The 28 Best Ways to Make Money Online for Beginners: $500+ per Month


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Want to make money online, but aren’t sure where to start?

The good news is there are a ton of ways to make money online — even if you’re a beginner.

In this guide, I’ll show you the best, most realistic ways to make money online and start to build an extra income stream.

Of course, there’s a learning curve to each of these, but everything is learnable. Every expert was once a beginner, and you can get there too with dedication and commitment.

Freelance Writing
Get a Remote Job
Paid Market Research
4.7
4.7
4.1

For over 25 years, the American Writers and Artists Institute has been helping people get paid for freelance writing.

Check out their free 9-Step Blueprint to learn more.

The best place to find legit work from home jobs. Established in 2007, FlexJobs has 1000s of listings including part-time, full-time, and freelance options in tons of industries.

User Interviews is a legit facilitator of online (and in-person) consumer research studies. Participants can get paid (generally $50-150/hr) to share their opinion and shape future products and services. While this won’t replace your day job, it can be a nice supplemental income.

Freelance Writing
4.7

For over 25 years, the American Writers and Artists Institute has been helping people get paid for freelance writing.

Check out their free 9-Step Blueprint to learn more.

Get a Remote Job
4.7

The best place to find legit work from home jobs. Established in 2007, FlexJobs has 1000s of listings including part-time, full-time, and freelance options in tons of industries.

Paid Market Research
4.1

User Interviews is a legit facilitator of online (and in-person) consumer research studies. Participants can get paid (generally $50-150/hr) to share their opinion and shape future products and services. While this won’t replace your day job, it can be a nice supplemental income.

make money online for beginners

1. Freelance Writing

Freelance writing continues to grow as more companies outsource their content creation.

Writers command anywhere from $50-500 or more per article, and can connect with clients on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.

For example, Georgia Austin started her freelance writing business on Fiverr, and got her first orders right away. The more you practice your writing, the faster you’ll get.

Tried and True
Freelance Writing
4.7

For over 25 years, the American Writers and Artists Institute has been helping people get paid for freelance writing.

Check out their free 9-Step Blueprint to learn more.

Pros:
  • Great earning power.
  • Work from anywhere.
  • Well-established company and training.
Cons:
  • Still "active" income.
  • You'll need to learn to get clients.

Free Resource: Your 9-Step Blueprint to Making Money as a Writer

AWAI - blueprint to make money as a writer

2. Online Surveys

One of the most popular ways to make money online is to take online surveys. There are many different types of online surveys you can take, but don’t expect to quit your day job doing these.

Most online surveys pay between $0.50 and $5.00 per survey, and a realistic target may be $30 a month.

Here are some of Side Hustle Nation’s top picks:

  • Swagbucks – Earn up to $35 a survey with this mega-popular app, and get a $10 bonus just for signing up!
  • Survey Junkie – Take 3 surveys a day and earn up to $100 a month.
  • KashKick – Get paid to answer surveys, test games, and try new products.
  • InboxDollars – Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
  • American Consumer Opinion – Join millions of free members and earn up to $50 per survey.
  • Branded Surveys – One of the best-rated survey sites with millions paid out.

3. Remote Market Research Studies

Many companies conduct market research to get feedback on new products — and a lot of this research is done online.

Best Overall
Best for Industry Pros
  • 4.1
  • Earn an average of $75 per project, and get notified of upcoming studies you may qualify for.

Best for Medical Research
  • 4.5
  • Patients and caregivers can earn $120/hour while helping advance medical research.

Best Overall
4.1

Earn $50-150/hr, with thousands of new studies added each month.

Best for Industry Pros
4.1

Earn an average of $75 per project, and get notified of upcoming studies you may qualify for.

Best for Medical Research
4.5

Patients and caregivers can earn $120/hour while helping advance medical research.

User Interviews and Respondent.io are a pair of cool services that facilitate those interviews online and over the phone.

user interviews

The best part? The average compensation is $50-150 an hour!

Here are some other companies that facilitate focus groups and paid research studies.

4. Get Paid to Test Websites

Sites like UserTesting and Intellizoom pay you to give feedback on websites. It’s free to sign up and you’ll record your screen while you test features and functionality.

These typically pay $10 for every 20-minute test, but they fill up fast!

