Want to make money online, but aren’t sure where to start?
The good news is there are a ton of ways to make money online — even if you’re a beginner.
In this guide, I’ll show you the best, most realistic ways to make money online and start to build an extra income stream.
Of course, there’s a learning curve to each of these, but everything is learnable. Every expert was once a beginner, and you can get there too with dedication and commitment.
1. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing continues to grow as more companies outsource their content creation.
Writers command anywhere from $50-500 or more per article, and can connect with clients on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
For example, Georgia Austin started her freelance writing business on Fiverr, and got her first orders right away. The more you practice your writing, the faster you’ll get.
2. Online Surveys
One of the most popular ways to make money online is to take online surveys. There are many different types of online surveys you can take, but don’t expect to quit your day job doing these.
Most online surveys pay between $0.50 and $5.00 per survey, and a realistic target may be $30 a month.
Here are some of Side Hustle Nation’s top picks:
- Swagbucks – Earn up to $35 a survey with this mega-popular app, and get a $10 bonus just for signing up!
- Survey Junkie – Earn up to $40 a month and cash out beginning at just $5.
- InboxDollars – Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
- YouGov – Long-running survey panel, with data often cited in the media.
- American Consumer Opinion – Join millions of free members and earn up to $50 per survey.
- Pinecone Research – Earn $3 for each 15-20 minute survey. They’ll send you a $3 check after your first one.
- Opinion Outpost – Cash out at just $5 via PayPal or Amazon gift cards. Each survey enters you into a $10,000 quarterly drawing.
3. Remote Market Research Studies
Many companies conduct market research to get feedback on new products — and a lot of this research is done online.
User Interviews and Respondent.io are a pair of cool services that facilitate those interviews online and over the phone.
The best part? The average compensation is $50-150 an hour!
Here are some other companies that facilitate focus groups and paid research studies.
4. Get Paid to Test Websites
Sites like UserTesting and Intellizoom pay you to give feedback on websites. It’s free to sign up and you’ll record your screen while you test features and functionality.
These typically pay $10 for every 20-minute test, but they fill up fast!
E-books are one of my favorite ways to make money online. I earned my first author royalties in 2012, when I definitely was a beginner!
It takes some time and effort to create a quality book, but once it’s written, you can sell it over and over again. My books are all self-published on Amazon, and I’ve earned over $70,000 in lifetime author royalties.
On The Side Hustle Show, we’ve covered several varieties of self-publishing, including:
6. Make and Sell Printables
Many people make money online by selling printables on Etsy. This is a cool beginner-friendly side hustle where you can create something once and sell it over and over again.
What are printables? Think digital files like:
- budget templates
- chore charts
- workout planners
- habit trackers
- wall art
- business forms
- and more
To learn more, check out my interview with Rachel Jones. When we spoke, she was earning $10,000 a month from her portfolio of printables.
7. Sell Stuff You Don’t Use
Selling stuff you no longer need is another popular way to make money online for beginners. You can sell old clothing, books, sports equipment, and electronics on eBay, OfferUp, or Facebook Marketplace.
We recently cleaned out our garage and sold $700 worth of stuff on Facebook Marketplace!
Once you’ve emptied out your available inventory, check out this list of the best items to flip for a profit and go look for some more products to resell.
8. Online Arbitrage
With online arbitrage, you buy inventory from one website to resell on another (usually Amazon). It’s amazing to me that this is a thing, but it very much is.
When I sat down with Chris Grant, he described selling $75,000 worth of products in a typical month! Online arbitrage is beginner-friendly because you can start with any level of inventory investment you’re comfortable with, and scale up as you learn more and see results.
9. Find a Remote Job
One of the simplest ways to make money online is to simply find a flexible work-from-home job. This could be part-time or full-time, and the leading resource to find these opportunities is FlexJobs.
FlexJobs has thousands of listings for all experience levels. There is a nominal charge to use the site, but you’ll easily earn it back with one job. (Save 30% w/ promo code FLEXLIFE.)
10. Build a Helpful Website
The days of blogging as a personal journal may be long gone, but creating helpful content is still a viable way to make money online. Is there a topic you have a special interest or expertise in?
If you can answer questions on that topic, you’ll start to pick up traffic. From there, you can monetize with advertising, affiliate partnerships, or even your own products and services.
For example, Scott Keller created a bird watching blog that now generates 6-figures in annual income.
