Whenever we begin a new year, I start hearing from readers looking for ways to make money from home. Oftentimes, they’re excited about having a fresh start with their finances and want to make extra money to do “adulty” things like boost their savings account or increase their retirement savings.
No matter what month it is, it’s never too late to make money from home!
Make Money From Home: Earn Extra Cash or Even a Full Time Income
Working from home for extra money has been growing in popularity. According to a study conducted by Upwork in the summer of 2020, 36% of U.S. workers had done some freelancer work in the past 12 months, and 88% of freelancers said they were likely to keep doing it.
It’s not just for side hustle freelance work, either. There’s good money to be made.
It’s totally possible to earn enough legit money to create a full-time income from the comfort of your home. (I know because I’ve done it!)
Whatever your skills, talents, or interests — and your financial goals — there’s never a shortage of new work from home ideas.
If you’re ready to start, here are 20 legitimate ways to earn real money from home.
1. Teach English Online
Did you know there are a ton of children in foreign countries who are eager to learn English? And, companies are looking for native English speakers to tutor those kids.
Even if you don’t have a teaching degree or current certificate, you may be able to make money teaching English online. This is a great side gig for those working a full-time job since it has a flexible schedule. Peak hours are early mornings, evenings and on weekends.
The pay is pretty good, too! Some ESL tutors are paid up to $21 per 40-minute class. Some companies also offer bonuses in addition to their base pay.
If you’re interested in helping spark a love of the English language for ESL students, here are a few companies for your consideration:
2. Be a College Test Prep Tutor
College prep is important. Test scores matter and incoming students want to do well on the ACT or SAT. If you have strong skills in reading, writing, or math, you can tutor high school students to help them prepare for their college entrance exams.
Jen Henson was a teacher in Ohio when she was approached by her principal to tutor an athlete preparing for ACT testing. He had a full-ride offer from a college but need the test scores to gain admission and seal the deal. Jen successfully prepped this student, and he is in the NFL today! After hearing about these results, other coaches began approaching her.
Jen taught full-time and tutored on the side as long as she could. But in 2018, she decided she could no longer handle both. And her side hustle had grown enough that she was able to walk away from her 22-year teaching career to pursue ACT test prep full-time.
She discovered a lot of fulfillment in the work she’s doing now. She enjoys helping students gain confidence in their knowledge and believe in themselves. Her students have gone on to incredible success in sports and academics. However, Jen’s biggest accomplishment is all of those who she has helped secure a free education or a spot at their dream college because of their ACT test scores.
If you are ready to help make a difference in the lives of students, you might be a great College Test Prep tutor.
Companies hiring in this field:
- Aim-for-A Tutoring
3. Become a Courier
Many of my readers aren’t keen on the idea of becoming a rideshare driver. And I agree that being alone in a car with strangers can be a little intimidating. If you’re looking to earn money with your car, without any awkward conversations or backseat drivers, becoming a courier is a great alternative.
Sites like Postmates, UberEats, Amazon Flex and others can be a great opportunity to earn extra cash delivering everything from lunch to packages. These can be good side hustles with flexible schedules. In some areas, I have also seen a big boom in medical courier opportunities, and the pay for these is not too shabby!
You will need a car that meets company requirements, plus insurance, to start making deliveries. However, some companies will let you become a courier without a car. Bicycle or walking delivery gigs are often found in large cities.
4. Share Your Stuff
“Peer sharing” continues to grow in popularity. So, if you have a big-ticket item or two, you can rent it out for others to use.
RVs, sailboats (see Sailio), cars…what do you have that other people want to use but don’t want to have to purchase on their own?
It doesn’t even have to be an expensive item. KitSplit lets you lend out professional-grade cameras. If you have purchased something and you aren’t using it all the time, look and see if you can get some income by letting other people borrow it.
5. Rent Your Knowledge
You have likely heard of subscription boxes such as Birchbox and Julep. While almost anyone can start a subscription box service, they can be incredibly labor-intensive, and the profit margin usually isn’t so great for those operating on a small scale.
