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How to make money online: 20 ideas for online income

Thanks to the internet (and the post-pandemic work culture of the past few years), there is an endless number of ways to make money online without ever leaving your home — from blogging to dropshipping.
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Whether you’re just looking to pick up some extra cash to pad your vacation fund, or seeking to earn your whole paycheck via online work, here’s how to make money online from home (or from anywhere, really).

Any of these options are 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.

First, you’ll need to figure out what services you want to offer. The options here are endless and any skills you have can likely be sold.

Then consider building a portfolio or website so your potential clients can learn more about you. To set your rates, research what other freelancers in your chosen industry are. You can then advertise your skills on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr. Networking in the industry will also be a big help in finding clients directly.

Overall, freelancing can be a flexible and rewarding way to work, but it requires self-discipline, strong communication skills, and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt.

2. Be a virtual assistant

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

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 be anything from gardening to sales.

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

You could also start a YouTube, or podcast about your desired topic as a way of showing your expertise in the area.

4. Offer proofreading or editing services

Anytime you see written words anywhere they likely went through a proofreader or editor. You can specialize in a specific niche or 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 seller makes a profit by charging a markup on the price they pay the supplier for the product.

Websites like Alibaba have suppliers who specifically work with dropshippers. Choose a product you are familiar with and, ideally, use yourself.

Then you’ll need to set up your online store and promote it.

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 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. Such as books, articles, contracts, technical manuals, software, or website content. Or you can choose the specific topic you want 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 find work at companies like Rev or TranscribeMe.

9. Become an online tutor

Online tutoring is becoming 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 test.

This can be great if you like kids and have knowledge in a specific subject.

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.

Check out our VIPKid review here.

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 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. They also have continuing education requirements. Quickbooks also offers a 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, monitoring and responding to comments and messages, analyzing performance metrics, and developing social media strategies to increase engagement and reach.

You can also specialize in running ads on social media for the company you work with.

Then put your social media skills to use for yourself 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, 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 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 good at SEO or website optimization then this is a valuable service you can offer online or local businesses. Set up your own website 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, 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 shipping and delivery process, and a system for handling customer returns and exchanges. For digital products, you will need to ensure that they are secure and protected against piracy.

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, however it is an online business 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 to expand your reach even more.

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 do logos, social media templates, 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.

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 at online marketplace, 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 on your social media account.

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 them 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.

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 research, you can offer this as a service.

Platforms like Wonder have clients who request information and will send you topics to research.

19. Participate in online surveys and focus groups

Popular survey sites like MyPoints or Swagbucks are apps that offer a way to earn money online fast in your spare time by taking online surveys. Survey sites allow you to complete surveys from your phone in small blocks of time. Time spent waiting the school pick up line can now be used to make a little bit of extra money.

Keep in mind that online surveys don’t pay very well. Even the most diligent survey taker won’t make enough to supplement their income. But if you enjoy giving your opinion and you have spare time you can earn the occasional gift card.

» Learn more on MyPoints in our comprehensive MyPoints review.

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 TryMyUI.


If you are to start earning money online you have a lot of options. If you have skills you can sell online through freelancing or knowledge you can sell via an online course then you have the makings of a great online business.

But even if you don’t you can still make money online with things like being an online tutor or taking surveys online.

All you need is a solid internet connection to make money online from your computer or mobile device.

About the author

Ashley Barnett

An expert when it comes to the personal finance landscape, Ashley is a former Money Under 30 managing editor with a strong focus on budgeting, debt payoff and side hustles.