From online surveys to envelope stuffing, there are lots of popular get-rich-quick money-making ideas. Do they work? Not really. Could you make some money? Possibly. However, the reality is that there are genuine ways to make money online.
Digital nomads are capitalizing on freelancing opportunities, while marketers are optimizing digital campaigns. Entrepreneurs are building their empires from their living rooms. Armed with just a laptop and steady internet, let's explore some of these legitimate avenues to earn online.
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How to make money online: 30 real ways
1. Start a dropshipping business
Dropshipping is a business model where you sell a product to a customer, but the supplier handles the storage, packaging, and shipping on your behalf. You can dropship through your own ecommerce store—just install a dropshipping app and you’ll gain access to dozens of suppliers across various product categories. Some dropshipping apps allow you to hand-pick your product images, edit item descriptions, and give your business a personalized vibe so people will love shopping with you.
What’s the best way to make money dropshipping? Most entrepreneurs focus on a few marketing strategies:
- Running Facebook ads
- Having influencers promote their products
- Sending direct messages (DMs) to potential customers on social media
Ready to start a dropshipping business? Shopify is the platform most online entrepreneurs use to sell products without inventory. With Shopify dropshipping apps, you can source a variety of products and have them shipped to your customers.
2. Try print on demand
Print on demand (POD) is another popular way to earn money online. Many individuals have adopted this business model because it has lower overhead than other businesses.
Print on demand is similar to dropshipping in the sense that you don’t need to carry inventory or ship out products to customers yourself. There are two slight differences, though. First, you can make your own custom products, which is great for brand recognition. Second, you can choose from specific items rather than a vast range of categories. Most print-on-demand companies offer products that are easy to print on, like t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags.
The best way to make money with your print-on-demand business? Free marketing channels. Your best bet would be to promote your products for free on Instagram and TikTok, and through social media influencers who convert their audiences well.
You can get a complete overview of print on demand versus dropshipping by watching us get into a healthy debate with Wholesale Ted about the pros and cons of each business model.
3. Make money with affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online. Throughout the years, its popularity has gone up and down, but it continues to be an effective way to earn passive income. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you choose from a vast range of companies to partner with, including Shopify, Amazon, and Uber.
This business model allows you to earn a living by promoting other brands. Once you’ve signed up for an affiliate marketing program, you’ll start earning commissions from sales of retail products, software, apps, and more. While the commission may seem small, keep in mind that you can be an affiliate for several brands and promote a variety of products across different platforms.
If you really want to make money online doing affiliate marketing, your best bet is to focus on content marketing. By building out a blog with several pages of high-quality content, you create an asset you can call your own. Strategically place affiliate links in your blog posts to drive traffic to your affiliate partner’s website.
4. Start a YouTube channel
If others are profiting from YouTube, you can too. Your YouTube channel should focus on a single niche so you can build a strong, loyal audience. For example, you can create makeup tutorials, stream video games, review products, teach skills, create prank videos, or anything else you think there’d be an audience for.
The key to earning money on YouTube is creating content people want to watch. Enticing headlines and keyword-optimized descriptions can draw viewers to your videos. Once you hit the 1,000-subscriber mark, you become eligible to earn advertising revenue through running ads on your content.
5. Become an influencer
Building a personal brand can also help you make money online. Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo charges more than $2 million for a sponsored Instagram post, for example. While it may seem like reality stars, singers, and athletes are the biggest influencers, keep in mind that even smaller-scale influencers can make more money today than they did a few years back.
To become an influencer, you need to build a healthy following. The best platforms to get started on? Instagram and TikTok. Some of the biggest non-celebrity influencers often gained their first taste of exposure on these platforms. You might want to check out how to get more Instagram followers if you want to build a big Instagram audience.
To make money as an influencer, you can charge for sponsored posts, add affiliate links in your bio, sell your photos, sell ads on your own podcast, make and sell merch, get paid to appear at events, and more.
6. Create an online course
Selling courses is one of top strategies for earning money online. If you’re an expert in a particular subject, you can monetize your knowledge by creating online courses. These courses can be sold on platforms like Udemy or, if you already have a dedicated audience, through your own website. Some entrepreneurs are making as much as $5,000 per month from online courses.
