Want to make money, but you’re not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
And you're not alone. Some 16% of adults performed a side gig in the previous month to help them make extra money and, of those, 64% spent less than 20 hours doing those jobs during that period, according to the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2021 report, released in May 2022 by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
NerdWallet rounded up 25 real ways to make money at home, online or out and about. For each potential side job, we list details like what it takes to get started, age requirements and how fast you can get paid. While most people want to make money fast, don’t discount the “slow” gigs, as they may pay more in the long run.
How to make money online
Making money online is the sweet spot people look for in the gig economy. Whether you aspire to be a six-figure social media influencer, or are just looking to supplement your regular income with some online side jobs, we've found some viable options.
1. Pick up freelance work online
Make money online through websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com. These sites offer opportunities to do a variety of freelance jobs, such as writing, programming, design, marketing, data entry and being a virtual assistant. Fluent in a second language? Check sites such as Gengo or Blend Express, or drum up business through a site of your own. No matter what freelancing you do, keep track of the going rate for the kind of work you provide so you know if you’re charging too much or too little.
2. Test websites and apps
Another way to make money from home is on sites like UserTesting.com. You get paid for your thoughts on how well — or not so well — certain websites and apps worked. You’ll have to complete a short test to be accepted, then you’ll be paid depending on the test type.
3. Pick up tasks on Amazon's Mechanical Turk
Even in the age of automation, some jobs still require a human touch. Companies often outsource those jobs via services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. As a “worker,” the tasks you’ll be assigned can be tedious — tagging images, transcribing videos, classifying receipts — and can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Temporary employers or “requesters” set the price for each task and get to approve the finished product before paying you. That can leave room for scams, so do your research. Join a community like the MTurk Crowd forum, or the MTurk and Turker Nation subreddits, which can steer you away from shifty dealers. These communities and fellow “workers” can answer questions and give a realistic idea of how much money you can expect to make.
4. Take surveys for money
You can make money from home by taking online surveys, but don’t expect to be rolling in the dough. Survey sites don’t typically offer a big payoff, and many sites are more useful for earning gift cards than cash. Some of the more popular survey sites include Swagbucks and Survey Junkie.
5. Make money from your blog as an affiliate
If you’re a blogger who gets decent traffic, you could make money by joining an affiliate network. Affiliates (that’s you) get paid when someone clicks through from the website to the partner site and buys something there. Some bloggers make a lot of money this way.
6. Sell your wares on Etsy
Have a penchant for woodworking, jewelry-making, embroidery or pottery? Sell your goods on Etsy, the go-to site for artisans selling home goods, art and knickknacks. Etsy boasted almost 96 million active buyers and grossed over $13.5 billion in merchandise sales in 2021, according to data from Statista.
7. Get advertising revenue from your blog or YouTube channel
Turn your cat videos into cash videos. If your YouTube videos or blog posts draw a big audience, you may be able to make money from advertising. YouTube sets 1,000 subscribers as the benchmark creators must make before applying for the YouTube Partners Program. YouTube Partners then get access to Google AdSense, a service businesses pay through to advertise around your content. The service is free, but there are requirements you must meet.
8. Become an Instagram influencer
Companies are using Instagram influencers — people with large, dedicated followings on the platform — to rep their products. You can get in on the action by applying for opportunities via a marketing platform like Open Influence or Aspire, or by contacting the brands you want to work with.
9. Monetize your Twitch channel
Gaming could be a way to make money from home if you have a steady following on Twitch, the go-to site for gamers. Broadcasters can receive donations from viewers and even get a share of subscription and ad revenue if they reach Affiliate or Partner status.
10. Sell your photography
Turn your photographs into cash via sites like Fine Art America, which lets you upload your images to sell as prints, T-shirts, phone cases and more. Other marketplaces for photographers include SmugMug, 500px and PhotoShelter. Some sites require a subscription but may provide features ranging from cloud storage to password-protected galleries and a customized website.
How to make money offline
There's online and at-home ways to make extra money — and then there's a third alternative: offline. This version of the gig economy may require a little more legwork, but the upside can be substantial. Here are offline ways to make money:
11. Sell your gently used clothes
Selling clothes you no longer wear is a quick way to make some money. Start with local consignment shops for faster cash or use sites like ThredUp and Poshmark to find buyers. If you go the online route, be sure to take clear, well-lit photos of your pieces and research similar items to set competitive prices.
12. Trade in old phones, electronics for cash
Have an old phone, iPad or gaming system lying around? Sell it on a site like Swappa or Gazelle. Check out Amazon’s trade-in program, which pays participants in Amazon gift cards — and eBay, too. If you’re in a rush, try an ecoATM kiosk, which offers cash on the spot for your device.
13. Get a babysitting gig
Everyone from college students to recent retirees can make money by watching other people’s children. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are still a great way to get started, but you can also create a profile for free on Care.com or Sittercity to expand your reach. Note any specialized skills, such as CPR certifications, to make yourself more marketable.
14. Rent out your car
City-dwellers often don’t use their cars for days or weeks at a time. That idle time can translate to extra money with services like Getaround and Turo, which let you rent out your car by the hour or day. You take home the majority of those earnings, while Getaround or Turo takes a cut for protecting your car while it’s being rented.
15. Sign up for TaskRabbit
If you actually enjoy putting together Ikea furniture or standing in long lines, you may be cut out for doing tasks for others. Websites like TaskRabbit can connect you with people who need help with a variety of things, such as moving, cleaning, delivery and handyman services. The site also offers several virtual and online tasks, such as helping with a research project or data entry.
16. Become a private tutor
Parlay your math, science, foreign-language or test-prep expertise into a lucrative side gig by becoming a private tutor. You can tutor people online or in-person. What you charge can depend on your experience, expertise and what’s in demand. To get started, see what types of tutors are needed on Craigslist or create a profile on sites like Tutor.com or Care.com. You can also advertise your services at local schools and community centers.
17. Drive for Uber, Lyft
Join Uber or Lyft (or both) and make money by driving passengers around. Just don’t forget to factor in gas and maintenance costs. You need an eligible car in good condition and must agree to a background check and a review of your driving history.
18. Make deliveries for Amazon, Uber Eats
Take advantage of the growing delivery trend and sign up for a service like Instacart, Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash or Amazon Flex. You get paid per delivery, in most cases, and can even earn tips. A car isn’t always required — Postmates and, in some cities, DoorDash, lets you use a bike or scooter to make deliveries. However, a background check almost always is part of the deal.
19. Find work as a housesitter
If you’re willing to watch someone’s home — and maybe feed the pets, water the plants and take out the garbage — become a housesitter. Tap your personal network for referrals or try out HouseSitter.com, which connects homeowners with housesitters. People often make $25 to $45 a day, according to the company’s website.
20. Sign up to be a mystery shopper
Businesses often want to know how they’re performing from a customer’s perspective. Sign up to be their eyes and ears. You can apply online via sites like IntelliShop, BestMark and Sinclair Customer Metrics.
21. Find seasonal work
Need a gig for a few months? Try something seasonal, like being a lifeguard, shoveling snow or working at a retailer during the holidays. Employers typically staff up a month or two before their busy season, so plan ahead to get on their payroll. Check storefront windows, Craigslist and local classifieds for seasonal opportunities.
22. Put your drone to work
The market for drones is expanding. Companies hire out work like aerial inspection, photography and land mapping. So if you’re already a drone enthusiast, why not make extra money with your aircraft? You first need to register it with the Federal Aviation Administration and obtain certification from the agency for commercial use. Then, you can apply for gigs as a drone pilot.