Since the advent of the Internet, people have found all sorts of creative and intriguing ways to make money using just their computers and businesses of all types have, of course, migrated over to the online sector as well. With technology getting more and more sophisticated, it’s also becoming easier to work remotely for these businesses as either a freelancer or a full-time employee.
Granted, there are many online industries that are heavily saturated but there are still plenty of opportunities to break through. Not to mention, there’s no telling how many untapped, unorthodox occupations that are out there that have yet to be discovered.
Whether you are just trying to earn a few extra dollars or make enough money to live off of, you can learn how to make money online in a variety of ways. With such a diverse range of opportunities, you’ll not only be able to find work that matches your skill set but you will also find money-making opportunities that don’t require any skills at all. With enough time and effort, you can meet your personal goals and even satisfy some of your career interests.
Not only are there job boards specifically dedicated to online working opportunities but there are also plenty of articles and resources that can introduce you to new ideas. These things are always getting updated to remain relevant and the following explores some of the ways that you can make money online today.
Benefits of Working Online
Given the choice, many people might choose to work online and from home at least a few days a week. Even office jobs that allow for some remote work are more attractive than jobs that require you to be on site every day.
Of course, working entirely online is a bit different from having a few days away from the office and people who manage to make all of their money online often enjoy an incredible amount of freedom. Some people will do it for this reason specifically whereas others may do it out of necessity. Regardless, the best reasons to work online include:
- Greater schedule flexibility
- The ability to travel around
- Opportunities to find fulfilling jobs outside of your degree or experience
- Potential savings on child care
- More time to work on personal projects/do chores
- No office politics or stressors associated with being around other people
- No more time or money spent on the commute
These are some of the most common benefits but there might also be benefits that are unique to you and your lifestyle.
Consider Your Skills and Background
When you start looking for ways to make money online, you should consider your skills, your background, and any other areas of interest. Additionally, if you have something unique to offer that you don’t see an abundance of online, this could be a good starting point for your search. It’s also possible to start building your skills in an area that you are currently unfamiliar with and you might even be able to make some money as you go along.
So where do your interests lie? Are you a writer? Do you enjoy making custom graphics? Do you have a business idea? Maybe you are just looking to make a few bucks here and there.
Regardless, starting with what you are good at or already have experience in makes it easier to find work.
Short-Term or Long-Term?
One way to make money online is to work for an actual company but you will want to consider what kind of job you are looking for.
Are you looking for a way to supplement some income or are you looking for a long-term, sustainable position that will allow you to provide for yourself or for your family? Some online jobs are salaried or based around a contract and come with a predictable income whereas other opportunities are perhaps less stable. For example, if you wanted to sell things on Amazon to make money, you are not guaranteed a certain amount of sales every month.
Other online money-making opportunities are only available once or a just few times and some jobs won’t provide enough income for you to live off of. When you know what kind of job you are going for, you can start to narrow down your search.
Work for an Actual Company
There are a lot of jobs that don’t require the employee to be at an office or any physical location for that matter. While some companies might not like the idea of having employees all over the country, other companies welcome the idea and offer remote positions that allow you to work from virtually anywhere.
Many positions are available for freelancers but there are plenty of companies that will hire you with a contract. Other times, you will simply be a full-time employee for the company and they may require you to visit the office once a month for meetings. These positions range from writers to customer service agents and when you go to apply, you will have to submit your resume or portfolio to be considered for the positions, just as with any other job. It helps to have experience but it’s possible to find entry-level positions as well.
The following takes a look at some of the companies that commonly hire employees for remote work, what you would need to succeed in an online environment, and what job opportunities you are likely to find.
Companies That Offer Online Work
If you want to be a part of a company but work from home rather than from an office, you can find remote positions from both small companies and some of the largest companies in the world. Of course, it depends on the type of work and some companies hire online workers more often than others. Some of the best places to work online, to name a few, include:
- Cactus Communications
- Wikimedia Foundation
- American Express
- Enterprise Holdings
Some of these companies have an abundance of opportunities whereas others offer remote positions less frequently and might have a less diverse range of positions. The larger the company, the more requirements there will likely be for those positions as well.
