Top 5 Ways to Make Money Online

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Catherine Tilke

Money Savings Advice Top 5 Ways to Make Money Online

There can be hundreds of ways to make money online, we have researched and drilled down to the top 5 ways to make money online.

Make Money Online, Number 1: Get Paid To Do Surveys

Paid surveys are probably the easiest way to earn extra money from home. All you need to get started is an internet connection and some spare time. Sounds too good to be true?

While taking surveys is simple, it probably won't ever replace your main income, but it can still be a useful way to earn a few bucks without having to leave your home.

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How Do Online Surveys Work?

Companies from energy suppliers to high-street retailers rely on customer feedback in order to stay relevant and, ultimately, stay in business.

One way they can get feedback is by paying marketers to do research on their behalf. These marketing companies draft surveys designed to find out more about customers' behaviour, likes, and dislikes. Some marketers offer to pay you in cash or vouchers in exchange for your time and patience.

How Do I Sign Up to Online Surveys?

There are countless paid survey sites online, but most have a similar sign-up process. You create an account using your email and other basic information, such as your address. After opening an account, you'll need to fill out a profile or complete an initial (usually unpaid) survey to tell the marketers more about you- then you're good to go.

How Do I Start Making Money From Online Surveys?

How much you earn depends on how many sites you use, the rewards they offer, and the time you put in. Most sites have a limit to how many paid surveys you can complete in a month, so it makes sense to sign up to multiple sites if you're serious about trying to earn extra money.

Also, don't expect to qualify for every survey on the site- depending on the survey, you might not fit the demographic that the marketers want to hear from on some surveys.

How Much Money Can You Earn From Online Surveys?

Some sites, like Swagbucks, offers a 'rewards marketplace' rather than cash, offering gift cards or sweepstakes of up to $500 (£362) for survey-takers.

Many sites also offer cash rewards, paying around 15p-£3 per survey as well as a bonus upon signing up. Depending on the site, the survey fee may be clearly advertised, or there may be a point system in place (e.g., 100 points = 10p).

While answering a one-off survey is unlikely to revolutionize your finances, making a habit of it can be an easy way to save some extra cash on the side.

How Do I Get Paid for Completing Online Surveys?

Depending on the site you use, you could start cashing in your vouchers and savings right away. However, it's more likely that you will get paid after you have accrued a minimum number of points. 

For example, YouGov, which polls on social and political issues, offers a £50 payout- but only after users have accrued a certain number of points. Most sites offer payout through mainstream internet payment providers such as PayPal.

Are Money-Making Online Surveys Legitimate?

Yes. Marketers have been paying people to answer their surveys for years, and there are many such legitimate businesses in operation. However, as always, it pays to be cautious. There are scammers who offer 'membership services,' supposedly for access to better-paying, more exclusive surveys.

In reality, these are often the same surveys as provided by all the other sites, which you can access for free. If you are ever asked your bank details, passport number, or other sensitive personal information in a survey, leave the site.

Is There Anything I Need To Be Careful of With Online Surveys?

Be aware that due to the nature of marketing surveys, the personal data you give up when answering questions could be sold on to research studies and is in the hands of the unknown third-party companies who commissioned the surveys.

By sharing this information, you could increase your exposure to the risk of identity theft if your personal information is not guarded properly by the commissioners. For this reason, it's probably wise not to disclose anything you consider to be sensitive information.

Make Money Online, Number 2: Sell Your Unwanted Belongings

Declutter your home and make a pretty penny in one fell swoop by selling your unwanted goods online.

The key to successfully Marie-Kondo-ing your home lies in having a clear strategy and knowing your market. While that exercise bike gathering dust in the garage might be a hit on eBay (home workout gear was the #1 second-hand seller on the site during Lockdown No.1), you could struggle to sell it on other platforms.

With a little bit of planning, you can easily convert unwanted items into cash.

How Do I Get Started Selling My Unwanted Goods?

Start off by jotting down everything you know needs to go and how much you'd like to sell it for.

Be realistic- a pair of sweaty, worn trainers might be better destined for the bin than an online auction and certainly won't get anything like the price you'd pay in-store.

It could also be worth checking the 'trending' list on eBay to see what's performing well, just in case you're unwittingly sat on an in-demand item!

Once you have your list ready, it's time to get items photo-ready. The photos are the only thing customers have to go by, so it's worth taking your time to get them right- bad photos can ruin your prospects of getting a sale.

Make sure the item is clean, repair and small imperfections, and get rid of any dust. Clean your camera lens, and try to shoot in natural light and on a plain background.

Most platforms will allow you to upload 8+ photos, so try to capture as many different angles and details as you can.

Once you have your photos ready, decide where you would like to list each item. Each site serves a different purpose and customer base- the table below helps to break down some basic info about some of the main platforms:

Website NameWhat's it Good For?
eBaySecond-hand items across a wide range of categories. In-demand, branded items often do well at auction.
Facebook MarketplaceSelling bulky or heavy items to people in the local area
EtsyHandmade, quirky, or hard-to-find vintage items
VintedSelling second-hand clothes and homeware
PoshmarkDesigner or sought-after clothing in good condition
GameXchangeGames and gaming equipment
Music MagpiePhones, laptops, books…and LEGO

How Much Can I Make Selling My Unwanted Goods?

