- Side Hustles
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Our number one goal at DollarSprout is to help readers improve their financial lives, and we regularly partner with companies that share that same vision. If purchase or signup is made through our Partners’ links, we receive compensation for the referral. Here’s how we make money.
As long as you have an internet connection, you can legitimately figure out how to make money online from anywhere in the world.
Instead of scanning through Facebook, stalking your ex on Instagram, or determining which Hogwarts House you belong to via a BuzzFeed quiz, let’s get you doing something much more productive with your time.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom with napping children, a college student in between classes, or someone with only part-time work, even the smallest window of opportunity will allow you to earn money online.
To get you started, our team scoured the web, consulted other side hustle experts, wracked our brains, and drafted the most epic list of money-making ideas for you to try, starting today.
Pick Up Some Quick Wins
Low effort, low commitment, and without investment. The ideas in this section are all about quick and easy ways to make money online (and better yet, you can try them all for free).
1. Participate in market research
Market research companies like to collect data on consumer trends and spending habits so major brands can learn how to better market their products.
This research is most often conducted via online questionnaires, and they’re always on the lookout for new survey participants.
If you’re a first-time survey taker, we recommend starting out with Swagbucks. They’re currently offering a free $10 sign-up bonus and they’re the largest legitimate survey site in the world.
Here’s how Swagbucks works:
️ Register: Build your profile (takes less than 5 mins).
️Earn Rewards: Complete surveys and earn rewards in the form of “Swagbucks”.
️Get Paid: Redeem your Swagbucks for PayPal cash deposits or e-gift cards.
If you’ve ever spent time taking paid online surveys, you know that you can earn money online every month while sitting at home in your PJs. You won’t get rich, but a few minutes a day generally adds up to a few dollars, and few dollars a day is enough to cover a utility bill by the end of the month.
Other survey sites to check out:
- Survey Junkie – Up to $45 per survey.
- Vindale Research – $1 sign-up bonus.
If you’d like in-depth information about the survey sites before getting started, you can read more about them in their respective DollarSprout reviews.
2. Leverage gig apps
Inaction is often the byproduct of not keeping things simple. In short, stop looking all over the place for some weird way to make money and just get started with something.
An easy way to do exactly this is to leverage money-making apps. Top trusted online earning sites, such as Lyft and Postmates, are just two of the many gigs where all you need is a smartphone and vehicle to get started. These companies connect people looking to make extra money with consumers who need their services.
If someone needs a ride somewhere, you give them a ride through Lyft.
If someone can’t go grocery shopping, you grab their grub and deliver it to them through Postmates.
No exhausting job search. No interviews. Just an application and a background check and you’ve got yourself a new side hustle in just a few days’ time.
How to get started with Postmates:
First, start by downloading the Postmates app and following the setup instructions.
Once you’re accepted into the driver fleet, Postmates will send you a free delivery bag and prepaid card so you can get started.
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Motor vehicles used for delivery must be properly insured.
- You can deliver via car, truck, van, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, or even by foot.
- You must consent to, and pass, a background check.
- An Android or iOS device capable of running the app.
Next, watch this short video by Jon from The Rideshare Guy. He does an excellent job explaining the ins and outs of the app and shares a few tips on how to earn money online with Postmates’ surge pricing feature.
Be strategic about the number of orders you take on and where you deliver to. Subtle changes in your delivery routine can make or break your expected hourly earnings.
Strategies that can boost hourly earnings include:
- Stacking multiple deliveries within a one-hour period.
- Keeping track of high ROI areas in your town.
- Leveraging blitz pricing and otherwise high-volume order times.
- Being personable and delivering order receipts in person (increasing the likelihood of receiving a tip).
* Postmates is available in many, but not all, cities. Check Postmates’ homepage to see available cities near you.
3. Cash in on sign-up bonuses
Want $15 for a few minutes of your time?
Rewards sites like Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and Dosh can make that happen. These sites offer cash incentives for people to download their apps.
What’s the catch? None, really. The above apps, and other cash-back apps like them, act as affiliates for online merchants. Whenever you make a purchase through one of the apps, they get a small commission from the store. They then pass a portion of that commission back to you as “cash back”.
Example #1: You buy a pair of Nike shoes through the Rakuten app. Rakuten gets a $10 commission because you purchased the shoes through them, but then they give $7 of it back to you. It’s basically a way to get sale prices on things that aren’t otherwise on sale.
