October 15, 2015

41 Real Ways to Make Money from Home

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The Internet is full of get-rich quick schemes, but you can find legit ways to make money from home. Read on to find out how you can pull in some extra bucks without changing out of your PJs.

1. Take websites for a test drive

Thousands of new websites and apps pop up every day, and the companies that own them rely on customer feedback to work out the bugs.

You can earn up to $30 an hour through UserTesting just for reviewing different sites and apps. You'll need to jump on jobs as soon as they become available as others are waiting to pounce too, and then you'll need to record yourself "walking" though the site (no camera necessary).

Can you quit your day job? No, but if you can multitask, you'll have a chance to make extra cash by monitoring this site throughout the day.

2. Be a video screener

Watching cute cat videos on YouTube is fun, but it's even better when you're getting paid.

Swagbucks gives you points that you can swap out for gift cards at your favorite brands (or charity donations) when you watch videos, play games, or take surveys. Each "buck" is worth a penny and can add up fast if you're able to keep tabs on when the site needs your help. Some users stick to the videos and games as they have found it hard to qualify for the surveys.

Is it worth your time? It is if you find the activities fun and if you want a guilt-free way to save up some funds for your next shopping splurge.

3. Teach a class

Teaching isn't just for the classroom anymore.

Thanks to sites like Udemy and Skillshare, you can develop your own courses and sell them online. All you need to get started is a computer with a webcam, a desire to share what you know, and a willingness to get up to speed on the site you're using.

Can you quit your day job? Chances are no, unless perhaps you have a niche subject and already have experience with teaching. But you can earn a few thousand dollars in a year.

4. Be a microtasker

Microtasking is an easy way to make money when you have some downtime. It involves doing short tasks online, which can pay anywhere from a few pennies to a few dollars each.

If you're not sure where to start, check out Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

Is it worth your time? If you have the type of job where you have downtime but still need to be on call, then it can't hurt to whip out a few minor tasks and earn some change. If you do the math, though, what you earn may not amount to more than minimum wage.

5. Sell off last year's styles

Got a closet full of mistakes?

If you have a bad habit of buying clothes and not returning them, you can recoup your losses with ThredUp. This site will list your items for you and pay you up to 80% of what it sells for. Ask ThredUp to send you a bag, and you can easily mail in your clothes and get money or shopping credit back.

What's the catch? The site is picky and will reject clothes that are pilled, out of fashion, and not from brands that its shoppers will pay good money for. So, only send in clothes you've barely worn, that are still fashionable, and that are on TredUp's acceptable brand list (Gap and Anthropologie - yes; Kohl's or Sears clothing - no).

6. Put your car to work

You could have a virtual gold mine parked in your driveway if you own a car.

Sites like RelayRides let you rent out your vehicle to people who need help getting around. Renters are screened for security, and it's up to you to decide how much you want to charge.

Is it risky? The company takes on the liability, and you do get to screen who rents your car. Do your research and ask smart questions, like where exactly the renter will be taking your vehicle (you can charge them extra if they go over the mileage the two of you agreed upon).

7. Answer phones

If you've got a good speaking voice and you don't mind talking to total strangers, you could wrangle up a decent paycheck by becoming a virtual call center agent.

LiveOps represents a number of well-known brands and they offer flexible hours, so you could work around your kids' school schedule or take on a regular 9 to 5 gig.

What's the catch? Besides the fact that the work is not for everyone (some people will find it tedious while others will enjoy the flexibility), you will need a landline, a quiet space to work, a PC (not a Mac), and the willingness to pony up an up-front $65 fee to cover your background check. Note, however, that it is generally not advisable to pay money to make money.

8. Bake and make

Are you always baking breads and finding you're eating the whole thing yourself? Or are you the one your relatives call to make their birthday cakes, with elaborate characters? Whether you're a baker, a chef on the side, or a master gardener, you have hit the golden age. People want homemade foods and locally grown produce, and there are many avenues now to get your food to people and make a dime off it. Rent a table in your town's weekly farmer's market, try out a flea market, get a page going on Facebook about your cakes, and watch the orders go up. You're unlikely to turn this into a full-time gig, but you could make money off your favorite hobby.