To build a popular and successful course, look to trending courses in your niche for inspiration. Pay close attention to the reviews. Identify what aspects receive high praise and what elements are criticized. How can you build something that surpasses what’s already available? Aim to create content that addresses common complaints while incorporating the positive aspects that people appreciate.
The platform on which you choose to sell your course will influence your strategy for earning money online. With Udemy, there’s less need for promotion—it’s almost a set-it-and-forget-it situation. Perhaps you’ll want to give it a boost on some blogs or social media networks. If, on the other hand, the course is hosted on your own website, you might consider running ads to promote it. Additionally, you could build an email list to market future courses without the added expense of paid advertising. This can provide an effective route for earning money online organically.
7. Publish an ebook
With Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, it’s never been easier to publish an ebook. All you need to do is write the ebook, format it, create an ebook cover, publish it, and promote it.
You can choose to hire a writer for your ebook, a graphic designer to design the cover, and a manuscript editor to eliminate errors from the content. When researching the topic, focus on keywords based on popular searches on Amazon. The Keyword Tool is a great choice for finding the words people use while searching, so you can craft your title around them.
To generate sales for your ebook, focus on marketing tactics that are proven to attract customers. For example, you can give the first few copies of your book away for free. This helps you create buzz on social media and get some reviews. Getting reviews helps you gain customers via social proof. Other effective strategies for promoting your ebook include influencer marketing and video campaigns.
8. Start a blog
Blogging is one of the oldest methods for making money online. People who love writing tend to start blogs with a niche focus. For example, a blog about procrastination, cars, dropshipping, toys, etc., is often a narrow enough focus to build a loyal following and big enough that you can cover a lot of ground. For those looking to make money online fast, this method can be a rewarding venture.
You can start a blog on various platforms, such as Shopify (remove the checkout feature, so you don’t have to pay a subscription as you build it out) or WordPress. When you start your blog, focus on very specific keywords with a tight focus and continue to expand into other but still relevant categories as you grow and dominate new spaces. This will allow you to build a massive blog over time.
If you’re keen on earning extra cash, blogging offers diverse ways to achieve that goal. You can add affiliate links in your posts (don’t forget a disclaimer). You can monetize your blog by placing ads strategically in your posts. Sponsored posts can help you make money from specific brands—this is popular among review bloggers. Bloggers can also sell digital or physical products on their websites. You can also use a blog to build a personal brand that helps you get speaking gigs, television deals, or big contracts from clients.
9. Consider freelancing
The easiest way to make money online is to take your current job in your 9-to-5 role and do it online instead. For example, if you’re a writer, data entry specialist, graphic designer, teacher, developer, etc., you can market these skills and find clients online who are willing to pay you to apply them.
There’s a never-ending list of job platforms for each type of freelancer too. For example, freelance writers can apply for jobs on specific online writing job boards, but also on general freelance websites like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, and all the others. If you find that your skills can’t be directly used to create income streams, you can try monetizing other transferable skills you may have.
To make money online as a freelancer, you need to start by building out a strong portfolio. That may mean doing free work for some reputable mid-tier brands to start. Once you create a strong portfolio, you can reach out to potential big clients to earn more money online. Remember, freelancing is a numbers game: the more applications you fill out and submit, the more likely you’ll be to get a response back.
10. Create an app
If you’re not a developer, you’re probably looking at this money-making idea and feeling a bit stuck. Fortunately, you can hire someone with programming skills to build an app for you. Sites like Toptal will connect you with plenty of app developers who are open to working with entrepreneurs to turn their vision into reality.
All you have to do is come up with a unique app idea, identify the audience you want to target, and create a brand image for your product. The programmer you hire will take care of things on the development front.
When it comes to making money with your app, your best bet will be to add it to Google Play and the App Store. And while it may seem counterintuitive, having a free app can help you make more than a paid app. With a free app, you can add ads or premium features to help you make money. Since the free app will attract a higher volume of people, it’ll be easier for you to upsell them.
11. Become a writer
With a growing interest in content marketing, more and more companies are looking for writers who can fill their web properties with great content. The secret to succeeding as a writer is to focus on a specific niche. Many writers try to be generalists, covering everything from food to tech. However, a niche focus sets you apart.
