Have you ever wished you could make extra money working from home? The key is to find a great way to make money online for free. Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of legit ways to make real money online; the only investment needed is your time.
You don’t need to have a particular skill set or talent to make money online. Whether you’re looking to earn a full-time income or supplement your current income with a side hustle, there are several different ways to make extra cash.
How To Make Money Online for Free
Take a look at these 11 examples of online work you can do without having to invest a lot of money.
1. Teach English Online
The main requirement for working for most online companies that teach English is to have a college or university degree – the degree can be in any subject, not just education. Companies prefer native English speakers but will consider people who have proficient English language skills.
For many English teaching jobs, you don’t need prior teaching experience. Still, some companies prefer applicants to have a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification for teaching ESL (English as a second language). Another difference between companies is the age range and nationality of the students.
Within the past few years, the Chinese government barred online tutoring platforms from employing foreign teachers outside of China. Unfortunately, this forced many popular companies that hired online English tutors that were based in China, like VIPKid to change course regarding their hiring practices. However, there are still teaching and tutoring opportunities available.
Companies like Cambly, Preply, and Engoo don’t require certification, teaching degrees, or experience, but all of the above can land you a higher hourly pay rate.
2. Drop-Ship Products
Drop-shipping is the process of selling and fulfilling customer orders without keeping any products in stock. A drop-shipping business model is a good option for you if you love the idea of having your own online store but don’t have a large budget or spare room to purchase and store inventory.
Instead, a drop-shipping company produces and delivers the items based on the seller’s orders, so you don’t have to purchase and maintain inventory or handle shipping.
Source products that are in high demand mark up the price to ensure you’re earning enough money, and list items for sale on an online marketplace. When you make a sale, the drop-shipping will ship the order to your customer and take their fees and delivery charge out of your revenue. Popular drop-shipping items include small electronics, t-shirts, and mugs.
3. Sell Digital Products
You can design and sell digital products even if you’re not a graphic designer. Create your own products on free platforms like Canva, which offers an endless number of free templates to help you start creating beautiful designs.
Items such as art for home decor, planners, and tracking spreadsheets are just a few digital products you can design for free on Canva and sell.
Use your social media accounts like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook to promote your digital products without paying for advertising. An online platform like Etsy is a great place to start selling your creations and make some quick cash
Freelance work includes writing, copywriting, photography, editing, and more. A freelance writer often writes articles or produces web content like informational, well-researched pieces, how-to tutorials, or product reviews. In addition, freelance writing can be more lucrative if you have expertise in a specific niche, such as finance, technology, or home decorating.
Editing and proofreading are also in-demand services you could offer as a freelancer. Before publication, documents like books, manuscripts, and articles must be checked for logic and grammatical errors.
A freelance copywriter creates marketing and promotional materials to persuade customers to purchase a product or service. As copywriting requires a specific skill, you’re able to charge a higher price as a freelance copywriter.
You can find freelancing opportunities across standard job boards and places like Upwork, Fiverr, and niche groups on social media.
5. Write an eBook
Long gone are the days of needing a publisher to become an author. If you can write blog posts, you can create and self-publish an eBook. An eBook is an “electronic book” meaning it’s a digital product you read on an electronic device or printout, not a physical book you would find in a traditional bookstore.
You can write an eBook on any subject matter, such as recipes, poetry, short stories, or even a guide that teaches the reader how to accomplish a specific task.
The first step is to write on Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or Apple Pages. Then, use Canva, which has free ebook templates to design your book cover. Next, you can format and convert your book to a PDF, Mobi, or epub using a website like Kindle Create, Sonar, and Calibre.
Finally, head to a free website like Amazon KDP, Barnes & Noble Press, or Smashwords and self-publish your book at no charge. Each site will take a percentage of the sale price as a commission for each copy sold.
6. Start a YouTube Channel
Starting a YouTube channel is a free way to make money online. But, of course, you need to find a demand and have the personality that draws viewers. For example, do you have a skill you can teach with how-to tutorials? Do you love baking or cooking and would love to share your cooking techniques and recipes? Would you like to review products, books, movies, or shows?
These are just a few things you can do on YouTube to attract viewers. Still, you’ll want to hustle and promote your videos on social media before you can monetize your channel. The YouTube partner program requires 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over the past year before you can monetize your account and earn money for your video views. However, you can monetize your channel with affiliate marketing immediately.
7. Sell Photos
Turn your hobby into a side gig by selling your photos. Make money straight from your mobile device with photo-selling apps like Shutterstock, iStock, Etsy, and Adobe Stock. After uploading images to a photo-selling app marketplace, you receive a royalty payment for each picture downloaded by a customer. The percentage or amount you receive will vary by the company and the quality of your images.
Another way to make money with photos is to turn them into prints. You can sell your photographs directly on a marketplace like Etsy. You can also use drop-shipping to add your images to posters, cell phone cases, t-shirts, mugs, notebooks, and journals and then sell them.
8. Create and Sell Templates
If you are creative and know how to use platforms like Canva, earn additional income by making custom templates like ebook designs, Pinterest pin templates, online course templates, and more.
With a massive demand for digital products combined with great designs, you can attract many customers on platforms like Etsy and Creative Market. Putting the time into creating attractive and practical templates can be worth it because once the hard work of designing is complete, every sale is considered passive income.
9. Become a Transcriptionist
Transcription involves listening to audio and video recordings of legal, medical, or general topics and typing out what you hear. Transcribing requires strong hearing and excellent typing skills with an additional focus on speed and accuracy.
Many transcription jobs available don’t require any previous experience. Still, you may need to pass a grammar quiz and a transcription sample to get the gig. Look for opportunities with companies like Rev, TranscribeMe, and Crowdsurf, or you can look at freelancing websites.
Entertainment, market research companies, educational institutes, and the medical profession are just a few industries that have created a demand for transcription services.
10. Become a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant job might be right up your alley if you have good communication and organizational skills. A virtual assistant’s duties can vary depending on the industry. Generally speaking, a virtual assistant (VA) can perform such duties as:
- Scheduling Meetings and Travel
- Organizing and Filing Documents
- Email Management
- Answering Calls
- Billing and Accounting
- Social Media, Blog, or Website Management
- Other Administrative Tasks
These are just a few examples, and most virtual assistant skills are transferable to any industry. But suppose you have specialized skills, such as Pinterest management. In that case, you should find groups on social media like Facebook looking for this service.
11. Provide a Service
If you have expertise in an area, consider offering a service online. Find creative ways to promote your service on social media and display your abilities the best you can with creative and fun images and videos.
Some of the services you can offer to clients online include:
- Virtual Design Consulting
- Life Coaching
- Blog Coaching
- Social Media Management or Coaching
- Business Consulting
- Fitness Trainer
- Webpage Design
- Graphic Design
- eBook Publishing
- Virtual Assistant
- Resume Writing
- Translation Services
- Video Editing
There is always a customer who has a need that you can fulfill. With some digging, you can find customers who can benefit from your skillset and your online services.
This list of how to make money online for free requires no prior experience for many jobs and the flexibility to work from home and choose your hours.
In addition, many of these jobs or services are in demand and with no startup costs. So start looking for opportunities or promoting your services and earn money online.
Nadia is the co-creator and author of the blog This Mom is On Fire, a place where busy moms can find ideas for family meals, kids' activities, and tips for saving time and money. She is also a freelance writer in the personal finance and lifestyle space.