Wondering how to make money from home?
You’ve come to the right place.
This is a list of 25 real ways to make money online.
To help you find what you need, the ideas are broken down into three different sections.
- Easy ways to make money from home. The section to start with if you’re looking to make some extra spending money from home each month. You won’t pay the rent with the ideas on this list, but they’re low-risk ways to bring in extra cash fast.
- Best online freelance, independent contractor, and full-time remote jobs from home. Learn where to sell your skills online for top dollar. Here you’ll find online side hustles with the potential to earn an extra $1,000 or more per month.
- Low cost legitimate home-based business ideas. Looking for more than just a side job? These are the top business ideas for making money from home.
Click the table of contents below to jump to a particular idea.
Easy Ways To Make Money From Home
Making that first dollar online is a major milestone for many people. I still remember the excitement of getting a check in the mail from Amazon back in 2009. The ideas below are the quickest ways I know of to help you accomplish the same.
#1. Take Online Surveys
Earning potential: $1 to $50 per month.
If you’re looking for a flexible and fun way to earn money from home, start with online surveys.
How it works is that you sign up for a paid survey site (for free), and then you’re notified by email when a survey is available.
When we researched the top survey sites — taking into account BBB ratings, app reviews, Trustpilot scores and more — the two sites listed below were the absolute best options that we found.
Option #1: Survey Junkie
With over 5 million members, Survey Junkie is one of the largest survey sites on the internet. You’ll be happy to know that Survey Junkie has an “Excellent” rating on Trustpilot (with over 15,000 reviews), which ranks it highest among all survey companies. It’s also easy to sign up and get started. You just complete a short profile survey, and then you’ll be sent survey opportunities via email.
- Payment method: Points that are redeemable for cash through PayPal with a $5 minimum payout.
- Minimum age requirement: 18 years old.
- Sign-up bonus: N/A.
Read our in-depth Survey Junkie review.
Option #2: Swagbucks
Swagbucks is a favorite of mine, as well as a favorite of many readers of The Ways To Wealth. In total, Swagbucks has paid out nearly $500 million in rewards. Like free money? Swagbucks Surveys gives you a $5 bonus just for signing up.
- Payment method: Points (called SBs) that are redeemable for gift cards to PayPal and major retailers.
- Minimum age requirement: 13 years old.
- Sign-up bonus: $5 when you use the link below.
Read our in-depth Swagbucks review.
#2. Get Free Money From Website Sign-Up Bonuses
Earning potential: Irregular one-time payouts of as much as $100 or more with a minimal amount of work.
Dozens of legit businesses provide generous sign-up bonuses for new users. Most often, earning the bonus is as simple as signing up, performing a small task, then cashing out.
I’m always on the lookout for such bonuses. For example, one of my favorites is from the investment app Webull.
Just for signing up for a free account and making an initial deposit of $100, you’ll get two free shares of stock worth up to $1,650 in total value. You can sell your shares and withdraw your funds for free — there are no account closing fees or other restrictions.
Robinhood is another investment company that’s giving away free shares of stock — worth up to $200 each — to new members. As with Webull, joining Robinhood is 100% free.
Beyond investment apps, there are companies of all types offering generous amounts for signing up. To keep you up to date, we consistently update our list of the best get paid to sign up websites.
#3. Use Apps That Pay You To Buy Groceries
Earning potential: $1 to $50 per month.
Receipt scanning apps allow you to make money by purchasing groceries. Each app is a bit different, but there’s a reason they almost all have hundreds of thousands of positive reviews: they work.
Two of the most popular apps right now are:
Option #1: Fetch
Fetch Rewards allows you to earn points simply by scanning your receipts; there’s no need to scan barcodes of individual items or shop at particular stores — any receipts will work.
Enter code APREWARDS when signing up to earn 3,000 bonus points.
Option #2: Ibotta
With Ibotta, before you go shopping, open the app to see which items have cash-back offers.
Once you get home, simply scan the product barcodes and take a picture of your receipt. You’ll get money deposited into your account.
There’s even a $20 bonus when you sign up using this link.
#4. Participate In Market Research Studies Through Nielsen
Earning potential: $1 to $50 per year.