What about AI replacing human writers? While AI can generate content, it lacks the human touch. As a writer, your experience in a niche adds value. You can offer thoughts, experiences, and insider perspectives. That’s what brands want. That’s what they pay for.
When applying for writing jobs, be specific. Send relevant samples. If asked for a marketing piece, send one. Don’t send a finance article. Or a fitness one. Why? Hiring managers need to see your understanding of the niche.
Sites for finding freelance writing jobs include:
12. Do side gigs
Side gigs can help you make money online while you keep your full-time job. If you’re looking to make an extra couple of hundred dollars per month, this is a great idea. The work doesn’t always last long term, but it can.
Use platforms like Fiverr to find part-time gigs you can do online. As a new entrant in the gig economy, you’ll want to focus on offering a low price so you can get your first review. I’d recommend asking a friend to buy your gig and leave your first review so you can get started faster. Treat the friend like a client and actually deliver a finished product that you can feature in your portfolio.
Another aspect of Fiverr is that it’s largely a numbers game. If you look at top Fiverr users, you’ll see that they have multiple gigs available. The more gigs you have, the more likely it is that you will be found.
If you don’t want to get paid Fiverr prices, you can turn to platforms like FlexJobs to find side gigs. Under its jobs section, you can search for contract or telecommute opportunities. The great thing about the telecommute opportunities on FlexJobs is that you can apply for them in any city in the world.
FlexJobs has a variety of side gigs including writing, business, design, accounting, and more. So, if your talents don’t match up with anything else on this list of money-making ideas, you might want to try a side gig from FlexJobs. Applying to multiple opportunities will increase your chances of landing a few gigs in a short period.
13. Do translation work
Translation is a fairly underserved niche, meaning there’s less competition in this field than in other niche markets. To capitalize on the opportunity, you need to be fluent in at least two languages. If you’re bilingual or majored in a popular language in school, this may be a great money-making idea for you to try out.
You will need to show proof of your ability to translate without using machine translation tools. If you have a language degree or experience translating text, make sure to highlight that in your portfolio or résumé. Most companies will require a translation test, and you can’t use translation tools at any time to help you pass the test.
Sites where you can find translation jobs to make money online include:
14. Sell your stuff
An easy way to make extra cash is to sell the stuff you no longer use. When using this strategy, ensure that the items you put up for sale align with the interests and needs of today’s buyers.
Most people immediately think of selling their junk like old CDs and DVDs. Considering the digital trends in 2024, CDs and DVDs are less likely to be sought after by buyers. So don’t waste your time trying to sell them.
When you’re thinking about selling your stuff, focus on items like electronics, furniture, toys, and crafts. You can list the same products on multiple platforms, including Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, and your own online store. Omnichannel selling will improve your chances of finding customers for your items.
Want to make a great first impression on the customer? Include high-quality product images in your listings. You can hire a Shopify Expert to create product photos for you or take a photography course that equips you with the skills to shoot and edit your own images.
15. Become an online tutor
If you want to make money online on your own schedule, consider becoming an online tutor. Studenomics covered a story of a person who made $2,100 in one semester from tutoring. Interestingly, he built up his client base through word of mouth, visibility, and great group rates.
If you have a teaching degree, you may be more likely to land a tutoring position. Having a degree or experience in the subject you’re tutoring is essential for this type of job. If you’ve spoken at a conference or event about the topic, you might also be considered for an online tutoring, teaching, or mentoring position.
While sciences and math often have a high demand for tutoring positions, you’ll also find English popular among international audiences. If you’re an expert on a topic, tutoring may be the right platform for you to make money fast.
You can find online tutoring jobs on platforms such as:
16. Drive your car
If you own a car, you can make some spare cash as an Uber driver or delivery person. Even without a car, you can deliver food and other essentials using a bicycle or moped. Uber drivers looking to make even more money can turn their vehicle into a moving billboard with Free Car Media, which wraps your car in a removable vinyl advert.
Interested in making money fast with Uber? If you legally run a side business, you could showcase your products to interested passengers—though not all will be interested. With prior consent, passengers may sift through products you have for sale under the driver’s seat. If they wish to buy but don’t have cash, you can utilize Uber’s tip function for payment. Always ensure that this approach complies with local laws and regulations.