But you don’t have to give up on a subscription service entirely. Did you know you could start a subscription for your knowledge that’s almost pure profit? With sites like SubHub or Patreon, you can offer a monthly membership offering anything. You can offer monthly meal plans, workout plans, or even something like crochet or knitting patterns.
The sky’s the limit. You do need to provide new content on a consistent schedule to keep your customers happy, so it’s not totally passive income, but if there is something your friends are always looking to you for new ideas, you may have an easy little side business on your hands.
6. Get More Cash Back
Who doesn’t love cashback opportunities like Rakuten? It’s one of my favorite ways to earn extra money with little or no extra work. You just click through the link on the app before you shop online, and you earn money back for qualified purchases.
Rakuten isn’t the only cashback company. If you are looking for in-store cashback opportunities, Ibotta is my favorite website for that. Earn rebates on your groceries and everyday purchases. They also have typical in-app and travel purchases that can help you earn more.
Getting cash back for doing something you were planning on anyway is a no-brainer. It’s the easiest way to earn money from home on this entire list and definitely a strategy I recommend to anyone trying to bring in a little extra.
7. Invest Your Change
We all know we should be investing money, but it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. This is especially the case for those with limited dispensable cash or inconsistent income. Acorns is an app that will allow you to round up your everyday purchases and invest that spare change.
Stockpile is another micro-investing platform I love. While you may be unable to rack up a sizeable check each month, you may not notice an extra $0.25 tacked onto your morning Starbucks. But those small additions really can add up and grow over time.
8. Refer Your Friends
How many times have you told your friends about a great service or product you love? Could you have been compensated for that referral?
Many companies today have refer-a-friend programs that will pay you in cash or store credit for bringing them new customers. Several of the programs mentioned in this post so far have referral programs, including Ibotta and Rakuten. Once you’ve signed up, look in your online profile to learn how the program works.
Often you will have a special affiliate marketing link to share. You can post it on social media like Facebook or include it in an email. If it’s a product or service you are asked about a lot, it may even be worth your time to get cards printed up with your link that you can hand out.
9. Turn Audio Files into Text
Transcription is a work-at-home opportunity that has been around for years. Recently, there has been an influx of short task and crowdsourcing sites popping up offering transcription services at an affordable rate and a quick turnaround. That’s good news for those new to working from home.
These small task sites like Rev.com and TranscribeMe may not require prior transcription experience. That opens a door for those looking to give transcription a try. Then if you like it, you can continue to pursue larger transcription gigs.
Transcription is production-based pay in most cases. That means the faster and more accurate you can listen to those audio files and type them into text, the more you can get paid.
Once you have a little experience under your belt, start applying to those better-paying transcription jobs. There’s no shortage of them!
10. Get Into Specialized Transcription
There are always a ton of transcription jobs out there, and it’s one of the most commonly suggested gigs for work-at-home newbies. However, run-of-the-mill transcription also doesn’t generally pay that well.
Where earning a respectable transcription income comes in is in specializing so that you can do more specific and sensitive transcribing quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Some transcription skills you can only get through transcription experience, but other skills may come from your background or require you to complete a certification via an online course.
If you’d like to specialize in medical transcription, there are certification courses you can take. You can also benefit from having healthcare-related experience so you’re familiar with the terminology.
The same applies for legal transcription – you can do a certification course, and it’s helpful if you know legal lingo or even have legal reference materials at home. If you’d like to do law enforcement transcription, that most often has overlapping requirements with legal transcription.
11. (Get Someone Else to) Cancel Your Subscriptions
Did you forget to cancel that subscription box service again? We all sign up for subscriptions that we eventually don’t want to keep getting.
But, as I’m sure you have discovered, sometimes canceling those subscriptions isn’t so easy. That’s why I love Trim.
What I love about Trim is that they will identify these recurring charges in your bank account. Then they will let you know what you are being charged for and give you the option to have them cancel them.
