If you want to learn how to make money online without paying anything, it’s best to explore several options to find the right solution for you. It’s possible to make significant money online using your skills and some strategically focused initiative. Below are 20 practical ideas for generating income online without any upfront investment.
1. Start Freelancing
One of the fastest ways to start making money online is to capitalize on the skills you already have and start freelancing. Freelancers can earn anywhere from a few hundred extra dollars each month to a full-time income well into the six figures.
Many freelancers start part-time and then grow their freelancing efforts into a full-fledged online business idea. With freelancing, you decide what services you sell and what fees you accept.
Popular Freelancing Opportunities
More and more businesses are turning to freelancers to perform tasks that are essential to their businesses. There’s never been a better time to start freelancing.
Here are some of the most in-demand types of freelancing work you could pursue:
- Writing, editing, and proofreading: Your writing talents can easily translate into a strong freelancing career. Most freelancers earn $25 to $500 per project, but some large or highly specialized projects can pay up into the thousands.
- Website design and development: Many established and start-up businesses seek outside help for their website design and development needs. Earnings vary by type and scope of work, but earning $200 to $3,000 per project is common.
- Graphic design: If you already possess strong graphic design skills, then you can make a healthy living by offering your services through freelancing channels. Earnings vary by project but $50 to $1,000 for each project is typical, and highly skilled designers can charge even more.
- Custom art and illustration: There are many businesses and individuals who need custom art and illustration work done for their books, presentations, packaging, and more. The more skilled you are, the more you can earn. On the low end, expect to earn $25 to $50 per project, but many artists earn well into the thousands for their high-end work.
- Sales and marketing: If you know how to help businesses make money through sales and marketing strategies, your skills are in high demand. Earnings vary by freelancer experience and project but $20 to $100 per hour is the typical earnings range.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Many website owners do not understand SEO, so if you do, you have a wonderful skill set for freelancing. SEO freelancers can earn $40 to $150 per hour.
- Translation: Do you speak and write more than one language? Use your multi-lingual skills to help businesses with their translation needs and make money in the process. Earn 18 cents to 30 cents per word translating documents.
- Transcription: You can work from home and make $17 to $25 per hour as a medical, legal, or general transcriptionist.
- Video and audio production: If you have the talent and equipment to do video or audio production, you’re in luck. Video editors, for example, can earn $30 to $55 per hour for their work.
- Voice actor: Voice work for commercials and videos typically pays in the range of $20 to $250 per project, depending on the type of project and length of the video.
For those who want to know how to make extra money online without paying anything, freelancing is a terrific option. There are so many different types of freelancing jobs you can pursue. You can earn extra money on the side or create a full-time income as a freelancer.
Popular Freelancing Sites
There are several websites that match freelancers with businesses who are seeking help with projects. These sites make money by assessing a commission on each completed project, which means the fee is deducted from your earnings and there’s often no out-of-pocket costs for you. Top sites for freelancers include Fiverr, Upwork, Guru, and Freelancer. Fees for using these sites range from 10% to 20% per completed project.
2. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing is when an online business pays you a commission when you refer people to their websites and those people then take a certain action, such as making a purchase. Many businesses have their own affiliate marketing programs. Perhaps the most famous of which is the Amazon Associates program, where you can earn anywhere from a 4% to 10% commission for sales made through your affiliate links.
The most common way to earn affiliate marketing revenues is through a blog or website. Many social channels also allow affiliate marketing provided that you follow their disclaimer rules. As an affiliate marketer, your goal is to build a following and then introduce your followers to affiliate products and services that align with their needs and interests.
In addition to individual company affiliate programs you can join, there are also several affiliate networks you can join for free. When you join an affiliate network you can make money promoting multiple merchants’ products and services. A few of the most popular affiliate marketing networks are ShareAsale, Rakuten, ClickBank, and CJ Affiliate.
Earnings for affiliate marketers vary greatly. In the beginning, it can take a while to earn even $100 a month. As your following grows, and your affiliate marketing skills grow, earnings can easily move into the $500 to $2,000 range. Top affiliate marketers regularly earn six figures.
3. Sell Your Photographs
If you’ve got a knack for taking amazing photos, consider selling your photos online. Photography sites like Bigstock and Shutterstock have programs where you can submit your photos and get paid when they are downloaded by customers. Make sure your photos are of excellent quality, because you will undergo a review process.
