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24 Ways to Start Making Money Online Today

Whether you are looking for some quick cash to help you reach your money goals, or are looking to start a long-term online business, there are dozens of ways to make real money online.

A few years ago, I thought making money online wasn’t possible, at least for all but the very lucky. I never imagined I would leave my job to freelance write and blog full time. But technology and a high-demand for productive, skilled workers has created many profitable opportunities to make real money from your computer.

If you’re looking for the perfect opportunity, I’ve compiled 24 of my favorite online business ideas that require minimal start-up costs and allow you to use your talents on your own schedule. All you need is a high-speed internet connection, a computer, and the motivation to put in the work. 

Discover your new side hustle or business today!

Want to Start a Business?

Download over 200 at-home business ideas with our complete guide on starting a profitable business!

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning Smart Money Mamas gets a small commission at no cost to you. We never recommend products we don’t love or use ourselves. For more information, please see our disclosure.

Online Business Ideas to Start Today

While we could all use a few extra bucks, there are other benefits to having a side hustle. You cultivate new skills or develop old ones, diversify your income streams to protect you in the case of job loss, and let you reach your financial goals faster so you can create the life you most want.

Woman Working on Side Hustle

1 - Start a Printable Etsy Shop

Have an eye for making cute planners, art, trackers, stickers or more? You can sell digital products on Etsy – downloadable PDFs like a monthly planner sheet or kids chore chart – to generate a passive income stream.

My Etsy shop, which isn’t advertised outside of customers searching within Etsy, earns $300 to $500 a month with no extra work from me! I haven’t uploaded a new product in over six months.

With the time and material cost of making handmade goods, the margin on traditional Etsy stores is often very thin. But with digital products, you can make them once and sell over and over. And you don’t need fancy software to get started! Create your shop today and start selling!

Want help deciding what to sell?

If selling printable products on Etsy seems interesting to you, but you don’t know where to start, Gold City Ventures – creators of the best Etsy digital printables course on the web – has a free e-book, The Seasonal Products Secret, to help you get started. Download it and find your perfect idea!

2 - Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is one of the best ways to make money online. You don’t need an English or Journalism degree to do it, and the demand for freelance writers is sky high. Every business needs written content in the form of blog posts, newsletters, sales copy, and more.

If you love writing, are willing to improve your skills, and can hit deadlines, you can make money as a freelance writer. 

Get started by choosing a specialty – what types of topics would you like to learn about – and research what types of online outlets produce that kind of content. Find the editor’s contact information, brainstorm a few article ideas, and send a pitch. It can be helpful to write a couple of articles for free to start, to build your portfolio, but then you’ll have what you need to get paid what you deserve!

Earn Money Writing like a Pro

I knew nothing about freelance writing when I started. In fact, I thought it probably didn’t pay all that well. But after hearing that Holly Johnson makes over $200,000 a year writing, I bought her course, Earn More Writing. Using the methods she taught I booked my first client, which more than paid for the course, in just 2 days and ramped up to over $5,000 a month in four months. I highly recommend the class to anyone who wants to make money writing.

3 - Complete Online Surveys

Make money for giving your opinion on sites like Swagbucks, i-Say, and Opinion Outpost. You’ll answer questions about your life, purchases, and preferences in exchange for a small payment.

Note: This is not a way to replace a full-time income or even earn a decent hourly rate. You’re going to spend time looking for surveys and some surveys you start you won’t be the right fit for, so won’t be able to complete them and receive payment. But commit to answering surveys in your spare time and you could bring in some extra cash each month.

4 - Teach English Online

Do you love working with young kids? Are you creative and high-energy, even early in the morning or late at night? You can earn $20 to $25 an hour, from home, by teaching online with VIPKID. 

VIPKID allows you to teach English and elementary education online to children in China ranging from ages 4 – 12. You don’t need to know a word of Mandarin; you can work from anywhere you please, set your own teaching hours, and never have to grade papers or create a lesson plan!

Forbes ranked VIPKID #1 on their 2018 list of top work-from-home jobs. VIPKID teachers can work as much or as little as they want, but teachers frequently earn over $1,500 a month working 15-20 hours a week.

5 - Facebook Ads Manager

With Facebook changing their Newsfeed algorithm, businesses have to rely on ads more than ever to make their posts and products seen. But managing Facebook ads is a skill, and not one most business owners have the time to develop. Last year, business owners spent $88 million, per day, in Facebook ads. 

Local businesses, real estate agents, restaurants, digital marketers, and many more business owners higher someone to manage their Facebook ads for them. On average, they pay $1,000 a month – plus the cost of ads – for the service. 

You’ll need a little training to understand the software and how to best run and test ads to get started, but this is a fantastic side hustle that can turn into a full-time gig!

Free Webinar on Starting a Facebook Advertising Side Hustle from Scratch!

Facebook ad pro, Bobby Hoyt, has taught many side hustlers how to make $1,000 a more a month online by managing Facebook ads for businesses. Attend this free webinar to learn how to get started running expert ad campaigns!