They will jump through all the cancellation hoops for you. They can send an email, make a phone call or even send a certified letter if that’s what the company requires. This service is currently free. When you sign up you and link your account, you receive personalized spending alerts and reminders, detection and fighting overdraft fees, canceling old subscriptions, and more.
Trim can also negotiate things like your cable bill. For that service, they charge you a percentage of your annual savings. Interested in keeping more of your money in your pocket? Sign up here.
12. Score Tests
I’ve been getting some really good feedback from readers about scoring tests from home. Companies like Measurement, Incorporated hire remote workers on a per-project basis to read and evaluate student tests. These are often temporary positions, with peak times typically from March until June.
Evaluators usually need a bachelor’s degree in any field. You will also need to pass the scoring company’s test and training.
Even though these are temporary positions, many of my readers have mentioned that they are asked back year after year as long as they stick with the guidelines and attendance requirements. This could be a great egg to have in your work-at-home basket if you have a bachelor’s degree!
Companies to check out:
- Measurement, Inc.
13. Create Written Content as a Freelance Writer
If you can write a complete sentence that holds someone’s attention, there will always be work for you on the Internet. I’m not kidding!
The world wide web is constantly hungry for content, and that content doesn’t write itself. So, work on those composition skills you never thought you’d need in “real life,” and put your language talent to work!
This is also one work-at-home job that can be endlessly customized to work for you – you can choose subjects to specialize in, from sports or fashion to European finance or vegan motherhood. Think of a niche you’d like to write about and see what paying opportunities you can find.
You can write articles and blog posts, or ad copy and social media posts. You can ghostwrite for your clients, or build your own successful blog. You can find jobs nearly anywhere, too – from job boards or virtual assistant agencies to personal referrals and building your own site.
Visit my beginner’s guide to get started freelance writing online.
14. Offer Video Services to Others
As mentioned above, freelance writing is a great opportunity to bring in extra income with a flexible schedule. But it’s not the only one! Another lucrative content creation opportunity has arrived.
Video is all the rage these days. And many people don’t like creating their own. If you can turn your client’s written content into professional, high-quality video, you may find yourself with no shortage of business.
And these don’t necessarily need to be you in a “talking head” video. They could be PowerPoint presentations, screencasts, photomontages, graphic design animations and more. Use an optimization service like TubeBuddy to help them get even better rankings and engagement on YouTube.
15. Help Solve Problems as a Customer Service Representative
I know not everyone dreams to work in customer support, but getting on with a virtual call center is one of the best ways to land an employee job online. (An employee job — aka remote work — means you’re employed with the company and are not an independent contractor. Employee jobs tend to come with regular hourly pay and other perks like benefits packages.)
Customer support is also an ever-growing remote field as more and more companies shift their customer service departments to virtual call centers. If you need a regular gig with reliable pay, this is one opportunity you should seriously consider.
You can find some flexibility here, from working during business hours to working during the evening (plus weekends and holidays). These positions also require you to have a home computer with high-speed Internet access (they’ll check), and sometimes a headset.
Keep your eyes open for positions offered by:
- Sutherland Cloudsource
- and others
16. Create Viral Content as a Social Media Manager
Did you ever guess that your obsession with Twitter or Pinterest could become a key employability skill? I know!
When you start using Pinterest, you think it’ll be a little harmless fun, and then you’ve got hundreds of boards with thousands of pins on DIY projects you’re never going to do and recipes you’re never going to make (sorry, real talk) – but you also understand all the lingo, know who the influencers are, and have an experienced eye for what makes an enticing Pinterest post.
Maybe this same story applies, except with Facebook (you know the power of groups and how FB ads work), Instagram (you’re always up on the latest trending hashtags), or Twitter (you follow all the influencers in your niche).