17. Become a virtual assistant
As entrepreneurs build more businesses, the demand for virtual assistants grows. A virtual assistant is a self-employed individual providing various services remotely, such as writing, bookkeeping, social media management, and customer support.
Find virtual assistant gigs on sites like Virtual Office Temps, Indeed, or Upwork. Many have also succeeded by directly reaching out to brands and entrepreneurs. Combining job postings and proactive outreach could land your first client sooner than expected.
18. Become a Twitch streamer
While Twitch started as a gaming platform, it’s quickly evolving to include other types of content. Nowadays, Twitch streaming is an increasingly popular way to make money online. To make money fast on Twitch, you’ll need to grow your following. If you’re consistent, streaming on this platform can help you build a sizable audience fast.
You’ll need to find a popular game or channel that isn’t overly competitive so people can easily find your content. In order to get people to notice your streams, you’ll need to have a consistent style for your channel: Is it going to be funny, educational, or entertaining? Choose your path and stick to it.
There are five ways to monetize your Twitch channel:
- Sell products
- Offer brand sponsorships
- Accept fan donations
- Offer subscriptions
- Run Twitch ads
As a Twitch streamer, you’ll want to focus on tapping into all five monetization methods to ensure the highest financial gains. With the right strategy and hard work, you can make a lot of money hosting Twitch streams.
19. Invest in stocks
Investing in stocks can be a way to make money quickly, but it’s not without risk, especially if you’re inexperienced. While the rewards can be high, you might also face losses.
If you have a 9-to-5 job, consider exploring your company’s financial programs. Does it allow investment in company stocks? If so, this could be an option. With company stock programs, your role as an employee may influence the organization’s success. Additionally, if your company offers an RRSP matching program, consider this as a way to save for retirement or a down payment on a home.
20. Sell photography
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just love snapping great pictures, you can make money online by selling your images. Sites like Shutterstock and Alamy are great places to showcase your work. These websites pay royalties to photographers when someone downloads a copy of their image.
If you’re looking to monetize your photography quickly, you can create a listing on Foap, a smartphone app that lets you upload your works and earn cash. When an agency, brand, or anyone else buys a photo or video from your digital Foap portfolio, the app creator shares the profit with you 50/50.
21. Sell clothes online
Have clothes you don’t wear anymore? Rather than letting them sit in your closet, sell them online. There are quite a few websites that let you sell apparel for cash, such as Poshmark, Refashioner, ThredUp, and Tradesy.
You can also explore Facebook buy and sell groups in your community to find people online and sell the items in person. Just be careful of scams and follow the recommended safety precautions.
22. Become an extreme couponer
If you’re looking to save and make a bit of money, couponing can be a viable option. Coupon Chief’s Pays-2-Share program, for example, lets you share coupons and earn a 2% to 3% commission on sales. The key is to share coupons that haven’t been used before.
This method resembles affiliate marketing, where you earn commissions through referral links. Many coupon companies pay their affiliates consistently, making this a legitimate way to earn online. For instance, Coupon Chief has paid over $1.3 million in commissions to date.
23. Buy and sell domain names
If you regularly buy domain names but fail to use them, you can always try to sell them for a profit. Selling domains is ultra-competitive, though. If you own a one-word .com domain, you’ll have a better chance of selling. Words that have a high search volume sell well too.
Also, domains that are on trend now have a better chance of selling. For example, a few years back, fidget spinner domains were an easier sell than they are today. You can search for domain names and buy a custom domain through the Shopify domain registration platform.
You can sell your domains on GoDaddy’s Domain Auction. Look through the domains with the highest bids to see what type of domains sell well. It’ll help you know whether or not your domains are worth selling and how much money you can make selling them.
24. Sell your designs online
Graphic design is an amazing skill that you can monetize in several ways. You can go the print-on-demand route and sell your designs on your own custom products. Alternatively, you can pitch your designs on a crowdsource platform like 99designs.
There’s also the option to create your own graphics and templates to sell on marketplaces like Envato or Creative Market. Or how about picking up some clients and working as a freelance graphic designer? According to PayScale, this role will net you $29.90 per hour, on average.
