How to make money online: With the economy in turmoil and layoffs making headlines, it’s a question many people are asking right now, as they seek out new income streams. But the smartest people know that making money online is a great way to release you from the 9-to-5 and give you the freedom to travel the world or live anywhere you like.
Take Rita Ting-Hopper, an immigrant from Hong Kong who was the first in her family to go to college. The former lawyer is the founder of Festi, a new consumer tech startup that helps people share and monetize their talents—from yoga and dance instructors hosting classes on Zoom while they are traveling to stay-at-home moms offering backyard yoga classes to celebrity chefs creating unique culinary experiences.
According to Ting-Hopper, the ideas are endless and some users have made over $30,000. “We’ve learned that following your passion can lead to self-employment instead of unemployment,” she says.
Festi is just one example of the new online economy that I’ve been documenting over the past few years (you can see the reports from 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019). For 2023, I went wide with ideas that range from basic to surprising.
So read on to learn about a number of exciting new solutions for making money online—whether you want to make money from home or find ways to earn money and travel the world.
1. Convert your passion into money
A tool to help support the creator economy and the gig economy, Festi is an easy, fast and free way to earn money. Using Festi’s payment platform, creators can charge for online classes from anywhere at any time. “For example, if you are a fitness instructor and realize you have an hour to work out at the end of the day (or the next morning), you can post a pop-up workout (in person or on Zoom) and charge people to join you,” says founder Rita Ting-Hopper. Two of the top users are Bolivian sisters Jaz and Gabriela, who post high-intensity dance fitness classes. “With Festi, you can turn any idea into a business by posting your offer in literally minutes,” says Ting-Hopper. “There is no need to create a website, figure out a payment system or chase down Venmos to get paid.”
2. Make music
Have some musical talent? Check out Songfinch, which makes it possible for anyone to earn money by writing and producing music. Founded in 2016, Songfinch is backed by big industry names including The Weeknd, Quincy Jones and Doja Cat. Here’s how it works: People can order a personalized one-of-a-kind song from a Songfinch artist, from birthday jingles to holiday tunes to anniversary odes. The songwriters work on their own timeline and retain the full rights to everything they create. Some Songfinch artists have been able to earn up to $80,000 in one year.
3. Become a virtual assistant
As a virtual assistant, you can offer administrative, technical or creative services to clients from the comfort of your own home. And guess what—it pays well. You can find virtual assistant job opportunities through websites like Flexjobs, 24/7 Virtual Assistants and Fancy Hands.
4. Write a book
Whether you’re burning to pen the next great American novel or just have an idea for an e-book that will teach someone how to do something, it’s easier to write a book than you think. Gone are the days of agents and book publishers. These days, self-publishing has become simple and profitable, thanks to sites like Barnes & Noble Press (a free service that lets you sell print or ebooks to millions of readers), Blurb (which helps you create, print and sell professional-quality photo books) and Lulu (a print-on-demand platform with free tools to help create, publish and sell your story).
5. Offer freelance services
Writing, editing, graphic design, coding, digital marketing, admin work—whatever skill you have, the options are endless when it comes to freelancing. But how to get the word out there? You can easily offer services to clients around the world via a number of websites that allow users to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of finding freelance work from anywhere across the globe to grow your brand—and your dreams. Some of the best online talent solutions for connecting businesses with freelancers include Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer and Working Not Working.
6. Market your skills
Or perhaps your skills are more hands-on, from handyman work to cleaning to moving to home remodeling to something as simple as waiting in line. TaskRabbit is a platform that connects people with skilled professionals who can complete various tasks, while Airtasker is a company that acts as a marketplace for services providers. Unlike the traditional gig economy, Airtasker uses a flex economy model, with its “Taskers” working wherever and whenever they want and determining how much they want to get paid.
7. Share your internet bandwidth
Here’s an interesting way to earn passive income: Honeygain, an app that allows you to make money online by sharing your Internet connection. How does it work? Install the application and make sure that it’s running in the background; the app will do the work for you. The shared connection is used for various business cases, including ad verification, price comparison and brand protection. According to Honeygain, the company takes privacy seriously and uses various encryption technologies to ensure that the data being transmitted through the platform is safe and protected. Users can increase their earnings by adding more devices and connecting them to different IP addresses, adding referrals, opening a “lucky pot” every day and participating in social media contests.
8. Get paid for your daily habits
The Mode Earn App enables people to earn passive income via their daily habits, such as listening to music, playing games, reading the news, shopping or watching videos, just to name a few. You just use your phone as normal and can earn $600 per year—or more—in supplemental income. There are 16 modes by which people can get paid.
9. Take surveys
These days, companies not only want to hear what you have to say—they want to pay you for sharing your thoughts on services, products and more. All you need to do is complete an online survey to get paid. Some of the best survey companies include Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Qmee and Cash Karma.
10. Take part in a focus group
Taking the survey concept to the next level, online focus groups are a great way to make money from home or while traveling. Check out some of the more lucrative opportunities through companies like Respondent and User Interviews, both of which screen applicants to make sure that they have some kind of an in-demand expertise.
11. Take care of animals
The number of pet owners exploded during the pandemic, opening up a wealth of opportunities for people who are good with animals and want to earn some quick cash by cuddling and walking other people’s pets. Rover is an app that connects pet owners with sitters or walkers for part-time gigs. You can set your own schedule, set preferences for pets you’re comfortable playing with and arrange hassle-free payments.
12. Sell handmade products
Artisanship is bigger than ever, so if you have a talent for crafting and making handmade products (jewelry, home decor, you name it), there are a number of ways to sell it online and reach a global audience. Etsy is a well-known marketplace for creatives looking to sell products they’ve made, as well as vintage goods. Some other similar but lesser-recognized platforms for makers include Uncommon Goods and Aftcra.
