Luckily, there are a million ways to make money. Here are just a few to get you started:
Online jobs you can do in your spare time
These opportunities are like typical jobs — you sign up with a company and they assign you work.
There is a pretty big market for transcription of all kinds, but medical transcription is it’s own beast. You can be trained to transcribe medical voice files online at many colleges, but the price for training varies widely. I found two that offer it for about $550: Ashworth College and Penn Foster. But be sure to do your research and make sure you’re getting what you are looking for. Some employers will even provide their own training or cover the costs.
Most medical transcription jobs are work from home, and there are full- and part-time options available.
At-home customer service
Did you know that sometimes when you call a company the person you are talking to is at home? Pretty cool, huh? There are several companies you can sign up with to have access to at-home call-center jobs:
Be a translator
If you are lucky enough to speak another language, you have a special money-making gift. With today’s global economy you can hire yourself out as a translator. Translate text from one language to another, or make calls for those of us who only speak one language.
Upwork has a whole section just to match translators with clients.
Search engine evaluator
Google, Yahoo, and Bing pay people to evaluate their search results. It seems they pay between $12 and $15 per hour and work can be sporadic, although some people report regular work. Here are some places to start:
Website developers want feedback on their work. Is the site intuitive? Do you like the colors? Is it easy to find what you are looking for? UserTesting pays $10 per site evaluation, which takes about 20 mins. Register on their site and you will be contacted if you fit into the demographics of a site they need reviewed.
Invest your money
You don’t need to have a million dollars to start investing – in today’s market you can start investing with as little as $5.
We recommend checking out robo advisors – companies that will invest your money for you based on certain factors like your risk tolerance or your areas of interest.
One of our favorites is Betterment – they have no minimum investment and very low fees. Their platform is very easy to use – they’re the perfect robo advisor to get novice investors into the game.
Another company we want to highlight is Personal Capital – they specialize in investing in a socially responsible way. So if you want start investing but you want to avoid environmentally unfriendly companies, Personal Capital has you covered.
These businesses require regular contact with live people. That means they typically need to be done during regular daytime hours and with some customer service.
When people are away from their homes for long periods of time they need someone to look after their home. This can be as simple as getting the mail and watering the plants or as complex as actually living there while the owners are away. Housesitting is especially popular in places where there are a lot of second homes, where the owners are away for months, sometimes years. I have family that lives in a very upscale vacation area where caretakers are paid to live in multi-million dollar homes and maintain them while the owners are away!
Babysit or pet sit
If you like kids, babysitting is an excellent way to make extra money. You can take kids full time or just be a weekend warrior while the parents head out on a Friday night. Another option is to look after school-aged kids before and after school.
If kids aren’t your thing, you can always pet sit for people while they are on vacation. This is perfect while you are in school since school breaks tend to coincide with times that people normally go out of town.
Help a disabled person with day-to-day life
Disabled people often need quite a bit of help, yet it can be tough to find. Oftentimes, they just need someone in their home for a few hours a day to help with certain aspects of life, such as getting ready for work, cooking a meal, or changing the sheets on the bed. If you are a caring, dependable person you can make real money helping out a disabled member of your community.
Dog walker/pooper scooper
If you like the idea of pet sitting, but want a more regular income, you can dog walk or scoop poop. If you can walk several dogs at once, you can earn quite a bit for less than an hour’s work per day. Same thing with scooping poop. A local company in my city charges $10 per visit and comes twice a week. They also offer litter box changes, also $10.
Combine dog walker, pooper scooper, and pet sitting and you could really have a profitable business.
Delivery isn’t just for pizza. During their busy times, such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, florists will hire extra drivers to deliver their bouquets. I have several friends who do this for a few days around these particular holidays and it pays about $100 per day.
Rent your parking spot/garage/car
If you live in an urban area where parking costs a premium, you might be able to make a few bucks renting out your parking spot. If you have a garage that you don’t need, or don’t need all of, you can rent out the unused portion as storage for a neighbor.
If you have days that you don’t use your car, you can rent it out. Sites like RelayRides allow you to rent out your personal vehicle for days, weeks, or months. Earn money while you are on vacation or if you are thinking of buying a new car, maybe keep your old one and rent it out for a profit.
If you don’t like the idea of renting out your car for others to drive, you can always drive them around yourself. Uber and Lyft are revolutionizing the cab industry. Learn what it takes to be a driver with Lyft or to drive with Uber. If you live in a metro area and have a reliable car already, being a rideshare driver could be an easy way to make some extra money. Just be aware, you won’t get rich doing it, but it’s definitely a solid way to earn some cash. Lyft is even offering a $300 sign-up bonus if you complete 100 trips in your first 30 days.
