If you’ve developed valuable skill sets or picked up certifications within your industry over the years, offering your consulting services to local business owners can be a lucrative way to make money online. Whether you’re an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there’s likely a local business owner who’s willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company. Start with my guide to launching a freelance (consulting) business and then use my breakdown of crafting an effective cold email to convince local small business owners to hire you. You can even get hired as a consultant by putting your work online and publishing helpful content (take my roundup of honest Bluehost reviews as an example) and prospective clients will want to hire you for more personalized help if they like what they see.
Get samples. When you first start out as a freelance writer, it can be hard to get work without any published samples. However, it is possible to get quality samples if you are willing to do some writing for free. First, you can publish content on your own blog or website. Also, you can write guest posts for someone else’s blog. Finally, you can write blog posts for free in exchange for a byline.[14]
Next, you need to set up and build your YouTube channel. Your YouTube channel is your home base for all your content. If you already have a Google account for Gmail or Google Drive, then you can use that to log-in to YouTube and start setting up your channel. Pick a username that works for you and is memorable (if you’re using an existing Google account you’ll have to edit your username in Google+).
Do you constantly come up with witty one-liners? Do you dream of the days of Mad Men-style advertising? If you’ve got some branding chops or just come up with imaginative copy, there are lots of opportunities to make money online through company naming and slogan contests. If you think you have a knack for names check out the Squadhelp platform where you can earn a little extra money online by naming brands, services, products, company slogans and even help out on the logo design front if you’ve got the chops.

The second (and cheaper) path assumes that you have the design and dev chops yourself to build your dream software. Naturally, it’ll take more time to get your product off the ground, but being able to bootstrap the development of your software lets you retain more ownership in your business and be more in control of your path, making this a lower-cost, but higher time investment to make money selling apps.
Every year, hundreds of millions of documents are notarized in the United States: wills, mortgages, citizenship forms, handgun applications. While for decades, this has all been done in person, there is a budding crop of sites that allow notaries to take their services online. If you’re already a notary, you can sell your services online. Or, if you want to get started, check out the National Notary’s checklist for becoming a certified notary.
EBay. EBay is one of the most popular websites in the world. That means it’s an excellent way to attract lots of eyeballs to your unwanted items, fast. Initially designed as an auction site for DIY sellers, it’s now primarily a venue for fixed-price – and often heavily discounted – sales by professional merchants. As long as you include high-quality photographs and thorough descriptions in your product listings, you can likely break through the noise. EBay’s fee schedule is complex, but as a general rule, expect to lose 10% of your final selling price to the site’s commission.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write—plus guest blogging is also one of the best ways to build up the authority of your own blog over time. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Listverse, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
Amazon. Many people don’t realize that Amazon is a haven for third-party sellers cleaning out their attics and garages. If you plan to sell more than 40 items per month on Amazon, consider registering as a professional seller. You’ll need to pay a roughly $40 monthly subscription fee, a referral fee that usually ranges from 6% to 20%, and a per-item closing cost for media items. You won’t pay the per-item selling fee, however. Alternatively, you can register as an individual seller. The fee schedule is the same as for professionals, except you do have to pay the selling fee and don’t have to pay the subscription fee.
The virtual assistant workforce is global, which means two things. First, if you’re in the U.S. or another high-cost country, you’ll likely be undercut by English- and Spanish-speaking professionals in cheaper markets. Second, you’ll need to either stick to clients in or near your time zone or be willing to work odd hours. A reasonable starting wage for North America-based VAs is $10 to $20 per hour, but competent VAs command much higher rates.
To get started, create a listing by filling out a description, take and upload photos of your space, and set a price. Your listing helps guests get a sense of what your place is like. Then, set the dates the space will be available and draft your house rules. Once your listing is live, guests can book their stay at your home, and you start earning money.
But first, a caveat: Meal sharing platforms operate in a legal gray area. The food service industry is heavily regulated, and many jurisdictions make it all but impossible for home cooks to profit from their passions. At a minimum, you need to make sure you comply with all local health department directives and obtain all applicable licenses before you begin inviting diners into your home.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?

UserTesting’s website testing gigs do require focus and rigor, but they’re far shorter and don’t need to happen simultaneously, making them much easier to fit into your schedule. They don’t pay quite as well as game testing, though. If you’re diligent, you can reliably earn $20 per hour, though the overall work volume is sometimes thin. You need a decent, relatively new computer or smartphone to complete tests.
At-home consulting is a great way for new parents who’ve scaled back their hours or sidelined their careers to keep their skills sharp and their names out there. It’s also a great side gig for professionals who’ve grown stifled in their current roles but don’t yet have the confidence or client base to quit their 9-to-5s and strike out on their own. With time, a consulting side business can easily turn into a full-time job, with all the freedom that entails.