You can find jobs from these companies by going to their sites directly or by doing a simple Google search. Many online job boards make it easy to search for remote positions and other job boards are dedicated to this type of work.
What You Would Need
Working online for an actual company is likely to be a bit different from, say, running a blog or doing something where you are your own boss. Many companies require you to be available at certain times but all of them will have deadlines for the work they want you to do. So, if you want to keep these jobs, you will need to take them seriously.
To excel with an online job, there are four main things that you want to have: a quality computer, a reliable Internet connection, self-discipline, and a comfortable but productive workspace.
Whether you are working short-term or long-term, you don’t want to lose your job due to poor connectivity or a slow computer so if you are planning to commit to making an online living, you will definitely need some reliable equipment. Additionally, self-discipline is essential and for productivity reasons, it’s often wise to have an office or workspace dedicated to your online work.
Types of Online Job Opportunities
Of course, there are only so many jobs that can be done online and while that number may be growing, much of what you will find fall into several major categories, including:
- Customer service
- Tech support
Many of the big companies such as Amazon or Apple often have a lot of customer service positions but the more experienced job seekers might be qualified for some higher-level jobs. Some jobs, such as voice acting, are especially uncommon and others, such as bilingual translators or app developers, require special skills.
With today’s technology, there are a growing number of jobs that can be performed from afar and while they mainly stick to the same industries, you never know what might pop up later.
Work as Your Own Boss
If you are wondering how to make money online, you can always find a way to be your own boss. These jobs typically offer plenty of room to be creative. Without a boss, you will be working more or less on your own terms.
Many people aspire to be their own bosses and online businesses are often easier to manage than physical ones. When you work online, you don’t have to worry about rent or property taxes, among other things, and many online businesses can begin with few to no start-up costs. Not only are there several jobs that didn’t exist before the Internet but it’s still possible to start making money doing something that nobody is doing yet. You just have to be unique or intriguing enough to attract customers, viewers, or advertisers.
Even if you don’t have a unique idea, you can follow in somebody else’s footsteps. There are plenty of effective ways to make money as your own boss. Selling things on a marketplace and being a social media manager are just a couple of examples.
Selling on a Marketplace
From Craigslist to Amazon, there are a ton of places to sell things and it really doesn’t matter what it is that you have to sell. If you are just looking for some extra cash, you might sell some of your belongings, such as the things that you don’t use. From old books and movies to vehicles, you can potentially make some extra money and clear unwanted items out of your home at the same time.
Online marketplaces can also be extremely good for people who run businesses or sell some kind of product. Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program, for example, makes it easy for individuals to sell their items to people across the world and Amazon takes care of the entire shipping process for you.
If you love photography, you might also find success in selling photographs online. Companies that buy photos include:
Websites such as CafePress allow you to sell photos for people to print on various items. Of course, if you don’t want to go through these websites, you can probably find a way to sell the photos yourself.
Create Your Own Job
Creating your own job essentially means being your own boss and finding the work on your own, similar to the ways in which freelance workers do. However, in other cases, you might be able to literally create your own job or, in other words, start doing something that you don’t see anybody doing yet. While Internet jobs are pretty heavily saturated, there’s still the chance that you could come up with a great idea that nobody appears to be doing. This could be a great way to build a business and start making a living online.
Otherwise, you want to start thinking about your skills and where you want to build a career. It’s not crazy to reach out to companies that you like and ask them if they are looking for somebody similar to you. Things such as writing for company blogs, being a virtual assistant, and bookkeeping are all jobs that a lot of businesses need, and if you happen to be skilled in one of these areas, you might find a ton of opportunities.
Examples of Home Businesses
There’s no telling what you might be able to do at home and starting your own business is a real possibility in today’s interconnected world. If you realize that there is a certain need that isn’t being met or that there is a demand for a certain service, there are all sorts of things that you can do, including:
- Providing booking assistance as an at-home travel agent
- Creating photo tour guides for tourists
- Helping travelers or newcomers find essential services in your city
- Creating voiceovers
- Developing recipes
- Staging homes
- Managing social media
For many of these business opportunities, all you really need is a website or a place to showcase your work. You can build your own website but there are also plenty of ways to get an inexpensive site on either a temporary or permanent basis.
