How to Earn Money from Home Online (9 Ways Explained)

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Catherine Tilke

Money Savings Advice How to Earn Money from Home Online

Looking for a way to make some extra money while you wait out the pandemic at home? Whether you’re just want to top up an over-stretched paycheck or are looking to reinvent your career online, opportunities are ripe for the picking on the internet.

Armed with little more than an internet connection and a strategy, you could start earning from the comfort of your own home in a matter of days. From answering online surveys to running errands for people in the neighbourhood, or trading cryptocurrencies, there is something for everyone out there.  

This guide runs through a wide range of options for making money online- so there’s something for everyone. For each idea, you’ll find tips on how to get started, as well as an estimate of the time and effort involved, from setup to your first paycheck, plus any restrictions you need to be aware of.   

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In Brief

  • You can make money, or even start a business, from the comfort of your own home
  • There are different options available depending on your time, money and skillset

In This Guide

  • 9 ideas to inspire you to start earning online
  • Get the low-down on time, costs and restrictions

1: Go Freelance

Make money by marketing your skills and expertise online. Freelancing cuts out the middle man (i.e. your employer), leaving you the freedom to set your own rates and schedules. The best part? There are already tons of websites out there for you list your services on, meaning you don’t need to splurge on a personal website and advertising straight away. Try PeoplePerHour, Fiverr and Upwork for a wide range of services and industries. Speak a second language fluently? You can list translation and transcription services on Gengo and One Hour Translation.

Special Requirements?

Most Freelancing sites require some form of ID verification. There are also age restrictions: Fiverr’s minimum age is 13, while you need to be 18+ to use Upwork, Gengo or One Hour Translation.

Time Investment?

  • The Setup: You can set up a profile on any of these sites in under an hour. Most sites will also need to verify your ID before your ads go live, which can take up to 24 hours.
  • The Work: You’ll need to be actively replying to adverts while you’re trying to land your first few gigs, which can be a drain on your time at the start. But once you have a few contracts and positive reviews on your profile, you can expect work to start coming your way with less effort.  
  • Getting Paid: Once a supplier has paid you, it can take up to a while to reach your account. Upwork pays around 10 days after the work gets done, while on Fiverr, payments take 14 days to clear.

Cash Investment?

It doesn’t cost anything to open an account. Note that when you get paid, a percentage of your fee will go to the host.


 


2: Get Paid To Take Surveys

Taking surveys online is probably the easiest way to make money online. You don’t need any special skills, and the effort on your part is minimal. However, the returns aren’t as high as for some of the other ideas on the list and probably max out at around £100 per month if you’re really committed. Get started with survey sites such as Swagbucks, Toluna, YouGov, Valued Opinion and Opinium, which offer Paypal vouchers or retail discounts in exchange for points.

Special Requirements?

If you’re legally allowed to work in the UK, you’re almost certainly eligible. Beware that most sites deposit cash via PayPal, so you’ll need to get an account up and running to get paid.

Time Investment?

  • The Setup: You can create a new email address (recommended to keep track of your surveys and keep your main inbox tidy) and sign up to a whole host of survey sites in under an hour.
  • The Work: Depending on the provider, you can start taking surveys straight away or will get an email invite whenever a survey comes up which you’re eligible for. If you’ve registered with multiple providers, you should have no problem getting at least a couple of surveys per day. Most surveys take under 10 minutes to complete, and longer ones will usually earn you more points
  • Getting Paid: Most providers need you to hit a minimum number of points before you cash in your earnings. This is usually between £10-£20, which translates to between 20-100 surveys depending on the provider.

Cash Investment?

Zilch! It doesn’t cost anything to sign up. What are you waiting for?

3: Become a Brand Rep

Earn commission and snag exclusive freebies by becoming a brand ambassador. With so much business taking place online, brands are ready to pay promoters to spread the word about their products on social media. If you’ve got a healthy following on your blog or through socials, you could potentially turn your Instagram addiction into a full-time job by tracking down brands willing to pay you to advertise, such as CoCo Loves, Glossy Box, B.Box Baby, Izzy & Liv and footwear giant Timberland.

