, and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
What is more, it is just one of the many streams of income that the internet offers. In simple terms, the virtual marketplace is awash with countless ways for you to make real money. Whether it comes in the form of active or passive income, a lot of cash is up for grabs, especially if you know where to look.
Are you ready to tap into the internet’s limitless income potential but do not know where to start? We’ve done the heavy lifting for you by rounding up 10 lucrative and easy ways for you to make extra money.
10 Ways to Make Money Online
In this day and age, you do not have to spend a lot of money to make money. All you need is a solid internet connection, and you are good to go.
Millions of people are doing it, and you could be one of them. Here’s how.
1. Affiliate Marketing
You have probably heard the term affiliate marketing and never gave it a second thought. However, did you know that this year’s affiliate marketing spending in the US alone is projected to reach $8.2 billion, or that it is up from a recorded $5.4 billion in 2017?
Are you interested yet?
If you are still not in the know, affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission for promoting a company’s products or services. Essentially, it’s like being a partner of a brand of your own choosing.
The good thing is that it is even simpler than it sounds. Just join an affiliate program or affiliate network, find a product or service that you like, grab the corresponding affiliate links, then share them.
If someone buys that product or hires that service using your link, you get paid. In some cases, you do not even have to wait for a sale to make real money.
Some brands pay their affiliates if the potential customer simply makes a call or leaves information.
The next question is, how do you share these links from the brands?
You can promote all sorts of products or services and start generating income through affiliate marketing using your social media accounts. Everyone has one nowadays, but if you still don’t, you can set it up for free.
If you have your own blog or website, even better. Just make sure that you promote brands that your followers will like.
2. Freelance Jobs
The internet is brimming with freelance gigs and freelance services for virtually any skill set. It is a place where talents and potential clients can find each other quickly to meet their unique needs.
For instance, if you enjoy writing and you do not mind making money off of it, it is something that you can do on a freelance basis.
Thousands, if not millions of businesses need help creating different types of content to increase organic traffic, generate leads, and maximize conversion, so you’ll never run out of potential clients.
More importantly, they are willing to pay good money for a talented freelance content writer who can produce compelling blog posts, info articles, or landing pages for them. If you have a field of expertise, you can specialize in a content category and earn even more extra money.
If writing is not your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways for you to generate income during your spare time, from programming to data entry to web design. You could also try your hand in being a virtual assistant.
Simply put, whatever your skill is, there is a good chance that you can monetize it online.
In the US, 67.6 million people were freelancing in 2021. Based on the current trend, this figure will go as high as 86.5 million in 2027, which is half of the entire US workforce.
So even if you are just starting now, there is still plenty of room for you to operate and a lot of money to go around. Once you have decided to dive in head-first, where do you go?
You can take your pick from many online websites and platforms that connect independent professionals with businesses all over the world. Some of the most popular freelance websites you will encounter are Upwork, Freelancer.com, and Fiverr.
3. Broadcast Your Twitch Channel
There is no doubt that gaming is a lot of fun, but did you know that it could bring you loads of money too?
If you are into online games and you like sharing the experience with other players, you can turn it into a reliable source of revenue by becoming a Twitch streamer.
Twitch is the go-to site for gamers, but it has expanded into other types of content too. It offers several ways for you to earn extra money once you have found a channel that is not yet too competitive and you have gained a loyal audience.
First, you can receive fan donations from your followers. A good way to kickstart your audience monetization effort is by engaging viewers using the chat feature.
Another way to turn Twitch into your cash cow is by selling physical products through your channel. Look for finished products that you like and that your followers might find interesting to increase your chances of making a sale.
If you keep on working on your channel and grow your following to a certain level, you can earn Affiliate or Partner status and get a share of the revenue generated by ads and subscriptions. There is also a good chance that you can land brand sponsorships.
Some even go as far as saying that you can make more on Twitch than on YouTube. This gives you an idea of how lucrative it is for video creators.
4. Sell Unused Gift Cards
Did you know that consumers lose around $3 billion a year from unspent gift cards? The number may seem staggering, but it is very true.
In 2019, people in the US bought, gave, or received gift cards from popular brands like Starbucks, Amazon, and Home Depot, bringing in a whopping total of $98 billion. However, two to four percent of these gift cards go unused every year.
That is a lot of money, and it would be a shame to go to waste. Fortunately, some websites are willing to pay for these unused gift cards.
GiftCash and CardCash are two of the most popular examples. These sites offer up to 92% of the card’s value.
Less popular cards go for less than 70%. They typically give instant quotes or offers.
So if you happen to get your hands on some of them, you have a legitimate chance to make extra money. You could also trade them in for gift cards that you would actually use, which are as good as cash.
Granted, you could take your gift cards, sell them to a retail store, and get your money on the same day. However, going online fetches you a better price.
5. Look for Tasks on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
While technology has allowed us to automate nearly everything, from simple tasks to complex problems, some things would still benefit from the human touch. This is the premise that Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is built on.
Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourcing marketplace where businesses and even individuals can outsource certain jobs and processes. These are tasks that computers could not do nearly as well as people can.
For instance, some businesses might need content moderation or data validation. Others might want to research subjective topics and would need you to participate in online surveys.
All of them are jobs that people (meaning you) can do virtually and for the right price, of course. It is a an excellent option for digital nomads who work from anywhere as long as they have their laptops and can connect to the internet.
Note that there will be times that you’ll be asked to perform tedious chores like tagging videos or classifying receipts. A job can also last anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours.
The business or individual who requested the task sets the price. Equally important, they also get to decide whether the work you did is acceptable or not, and they have up to 30 days to do this.
Once your work is approved, you will get paid through your bank account or with an Amazon gift card.
This scenario leaves the window open to scammers, so you should do your due diligence and research a potential “employer” before accepting a job. One good practice is to join online forums like MTurk Crowd so you can get advice and tips from fellow workers.
6. Become a Delivery Person
Some people wonder how to make money from home, but some prefer being outside in the open air. If you belong to the second group, you should consider being a delivery rider or driver.
While many activities ground to a halt during the pandemic, one trend that emerged is the increased demand for delivery services, especially in the food industry.
What’s interesting is that even as the virus loosened its grip on the world, people still continue to have food and other parcels delivered to them.
Based on statistics, the online food delivery service across the globe accounted for $107.44 billion in spending in 2019, which was the time when the virus initially hit us. Industry experts believe that by 2023, the market will swell up to $154.34 billion, which is equivalent to a growth of 11.51%.
Why is this important?
Cities and municipalities are starting to relax their health protocols in the face of an improving COVID situation, but the need for delivery services remains. It means that even if you only explore this revenue opportunity now, it would still be worth your while.
So dust off your bike or give your car a quick tune-up and make sure that your cell phone is working. Why? Because that is basically all you would need so you can start making extra money.
Just sign up with one of many online delivery companies today, like Uber Eats and Deliveroo. If you only have minimal time to spare for this gig, that’s fine.
In some cities, you just need a quick ride on your bike or scooter to deliver items in person.
Note that most of the delivery companies will do some background checks before accepting applicants. If you want to join the ranks of Uber drivers plying the streets, make sure that you have a valid driver’s license.
7. Try Dropshipping
If you are wondering how to make money fast without enduring a traditional nine-to-five job, why not be your own boss and start your own online business?
There are plenty of business ideas that offer viable revenue potential, any of which could catapult you to success and financial freedom. A good place to start is dropshipping.
In this business model, you sell a finished product without keeping it in stock. Instead, if someone wants to buy something from you, you purchase it directly from a third party and have them deliver it straight to the customer.
You do not physically handle the products, which means you do not need to invest in a warehouse or a storage space.
Another benefit that comes with dropshipping is you get to test different online business ideas without assuming much risk. That is because you do not have to spend thousands of dollars up-front to build inventory.
With this business type, you can launch your own operation quickly and with very little money.
You do not have to worry about startup costs, overhead costs, and shipping costs. You also do not have to track inventory, deal with returns, or constantly monitor stock levels either.
Once you find a product that you feel comfortable with, you can scale things up without going through the growing pains of an expanding business.
On the flip side, it is easy to move on to another product since you won’t be losing out by much. Note that the margins are generally low in this business model.
Nevertheless, if you manage to find a product that consumers really like, you could make a decent amount of money.
There are success stories like the one where a seller made hundreds of thousands of dollars in three months selling just one product. This is not surprising given the vast income potential that the market presents.
In 2020, the estimated value of the e-commerce dropshipping market was $128.6 billion. Over the next six years, industry experts believe that it will grow to $476.1 billion.
The time is ripe for you to jump on the dropshipping bandwagon.
8. Launch a YouTube Channel
Jimmy Donaldson or Mr. Beast to his subscribers was the top-earning YouTuber in 2021. He has approximately $54 million in total earnings.
Jake Paul, a professional boxer and top media personality, was a close second with $45 million in revenue. Countless more people have made tons of money off YouTube. Why not you?
While it might be too early to think about million-dollar earnings, it’s safe to say that you have as good a chance as anyone in turning your videos into extra cash.
Remember to focus on a specific niche so you can attract a loyal audience. For instance, you can review products, create makeup tutorials, or make how-to videos.
Whatever you are interested in, there are likely other people out there who are interested in it too.
Aside from choosing a subject that resonates with your target audience, make sure that you work on your delivery as well. Your videos should either educate or entertain people.
However, while it is important to focus on your target audience, you should not forget about search engine optimization or SEO. YouTube is more than just a website; it is also a search engine.
When people look for a specific video, they type in relevant keywords to find what they need. SEO makes your videos more visible during these searches, which means that more people get to watch them.