5. Find a Remote Job

One of the simplest ways to make money online is to simply find a flexible work-from-home job. This could be part-time or full-time, and the leading resource to find these opportunities is FlexJobs.

Side Hustle Nation Approved
FlexJobs: #1 For Remote Jobs
4.7

The best place to find legit work from home jobs. Established in 2007, FlexJobs has 1000s of listings including part-time, full-time, and freelance options in tons of industries.

flexjobs homepage

FlexJobs has thousands of listings for all experience levels. There is a nominal charge to use the site, but you’ll easily earn it back with one job.

To learn more about how it works, check out our full FlexJobs review.

6. Make and Sell Printables

Many people make money online by selling printables on Etsy. This is a cool beginner-friendly side hustle where you can create something once and sell it over and over again.

What are printables? Think digital files like:

  • budget templates
  • chore charts
  • workout planners
  • habit trackers
  • wall art
  • business forms
  • and more

etsy printables

Here’s a free guide to the best-selling digital products month-by-month to get your creative juices flowing.

To learn more, check out my interview with Rachel Jones. When we spoke, she was earning $10,000 a month from her portfolio of printables.

7. Sell Stuff You Don’t Use

Selling stuff you no longer need is another popular way to make money online for beginners. You can sell old clothing, books, sports equipment, and electronics on eBay, OfferUp, or Facebook Marketplace.

We recently cleaned out our garage and sold $700 worth of stuff on Facebook Marketplace!

Once you’ve emptied out your available inventory, check out this list of the best items to flip for a profit and go look for some more products to resell.

8. Online Arbitrage

With online arbitrage, you buy inventory from one website to resell on another (usually Amazon). It’s amazing to me that this is a thing, but it very much is.

When I sat down with Chris Grant, he described selling $75,000 worth of products in a typical month! Online arbitrage is beginner-friendly because you can start with any level of inventory investment you’re comfortable with, and scale up as you learn more and see results.

9. Self-Publishing

E-books are one of my favorite ways to make money online. I earned my first author royalties in 2012, when I definitely was a beginner!

It takes some time and effort to create a quality book, but once it’s written, you can sell it over and over again. My books are all self-published on Amazon, and I’ve earned over $80,000 in lifetime author royalties.

self-publishing lifetime royalties

On The Side Hustle Show, we’ve covered several varieties of self-publishing, including:

10. Build a Helpful Website

The days of blogging as a personal journal may be long gone, but creating helpful content is still a viable way to make money online. Is there a topic you have a special interest or expertise in?

If you can answer questions on that topic, you’ll start to pick up traffic. From there, you can monetize with advertising, affiliate partnerships, or even your own products and services.

For example, Scott Keller created a bird watching blog that now generates 6-figures in annual income.

Here’s my free video guide to getting your website online quickly and affordably.

11. Affiliate Marketing

One of the most popular ways to make money online is through affiliate marketing.

How it works is you earn a commission for referring people to the products or services you love. This is been my primary source of online income for the last 15+ years, and I routinely earn $10k+ per month from affiliate marketing.

Like most side hustles, there’s a lot to learn to go from beginner to advanced. If you want to become an affiliate marketer, the first step is to choose a niche you’re passionate about or at least interested in.

One common way to start is by creating in-depth product comparison content, like Tami Smith did with her fitness website.

12. Data Annotation

Remotasks is a unique way to earn money from home in your spare time. How it works is you provide feedback on AI responses, based on how well they answered the prompt.

remotasks review

The onboarding process was a bit tedious and confusing, but I earned $15 an hour after I made it through.

Check out our full Remotasks review to learn more.

13. Print on Demand

Print on demand is a great way to make money online because you can sell physical products without holding any inventory.

How it works is you:

  1. Upload your designs to sites like Merch by Amazon or Redbubble
  2. When someone orders, the site prints and ships the item on your behalf
  3. You collect a royalty on each sale

My wife and I love to see the Redbubble sales notifications come through — sometimes from designs we uploaded years ago!

Check out the best print on demand sites to get started.

14. Make YouTube Videos

My YouTube income is currently my favorite revenue source — lately around $400 a month.

youtube ad income

Your channel needs to reach certain milestones before you can start earning with YouTube ads, but it’s a beginner-friendly side hustle. You can start in your spare time and slowly build up your catalog of content.