Make Money Freelancing
Freelancing isn’t always the most rewarding job and it often takes a lot of work. Companies hire freelancers as a way to save money on labor and while it may be a slow start, there are plenty of freelancers who make a comfortable living.
Freelance work is also incredibly diverse and sites such as UpWork and Fiverr make it easy for freelancers and potential employers to connect. On sites such as these, you will be able to build a profile that also showcases your portfolio. Not only will you be able to browse various freelance opportunities but businesses will be able to reach out to you as well. By building up your profile, you become a more trusted member of the community and may find yourself with an abundance of work.
The following list isn’t exhaustive but these are some of the most popular freelance jobs out there today. While you might pursue jobs that match your skill set, freelancing makes it possible to take a different path and learn something new.
1. Web and Mobile Development
People and businesses are always looking for somebody to build their websites, design templates, and build custom applications, among other things, and hiring freelancers allows them to do it more affordably. If you have some knowledge of web and mobile development, this could be a good place to supplement some income but it could also lead to a more stable career in this field.
As far as freelance work goes, web and mobile developers are some of the highest paid and if you are committed and skilled, there’s really no telling how much work you could get. There are definitely people who make a living from this so it all depends on how devoted you are and how much you are willing to learn. Similar jobs in this category include:
- Ecommerce development
- Game development
- QA and testing
- Scripts and utilities
- Software development
- Product management
2. Graphic Design
Graphic design freelance jobs are also in high demand. Sometimes people will need you to design a simple flyer for their businesses; and other times, somebody might want you to create the look for an entire brand, which means designing logos and packaging, but you never really know what you might find. Since many of these jobs are simple, it’s not always so hard to get started and once you get started, you can start to build your portfolio, which you will be able to use to find more work.
Graphic design and creative work include all of the following:
- Art and illustration
- Motion graphics
- Audio production
- Brand identity
If you have a graphic design background already, you can build a portfolio with some of your previous projects and use that to let potential employers see the kind of work that you do.
Writing is arguably one of the more difficult areas to be successful in, primarily because there is an abundance of jobs that don’t pay very well. The people who hire freelance writers often pay by word count or on a project basis and prices are unpredictable. However, if you are a skilled writer, you can quickly build up a portfolio of small projects and eventually make your way into large eBooks and other things that clients need from freelancers. Some of the types of writing include:
- Articles and blogs
- Creative projects
- Grant writing
- Resumes and cover letters
- Web content
Again, if you have a writing background, you might have some projects that you can throw together in a portfolio. Many freelance sites allow you to add your portfolio to your profile and if potential employers come across your profile, they can actually reach out to you if they like what they see.
Photography kind of falls underneath the design and creative category but the difference is that freelance photography jobs will require you to get out of the house. Your photos will, of course, be submitted online and you will be paid through the website you use, through PayPal, or with another method. Freelance photography jobs could range from getting stock images for a company to taking photographs for somebody’s wedding.
With photography jobs, you might be required to visit your employers on location. However, if there are no legal agreements that prevent you from using your photos elsewhere, you could potentially make double the money by selling them on one of the aforementioned sites.
5. Customer Service Agent
Many customer service agents are also hired on a freelance basis and you would generally be working for smaller companies. Some jobs may only require that you make outbound phone calls but others may require you to be a virtual receptionist, more or less. Most of the time, these aren’t full-time jobs. Rather, clients will want you to work between 10 and 30 hours; sometimes it could be less than 10. With the ability to pick between jobs based on this feature, you would only have to apply for the positions that meet your schedule requirements.
6. Sales and Marketing
Similarly, companies hire freelancers for sales and marketing purposes. Whether you are acting as the full-time sales representative for the company or somebody who simply makes follow-up calls to current clients and customers, you would be working entirely from home. Sometimes these companies might send you a headset or have you download software so that you can do the job according to that company’s requirements.