Any way you slice it, this experience has been preparing you for the role of social media manager. This tends to be an independent contractor gig, but you can make a pretty penny if you can help a small business owner with digital marketing: building buzz and creating social media followers for the brand. So if you can write a mean tweet (in a good way) or create an attractive pin with your graphic designer skills, consider going full social: check out my post on how to become a social media manager.
17. Bring Ideas to Life Through Coding
Coding – whether for developing apps or designing websites – is another great way to make money from home! It’s a pretty egalitarian business as well, since you can teach yourself to code in many languages and you can code from wherever you are.
At its most basic, all you need is a computer (or laptop or tablet), an Internet connection for connecting with project files or far-flung colleagues, and a text editor. (The software involved can get more complicated than that, as you go along.)
More and more small businesses see the need for customized websites, and many startups are trying to create the next big app. That means there are plenty of opportunities for you to make a living along the way.
SQL, Java, and Python are also great languages to have experience in if you’d like to work in software development in general. Like freelance writing, you can get experience on the job and increase your rates (or salary expectations) as you complete projects or add more practical experience and earned certifications to your skillset.
If you are a WordPress expert, you can find freelancing opportunities on the Codeable site.
18. Lend a Helping Hand as a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistant jobs are super popular with the work-at-home crowd and it’s no wonder! Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. And when they do, everyone from small business owners to entrepreneurs to corporate leaders turn to the Internet to find virtual assistants. They’re looking for people who can handle everything from sorting their email to managing their schedules to making their travel arrangements. And that’s just one small example!
If you work with a web development company, you may find yourself creating social media schedules for their clients or writing copy for various websites. You might work with an attorney and make non-sensitive client calls or with an entrepreneur who needs you to do market research for the product they’re developing.
There are so many skills you can offer as a virtual assistant. The job truly is a real way for you to tap into your current skillset and create your own job from home. Becoming a VA can basically work for anyone. (Well, anyone who is organized, responsive, and has solid communication skills.) If that sounds like you, you can find a job at a multi-VA firm:
- Time Etc.
Or, check out my How to Become a Virtual Assistant guide as well!
19. Share Your Opinion in an Online Survey (or 50 of Them)
You have an opinion. Did you know you can get paid to share it with a survey site? That’s right – there are companies that want to pay you to take surveys.
While you won’t get rich answering survey questions, this is a great way to earn a little bit of extra money from home in the evenings while you’re watching TV.
Typically, you sign up for an account and answer a basic questionnaire. This helps match you with surveys you will qualify for. Then, when surveys are available, you share your opinions. When you submit your answers, you get points that you can turn into cash or a gift card.
20. Land a Remote Job
Want a way to make money from home without hustling up clients on your own or trying to deal with self-employment taxes? There are plenty of companies hiring remote workers.
Often you will need to apply online and then go through an interview process. Most companies will check to see that you meet technical requirements and have the skills needed to succeed.
Here are a few you can use to start your search:
- Enterprise Holdings
- American Express
- UnitedHealth Group
And those are just a handful of the many companies actively seeking remote employees. FlexJobs is my absolute favorite resource for helping people make money from home, so I highly recommend signing up with them if you’re serious about finding a work from home job.
How to Get Started Making Money From Home
You’ve seen plenty of different ways to make money from home … but unless you decide to act you will never actually earn anything.
Look over the list again. Pick one or two things that you can do during this season of life. If you’re a stay at home mom and time is really tight, maybe you just take some surveys each night and sign up for Rakuten to earn cashback. If you have a little extra time, maybe while the kids are napping, consider starting your own freelance business and picking up some flexible client work.
Don’t have a computer? Don’t let that stop you. Download a money-making app on your phone and start earning a little bit each day.
Set a reminder on your phone to help you remember. Or add it to your calendar. And when the time comes, do it. Take action.
To help motivate you, create a goal. Are you going to earn enough to pay off your credit card? Or replace your current income? The sky really is the limit when it comes to making money from home. But the money won’t magically fall into your account. You do have to work for it.
The good news? You can do this. I know you can!
Originally published December 2017. Updated February 2021.