The types of videos that perform best for me are the ones that target a specific search phrase. Sometimes I’m not even on camera — it can just be a screen recording that explains how to do a certain task.

And the cool thing? Some of these videos still rack up views and passive income years after I posted them.

15. Tutoring

Many students and parents are turning to online tutoring for academic help. One of the largest marketplaces in the online tutoring world is WyzAnt, where you can create a listing and set your own rates.

Alternatively, you can apply to work with BookNook, a popular online math and reading tutoring company for kids in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Pay is $15-22 an hour.

In this post, Matt Fuentes shared how he built his tutoring business up to $1000 a week.

16. Teach a Group Class Online

If you have some subject-matter expertise, you could create a live interactive class for kids on Outschool. For example, Jade Weatherington earns $10k a month teaching mostly English writing classes.

Related: The Best Side Hustles for Writers

And if academics aren’t your thing, there may still be an opportunity here. I was surprised to find out there’s quite a bit of demand for video game classes!

In fact, I met with Devyn Ricks, who reported earning $4000 a month playing video games with kids.

YouTube video

17. Mechanical Turk

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a site where you can complete micro-jobs, usually for pennies apiece. This likely won’t amount to a great hourly rate, but is a relatively simple way to make money online for beginners.

And those pennies can add up — one Side Hustle Nation reader reported earning over $50,000 on the site (over the course of several years).

18. Teach an Online Course

What do you know more about than the average person? Other people might pay for what you already know!

For example, Teresa Greenway earns thousands of dollars a month from her courses on baking sourdough bread. Udemy is a leading platform to sell your course online.

19. Sell Your Data

Did you know that companies will pay you just to install their apps and let them run in the background on your devices?

Selling your data is an easy way to make extra money from what you’re already doing.

Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel

Nielsen — yes, the same Nielsen that’s been reporting TV viewership data for decades — rewards you for sharing your Internet usage behaviors. All you have to do is download the app to your devices, and earn up to $50 a year.

get free amazon gift cards with nielsen panel

MobileXpression

MobileXpression pays you in exchange for data from your mobile phone.

make extra money with mobilexpression

The app works in the background recording your browsing habits while you use your phone. You’ll earn weekly credits redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers.

Get a free $5 Amazon gift card after your first week (if you’re in the US).

Pogo

The free Pogo app is one of my latest finds. By sharing your location and credit card transaction data, Pogo gives you points that you can cash out to PayPal or Venmo.

how pogo works

Just enable location tracking and link your bank account credentials when you sign up. Based on my results so far, I expect Pogo to be worth around $5-20 a year. 

20. Become a Virtual Assistant

If you have administrative skills and a knack for organization, becoming a virtual assistant could be a solid side business idea. I’ve hired virtual assistants for:

  • Inbox management
  • Social media marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Data entry
  • Content writing
  • Podcast editing
  • Recurring weekly processes

You can set up shop on your own, or try and hire on with an established virtual assistant company like BELAY or Time Etc.

21. Sell Stock Photos and Videos Online

If you love to take pictures, you may be able to capitalize on your hobby by selling stock photos and videos. The biggest platforms are Shutterstock, iStock, and Dreamstime.

But be warned: this is very much a volume game. Since you only earn a small royalty on each sale, the most successful sellers have tens of thousands of images in their portfolios.

Related: How to Make Money as a Video Editor

22. Voice Over Work

There are plenty of opportunities to make money as a voiceover artist, especially if you have acting experience. Businesses hire voice actors for radio commercials, podcast intros, audiobook narration, corporate training materials, and more.

Many voice actors get their start on Fiverr, and then graduate to platforms like Voices.com. Rates may range from $10 to $500 and up per 100 words.

23. Transcription

Transcription—turning audio recordings into text—is often a part-time work-from-home position. Many transcribers specialize in a given industry, like medical, legal, or podcast transcriptions.

Several sites, including Rev.com, hire transcribers. If you’re fast, you might be able to earn up to $15 an hour.

To learn more about transcribing work, here’s a free 7-day mini course on how to get started.

24. Collect Real Estate Cash Flow

Companies like Fundrise allows you to invest in revenue-generating commercial real estate for as little as $10.