How can you get customers? This type of side income is all about word of mouth, so make good treats (trendy cake pops still haven't lost their allure), give your friends samples, and have a presence on social media (Pinterest is the perfect fit for this type of work, as moms who bake for money have discovered).

9. Become an eBay pro

You've heard about others doing it, so what's stopping you? Selling your stuff on eBay can be way easier than organizing a yard sale and potentially more lucrative too. Get ready to take some photos and set up a profile, and off you go. Some people have made hundreds and even thousands of dollars a month. Are you ready to part with some well-maintained, in-demand collectibles? Make sure you calculate how the fees and shipping expenses are going to affect your bottom line when you're setting prices.

How can you stand out in the crowd? Shipping fees are the worst and your customers want to avoid it. Consider folding your shipping expense into the amount you're asking them to pay and then you can say shipping is "free." Also be sure to give your item a thoughtful title with as much detail as you can include. You'd be surprised how little attention sellers give to this critical part of describing their wares.

10. Start a conversation

Do you have a teaching degree but you went into another field? Get a side job by teaching others how to learn a new language. Italki connects people who want to learn a new language with a virtual tutor. Classes are taught online using Skype, and you set your own rates so you can earn as little (people who have done this suggest starting out small to get new clients) or as much as you want.

How can you get over the language barrier? Look around for apps where you can share the same screen or use a white board - drawing pictures can help you and your student get on the same page.

11. Let others observe you for marketing purposes

Think twice the next time you're tempted to throw your junk mail in the trash. SBK Center will pay you points for those junk envelopes that you can swap out for gift cards at more than 200 retailers. The company claims your privacy and identity are safe, although it does want your mailing labels intact. Or let someone snoop (anonymously) on how you use your phone; apps like Smart Panel run in the background, keeping an eye on how you navigate around, and you earn a few bucks in return. Other apps will reward you just for scanning in your grocery store receipts.

How do you know your info is safe? You'll have to weigh the pros and cons and do your research on any company you hand your data over to.

12. Get crafty

Etsy has grown like crazy but still makes its bread and butter from work-at-home crafters and artists. If you've got mad skills with a glue gun or a knack for upcycling vintage linens, you could parlay that into a steady stream of income.

What if you can't knit? Etsy is all about being creative, so use your imagination when it comes to the type of items you can sell. Can you make invitations that people can print at home? Or some funky Valentines? Have some thrifty, artsy stuff on your walls that you're willing to sell? How about calligraphy? Shop around on Etsy and you may get inspired.

13. Drop some extra pounds

Losing weight is good for your health and it's even better for your wallet if you're getting paid to do it.

Sites like HealthyWage and DietBet let you join a weight loss challenge with other dieters. Members chip in money to a pot and if your group hits its goal, everybody gets a share of the winnings.

Isn't this gambling? HealthyWage says it's not gambling in the legal sense because you are in control of the outcome at all times.

14. Bank on earning more

Banks want your business. One of the ways they get it is by offering promotional bonuses when you open a new checking account or sign up for a new credit card. These bonuses can be worth anywhere from $100 to $500, based on how much you're depositing in the bank or how much you charge on the credit card in the first few months.

Won't this hurt your credit score? You don't want to get in the habit of opening up credit card accounts just to get some dough, but you should know that having more than one card may help your score in the long run. The banks want to know how much total available credit you have (they are not as interested in the number of cards you own).

15. Be a couch potato

If your dream job is sitting on the couch watching movies all day, it could become a reality. Netflix taggers get paid to watch shows and movies before they're streamed on the service to help identify appropriate tags (these tags are what make it possible for Netflix to recommend a show they think you'll like). They only employ about 40 taggers at any given time in the U.S., so you'll need to stalk the company's job board for open positions.

Is this too good to be true? It's hard to get into the Netflix program, but it's such a cool prospect we couldn't resist including it on this list.

16. Show off your flair for design

Logos are what set brands apart, and someone's got to do the work of creating them. 99Designs is a platform that connects designers with clients. You enter your design in a contest and if yours is chosen, you get paid for your efforts.