What are the best ways to make money right away? While a search online when you're in need of some fast cash will produce millions of results, not all will be legitimate. It's up to you to filter through the so-called noise. These 32 strategies will help put you in the black, even if it's in a very small way. Once you are, resume planning and focusing on the bigger picture. 

If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.


That would be retail arbitrage, one of the top careers for self-employed introverts. Practitioners of retail arbitrage buy products for pennies on the dollar at auctions, from online retailers, even at garage and yard sales, and then sell them online at sometimes-substantial markups. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is the most popular platform for U.S. sellers, but other options work too. Learn the FBA ropes with this low-cost Udemy course.

Holly told me she started writing content in 2011. At the time, she still worked a full-time job but created content online part-time to supplement her income. Over time, she was able to double and triple her rates until she could quit her full-time job to write. These days, she makes bank as a freelance writer and teaches others to do the same via her online course, Earn More Writing.
According to Getaround’s estimates, car owners that routinely lend out their car can earn “$1,000s per year actively sharing your parked car.” There’s less effort in renting out a car compared to renting out a spare room in a house. That being said, your car will likely depreciate faster by lending it out to other people. If you have a large outstanding car loan or are underwater on your auto loan, putting your car on a site like Getaround might not be a great idea.
Companies will pay you to virtually sit on mock juries to give attorneys and other jury consultants feedback on cases they are currently handling. Think of these as focus groups. The cases are real, but your verdict will do little more than give those involved a prediction of how things might go when it's time to go to court. You can earn fees ranging from $5 to $60. Be sure to read all the disclaimers and details. If this sounds interesting go to eJury.com or OnlineVerdict.com to find a case.
Giving Assistant. Giving Assistant puts a charitable spin on online shopping discounts. Functionally, it’s similar to Qmee and Piggy, but users have the option to donate their earnings to their favorite charities. Of course, those who prefer to pocket their cash still can. You can reliably earn 5% cash back with Giving Assistant and more at select merchants.
Protect Yourself With Enforceable Contracts. You don’t have to be a lawyer to draft an enforceable freelance contract. You just need to find a legitimate freelance contract template and modify it for your use. It’s fine to use a client-provided contract as long as you review it thoroughly, ask piercing questions if necessary, and seek an attorney’s advice when in doubt.

If you’re comfortable having strangers in your home and confident you’re on the right side of the law, check out these popular meal sharing options. Depending on your platform choice, guest capacity, and local market, you can expect to rake in anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars per meal after accounting for expenses. Hosting opportunities are more plentiful in major cities.
Do you constantly come up with witty one-liners? Do you dream of the days of Mad Men-style advertising? If you’ve got some branding chops or just come up with imaginative copy, there are lots of opportunities to make money online through company naming and slogan contests. If you think you have a knack for names check out the Squadhelp platform where you can earn a little extra money online by naming brands, services, products, company slogans and even help out on the logo design front if you’ve got the chops.

#41 is not accurate at all. There are a ton of safety and sanitation regulations that come with operating a salon out of your home. You need to have several licenses, not the least of which includes a cosmetology or barber education. While laws vary from place to place, it is important to do research before deciding to do something like that. Charging people to cut their hair without proper education and preparations is incredibly irresponsible.

If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trips a reality.

If you have experience with marketing, SEO, or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work making money online as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results.

Seek a payday loan or title loan as a last resort. Companies that offer payday and title loan services offer high interest rates (sometimes with percentages in the hundreds). If you cannot pay the loan and any interest back within the stated timeline, you risk even higher interest costs or, in the case of a title loan, the loss of your car. Avoid these types of loans in all but the direst circumstances, unless you are certain you will be able to pay the loan back.
Other opportunities are easier to get but not nearly as lucrative. Many market research companies have video-watching verticals through which participants can earn points for each view. Swagbucks and InboxDollars are two legitimate options. You can earn points with them, which you can redeem for gift cards and occasionally cash. The hourly rates working out to less than minimum wage in most cases but aren’t bad for a few spare minutes of your time here and there.
Drive Traffic. The more traffic your site receives, the more revenue it produces and the more valuable it becomes to prospective buyers. Your traffic-driving strategy will depend on a host of factors, including your budget and target audience. But it’s likely to involve some combination of organic SEO, paid search ads, content partnerships, pay per click (PPC) advertising, and social media marketing.
If you’re a college student or have graduated within the last year or two, chances are good that you still have some textbooks that you could easily sell for a few extra bucks. Usually, when you sell back textbooks, you get a tiny fraction of what you paid for it. I remember getting around $40 for a $300 physics textbook that I sold back to my university bookstore — a horrible deal.

