If you can’t go to the job, you can do the work where you are. In fact, there are dozens of ways to earn money online for free. You won’t need investment money, months of business set up or any rare professional expertise, just a computer with web access and a basic command of English. Rather than dig through a long list, we will explain the 4 best ways to earn money online at home in the next five minutes.

Earn Money online at home; shown as gold coins

Any search for money making ‘at home’ opportunities will turn up long lists of ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes eager to get your credit card information; free sites or gigs are a bit harder to find, and many claim to be free until you get to the details in several minutes or a few days. We will rule those out to avoid spending money up front or investing long hours before an annoying, expensive surprise. Below are the top three that truly allow you to start making without spending money.

Free, fast sites for online earning

They are real, but they aren’t your fairy godmother; no magic wand, so you need something of value to sell. If you have web access, can read, type and use basic common sense, there are online markets for your work. The workload, time and payout will depend on what you have to offer. Let’s list your saleable assets:

Do you have online typing, data entry and form completion skills? If so, there are data entry, survey and product/service review needs that could pay for your work.

Do you have a large, strong network of e-mail, business, personal or social media friends? If so, it may be possible to turn those contacts into cash, because of businesses that NEED those contacts for marketing purposes!

Do you have basic writing, editing, word processing abilities and analytical or creative skills? If so there are publishers, bloggers, and marketers that might pay you to create online content for informing customers or attracting business.

Do you have problem-solving abilities and business or technical knowledge related to management, sales, marketing, recruiting, administration, graphics, coding, website creation, blogging, or other high-demand skills? If so, there are small businesses, larger businesses, government agencies and others that can pay for your help.

Do you have useful household items, tools, jewelry, sporting goods, clothing, electronics or crafts that you don’t need? If so, there are people who DO need them, and they may be willing to pay you.

Do you have a high-value home location and a spare bedroom? If so, there are vacation and business travelers who may be willing to pay you to have them as house guests.

If you have a few yes answers to these questions above, then we have near-term earning options for you that are legitimate and within reach. Note, these are real jobs, not get-rich-quick scams, so they require actual work. Let’s have a look.

Turn your writing, typing and document abilities into earnings:

Since you are reading this now, I assume you have web access, basic computer literacy, English language and keyboard skills, and that empowers you to buy and sell services on Fiverr. This site is a high-powered global marketplace for all types of services sold one job at a time, called ‘gigs’.

Fiverr general creativeFiverr is to services what eBay is to goods. It’s a place where you can buy or sell services from where you are to businesses or customers anywhere on earth. This global nature of the business means that you can provide your photography or articles about thoroughbred horses in Kentucky to horse lovers or publishers in Austria or Brazil! It also means that if you want to offer basic data entry or dictation, you must compete with clerical professionals in Bangalore and Bucharest.

Needless to say, Fiverr is a market with real 3rd world bargains to offer. Clearly, you can’t expect to get a lot of business at 1st world rates without some great value added.

If you plan to trade on your special skill or reputation, you must build a reputation on Fiverr – like amazon, they have a star rating system, and you don’t start off with 5 stars and 100 reviews. At first, both are at 0.

Building reviews and star ratings takes time, and getting them requires a lot as you start out. You may build your rating by inviting customers who know you and already value your skills. You could bring new attention to your service offering by inviting contacts from e-mail or social media. Not only could these new Fiverr customers buy your services, but Fiverr will pay you a bounty for every one that buys anything! If all else fails, you may need powerful ad copy and 3rd world prices to land initial sales. This may be tough, but it IS paid work, and it could lead to better income as you build your reputation and find ways to leverage your skills and experience. Also, whether you sell your work to existing contacts or through some other channel, Fiverr offers a way for you to find and subcontract work to talented, low cost professionals who do the part you can’t or don’t want to do. It’s different, but it IS paid work. Here is a link for you to check out the options to sell or to buy on Fiverr. This is not the only place to sell your expertise, but it is the big one, so as with amazon, it pays to consider selling and learning there.

Sell off your stuff to clear the decks for action

To make money you will need room to work. When you sell off the stuff that isn’t needed in your work, you get money and work space… So, our site number two needs no introduction,Sell your stuff because it’s eBay!

Depending on where you live and how valuable your stuff is to collectors, eBay may not be the best way to market that plush recliner or deluxe upright freezer, but it is great for the fancy watch you don’t wear or the leather pants that no longer fit.

The big stuff could go to a garage sale, craigslist list or charity if it isn’t worth the shipping, but you’ll feel better and have more in the bank account when all the non-essentials are gone.

And, if you find that you’re really good at selling on eBay, you may want to join the thousands who sell on eBay for a living. While I don’t know enough about this business to recommend it as a long-term job, many folks use it that way and have for years.

If you have spare real estate, why not get paid for it?

The vacant apartment over the garage or the bedroom that’s been empty since Gina went off to college could be worth a lot to a tourist or business visitor, and airbnb wants to help! Spare room bed and breakfastIf you did a good job of clearing out the ‘stuff’ then there might just be space for a functioning Bed and Breakfast business that provides income from formerly unused floor space.

If you have a great view, proximity to a tourist attraction or business hub or a particularly interesting home, it may turn out to be a magnet for paying visitors with a little marketing effort from you and airbnb. Joining up is free and it offers one more proven way to make money from home.

In some resort areas VRBO or other online platforms may be a better choice, but airbnb operates nearly everywhere, so it is nearly always an option. Demand varies everywhere, so this may be a long term project, or you could have bookings in a week or two. In any case, this is an easy business to start and operate, since airbnb handles the money side and much of the marketing, so your back office issues are minimal.