And don’t fret if your stories haven’t been updated since pre-March 2020! Lots of brands don’t need you to have thousands of followers to take you on as a rep.Just by sharing their content you can earn freebies, and usually earn a percentage of any sales made as a result. Beauty and fashion fiends can check out: Avon, The Body Shop at home, The Cotton, Oakley, Asics and Lash Factory- all brands currently recruiting brand ambassadors. For the eco-conscious, SandBox and  Happy Earth are looking for earth-loving ambassadors to spread the word about conservation.

Special Requirements

You’ll need active social media accounts to do the work. Depending on the brand, you may also need to have a certain level of site traffic or number of followers.

Time Investment? 

  • The Setup: If you’re already an active social media user, you’ve already got the goods!
  • The Work: Your salary depends on how much you sell, so be willing to commit some time to make quality posts if you want to maximise your earnings.
  • Getting Paid: You’ll receive a share of the sales you made after-the-fact from the company. Many companies will also keep you supplied with exclusive goodies to advertise to potential customers.

Cash Investment?

Normally nothing. The Body Shop at home requires a £49 investment for the initial kit, but most online-only ambassadorships don’t need you to part with any cash to take part.

4: Affiliate Marketing

If you run a successful website, blog or Facebook page, you could start earning through affiliate marketing. For social media users with lots of followers, affiliate marketing is the next step up from brand-repping schemes.

It works by using your platform to advertise products and services to an audience. If anyone buys the products as a result of your ads, you get to keep a percentage or receive a flat fee.

If you think you have the reach to grab people’s attention online, you can approach brands directly (you’ll need to have up-to-date stats on your traffic and analytics) or apply to an agency, such as Awin, Summit, Navigate Digital and Thought Mix, who will pair you with suitable clients. 

Special Requirements

  • The Setup: If you’re applying to work through agencies, the application is fairly straightforward- upload some basic data about your site, and you’re good to go.
  • The Work: You’ll need to be proactive in sharing brands’ content if you want to keep your clients happy and see returns.
  • Getting Paid: Unless you decide to go it alone, the agency will handle payments. They’ll take a cut of your income and pay you at regular intervals.

Cash Investment?

It shouldn’t cost anything to get onto an agency’s books, provided that you already have the web traffic you need to be considered.

5: Hire Out Your Gadgets

Are you a gadget junkie? Earn extra income by renting out your goods on Fat Llama. Renters pay to borrow anything from cameras to mountain bikes and sound equipment. Even better, you don’t have to leave your house- it’s up to you where you meet your clients.

Special Requirements?

You’ll need to bee over 18 to sign up to Fat Llama.

Time Investment?

  • The Setup: You’ll need photos of your gear and specs to hand, but setting up a profile only takes a matter of minutes.
  • The Work: Once someone requests to rent your items, you’ll need to reply promptly. Besides this and managing your calendar (no double-bookings, please!), there’s very little else to it!
  • Getting Paid: Once you’ve rented an item, you’ll get the payment directly to your account within 3-4 days from the rental’s start date.

Cash Investment?

None.


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6: Get Paid To Search the Web

This is up there with online surveys as one of the easiest ways to make money online. Some advertisers are willing to pay you in cash or coupons to track your browser traffic to improve their targeted ads. If you don’t mind your online travels being plugged into marketers’ algorithms, you could get paid to do all the things you’re already doing online: visiting websites, shopping and watching videos.  The returns aren’t brilliant (£2-5 a month is a realistic expectation), but if you’re already surfing the web, you might as well get paid for it!

Survey maestros such as Swagbucks and Qmee offer browser extensions that tracks your activity in exchange for points (which you can cash in for vouchers or cash).

 Special Requirements?

An internet connection is about all you need for this one.

Time Investment? 

  • Setup: Create an account with the providers, download the add-on, and you’re set!
  • The Work: Browse the web as you usually would, making sure you’re logged in to the extension at the start of each session.
  • Getting Paid: Your points will accrue in your main account (on the provider’s website), which you can cash out as soon as you reach the minimum threshold.

Cash Investment?

You don’t need to part with any cash to get going on this one.

7: Sell Your Stuff Online

Many of us have cash lurking about our homes, in the form of our unwanted belongings. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure...that exercise bike collecting dust? The impulse buy jeans which have yet to see the light of day? If you’re not getting use out of something, it could be time to part ways and send it to a loving new home.

Gently-used clothing can find a buyer on Vinted, Pre-Loved, and Depop. If you have designer items hiding in your wardrobe, you could potentially fetch close to retail prices for them on Poshmark. Etsy is great for handmade and quirky items, or there’s the ever-popular eBay for just about everything else. 