Best for Passive Income
Fundrise
4.0

Fundrise is one of the best and largest crowdfunded real estate investment platforms, with $7B under management. The company makes institutional quality investments available to everyone, starting at just $10.

Pros:
  • Start with just $10
  • Quarterly cash flow
  • Instant diversification
  • Healthy historical performance
  • Lower volatility
Cons:
  • Liquidity
  • Not as diversified as public REITs
  • Limited operational track record
  • Weaker upside
I've been a Fundrise investor since 2015. When you join through my referral link, I earn a commission. Opinions are my own.

fundrise app

I’ve been a Fundrise investor for years and keep adding to my portfolio. They’ve paid dividends every 3 months so far.

Disclosure: When you sign up through my referral link, I receive a commission. Opinions are my own.

25. Listen to Music

The new Mode Earn app (Android) pays you real money to listen to music and play games. It’s a cool way to get paid for something you’re probably already doing.

Mode Earn has over 100,000 radio stations to choose from and the world’s top current songs and artists.

I mean, it’s not like Spotify is sharing any of their ad revenue with you!

26. Cash Back Apps

One of the easiest ways to make extra money is to take advantage of the different cash back apps that are out there.

My favorites include:

  • FetchScan your grocery receipts to earn extra cash back on over 250 brands
  • Rakuten – Earn 1-15% cash back on your online shopping
  • DOSH – Get bonus cash back at nearby stores and restaurants
  • Upside – Save on gas and restaurants when you shop at participating locations
  • Ibotta – Consistent users earn over $100 a year in extra cash back on groceries and household essentials

27. Write Articles on Medium

On Medium.com, you can earn money from your writing once you have just 100 followers. The platform collects money from subscribers, and then divvies it out to writers based on how much time people spend on your articles.

If you can publish consistent, high quality content, it’s a way to make money online without worrying about the technical or marketing aspects of blogging.

YouTube video

28. Consignment Sales

With a consignment business, you can make money selling other people’s stuff. That means you have very little startup costs — you just need to source your inventory.

To start, offer to help people in your neighborhood sell their unwanted furniture, clothing, or other items on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. A typical consignment fee is 30-40%, meaning if you sell an item for $100, you’d keep $30-40 and pass the rest along to the owner.

This could work well if you already have experience selling secondhand items and can take good product photos.

How to Make Money Online for Beginners: Your Turn

As you can see, there are a ton of different ways to make money online for beginners. And as your skills and expertise grow, you can advance to more complex business models (if you want to!).

The main thing to keep in mind is to find something that works for you and your lifestyle. Some people are better suited to writing, while others are more comfortable in front of the camera.

Have you tried any of these options already? Are there any other ideas that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

Next Steps

  1. Join the world’s largest community of side hustlers by entering your email below the FAQs.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best ways to make money online for beginners?

The best ways to make money online for beginners include freelance writing, testing websites, completing surveys, tutoring, and more. Be sure to check the full list on SideHustleNation.com for more ideas.

How can I make $100 a day on the Internet?

The most straightforward way to make $100 a day online is to do freelancing or consulting work. You could help clients with content writing, social media, administrative tasks, software help, graphic design, tutoring, voice over projects, and more. From there, you can work on creating written or video content that’s monetized with ads.

How can a beginner make money fast?

To make money fast, look at options like delivery apps, freelancing your skills, or selling unwanted items around the house. Be sure to check the full list on SideHustleNation.com for more ideas.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

5 thoughts on “The 28 Best Ways to Make Money Online for Beginners: $500+ per Month”

      • I am not replying to anything but want to express my thoughts if I can.
        Your draw is 28 ways to make money. Why is it that you have to ask for $9 and give us only 12 minutes to find it? Every single time, without fail, these types of ads finish up wanting cash. I did not have $9 in my account and would have to go to the bank to put cash in. This would take more than 12 minutes. I am 84 lost everything in 2013 and am tired of finding sites that do not deliver. Unless I pay the $9 it seems I do not get to see what you are saying. 28 ways to make money online.

        Reply
  1. Real hustler in the house got four kids to feed dont have no time for spammers scammers or haters …Any love showed will be reciprocated in various ways im a jack of all trades just getting started with some 0nline classes and i definatly could use any suggestions you have how to make ends meet online God bless …

    Reply

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