6 - Pinterest Pin Designer

Pinterest has become one of the largest search engines on the web. It can drive massive traffic to websites and businesses, but it requires an extra layer beyond good SEO. Pinterest is a visual search engine, which means you need engaging images to connect users to your website and services. And with algorithm updates, fresh content is more important than ever, with Pinterest recommending creators not pin the same image too many times.

You can make money design pin templates or one-off designs for bloggers and businesses to help them drive the most traffic possible to their sites.

7 - Social Media Manager

Whether you’re a blogger, local business, or significant brand, staying active on social media is a must for creating raving fans. The problem is, it takes a lot of time away from actually running your business. Which is why social media manager is a growing, and often well paying, position.

If you love Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, do some research on what makes a successful social media profile, and start helping businesses grow their following. Offer packages to get social media profiles set up for companies, create unique posts for their pages, or manage customer comments and questions.

This article from Post Planner, a social media scheduling service, can give you the simple steps to get started.

You can make money design pin templates or one-off designs for bloggers and businesses to help them drive the most traffic possible to their sites.

8 - Virtual Assistant

Most business owners waste hours managing their email inboxes, scheduling meetings, bookkeeping, and all the other little tasks that pile up. While they all can’t afford full-time assistants, they can hire part-time or contract based virtual assistants.

The average virtual assistant in the US makes $25 to $50 an hour, regardless of whether they work full- or part-time. All you need is a high-speed internet connection, computer, and excellent organizational skills.

And if managing someone’s calendar doesn’t sound fun to you, check out this list of over 150 services you can offer as a virtual assistant. If you want to make money online, there is sure to be at least one idea on the list that speaks to your skill set.

Jump Start Your Virtual Assistant Business with 30 Days to VA Success!

With dozens and dozens of different skills that can translate into a successful VA business, Gina Horkey – a six-figure virtual assistant – knows that the number one thing holding most people back is just jumping in and getting started. 30 Days to VA Success is a complete course to help you set up your virtual assistant business and land your first client in just one month!

9 - Translator

Speak more than one language? Freelance translators make money by translating from their second or third language back into their mother tongue. Average full-time, freelance translators earn over $60,000 a year. Even more if you are American Translators Association certified.

Keep in mind, speaking a language well does not necessarily mean you will be a good translator. You also need to be a good writer, as you’ll be producing written content that needs to flow well.

If you’re ready to get started, Gengo, VerbalizeIt, and Translate.com connect freelance translators with available projects.

10 - Online Course Creator

Have a skill you want to share with the world? An experience you went through where you wished you had had more guidance and now want to help other people on the same journey? 

More people are learning online than ever before. And if you have skills others might desire and have a clear, concise way of teaching others, you can make money with an online course.

Consider what you want to teach, break it into a step-by-step process, and create slides, worksheets or a high-quality video for each segment. 

You can then sell your course easily on Podia, where we host all the Smart Money Mamas courses. The platform is high quality with a reasonable flat monthly fee. And the ability to also sell digital downloads, host webinars, create a membership, and send marketing emails directly from Podia makes it an excellent all-in-one option for creators.

11 - Proofreading

Are you a stickler for grammar? Proofreaders make over $17 an hour, on average, and can set their schedules and work from home. Proofreaders can work with book authors, online businesses with blogs, transcripts or really any written content. 

You are paid per page, so you have to stay focused and move through the content, but if you’ve got the eye for catching errors, this can be a fantastic at home business.

Free Webinar on Turning Your Passion for Words into a Side Hustle!

Caitlin created a full-time, six-figure business as a proofreader and now she teaches others how to do the same. Her free webinar will let you know if you have the grammar chops to become an expert proofreader online!

12 - Graphic Design

Excellent graphic design skills can earn you money in a variety of ways. Design logos, Pinterest images, social media headers, ebook covers and more for businesses. Or, spend your time making beautiful quote designs and printable art to sell on Etsy.

A background in graphic design might help, but learning the skills you need has never been easier. Adobe Illustrator gets more user-friendly each year and services like Stencil and Canva are all drag-and-drop and only require a good eye.

Want to learn more? There are tons of free YouTube videos, like this one, that can help you develop your design skills.

13 - Reviewing Websites

Companies and brands are always looking for feedback on their websites, and hire testing companies to get insight from real users. You can become a paid tester with a company like UserTesting and earn up to $24 an hour.

Now, UserTesting is the first to admit that this is meant to be a source of extra income, not a full-time job. Based on your demographics and client needs, you may only match with a few tests a day. But it is a great, easy way to earn $50 to $100 a week.

14 - Blogging

There are so many ways that blogs make money. Through display advertising, affiliate sales, consulting services, a way to market freelance services and by creating and selling their own products and courses. 

But while blogging is possibly the most discussed “make money online” idea out there, yet it takes time to make money with a blog.

Making good money requires building traffic, creating an audience that knows and trusts you, and connect them with products and services that fit their needs. However, while that takes time, mature blogs can be very profitable.

If you have a topic or idea you never get tired of talking about, something you truly want to share with the world, and are willing to show up consistently for your people, blogging could be an excellent fit for you.

Start Your Blog with One Click with Bluehost!

Purchase your domain and get your website up and running with WordPress quickly and easily (no tech knowledge needed!) on Bluehost, for as little as $3.95 a month!