Here’s my free video guide to getting your website online quickly and affordably.
11. Affiliate Marketing
One of the most popular ways to make money online is through affiliate marketing.
How it works is you earn a commission for referring people to the products or services you love. This is been my primary source of online income for the last 15+ years, and I routinely earn $10k+ per month from affiliate marketing.
Like most side hustles, there’s a lot to learn to go from beginner to advanced. If you want to become an affiliate marketer, the first step is to choose a niche you’re passionate about or at least interested in.
One common way to start is by creating in-depth product comparison content, like Tami Smith did with her fitness website.
12. Print on Demand
Print on demand is a great way to make money online because you can sell physical products without holding any inventory.
How it works is you:
- Upload your designs to sites like Merch by Amazon or Redbubble
- When someone orders, the site prints and ships the item on your behalf
- You collect a royalty on each sale
My wife and I love to see the Redbubble sales notifications come through — sometimes from designs we uploaded years ago!
Check out the best print on demand sites to get started.
13. Make YouTube Videos
My YouTube income is currently my favorite revenue source — lately around $500 a month.
Your channel needs to reach certain milestones before you can start earning with YouTube ads, but it’s a beginner-friendly side hustle. You can start in your spare time and slowly build up your catalog of content.
The types of videos that perform best for me are the ones that target a specific search phrase. Sometimes I’m not even on camera — it can just be a screen recording that explains how to do a certain task.
And the cool thing? Some of these videos still rack up views and passive income years after I posted them.
Many students and parents are turning to online tutoring for academic help. One of the largest marketplaces in the online tutoring world is WyzAnt, where you can create a listing and set your own rates.
Alternatively, you can apply to work with BookNook, a popular online math and reading tutoring company for kids in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Pay is $15-22 an hour.
In this post, Matt Fuentes shared how he built his tutoring business up to $1000 a week.
15. Teach a Group Class Online
If you have some subject-matter expertise, you could create a live interactive class for kids on Outschool. For example, Jade Weatherington earns $10k a month teaching mostly English writing classes.
And if academics aren’t your thing, there may still be an opportunity here. I was surprised to find out there’s quite a bit of demand for video game classes!
In fact, I met with Devyn Ricks, who reported earning $4000 a month playing video games with kids.
16. Mechanical Turk
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a site where you can complete micro-jobs, usually for pennies apiece. This likely won’t amount to a great hourly rate, but is a relatively simple way to make money online for beginners.
And those pennies can add up — one Side Hustle Nation reader reported earning over $50,000 on the site (over the course of several years).
17. Teach an Online Course
What do you know more about than the average person? Other people might pay for what you already know!
For example, Teresa Greenway earns thousands of dollars a month from her courses on baking sourdough bread. Udemy is a leading platform to sell your course online.
18. Sell Your Data
Did you know that companies will pay you to just to install their apps and let them run in the background on your devices?
These are an easy way to make extra money from what you’re already doing.
The free Surf browser extension is my latest free money find. By sharing data on what sites you visit, Surf gives you points that you can cash in for gift cards.
It took about 5 weeks to earn enough for my first $10 Amazon gift card, which means this simple addition could be worth a free $100 a year.
As far as privacy goes, it doesn’t really bother me if some company sees that I spend a lot of time in Google Docs. Besides, I have to assume other tech companies are already farming my data without paying me for it.
Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel
Nielsen — yes, the same Nielsen that’s been reporting TV viewership data for decades — rewards you for sharing your Internet usage behaviors. All you have to do is download the app to your devices, and earn up to $50 a year.
MobileXpression pays you in exchange for data from your mobile phone.
The app works in the background recording your browsing habits while you use your phone. You’ll earn weekly credits redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers.
Get a free $5 Amazon gift card after your first week (if you’re in the US).
The SavvyConnect VIP program “uses safe, cutting-edge technology to collect data as you surf the web.” In exchange for sharing this data, they’ll pay you up to $5 a month per device.
That means when you connect your smartphone, tablet, and desktop/laptop, you can earn $15 a month or $180 a year.
19. Become a Virtual Assistant
If you have administrative skills and a knack for organization, becoming a virtual assistant could be a solid side business idea. I’ve hired virtual assistants for:
- Inbox management
- Social media marketing
- Graphic design
- Data entry
- Content writing
- Podcast editing
- Recurring weekly processes
You can set up shop on your own, or try and hire on with an established virtual assistant company like BELAY or Time Etc.