So now that you have a good idea of how to make videos that are compelling to your target audience and attractive to search engines, how do you make money from them?
One is with the YouTube Partner Program, where you can get a share of the revenue from the ads that run with your content. However, this only kicks in once you hit the 1,000-subscriber mark.
Businesses can also pay you to serve their ads during your videos.
9. Print-on-Demand Business
The internet offers endless opportunities for people with technical skills, especially those specializing in digital technology. Nevertheless, if you are more of the creative type, there’s plenty of room for you too.
One business model that you can try is print on demand. In this business type, you sell a wide range of custom products that bear unique graphic design elements.
Here’s how it works:
A potential customer sees your design online, likes it, and places an order. Next, you forward the order to your supplier and pay them at the wholesale rate.
Your supplier then proceeds to print your artwork on the product and ships it to your customer. Your profit margin comes from the difference between the wholesale and retail prices.
What products are popular in the print-on-demand business model?
In this business type, T-shirts reign supreme. Printing works on various fabrics, including cotton and polyester. There is much room for flexibility, so it appeals to many consumers.
Mugs and art prints are also a popular option, but in reality, people can order virtually any product as long as it has a surface that can be printed on. Some have ordered socks, sneakers, and even face masks with customized designs.
These are not big-ticket items, by far. So you might be wondering, is there real money in the print-on-demand business?
The short answer is “YES!” The global T-shirt custom printing market alone was estimated at $1.16 billion, and that was way back in 2016. Industry experts believe that it will reach a value of $3.1 billion in 2025.
If there was ever a right time for you to dip your toes into this business model, it is now.
10. Be an Online Tutor
Are you good at math? Do you know a foreign language? Do you have tips on how to prepare for tests?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you could turn that skill into a lucrative side gig by becoming a tutor.
There was a time when tutoring consisted mostly of in-person workshops and face-to-face sessions. Those days are long gone.
That’s thanks to various online sites that allow engaging virtual interactions between students and instructors. The fact that mobile phones are getting smarter helped too. As a result, the online tutoring industry has exploded in the past few years.
Based on a study, the global market for online tutoring services was valued at $5.61 billion in 2020. That is welcome news if you are looking for a part-time job or even a steady source of income.
Even better news: it will continue to grow annually by 15.6%, at least until 2028. It means that the client base for the online tutoring industry will still be there, even if you try your hand at it only now.
So what are you waiting for? Revisit your high school science or polish up your French and start tutoring.
You can take your pick from countless online platforms and websites available today and get started. Some of the most popular options are Tutor.com and Care.com.
Another excellent option is Udemy which allows you to create online courses. You will get paid every time users take any of your online courses. Craigslist will also give you a good idea of what types of tutors are in demand.
With tutoring, you can choose your own hours. It’s up to you whether you do it regularly or just during your spare time.
How much you earn will depend on the amount of time or effort you are willing to put in. However, if you are an expert on a specific topic, you can expect to make money fast.
Make the Right Choice
The internet has limitless income potential, whether you want to start your own business or find gainful employment. However, not all the opportunities that you see online are legit.
A good number of them are veiled scams designed to extract information like your credit card number or even extort money.
If a site or platform asks you for any financial information or charges you for a “certification,” take a pause. These are red flags that point to potential fraud.
As much as possible, join a respected online community forum and seek advice or look at reviews and complaints. Independent organizations like the Better Business Bureau can help you vet a company.
There are many ways people can take advantage of you, but there are also many ways to protect yourself.
FAQs About Making Money Online
1. Can I make money online even without experience?
There are many ways to make real money online, and millions are already doing it, from digital nomads to savvy content creators to up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
While most of them have achieved a certain level of success, they all had to start somewhere, right? It means that the internet has room for you even if you are a beginner.
We outlined several ways for you to earn money, so you can take your pick based on the skills you have. However, we have barely scratched the surface; that’s how big the internet’s income potential is.
There are many other business ideas or freelance jobs that you could choose from, even if you do not have experience.
2. What is the best way to make money online?
Different people have different strengths. The path each person takes towards financial gains online is unique.
To ensure that you are setting yourself up for success, take a good look at what consumers need and find out which of your skills can meet them. This would determine whether you should try dropshipping, freelance writing, or any other active or passive income opportunity.
3. Can I make money while staying at home?
Yes, there are several ways to generate revenue even from your home. You could sell used clothes or electronics online, rent a room out on Airbnb, or choose one of the options we have discussed above.
4. How can I make money online immediately?
While the internet has limitless income opportunities, it can be tough to find gigs that will pay you right there and then. Your best bet is to check out local listings and look for jobs that you can do immediately, like moving furniture or painting fences.
5. Is doing online surveys worth it?
Taking online surveys for businesses is an acceptable way on how to make money online, but you have to be practical about your expectations. Most of these gigs offer rewards points or gift cards as payment. If this is good enough for you, then it is worth your time.