This is a list of ways to make money at home that I published a couple of weeks ago in the first edition of my new bi-monthly newsletter. The newsletter is designed to support people who want to make money at home so they can stay home with their kids, have more time for their passions, or simply add to their savings in case rainy days show up. I’m publishing the second newsletter tomorrow and I’m excited about what we’ll be talking about, so subscribe using the form on the sidebar if this is something you’re interested in.
There are so many different ways to make money at home that they would be impossible to tackle all at once, but the thing that these 20 have in common is that you can start on them without a lot of preparation and many of them earn you money within days. Granted, none of these are going to cover your mortgage payment by Monday, but don’t underestimate the total effect of slowly earning a little income at a time doing easy things. I have so many income streams doing what I do that you wouldn’t even believe it, but each one is part of the system that allows me to stay at home with the kids without strangling our lifestyle.
The version of this list that I sent out in the newsletter was affiliate-link-free (as in I didn’t get any credit for sign-ups) because I wanted people to understand that I’m truly recommending these services. This version, however, does contain some affiliate links. Same list, just with more grocery money for Carly.
1 /// Record video reviews. Sites like gen.video will give you money to record short (5 minute) video reviews of certain products AND they’ll monetize any video review you want to upload so you can earn a few cents whenever someone watches it. A couple of years ago, when they were still ExpoTV, this site paid for our Christmas!
2 /// Become an Amazon Affiliate. When you become an Amazon Affiliate, you can recommend products through any social platform (your blog, Facebook, Twitter) and when people click through ANYTHING they then buy on Amazon earns you money. Two notes on this – you need to disclose that you’re using an affiliate link whenever you do so and you earn the money but you don’t actually get paid the money for a while (I want to say a month or so?) so this is an easy way to make money but not a quick fix. Better to use this strategy consistently over time.
3 /// Become an e-book affiliate. Many e-books have an offer for people who read/recommend their books to others where you can earn a certain percentage of each sale that comes from your recommendation. For example, I recently recommended a Twitter book that really helped me and now each time someone buys a copy, I get 50% of the sale. I got the same rate for a great book for new bloggers that a lot of you have told me you really enjoyed. So I got to read an awesome book AND I quickly earned back what I had spent on it plus more AND I recommended something you guys liked. That being said, don’t just recommend e-books you haven’t read or recommend bad books to earn a commission because you’ll lose people’s trust quickly. Search “e-book affiliate” to find books that would work for you.
4 /// Sell your photos or art. If you have any creative skills, consider selling to a stock photography site. Sites like iStock will pay out for generic (but beautiful) images that they can then provide online so if you have some really nice photos of the beach or the sky or your coffee cup, etc., this might be something you want to look into.
5 /// Become a website tester. There is a concept called “user experience” that is key to the process of designing and maintaining websites. Basically people browse around the site just like they normally would and the designer makes a note of how long it takes them to find something, how long they stay on one particular page, how easy it is to use the search function, etc. Websites constantly need testers so you can check out sites like Analysia and earn money pretty quickly!
6 /// Watch videos. You can use sites like Swagbucks to get paid for being an audience member. All you have to do is watch certain videos (usually ads for products) and then answer a few questions on what you just watched. Marketing people use this info to figure out if the ad is working and you get paid for 3-5 minutes of your time.
7 /// Search for stuff online and get paid by the hour. Search engines are so common now that we don’t even think about how they’re put together, but the reality is that they need constant testing and maintenance to stay competitive. You can work as a search engine evaluator through companies like Leapforce and basically spend a lot of time just searching for stuff as a part time job. It’s not the most interesting work, in my opinion, but they’re always hiring!
8 /// Shop with Ibotta. Ibotta gives you cash back on groceries and there are lots of bonuses when you first sign up so it’s pretty easy to earn $20 or more right off the bat. You do need a smartphone, but the app is free.