Want to build your own? Then get a free website and blog

An option that takes a bit longer to start generating cash, but comes with powerful education is Wealthy Affiliate University. This platform allows you to start for free,Build a blogging website including a free website you can build and use for blogging or most anything else.  It is YOUR website, and it can be whatever you choose.  This is a powerful organization that has educated, supported and launched thousands of successful bloggers and site builders, and can do so for you if you want to write and publish online.

If you are serious about writing, this is an amazing place to hone your writing craft while learning to monetize your work. The greatest thing about it is that they provide education, technical support, web hosting and hundreds of tutors and mentors to help your learning and business, and you can join for free. Whether you hope to become a professional writer/publisher, an online consultant or a WordPress/website guru, Wealthy Affiliate can show you how. They do a great job, at least I think so, and 6 months ago when I joined, I had never written a blog post. This is a Wealthy Affiliate website they helped me to build. If it sounds like your kind of adventure, give it a try – there is literally nothing to lose. Here is a Wealthy Affiliate link .

While it is possible to begin making money as an online seller or affiliate marketer in weeks or sooner, most people take several months or longer before they begin to make money.  Choosing to learn blogging and affiliate marketing generally makes sense if you:

> Love writing, creating content and sharing your ideas online,

> Are already equipped with a powerful network of potential readers or customers or hot product to promote, or

> Plan to make a long term investment in developing your writing, promotion and online marketing skills

Make a plan!

If you want to make money online, it’s best to get at it; the money won’t just find you because you hang out on linkedin or facebook.  The four options listed here actually work for many thousands of people, including many who make an excellent living with them.  I can personally attest to the fact that they all are real (I’ve used all of them) and they all work for many who try them ( I know people making money on all four ).  None of these options will sneak a huge upsell on you requiring you to spend thousands to get anything out of them, as so many other online businesses require.

If you make a plan to begin making money with one or more of these platforms, you can begin building your future today.  If none of these is a good fit for you, check out this list of 100 writing or blogging related gigs that pay near term cash:  One hundred ways to make money now

Whatever you decide, avoid the two main pitfalls that kill most web-based money making dreams:  1- Don’t just keep looking, thinking and considering – take action! and 2 – Don’t fall for one of the thousands of get-rich-quick schemes; only move forward after you have confidence and credible references that the opportunity is real.

Let us know what YOU think, and what online treasures your adventures have uncovered.  I’d love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts or questions in the comment box below.

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7 thoughts on “4 Best ways to earn money online at home

  • By Catherine Adam - Reply

    Great article on working online. You list the best alternatives for working from home without buying into a get rich quick scheme. There are so many of those.
    It was an interesting read.

    • By SteveT - Reply

      Thanks for commenting, Cat. Glad you found value in the online work recommendations. There really are a huge number of viable online work-from-home options; unfortunately, there are far more that are traps or scams than real work opportunities. The challenge is finding an authoritative resource to help focus in on the ones that can actually pay off.
      I hope this post is helpful in that regard.
      Thanks for joining the conversation,

  • By Jessica - Reply

    Hello Steve,

    I was happy to see this list of money making ideas because I have also tried all 4! I have found it is very gratifying to sell something you don’t use a make some good money online! I have not used ebay but have done the same kind of thing on Craigslist. It feels great to post an ad and sell something that was just sitting around for $20, $50 or $100!

    I also spent many years renting out rooms. This was a major money maker for my husband and me. We had roommates for years at $500-$600 per month. This included all utilities so we could charge that much in this expensive market for just a bedroom! I have not used AirBNB myself but my Mom has at her rental property. I have used VRBO as a renter on vacation and loved it! It is so handy and you get much better value than a hotel. We used this in Hawaii for our wedding and honeymoon locations on Oahu and Maui.

    I also tried Fiverr but didn’t stick it out long enough to make it work.

    Finally, I LOVE building my own websites on Wealthy Affiliate. I am building my second website now since my first one worked out so well! I have posts ranked #1 on Google and I make sales through Amazon with affiliate links.

    These are great, practical ways to make some extra money or start a whole business over time. I appreciate your warning to 1) Get started and don’t wait, and 2) Don’t fall for get rich quick schemes! Those are everywhere but I simply ignore them all now. I tried a few programs before finding Wealthy Affiliate and none of them worked. They always cost more as well or usually they lure you in with a good deal but then you find out it will cost more and more and more. In order to make money they convince you to spend a ton up front for the promise of some future reward. You may have to buy their product and keep it stocked at home and then it is up to you to sell it for a paltry commission. Or you have to pay for a higher level of access in order to actually make money.

    When you build your own website, you are the boss. You can choose affiliate programs or even sell your own products or ebooks. You also learn skills that are marketable such as website building and search engine optimization that can be very valuable to local businesses or others online. These skills could be sold as a whole business.

    This is great advice you are offering here and I hope your readers put it to use!

    • By SteveT - Reply

      Thanks for sharing your stories, Jessica. It really helps to have real-world examples of these approaches, so we can put ourselves in your place to some degree. I too hope my other readers derive value from these options; I know I’ve gotten pleasure out of sharing them.

  • By Kate - Reply

    Thank you for sharing with us this awesome content. By the way, I recently started participating in online surveys and it turns out that you can profit from it.

    • By SteveT - Reply

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Kate. Yes, I’ve heard of a few folks who had positive experiences with online surveys. Clearly, it is possible to make money, and the risk is low, but reviews are mixed. I’ve encountered a lot of complaints about the amount of time required to get a little compensation, but I think it depends on the service, your approach and a lot of other factors. Do you have a specific site or technique you can recommend?


  • By Ted S - Reply

    Phenomenal content! Loved it!

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