In this post: When it comes to how to make money online, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and maybe even a little confused. Let this mega guide lead the way to clarity and excellent options.
My name is Angie Nelson. There was a time where I was right where you may be now. I’d had enough of the cubicle farm, and I was going to find a way to escape. Jumping to another corporate job wasn’t going to make me happy. I wanted to be in control of my future. I needed to get out of the office politics. I started a hunt to learn how to make money from home legitimately and for the long run. I read and researched and read some more and finally decided to start my online business was the way to go. I started my Virtual Assistant business in 2007.
After receiving a number of emails from people each week asking me how to start their own business or if I was hiring, I started blogging about my home business journey as a one-stop shop for those seeking help.
Whether you are looking for home business ideas, marketing information or how to earn an income from blogging, you will find it on The Work at Home Wife. I aim to provide valuable information about how to make money from home, tools of the trade and how to reach those goals that will provide you with the means to earn a living online without having to live online.
I invite you to join me as my journey continues. Every moment of working at home is a learning process. The online world changes daily. I try to keep my readers up to date.
Regardless of where you are in your journey of trying to learn more about how to make money online, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and maybe even a little confused. Maybe you have run across hundreds of options to choose from, or maybe you have even found a few people telling you there is only one path to real success.
I have been making money online since 2007. I started researching my options long before that. You have hundreds of legitimate options to choose from. Some may require an investment. Some you may be able to start for free. Some opportunities may be working for a big company. In some, you may be working for yourself.
On this page, I want to break down some of your options into a more easy-to-process manner. I’ll give you a short introduction and then a list of links to other posts I have written where you can learn more about the topic.
The most important thing you can do for yourself while learning how to make money online and from home is to take action. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in learning that you never make the first move towards making your dreams come true. Educate yourself, but take action on what you have learned.
What are the benefits of making money online?
There are so many reasons people choose to work from home:
- A more flexible schedule to allow for taking care of children or aging parents
- Being able to travel
- The opportunity to create an income you desire regardless of your experience or education
- Save money on childcare
- More independence to work on projects that are important to you
- A more flexible schedule that allows for volunteer work
- No more office politics
- The ability to work with your internal creative clock instead of against it
- No more commute time
What do I need to make money on the internet?
When it comes to landing – and keeping – a work-at-home job, there are a few basic tools you should definitely have in your bag. Here are my top picks:
A quality computer and other hardware.
If you want to work from home, you need to have a computer – and a few other things too. When you first start out as a remote worker, you may not have a lot of capital to pour into buying the latest hardware. That’s okay; just make sure that you buy smart.
Think about the type of jobs you hope to land – unless you’re a graphic designer, you probably don’t need the snazziest iMac or MacBook around. Purchase a new or refurbished computer that will last you for some years and has sufficient specs to keep up with changes in office suite software and Internet-based apps.
Some work-at-home jobs, like customer service, will have a list of equipment requirements that need to be met. This is to ensure you have a stable and secure connection when processing customer requests. Other jobs, like freelance writing, may have no equipment or internet speed requirements at all. You can literally do your job anywhere anytime.
If you are looking into the steady paycheck of customer service, this is a typical requirements list. Each company is different, so please refer to the individual listing for that company's requirements. *A desktop or laptop less than 3 years old*Minimum speed is 2GHz of processing *Windows operating system, usually Windows 7 or 8. The exception would be Mac-specific positions like Apple At-Home Advisors. *20 GB free hard disk space*2 GB of RAM (some companies require up to 8 GB RAM)*sound and video card*DSL, Fiber Optic or Cable internet
Read product reviews before you buy. Decide whether a desktop or a laptop is best to suit your needs (Ex. You will likely need a desktop to get a customer service position. On the other end of the spectrum, proofreading can be done on a tablet if necessary.) And, while you’re budgeting for new hardware, don’t forget to factor in a good headset – many remote jobs require them. (To increase your marketability, you can also add a decent mic and an all-in-one printer. Or even a foot pedal if you’re going into transcription.)
A functional self-management system.
Working from home takes a lot of self-discipline. Before you become a remote worker, make sure you have a good system for keeping yourself organized and on task. Use whatever works for you – make a bullet journal, organize your duties on Trello, keep a detailed Google Calendar with Calendly for setting meetings. Just make sure you have a self-management scheme that keeps you going. I really like the new Focused Collection from Erin Condren.
