25 Legit Ways You Can Make Money Online
There is no better time than now to get a side hustle up and running. If you’re looking to make some extra cash but aren’t sure what you want to do, we’ve rounded up 25 legit — we checked! — ideas to help you start generating cash online.
One important note: some of these ideas could require you to get a business license from local authorities. Make sure to do your due diligence, so your small business is not on the wrong side of the law.
Okay, with legalities out of the way, let’s start making money online!
Start Your Own Web-Based Business
These ideas require a lot of initiative to get off the ground but can pay big dividends long term.
1. Start a Blog with a Custom Domain
Are you passionate about one particular topic or an expert at something special? If so, start a blog! This is a great way to build a business and make money on advertising, sponsorships, and even your own brand.
How to Get Started: Research is the first step! Check out the following guides:
- How to Keep Your Blog Fresh
- How to Use Images and Video with Your WordPress Blog
- How to Promote Your Blog on Social Media
- The Four Metrics Every Blogger Needs to Track
2. Write and Sell an Ebook
Sometimes a blog can be a starting point for launching into publishing your own book. In fact, many bloggers make most of their hard-earned cash by selling ebooks. The best news? You can too!
How to Get Started: Setting up a blog is your first step. Once you have your blog up and running, you can write an ebook, publish it, and sell it on your own website. As an example, here’s an ebook we put together at DreamHost that still gets lots of clicks.
3. Make an App
Maybe you are the designer of the next MyFitnessPal, Flappy Bird, or Pokemon Go. If you have an app idea, don’t wait to execute it.
How to Get Started: Making an app is easy these days if you rely on the help of an app builder. Ask yourself what you want your app to do and then research which software best suits your needs.
Need an example? This DreamHost customer built an aviation app.
4. Build an Online Store with Woocommerce
How to Get Started: Getting started is simple. All you have to do is create a website, download the Woocommerce plugin, and follow the directions.
5. Sell Custom Plans for DIY Projects
Are you a DIY expert like this chicken coop designer, for example? If you have a special talent, you can make and sell detailed plans to others who fancy weekend-warrior projects.
How to Get Started: All you need is a website, a plan, and some patience for getting your custom plan design sales off the ground.
6. Start Your Own Podcast
Podcasting is one of the hippest new ways to get your ideas out into the world. Not only is it fun, but if you get an audience, you can start making money with advertising.
How to Get Started: To create a podcast, you need to make sure you have the right equipment. This includes getting a microphone, laptop, headphones, and even a sound engineer, depending on how professional you want your production to sound.
Partner With an Existing Business or Website
Another great way to make money online is to partner with those who already have a large internet following.
7. Promote Affiliate Links
Another way to create a revenue stream is by incorporating affiliate links on your blog or website. Essentially, this means you’ll promote another brand’s products or services on your website and include links for customers who want to find out more. If one of your readers decides to buy, the merchant will give you a cut of the sale.
How to Get Started: You can either reach out independently to merchants you like and set up a deal or you can join an established affiliate program. And if you really like DreamHost and want to spread the word about us, we’ve got an affiliate program too!
8. Become a Micro-Influencer
If you’ve built a devoted social following, you can turn that niche audience into passive income. More and more, brands are looking for micro-influencers — not big-time celebrities — to promote their products and services online. Most micro-influencers are paid less than $500 per sponsored post, but hey, that’s not bad for one Instagram snap or Facebook missive, right?
How to Get Started: The key is to build an engaged, niche audience with your blog, website, or social channels. Then look for products or brands that are a natural fit for your message. You can reach out to brands and offer to run a giveaway, do a product review, or host a live demonstration for your followers.
9. Write Content for Cash
How to Get Started: You’ll need to create a portfolio website to showcase your writing samples.
10. Create YouTube Tutorials
Podcasting and blogging aren’t the only ways to share your talents with the world — and bring in cash while doing it. Video tutorials are also a great way to instruct others, get an audience, and make money off of advertising.
How to Get Started: The first step for creating video tutorials is to start a YouTube channel. Then plan out your content, start filming, and create a posting schedule.
Want to boost audience engagement? Here are 5 ways to keep your visitors coming back for more.
11. Do Simple Tasks for Cash
Do you like crossing things off a to-do list? If so, there are a lot of online networks that you can join to hire out your services. You won’t make a ton of cash — on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, for instance, some minute-long tasks pay just one cent — but this is an easy way to supplement your income when you’ve got a few seconds to spare.
How to Get Started: Mechanical Turk offers a ton of quick, low-paying gigs. If you’re handy around the house, however, Task Rabbit offers better rates, and you can do anything from put together flat-pack furniture to lift heavy stuff for paying customers.
12. Tutor Students Online
Are you an expert in math, science, or a foreign language? If so, you can money by offering tutoring services. And the internet makes it easier than ever to find the right students for your particular skill set.
How to Get Started: Start by reading about the basics of online tutoring. Then you can start your own tutoring website or join a tutoring network, like Tutor.com, Homework Tutoring, or Aim-for-A Tutoring, to find pupils.
13. Rent Your Home Online
Do you have a beautiful home or cozy apartment that you’re not planning on staying this season? If so, make some extra money by renting it out.