20. Sell Stock Photos and Videos Online
If you love to take pictures, you may be able to capitalize on your hobby by selling stock photos and videos. The biggest platforms are Shutterstock, iStock, and Dreamstime.
But be warned: this is very much a volume game. Since you only earn a small royalty on each sale, the most successful sellers have tens of thousands of images in their portfolios.
This is an offline side hustle made possible by an online platform called Neighbor. Neighbor helps you turn your extra space into cash.
What could you rent out?
Think parking spaces, sheds, garage storage, attics, side yards. Top hosts are earning $1000s a year relatively passively.
Check out our full Neighbor review to learn more.
22. Voice Over Work
There are plenty of opportunities to make money as a voiceover artist, especially if you have acting experience. Businesses hire voice actors for radio commercials, podcast intros, audiobook narration, corporate training materials, and more.
Many voice actors get their start on Fiverr, and then graduate to platforms like Voices.com. Rates may range from $10 to $500 and up per 100 words.
Transcription—turning audio recordings into text—is often a part-time work-from-home position. Many transcribers specialize in a given industry, like medical, legal, or podcast transcriptions.
Several sites, including Rev.com, hire transcribers. If you’re fast, you might be able to earn up to $15 an hour.
To learn more about transcribing work, here’s a free 7-day mini course on how to get started.
24. Collect Real Estate Cash Flow
Companies like Fundrise allows you to invest in revenue-generating commercial real estate for as little as $10.
I’ve been a Fundrise investor for years and keep adding to my portfolio. They’ve paid dividends every 3 months so far.
25. Listen to Music
The new Mode Earn app (Android) pays you real money to listen to music and play games. It’s a cool way to get paid for something you’re probably already doing.
Mode Earn has over 100,000 radio stations to choose from and the world’s top current songs and artists.
I mean, it’s not like Spotify is sharing any of their ad revenue with you!
26. Cash Back Apps
One of the easiest ways to make extra money is to take advantage of the different cash back apps that are out there.
My favorites include:
- Fetch – Scan your grocery receipts to earn extra cash back on over 250 brands
- Rakuten – Earn 1-15% cash back on your online shopping
- DOSH – Get bonus cash back at nearby stores and restaurants
- Upside – Save on gas and restaurants when you shop at participating locations
- Ibotta – Consistent users earn over $100 a year in extra cash back on groceries and household essentials
27. Write Articles on Medium
On Medium.com, you can earn money from your writing once you have just 100 followers. The platform collects money from subscribers, and then divvies it out to writers based on how much time people spend on your articles.
If you can publish consistent, high quality content, it’s a way to make money online without worrying about the technical or marketing aspects of blogging.
28. Consignment Sales
With a consignment business, you can make money selling other people’s stuff. That means you have very little startup costs — you just need to source your inventory.
To start, offer to help people in your neighborhood sell their unwanted furniture, clothing, or other items on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. A typical consignment fee is 30-40%, meaning if you sell an item for $100, you’d keep $30-40 and pass the rest along to the owner.
This could work well if you already have experience selling secondhand items and can take good product photos.
How to Make Money Online for Beginners: Your Turn
As you can see, there are a ton of different ways to make money online for beginners. And as your skills and expertise grow, you can advance to more complex business models (if you want to!).
The main thing to keep in mind is to find something that works for you and your lifestyle. Some people are better suited to writing, while others are more comfortable in front of the camera.
Have you tried any of these options already? Are there any other ideas that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
- Join the world’s largest community of side hustlers by entering your email below the FAQs.
- Subscribe to The Side Hustle Show in your podcast app:
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best ways to make money online for beginners?
The best ways to make money online for beginners include freelance writing, testing websites, completing surveys, tutoring, and more. Be sure to check the full list on SideHustleNation.com for more ideas.
How can I make $100 a day on the Internet?
The most straightforward way to make $100 a day online is to do freelancing or consulting work. You could help clients with content writing, social media, administrative tasks, software help, graphic design, tutoring, voice over projects, and more. From there, you can work on creating written or video content that’s monetized with ads.
How can a beginner make money fast?
To make money fast, look at options like delivery apps, freelancing your skills, or selling unwanted items around the house. Be sure to check the full list on SideHustleNation.com for more ideas.