In today’s always-online economy, everyone is looking for ways to work online from the comfort of their home. Still, not everyone has been able to find it. The good news is the work is out there, and so is the money. However, the marketplace can be daunting, with many things to learn and consider. So how does a beginner start to make money online?
There are many things to learn if you intend to make extra income online, but you can learn most of them on the go. However, before you jump into your new web-based hustle, there are two things you should know: what types of work you can do and how you can do them.
Types of Online Employment
Before you start earning money online, it’s best to consider what type of online employment you want. There are countless ways to monetize your time, skills, and other resources online. Still, not all of them will necessarily suit your lifestyle and goals.
For instance, are you looking for a part-time work-from-home job with an employer or something more independent like starting your own business? Perhaps you’re looking for something with a blend of the two.
The legal structure of how you earn cash online can affect everything from your taxes to your liability for various outcomes. So before we get into some of the specific jobs, gigs, and other ways to make money online, let’s take a quick look at some of the core types of employment to consider.
Just like making money offline, there are plenty of ways to earn an income online through traditional employment. That means applying and signing a contract for a job with one primary employer.
Seeking online-only traditional employment has several benefits, including stability, structure, predictable pay, and possible compensation benefits such as health insurance. However, it also comes with the obstacles and limited freedom of a conventional job.
Typically, when we refer to “making money online,” traditional employment is less common than various forms of self-employment. So, for today’s conversation, we’ll be focusing primarily on the latter.
Working as an Independent Contractor
Many of the ways you’ll find to make money online as a beginner are technically independent contracting, also known as freelancing.
As an independent contractor, you operate as a standalone business entity. While you may work with various clients, collaborators, and services, you don’t technically work for any organization as an employee.
Freelancers generally work on their own schedules and choose their own tasks and projects. The tradeoff for this degree of independence is that you will be solely responsible for things like your planning, bookkeeping, and taxes as a contractor.
There are many arrangements where a freelancer agrees to particular work on a recurring basis. More often, though, this type of work functions on a case-by-case, gig-by-gig basis.
Starting a Business
Some income-earning online projects are best suited to formally establishing a business. In some cases, it may even be a requirement. Corporations such as LLCs offer their owners numerous legal protections and logistical benefits.
For someone just starting out making money online, there is a lot of overlap between independent contracting and starting a company. The freedom and responsibilities are pretty similar. In fact, many freelancers operate as single-member LLCs.
In the beginning stages, the difference between a contractor and a company is mostly only a distinction on paper. However, depending on your work function and goals, the benefits of operating a company may become necessary to conduct your business smoothly.
9 Ways to Make Money Online for Beginners
Now that we have some basis for the different ways of working online, let’s dive into some specific jobs, businesses, and gigs that can help you start growing your web-based income.
The number of ways to monetize your skills and time online is practically infinite. However, to get your wheels turning, here are some of the most common methods for beginners to jump in and get started earning their own income right from home.
1. Review Products and Services
Feedback and social proof are among the most significant drivers of the online economy, and many businesses will pay money to stimulate that activity. Reviews help people make informed decisions before they decide what to buy, but helpful and well-thought-out reviews are sometimes hard to come by.
Paid reviewers can make a decent income online by trying products and describing their experiences honestly. In addition to direct cash payments, reviewers often receive free products and services in exchange for their efforts. In some cases, you may even be able to get early or exclusive access to products not yet available to the general public.
2. Sell Your Stuff
As life goes on, we each tend to accumulate quite a collection of stuff that slowly clutters up our homes and other spaces. The most common solution to this challenge is to conduct infrequent but large-scale decluttering projects. We fill bags and boxes of things to donate, give away, or even throw out.
What if, instead of throwing your old things away, you turned your next spring-cleaning or new years resolution decluttering spree into a money-making venture? The web offers countless ways to make a tidy profit by selling your stuff. Major marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace allow you to earn some cash finding a new home for your preloved possessions.
3. Take Surveys
You’ll probably never meet a billionaire saying they owe it all to taking online surveys. They are not necessarily the most consistent or lucrative source of income, but they are worth considering. Online surveys are usually quick, easy, and sometimes even fun work that can bring in a little extra money.
One downside to taking surveys as an income source is that you can only fill out as many as the various data-gathering services offer you. For that reason, it’s a good idea to sign up for several paid survey sites and apps to maximize your options and opportunities.
4. Test Apps and Websites
Tech companies are constantly developing and redesigning their projects, and they need as much help as possible to ensure those apps and sites are working correctly.
Freelance web testing is a great way to earn extra cash on your own schedule. Typically, it involves using a specific site or app, trying to accomplish a few prescribed tasks, and describing your experience. Some services will pay you extra for any bugs or issues you can report. Others are more focused on understanding user experience and using that to influence future designs.
5. Make Content
Content creation is a large umbrella that possibly includes more self-employed online entrepreneurs than any other. Blogging, podcasting, building a social media brand or video channel, and creating digital products like ebooks are all types of content creation.
Content can be educational, motivational, or strictly for entertainment purposes. There are many ways to earn money from this type of work, such as:
- Affiliate marketing (see below)
- Paid product promotion or sponsorships
- Selling your digital content directly
There is massive potential to earn money online by building your own content business. However, it may take significant work and time before it starts to yield a profit. It is also possible to earn a steady freelance income by creating content for other brands or companies.
6. Learn Affiliate Marketing
Like content creation, affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to make money online by offering value and monetizing your influence.
Affiliate marketing works like this: you build influence and a following online, such as through social media accounts or your own website. This lets you form affiliate partnerships with various companies and brands. As an affiliate, you can recommend products and services that you think will offer value to your audience and then earn a commission for sales of that product or service.
Affiliate marketing is a great outlet for entrepreneurs looking to grow an online business without establishing their own content platform.
7. Monetize a Craft
It wouldn’t be a fair discussion of ways to earn extra money online if we didn’t mention the rise of online boutiques through platforms like Etsy.
Any skill, craft, or hobby you do in your free time could be a way to earn money with an online shop. The online marketplace creates boundless opportunities for creative artisans with unique ideas to find enthusiastic customers for their wares.
One common critique of trying to get paid for a craft is that turning a passion into a business can take some of the fun and freedom out of it. Of course, for some creators, this turns out not to be an issue. But if this is a risk for you, it is worth at least some consideration before you take this route.
8. Teach What You Know
If you have some specialized knowledge or skillset, there are likely at least a couple of ways to make money from home by teaching others.
Several online learning platforms are constantly searching for new material from people able to record video courses and webinars.
Alternatively, you could try directly tutoring others online. However, finding the right clients and keeping your business may require more administrative effort.
9. Sign up to Do Tasks
Finally, there is a practically endless variety of the types of freelance gig work you can find on platforms like Fiverr and Mechanical Turk. From transcription to translation and web development to graphic design, there are gigs for almost any skillset.
Signing up for these platforms is incredibly straightforward and could have you in contact with potential clients in a matter of minutes.
Pay varies significantly in this space based on the type of work, and some skill is involved in spotting the right opportunities at the right times.
Are You Ready to Start Making Money Online Today?
The internet is an infinite ocean of opportunities, and that includes the ways you can make extra money online. Even as a beginner, you can start making money fast with the right attitude and a willingness to learn.
Whatever your skills, interests, and experience level, there is almost certainly a niche where you can do legit work online, and start getting paid good money for it. So what are you waiting for?