Your earnings will vary by outlet. For example, at Bigstock you’ll earn 30% of the amount received by a Bigstock partner or 50 cents to $25 for images purchased via its credit program. Shutterstock pays from 25 cents to $40 for images.
You could also sell prints of your photos through sites like lmagekind. Seller programs there range from free to $94.99 per year.
If you have a website, another option is to sell your photos on your own website through a plugin. In that option, you keep all the profits. You can set up a website through DreamHost or only $2.59 per month.
4. Become an Online Influencer
An online influencer is someone who builds a big following through their social media channels, podcast, or website. They then use their influence over that following to recommend products and services.
The main ways online influencers make money is through advertising and sponsored content. As an influencer, it’s important that you’re transparent about whether you’ve been paid to talk about a product or service. Failure to disclose a fee arrangement could get you in legal hot water.
How much you’ll make as an influencer depends on the type of audience you have, what types of products your followers are most likely to buy, how engaged your audience is, and how many followers you have. For example, if you have an Instagram account that has 10,000 highly engaged audience, you may be able to make $125 per sponsored post. As your audience grows, so will your sponsorship fees.
5. Start a Recruiting Business
If you have experience recruiting high-quality talent, you may want to consider opening up your own recruiting business. A recruiter’s compensation is typically based on a modest retainer fee plus a percentage of the salary for the job they’re trying to fill. Commission fees generally range from 20% to 40% of the hire’s first-year salary.
Think about how much that can add up when you’re a successful recruiter. For example, if you earn 30% every time you place a candidate in a job where he or she earns $75,000, you’ll make $22,500 through commissions alone.
6. Be an Online Teacher or Tutor
If you are highly skilled in a subject area and have the gift for teaching others, then consider being an online teacher or tutor. You can tutor students of all ages in math, science, English, and more. Online tutors can earn anywhere from $15 to $45 per hour.
One of the more popular online teaching gigs around today is teaching English as a second language. VIPkid, an online learning company, pays teachers $14 to $22 per hour to teach English online to students across China. You can pick your own hours and work around your schedule. You will need a bachelor’s degree but you don’t need a teaching certification to teach through VIPkid.
7. Launch a Bookkeeping Business
While you don’t have to be certified to launch your bookkeeping business, getting a bookkeeping certification is probably a good idea. If you’re already certified, you can launch your bookkeeping business immediately. You can easily average $45 to $65 an hour while working from home. If this business idea appeals to you, learn how to set up your bookkeeping business in just eight steps.
8. Start a Virtual Assistant Business
As a virtual assistant (VA), you’ll need to possess strong computer-based skills that businesses need. Virtual assistants perform a wide variety of tasks, including data entry, social media management, customer service, setting appointments, managing emails, and more. Basically, you do anything an assistant would do for a boss, you just do it from your home.
Starting a VA business is an ideal move for anyone who wants tremendous flexibility while still owning and running a business. VA’s typically earn $15 to $35 an hour. The more value you bring to your clients, the more money you earn.
9. Create Online Courses
Creating online courses is a great way to make money online. You can sell up to three online courses for free on the Thinkific platform. You can also develop courses on your own and list them on Udemy or on your own website without paying anything. New online course creators charge anywhere from $10 to $999 per course, and more advanced courses can sell up into the thousands.
10. Start a Resume Writing Business
Whether you’re looking to earn money on the side or create a full-time business, helping job seekers can be a solid business venture. Let’s face it, there will always be people looking for work. So, if you have a talent in creating resumes that land interviews, then you have a talent that can help you build a thriving business. You can charge anywhere from $50 to $300 per resume, depending on the type of job searcher you’re helping.
11. Launch a Podcast
Podcast listenership is growing by leaps and bounds, which means starting a podcast could be the business opportunity you’re looking for. To start a podcast you’ll need a computer, a good microphone, and audio recording software such as Audacity, which is free.
You can monetize your podcast through advertising and sponsorships, where you are paid using the cost per impression model (CPM). A 15-60 second spot could generate $18 to $25 per 1000 impressions or listeners. You can also make money through affiliate marketing, which can earn anywhere from a few bucks up into the thousands as your audience grows.