Better yet, you can sometimes double (or even triple) dip and use the apps on top of normal store sales and coupon offers.
Example #2: Nike has a site-wide 20% off sale. Rakuten offers an additional 8% off and you have a store coupon code, for $10 off, that you found on the internet. A $60 pair of shoes suddenly comes in at $36. Not bad.
Rakuten credits a $10 sign-up bonus after making $25 of qualifying purchases within 90 days.
Dosh offers a $5 bonus issued instantly after you link a credit or debit card to the app.
Since they’re free, we recommend signing up for both. Any time you go to make an online purchase, just compare deals between the apps and use the best one.
For more information on the cash-back apps (along with savvy hacks for earning more money), check out their respective reviews.
4. Try Trim
They say a penny saved is a penny earned.
That same adage looks a lot better when those pennies are replaced with dollars. And while this next app doesn’t exactly allow you to make money per se, it’s importance can’t be understated.
Enter Trim. An app that can save you hundreds of dollars a year with almost no effort on your part.
How is this possible?
Well, Trim starts by taking a look at your monthly spending and then looks for places where you’re overspending — like abnormally high bills or subscriptions you forgot about.
You might be surprised to see how much you’re spending on things you don’t really need.
The best part about Trim is that it can actually lower your bills.
Once the app shows you all the subscriptions you spend money on, you pick the ones you want to cancel and Trim does it for you. Next, the app goes after those high bills and actually reaches out to the companies on your behalf to negotiate a lower payment.
There’s almost nothing in this world that we hate more than high bills and elevator music. Let Trim handle both for you.
5. Install Honeygain on your devices
Honeygain is a tool you can install on Android, Windows, or MacOS devices. It uses your internet data to conduct research for its clients. It has a 4.0 rating on Trustpilot with more than 600 reviews.
Honeygain pays users for giving them access to their phones and computers. According to the site, you can make about $19 a month if you install it on three devices.
It’s a completely passive way to make money – perfect if you don’t have time to take surveys or watch videos.
6. Create a course using Outschool
Online courses have grown in popularity over the last few years. People are looking for classes in anything from sewing to cooking to music lessons and exercise classes. If you have a passion for teaching, you can cash in on this by creating courses on platforms like Outschool.
You don’t need a teaching degree to teach with Outschool. As long as you’re at least 18 years old, have proof of ID, and can pass a background check, you can create and sell courses on the platform. You have the flexibility to choose not only what you teach but to how many students at a time, how much to charge, and whether the course is live or asynchronous.
Although Outschool’s fees are higher than other platforms, they host the classes for you (so there’s no need to have your own website) and they handle collecting payment from your students, freeing up your time to focus on teaching.
Note that unlike other platforms like Udemy, Outschool focuses on courses for K-12 students, so if you’re more comfortable teaching children, this is a good choice for you to make money online.
Related: How to Get Paid to Teach with Outschool (Even with Zero Experience)
7. Switch to a high-yield online savings account
Do you have money sitting in a savings account that’s paying less than .09% interest?
If so, or if you don’t have a savings account at all, it may be worth your time to spend a few minutes opening a high-yield online savings account.
Online savings accounts usually come with substantially higher interest rates that will help grow your money faster — over 20 times higher than the national average.
They can afford to do this because they don’t have to pay for brick-and-mortar bank locations, which drastically lowers their cost of conducting business. They then pass a portion of these savings to you, the customer, by offering great interest rates on their banking products.
Better yet, on top of ultra-competitive interest rates, online banks often offer large one-time deposit bonuses to new customers. These deposit bonuses can reach as high as $500, with the only requirement being that a minimum balance is held to unlock the bonus.
Once a predetermined holding period expires, usually 1-3 months, you’re free to withdraw your money along with the captured deposit bonus. Think of it like travel hacking, except you’re doing it with savings account deposit bonuses.
If you’re interested in even higher returns, be sure to check out the best apps for investing money online.
8. Make money online by watching videos
I mentioned Swagbucks earlier as a reputable survey site, but it turns out that taking surveys isn’t the only thing they’ll pay you to do.
You can also make money with Swagbucks by watching short, ad-like videos on a wide variety of topics (like entertainment, news, sports, and more).
