Want to make money, but you’re not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
NerdWallet rounded up 25 legitimate ways to make money — at home or out and about — and listed each option based on how fast you can get started and get paid. While most people prefer fast cash, don’t discount the “slow” gigs, as they may pay more in the long run.
How to make money online or at home
[Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some of these suggestions may not be currently viable, given measures in place to control spread of the virus.]
1. Sell your gently used clothes
Selling clothes you no longer wear is a quick way to make some money. Start with local consignment shops for faster cash or use siteslike ThredUp and Poshmark to find buyers. If you go the online route, be sure to take clear, well-lit photos of your pieces and research similar items to set competitive prices. Get tips on how to sell your clothing.
2. Trade in old phones, electronics for cash
Have an old phone, iPad or gaming system lying around? Sell it on a site like Swappa or Gazelle. Check out Amazon’s trade-in program, which pays participants in Amazon gift cards — and eBay, too. If you’re in a rush, try an ecoATM kiosk, which offers cash on the spot for your device.
3. Become a dog walker or dog sitter
Love dogs? Make money by becoming a dog walker. Apps like Wag and Rover offer on-demand dog walking, so you can pick up walks when your schedule allows. If you have space (and your landlord’s permission, if you rent), you could offer overnight dog boarding. Read the fine print if you sign up for these services
4. Get a babysitting gig
Everyone from college students to recent retirees can make money by watching other people’s children. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are still a great way to get started, but you can also create a profile for free on Care.com or Sittercity to expand your reach. Note any specialized skills, such as CPR certifications or experience with special needs children, to make yourself more marketable.
The Smart Money podcast answers the question,
5. Sell unused gift cards
Make extra money by selling unused gift cards on a site like CardCash or GiftCash. These websites say they will pay you up to 92% of the card’s value. On CardCash, you can also trade in your card for one you’ll use. Read more about what to do with unwanted gift cards.
6. Pick up freelance work online
Make money online through websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com. These sites offer opportunities to do a variety of freelance jobs, such as writing, programming, design, marketing, data entry and being a virtual assistant. Fluent in a second language? Check sites such as Gengo or One Hour Translation, or drum up business through a site of your own. No matter what kind of freelancing you do, keep track of the going rate for the kind of work you provide so you know if you’re charging too much or too little. Learn how to get started on Upwork.
7. Test websites and apps
Another way to make money from home is on sites like UserTesting.com. You get paid for your thoughts on how well — or not so well — certain websites and apps worked. You’ll have to pass a short test to be accepted, then you’ll be paid $10 for each 20-minute test, which involves a recording and answering four follow-up written questions. Or you could earn up to $120 to participate in a video conversation with a customer after your test.
8. Pick up tasks on Amazon's Mechanical Turk
Even in the age of automation, some jobs still require a human touch. Companies often outsource those jobs via services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. As a “worker,” the tasks you’ll be assigned can be tedious — tagging images, transcribing videos, classifying receipts — and can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Temporary employers or “requesters” set the price for each task and get to approve the finished product before paying you. That can leave room for scams, so do your research, and join a community like the MTurk Crowd forum, or the MTurk and Turker Nation subreddits, which can steer you away from shifty dealers. These communities and fellow “workers” can answer questions and give a realistic idea of how much money you can expect to make. Read more about Mechanical Turk as a way to make quick money online.
9. List your spare bedroom on Airbnb
Renting out your home or spare bedroom on vacation rental sites is another way to make extra money. Be prepared to spend some money to clean and keep up the property, replace home goods and pay toward service fees. And scrutinize your rental agreement before you get started. Learn how to become an Airbnb host.
10. Rent out your car
City-dwellers often don’t use their cars for days or weeks at a time. That idle time can translate to extra money with services like Getaround and Turo, which let you rent out your car by the hour or day. You take home the majority of those earnings, while Getaround or Turo takes a cut for protecting your car while it’s being rented.
11. Take surveys for money
You can make money from home by taking online surveys, but don’t expect to be rolling in the dough. Survey sites don’t typically offer a big payoff, and many sites are more useful for earning gift cards than cash. Some of the more popular survey sites include Swagbucks and Survey Junkie. Read our analysis of a dozen survey sites to find out which one is best suited for you.
12. Sign up for TaskRabbit
If you actually enjoy putting together Ikea furniture or standing in long lines, you may be cut out for doing tasks for others. Websites like TaskRabbit can connect you with people who need help with a variety of things, such as moving, cleaning, delivery and handyman services. The site also offers several virtual and online tasks, such as helping with a research project or data entry. Read about how to get started on TaskRabbit.
