How to Make Money – Ways to Earn without a “Regular” Job

Updated November 27, 2017 – There are lots of ways to make money in the world. Some require more work (and you earn more money). Some are easy (but you don’t earn as much). Below we offer over 20 ideas on how you can make money, both in the real world or online from home. Which ways are best for you? It depends on how far you’re willing to go, but all are legitimate. We’ve tried to loosely rank these money-making ideas based on a combination of ease and pay:

  • Become a driver for Uber and/or Lyft — Take people where they want to go, using your own car. Earn money per ride plus (possibly) tips. Work when you have availability instead of on a set schedule. Easy to get started, but must have own car and a willingness to drive strangers in it.
  • Do customer service from home – See our Best Work from Home Job Opportunities for info on how you can sit on the phone at home, making money from well-known companies like Amazon, Enterprise, Hilton, and more.
  • Sell your stuff — This is actually two ideas. You can sell your old stuff — furniture, electronics, whatever — on sites like Craigslist, eBay, etc., or you can sell things you yourself have created on sites like Etsy. Some people actually act as middlemen by going to garage sales or police auctions or buying cheap on Craigslist and then turning around and “flipping” their cheap purchases for more money.
  • Do odd jobs with TaskRabbitTaskRabbit is sort of an Uber for odd jobs. You sign up as a potential “tasker” and you get local task opportunities fed to you through the TaskRabbit app. If you choose to take on a task and complete it, you get paid. Tasks include deliveries, handyman/repair jobs, cleaning, moving help, furniture assembly, and more.
  • Sell your plasma – People joke about selling their plasma for fast money, but you can really do it, and that plasma will be put to good use. (Otherwise no one would pay you for it, right?) You’ll have to get poked with a needle for this (and lose some plasma), so you’ll definitely feel like you earned the money. Go here to find a plasma donor center near you.
  • Be A Mystery Shopper – You see ads for this online all the time, but probably the best bet to find “legit” opportunities is to start with the list of companies listed on the MSPA site. (MSPA is a trade organization for the mystery shopping industry.) If you don’t know, being a mystery shopper means you are sent to businesses to pretend you are a real customer, and you are paid to evaluate the customer service experience you received.
  • Evaluate search engines – Hook up with a company like Leapforce or Lionbridge that uses at-home workers to evaluate the results that search engines produce.
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk – Get paid per Human Intelligence Task (HIT), doing things ranging from finding contact information for companies to transcribing a piece of audio to doing surveys. The more things you do well (and the more skills you have), the more chances you get for higher-paying opportunities.
  • Fiverr – You need some skills for this, but it’s a way for you to quickly provide value to small businesses looking for help from writers, designers, transcriptionists, musicians, Web developers, and more. You can do these small jobs from home.
  • Do online surveys – Honestly this is not going to make you a lot of money (less than minimum wage likely) but you can do it at home and online, and it generally won’t affect any other job you have. Sign up with sites like Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, and MySurvey to see what’s available. You’ll probably need to sign up with a lot of them to find enough surveys to make it worthwhile.
  • Watch ads and videos – Sites like Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and GrabPoints give you all sorts of small tasks to do to earn points, including watching videos or using their custom search engines. Those points can be converted into cash or gift cards.
  • Rent out your place (or host an “experience”) on Airbnb – Rent out your place when you are away to make extra money. Not comfortable with that? Become an Airbnb experience host, which basically means you run a paid tour of your town or some interesting facet of it.
  • Join the Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel – Not afraid to share your Internet history with a research company? Then you can earn rewards by installing this Nielsen app on your computer and/or mobile phone. While this is mostly a way to earn free rewards and get sweepstakes entries, mobile users who stay in the program at least a year can earn actual money (though less than $50/year).
  • Open a new checking account to get its signup bonus – Last we looked, Chase was offering $200 just to get you to open a new account and start direct deposit. Sure, it’s a bit of a commitment, but is your current bank giving you $200 right now? Also, other banks have deals like this all the time. Move your money around to make more money!
  • Get a credit card with a cash signup bonus – Not recommended unless you have a good credit history, but an easy way to make a quick $100+. Credit cards like the Capital One Quicksilver and many others offer a cash bonus, provided you spend at least $500 on the card in the first few months of having it.
  • Get rebates you’d otherwise miss with Ibotta – Doing coupons and rebates can be a serious pain. Download this app and after you shop you can take a picture of your receipt and they will set you up with the rebates that match your purchases. You’re probably too lazy to find these rebates yourself, so anything you make feels like free money.
  • Blog about your favorite stuff – Start a blog and talk about products you’ve bought or really, really want. You can link to those products as an affiliate and get a cut of the money if your blog visitors make a purchase. You can also add advertisements from Google Adsense or Bing Ads or other companies. It’s less daunting than it sounds. Use free WordPress blog software, link to Amazon.com ads or those via CJ.com, and you’re on your way. Giving you all the details on making this happen would require a blog post of its own, and we haven’t written that post yet! Go explore — you can do this! But it will take time to get up and running, and the money won’t flow right away.
  • Make YouTube Videos – You know things other people don’t know. Start talking to your phone camera and post it. Seriously. Some people are making good money talking about very mundane things on YouTube, why shouldn’t it be you? Note that YouTube won’t start paying you until the total views on your videos have reached 10,000 views, but that’s not quite as difficult as it might seem at first. Make a video about a popular video game and you might get there by tomorrow 🙂
  • Be a virtual assistant – Provide basic administrative tasks online for small businesses or individuals. The more skills you have, the better this could pay. A site like Upwork is a good first step to finding opportunities, but there are others, too.
  • Babysit – Babysitters might make more than you realize, especially if you have a car to take the kiddos places during the day. Child care is big business.
  • Sell your photos or images – If you are a photographer or designer (or would like to be), you can potentially make money by selling your photos/images of places & things via a stock image company. There are many options, including Shutterstock.
  • Participate in a clinical trial or research study – You might think of clinical trials being only for sick people, but many research studies specifically want healthy adult participants. Finding these studies will take some work, but here’s just one example of a company, Covance, that pays for this type of participant.
  • Walk a dog or pet-sit – If you like animals, help people who need their dogs walked or their pets fed and cared for while they are at work or on vacation. People LOVE their pets and you can make good money if you have the flexibility to be there when pet owners can’t be.
  • Register with a temp agency – If you can’t work full time but can get out of the house on certain days (or times of day), a temporary agency may be able to find you work when you are available. Some jobs could be just for a day or two, others could turn into semi-regular gigs. Sign up with multiple agencies so you get multiple opportunities. (But remember agencies might not call if you reject their work too many times, so if you find one giving you good work that fits your schedule, try to keep them happy.)
  • Be a “Standardized Patient” – If you have a medical school near you, there is a good chance they use “standardized patients” to train their doctors. You might have to “act” as a patient using information they supply you, or you might just be yourself while they discuss your medical history. Either way, you’ll get paid for the hours you are a pretend patient. One such program (but there are others): Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
  • Be an “extra” or “background actor” – In most major cities, there are movie, TV, or video productions being shot on a regular basis. These productions often need bodies to stand in the background — you probably think of these people as the “extras” when you watch a movie. You can be one, too, and you’ll make at least minimum wage, maybe more. It will take a little investigation to find the agencies in your town that handle extras (also known as “background actors”), but with the Internet the task is much easier. NOTE: do not ever pay for acting opportunities, being an extra is definitely a “no experience necessary” type of job. (Also, it can be really fun.)