Advertising and Promotion. You won’t have a huge budget to promote your at-home business, so use cost-effective outreach targeted to your most likely customers, such as fliers in local craft and clothing stores, a basic website (preferably with booking and payment portals), a referral network, and friends and family willing to sing your praises. Also, consider joining the American Sewing Guild for $50 per year. It’s a great way to meet other enthusiasts and get your name out there.
Try night filling for supermarkets/large stores, supermarket/retail cashiers, vacation seasonal factory work/seasonal fruit picking, night reception in a small hotel, cleaning, gas station attendant, making crafts or artwork and selling online, YouTube video making (but it needs to be popular), dog walking, babysitting, tutoring, housesitting, etc. There are many part-time options where college students are favored because people get to pay you less than a service provider but get to know you better, so it's a friendlier arrangement.
Rather than making money through subscriptions, YouTube channels are based on a traditional advertising system. Meaning the more viewers you get, the more you make. Once you’re approved for the YouTube Partner Program and can start including ads on your videos, with every 1,000 views, you will make approximately $2-$4. Which might not seem like a lot, but if you have 100 videos with 5,000 views a month each, that would be $1,000–$2,000 already. Just imagine if your videos start hitting millions of views!
Become a babysitter if you are good with children. There are websites that will connect you with people who need a babysitter. To get hired by people who do not know you, it will help to pass a CPR class, or to have a special talent or expertise for entertaining children. However, you might be able to make money more quickly just by babysitting for people you know, or by having friends refer you to others who need a babysitter.[14]
Medium is an online community where anyone can post articles and essays and get them in front of their audience of millions of monthly readers. While it can be a great place to build your audience for your own blog or find customers for your consulting business, with Medium’s new Partner Program, you can now make money online whenever someone reads your articles. Register for free and you can choose whether your articles are freely available or only readable by those people paying $5/month for a premium Medium membership. You’ll make money based on the amount of people who read and engage with your posts each month.
Pricing and Deals. As with any professional pursuit, you need to know how much your teaching skills are worth and price them accordingly. Unfortunately, at-home teaching is a competitive business, so you’re likely to find someone who charges less for similar work. Ways to get around this include multi-course discounts, package deals, and complimentary products or information for early sign-ups.
Venue. When you’re first starting out, choose reputable, high-visibility venues for your classes. Don’t expect students to find their way to your personal or professional website before you’ve built a reputation for yourself. Udemy is a great option for budding at-home teachers looking to earn real money from their work. YouTube is another viable option, though you can’t directly charge people to watch your YouTube videos. You’ll need to monetize them indirectly (we explain how in Section 12.)
E-Commerce Portals. The best way to improve your at-home crafts business’s visibility and credibility is to launch your own website. And the best way to monetize that website is with a turnkey e-commerce portal. Shopify is a relatively cost-effective, feature-rich option for serious sellers – you can build and maintain a decent store for $15 to $20 per month. Volusion and Squarespace are worthy, comparably priced competitors.
Some companies like 1-800flowers.com outsource customer-service operations to third-party companies who then hire home-based workers or "agents" to take calls and orders. When you call 1-800-flowers, you may be speaking with Rebecca Dooley, a retired police officer and employee of Alpine Access, a major call-center service. When you dialed the number to 1-800-flowers, your call was automatically routed to Rebecca's spare bedroom in Colorado.
Medical transcription is semi-skilled work. While you don’t have to be a doctor or nurse, you do need to complete an intensive training course that can last a year or more and cost several thousand dollars. During periods of increased demand, some employers may be willing to finance your training course, or at least partially or fully reimburse you after the fact. Once you’re employed, you can expect to earn about $16 per hour on average, according to PayScale.
Demands on Your Time and Personality. Tech support is a 24/7 business. You’ll likely have some freedom to set your schedule, but you’re virtually assured to have some work shifts that don’t jibe with your lifestyle. You’ll also likely be responsible for some holiday and weekend coverage, though how much varies by employer. Finally, you’ll need to be “on” and personable at all times. If you don’t think you’re capable of maintaining a sunny disposition as you near the end of an eight-hour shift, this might not be the job for you.