Time Investment?

  • The Setup: You’ll need to create a profile and add your bank details to get started.
  • The Work: There is potential to turn online selling into a full time gig, but for getting rid of a few household items, the work is minimal: create a listing, snap some well-lit pictures, and you’re good to go. 
  • Getting Paid: Depending on the site, you’ll get paid as soon as a purchase has been made of when you mark the item as dispatched.

Cash Investment?

Depop charges listing fees, and the others will take a percentage of your profit after a sale has been made or at the end of the month- but there are no upfront costs. 

8: Online Trading

If you have time to commit, you could potentially learn a new life skill and grow some rewarding returns through online trading. With seemingly endless resources online, it’s easier than ever to learn the ropes of the stock markets and currency trading.

There’s a misconception that you need to invest large sums to get started, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, when you’re just starting out, most experts advise investing no more than you’d be willing to lose.

With time, patience and lots of practise, you could start earning an average of 10% on your investments every year- and potentially more, if you acquire sound knowledge of trading and have the time to keep track of the markets.

Special Requirements?

A serious commitment to learning about how the markets work if you don’t plan on losing all your investments.

Time Investment?

  • The Setup: You’ll need to spend time learning thoroughly about how your chosen market works and practise on a free trial account for a number of weeks.
  • The Work: You should be actively involved in watching your investments as well as researching the markets to make the most of your investments.
  • Getting Paid: It’s really up to you when you cash out. Note that some trading platforms may charge a small fee for withdrawals made via their app or online platform.

Cash Investment?

You may need to buy software, and of course, you will need to put money up for investment. While the aim is to grow your investment, there is always potential for things to go south- so you should never invest more than you can afford to lose.


 


9: Teach Online

If you’re reading this article, you already have what it takes to make money online! There is a huge market for English speakers who are willing to teach or help students practise online.

IF you happen to have teaching qualifications or experience, you could earn premium rates from agencies such as Whales English or italki.

Even if it’s you’ve never taught before; you could still find work with agencies like Cambly, which pairs learners with native English speakers for conversational practice (at 12p/min) or, if English isn’t your strong suit, you could try TutorHunt or Preply, and set your own rates for your own topic of expertise, from Physics to Plumbing.

Special Requirements?

Most Freelancing sites require some form of ID verification. There are also age restrictions: Fiverr’s minimum age is 13, while you need to be 18+ to use Upwork, Gengo or One Hour Translation.

Time Investment?

  • The Setup: You can set up a profile on any of these sites in under an hour. Most sites will also need to verify your ID before your ads go live, which can take up to 24 hours.
  • The Work: You’ll need to be actively replying to adverts while you’re trying to land your first few gigs, which can be a drain on your time at the start. But once you have a few contracts and positive reviews on your profile, you can expect work to start coming your way with less effort. 
  • Getting Paid: Once a supplier has paid you, it can take up to a while to reach your account. Upwork pays around 10 days after the work gets done, while on Fiverr, payments take 14 days to clear.

Cash Investment?

It doesn’t cost anything to open an account. Note that when you get paid, a percentage of your fee will go to the host.

Things To Watch Out For

While you’re getting yourself up and running, there are a few things to keep in mind to keep you and your earnings safe.

Taxes

Any income you earn on top of your main employment will need to be declared in your annual tax return. Most of the ideas mentioned in this article would be considered some form of self-employment, so you’d need to file a return for any money you made as a self-employed person to escape any surprise tax bills!

Scams

Beware of anyone who asks you to part with cash to gain access to a supposedly exclusive opportunity online. Unfortunately, there are just as many fraudsters as there are opportunities to earn, so be cautious and do thorough research before parting with any money. Most of the ideas mentioned above don’t need you to part with any cash before getting started, and you should be wary of any similar schemes which tell you otherwise.

So there you have it! From flogging your old furniture to teaching English online, nine ways to start earning cash online. Hopefully, you’ll have found some inspiration and are ready to start making money on your own time, from your own home.

Money Savings Advice Author Catherine Tilke

Catherine Tilke

Catherine is our specialist financial news journalist. With over 7 years of experience and a raft of contacts in the financial world, she prides herself on delivering the most relevant and up-to-date financial news for our readers.

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