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How to make money online: 20 ideas for online income

Looking to make money online? Making extra cash over the internet from home is easier than ever. Here are some great ways to make online income.

woman counting hundred dollar bills on laptop. From "How to make money online: 20 ideas for online income".

Thanks to the internet and recent shift in work culture in the last couple years, there are an endless number of ways to make money online without ever leaving the comfort of your home.

Whether you’re just looking to pick up some extra cash to pad your vacation fund, or seeking to earn a whole paycheck via online work, here’s how to make online income (or from anywhere with internet, really).

Any of these options can be great ways to start making money online.

1. Freelancing

Freelancing is a type of self-employment where an individual provides services to clients hourly, or on a project-by-project basis rather than being employed by a single company.

Freelancers are often called independent contractors or consultants and can work in a variety of industries, including writing, graphic design, programming, marketing, and more. Freelancing, or contract work, can supplement a full-time job or end up becoming your whole financial livelihood with enough work.

To begin, you’ll need to figure out what services you want to offer. The options here are endless and any skills you have others can benefit from or need can likely be sold.

Then consider building a portfolio or website so your potential clients can learn more about you and your services. To set your rates, research what other freelancers in your chosen industry are charging. You can then advertise your skills on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr. Networking in any industry will also be a big help in finding clients directly. Former colleagues or clients you’ve worked for in the past, for example, may reach out with freelancing opportunities for you.

Overall, freelancing can be a flexible and financially rewarding way to work, but it requires self-discipline, strong communication skills with clients and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt. Successful freelancers should consider a business checking account to keep personal and business expenses separate, which can help avoid potential headaches.

» MORE: Best free business checking accounts

2. Be a virtual assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) is similar to freelancing. Virtual assistants are remote workers who provide some sort of administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients. Virtual assistants can perform a variety of tasks, such as managing emails, scheduling appointments, social media management, customer support and more for a single client or company.

Getting started as a VA is similar to getting started as a freelancer. You’ll need to determine what services you offer and do some research to set your rates. You can find clients on sites such as Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr.

Becoming a virtual assistant can be a great way to work remotely and provide valuable assistance to clients in a variety of industries.

3. Offer coaching or consulting services

If you have had success in an area where others struggle you can consider coaching or consulting. This can cover just about everything from coaching sports to consulting on sales. You can even offer advice on gardening if you have a green thumb or public speaking if you have no problem standing in front of an audience.

Finding clients will likely require networking in the industry you want to work or can provide a service. For example, if you are a gardening coach you would want to join some gardening clubs either online or even in person.

You could also start a YouTube or podcast about your desired topic as a way of showcase your expertise in the area with contact details for prospective customers included.

4. Offer proofreading or editing services

Anytime you see written words anywhere they likely went through a proofreader or editor. You can look into specializing in a specific niche or across a specific format.

For example, you might specialize in fantasy novels or news articles about politics. The options here are endless.

You can offer editing services on freelancer sites and join writer groups. Writers themselves need editors but freelance writers have clients who will also need editors so you can get referrals through them as you build relationships.

5. Start a dropshipping business

Dropshipping is a business model where a seller does not hold any inventory of the products they sell. Instead, they partner with a supplier who ships the products directly to the customer on behalf of the seller. The dropshipping seller makes a profit by charging a markup on the price they pay the supplier for the product by working as the middleman.

Websites like Alibaba have suppliers who specifically work with dropshippers. Choose a product you are familiar with and, ideally, use yourself. You’ll therefore know the seasonality and demand of the product you’re dropshipping. Then you’ll need to set up your online store and promote it.

Because you’re not actually touching any of the product with dropshipping, it be a rewarding option for online income from home or a side job while traveling.

6. Offer voiceover services

A voice-over actor is someone who provides their voice for a variety of media, including films, television shows, video games, commercials, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. They use their voice to bring characters to life or narrate a story, and their voice becomes the focal point of the media they are working on.

You’ll need some good sound recording equipment and a demo reel. Once you have that you can list your services as a voice actor on sites like and Voice123.

7. Become a freelance translator or interpreter

If you are fluent in a second language put that skill to work.

A translator is someone who translates written material from one language to another, while an interpreter is a professional who translates spoken words from one language to another.