- A $10 sign-up bonus for new users
- The ability to watch videos on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone
- A wide array of entertaining clips from leading content sites
Again, you won’t get rich by doing this, but if you have time to kill (maybe in a waiting room, on the bus, etc.) and don’t mind watching videos, this is an easy money-making option.
9. Earn money online by surfing the web
InboxDollars is a market research company that pays you to use their search engine instead of some of the more prominent ones like Google and Bing.
The idea here is that they will learn more about people’s search habits and uncover patterns that may be valuable to companies trying to better understand consumers.
InboxDollars isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but if you’re looking for a low-effort way to make a little bit of extra money for free, it’s worth checking out.
Here’s how InboxDollars works:
- $5 sign-up bonus for new users.
- You get $0.15 for every 29 qualified searches you complete.
- Get $0.05 each time you enter searches on 4 or more days in a week (Gold Members get $0.10).
Want to learn more about InboxDollars? Check out our InboxDollars Review.
10. Download the Nielsen app
Have you heard of Nielsen, the company that tracks TV ratings? Turns out they collect data on a lot more than just TV.
One area they’re really into is internet usage research.
What does that mean for you? It means Nielsen will pay you $50 a year to keep their app on your favorite internet-browsing device.
The app itself collects statistics on your internet usage anonymously, so you never have to worry about any data being linked to you.
How the Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel works:
- Noninvasive, requires little storage space, and won’t impact device performance
- After you’ve installed the app, just use the internet as normal
- You’ll earn $50 for the first year you have the app installed
Nielsen tries to sweeten the deal by giving away $10,000 each month in addition to various other rewards and sweepstakes.
11. Get your workout on
Mobile app creators have found a way to monetize every subject on Earth. The fitness industry is no different.
While most apps try to get you to spend money, some apps have built-in ways to make extra money.
Companies like Sweatcoin and Achievement (formerly Achievemint) have developed apps that collect data about your physical activity and “pay” you for that data. (The apps sync with the existing health apps on your smartphone or smartwatch so they’re not any more intrusive than what’s already on your phone.)
Using them is easy. All you have to do is download one of the apps and let it passively run in the background.
Users will then collect points for daily activities such as walking or running, among various other workouts. The points (or sweatcoins) have cash value and can be redeemed by withdrawing through major e-wallets like PayPal.
● Daily earnings cap of $5 for their free plan.
● Paid versions of the app allow users to earn $20 per day or more (free 30-day trial for any of their 5 paid plans).
● Earning with the app is more hands off.
● 5 free sweatcoins for referring family or friends.
● Offers a more diverse range of ways to earn points.
● From posting health-related tweets and logging food intake, to completing surveys and tracking workouts, virtually every activity with a health tie-in can be tracked.
● 10,000 points is redeemable for $10.
● 100 free points for referring family or friends (max 20 referrals).
Our advice? Get both and let them passively run. You won’t get rich, but daily upkeep with the apps will net you $20-$50 per month — a fair price for allowing them to track something that is tracked by Apple or Google on a daily basis anyway.
If you’re really serious about shedding some pounds, you can use your winnings from Sweatcoin and Achievement to fund a weight-loss bet.
With HealthyWage, users select a goal weight loss, place a bet, and choose a timeframe for achieving their goal weight. Their proprietary algorithm determines your payout, which can reach as high as $10,000.
The process is pretty simple:
1. Use the HealthyWage Prize Calculator to determine your prize amount.
Using the HealthyWage calculator, decide how much weight you want to lose (minimum 10% of your starting weight), how much money you’re willing to bet ($5 to $995 per month), and how long you need to reach your goal (6 to 18 months). Play with the numbers using the HealthyWage calculator until you’re satisfied with your prize.
2. Sign up for an account to place your bet.
You’ll need to answer a few questions about yourself (height, weight, waist size, etc.)
3. Verify your weight.
Don’t head to the gym yet! Your weight loss timer doesn’t start until you verify your weight. In fact, you’ll need to do this at least twice — once when you place your bet and again at the end of your wager period. Verification can be done from home by uploading a video to the HealthyWage website.
4. Lose weight, win money.
If you accomplish your weight loss goal, HealthyWage will pay you via PayPal or paper check. If you don’t reach your goal weight, your monthly contributions will be used to support HealthyWage…