15 - Host a YouTube Channel

While Youtube is the third most visited website in the world. If you can hit YouTube’s requirements to join their partner program (1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time in the last 12 months), it is a great way to make money.

Similar to starting a blog or podcast, decide on your channel’s mission. Are you going to provide educational content? Comedy sketches? Video game walkthroughs? Then regularly produce and market your content.

Don’t be discouraged if your first videos don’t get a lot of views. You’ll improve with practice as you find your voice!

Want to know how to get started? Watch this Youtube video from Primal Video.

16 - Dropshipping

If you love figuring out what products are popular and writing compelling sales descriptions, you can start selling on Amazon or Shopify without ever having to create a product or organize inventory and shipping. You’ll need some start-up capital to purchase your first round of inventory, but this can be a very profitable business. 

Megan, a guest on our Side Hustle Showcase, built a dropshipping side hustle that makes over $1,000 a month while working full-time!

Free Webinar on 6 Steps to Starting a Profitable Amazon FBA business!

Jessica from The Selling Family has a full-time successful dropshipping business and has taught many others to do the same. Learn how to get started in this free webinar!

17 - Medical Transcription

To save time, many doctors make notes during the day with a voice recorder. Medical transcriptionists type out a doctor’s recorded notes for them. This is usually a part-time job but can be done remotely. And if you pick up multiple doctors or doctors offices, you can make this a full-time gig.

While you don’t need a college degree, but you do need to be a fast and accurate typer and have a Certificate in Medical Transcription. Find an approved program here.

18 - Voice Over Talent

All those people you hear on the radio and TV, in audiobooks, on product videos, and in video games are voice actors. They get paid to talk. In fact, voice acting is one of the most lucrative freelance jobs, with gigs regularly paying over $100 an hour. (Do you think they hire 2-year-olds?)

Becoming a professional voice actor no longer requires going to an expensive studio or acquiring costly equipment. All you need is a good mic, a quiet room, and a strong voice. You can start auditioning for jobs at Voices.com, the largest voice-over actor community, for free today.

19 - Transcription Services

General and legal transcription, similar to medical transcription discussed above, requires listening to audio files and typing out what you hear. You’ll only need a high-speed internet connection and a computer to get started, along with fast and accurate typing skills.

Companies like TranscribeMe, Quicktate, and Rev hire newbie transcriptionists that can pass short tests. Pay starts around $45 to $50 per audio hour, but it could take you two or more hours to transcribe all the content. Experienced transcriptionists, especially specialists, can earn a lot more.

Free 7-Day Mini Course in Transcription

Increase your chances of passing beginner transcription tests and start your new side hustle on the right foot with this free course. Janet from Transcribe Anywhere and founder of Zoom Transcription is an expert and has excellent tips for all beginners.

20 - Podcasting

Before I started the Smart Money Mamas Show, I thought podcasting would be so hard. That I would never be able to figure out the audio, that the equipment would be expensive, and that everyone would hate the sound of my voice. But once I jumped in, the only thing I regretted was waiting so long to get started.

A great podcast can make money from sponsorships and affiliate marketing. But in addition, it can be an excellent way to market your own freelance or coaching services, courses, or other products. Similar to blogs, it can take time to make good money with a podcast. You need to build a following, pitch brands, and record high-quality audio.

Luckily, you can get started with very minor costs. Pick a niche, define your show’s mission, and start recording. 

This is a hilarious and informative video from Do You Even Blog to help you get started! And it will keep you from letting all the little things hold you back.

21 - Recipe Videographer

Do you love cooking and enjoy watching those quick recipe videos in your Facebook newsfeed? Recipe bloggers know video can take their content to the next level, but don’t always have the time or skill to make videos themselves.

All you need to get started is a smartphone and some video editing skills. This article from Hatchbuck will show you how to get started. Then you can make some sample videos and start advertising in Facebook groups for food bloggers.

22 - Custom Branding

Do you have a knack for coming up with color schemes, logo designs, and business taglines? Sell custom branding packages to businesses to help them represent their goals and personality while attracting new customers.

You can start offering your services on sites like Fiverr or create your own website and kick off your portfolio by pitching local businesses.

23 - Data Analysis

Love numbers? There are many companies looking for contractors with the right credentials to help them slice and dice data. Freelancers can pick up extra work as a side hustle or to replace a full-time job.

Start with platforms like Upwork and Digiserved, then use customer testimonials and referrals to up your pay and find new clients.

24 - App Creator

Have a great idea for an app everyone needs? Or the design skills to help bring the perfect app to fruition for others? The mobile app market is hopping right now, and you can start designing apps even if you aren’t a programmer. Appy Pie lets you build and monetize an app with zero coding.

Want to Start a Business?

Download over 200 at-home business ideas with our complete guide on starting a profitable business!

What’s Holding You Back?

With just an hour or two a day, you can start building a small online business. There are no get-rich-quick schemes, but controlling your own income is a powerful feeling. And if you put in the time, you never know what it could grow to be.

What is your favorite way to make money online? What methods have you tried? Drop a note in the comments and let me know!

24 Legit Ways to Make Money Online

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