A comfortable workspace.
Many work-from-home jobs that you find will require you to sit at your computer for long periods each day. So it’s super important that you have a comfortable space to work! Even if it’s just a comfortable chair pulled up to an old table that’s the right height, or a spot on your couch, put some thoughtfulness for your future self into your home office. Your body will thank you. (Oh, and make sure it’s in a quiet spot!)
Companies that Hire for Work from Home
There are so many large companies that hire remote workers to work online. We are talking about everyone from small mom-and-pop shops that can’t afford the overhead of office space and health insurance to Fortune 500 companies like Amazon and Apple. (Yes. Those companies actually hire people to work from home!)
The larger the company, the more requirements and prerequisites they likely have in place. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even though you may need a newer computer, they may be offer health insurance and a full-time schedule. There’s always a trade-off. Know that more scheduling freedom and flexibility and less management oversight may mean lesser pay or no benefits.
Below are some great posts filled with companies that may be looking for you! Some will have a nice mix of industries; others will allow you to dive deep based on your experience and interests.
- 150 Real Work from Home Jobs
- Stay at Home Jobs
- Virtual Assistant Jobs
- Teach English Online
- Proofreading Jobs
- Search Engine Evaluation
- Work from Home Healthcare Jobs
- Part-Time Work from Home
- Customer Service Jobs
- 100 Legit Work-at-Home Companies
- Jobs That Pay Weekly
- Work at Home Employee Positions
- Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners
- Data Entry Jobs from Home
- Great Ways to Make Money from Home
- No Fee Work-at-Home Jobs
- 101 Home-Based Jobs
- Full-time Work at Home Jobs
- Travel Agent Jobs
- Take Reservations
- Paralegal Jobs
- Online Tutoring Jobs
- Companies Hiring Nationwide
- Location Specific Jobs
- Resources for Retirees
- Bachelor's Degree Required
- Jobs for Introverts
- No Sales
- Closed Captioning Jobs
- No Landline Required
- Jobs Offering Paid Training
- Even More Work-From-Home Ideas
How to Make Money Online with a Home Business
Maybe you don’t want to work for someone else. Maybe you want total control over your schedule and your future. That’s cool too. Home business opportunities are plentiful.
- Create Your Own Job
- Selling on Amazon
- Pinterest Assistant
- Sell Used Books
- How to Make Money on eBay
- Home Business Opportunities
- Direct Sales Companies
- Make Money with Retail Arbitrage
- Home Business Ideas
- Become a Virtual Assistant
- Become a Social Media Manager
- Bookkeeping Jobs
Ways to Earn Extra Money
This next category is one of my favorites. And, it applies to almost everyone looking for a good side hustle. Why? Because it is something everyone should be doing regardless of whether they are looking for a little something to earn a few pennies during commercial breaks that requires minimal effort or they are looking to create a full-time income from home.
- Passive Income Ideas
- Sell Photos Online
- Ways to Make Money at Home
- Ways to Make Extra Money
- Ibotta Review
- Swagbucks Review
- Apps that Pay You Money
- Get Paid to Watch Videos
- Make $10 a Day Online
- Make Money with mTurk
- Make Money as a DoorDash Delivery Driver
- Professional Grocery Shopper
- Get Paid to Drive
- Money-Making Apps
- Transcription for Beginners
- Make Money on YouTube
- Micro Job Sites
Ways of Making Money Online that You May be Overlooking
When it comes to ways of making money online, our minds usually head straight to things like customer service for a company such as Amazon or blogging – because that’s what everybody is doing. Right? Well, there are so many options in between that you may be overlooking.
Some of the ideas we are talking about today will allow you to use your knowledge, interests, and experience to make money. Because these are areas you know, it may not take much to get yourself set up for success.
Sell Your Knowledge
Our first overlooked opportunity is selling your knowledge. In this instance, we are talking about creating a course or eBook that you can make available for purchasing online. Because of the automation available today, you may be able to put in the work once when creating your packaged information and then enjoy those checks coming in for months or years to come.
If you are in need of immediate cash, this is a project you will want to start on the side as the return may not be immediate. That being said, this is a passive income idea you should definitely take advantage of. Who doesn’t want to make money while they sleep or travel?
