Real Ways to Make Money Online

Banners proclaiming that you can “make money from home” are as much a part of the internet’s short and tarnished history as illegal MP3 downloads, terribly designed blogs and annoying social media pages that force popular music onto unsuspecting visitors. But unlike those irritating trends, this one is very much alive and well, because believe it or not, it really is possible to make money from home.

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All you need is an internet connection, a computer, and a good work ethic and you can turn your spare time into a part-time job or turn your offline career into an online one. 

Freelancing Sites

Turn skills to money with freelancing platforms. These platforms serve as the virtual go-between for competent freelancers and the clients seeking to hire them. They have millions of members all over the world and while there is an elite percentage of experienced freelancers making the transition from more traditional means of freelancing, there are also those seeking to turn a hobby into a few extra bucks.

Prepare to work hard and make some sacrifices if you want to turn freelancing into a career. But if you’re just seeking some extra cash, you can be more selective about the clients you work with and the jobs you accept. The following freelancing portals can all help you:

  • Upwork
  • Guru
  • Fiverr
  • PeoplePerHour

Start a YouTube Channel or Podcast

If you have something to say, create a podcast or a YouTube channel. Even if you don’t it could be worth looking into. It’s a great creative outlet and while the golden age of channel creation has passed, it’s still a great time to make a start. 

If your content is good, you have something unique to say or the algorithm favors you, there’s no reason why you couldn’t be the next big thing.

When this happens, you can look into sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and Google Ads, all of which can generate a passive income.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is often considered to be a dead art. It’s dated, people say, and it died with banner ads for poker sites and other questionable content. However, some of the biggest websites on the internet still make their money from affiliate marketing and many apps also generate profits this way.

Simply put, affiliate marketing requires you to market a company’s product in exchange for a percentage of the sales. You place one of their links on your blog or social media page and in return, they give you a percentage of the ticket price every time a customer clicks the link and makes the purchase.

You’re providing them with a customer they may otherwise not have had, and in exchange, they’re giving you a small cash sum to thank you for your efforts. It’s a win-win: The customer gets what they want, the affiliate marketer gets a share and the retailer gets another customer without spending a penny on marketing.

You will, of course, need a blog, social media website, YouTube channel, Instagram account or some other platform. However, it is easier than ever to create all of these.

Sponsored Posts

If affiliate marketing doesn’t tempt you, maybe sponsored posts will. You can add sponsored posts to any platform that generates a lot of engagements and has a lot of followers/viewers, including YouTube and Instagram.

If your following is large enough, the brands will come looking for you, but that isn’t always the case. The trick is to corner a specific niche and to then go looking for retailers that sell products in that niche.

100,000 targeted followers can be worth much more than 1 million non-targeted ones and can give you more sway in the negotiations.

Teach Others

26% of Americans can speak more than one language but worldwide this figure is closer to 50%. The internet has brought everyone together and made speaking multiple languages more important. If you already know another language and are one of the 26%, you can use your knowledge the teach the additional 74%, many of which are keen to learn.

Thanks to sites like Preply, it has never been easier to find students willing to pay you by the hour to be taught a second language. Generally speaking, it’s easier to find students if you’re teaching your native language. So, if you were raised speaking English but also speak Spanish, your target demographic is Spanish speakers seeking to learn English.

The more obscure the language is, the easier it will be to find students. There are thousands of English and Spanish teachers on sites like this and you’re up against some fierce competition, but the same can’t be said for languages like Persian, Polish, Greek, and Portuguese, all of which are still in the top twenty languages spoken in the United States.

It’s not just languages either. Many sites allow you to pitch your services as a music teacher, whether you’re showing kids the basics of guitar or teaching intermediate adults how to master the piano. You just need the skill, the will, and the time, and you can make very good money armed only with your chosen ability and your webcam. 

Complete Surveys

Paid surveys are a real thing, you just can’t make as much money as claimed and will end up working for a lot less than minimum wage. It’s not a great option if you have literally any alternative, but it’s certainly better than wasting your money on Facebook.

In fact, you’re being paid to give your opinion on a host of different subjects so you can think of it just like those personality tests on Facebook. The difference is, you’re being paid, and you won’t annoy your Facebook friends by spamming them with nonsense quizzes.

Here are a few survey sites to look into:

  • Swagbucks
  • OnePoll
  • i-Say
  • Panel Opinion
  • Toluna
  • Pinecone Research
  • Survey Bods
  • ValuedOpinions
  • LifePoints

Invest in Stocks

Stocks are never a guarantee and your money is always at risk. However, you can invest online, and you can also find all necessary information and research online. If you’re willing to put the hours in and to learn every detail and account for every risk, it can be a great way to build for the future and earn a few bucks on the side.

Avoid day trading, binary options, and other risky alternatives and stick with actual stocks. A stock entitles you to a share of a company and if that company increases in value, your stock value will grow as well. You may also receive a regular payment of dividends, especially if you have invested in blue-chip stocks.

Rent Your Home 

Got an extra bedroom or basement space? You could rent it out on sites like AirBnB and earn yourself a few hundred dollars a month. Americans have been renting rooms in their homes for decades but AirBnB has made it easier and given everyone the chance to get involved.

You don’t need to be the perfect host. You don’t need perfectly pressed linen every day and you definitely don’t need pillow mints, fresh towels, and plastic-wrapped bathrobes. You’re supplying them with the room and a few other basics, that’s it, and in return, they’re paying you a premium for the pleasure of having a bed and a roof over their heads.

Take and Sell Pictures 

If you have ever been tasked with finding stock images online, you will have encountered sites like Fotolia and ShutterStock. These sites charge users for royalty-free stock images, which can be used on articles, marketing materials, and more.

These sites get their pictures from their members. They post them with tags and keywords and every time someone purchases them, they earn a share of the spoils. The best photographers post thousands of images a year and earn a supplementary wage in the tens of thousands of dollars.

It’s not technically passive income as you need to keep snapping and uploading pictures to make this work. However, as soon as your pictures are up, the work has been done and you can just sit back and wait for the money to come in.

Summary: Commitment and Work Ethic

While it is possible to make money online and to earn a small fortune working from home, it’s not easy. Just like in the offline job world, you’ll need to work for your paycheck and the less skill and experience you have, the less you can earn.

A talented writer, designer or coder can earn in excess of $100 an hour working on a single freelancing platform. If they have the credentials to attract attention from prospective clients and the skill/commitment to complete the work to a high standard and within a strict deadline, there’s no reason they can’t make more than their salaried counterparts.

However, if you don’t have those skills or experience, no one will hire you for that price and your options will be limited to some of the lower-paying alternatives we discussed in this guide. 

In any case, there are opportunities for everyone and just because your experience is limited now, doesn’t mean it will be in several years, at which point you can climb the ladder, get better jobs, and charge more money.