What if you're not a designer? Maybe you're more of a Don Draper. Check out sites, like Naming Force, that will reward you if you can come up with a winning company name or slogan.

17. Put your fingers to work

Video and audio are all the rage, but words are still the only way to get found these days. There's a big need for transcriptionists to put all those spoken words into blog posts, transcribed interviews, and even legal documents. If you can get a regular client, you could set yourself up as a part-timer making decent money.

What do you need? You can get away with just nimble hands and a laptop, but some companies will want you to have a foot pedal too. Expect to go through a test with established firms and to make less money when you're first starting out. Know when it's time to branch out for better paying gigs.

18. Start your own YouTube channel

The most popular YouTubers have figured out how to build an audience and make money while they're doing it. Give a makeup tutorial, provide weekly updates on your hilarious cat, or show off your unique skill in regularly posted, 1-minute clips. One guy has made a ton of money simply by filming himself eating things (literally, things).

How do people get paid for this? You need to post videos regularly and build a following, and then you can sign up to be a YouTube partner and monetize your efforts. The more views you get, the more you'll earn.

19. Knock out someone else's to-do list

Virtual assisting is big business these days, with plenty of companies that will pay you to work from home. Help an overwhelmed entrepreneur stay on top of his emails, organize the schedule of an executive or book travel for a business owner, all from your desktop.

How can you find work? If you're not sure how to find clients, Zirtual can connect you with businesses and individuals who need your help.

20. Work on a website

Look at the small organizations around you. Nowadays even the smallest mom-and-pop coffee shop down the street and your small town's chamber of commerce have websites. But guess what? Few of them know how to maintain them. These folks paid someone upfront to design a few pages and then they're left on their own, without the ability to have someone full time to keep their eye on their site. You can fill in their gap as long as you know your way around WordPress. Offer to dedicate a few hours a month on their website for a fee, rack up a few clients, and you've got yourself a business.

What if your WordPress experience is limited? Chances are, you have a ton more experience than your potential clients if you've ever posted a blog in your life. WordPress is really user friendly to anyone willing to try it. Anytime you hit a roadblock or want to get more creative, search for tutorials or WordPress forums. There are many WordPress aficionados out there willing to share their knowledge.

21. Flex your writing muscles

Aside from a great design, websites also need top-notch writing. You can get started on freelancing / writing gigs by searching for work on Upwork and Freelancer.com to get some valuable experience. And then shop your portfolio to higher paying clients.

How do I turn my writing hobby into a full-time gig? When you're just starting out, it's all about the experience and testing out your writing chops. Soon enough, you'll figure out how much you can get for your prose, either by the hour, the word, or the project. As you get more experience, up your rates, or move on to clients who will pay you what you're worth.

22. Share your space

Airbnb is a moneymaker for homeowners who don't mind letting a stranger crash in their spare room. Hosts decide how much or how little to charge, and Airbnb collects the cash for you.

What if you don't live in a house? You could rent out just a room. If you live with a roommate who travels a lot or you live in an area that people to travel for business, carve out some space for a few weeknights. For $100 a night, you'll be able to build up your future house fund.

23. Start a blog

Blogging can be lucrative if you've got a niche and are serious about building an audience. You can make money through advertising, affiliate programs or even selling your own products like ebooks or ecourses. It may take some time to see the dollars start trickling in, but it can pay off if you're willing to stick with it.

How to get started? Experts recommend WordPress to look professional and give yourself flexibility later on. Be smart about getting a domain, keep up with the latest SEO and blogging trends, and you're off.

24. Party your way to a sales career

Some people can sell anything to anyone. If you've got the natural gift of gab, hosting sales parties in your home may be right up your alley. Forget about Tupperware - these days, you can sell fun items, like designer jewelry, salon beauty products, and lingerie. The best part? You can set your own schedule, so it's really up to you how much cash you rake in.

What should you sell? If you're not sure where to start, check out companies that sell products you already use and love. For example, if you like to whip up lots of goodies in the kitchen, you might dig being a Pampered Chef host. If jewelry is your thing, check out a company like Stella & Dot.