Cleaning and Damage. Online rental platforms let you charge cleaning fees so that you aren’t financially on the hook for the full cost of a post-tenant professional cleaning. Most cover the cost of renter-caused damage too, provided you properly document and report it. But financial redress only goes so far. You still have to deal with the inevitable investment of time and energy to fix the damage or clean up the mess.


Research Costs and Set Fair Starting Prices. Before setting prices for each item, research your local Craigslist website and nearby yard sales to get a sense of how to price them. Remember that many buyers will try to haggle, so set prices a bit higher than your bottom dollar but not so high you’ll scare off first bids. Roughly 10% to 15% higher is a good rule of thumb. Consider bunching low-value items, such as old CDs, into lots of five or 10.
(As an example, this still happens, even now: Just recently, I spent 4 months working on a business idea with my team, spending a huge amount of time and money, until we ultimately concluded it wasn’t worth it. We shelved it away and I wrote an email to the team, telling them, “We can’t figure out how to make this work. We’ll re-look at it in 2 years.”)

If it’s not clear yet, information and expertise are two of the most consistent and lucrative ways to make extra money online. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can sign up to get paid to answer professional questions on JustAnswer. There are thousands of questions being asked every month from people looking for help from lawyers, doctors, mechanics, vets, and more. To apply, you’ll need to supply your professional verification, resume, and a form of identification.
Build a Portfolio. Unless you’re very lucky or a credentialed expert in a sought-after niche, such as law or accounting, your first freelance writing gigs probably won’t come with a byline. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add your early work to your writing portfolio with permission from your clients. The more pieces you produce, the more variety you’ll have to show clients down the line. As your portfolio grows, use a professional website or content marketing platform like Contently to present it publicly.

Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons.[21] eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
If you’re willing to take on some risk and have the heart of a true hustler, you can make extra money online doing commission-only sales for startups and other businesses. While you won’t be getting a regular salary, with the right sales strategies and skills as an inside sales rep, you can make decent money for each sale you bring in. And because you’ll most likely be working with startups, if you can negotiate a little equity you could profit big time if you’re pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds.

Other opportunities are easier to get but not nearly as lucrative. Many market research companies have video-watching verticals through which participants can earn points for each view. Swagbucks and InboxDollars are two legitimate options. You can earn points with them, which you can redeem for gift cards and occasionally cash. The hourly rates working out to less than minimum wage in most cases but aren’t bad for a few spare minutes of your time here and there.


Starting a podcast, like making a YouTube channel or blog, comes down to telling interesting stories and building an engaged audience. I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but you need a niche that you’re interested in and there’s already a demand for. Come up with a list of topics you’d like to talk about and then search iTunes charts, Google Trends and other podcast research sites to see what’s currently out there and popular.
The following are a variety of legitimate ways to earn extra income, get a second job, launch a full-time solo career, or start your own small business – all from the comfort of your own home. Some of these opportunities build upon hobbies that you might already pursue without economic gain; you’ll find many in this article from Top Trends Guide on income-producing pursuits.
Many people who list jobs on Fiverr are graphic designers, freelance writers, and virtual assistants. But some people have fun, random gigs such as doing celebrity impersonations, writing business tag lines and slogans, doing genealogy research, and delivering messages as a character like a cowboy or cop. Think about what random skill you have and start listing it. You can have multiple gigs, so list as many items as you can think of.

Other opportunities are easier to get but not nearly as lucrative. Many market research companies have video-watching verticals through which participants can earn points for each view. Swagbucks and InboxDollars are two legitimate options. You can earn points with them, which you can redeem for gift cards and occasionally cash. The hourly rates working out to less than minimum wage in most cases but aren’t bad for a few spare minutes of your time here and there.


YouTube Partner Program. The YouTube Partner program empowers YouTube channel operators to monetize certain types of videos. Finding paying advertisers is hard work, and you need a sizable following before you can find companies willing to pay for direct or indirect promotion. Plus, your videos must meet YouTube’s monetization criteria, which ban explicit or copied content. Pay potential is directly proportional to the size of your channel following and, to a lesser extent, audience demographics.

Along the same lines as trivia, you can get paid for just using your mobile phone and allowing companies to know what you're doing on it. For example, Nielson Mobile Panel is an app that you can earn rewards on just for having it installed. It will take snapshots of what you're doing and use those for advertisers to know more about your demographic. It takes away some privacy, but you get paid for it.


Market your course: The beauty of using a course to make money online is that you can continue to sell it for as long as you’d like. Look for niche communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Reddit that might benefit from your content. Guest blogging on relevant sites. Look for anywhere you might be able to get in front of the right people. With just a few hours a month you can continue to generate sales.
×