How to Get Started: First, research the housing and rental restrictions in your neighborhood. Then create an Airbnb account, post your listing, and you’re ready to roll.
14. Have an Online Yard Sale
Spend some time sorting through your storage closet and post any unused or unneeded treasures on eBay. You’ll be shocked at how much you can make on things that were literally just lying around your house.
How to Get Started: Today you’re almost guaranteed to make more money selling your stuff online than you would at a traditional yard sale, and all you have to do is set up an eBay account and get posting. But if snapping photos and managing auctions is still too much for your to-do list, eBay’s valet program will handle all the logistics you.
15. Sell Your Photos to Stock Agencies
Every aspiring photographer dreams of becoming the next Annie Leibovitz, but that’s not going to happen overnight. What can happen, however, is you making some extra bucks by selling your images to stock agencies.
How to Get Started: Sign up for a popular stock photo agency, create an account, upload your images, and wait for the licensing money to roll in.
How this DreamHost customer built a thriving photography business with a vibrant website.
16. Make Something and Sell It on Etsy
Are you crafty? Great! Don’t let that talent go to unused. Instead, create an Etsy store, establish a strong social media following, and sell your products to those who are dying to get your latest creation.
How to Get Started: All you need is an idea, a plan for execution, and an Etsy account.
17. Drive For Uber or Lyft
Do you have a few extra hours each day? Instead of spending them watching the latest episode of garbage reality TV — we all agree it’s garbage, right? — sign up for Uber or Lyft and get paid to help people zip around your city.
18. Develop Educational Courses On Udemy
Developing courses on Udemy is a more time-intensive hustle than some of the other ideas on this list, but once you have a course up and running, you can make money in your sleep. Hello, passive income!
How to Get Started: Getting started is as easy as setting up a free account. And Udemy has tons of resources to help guide you through the course creation process.
19. Sell Lesson Plans with TeachersPayTeachers
Teachers have one of the most important jobs on the planet — and, fun fact, they’re always overworked. If you are a teacher, consider helping out your overloaded peers by selling A+ lesson plans online.
How to Get Started: Flesh out your lesson plans and sign up for a TeachersPayTeachers account. Then sell your best original ideas, resources, and even music to other teachers of all grade levels.
20. Answer Online Surveys
Remember telemarketers — those people who used to call you at dinnertime to ask if you’d take a random survey? Online surveys allow you to run with that concept, but now you’re the one making the dollars and cents. There are several sites where you can answer surveys for cash or gift cards.
How to Get Started: There are a ton of online survey purveyors — think Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, and OneOpinion, just to name a few. Check out this list of paid survey providers to find the best options for you.
21. Rent Your Stuff Online
It’s not just houses and apartments that get booked online these days. Do you a have an extra car, boat, jetski, bike, or anything else that others might be interested in borrowing for a few bucks? If so, you could make money loaning it out on the web.
How to Get Started: There are several places to list your rentals online. Here are a few to consider, depending on what type of stuff you’re willing to loan out for cash.
- Rent your car: Turo and GetAround
- Rent your bike: Spinlister
- Rent your stuff: RentNotBuy and Loanables
- Rent musical equipment and gear: Sparkplug
Create Your Own Small Business with a Website
Build a stellar website for your small business. Yep, even brick-and-mortar enterprises can — and should! — make money online.
22. Open a Pet Hotel
Here’s the deal. Pet owners can’t always take Bruno and Fluffy along when they travel. If you are an animal lover, what better business could there be than starting a pet boarding service?
How to Get Started: You’ll want to do your homework on this one. Try working at an established operation to learn the trade and gain experience. Once you’re ready, build a website to advertise your kennel and to help owners schedule pick-ups and drop-offs.
23. Start Mowing Lawns
Any homeowner will tell how quickly the simplest yard tasks, like mowing and edging, can pile up. If you have a lawn mower and enjoy spending time outside, you can make extra money by starting yard care company in your neighborhood.
How to Get Started: Word of mouth will be a huge part of your expansion strategy, but you’ll still need a place for prospective clients to go to learn more about your services when they get that sterling recommendation. So create a simple website to provide your contact info and rates.
24. Take Car Detailing on the Road
While it costs less for car owners to clean their own vehicles, most people love the convenience of having someone else take care of the mess. With a mobile car detailing business, you have the luxury of selling this convenience as a service since you’ll be able to clean cars wherever their owners leave them.
How to Get Started: Starting a mobile detailing company requires quite a bit of gear: a smartphone, reliable set of wheels for getting around, business cards, cleaning supplies and tools, and, of course, a website.
25. Music Lessons
If you are a virtuoso on the piano, violin, or even air guitar, then you have a solid foundation for an awesome business. Music lessons are in high demand =and a great way to spend your free time making extra money.
How to Get Started: When looking for a music teacher, most people will either find someone by word of mouth or on the internet. In addition to starting your own site to nab clients, you can also join one of the many music lesson networks that are popping up, like Lessonface or TakeLessons.
Whatever You Do, You’ll Want a Website
If there’s one takeaway from this article — other than that there are a million ways to make dollars online — it’s this: a website is critical for the success of your small business. The good news? It’s quick and easy to get online with DreamHost. Let’s get hustling.