25. Rent out your stuff

Got a video camera lying around you're not using? How about a bike that's just collecting dust? Instead of selling it on Craigslist or donating it for a one-time tax deduction, you could make a few bucks over and over again by renting it out. Services like PeerRenters let you post items through your mobile device and rent them to people in your area.

Is it risky? Any time you hand your stuff over to someone else, you're assuming a certain amount of risk. Before you start posting, check the site's policy to see what they cover if your item is damaged or isn't returned.

26. Sell yourself on Fiverr

Fiverr is a self-described marketplace for people who need to get things done but don't have time to do it themselves. You sell "gigs" through the site involving anything from editing a blog post to drawing a custom portrait. You can charge anywhere from $5 to $300 for your services, and it takes just five minutes to set up a gig.

What does it cost? Anyone can set up an account to sell their gigs on Fiverr for free, but the site does take a 20% bite out of anything you earn.

27. Offload your old books

If you've got shelves of books that you don't know what to do with, it's time for a little spring cleaning - and scoring some spare cash in the process. Depending on the kinds of books you've got, you can find buyers on sites like Amazon, Powells.com, Chegg, or BookScouter.

How do you compare sites? The two most important things to watch for when you're scouting out book-selling sites are the fees and the shipping policy. Take a look at how much you're going to be charged for listing and selling an item, and who's responsible for paying shipping costs so you don't end up shortchanging yourself.

28. Put your home in the spotlight

Next time you're watching a movie or your favorite TV show, take a look at what's going on in the background. While some movies and shows are filmed on soundstages, others are filmed on location, and homeowners get paid a pretty penny when their home is featured on camera. If you think your home has the potential to be a star, you can list it for free on sites like FilmingLocationsWanted.com.

Is there a downside? You may have to relocate to a hotel temporarily while your home is being filmed. The upside is that the production company usually picks up the tab, so you essentially get a mini-vacay for free.

29. Cash in on your credit card

If you normally use a credit card to pay for things, switching to a cash back rewards card is a no-brainer. Look for a card that offers the biggest bonuses on the things you purchase the most, like groceries, gas, or travel. You might not get rich this way, but you could earn a decent bit of money back on the things you buy.

What should you watch out for? Using a cash rewards card to earn money back won't do you any good if you're paying a huge amount of interest on purchases or a hefty annual fee. Before you commit to a card, check out the fee and rate schedule to see just how much it's going to cost.

30. Listen to some tunes

Have you got an ear for good music? If so, you can get paid to write reviews of tunes before they're released. Sites like SliceThePie use everyday people to figure out which up-and-coming songs have the potential to be a hit and which ones are on the fast track to becoming a flop.

Can I quit my day job? Reviewing music on SliceThePie or a similar site isn't likely to make you a millionaire. Typically, you'll earn a few cents to a few dollars for each review, but it can add up if you're spending a lot of time jamming out.

31. Weigh in on a case

The words "jury duty" usually elicit a groan from anyone who's unlucky enough to be chosen for this task, but it's not so bad if you're judging a case from home in your PJs. Being a digital juror usually means reviewing the facts of a case and giving your feedback to the attorneys involved. The attorneys then use this to shape their case as they're prepping for trial. Depending on how complete the case is, you can earn anywhere from $5 to $60 for sitting on a virtual juror panel.

Can anyone be an e-juror? To qualify, you'll have to be 18 or older and a U.S. citizen. If you've got a past felony conviction or you're currently being charged with a crime, you won't be able to offer your 2 cents on a case.

32. Put your fashion sense to work

If people are constantly commenting on your superior style, you could make some serious bucks with the Stylinity app. You just upload pics of yourself wearing your favorite outfits, and the app includes a link to where each item (or something similar) can be purchased online. If someone views your picture and buys one of the items that's featured, you get a piece of whatever they spend.

What's the catch? Stylinity features brand-name, high-end clothing, so if you're doing a lot of bargain-basement shopping, you may not have the kind of items that the app's users are looking for.

33. Get paid to sit

Sitting may not seem like a moneymaker, but it is if you're watching someone else's children or pets. You can also make money from home (albeit someone else's) by house-sitting for people while they're away on vacation or by spending time with an elderly senior while their regular caregiver is at work.