12. Write and Sell E-books
If you want to know how to make money online without paying anything, writing e-books is a smart way to get money flowing in fast. All you need are strong writing skills and a compelling book concept and you could be well on your way to becoming a famous online author.
You can also list your e-books on your own website or Amazon through the Amazon Kindle Direct Publish portal. You can sell your e-books through other popular sites as well, including the Apple iBooks Store, Blurb, and Gumroad. You can also sell your e-books through affiliate marketing networks such as Clickbank, which specializes in digital products.
Naturally, if you sell your book on your own website, you keep all the profits. If you sell your books through third party channels, expect to pay 15% to 55% in commissions for each e-book sold.
E-book writers can earn anywhere from a few dollars to thousands each month selling their e-books. Those who write e-books on in-demand subjects and master e-book marketing principles earn the most. Learn more about how to publish and sell e-books.
13. Start a Consulting Business
You’ve developed expertise and have years of experience creating business success in a certain subject area. Your network in your chosen industry is strong. If you’re eager to switch gears and start making money online, it could be time to capitalize on your deep knowledge base and large network. Starting a consulting business just might be the right move for you.
According to the Consultant Journal (CJ), consultants can charge up to double or even triple their salary-based wage. Consultants can also charge by the day, by the project, or by meeting certain performance criteria established in the consulting contract negotiations. The CJ reports that the average annual management consultant’s salary is $92,900 while marketing consultants average $54,000 and healthcare consultants average $76,000.
14. Make Money as an Online Event Promoter
Online event promoters work as independent consultants or contractors to generate interest in live events, such as concerts, conferences, festivals, training programs, special club dates, and sporting events. Online event promoters need to be skilled in marketing and basic business practices to succeed. They also need to develop large followings and have exceptional public relations skills.
Online event promoters can stir up interest in events in a myriad ways, including through social media channels, press releases, email marketing, and networking. Payment for promoter services is typically calculated on a per-person converted basis, such as $5 to $20 for every person a promoter brings to an event.
15. Start an Online Coaching Business
If you’re highly skilled in a certain area and are passionate about helping others build skills in that area, you may want to start an online coaching business. In many fields, you don’t have to be certified to be a coach, although several different certification programs are available through a number of universities and online providers. For example, the International Coaching Federation offers a number of certification programs.
There are many different types of coaches, including:
- Executive coach: Help executives become better problem-solvers and leaders
- Business growth coach: Assist business leaders in their efforts to identify and overcome obstacles to growth
- Career coach: Help individuals identify career goals and coach them to build successful careers
- Life coach: Work with people who are struggling with personal issues find greater peace and establish life goals
- Fitness and wellness coach: Help individuals improve their overall fitness and physical health
Coaches typically offer a number of different types of coaching programs to clients, including one-on-one single sessions, multi-week coaching programs, group coaching, and coaching through email only. Earnings vary by type of coach and clients served, though average annual salaries range from $40,000 to $150,000 a year.
16. Be a Ghostwriter
If your writing skills are exceptional, you may want to start earning money as a ghostwriter. Beginning ghostwriters typically earn $500 to $2,000 per project, depending on the length of the book or manuscript. More experienced ghostwriters can earn $5,000 to $20,000 per book. Ghostwriters for celebrities can earn $75,000 or more.
Not all ghost writers work on books; many work on blogs, speeches, emails, reports and other miscellaneous writing projects that are then attributed to another person who is recognized publicly as the author of the work. Ghostwriter fees for this type of work are often paid on a 10 cents to $4 per word basis or a project fee that typically ranges from $50 to $200.
You can advertise your ghostwriter services on third-party sites like Fiverr or search for ghostwriting work on sites like Upwork and Freelancer.
17. Start a Social Media Management Business
Social media managers help their clients create, manage, and grow their following and engagement in social media channels. As a social media manager, you can specialize in just one social media channel such as becoming known as an Instagram or Pinterest expert, or you can offer services in multiple social media channels.
Types of work you might do include signing up for new social media accounts, creating and posting graphics, engaging with followers through comments, setting up social media ads, and analyzing performance results.
Social media managers can work from anywhere as long as they have internet access and a computer. Full-time social media managers earn an average of $37,000 to $60,000 per year.
18. Sell Physical Products Online
Many people make a bundle selling products online. You can create your own products or sell third-party products.