Give tours of your city
If there is a particular area of your city you know especially well, you can be hired to give tours. You could be a hiking guide of the trails in your area. Or give tours of local bars, or museums. And it doesn’t have to be long — an hourlong tour might fit perfectly into someone’s vacation schedule.
People will pay a lot of money for a good tour. A local hiking guide in my area charges $135 per person for a 4 hour tour, with a $450 minimum.
Handyman (or woman)
If you are handy around the house, there is work out there for you — doing anything from housecleaning to home repairs. Gardening, window cleaning, “honey-dos,” painting, decorating, hanging pictures — so many tasks need to be done around the house and some people simply can’t do them, or don’t want to do them, and that’s an opportunity for you to step in, help out, and make a few extra bucks.
Run errands, virtually or in person
There are people out there who just need stuff done. Phone calls made, appointments set, emails sent, items returned, dry cleaning picked up, etc. Task Rabbit is a website that matches taskers (that’s you) to those needing tasks. They can be in-person or virtual.
Turn your hobby into a business
If you have a special skill, you can turn it into a little business. The options are truly endless. Some popular ones are:
- Computer repair
- Selling crafts
- Graphic design
I knew a guy who liked to do pig roasts in his backyard for his friends. They were so popular he started a catering business and only does pig roasts. Another guy liked to make pancakes so he started a pancake catering business. Pancakes!
But it doesn’t have to involve food. A good friend of mine hosts coloring parties. She provides the supplies and people pay $10 each to come over and color. Yes, these are adults. She makes a few hundred dollars a month having people over to color. True story.
Online businesses have more flexible hours, although you will still have to deal with people on occasion.
Sell stuff on Facebook/Craigslist/eBay/Amazon
If you have stuff lying around that you don’t use, you could always sell it for a few extra bucks. But if you really want to make a go of this, you can flip items you find at Goodwill or yard sales and turn it into an actual business. You can even take it step further and sell items for other people on consignment.
You are probably familiar with using Craigslist, eBay, and Amazon (at least as a buyer, if not a seller), but Facebook is also becoming a popular place to find buyers, and you don’t need to have 5,000 friends on Facebook to make it work. Here’s an ecourse if you want to learn more.
If you are an organized person with good computer skills, consider becoming a virtual assistant. Depending on your skills you can earn up to $40 per hour doing tasks for busy business owners. You will need to be professional, punctual, and able to work unsupervised.
Create Facebook or Twitter profiles
Business owners are busy and often don’t have the time or desire to attend to details, like making their social profiles look good. If you like this sort of thing, go online and find businesses with terrible profiles. Contact the business owner and offer to create a professional background for a reasonable price.
Writing articles for websites is a great way to make extra money. If you enjoy writing and have an interest and knowledge in a particular subject, you can become a freelance writer. Getting started can be tricky, but once you are established in a particular niche, jobs will start coming more easily. To start, check out a few freelance writing boards such as:
Here is a chance to put your skills to work, and those skills can be anything from graphic design to dancing. Everything on Fiverr is $5, but quite often you can have add-ons so your final sale could be higher. For example, if you design a logo, any revisions could be an additional $5. Or if you are going to type out a handwritten page of text, you could charge $5 per page.
There’s a guy on Fiverr who will write your message on his belly and dance around. Or a woman who will be your friend on Facebook and follow you on Twitter. Or a man who will dress up and say your message like a pirate, or another one who will say your message while brushing his teeth. Clearly, the things you can sell on Fiverr are endless.
If you have experience in human resources, you have inside knowledge on resumes that other people will pay for. Help job seekers with their resumes by reviewing or writing their resumes for them. The company Resume2Hire has a list of services that range from $10 up to $80 — proof that people really do pay for this service.
These ideas aren’t really jobs or businesses, they are more like money-making hacks — things you can do online, in your spare time, to pick up a few extra bucks. The hours are very flexible, and the contact with other people is basically non-existent.
There are companies that will pay you real money to review items or fill out surveys.
Harris Poll is one of the most widely-known and easiest to get started with. Learn more or sign up for free here.
There are also many other survey sites that will pay cash or gift cards for taking online surveys.
Swagbucks calls itself “the rewards site that works”.
Swagbucks is a website where you can earn points called SB and redeem them for gift cards. You earn SB points by shopping through their portal, filling out surveys, watching videos, etc. It’s very popular and free to sign up. They are currently giving a $5 sign up bonus. Learn more or sign up here.
With Ebates, you use their shopping portal to click through to your favorite online stores. When you do that, they will earn a commission for referring you, which they then split with you. If you are going to be shopping online anyways, you might as well get a little cash back.
Inbox Dollars pays you cash for doing things like taking surveys, signing up for newsletters, playing games, etc. They have a ton of offers and pay actual cash, not points.
