17 Legitimate Ideas for Making Money Online (Where Yoga Pants are Optional)

Making money online may seem like such a far-fetched idea, but in 2021, it’s become a reality for many. Whether you’re looking for a part-time side hustle or ready to create a full-time career online, there are numerous avenues to work from home and make extra cash.
While there are work from home scams you should watch out for, there are also legitimate methods to make money online. Be wary of any site asking you to pay money for access or requiring your credit card information to get started. Unless you are investing in the startup of your business, such as a laptop or course for certification, there’s no reason to crack open your wallet right away.
To get started, there are two major requirements. The first is you can’t be afraid of hard work. Just because your work is conducted online doesn’t mean it requires any less attention than other small business ideas. In some cases, you’re wearing multiple hats while you launch your online business. Don’t be afraid of the work it takes to complete your tasks and build a reputable business.
Secondly, you have to have an internet connection.
With these two qualifications checked off your list, you can accomplish almost anything with your online business. Let’s look closely at these ideas so you can get started earning good money while wearing your favorite yoga pants.

1. Freelancing

I started with freelancing first because it’s near and dear to my heart. I’m a freelance writer and it’s my full-time job — and a career I’m passionate about. But the beauty of being a freelancer is you start from zero and then decide how much you want to grow. There is no end to the potential and possibilities.
A freelancer provides services to individuals or businesses on a contractual basis. Your rates run from hourly to project-based. If you’re interested in marketing yourself for freelance services, create a profile on websites such as Upwork or Fiverr to land entry-level jobs. As you build your portfolio, you start networking and applying for bigger, more lucrative freelance jobs.
Another option is to create your own website where you detail your services and portfolio.
Not sure if you have a skill worth marketing? Here are several examples of skills freelancers charge for as clients need them:
  • Copywriting
  • Photography
  • Graphic design
  • Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Calligraphy/hand-lettering
  • Website design
  • Update social profiles
  • Teaching
  • Transcribing
  • Consulting
  • Video Making
With freelancing, you start earning money as soon as you complete an assignment and your client pays you.

2. Blogger

Blogging is another creative endeavor where you can earn a part-time or full-time income. If you love to write and engage with people, then this is a fun way to connect with an audience. It’s also another option to work in your spare time and eventually as more passive income.
You do need to invest in your own website, which costs money with hosting fees and the domain purchase. The most popular choice among beginner bloggers is to set up a WordPress blog. But the fees are typically very affordable and the only costs associated with running a blog.
The key to making money as a blogger is to be patient. Success does not come overnight and it takes time to develop an audience. However, there are several activities you can do to earn income from your blog, including:
  • Affiliate marketing, where you earn a commission off promoting a product with your specific link
  • Allow display ads on your site with a service such as Google’s Adsense
  • Brand sponsorship opportunities
  • Sell digital products, such as printables, ebooks, photographs, or other items
  • Sell your own products, such as jewelry or handmade items

3. Influencer

Like blogging, an influencer makes money through several outlets, except social media is the prominent vessel for communication. If you love sharing the latest fashion trends, makeup, parenting lessons, cooking, or other lifestyle and business topics, then you can be an influencer.
The best practice is to pick a niche and become as social and engaged with an audience as possible. Like blogging, affiliate marketing, brand sponsorship opportunities, and selling additional items are supplemental ways for an influencer to make money.

4. Virtual Assistant

Perhaps you’re more of a “behind-the-scenes'' kind of person and enjoy project management and has a keen eye for detail. Acting as a virtual assistant could be right for you.
A virtual assistant performs tasks related to data entry, customer service, marketing, social media, and basically whatever a business or individual might need. Like other online professions, it pays to have a niche in the virtual assistant world. If you have specific skills, use this to your advantage and market yourself as specializing in it.
LinkedIn is a fantastic platform to network with business professionals who need an extra set of hands. Most virtual assistants get paid by the hour.

5. Social media manager

Do you know how to write Insta-worthy captions? Is TikTok your preferred method of communication now? If so, why not share your social media skills with other businesses and get paid at the same time?
Small businesses need help with social media. Every business knows they have to be on all the socials, from Facebook, Instagram, to Pinterest and Snapchat. And then of course there’s LinkedIn. But social media is overwhelming and is often put on the backburner for a business.
Offer your services as a social media manager and take this to-do off a business owner’s list. To get started, add it to your social profiles and start networking. Comment as often as possible and make your social media presence known. You can charge by the hour or as a package deal. According to Salary.com, the average hourly wage is $50.

6. Podcaster

If you enjoy talking about a particular subject or interviewing fascinating people, consider starting your own podcast.
To get started, most podcasters need their own equipment. You can record right in the comfort of your own home, or your local library may have studios you can use. The ones with the most success usually have a unique point of view or niche. The other key is to market yourself and let as many people know as possible that you have a podcast.
To make money as a podcaster, look for ways to sell sponsorships for your shows, offer coaching or consulting services with podcasts, or dabble in affiliate marketing. Like blogging and being an influencer, making money as a podcaster comes later, so make sure you’re in it for the long haul.