There are many apps that allow you to earn passive income with your smartphone.
For example, Nielsen Holdings — the large, publicly-traded market research company that’s best-known for publishing TV viewership ratings — will pay you for access to your internet browsing habits with their Nielsen Computer and Mobile App.
You simply download an app on your phone that sits in the background.
For each device you’re eligible for, you can get paid up to $50 per year. Then, there’s a monthly $10,000 sweepstakes. It won’t make you rich, but it can be a consistent source of side income that requires virtually no work.
Read our in-depth review of the Nielsen Computer and Mobile App.
#5. Play Games On Mistplay (Android Users Only)
Earning potential: Up to $50 per month in gift cards (most users earn less).
After downloading the app, you’ll get a list of potential games for earning money. There’s a mix of both popular games and new games in their test phases, and the list changes frequently.
You’ll earn points for achieving certain in-game tasks, such as:
- Reach a certain amount of play time.
- Hit scoring or level-up benchmarks.
- Refer friends to the app.
With over 80,000 reviews and a 4.3/5 rating on the Google Play Store, this app is legit.
#6. Get Cash-Back With Rakuten
Earning potential: Up to $20 per month, depending on your online shopping activity.
One simple way I’ve earned some extra money lately has been by using Rakuten (and other cash-back sites) when shopping online.
Rakuten allows you to share a referral fee when you make a purchase through their affiliate link. You then get cash-back for your online purchases at stores like Amazon, eBay, Nordstrom, Target, travel sites and more.
If you sign up through this link, you’ll get a $10 bonus. That’s an instant $10 cash-back off of your first purchase, plus extra cash-back on the purchase itself.
Our Rakuten Review: Why I Love This Site (and Tips to Maximize Cash Back).
#7. Hold A Garage Or Yard Sale
Earning potential: Opportunity for short-term income, depending on the amount of stuff you own.
If you’re in need of cash fast, there’s no better way than selling some of your extra and unused stuff.
Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are my two go-to resources for selling stuff online fast.
For unique items, I turn to eBay as the nationwide audience will increase the number of potential buyers.
For selling low-cost items in quantity — such as kids clothes, low-cost household decor, books, etc. — it’s best to hold a garage sale over a weekend. This way you can get rid of everything in one fell swoop.
Pro Tip: There are over a dozen different ways to sell your stuff locally. And some apps specialize in certain products, which could mean more money in your pocket. For more information, check out our post “Sites Like Craigslist: The Best Alternatives For Buying, Selling And More.”
Best Online Freelance, Independent Contractor And Full-Time Remote Jobs From Home
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, alternative employment — which includes freelancers and independent contractors — is one of the fastest-growing segments in our workforce.
The fact is that more companies than ever are looking for skilled individuals to work remotely. On top of that, the range of work you can find online is expanding rapidly.
While certain skills, such as freelance writing or graphic design, have consistently been popular online, new technologies are expanding the type of work that can be done. One great example is e-learning, which is now a multibillion-dollar industry with great opportunities.
Below you’ll learn about some of the best ways to get started selling your skills online.
Beginner Tip: Gaining those first few clients is always the most difficult aspect of getting started as a freelancer. On popular freelancing sites like Upwork and Fiverr, most of the work goes to people with experience on the platform. But here’s the thing: everyone is a beginner at some point. So to help you out on your journey we’ve prepared an in-depth guide on getting your first client on Upwork. (For reasons you’ll see in the article, it’s our recommended platform for landing freelance gigs.)
#1. Proofread Books, Documents, Transcripts And More
Earning potential: $15 to $40 per hour.
Job summary: Over the past decade, there’s been an explosion in the amount of written content produced on a daily basis. And that means there’s surging demand for proofreaders, the final line of defense against typos, misspellings and errant apostrophes.
You don’t need any special training or certifications to find work as a proofreader — just an obsession with details, an eye for spotting mistakes that other people miss, and a handful of job-specific skills that only take a little bit of time and effort to learn.
How to get started: Check out freelance proofreader Caitlin Pyle’s free workshop: Learning the Skills You Need to Start Your Freelance Proofreading Hustle. Caitlin earned over $43,000 a year working just part-time as a proofreader, so her free workshops are definitely worth looking into.
