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How to make money online without paying anything: A hand holds two gold coins

How to Make Money Online Without Paying Anything

Last updated: January 8, 2020
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Wouldn’t it be nice to start making money online without having to dish out a bunch of cash to start an online business, launch a blog, or buy a bunch of inventory to sell? The truth is that there are opportunities for you to make money in your free time without expending a ton of effort, money, or time.

In this article, we’re going to highlight 14 opportunities for you to start making money today without pulling a dime out of your pocket. By the time we’re done, you should be able to pursue one or more of these work-from-home job opportunities to make extra cash on the side.

1. Test Websites

Nearly every company and brand has a website or mobile app that they pour hundreds and thousands of dollars into designing. Part of this design process is testing the website’s usability, the quality of its content, and its overall design. As a website tester, you’ll be responsible for performing a list of tasks on different websites. You’ll be paid for every assignment you complete. To find openings, you can check out UserTesting and BetaTesting.

2. Take Surveys

Companies and brands are always trying to improve their products and services. This requires feedback from actual consumers like yourself. You can make money online by giving your opinion on various different topics like advertisements, products, and services.

There are hundreds of online survey and market research companies out there that pay you to give honest feedback. Some paid survey sites are focused on TV advertisements while others may focus on brand recognition in a retail store. This may also include receiving free products that you test in your home and get to keep after. Survey Junkie is a good place to start, but there are many more options out there.

3. Start Freelancing

There are many different ways you can make money online through a freelance position. If you’re a great writer, then becoming a freelance writer might be the right fit for you. If you have an eye for detail, then perhaps an editing or proofreading position will be up your alley. You could even become a virtual assistant and help a company or business owners with administrative tasks.

While all of these are hard work, they definitely enable you to earn money fast. You can start by checking out Upwork and Fiverr, which are both freelance sites.

4. Watch Videos, Play Games, and Shop

How in the world can you get paid for doing this? Making free money by watching videos, playing games, and online shopping seems like it would be too good to be true. But there are companies like Swagbucks that pay you to do all of these things.

By signing up and completing tasks through the Swagbucks platform, you can receive rewards points, which you can then cash in for gift cards, prepaid credit cards, and cash payouts to your PayPal account. This can include surfing the web through Swagbucks’s search engine, playing games on its platform, or using Swagbucks promo codes when shopping from your favorite stores. This can also help you save money on purchases and earn cash back.

5. Teach English Online

Teaching English as a second language (ESL) is a booming industry. It seems as though every other month there’s a new ESL startup that’s hiring teachers to fill the demand. Many of these ESL jobs are primarily geared towards younger Chinese students who are eager to learn.

Teaching English online enables you to have a flexible schedule and offers a pretty decent income. There are several reputable options you can look into, with some of the more popular ones being VipKid, Qkids, Magic Ears, and Gogokid.

6. Tutor Students

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Tutoring students is another way to get paid for giving educational guidance. As an online tutor, you can help students with certain school topics and answer questions they may have on their homework. You can also help students prepare for standardized testing and those final exams that always seem to be right around the corner. This would be a great side hustle for college students who are capable of teaching other students in their spare time.

7. Start a Transcription or Data Entry Job

Transcription and data entry jobs are plentiful across the web. While they don’t offer a huge paycheck, they still allow you to make money for completing simple tasks. Some of your responsibilities might include transferring records from one database to another, transcribing audio files, or creating subtitles for video files. You’ll be paid for how many tasks and assignments you can get done, so the faster you work, the more money you’re able to make.

8. Moderate Social Media and Message Boards

The internet is a crazy place these days. Inappropriate or vulgar content seems to sneak into blogs, social media channels, and message boards. As a moderator, it will be your job to scan these communal forums and make sure nobody is breaking the rules or posting inappropriate content. This could also include filtering out spam, fake accounts, and messages that break community guidelines.

Big brands, especially, need help maintaining their channels and will pay people like you to do so. Companies like Modsquad and ICUC are great places to start looking for an opening.

9. Find a Customer Service Job

Many companies are making their customer service jobs available to remote workers like you. Among these brands are Apple, Amazon, and American Express — just to name a few. As a customer service representative, your job will be to answer questions customers have, help them troubleshoot their problems, and even upsell them on other products and services. This job can be done from the comfort of your own home and can include phone support, chat support, or email support.

10. Monetize a YouTube Channel

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If you think you have a good idea for a YouTube channel that people will continuously watch, then you might want to look into monetizing your YouTube account. You need plenty of viewers and subscribers so you can take advantage of all YouTube’s monetization opportunities. These include having display ads on YouTube videos, charging your fans premium fees for exclusive access, and creating a Merchandise Shelf where you can sell memorabilia to fans.

11. Complete Microtasks

Microtask services like Amazon mTurk pay you to complete quick and easy tasks. This could include data entry jobs, data verification, surveys, or language translation. There aren’t any specific skills required to become a microtasker, but you should know that you’ll need to complete many tasks to make a decent paycheck. Each task won’t bring in a lot of money, so you’ll have to play the numbers game to make it worth it.

12. Sell Your Pictures

If you fancy yourself a decent photographer, then you can start making money off the pictures you take. There are sites out there like Shutterstock and Getty Images that allow you to upload your photos and receive payment every time somebody wants to use them.

You can upload one picture, and it could sell over and over again. If you’re sitting on a stockpile of decent pictures, it wouldn’t hurt to upload them to a site to see if anyone bites. It could turn into an excellent source of passive income.

13. Design T-Shirts

Designing T-shirts is a great way to make money on the side if you’re a graphic designer. If you have great ideas for T-shirts and other products, you can create a design and start selling it online.

There are companies like Teespring and Bonfire that allow you to upload and start selling designs without the burden of paying for all the inventory. If a customer wants to buy your design, the website will print it on-demand, and you won’t have to pay any money up front. The website will just take a cut of the profits and call it a day.

14. Use Affiliate Marketing

Nothing to sell? No problem. With affiliate marketing, you can make money by redirecting potential customers to other websites. For every referral you send a company’s way, you’ll get a commission.

For example, have you ever been on a YouTube channel and the host tells you to check out the Amazon products in the description? These are likely affiliate products that will pay the YouTuber every time a customer clicks and ends up buying that product on Amazon. If you have a website, social media channel, or email list, you can monetize it through an affiliate program.

Now You Know How to Make Money Online Without Paying Anything

Whether you’re looking for a full-time job or part-time job, all of these opportunities give you the chance to make easy money without having to pay anything upfront.

If you want to work from home and have the luxury of setting your own schedule and being your own boss, then start looking into some of these money-making ideas to see which one fits best with your lifestyle.

For those who would like to keep exploring, make sure to check out these unique jobs for working from home and these 16 ways to make extra money.

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