- In a past post, we talked to Darrell Gurney who has had over 1,000 students enroll in his course on Udemy. This is a course he charges $200 to take.
- We have also talked to ladies earning a full-time income selling digital products from travel guides to eBooks on Amazon and e-junkie.
- Here is a great list of online research jobs
Get Paid for Your Referrals
I love referral and affiliate marketing. It’s where the vast majority of my income comes from these days. Even if you aren’t a blogger, you can get in on the action as well. You can get paid to refer your friends to a wide variety of legitimate services. While there are many companies like StitchFix that will give you store credit for referrals, we are focusing on those that offer cold, hard cash today. Keep in mind, you will need to be signed up for the program yourself to take advantage of the program. But, you shouldn’t be referring people to things you don’t use anyway.
- Ebates has long been one of my favorite services and they offer an awesome referral program. This service pays members cash back on their online purchases – and some in-store purchases now. When you refer your friends, you will earn $5 per person when they make their first purchase of $25 or more. They also offer some stellar bonuses if you can refer a number of people. And, they offer a $10 gift card for new members.
- Ibotta is another great cash back program that your friends may want to join. This one offers rebates on groceries. We all need groceries. You get paid $10 for every two friends you refer. You will also get a $10 bonus when you sign up.
- Swagbucks is a program to consider if your friends and family want to make a little extra cash doing things like surveys or watching videos. You will earn 10% of their earnings once they are on your team. And, you will receive a bonus when you sign up.
If there are programs you use and love, take a look around their website for a referral or affiliate program. You will often find a link at the bottom of the website. Don’t spam your friends. Keep it classy.
Help Others Do What You Do (coaching & consulting)
There are so many ways you can make money helping other people succeed and reach their goals. Depending on your background and education, you may be able to offer services as a business consultant, wellness coach and more.
- The founder of coach.me told us that they have had coaches earn up to $7,000 in just one day. Though that’s likely out of reach unless you have an engaged following already, you may be able to get in on some of their other offerings.
Sell Your Knowledge II (writing)
Maybe you don’t want all of the maintenance that comes with creating and upkeeping courses and eBooks. Maybe you don’t mind writing about your interests, but you just want to be done with it once it’s completed. Don’t worry. You’ve got so many options when it comes to freelance writing and many pay pretty well.
- Here is a list of sites that pay $50 and up for unique articles and blog posts.
- Here are over 200 ways you can get paid to write everything from greeting cards to online ads.
- Shauna Huston shared with us how she makes extra money offering resume writing services on Etsy.
Work at Home Job Search Tips
Now that you know where you want to work, you need to apply. Be aware that the competition for remote positions is high. For every one job opening, there may be hundreds or thousands of applicants. But, don’t let that deter you! You can’t get a job if you don’t submit an application. Plain and simple. No one is going to magically show up on your doorstep offering you a great gig. You have to go get it.
When it comes to looking for jobs, I recommend the following job boards:
- FlexJobs – researching all leads to ensure no scams, no business opportunities, nothing that doesn't have flex potential.
- Indeed – huge job board, you will need to perform due diligence to ensure listings are legitimate
- Freelance Writer's Den – this site offers online training and a job board for freelance writers
You will find some of my best tips in the following post: how to find a work-at-home job.
Recommended Books & Courses
Can You Really Work from Home Stuffing Envelopes?
I remember seeing ads to work from home stuffing envelopes way back when I was in high school. That was over 20 years ago. Now, you may be thinking, if these ads are still around it must be legit. Not so fast!
What these opportunities typically turn up to be is a pyramid scheme. You pay a fee to signup. You then receive a flyer saying how great stuffing envelopes is and list of names and addresses to mail said flyer. IF those people pay that signup fee so they can mail that flyer too, you get paid a small referral fee. ONLY if they take the bait do you get paid.
The #1 reason people get scammed when looking for work from home is that they think they can make big money doing little to nothing. That just isn’t how it works. If it did, don’t you think I’d be back there stuffing envelopes right now?
Don’t fall for this stuff. If it looks too good to be true, you already know it is.
Who hires people with no work-at-home experience?