If you want to be a translator, decide what types of materials you want to work on. These can be books, articles, contracts, technical manuals, software, or website content. Or you can choose the specific topic you want and are able to translate, such as legal, medical, technical, or literary translation.

Interpreters, on the other hand, work in real-time interpreting spoken words from one language to another. Interpreters may work in a variety of settings, such as conferences, meetings, legal proceedings, healthcare, or community events.

As a translator, you’ll need to be highly skilled in both languages, have an excellent command of grammar and syntax, and be able to convey the meaning and tone of the original text accurately. As an interpreter, you must have excellent listening and speaking skills, a broad vocabulary, and cultural competence to accurately interpret and convey the meaning and intent of the speaker’s words.

There are training classes available if you want to sharpen your translation skills. The American Translators Association has certifications available and they will also help you find work once you are certified.

8. Offer transcription services

A transcriptionist listens to audio or video recordings and converts them into written documents. This could mean transcribing a meeting for a client, a lecture for the hard of hearing, transcribing a podcast or YouTube video for an influencer, and many other scenarios.

Transcriptionists don’t need to edit the content, just type what is actually said.

There is a little bit of equipment to buy that will make the process much easier and faster, such as foot pedal that will allow you to pause the audio with your foot so you can keep your fingers on the keyboard.

If you want some training, TranscribeAnywhere has a variety of courses to help you get started. You can then find work at companies like Rev or TranscribeMe online from the comfort of your own home.

9. Become an online tutor

Online tutoring has become increasingly popular due to its flexibility, convenience, and accessibility. Online tutors can work in a variety of fields, including education, test preparation, language learning, and professional development.

You can choose a specific subject, age group, or test – for example helping students prepare for the ACT or SAT tests.

This can be great if you like working with kids and have knowledge in a specific subject to pass along. You can get started by offering your services on sites like Chegg and VIPkid. You can also reach out to potential clients directly on social media and by networking online or in-person.

10. Become a virtual bookkeeper

A bookkeeper is responsible for maintaining financial records for businesses or individuals. This can include tasks such as recording transactions, reconciling accounts, preparing financial statements, and managing payroll.

You’ll want to familiarize yourself with bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks or Xero, as many businesses use these tools to manage their financial records. You can learn these useful skills through online courses or tutorials.

There are also several certifications you can earn. There is the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) which certifies and licenses bookkeepers. QuickBooks also offers a training and certification program.

You can work directly for clients or for an accountant that provides bookkeeping services for their clients.

11. Offer social media management or online advertising services

A social media manager manages a company or individual’s social media accounts. This can include tasks such as creating and scheduling content to be posted, monitoring and responding to comments and messages, analyzing performance metrics of campaigns, and developing social media strategies to increase engagement and overall reach.

You can also specialize in running ads on social media for the company you work with. Once you’re comfortable enough to offer these services to others, you can put your social media skills to use for advertising your services and get some clients!

12. Do SEO and website optimization

Pretty much every business these days needs SEO and optimization.

Good SEO can bring in ideal clients from Google by improving a site’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO involves various techniques and strategies, including optimizing content with relevant keywords people are searching for, improving website architecture and navigation, building high-quality backlinks, and ensuring that websites are mobile-friendly and have fast page load speeds.

Website optimization can include both one-time optimizations as well as ongoing monitoring and maintenance to ensure that a website begins and continues to perform well. This can be particularly important for businesses that rely on their website as a key marketing and sales tool, as a poorly optimized website can lead to lower traffic, lower conversions, and a poor user experience.

If you’re good at SEO or website optimization then this is a valuable service you can offer online or to local businesses. Set up your own website and put practice to paper online to find clients.

13. Sell your own physical and digital products online

Having your own online store can be a great way to start a business or make extra money. It allows you to reach a wide audience and can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. However, it does require some initial investment and ongoing effort to manage inventory, marketing, and customer service.

Physical products are tangible items that can be shipped to customers, such as clothing, electronics, sports cards, and home goods. Digital products are non-tangible items that can be downloaded or accessed online, such as e-books, software, and online courses.

There are various ways to sell your own products online, including creating your own website or online store, using third-party platforms such as Amazon or eBay, or using a combination of both.