Be part of a focus group
Focus groups give in-depth analysis of soon-to-be-launched products. However, unlike survey taking, the pay can be significant. Focus-group companies often pay between $50 and $200+ per opportunity. Due to the high pay, competition for each opportunity can be tough. Here are some companies to get you started:
Amazon Mechanical Turk
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a marketplace where companies hire out for simple jobs that are almost mechanical — such as looking at pictures of receipts and filling out a form to state what has been purchased and for how much. Or editing a 100-word survey response. Or looking at a website and counting how many items are for sale on a page. They don’t pay a lot per job but they are quick and brainless to perform.
When cases are going to go to trial in front of a real jury, the lawyers want to practice. They want a chance to present their case to average people and see how they would decide the case. They pay pretty well too.
You can find opportunities on Craigslist in the jobs section or at Sign Up Direct.
Here’s some stuff you can do in person to make a few extra bucks. Again, these aren’t really jobs or businesses, but stuff you can do now and again to get a few extra dollars in your pocket.
If you don’t mind being poked, prodded, and measured, you might consider medical testing. It doesn’t always mean taking a new, untested drug — it can be non-invasive procedures, such as getting a brain scan or donating bodily fluids. You can search for medical tests going on in your area at ClinicalTrials.gov. Payment amounts are usually based on the time commitment involved and the amount of discomfort you may experience.
Have some musical talent and a touristy area nearby? Then hit the streets with your performance. Buskers can play an instrument, dance, sing, even dress up in costume and take pictures with tourists. If it’s something you enjoy doing anyway, you might as well do it in public and get paid for it.
As a mystery shopper, you get a few bucks to go into a store and make a purchase, or eat a meal at a restaurant. While you are there, you are paying attention to things like: the service you received, if the person used your name, the cleanliness of the environment, and whatever other specifics the corporate office is looking for. How much you earn is determined by the complexity of the assignment.
You can find mystery shopper opportunities at Confero.
Sell your hair
While selling your hair isn’t going to make you rich, as you can only sell it about once every two years, it’s a pretty easy way to get some extra cash. There is a market for human hair to make wigs, weaves, extensions, etc. Buyers want at least 10 inches of untreated, healthy hair. People ask for $100 to $500 for their hair, but I saw one ad for $2,500. Two websites seem to rule the hair market:
Odd jobs on Craigslist
Craigslist has a “jobs” section where people list all kinds of odd jobs they need done. It’s a great place to go when you need a few extra bucks. I’ve seen everything on there from helping people move to writing reviews to doing flyer drops door to door.
Like baseball? Little league, high schools, and colleges all need people to be umpires, and they pay pretty well too. Little league starts at $25 per game and college can pay over $100.
The way games are often set up, you can do more than one game per day. There are some tests to pass to prove you know the rules of the game, and flexibility goes a long way to getting jobs, since not all games are played nights and weekends.
Do what you are already doing
Here are ways to tweak what you are already doing to make a little money:
Walmart savings catcher
If you shop at Walmart, you should definitely get the Walmart app on your phone (iOS and Android). You simply scan your Walmart receipt and the app will search all the advertised sales in your area. It will automatically price match anything you bought. Any savings it finds are issued on a Walmart gift card.
You know how stores say they will give you a refund if the price of something you buy drops within a certain timeframe after you buy it? For example, if you buy a pair of shoes on Amazon for $50 and the next day they drop to $45, Amazon will give you back the $5. But you need to ask — and who has time to watch the price of everything they buy online?
Well, Paribus does that automatically! It watches your inbox for the merchant emails you get when you purchase an item online. It then watches that item for price drops. If the price drops within the specified timeframe for the retailer, they will automatically request a refund for you.
While technically this is a way to save money, rather than earn it, it does feel like free money when you get a refund.
If you have a large Twitter following, you can get paid to tweet. Companies are looking for people to tweet out advertisements to their followers and they pay real money to do it. You can get matched with companies at SponsoredTweets
By signing up for Bing Rewards, you can rack up points towards gift cards by using Bing. Details can be found on their FAQ page. If you are going to be searching, you might as well work your way towards a free gift card.
Apps that pay you
There are apps that pay you to use them. True, it’s not a lot of money, but if you are already using similar apps, why not get paid for it? You can get paid for tracking your workouts or eating healthy. Check out our full overview here.
The bottom line is, if there is something you enjoy doing, you can find a way to make money doing it. If you didn’t see anything on this list that got you excited, that’s ok. There are millions of ways to earn a few extra bucks. Think about things that you find easy, but others find difficult. Then either teach them to do it themselves, or have them pay you to do it for them.
Did I miss your favorite way to earn extra money? Let us know in the comments.