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25 Ways to Make Money Online, Offline & at Home

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25 Ways to Make Money Online, Offline & at Home

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Make money with a side gig and learn how long it’ll take to see the extra income, whether it’s freelancing online, driving passengers or selling your stuff.

Want to make money, but you’re not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

And you're not alone. More than one-quarter (27%) of Americans earned extra income from side gigs last year, according to the Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020, released in May 2021 by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

NerdWallet rounded up 25 legitimate ways to make money – at home or out and about – and listed each option based on how fast you can get started and get paid. While most people prefer fast cash, don’t discount the slow gigs, as they may pay more in the long run.

How to make money online

Making money online is the sweet spot people look for in the gig economy. Whether you aspire to be a six-figure social media influencer, or are just looking to supplement your regular income with some internet gigs, we've found some viable options.

Here are some excellent ideas for work-from-home gigs:

make money online
1 Pick up freelance work online

Make money online through websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com. These sites offer opportunities to do a variety of freelance jobs, such as writing, programming, design, marketing, data entry and being a virtual assistant. Fluent in a second language? Check sites such as Gengo or One Hour Translation, or drum up business through a site of your own. No matter what kind of freelancing you do, keep track of the going rate for the kind of work you provide so you know if you’re charging too much or too little.

Total time: It can take a while to get your first gig
Setup: 24 hours
How easy to start: Easy, if you have the expertise
Age threshold: 13+ but varies by site
Payment speed: Varies by site

2 Test websites and apps

Another way to make money from home is on sites like UserTesting.com. You get paid for your thoughts on how well – or not so well – certain websites and apps worked. You’ll have to pass a short test to be accepted, then you’ll be paid $10 for each 20-minute test, which involves a recording and answering four follow-up written questions. Or you could earn up to $120 to participate in a video conversation with a customer after your test.

Total time: Approval time can vary
Setup: Less than an hour
How easy to start: Easy, if you have the tech gear and complete a sample test
Age threshold: 18+
Payment speed: Seven days

3 Pick up tasks on Amazon's Mechanical Turk

Even in the age of automation, some jobs still require a human touch. Companies often outsource those jobs via services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. As a worker, the tasks you’ll be assigned can be tedious – tagging images, transcribing videos, classifying receipts – and can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Temporary employers or requesters set the price for each task and get to approve the finished product before paying you. That can leave room for scams, so do your research. Join a community like the MTurk Crowd forum, or the MTurk and Turker Nation subreddits, which can steer you away from shifty dealers. These communities and fellow workers can answer questions and give a realistic idea of how much money you can expect to make.

Total time: Several days to find out if you're approved
Setup: Depends on the task you choose
How easy to start: Easy if you have certain skills
Age threshold: 18+
Payment speed: You get paid following work approval, which can take up to 30 days

9 Monetize your Twitch channel

Gaming could be a way to make money from home if you have a steady following on Twitch, the go-to site for gamers. Broadcasters can receive donations from viewers and even get a share of subscription and ad revenue if they reach Affiliate or Partner status.

Total time: This can be a long game
Setup: Quick and easy
How easy to start: Easy to start; takes a while to build a following
Age threshold: 13+
Payment speed: Monthly

10 Sell your photography

Turn your photographs into cash via sites like Fine Art America, which lets you upload your images to sell as prints, t-shirts, phone cases and more. Other marketplaces for photographers include SmugMug, 500px and PhotoShelter. Some sites require a subscription but may provide features ranging from cloud storage to password-protected galleries and a customized website.

Total time: Buyers need to find you – and like your work
Setup: Just a few hours
How easy to start: If you have a library of photos, you're on the way
Age threshold: Any
Payment speed: Depends on your sales platform

How to make money from home

Some side hustles don't even require you to leave the house. Or if it does, it might just be a short walk around the block with a furry friend. Working from home requires a little creativity and a stick-to-it spirit.

