There are many ways to make extra cash online, some legit and some just plain weird. Check out the five-week series for all your options to make extra money.
This is the final post in our 5-week series on ways to make extra money online. The prior four posts, linked below, are all ways I've used to make a little extra cash. None of them are easy, despite what you may hear from a million people trying to sell you their “money-making system,” but they are all legitimate ways to make money. Put in a little time to develop your skill in any one of them, and it could become a full-time job at a very good income.
Check out our prior four articles in the series:
How to Make Money Writing Online
Avoid the Hype and Make Money Crowdfunding
How to Make Money Freelancing and 9 Websites to do it
How to Make Money Online Selling on Craigslist
Then there are all the rest of the ideas floating around the internet on ways to make extra cash. I haven’t tried the methods below but wanted to list them in case you were interested. I would love to hear any feedback if you’ve personally tried any yourself. Check out the ones that look interesting to you, but be skeptical of lofty promises of thousands a week by people trying to sell their online courses or books.
I’ve done enough research into each, and I can say that the sites below are not outright scams, but cannot vouch for how much you can honestly make over the course of a few months. Since posting the article, I’ve heard from people I trust that they make between $200 and $600 monthly on some of the websites below. It’s not something you’ll retire on but can be some great extra money each month.
It takes work to make extra cash in anything, so don’t expect to make thousands immediately. Try out the methods that you think you could be happy doing, even if you don’t make much money. Eventually, you may be able to turn a hobby job into a full-time gig. Once you’ve figured out how to make extra cash online, take it to the masses and offer gigs on Fiverr.com. Fiverr is a great resource for doing small tasks for others and making extra cash. Projects start at $5, so it’s a good resource to try out different providers without breaking your budget.
Making Extra Money with Online Surveys
This is one of the most common ways to make extra cash online that you see people talking about. Consumer companies always look for product feedback and hire research companies to survey customers. Research companies then go online to get people to take the surveys. You won’t get paid much per survey, but it’s pretty easy work that can be done in front of the TV with your laptop.
Check out a few of these survey sites:
Making Extra Money with Online Search and Surfing
This is a new one for me but looks interesting. It is similar to the survey method, but you really don’t have to do anything on your part other than download some software to your computer. The idea is to search the web as you normally would but through one of the sites below. The information on what you search for and the advertisements you see are valuable to companies, so the websites pass a little of that money on to you.
Swagbucks.com is one of the most popular sites and offers “swag bucks” that can be redeemed for cash or merchandise. Each search is generally worth a chance to win between $1 and $10, so you might not necessarily get anything. I’ve heard from other bloggers and readers that Swagbucks is one of the best ways to make extra cash online and quite a few of my friends use the site. It depends on how much time you spend on the site, but a reasonable estimate is a couple of hundred dollars a month.
Zoombucks is also a popular site and is a little more direct with the payment. You earn points for searching, viewing videos or taking surveys. You can then redeem points for cash though 650 points is only worth $5.
Make Extra Money through Your Social Network
There are two methods here. If you have a website or just a strong social media following, you may be able to make extra cash through affiliate sales. This is basically just advertising, but it’s a little more direct than through search ads like Google Adwords.
You sign up for an account through one of the affiliate companies and fill out some information about your website or social network. The idea is to match your online reach with products that are most appropriate to the audience. Your network of 40-something professionals is probably not going to be interested in the trendy new teen gadget.
Once you sign up for a few of the relevant products, you can copy image ads or text links to share over your network. You get a commission when someone clicks on the ad and buys the product or service. The commissions (between $25 and $150) are much higher than typical online advertising, but you only get paid if someone makes a purchase. This kind of affiliate advertising works best when you can describe the product/service through a post on a website, but I’ve seen it work for people that just sent it with a quick note through their social networks.
Conversant, formerly Commission Junction has a large list of sellers for which you can sell.
Amazon has recently launched a really interesting affiliate program, and I plan to write a whole article on it in the future. It’s a little different from others. You set up a page on Amazon and fill your ‘store’ with other people’s products. Then you drive people to your store and earn a commission on anything they buy.
Clickbank is probably the most well-known affiliate site and has a huge list of sellers.
The other idea here is another new one to me but seems to be picking up a following. Companies are paying people to tweet out their website links, press releases, and promotional offers. You sign up with one of the websites linked below, which works like regular online advertising. You set the price you want to tweet out someone’s message, and advertisers pay for the tweet.
You’re probably not going to make much more than a dollar or two for each tweet, and you really need to manage it wisely. Blasting out tons of sponsored tweets will alienate your friends, and you’ll lose followers. You also want to check the website where the tweeted link redirects and decide if that is really the message you want to be sending out to followers.
Make Extra Money being the Next Internet Mogul
I’ve got a friend that makes big money buying and selling internet domains. Of course, he’s been at it for nearly two decades and has his own software that helps find domains. You can still make good money buying and selling domains or finished websites even if you're not at that level.
There are quite a few sites that list domain auctions, a few are listed below. The idea is to snap up a domain that could be popular on search or buy a site that hasn’t been managed well. You can sit on the domain and try to sell it later for a higher price, or you might even try developing the website a little. Some domains are being actively sold by the owners, while others have just lapsed because the owner abandoned them.
Take it from someone that manages two blogs that he started from scratch, building traffic and search ranking is not easy. There is a big market out there for someone that can buy a domain, develop it a little and then sell it to someone looking for a long-term project.
Your Imagination is the Limit to Making Extra Cash
There are a ton of other scams and some legitimate ways to make extra cash online and just as many ways to make a little extra offline in your free time. I’d love to hear about your experience with any of the above methods or anything I left out. New ways to make extra cash are being discovered daily by people using their imagination to figure out how to provide a service that either someone else can’t do or doesn’t want to do.
Just remember that few of these are “easy”; otherwise, everyone would be doing them. Start with something you enjoy doing so you will be happy making any money at all. Then, you can develop it over time into a real earning project.
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.