7. Online store

If the world of e-commerce intrigues you then consider setting up an online store. Platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce make it incredibly easy to get started. And you don’t even need to have a website.
Your online store is capable of selling anything to anyone. If you do not have experience with an e-commerce site, don’t worry. Shopify or other platforms walk you through step by step, including how to get paid, track shipments, and gain valuable customer insights.
Be prepared to deal with customer service inquiries and shipping logistics. But with a little know-how and hard work, you can get your online store up and running in a short period.
There are various business models, but you can either keep your inventory and sell products or try dropshipping. Dropshipping is where the product is shipped directly to the customer from the manufacturer or wholesaler. This means you never have to touch the product, but it also means you have less control over customer service issues.

8. Sell digital products

Perhaps you’re not interested in handling too much inventory or working with a product that demands quite a bit of customer interaction. You might prefer the world of digital products instead. If you’re a blogger or influencer, you already have a platform to sell digital products, but if you aren’t, it’s easy to create one.
Selling digital products simply means your customers download the product instead of you selling them a physical item. These products range from $1 to $1,000 and everywhere in between. All you need is a website or platform to sell on and off you go.
If someone can download it, then you can make money. Items such as:
  • Ebooks
  • Stationary
  • Calendars
  • How-to guides
  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Menus
  • Organization tools
  • Photographs
Not only can you sell digital products on your website, but places such as Etsy are also amazing platforms. Or, look for niche platforms, such as selling photographs to a site like Shutterstock. The benefit here is you earn money quickly, get paid right away if you use a service like PayPal, and it produces passive income. Talk about a work-from-home win!

9. Create an online course

Perhaps you know a particular subject and you’re trying to figure out a way to make money from this wisdom. If you create an online course, people will pay good money to learn new and valuable information.
The best part is you don’t have to be a teacher or have a fancy degree. As long as you’re providing knowledge and value for a course, then people will want to learn from it. Unsure of what to teach? Think of a skill or subject you are good with and are willing to research even more. Are you good at brewing craft beer at home? Styling hair? Do you know how to teach beginners programs like Microsoft Excel or PowerPoint?
Creating tutorials for an audience takes work upfront, but then your earnings come in and it creates a passive income situation. Platforms such as Udemy make it super easy to upload your course or create one from scratch. Or, if you have a website you can add it there. The bottom line is, an online course is a marvelous way to make money online.

10. Teach people online

If you’d rather work one-on-one with someone, either adults or children, then consider teaching online. Online tutoring is not only a great way to make money online from your home, but it’s convenient for the student too.
You don’t have to be an educator for this teaching method either. But perhaps you are particularly strong in a subject. Or, maybe you’ve been through an intense degree or certification process and can tutor others.
There are also sites such as VIPKids where you can teach kids English from around the world. Tutoring and teaching are typically paid hourly and it has flexible hours for your schedule.

11. Sell or resell items

From eBay to Craigslist, there are several platforms where you “flip” items for sale. Let’s say you find a fabulous piece of silver at a local estate sale. You can turn around and sell it for more money online.
Or you can set up a shop on Etsy and sell brand-new items you create or have access to. You’re only limited by your imagination as to what you sell on Etsy.
But eBay and Craigslist aren’t the only avenues to sell. Several online businesses use social media channels such as Instagram to post daily or weekly sales. With the ability to ship anywhere in the world and easily create packages and labels from your home, selling items has never been easier.

12. Complete surveys

Sites such as Swagbucks and Digsite are two examples of companies that pay you money to take surveys. You earn points for each survey you take, then you cash in your points for gift cards or other prizes.
Although surveys are a quick, fun way to earn points and money, you should note it’s hard to earn money quickly or consistently with these types of surveys. If you’re looking for something fun to do while you’re waiting to pass time, then this is an option to earn a little extra.
Similar to this concept, except more broad-reaching is the Amazon Mechanical Turk program. It’s a crowd-sourcing concept where businesses seek people to perform odd, menial tasks online. You earn per minute and tasks range from data mining to surveys to data entry.

More ways to work from home and earn money

While these options technically aren’t online businesses, here are other ideas to earn extra money with built-in schedule flexibility.

13. Drive for Uber

Rideshare services are still in demand and you can make extra money driving people back and forth.

14. Sign up for TaskRabbit

This site helps anyone complete tasks around the home or for work. If you pass a background check, you sign up and become a trusted Tasker.

15. Babysitting

As long as people keep having kids, there will always be a demand for babysitting.

16. Dog walking

People are busy but they want their pets to get their much-needed care. Start a dog walking business and charge per walk. To get started, market yourself on your neighborhood Facebook page.

17. Rent space through Airbnb

Do you have an extra room or garage apartment? Do you live near a tourist destination or in a town where there is an annual event people travel to? If so, rent your house out temporarily through Airbnb while you go on vacation or stay on your Mom’s couch.

The bottom line

These work-from-home options are only the tip of the iceberg of what you can achieve. Whether you dream of an online store or teaching someone, there’s bound to be a way for you to earn extra money. And you never know, one of these ideas may be the spark it takes to light a whole new fire to your career.

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