25. Test websites
If you’re passionate about user experience, UserTesting pays reviewers $10 to give other entrepreneurs feedback on their websites and apps. You’ll be given a set of questions to answer as you browse through a site. That’s one fast way to make money online.
You’ll communicate your ideas and feedback to the entrepreneur through a video while navigating their website or app. Your video is only 20 minutes long, so if you do three videos per hour, you’ll make $30. Other reviewers can take projects quickly, so you have to act fast when a new website or app needs to be reviewed.
26. Get a part-time job
When you’ve done whatever it takes to make money fast but struggle to make an impact, sometimes you’re left with no choice but to get a part-time job. You can browse part-time jobs on Indeed or a niche job board that caters to your field.
Some job websites require an upfront fee to register, so read the fine print carefully. Most sites let you filter for part-time and contract-based jobs, so you should have no problem finding relevant positions to apply for. With many companies hiring part-time, it’s easier than ever to make extra money without working a full week.
27. Become a TikTok consultant
One of the trendiest ways to make money online is to become a TikTok consultant. Brands will contact you for brainstorming video ideas, developing engaging bios, and more. It’s the perfect money-making opportunity for digital nomads—you can run the entire business from your smartphone. Compared to Instagram, TikTok is relatively new and untapped, so helping brands establish a solid presence on the app can potentially make you a fortune.
However, you need to have a few talents before you begin offering TikTok consultancy to businesses. The most important is knowing how to create viral videos that get people to engage with brands. If you don’t have the expertise to drive sales through this platform, you can still learn how to attract customers by taking this TikTok course.
28. Sell greeting cards online
If you have a knack for picking out the perfect greeting card for different occasions, this might be an easy way to make money online. However, it’s not recommended that you market your services to everyone and anyone—it’s not a smart way to do business. Instead, design or source greeting cards that appeal to a certain segment of the population.
For example, you can make greeting cards that cater to C-level executives wanting to thank their senior vice presidents for making profitable decisions last year. Or you can target healthcare professionals who want to thank their patients for choosing their clinic. For designing the cards, you can use an online graphic tool like Photoshop or Canva.
29. Offer virtual local tours
Do you know your town or city well? Share it with people by offering virtual tours. This can be a way for tourists and others to explore new places without leaving home.
You can use video calls to show historical sites, cultural spots, and local favorites. Share local stories and facts. Allow people to ask questions and see things up close. Offer different tours, like ones for food lovers or history buffs. Work with local shops so tour guests can buy local products.
30. Become a reseller
Reselling products is a way to make money without creating items. You can buy vintage or collectible items and then sell them. If you want to focus on specific products, you can become a certified distributor of a brand in your area.
Start by finding brands to resell on wholesale directories and platforms like AliExpress. Then, set up an online platform to sell your chosen products. Remember, you will need to manage inventory. This takes effort, but it doesn’t require making products.
Start your online earning journey today
Making money online can help you stay afloat during these troubled times, but it can also help you escape your 9-to-5 job so you can become a full-time entrepreneur. By brainstorming online business ideas and choosing to start an online business, you gain more financial freedom, improve your financial security, and inch closer to living life on your terms.
It really is possible to earn a living online if you work hard and stick with it. So, which money-making idea will you pursue first?
Make money online FAQ
How can I make money online fast?
- Build a Shopify store and dropship products online.
- Sell used stuff on eBay, Amazon, or Facebook Marketplace.
- Find and share coupons on websites like Coupon Chief.
- Buy and sell domain names.
- Rent your spare room on Airbnb.
- Provide TikTok consultancy to startups and businesses.
- Sell information products.
- Tutor people online in high-demand subjects.
- Flip your thrift store finds.
- Review apps and websites.
How can I make $100 a day on the web?
- Complete surveys.
- Sell products on Amazon.
- Teach English online.
- Watch videos for money.
- Get cash back on your shopping.
- Proofread for websites.
- Review music online.
How can I make money online in 2024?
- Launch a print-on-demand store.
- Sell your clothes online.
- Create handmade goods.
- Offer freelance services.
- Curate subscription boxes.
- Build online courses.
- Launch a podcast.
- Create digital products.
- Become an influencer.
- Start a blog.
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