7. Accounting and Taxes/Consultancy
Many people will also hire freelancers for accounting or consultancy purposes. They may want you to review their taxes or create a financial plan for a business. If you are skilled in this area, you could potentially make a decent amount of money. Depending on the job difficulty, you could make hundreds and even thousands of dollars with consulting firms, small businesses, and even international companies. Other examples include:
- Data entry
- Financial planning
- Tax preparation
8. Architecture and Engineering
Believe it or not, architects and engineers also do freelance work. People will hire individuals with engineering experience to design their products and they will also hire architectural professionals for 3D mockups and other projects. These projects can often pay pretty well and many freelance hirers are open to negotiation. Specifically, some of the opportunities that you might find include:
- 3D modeling
- Chemical engineering
- Contract manufacturing
- Electrical engineering
- Interior design
- Product design
Many freelance positions could also lead into full-time positions with the company but they will at least give you some valuable experience to offer to future employers, especially if your freelance jobs allow you to build your portfolio.
You will apply to these jobs just as you would apply to any other job with a resume and/or cover letter. Some employers will ask you specific questions and ask to see your portfolio but the freelance websites facilitate this entire process. If the employer thinks that you would be a good fit for the job, they will contact you through the website.
Make Money through Surveys and Market Research
Many people wondering how to make money online will come across the survey method. Market research companies are always paying people to take surveys, which provide them with valuable data that they will use for further research. While these surveys won’t pay the bills, they will get you a few extra bucks here and there. Either you will be paid cash directly or you will build up points that can be put toward actual money and prizes such as gift cards.
Some of the places you can take these surveys include:
- Survey Junkie
- Vindale Research
- New Vista
- Inbox Dollars
All you have to do is create a profile, which usually only takes a couple of minutes, and based on your profile, you will be matched with relevant surveys that you can start taking. Surveys typically max out at $5 per survey but it all depends on who you work with.
Some of these sites may also other opportunities such as video watching in addition to surveys for you to make money. For some, all you have to do is browse the web.
Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting
Blogging, vlogging, and podcasting are extremely popular these days and while the industries are pretty saturated, it’s still possible to break through. The best part is that with today’s technology, all of these things are extremely easy. You can do both audio and video recording with your phone but if you have the money to invest in a little more equipment, that would only improve the quality of your content.
It’s even possible to make money with written blogs. If you have something interesting to talk about or a theme that you want to focus on, you can get people coming to your blog and eventually get advertisers as you continue to build your blog.
Additionally, anybody can make a podcast and if you have a journalism background, for example, you could explore an interesting story and lay it out in podcast form. Of course, podcasts could be about virtually anything.
One-Time Money Makers
There are some ways to make a little money online that aren’t recurring. Rather, there is a finite number of times you can do these things; in some cases, it’s only once. However, if you need a tiny bit of cash rather quickly, these might work for your situation.
1. Sign-up Bonuses
There are some places that offer sign-up bonuses for their services. Swagbucks, for example, which is one of the survey-taking websites, offers a small sign-up bonus. Sites such as Ebates and DOSH are also options for obtaining a quick sign-up bonus. Sometimes there might be a catch, though. For example, some sites may require you to purchase something before you get your sign-up bonus, which isn’t ideal. Other sites may require you to add a credit or debit card before getting your sign-up bonus.
With these, you might be able to get the rewards more than once by creating additional accounts with different emails, although the time that this might take may not be worth the reward.
2. Bank Accounts
You could also make some extra money by creating some online bank accounts. Though, this doesn’t mean immediate cash. Rather, you are opening up bank accounts because online bank accounts offer higher interest rates, which means that your savings will grow faster than they do currently. Oftentimes, there won’t be any minimum balance requirements, monthly fees, or deposit requirements.
Some of the more notable online bank account opportunities come from Discover, CIT, and Barclays. Of course, whether or not this will be beneficial to you depends on what your current interest rate is.
3. Nielsen App
Nielsen is the company responsible for tracking and reporting TV ratings and they sometimes measure the popularity of online videos as well. Given their job, they are always looking for data and information that helps make their data more accurate and they will pay you to let them collect information from your computer.
If you have a desktop or laptop, you can register at the Nielsen Panel website; afterward, you will download software that allows Nielsen to collect data. Once you allow this, you will start collecting points that can be redeemed for different things.
Nielsen is selective about the information they collect and your private information should be safe. They also have a monthly sweepstakes that makes it possible to win more money.
4. Cash-Back Credit Cards
Depending on your current financial situation, you might try getting some cash-back credit cards. Obviously, you should not go out and apply for all sorts of credit cards but if you approach this with a little strategy, you could see some nice results.