#2. Start A Bookkeeping Business
Earning potential: Up to $60 per hour while working from home.
Job summary: One of the most time-consuming aspects of running a business is keeping the books in order, which means tracking income and expenses, categorizing receipts, making sure bills get paid on time and more. This is necessary work because it helps ensure that the business is running smoothly, but it’s not always the best possible use of a business owner’s time. So in many cases, they’ll hire a part-time bookkeeper to take the burden off of their shoulders.
Here’s the good news: you don’t need a certificate or license to work in this role, and more businesses than ever are cutting costs by hiring part-time remote bookkeepers (instead of uber-expensive bookkeeping agencies). That makes this one of the most lucrative work-from-home opportunities on this list.
How to get started: Check out expert bookkeeper Ben Robinson’s free three-class series: How to Work from Home, Earn Good Money & Be Your Own Boss.
#3. Teach English Online
Earning potential: $15 to $25 per hour.
Job summary: While teaching English online isn’t necessarily the most lucrative work-from-home option you can find, it can be both one of the most sustainable and one of the most rewarding.
This field has exploded in size over the past five years, with more and more families around the world — and especially in China — viewing English fluency as a skill worth investing in. That means good instructors have no trouble staying busy with all the work they can handle.
And if you like working with children, this can be a great way to take control over your schedule while still making an important difference in students’ lives.
How to get started: There are two leading players in the online English tutoring space: VIPKid and Education First. You don’t need a teaching degree or certificate to work for either company, but you do need a four-year college degree (in any field). You also don’t need formal teaching experience, but having informal teaching on your resume — like coaching or private tutoring — can strengthen your application.
#4. Become A Professional Writer
Earning potential: 5 to 10 cents per word for beginners.
Job summary: As a freelance writer, you can make money writing blog posts, news articles, press releases, product descriptions and an almost infinite number of other types of content. Clients on sites like Upwork and Fiverr are hungry for people who can deliver quality work that contains accurate information and doesn’t require hours of editing. If you’re able to meet that need, you can earn rates equivalent to $50 per hour or more once you get some experience and references under your belt.
How to get started: The hardest part of becoming a freelance writer is securing your first couple of clients, so check out our guide to getting started on Upwork. It goes over everything you need to know about setting up your profile, searching for jobs and targeting the right kinds of projects.
#5. Manage Social Media Profiles
Earning potential: Between $20 and $100 per hour.
Job summary: The #1 thing local businesses want is new, high-quality leads. That means if you can generate these leads, you can get paid a lot of money. And right now, one of the best ways to generate them is through social media.
The best social media managers charge $10,000+ per month, plus a slice of revenue. Good social media managers charge $3,000 to $5,000 per month.
To the surprise of many, some beginners get paid as much as $1,000 to $2,000 each month. So, even if you’re starting from scratch, with the right training, you can have a profitable business quickly.
What’s also great about becoming a social media manager is that it’s one of the steadiest sources of income around.
I know social media managers who have five or six clients, each paying them $1,000 to $2,000 every month. And after the work is done in getting a client’s campaign set up, they only have to dedicate a few hours per week to each project.
#6. Design Websites
Earning potential: Around $25 per hour to start, and up to $100 per hour with experience.
Job summary: These days, having a good looking website that loads quickly and functions properly is almost essential for doing business, regardless of the industry. That means there’s enormous opportunity in the field, both for freelancers who can fix and maintain websites and for those who know how to design them from the ground up.
How to get started: When you’re just getting started, you may not have enough of a reputation to sell expensive, full-site packages. So work on building up a portfolio and a feedback profile through small projects like CSS customizations, WordPress plugin configuration and limited-scale graphic design projects. You can see examples of the different types of projects people offer on Fiverr, which is a good site for finding your first few gigs and gaining experience. And of course, having your own website is an important part of showcasing your skills.
#7. Work As A Virtual Assistant
Earning potential: As much as $45 per hour, depending on your skills and specializations.