Here are some excellent ideas for work-from-home gigs:

make money from home
11 Become a dog walker or sitter

Love dogs? Make money by becoming a dog walker. Apps like Wag and Rover offer on-demand dog walking, so you can pick up walks when your schedule allows. If you have space (and your landlord’s permission, if you rent), you could offer overnight dog boarding. Read the fine print if you sign up for these services.

Total time: Building a client base may take some time
Setup: Takes about a week or so
How easy to start: Love pets? You're good to go
Age threshold: 18+
Payment speed: Two days to a week

12 Sell unused gift cards

Make extra money by selling unused gift cards on a site like CardCash or GiftCash. These websites say they’ll pay you up to 92% of the card’s value. On CardCash, you can also trade in your card for one you’ll use.

Total time: Depends on the popularity of the gift card
Setup: Easy
How easy to start: The more gift cards you have to sell, the better
Age threshold: Old enough to have a credit card
Payment speed: Varies by sale method

13 List your spare bedroom on Airbnb

Renting out your home or spare bedroom on vacation rental sites is another way to make extra money. Be prepared to spend some money to clean and keep up the property, replace home goods and pay toward service fees. And scrutinize your rental agreement before you get started.

Total time: Demand drives success, and depends on your location
Setup: A listing can be created and live in hours
How easy to start: If you have a place to rent, it's a simple process
Age threshold: 18+
Payment speed: About one day

How to make money offline

There's online and at-home ways to make extra money – and then there's a third alternative: offline. This version of the gig economy may require a little more legwork, but the upside can be substantial. Here are offline ways to make money:

make money offline
14 Sell our gently used clothes

Selling clothes you no longer wear is a quick way to make some money. Start with local consignment shops for faster cash or use sites like ThredUp and Poshmark to find buyers. If you go the online route, be sure to take clear, well-lit photos of your pieces and research similar items to set competitive prices.

Total time: Varies by sales channel
Setup: Easy and fast. You can simply go to a consignment shop or send it in
How easy to start: Easy. Cleaning out the closet may be the hardest part
Age threshold: Any
Payment speed: Varies by sales channel

15 Trade in old phones, electronics for cash

Have an old phone, iPad or gaming system lying around? Sell it on a site like Swappa or Gazelle. Check out Amazon’s trade-in program, which pays participants in Amazon gift cards – and eBay, too. If you’re in a rush, try an ecoATM kiosk, which offers cash on the spot for your device.

Total time: Lots of options, so your time spent will vary
Setup: A breeze
How easy to start: Easy. Have phone, sell phone
Age threshold: Any
Payment speed: Varies by where you sell

16 Get a babysitting gig

Everyone from college students to recent retirees can make money by watching other people’s children. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are still a great way to get started, but you can also create a profile for free on Care.com or SitterCity to expand your reach. Note any specialized skills, such as CPR certifications, to make yourself more marketable.

Total time: Online setup takes minutes; neighborhood referrals may take a while
Setup: Just minutes
How easy to start: Getting the word out is the main thing
Age threshold: Very young if you're using referrals. 18+ online
Payment speed: When the parents come home

17 Rent out your car

City-dwellers often don’t use their cars for days or weeks at a time. That idle time can translate to extra money with services like Getaround and Turo, which let you rent out your car by the hour or day. You take home the majority of those earnings, while Getaround or Turo takes a cut for protecting your car while it’s being rented.

Total time: Demand for your car will depend on the local market
Setup: It takes about a half hour to set up an account
How easy to start: With an appropriate vehicle, it's easy
Age threshold: A valid driver's license and 21+
Payment speed: Varies by site

18 Sign up for TaskRabbit

If you actually enjoy putting together Ikea furniture or standing in long lines, you may be cut out for doing tasks for others. Websites like TaskRabbit can connect you with people who need help with a variety of things, such as moving, cleaning, delivery and handyman services. The site also offers several virtual and online tasks, such as helping with a research project or data entry.