9 /// Lose weight. Some dieting sites are getting smart and using money as an incentive, which is fantastic if you ask me. I’ve used DietBet a few times, since the concept is simple: place a bet for a certain amount of time ($35 for a month, $20 a month for 6 months, etc.) and the money goes into a big pot with other people who are betting. A certain attainable goal is set and, as long as you reach your goal, you get your money back plus winnings from the people who didn’t reach their goal. Sometimes everybody wins, but even if that happens you get 100% of your bet back AND you’ve lost weight, so you still win.
10 /// Play online games. Some smart companies have figured out that getting people to play games online keeps their attention long enough to let a few ads float by or hang out in the corners. Don’t get into the whole online gambling thing to make money (I mean it!), but if you’d like to play a few games to earn gift cards over time, sites like Swagbucks can hook you up.
11 /// Download apps to your phone. If you’re comfortable with research companies knowing what you do with your phone (as in which sites you’re visiting and how long you’re on each site, etc.) consider downloading apps that track your usage for media research purposes. Apps like Media Insiders are a great way to passively make money each month without doing anything unusual, other than having the app on your phone.
12 /// Deliver for Amazon Flex. If you live in select cities, you can earn $18-25 dollars per hour delivering packages for Amazon. This is a new program but people are already excited about it and I can see why!
13 /// Become a Mystery Shopper. Big businesses need real people to check in on their franchises to see how everything is going and you can be that secret agent shopper. Mystery shopping freelance isn’t quite the market it was 15 years ago since there are now people who make good incomes (even six figures!) as professional mystery shoppers, but you can still occasionally find jobs on sites like Trendsource.
14 /// Take some surveys. Lots of brands want surveys done so they can figure out how to market or improve their products. SendEarnings is a good example of this but search “earn money by taking surveys” and you’ll see a ton pop up.
15 /// Sell books. If you have books hanging around (particularly textbooks) you can sell them online for a decent price using sites like Bookscouter. You also might want to call around to see if used bookstores in your area are buying books in exchange for cash or store credit. Not a bad way to get rid of books you’ll never look at again!
16 /// Get started selling old clothes. Some people make money selling clothes on eBay, but if you want a less labor-intensive route you can use companies like ThredUp to clean out your closet and earn a little pocket money. Just let them know that you want them to send out a bag and spend your weekend pulling out things you don’t want anymore. Pack those clothes up in the bag, ship them off, and you’ll get an email offering you a certain amount in cash or store credit within a week. Also, if you’ve never signed up before, ThredUp will give you $20 credit just for joining up.
Note: this isn’t a great way to make money unless you have new or designer things and since these sites are planning to turn around and sell the stuff themselves, you really only earn pennies on the dollar. That being said, if it’s between selling clothes or just tossing them out, you might as well earn a few bucks and I’m a big fan of the occasional closet purge.
17 /// Reveal what’s in your house. The National Consumer Panel wants to know what you’ve bought and they’ll pay you to walk around your house and scan barcodes. Why? Consumer research. I’m telling you, this is a huge industry and since we’re all consumers there’s enough work to go around!
18 /// Collect your junk mail. SBKC is actively shopping for people to send in their junk mail, both “real” and from their email inboxes! They study direct mail marketing so you can earn credits for each thing you send them and then redeem those credits for prepaid Visa gifts cards. It’s not the fastest way to make money, but do you really need all that junk mail hanging around?
19 /// Perform random computer tasks. If you join Amazon Mechanical Turk, you’ll get connected to lots of random little jobs that designers, developers, scientists, etc. need real humans to do. Some of it is website testing, but a lot of it I couldn’t even explain because I don’t know what they use the data for. All I know is that you can get started pretty quickly and there always seems to be work to pick up!
20 /// Do odd jobs. I’m ending this list with the gigs on Fiverr because no make-money-at-home list would be complete without it. The basic idea is that if you have any skills (ANY skills), you can make a few bucks by hooking up with someone who wants your services. I have made the occasional handful of needed cash doing everything from photo editing to website testing to list writing to proofreading to weather checking to Instagram liking, etc. You have to check it out.