Job summary: Many high-income individuals, as well as small business owners, need assistants to help with everyday tasks like correspondence, schedule management, research, basic bookkeeping and more. When you become a virtual assistant (commonly referred to as a VA), you’ll do the same work as an in-office assistant — just without the commute, and often on your own schedule.
How to get started: Read our guide to the most in-demand virtual assistant skills, and then refer to this list of the best websites for finding VA jobs. You may also want to consider the excellent VA training materials offered by The Horkey Handbook.
#8. Test Websites And Apps
Earning potential: $5 to $20 per hour (usually the lower end of that range).
Job summary: Website and app developers need feedback from real users in order to optimize the design of their products, and to ensure there are no technical glitches that would negatively impact functionality. As tester, you’ll take notes on your experience with new sites and apps, and then provide feedback to the development team — sometimes in written form, but often via live or recorded video.
How to get started: UserTesting.com is one of the main sites for finding paid testing opportunities.
#9. Monetize Your Typing Skills
Earning potential: Between $5 and $20 per hour for data entry, and between $10 and $40 for transcribing.
Job summary: If you’re a fast and relatively accurate typist, you can earn money and set your own schedule with data entry and transcription work.
When it comes to data entry, be aware that it’s low-skilled work that doesn’t require any training, education or experience. As a result, competition from freelancers in the developing world drives down the overall hourly rates and limits your earning potential.
You can do better with transcription (which requires near-perfect English fluency), especially if you establish yourself in an in-demand niche like medical transcription.
#10. Edit Videos
Earning potential: Between $20 and $45 per hour to start.
Job summary: The amount of video content produced for the web is exploding, and that fact is creating enormous demand for capable video editors. Bloggers, social influences, business owners and all kinds of other clients are hungry for video editors who know how to cut film, adjust coloration and lighting, add graphic overlays and transitions, add properly-synced captions and more.
How to get started: To win clients and projects, you’ll need to have a portfolio of work samples. But they don’t have to be from paid gigs — you can create them specifically to showcase your skills. Focus on a handful of specific niches first — like captions and whiteboard videos — in order to build up your feedback profile, and then work your way up to more lucrative types of projects. Fiverr is a great place to find this type of work.
#11. Design Graphics
Earning potential: $15 per hour to start, with unlimited upside potential.
Job summary: Graphic design encompasses a wide-swath of work types, from low-skilled tasks like removing backgrounds from product photos to expert-level projects like creating mockups of entire websites and apps.
At the low end of that spectrum, you’ll be competing with people from all over the world, which means you won’t earn a ton of money. But as your skills and experience grow, the earning potential in this field is almost unlimited.
If you currently fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, you can earn solid money (think $40 to $60 per hour) designing things like graphics for social media (there’s strong demand for effective Pinterest graphics), t-shirts, and other small one-off projects.
How to get started: As with video editing, you’ll need a portfolio of work samples in order to get clients. From there, Upwork and Fiverr are the two best places to find work.
Pro Tip For Freelancers: A quick way to go from beginner to high-paying freelancer is to specialize in a fast-growing software or trend. For example, a web designer may look to specialize in something like LeadPages (a popular landing page creator) or Shopify (a fast-growing e-commerce platform). Other examples include a video editor specializing in Adobe Premier Pro or a virtual assistant having proficiency in Asana or Slack. Often, there are certifications you can pursue at no-charge or low-cost that can accelerate your earning capability.
Low-Cost Legitimate Home-Based Business Ideas
You can make solid money as a freelancer, but your potential earnings will always be limited by the number of hours you can work. If you’re looking for an at-home opportunity with more scalability and upside, consider the business ideas below, which have low startup costs and low barriers to entry.
#1. Start A Blog
Summary: Many people think blogs peaked a decade ago, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, there are more six-figure blogs than ever — many of which get sold to big publishing companies for huge sums of money. That’s one of the reasons why starting a blog is such a good idea: you’re able to generate income through an array of monetization strategies, but you’re also building a sellable asset that can lead to a significant lump-sum of income a few years down the line.