The best way to do this is to get credit cards for purchases that you are already planning on making. By using your credit card for these purchases, you get the cash back, which is great as long as you have the money to pay off the credit card immediately. This way, you don’t build up interest and you also get the rewards.
Different credit cards will have different rewards. Sometimes it’s 5% cash back at certain places; other times, it’s unlimited cash back at 1.5% or 2%. With many of these, there won’t be an annual fee either.
If you aren’t looking to make money immediately, you could start looking at long-term projects that could provide a pretty substantial return. These projects could take months or even years of hard work but if you are interested in one of these, the best time to start is now. For a few of these projects, the income will continue to come even after you have completed the project.
1. Writing and Selling eBooks
Just as with podcasts and blogs, anybody can write an eBook. This would require a lot of research and a lot of writing but if you are strong in these areas, you might be able to produce something that people want to read. Sometimes all you have to do is research about a topic and present it in an interesting way that is easy for people to understand. To attract more viewers, you can get a cool cover designed.
The best thing to do would be to choose something that is hard for people to understand or that there doesn’t seem to be a solid eBook on yet. eBooks allow you to compile information about a topic so that other people don’t have to.
2. Creating Audiobooks
There are a lot of people who prefer audiobooks to actual books as the ability to listen allows people to do other things simultaneously. Some of the most popular audio books are self-help books, history books, science fiction, and business, among others. While books normally get written and then recorded as audiobooks, you can now skip the writing and go straight to the audio. Of course, you will likely write out your audiobook before recording it so it’s important that you have a writing background.
Recording an audiobook isn’t particularly difficult. You could hire somebody for the production but you can also do the recording yourself if you have the right equipment. There are many how-to guides for individuals interesting in recording their own audiobooks but this is, of course, something that will take some time to complete.
3. Building an App
If you are a skilled programmer or are learning to program, you can work on building an app any time you want. There are all sorts of resources out there to help you learn to program and about app development and you will have all of the time in the world to put it together.
This could be a useful app that gives users a new ability or a game that users can play on their phones. Obviously, this would take a long time but once you have it built, you can work on getting it deployed; after that, you could take in money potentially for years.
4. Building a YouTube Channel
Anybody can create a YouTube channel as well and if you manage to build a successful channel, you could turn this into your career, as many people have already.
The best part about creating a YouTube channel is that it’s more or less free. As long as you have a camera, you can start creating videos doing or saying whatever you want. If people enjoy your videos, they will continue to grow until your channel becomes a sustainable source of income. With YouTube’s partnership program, you can start making large amounts of money if you meet the requirements but there are also opportunities to connect with advertisers and companies for product placement.
If you have some starting cash, you might try investing your money into stocks and bonds; these days, there are several ways to do this. The two major ways to start investing are to either open your own brokerage account through a company such as Ally Invest or Etrade or invest using robot investors. There are also apps such as Robinhood where you can do your investing.
When you open up your own brokerage account, you will typically have a minimum account balance, which is sometimes zero, but there are also small management or trade fees as well. While brokerage accounts will require you to do all of the work, robot investors do the work for you. Based on your goals and investment interests, they can build your portfolio based on your desired goals.
Wealthfront, M1Finance, and Betterment are some of the places to go to start investing your money with robot investors. Acorns is another popular one and you can download this app on your phone.
As far as how to make money online, there are plenty of opportunities to be creative. Do you have a skill that people are in demand of? Do you have a great idea for a business, product, or service? With the Internet, it’s possible for anybody to put himself or herself out there and create a following that ultimately becomes one’s primary source of income. Whether it’s a product that you sell, a service you offer, or interesting content that you provide, it’s always possible to pursue new ideas and oftentimes there are few to no start-up costs.
With website services such as Wix or Squarespace, you can easily create an attractive-looking blog or online store and there are all sorts of ways to attract visitors as well.
While making money online isn’t always easy, there are some incredible opportunities out there and if you are persistent, it’s entirely possible to make a living doing nothing but online work. Whether you break through in your favorite industry or create an entirely new type of job, it’s important to be creative and keep your eyes open for new opportunities.