It can take some time to land a work-from-home job. And it can get frustrating when you run into job leads that say “previous experience required.” But, there is hope! There are actually quite a few industries that are a little more lenient. Check out this post:
I have small kids/pets/live in an apartment building, so I can’t get a phone job that requires no background noise. What are my options?
While customer service positions are some of the most readily available to those looking to work from home, they aren’t a good fit for many. The good news is there are some customer service positions that allow you to assist customers by way of email or chat. You should also consider alternate industries like transcription, search evaluation and writing. Learn more about those opportunities and others at:
- Beginner’s Guide to Non-Phone Work-at-Home Jobs
- Stay-at-Home Jobs for Moms
- Jobs for Homeschool Moms
- Jobs for Moms Who Love to Write
- Flexible & Fun Jobs
- Night Jobs
How can I get started as a freelance writer if I don’t have experience?
Freelance writing is such a great industry to get involved in if you want to work remotely. There’s plenty of work available and it’s typically one of the most flexible gigs in terms of scheduling. (You can often do the work whenever and wherever you choose.) Even better, it’s pretty easy to get started with a degree or previous writing experience. Read more at Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners
I want to start a blog, but I don’t know where to start.
Blogging can be a great side hustle. Though the income may not be steady and it can take awhile to get rolling, there are a few steps you can take to ensure success. I would recommend that before you start thinking about money, you start thinking about the topics you are truly passionate about. What can you talk about and learn about for days? That’s exactly what you’ll be doing for years to come, after all. Get some more tips on starting a blog here: How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 7 Steps
What do virtual assistants do? How can I get started?
Virtual Assisting has come to encompass so many things over the past few years. Some virtual assistants handle entry level tasks like making appointments or monitoring an email address. Others specialize in more advanced fields like scheduling book tours and podcasting.
The good news is you can create a business around your strengths and even learn new skills as you go. Here are a few posts that will help you learn more about the industry:
I want to work for myself but I am on a budget.
One of the reasons home businesses are so popular is that they often require very little investment. Depending on the business, you may be able to start working with what you have and make upgrades and investments as you go. Here are a few opportunities for you to consider:
I’ve fallen for scams before. Where can I find legitimate companies hiring?
Falling into a scam is a total bummer. But, it happens to the best of us. Rest assured, there are thousands of great legit opportunities out there waiting for you. The companies in these posts are on the up-and-up and frequent hire for work at home.
I’m looking for something part-time/flexible.
Flexibility and freedom are two things that make working from home so appealing. I know it’s why I love it so much! For those of us preferring to work on our own schedules and with an hourly commitment of our choosing, you have some awesome options available. Check out these posts to learn more:
- Top 10 Flexible Jobs
- Easy Online Jobs
- Great Ways to Earn Money in 2019
- Make Money in Your Spare Time
- Social Media Evaluation
Is FlexJobs legit?
FlexJobs is 100% legit. While it may not be necessary for everyone, if you have limited time available to dig around on the internet and vet companies for legitimacy it’s well worth the investment. They research each job lead to make sure it is truly remote or flexible and it isn’t a scam. I’ve had a membership for a very long time and find it well worth the small investment.
If you are looking for companies that hire beginners, here’s one of my favorite searches within FlexJobs. Once you join try hitting the Advanced Search tab > Telecommuting Level 100% > Career Level Entry-Level. You can also hit buttons for full-time, flexible, employee/freelance and more to find just what you are looking for.
I don’t have a desktop/laptop. Is there anything I can do to make money with just a tablet?
The awesome thing about working at home is you get to decide the kind of work you want to do and you can usually decide what type of equipment you want to use – with the exception of many customer service positions, of course.
If you only have a laptop or tablet, or just want to work on the go, you have some great options waiting for you.
Where can I find legit work-at-home jobs?
One of the best places, of course, is my website TheWorkAtHomeWife.com. I share new opportunities and job leads each week. And one of the best ways to stay in-the-know is to sign up for my weekly newsletter. When you do, I will send you a free 7-day course that will introduce you to working from home.
What about taxes?
Many work-at-home companies hire you as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee. That means you are responsible for submitting your own tax payments. Taxes won't be taken out of your check like you are probably used to. It's so important that you keep good records of your income – and expenses. I highly recommend Quickbooks Self-Employed.
Any other recommendations?
You can see the tools I use to work at home like a pro here.
Published December 2016. Updated December 2018.