By Sage Anderson
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Even with the rise of work-from-home and hybrid work models, it seems like the “gig economy” isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, according to a report from the Federal Reserve System, more than a quarter of Americans earned extra income from a second job or side hustle in 2020. But if you’re trying to find ways to earn extra cash, how can you do it online without falling prey to get-rich-quick scams?
The best ways to make extra money from home allow you to work online either as a supplement to your regular income, or to toss a couple bucks your way. The cash won’t always be “fast” or instant, but by utilizing the skills you’ve already go on your resume, you can find legitimate means to pad your wallet.
You don’t even have to resort to renting out your living space, or selling unwanted stuff on Ebay to make extra cash — there are certain passive methods that don’t require as much effort (such as taking surveys), but if you want to see a long-term return on the investment of your time, think of your side gig more as a freelancing effort.
Even though any kind of work-from-home job can be a bit difficult to find right now, never fear — there are plenty of companies creating money-making opportunities that are designated as virtual from day one. Job boards like ZipRecruiter are making it even easier to filter results and find freelance and part-time work.
Whether you’re looking to transition to a fully remote position, or just trying to put some extra cash in your wallet, here’s everything you need to know about how to make extra money from home. These are tips on legitimate money-making methods, the best sites for finding work-from-home jobs, and how to avoid scams so you can earn extra income that’s one hundred percent legit.
Searching for the freedom and flexibility to earn money remotely can be simplified by knowing where to look — not every job search board is going to be flush with remote work opportunities. Sites like FlexJobs and Remote.co are specifically for finding vetted remote and flexible positions, but if you want to cast a wider net, you have a few other options as well.
We like ZipRecruiter because they’re the #1 rated job site online, and for a larger job board with a database of traditional full-time positions, they also feature a section specifically for remote work. You’ll be able to find administrative, contract, part-time listed work, all that you can do from home. Their remote jobs database has over 295,000 positions as of late last year, including virtual teaching and bookkeeping.
You don’t have to have a PhD or have been on the honor roll in college to be able to be an online tutor. If there’s a subject that you have a particular expertise in, online tutoring companies are looking to hire tutors to cover a wide variety of topics at all different levels of skill. Some of the hard skills from your resume such as data management and Excel spreadsheet work can also be teachable subjects, and keep your own skills fresh with practice.
Carefully consider which site and which gigs you want to take on, though — on-demand tutoring sites like TutorMe, Studypool, and Tutor.com are legitimate places to sign up for, but some sites only want essay-writers, or hired homework helpers. Want a more long-term tutoring contract? Check out job boards like ZipRecruiter who post listings for online teaching opportunities.
Let’s say you’ve got artistic skills and like working on creative projects as a hobby. You can turn that hobby into a freelancing opportunity in your spare time with on-demand freelancing sites like Fiverr. Share your skills in specializations like writing, digital art, graphic design, video editing, and more for clients who have a specific vision, but need someone like you with a creative mind to execute it well.
You won’t even need a formal portfolio — just put together a resume-like profile, and let potential customers know about your experience, areas of expertise, and commission rates. If you don’t want to low-ball yourself (as often happens with online artistic commission work), do your research and see what other people are charging for similar work.
Did you know you can get paid to share your thoughts on how user-friendly a brand’s webpage or app are? Sites like UserTesting and TryMyUI will pay you for your feedback on how well their certain sites display information, how easy it is navigate around, and just how aesthetically-pleasing they are.
After a short intro test, when you’re accepted, you can be paid $10 for each 20-minute test you complete. The tests often include answering written follow-up questions and a recording. You could even earn up to $120 if you participate in a video call with a potential customer after you finish the test.
Unfortunately, online money-making opportunities can turn out to be scams if you don’t know what to look for within the listings. Use the golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Do your research and ignore any site or company that asks for an up-front fee, or any position that requires excessive amounts of work with only the potential to make money later.
Common online money-making scams include positions that want you to pay for a specific certification upfront, or any website that requests personal financial information such as your Social Security or credit card number. Always read the listing carefully, not only to determine exactly how you’re being paid, but also to learn how “remote” the online work will actually be.
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