13. Sell textile designs
Then there’s Spoonflower, a global marketplace that’s revolutionizing the textile industry with on-demand digital printing technology, allowing makers and independent artists across the world to market their designs via online wallpaper, home decor, fabric and more.
14. Market your design work
Do you have a talent for creating fonts, graphics or illustrations? Check out Creative Market, an online marketplace for community-generated design assets. You can sell your designs and reach millions of buyers or promote other artists and earn cash.
15. Take your designs to the next level
If you have a gift for design or illustration, you can make money online by using sites that will put your work on products and sell them for you on demand. For instance, with CafePress and Zazzle, you can upload your own graphic designs or text to wall art, T-shirts, stationery, mugs, totes, stickers and more and earn a percentage of the sales.
16. Create and sell an app
If you have a great idea for an app, you can develop it yourself without having to hire a programmer or agency by using a site like Appy Pie, which helps anyone create applications, websites, chatbots and more on any internet-connected device. Once the app is finished, you can sell it on the App Store or Google Play Store. If the app is a hit, it can be a lucrative way to earn passive income.
17. Do online tutoring
If you have a teaching background or expertise in a particular subject, you can offer online tutoring services. A huge perk: You can work from anywhere and set your own schedule. Check out websites like Tutor.com, Preply and Cambly.
18. Offer consulting services
It’s not just students that need help. If you have expertise in a particular area—business, nutrition, fitness, life—it’s easy to offer one-on-one coaching or consulting services to individuals or businesses. In the old days, this would be done through Skype or other video conferencing platforms, but that meant a lot of coordinating and marketing. New online platforms like Kajabi make everything easier by helping entrepreneurs create and host coaching programs.
19. Create and sell a course
Why not take your expertise and convert it into passive income by creating an e-course? This way, you only have to do the work once and anyone can take—and pay for—your class on their own time. You can create and sell courses on platforms like Gumroad, Udemy and Teachable.
20. Check out your digital subscriptions
With Rocket Money, you’ll be saving money—which can add up to making real money online. This site shows all your subscriptions and can save users hundreds of dollars every year, just by finding and cancelling subscriptions that aren’t being used.
21. Become a (mock) juror
Talk about jury duty 2.0—now you can make money by being an online juror. A mock juror, that is. Here’s how it works: Attorneys hire mock juries to create an online focus group and see if their case will hold up in court. The place to find out about opportunities: OnlineVerdict or eJury.com.
22. Start a blog
If you have a passion for writing and there’s a particular topic that you’re knowledgeable about, starting a blog can be a great way to earn money online. By creating quality content and building up a large audience, you can monetize your blog through advertising, sponsorships and affiliate marketing. A few of the best blogging platforms include GoDaddy, SquareSpace and Wix.
23. Start vlogging
If you’re more into creating videos and vlogging than blogging, you could start a YouTube channel, which is a great way to earn money online. By creating quality content and building up a large subscriber base, you can monetize your channel through advertising and sponsorships. Some other good vlogging platforms: Twitch and Filmless.
24. Sell photos and videos online
If you have a talent for photography or videography, you can sell your work online through websites like Shutterstock, iStock or Adobe Stock. These platforms allow you to upload your photos and videos and earn a percentage of the sales.
25. Offer translation services
If you are fluent in multiple languages, offering translation services is a no-brainier. The best websites for finding translation gigs include Unbabel and Gengo.
26. Sell stuff
You’d be surprised by how much stuff hanging around your house you can sell online, from books and electronics to clothing and home goods. It’s easy to reach a wide audience by setting up a seller account on eBay. Facebook Marketplace allows users to buy and sell items in their local community. And a lesser-known app, OfferUp, has modernized the Craigslist concept by allowing anyone to sell new or used items through its easy-to-use marketplace app. The streamlined process allows users to list an item on their phone in as little as 30 seconds. Although OfferUp gives users the choice to sell locally or nationwide, it mainly facilitates local transactions and sellers are normally paid in cash.
27. Start a dropshipping business
A dropshipping business allows you to sell products online without having to hold any inventory. You can set up a website and partner with suppliers who will handle the fulfillment of orders. A major clearinghouse for dropshipping is Shopify, which offers a one-stop solution.
28. Offer transcription services
If you have excellent typing skills and attention to detail, transcription is a great idea to consider. Sites like Rev and TranscribeMe hire freelancers to transcribe audio and video files into written documents, and—best of all—it can be done on your own time.
29. Offer proofreading and editing services
Are you a self-professed grammar geek or a former spelling bee champ? You can offer proofreading and editing services like reviewing written documents for errors and making necessary corrections. Find freelance opportunities on websites like ProofreadingPal and Gramlee.
30. Become a mystery shopper
Yes, it’s a thing. Sign up with Gigwalk, a mobile app that allows you to find quick jobs in your area posted by consumer brands and retailers looking for on-the-ground visibility into the conditions of their products or events. Most gigs require you to document your work and the product or event compliance (or noncompliance) through geo-tagged photos. A gig can take anywhere from five minutes to a few hours to complete, paying anywhere from $3 to $100.
31. Offer virtual event planning services
With the rise of remote work, many businesses and organizations are also creating virtual events. If you have experience with event planning, you can offer your services as a virtual event planner and help clients plan and execute successful online events.
32. Share your social media skills
Do you love TikTok and Instagram? Your social media skills might be marketable. There are not only businesses—but also individuals—looking for social media help.
33. Store stuff
If you’ve got an extra area that you’re not using like a garage or a basement, you can rent out the space through Neighbor and let people store their car or their junk. Then just watch the passive income roll in.
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