Total time: Local demand for your skills will determine the time you spend
Setup: A couple of hours, then some time for approval
How easy to start: Easy, though you'll need to do some research
Age threshold: 18+. Payment speed: A few days after a job

19 Become a private tutor

Parlay your math, science, foreign-language or test-prep expertise into a lucrative side gig by becoming a private tutor. You can tutor people online or in-person. What you charge can depend on your experience, expertise and what’s in demand. To get started, see what types of tutors are needed on Craigslist or create a profile on sites like Tutor.com or Care.com. You can also advertise your services at local schools and community centers.

Total time: Varies by subject matter
Setup: Can be a bit involved
How easy to start: Students will have to find you, and that might take a while
Age threshold: Any
Payment speed: Usually pretty fast; often right away

20 Drive for Uber, Lyft

Join Uber or Lyft (or both) and make money by driving passengers around. Just don’t forget to factor in gas and maintenance costs. You need an eligible car in good condition and must agree to a background check and a review of your driving history.

Total time: Depends on your market demand
Setup: A few weeks
How easy to start: Not difficult, but you'll need the right type of vehicle
Age threshold:  Licensed to drive in your locality with one year of experience
Payment speed: Very fast. Either instantly or within days

21 Make deliveries for Amazon, Uber Eats

Take advantage of the growing delivery trend and sign up for a service like Instacart, Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash or Amazon Flex. You get paid per delivery, in most cases, and can even earn tips. A car isn’t always required – Postmates and, in some cities, DoorDash, lets you use a bike or scooter to make deliveries. However, a background check almost always is part of the deal.

Total time: Depends on your market demand
Setup: About a week
How easy to start: Easy, if you have dependable transportation
Age threshold: 21+
Payment speed: Varies by vendor

22 Find work as a housesitter

If you’re willing to watch someone’s home – and maybe feed the pets, water the plants and take out the garbage – become a housesitter. Tap your personal network for referrals or try out HouseSitter.com, which connects homeowners with housesitters. People often make $25 to $45 a day, according to the company’s website.

Total time: Depends on your market demand
Setup: Minutes – or more if you try to drum up business by referrals
How easy to start: That can depend on the need in your area
Age threshold: Varies by site
Payment speed: At the end of a gig

23 Sign up to be a mystery shopper

Businesses often want to know how they’re performing from a customer’s perspective. Sign up to be their eyes and ears. You can apply online via sites like IntelliShop, BestMark and Sinclair Customer Metrics. Just beware of scams and do thorough research before signing on.

Total time: Varies by site
Setup: Applying takes little time, but approval can take a while
How easy to start: Relatively easy if you have required transportation and tech
Age threshold: May vary by site, but typically 18+
Payment speed: Varies by company

24 Find season work

Need a gig for a few months? Try something seasonal, like being a lifeguard, shoveling snow or working at a retailer during the holidays. Employers typically staff up a month or two before their busy season, so plan ahead to get on their payroll. Check storefront windows, Craigslist and local classifieds for seasonal opportunities.

Total time: Varies by job
Setup: Job searches and interviews can take weeks
How easy to start: Not difficult, particularly if you have skills that fit your market
Age threshold: Minimum age depends on the job
Payment speed: Varies by company

25 Put your drone to work

The market for drones is expanding. Companies hire out work like aerial inspection, photography and land mapping. So if you’re already a drone enthusiast, why not make extra money with your aircraft? You first need to register it with the Federal Aviation Administration and obtain certification from them for commercial use. Then, you can apply for gigs as a drone pilot. Learn how to make money with drones.

Total time: Depends on demand
Setup: You'll need to make time to pass a test. And then find clients
How easy to start: If you already have a drone, you're likely qualified
Age threshold: 16+
Payment speed: Varies by company

Watch out for making money scams

The internet is full of opportunities to make money online or from home, but many are questionable, if not outright scams. Be wary of any opportunity asking for an upfront fee, wants you to pay for certification, or requests your Social Security number or any financial information, such as your credit card number.

Still unsure if an opportunity is legit? Look for community forums, like those on Reddit, for unfiltered reviews and complaints. (Workers on TaskRabbit, Uber and Lyft, for example, each have their own subreddit.) Also, check if the company has a Better Business Bureau profile. The BBB assigns ratings based on reported complaints, business transparency and other factors.