It really depends! Many people have hundreds of pounds worth of goods at home. If you're willing to part with your DVD collection, you could be quids in.

If you have a little cash to spare, you might even consider investing. If you know what they're looking for, websites like eBay can be a great place to pick up bargains, which you can 'flip' later for a higher price.

It's even possible to turn your shop into a full-time endeavor, but this requires much more time, consistency, and strategy.

How Much Does It Cost To Sell My Unwanted Goods?

Most online sales platforms charge users a small percentage of the sales they make, and some also charge a listing fee, depending on the value of the item. You can also pay to boost your post's visibility on some sites, which means more people will see your advert and so increases the likelihood of a sale.  

It's up to you whether you charge customers for postage- if not, you'll need to pay for that yourself.

Make Money Online, Number 3: Become a Freelancer

If you have a professional skill or are willing to work ad hoc hours, you could try advertising your services as a freelancer online. Have a way with words? Write someone's blog posts. Brilliant organizational skills? You could work from home as a digital PA. Patience of a saint? Help someone assemble IKEA furniture.

Becoming a Freelancer, What Is It?

From translating to fitting shelves or photo-editing, there are a myriad of sites and directories designed to put freelancers in touch with clients looking to get jobs done on the fly.

As a freelancer, all you need to do is sign up, fill out a profile and start bidding for work advertised online.

Becoming a Freelancer, How Do I Start?

Start by creating a profile on the site of your choice. In the UK, Upwork, Fiverr, and are some of the most popular websites for 'white collar' services. For jobs involving physical labor, such as handyman and removal gigs, try

Give details about the service you offer and any past experience you have- remember that you'll be appearing alongside potentially 1000s of other freelancers, so keep your ad short and to the point.

If you can attach samples of your previous work (such as photos or documents), even better.  

Becoming a Freelancer, How Much Can I Make?

If you're lucky enough to have an in-demand skill (and the time to deliver your projects), the earning potential can be substantial.

Even without a specific skill-set, there are plenty of opportunities open to freelancers who have the time and focus on completing straightforward tasks, such as data entry, for minimum wage rates.

If you're time-poor, you might consider Fiverr- a platform where freelancers offer to complete short tasks for $5 (but can add on extras at higher costs).

Becoming a Freelancer, Is There Anything I Should Know?

If your earnings take-off (congratulations!), remember that you'll need to file taxes as a sole trader at the end of the tax year.

Make Money Online, Number 4: Turn Your Hand at Online Trading

With trading platforms more accessible than ever, the lure of making money on the markets is appealing to a growing number of people. What's more, you can start trading stocks or foreign exchange with as little as £25 per month.

Start Trading Online, How Do I Start?

First things first, you'll need to learn as much as you can about the market and the tools you'll be using.

There are many low-cost (or even free) courses available online which teach the basics, and many trading platforms also include exclusive teaching videos and other content aimed at their users.

Without understanding the market, you're effectively gambling any investments you make- and you'll never be able to design a strategy to manage your investments.

When you feel confident about your market knowledge, it's time to open a practice account.

Most online platforms provide accounts for aspiring investors to test-run their skills before investing real money.

If your practice run pays off, you could decide to put your trading plan to the test for real, using the same online platform to find your first opportunity and make your first trade.

Start Trading Online, How Much Can I Make?

For the average investor, stocks return around 10% per year on their initial investment, for traders who remain invested in the market.

Some traders may make more by taking greater risks- but by doing so, they risk losing their initial investment. For a knowledgeable and dedicated forex trader, it is possible to earn between 10-15% per month on their initial investment- but this depends on their strategy, understanding of the risks, and dedication.

Make Money Online, Number 5: Get Paid To Test Drive New Products

From chocolates to perfume to unreleased iPhone apps, you could be paid to give feedback on the latest products before they hit the shelves.

Testing New Products, What Is It?

Before releasing new products, companies need to test-drive them. This not only gives them the chance to make any final adjustments, but tester feedback also provides a great marketing tool, as companies are able to use positive testimonials in their advertising- think 'proven to make skin visibly clearer in 7 days!'

These reviews are not plucked from thin air. Instead, testers carry out reviews, surveys, interviews, and trials to help refine the product development. Most of the time, this involves using a product and filling out a short survey.

In some cases, testers may be invited to join 'focus groups', so that the product's effectiveness over longer periods of time can be assessed.

Testing New Products, How Do I Start?

Anyone can apply to be a tester by signing up with a third-party site online. The third-party will then pair testers with companies and manage the review process.  

Testing New Products, How Much Can I Make?

How much you make will depend on the gigs made available to you and the websites you sign up for.  

Many sites offer freebies rather than cash, but regular reviewers can end up with hundreds of pounds worth of goods from their trials.

Some review sites also offer points to users, which can be cashed out when they reach a minimum threshold (e.g., £20), so it's not totally unpaid.

Website and app review companies, such as Crowdville, User Testing, and ApperWall, are more likely to offer cash payments, as the review is not for a physical product which the user is able to keep. Reviewers may be paid between £1-£5 per review, depending on the product.

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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