Earning potential: You won’t make much money in the weeks after you start your blog (if you make any at all). It takes anywhere from six to 12 months to build an audience and generate enough traffic to start seeing any meaningful income. But once you hit that point, you can easily generate $1,000 to $2,000 a month with a minimal amount of work. And as you build momentum, that figure can increase dramatically. For example, I started The Ways To Wealth as a side project while working in the financial services industry. About one year later, I had quit my job (which I’d held for a decade) to focus on the site full-time.
Startup costs: You can launch a bare-bones blog for as little as $25. You’ll need a domain name (which costs about $15 per year), and a web host (which costs about $10 per month). If you sign up for hosting with BlueHost, you can bring that cost down to under $3 per month and get a free domain.
How to get started: Sign up for my 100%-free on-demand course titled “How To Make Your Fist $1,000 Blogging,” which covers everything I wish I had known when I was first starting out — from the absolute basics (like how to pick a niche and how to install WordPress) to how to identify the best possible mix of revenue streams (Google AdSense is not the only option).
#2. Launch A Shopify Store
Summary: Shopify makes it easy to get started selling products online without having to know the first thing about web design or coding. Just sign up, choose a domain name and customize the look and details of you’re site through an easy-to-use interface.
And while you can sell almost anything you can think of — from handmade crafts to digital products like consultation packages — one of the best ways to take advantage of the online shopping boom is by starting a dropshipping business.
As a dropshipper, you’ll sell products without ever touching then. For example, you might launch a website that sells different types of smartphone cases and accessories. Whenever a customer places an order, you’ll place a corresponding order with your supplier, who will then ship the item directly to your customer.
Earning potential: Unlimited.
Startup costs: Shopify’s least-expensive plan costs $29 per month, and you’ll need a domain name (about $15 per year). On top of that, you’ll need to find a way to drive traffic to your website — either by running ads on platforms like Facebook, or by producing content (like blog posts) that generates traffic from Google searches. If you choose the advertising route, you should plan on spending at least a few hundred dollars per month (which needs to be factored into your product pricing).
How to get started: Shopify offers a top-notch webinar that teaches you the ins and outs of starting a profitable dropshipping business.
#3. Sell Crafts On Etsy
Summary: While you can sell almost anything via a Shopify storefront, you’ll have to spend money driving traffic to your new website (or wait for the search traffic to start rolling in). So if you’re planning on selling soaps, crafts, jewelry or other unique handmade items, it makes sense to start your business on Etsy, where millions of customers search for exactly that type of product. Etsy has categories for clothes, toys, art, household goods and more, so there’s plenty of opportunity to find a niche that matches your crafting skills.
Earning potential: Many Etsy sellers make a full-time living on the site, but your earning potential will depend on the type of products you offer, as well as how fast you can produce them.
Startup costs: In addition to the cost of materials, Etsy charges 20 cents per product listing every four months. There’s also an optional membership plan that gives you access to extra site features, which costs $10 per month.
How to get started: Check out Quickbooks’ guide to getting set up on the site.
#4. Sell Products On Amazon Via FBA
Summary: Many of the products sold on Amazon are offered by third-party sellers who leverage the company’s warehousing and delivery infrastructure through a service called Fulfillment by Amazon (or FBA for shot). With FBA, you simply send your products to Amazon (or have them shipped directly to Amazon by the manufacturer or supplier). Then, the retailer handles all aspects of storage and fulfillment — you don’t have to deal with packaging the product, figuring out the cheapest shipping option, or handling customer returns.
Earning potential: As with any e-commerce business, the amount you’ll earn depends largely on how much you have to invest. But that’s especially true with FBA, because you’ll need to purchase your products upfront. As such, your revenue will be limited by the number of units you can offer, and how quickly you can sell them and use the proceeds to get new stock into Amazon’s warehouses.
Startup costs: There’s no minimum for getting started on FBA, so if you don’t have much to invest you can start by sending in as little as one item at a time. On the other hand, if you decide to source products directly from a manufacturer or supplier, you should expect to spend a few thousand dollars on your initial batch of product. Working with a wholesale supplier will cut into your profit margins, but it can put your startup costs somewhere between those two extremes, as most have minimum order requirements in the $500 to $1,000 range.