Here are three easy ways to sell physical products online:
- Create and sell T-shirts online: If you have a knack for design or coming up with witty sayings, you may want to start an online T-shirt business. You can sell T-shirts through your own website, set up a shop with an ecommerce site like Shopify, or sell through a number of popular T-shirt sites, such as Zazzle, TeeSpring and CafePress. Your total earnings will depend on how much you sell, but you can net $5-$10 per T-shirt.
- Sell used items: If you’ve got an eye for finding items at flea markets, thrift markets, and garage sales that are worth a lot more than you pay for them, you can turn that talent into a business. You can sell used items online on sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace for a tidy profit. Earn anywhere from a few bucks a month to a few hundred by selling used items online. If you get really good at it, you could even earn into the thousands.
- Sell handmade items and crafts: If you like to create handmade items or crafts, then you could turn your passion into a money-making business. Sites like Etsy, Artfire, and Craftsy feature handmade artisan and craft items. Fees for these sites vary from free to 25% per item sold.
You could also sell these items on your own website such as a WordPress site hosted on DreamHost for $2.59 a month. Or, you could create an online store through Shopify or BigCommerce to sell your artisan goods or handmade crafts.
19. Consider a Remote Job
You can start earning money online by taking a full- or part-time remote job. Nowadays, there are many companies hiring qualified individuals who work from the comfort of their own homes.
Popular Remote Job Opportunities
While there are countless types of remote jobs available, the bulk of the remote positions advertised today tend to fall under a few categories. What follows is a list of remote job opportunities that are in high demand.
Consider taking a remote job in one of the following popular fields:
- Customer service: Use your people skills while serving customers. Top industries hiring remote customer service representatives include insurance, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, and travel. Customer service representatives average $10 to $18 per hour.
- Data entry: If you’re excellent at data entry, you could work online and start making money immediately. Data entry specialists earn an average $8 to $15 per hour.
- IT professionals: Developers, programmers, software engineers, and other IT experts are always in high demand. Six-figure salaries are common for top experts.
- Project management: Put your project management skills to work for a company while working from your own home office. Remote salaries average from $65,000 to $95,000 for project managers.
- Accounting services: Your accounting skills could land you the perfect remote job. Accounting support specialists average $35 to $50 per hour, while senior accountants average $75 to $125 per hour.
- Sales representative: If you’re an accomplished salesperson, there’s no need to go into a brick-and-mortar office anymore. You can work remotely and get paid anywhere from $50,000 to multiple six figures.
- Online tech support: Help desk and online tech support professionals average $12 to $22 per hour when working in remote roles. Even better, demand for these professionals is soaring.
Popular Remote Sites for Job Seekers
Just as the market for remote workers is booming, so are the number of online avenues for finding online jobs. Indeed is a top site for finding work of all kinds, including remote job opportunities. Sites that specialize in remote jobs include Remote.co, FlexJobs, and We Work Remotely.
20. Start a Blog
If you want to make money online, starting a blog is a smart choice. You can monetize your blog with many of the options already discussed in this article, including affiliate marketing, selling products, promoting e-books, creating online courses, providing freelancing services, and more. You can also make money on your blog through advertising. There are many paths you can take to become a successful blogger.
You can launch a blog for free through WordPress.com. If you’re looking to make the most money from your blog, you may want to consider creating a self-hosted WordPress blog through DreamHost. You can open a DreamHost account for only $2.59 a month.
Bloggers’ earnings vary greatly depending on how they choose to monetize their sites. Many bloggers don’t earn anything because they haven’t taken advantage of the many money-making opportunities discussed throughout this post. Bloggers who incorporate monetization strategies into their sites can easily average $1,500 to $5,000 per month in sales. Top bloggers can earn more than $10,000 per month. Elite bloggers, such as John Lee Dumas of Fire Nation, earns more than $200,000 per month.
Bottom Line: How to Make Money Online Without Paying Anything
For those wanting to know how to make extra money online without paying anything, there are many options available. You’ve now seen 20 different ways to make money online. You can earn hundreds each month or create a full-time income using these strategies. Simply select the best option for you to begin earning money online.
The fastest way to earn money online is to create your own website with Dreamhost. You can launch your WordPress website through DreamHost for only $2.59 a month and start selling all types of products and services on your site. Visit DreamHost to learn more.