To sell physical products online, you will need to have inventory management systems in place, a packaging and shipping process, and a system for handling customer returns and exchanges. Different shipping services, what packaging you use, how you’ll print your labels are factors that come into play. For digital products, you will need to ensure that they are secure and protected.

14. Start a blog

Starting a blog and monetizing it through ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsored content can a lucrative business. It takes time to build an audience but once you do it can potentially make a lot of money. A lot of people online claim that blogging is a way to earn passive income. I can tell you it’s not (in terms of the passive over active income part), however it is an online business or side hustle idea that can potentially bring in a lot of money and you can work on your own schedule.

Choose a topic that you are both passionate and knowledgeable about and begin creating content for your ideal reader.

Use search engine optimization, social media, and email marketing to promote your content. You can also pair this with a YouTube channel or other social media channel to expand the reach of your created content even more.

» MORE: The difference between passive and active income

15. Be a freelance graphic designer

Graphic design is an in demand skill and a great way to make money online. Just like every business needs a website, they also need someone to make that website look good.

You’ll need to know good design and be familiar with the tools used by graphic designers. If you need to hone your skills you can take a graphic design course.

You also don’t have to only design entire websites. You can create logos, social media templates, digital printables, etc.

Once you are ready to take clients, you’ll need to build a portfolio of work so you can prove to potential clients you know your stuff and provide them value with your service.

16. Sell your photography or art

If you are are a skilled photography or artist you can sell your art online. You can showcase your art on online marketplaces, such as Etsy, Shutterstock, or Redbubble.

Etsy is a popular place to sell your art online. You can set up a store front and your customers can buy your products from there. Promote your art social media to show off your talent and get potential interested buyers (that hopefully become repeat customers).

Shutterstock and other is a good place to sell photography and Redbubble is a good place to sell prints of your art – photography or digital art. You can also put your photography or/and art on products such as stickers, mugs, or t-shirts.

17. Create and sell your own music

Platforms like Bandcamp, SoundCloud, or CDBabay allow you to sell your own music. Depending on what kind of music you make people can buy it for background music for videos, podcasts, and other digital content.

You could also set up a Patreon account and let your fans support your music for subscriber perks while generating a recurring online income with your work.

18. Offer online research services

Businesses, academic institutions, and individuals need research done for various projects. If you love learning new things and thrive on doing accurate research, you can offer this as a service.

Platforms like Wonder have clients who request information and will send topics to research. Finding credible search using Boolean search, uncovering problems, problem solving those problems, and creating concise briefs for clients are some of the criteria Wonder looks for in researching you can build upon for your online research services.

19. Participate in online surveys and focus groups

Popular survey sites like MyPoints and Swagbucks are apps that let you earn money online fast in your spare time by taking online surveys or completing other tasks for rewards.

Survey sites allow you to complete surveys from your phone in small blocks of time for money. Time spent waiting the school pick up line or waiting at the dentist can now be used to make a little bit of extra money rather than just aimlessly scrolling.

Keep in mind that online surveys don’t pay very well. Even the most diligent survey taker won’t make enough to replace or heavily supplement their income. But if you enjoy giving your opinion and you have spare time you can earn rewards like the occasional gift card or cash out for a fun date night.

20. Offer website or app testing services

Website or app testing is the process of evaluating a website or mobile application to ensure it works as intended and meets the needs of its users. Testing can be done manually or using automated testing tools, and typically involves identifying and reporting bugs, errors, and usability issues.

Website or app testing can include various types of testing, such as functional testing, performance testing, security testing, and usability testing. Functional testing ensures that the website or app performs its intended functions correctly, while performance testing evaluates how well the website or app performs under certain conditions, such as heavy traffic or high usage. Security testing checks for vulnerabilities in the website or app that could compromise user data or system security. Usability testing evaluates how easy and intuitive it is for users to navigate and use the website or app.

You can sign up to test websites at sites like UserTesting and TryMata (formerly TryMyUi).


If you want to start earning money online you have a lot of terrific options — now more than ever. If you have the skills you can sell online through freelancing or the knowledge you can sell via an online course then you have the makings to start a potentially successful online business.

But even if you don’t you can still make money online with methods like being an online tutor or taking surveys online in your free time. You may just need a solid internet connection to make money online from your computer or mobile device.

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