How to get started: Learn more about selling on Amazon, including the best strategies for sourcing products and leveraging FBA, in our complete guide to the platform.
#5. Rent Out A Spare Room On Airbnb
Summary: If you have unused space of any kind — whether it’s a second home, a spare bedroom, a basement or just a couch — you can put that idle asset to work for you by offering it on Airbnb. And if you’re unsure about welcoming strangers into your home, keep in mind that Airbnb has a rigorous vetting and feedback system that allows you to learn about the people who apply to stay in your space, see what other hosts have said about them, and communicate directly with them before choosing to say “yes.”
Earning potential: How much you can earn depends on the type of space you have available as well as your location. You can get an estimate by entering a few basic details into Airbnb’s host earnings calculator.
Startup costs: Expect to spend a few hundred dollars on professional photos.
How to get started: The key to wooing guests and getting the best possible rates is to make sure you have top-notch, professional photos that accurately show the space. Depending on what you have available, it may be worthwhile to hire a professional photographer, as Airbnb says listings with high-quality pictures earn 40% more on average. The site even has a service that will match you with screened photographers who know what works best on the platform.
#6. Make YouTube Videos
Summary: Starting a YouTube channel is a lot like starting a blog: it takes time and dedication to build an audience, but the rewards can be significant as you start getting enough views. And as with blogging, many different types of content work well on the site. There are full-time video creators who publish product reviews, how-tos and tutorials, comedy videos and almost anything else you can think of.
Earning potential: As a general rule, you’ll earn between $2 and $5 for every 1,000 views on your videos.
Startup costs: You don’t need top-of-the-line video production equipment to make successful YouTube videos — your smartphone or iPad will work just fine. However, you will need a low-cost mic (plus the cables to connect it to your device); otherwise, the audio quality will be subpar. You may also need a tripod. Expect to spend about $50 to $100 on this equipment.
How to get started: Check out Buffer’s list of basic steps for getting started on the platform.
#7. Create An Online Course
Summary: If you have expertise — whether in a profession, a sport, a hobby or anything else — consider sharing your knowledge with others through the creation of an online course. Think of this as a more specialized version of becoming a YouTube creator: instead of walking people through the basics of something like baking sourdough bread or starting a blog, you’ll help them become an expert in the topic by going in-depth into the specific details and nuances that most casual viewers don’t care about.
Earning potential: Courses can be monetized in a number of different ways. You might create a series of videos and offer them on-demand for one lump-sum fee. Or, you might charge a monthly subscription fee and release new content periodically. Either way, most courses generate between $50 and $100 per customer.
Startup costs: You’ll need to allocate a little bit of money (at least a few hundred dollars per month) for driving people to your course, either through online ads, the creation of content (to generate search traffic), or sponsorship on third-party websites. If you have an existing social media audience, you can potentially avoid that initial investment — though it will be hard to scale up your business without spending money on some form of advertising.
Final Thoughts On Making Money At Home
It’s never been easier to find a lucrative work-from-home opportunity that aligns with your goals and skills. The options on this list are just a spattering of what’s available.
Here are some other resources we’ve put together that can help you find legitimate ways to make money online on your own terms:
- Legit online jobs that pay $50,000+
- The best jobs for stay-at-home moms
- The best online jobs for college students
- Work-from-home customer service jobs
- Get paid to read books
When you’re just getting started, two of the best sites to focus on are Upwork and Fiverr. Almost all freelancers are hired on these two sites, and while getting your first job can be difficult because of the competition, it’s far from impossible. To help, we put together a detailed guide with strategies to get your freelance career up and running as fast as possible.
You may also want to check out FlexJobs (read our review) which is one of the best remote work job boards on the internet (thanks to the fact that every listing is vetted to ensure there are no scams).
If your goal is to start an online business rather than a side gig or a freelance career, keep in mind that you may not start earning a full-time income right off the bat. Building a business takes time, and that’s just as true for blogs and e-commerce sites as it is from bricks-and-mortar storefronts.
So take a look at your financial situation and make don’t be afraid to ease into it if necessary. You don’t have spend 40 hours a week working on your blog — invest the time you can, and ramp up as you start to build momentum.