13. Sell your photography
Turn your photographs into cash via sites like Fine Art America, which lets you upload your images to sell as prints, T-shirts, phone cases and more. Other marketplaces for photographers include SmugMug, 500px and PhotoShelter. Some sites require a subscription but may provide features ranging from cloud storage to password-protected galleries and a customized website.
14. Become a private tutor
Parlay your math, science, foreign-language or test-prep expertise into a lucrative side gig by becoming a private tutor. You can tutor people online or in-person. What you charge can depend on your experience, expertise and what’s in demand. To get started, see what types of tutors are needed on Craigslist or create a profile on sites like Tutor.com or Care.com. You can also advertise your services at local schools and community centers.
15. Make money from your blog as an affiliate
If you’re a blogger who gets decent traffic, you could make money by joining an affiliate network. Affiliates (that’s you) get paid when someone clicks through from the website to the partner site and buys something there. Some bloggers make a lot of money this way. Read more about affiliate marketing and other ways bloggers can make money.
16. Sell your wares on Etsy
Have a penchant for woodworking, jewelry-making, embroidery or pottery? Sell your goods on Etsy, the go-to site for artisans selling home goods, art and knickknacks. Etsy boasts almost 82 million active buyers and grossed over $10 billion in merchandise sales in 2020, according to the website. Learn more about how to make money on Etsy.
17. Get advertising revenue from your blog or YouTube channel
Turn your cat videos into cash videos. If your YouTube videos or blog posts draw a big audience, you may be able to make money from advertising. With Google AdSense, businesses pay to advertise around your content. The service is free, but there are requirements you must meet. Read more about how to make money on YouTube and Google AdSense.
18. Become an Instagram influencer
Companies are using Instagram influencers — people with large, dedicated followings on the platform — to rep their products. You can get in on the action by applying for opportunities via a marketing platform like Open Influence or AspireIQ, or by contacting the brands you want to work with. Read more about how to make money on Instagram.
19. Monetize your Twitch channel
Gaming could be a way to make money from home if you have a steady following on Twitch, the go-to site for gamers. Broadcasters can receive donations from viewers and even get a share of subscription and ad revenue if they reach Affiliate or Partner status. Learn more about how to make money on Twitch.
How to make money offline
20. Drive for Uber, Lyft
Join Uber or Lyft (or both) and make money by driving passengers around. Just don’t forget to factor in gas and maintenance costs. You need an eligible car in good condition and must agree to a background check and a review of your driving history. Learn more about what it takes to drive for Uber and Lyft.
21. Make deliveries for Amazon, Uber Eats
Take advantage of the growing delivery trend and sign up for a service like Instacart, Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash or Amazon Flex. You get paid per delivery, in most cases, and can even earn tips. A car isn’t always required — Postmates and, in some cities, DoorDash, lets you use a bike or scooter to make deliveries. However, a background check almost always is part of the deal. Learn more about how to get started with Amazon Flex, Uber Eats and Instacart.
22. Find work as a housesitter
If you’re willing to watch someone’s home — and maybe feed the pets, water the plants and take out the garbage — become a housesitter. Tap your personal network for referrals or try out HouseSitter.com, which connects homeowners with housesitters. People often make $25 to $45 a day, according to the company’s website.
23. Sign up to be a mystery shopper
Businesses often want to know how they’re performing from a customer’s perspective. Sign up to be their eyes and ears. You can apply online via sites like IntelliShop, BestMark and Sinclair Customer Metrics. Just beware of scams and do thorough research before signing on.
24. Find seasonal work
Need a gig for a few months? Try something seasonal, like being a lifeguard, shoveling snow or working at a retailer during the holidays. Employers typically staff up a month or two ahead of their busy season, so plan ahead to get on their payroll. Check storefront windows, Craigslist and local classifieds for seasonal opportunities.
25. Put your drone to work
The market for drones is expanding. Companies hire out work like aerial inspection, photography and land mapping. So if you’re already a drone enthusiast, why not make extra money with your aircraft? You first need to register it with the Federal Aviation Administration and obtain certification from them for commercial use. Then, you can apply for gigs as a drone pilot. Learn how to make money with drones.
Watch out for scams
The internet is full of opportunities to make money online or from home, but many are questionable, if not outright scams. Be wary of any “opportunity” that asks for an upfront fee, wants you to pay for certification, or requests your Social Security number or any financial information, such as your credit card number.
Still unsure if an opportunity is legit? Look for community forums, like those on Reddit, for unfiltered reviews and complaints. (Workers on TaskRabbit, Uber and Lyft, for example, each have their own subreddit.) Also, check if the company has a Better Business Bureau profile. The BBB assigns ratings based on reported complaints, business transparency and other factors.
Monitor your money during trying times. If you’re facing financial anxiety, NerdWallet can find ways to save. Join for free.