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The 13 Best Ways to Make Money Online, Experts Say

Whether you're a writer, a designer, or just want to make passive income, there's something for you.

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Whether you're trying to buy your first home and are battling with an intensely competitive market or you're simply trying to stretch your monthly budget at the grocery store (thanks, inflation!), having a little extra income can go a long way. Picking up a second job isn't conducive to most people's busy lifestyles, so if you've been wondering how to make money online, you've come to the right place. We consulted finance and career experts to get their best tips for earning some extra cash from your home office (or couch, no judgment here!). Keep reading for their suggestions, from online transcription and translation jobs to virtual assistant positions.

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How to Make Money Online

1. Work as a digital freelancer.

Young afro-american woman sitting with her pet Chihuahua and using laptop at home
filadendron / iStock

There are so many freelance gigs that can be done from home, and some of the most recommended sites to find them and list your skills are Upwork or Fiverr. The majority of ways to make money online here are through writing or graphic design.

"The beauty here is the freedom to work when and where you want, on projects that catch your eye," says Taylor Kovar, CFP, CEO, CFP, at The Money Couple. "However, it's a crowded marketplace, and building a reputation can take time."

2. Tutor online.

Woman on zoom call

If you're particularly knowledgeable in a subject area, experts recommend seeking out tutoring opportunities through platforms like Chegg or VIPKid, which "connect educators with learners worldwide," according to Kovar.

3. Create an online course.

Older man on computer

Another option for educators is to create an online course.

"You can either create your own course or use an existing platform like Teachable or Udemy," says Martin Seeley, a startup enthusiast, entrepreneur, and founder of Mattress Next Day. "The benefit of this is that you will be able to reach a wide audience and potentially earn more than you would with a traditional job."

However, Seeley notes that this takes a considerable amount of time and effort, so consider if you're ready to invest that.

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4. Work as a translator.

Focused young businessman wear headphones study online watching webinar podcast on laptop listening learning education course conference calling make notes sit at work desk, elearning concept

Speak more than one language? "You could work under a translation agency right in the comfort of your home or as a freelancer targeting clients directly," shares Young Pham, a financial advisor and investment analyst associated with BizReport.

"The more languages you can speak, the better, especially those that do not necessarily have a lot of global speakers," Pham adds.

Try online sites like Gengo or ProZ to get started.

5. Work as a transcriptionist.

man laptop headphones beanbag chair

Put those typing skills to use by working as an online transcriptionist. According to Gathering Dreams, some of the best places to find these jobs are TranscribeMe, Speechpad, CrowdSurf, and Rev.

They all have different payment models and requirements, and some may require you to take a typing or grammar assessment. Note that legal transcription requires a special certification.

6. Proofread and edit.

A senior man checking his laptop at home while smiling
iStock / kate_sept2004

Got a knack for catching typos? Great at grammar? There are several online sites—including Scribendi and PaperTrue—that allow you to work as a digital proofreader.

7. Create Instagram theme accounts.

ambitious woman working
iStock / BartekSzewczyk

Calling all graphic designers! Pham recommends creating mock Instagram theme pages and then selling them.

"A theme page is basically an Instagram page dedicated to a given topic or specific interest," Pham explains. "For example, you could use a theme page for children's fashion where you showcase content about kid's clothing. Once there are enough people engaged, you can call child clothing sellers and see if they would like to run ads on your page."

You can also consider selling ad space once you've built an audience.

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8. Self-publish a journal.

woman looking at laptop at night
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Love journaling? Turns out, you can get paid for it, according to Tramelle Jones, career expert, career and resume coach, and workplace wellness consultant.

"Now that Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is just a click away, consider creating a journal consisting of lined pages that mimic notebook paper," says Jones. "Take it a step further and create journals specific to a job or hobby, for example, a fitness journal, a project journal, or a food journal."

She suggests creating these journal-like pages with an easy-to-use and free graphic design tool like Canva.

9. Work as a virtual assistant.

entrepreneur woman in glasses counting profit, on calculator at laptop computer, analyzing benefits, enjoying financial success, job high result, smiling

"Many startups or small businesses often need experts to support their growth," says Jones. "From admin support to marketing, there are plenty of areas where organizations are open to bringing someone in to assist."

According to clever girl finance, the tasks run the gamut from email and calendar management to book keeping and data entry.

She notes that Upwork and Indeed list virtual assistant jobs. "Upwork has a ton of jobs, but they do take up to a 20 percent fee from your pay," she says. "You can also set up a free Google business page to list your services for clients to find you."

10. Start dropshipping.

A closeup of someone using a calculator while inputing information onto a laptop
Shutterstock / fizkes

This way of making money online may not be for everyone, but Seeley says it's pretty easy.

"Dropshipping is a form of e-commerce where you don't have to hold any inventory or ship any products yourself," he explains. "Instead, when a customer orders your product, you purchase it from a third-party supplier who ships it directly to the customer … You don't need to invest in inventory or worry about shipping the products yourself."

"The downside is that your profits can be limited, as you will have to pay a fee for each sale and may not be able to control the quality of the product," he cautions.

Shopify is probably the most popular dropshipping platform.

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11. Take online surveys.

A man works on a laptop in bed in a bedroom.
Igor Serik / Shutterstock

No expertise is required for this simple task, though don't expect to make a ton of money.

"With an earning potential of $50 per month, the income potential for taking online surveys is meager, but it is one you can do in your spare time, no matter where you are," says Robert Farrington, founder and CEO at The College Investor.

"Swagbucks Surveys gives you $5 just for signing up," he adds. "Other survey providers, such as Branded Surveys, allow you to earn points, which you can redeem for over 100 gift card options."

12. Install tracking apps.

using iphone 11
Kicking Studio / Shutterstock

If you don't mind a big company tracking your smartphone usage, this is a super easy way to bring in passive income. Farrington recommends the Nielsen Mobile App.

"The app sends Nielsen anonymous data about how you use your device and runs in the background without you even noticing," he explains. "If you're worried about privacy, you can rest assured that they don't collect user IDs, passwords, or other personal information."

Again, this isn't a huge money-maker, as the income potential is up to $50 a month.

13. Scan your receipts.

Woman working remote while typing on her laptop and holding her smartphone sitting on a sofa in a bright living room

Whether you shop online or in-store, you have receipts from your purchases—and by simply scanning them, you can make money.

One of the best ways to do this is with the free Ibotta platform, says Farrington. "Grocery store rebates are the best way to earn cash back with this program, and it just takes a few seconds to install the app and start using it. Once your account reaches $20, the Ibotta app pays you via Venmo or PayPal."

You then have the option to cash out, with funds available within 48 hours. Or, you can choose gift cards from retailers like Amazon or Walmart as a payment option.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date financial information from top experts and the latest news and research, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the money you're spending, saving, or investing, always consult your financial advisor directly.

Dana Schulz
Dana Schulz is the Deputy Lifestyle Editor at Best Life. She was previously the managing editor of 6sqft, where she oversaw all content related to real estate, apartment living, and the best local things to do. Read more
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