How do you find reliable sitting jobs? If you're not comfortable putting up flyers or advertising your services on Craigslist, you can always try creating a profile on Care.com. This site looks at the information in your profile and tries to connect you with the right sitting opportunities.

34. Be a tutor

Tutors are always in demand, so if you're really good at fourth grade math or you got straight A's in science all through school, you're in a great position to help out a struggling student. You can set up tutoring sessions in your home or go virtual through a site like Tutor.com, which does all the work of finding tutoring clients for you.

What do I need to be an online tutor? Getting hired by an online tutoring site involves more than just knowing a lot about a specific subject. You'll also have to pass a background check and go through a mock tutoring session to make sure you're a good fit.

35. Author an e-book

Thanks to the rise of self-publishing platforms, anyone can write an e-book and sell it these days. Blurb and Lulu are two of the top sites for self-publishing, and if you're looking for a place to shop your book around, Amazon is a prime spot for new authors.

Does it cost anything to self-publish? It depends. If you're using a site like Blurb, you'll have to pay a fee for their publishing services. On the other hand, you can publish your e-book without spending a dime through the Kindle Direct Publishing program.

36. Do some channel surfing

Tuning in to your favorite TV shows can pay off thanks to RewardTV. This site rewards you with points that you can turn into gift cards and merchandise just for watching the boob tube and answering questions about what you viewed. The site also sponsors one-off contests that offer generous cash prizes to the winner.

What's the catch? If you win big in a RewardTV contest (retail value of $600 or more), you'll have to fill out a tax form with the company. You may need to pay taxes on your cash winnings regardless of how much you earn.

37. Open your home to a student

Bringing in a foreign exchange student is a great way to expose your family to a different culture and make some money on the side. You can host a student for a few weeks or an entire year, depending on which program you go through, and it's an excellent opportunity for everyone involved to broaden their horizons.

How do you get started? To find hosting opportunities, take a look at sites like AFS-USA and Ayusa to get a feel for what the process involves and see profiles of students who need a temporary home away from home.

38. Take a survey or two

Ever wished you could tell a company exactly what you think of their product or services and have someone actually listen? Thanks to companies like Pinecone Research and iPoll, you can do just that and get paid in the process. Surveys can be completed online in just a few minutes, so it's not a huge strain on your time.

What should you watch out for? There are many websites that offer to pay survey takers, but not all of them are legit. Be wary of companies that ask you to pay up front to join their survey program or want access to personal information like your Social Security number or bank account number.

39. Be a social media guru

If you're social media savvy, you might be able to parlay that into a freelance gig as a social media manager. Check out freelance job boards or other job sites like Indeed.com for companies that need someone to handle postings on their Facebook, Twitter, and other social accounts.

Can you really make money doing this? According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a social media manager is nearly $52,000/year, so there's definitely potential to earn big if you know what you're doing.

40. Answer questions

The Internet is where everybody goes nowadays to get a question answered, and if you've got knowledge to share, you could get paid to do it. Sites like ChaCha and JustAnswer pay members to answer questions on everything from legal matters to who invented the yo-yo.

Can you quit your day job? Probably not. ChaCha pays their guides $0.02 per answer, so unless you spend a lot of time on the site, you're probably not going to bring in the big bucks.

41. Be a guinea pig

Being a test subject doesn't mean you have to sit in a lab for 10 hours a day. It's possible to take part in a virtual medical research study without ever leaving the house. Some studies only pay participants a few bucks, but others can pay a few hundred dollars, depending on what you have to do.

Is it risky? Any time you agree to take part in a medical study, there's a certain amount of risk involved. Typically, you can drop out of a study at any time if you're not comfortable, but you may not get paid if you do. Read the fine print before you sign up.

Bottom Line

Making money from home doesn't have to be a fantasy. The ideas we've included here are a good jumping off point if you're ready to give your cash flow a boost. Some of these could just be a way to earn some extra cash (or gift cards for a shopping spree) and may not be the start of a career. Or they may be things you do on the side as you get your small business venture off the ground.

Always research online opportunities carefully before you sign on. If you come across a gig that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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