Do you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck? Are you a student or single parent who needs extra income to get by? A little extra cash is always nice, whether or not you are struggling financially.
Online opportunities to earn additional income are everywhere and are often relatively easy to implement. However, it can be difficult to sniff out the legit companies from the scams. Below are 20 legit opportunities to easily make some extra income in your free time.
Depending on your skills and the amount of free time you have, some of these may be more relevant to you than others. Consider them carefully and give your best prospects a try.
Take Surveys and Perform Micro Jobs
From online surveys to completing small tasks, it doesn’t take much skill or expertise to make extra money with this option. Check out the following sites for micro jobs, which can quickly add up to a good chunk of change.
Mechanical Turk (Free)
Operated by Amazon, Mechanical Turk features a hub of micro jobs from which you can choose and complete in your free time.
M-Turk is free to join and use, and features micro jobs ranging from data entry and surveys to Internet searches and product categorization.
Unlike other sites, M-Turk does allow clients to assign a short time limit (as little as 10 minutes) for task completion, meaning you must be available immediately to work on a task. Thus, it’s best to only look for tasks to complete in your free moments, rather than trying to search and save them for later.
However, there is an opportunity to earn bonuses for productivity and quality, and workers can get qualified via Mechanical Turk for certain job types, which gives you an opportunity to earn more money.
Although pay is small per project, you can transfer your payments to your Amazon Payments account up to once a day, provided you’ve been using the site for 10 days. Perhaps the best part of joining M-Turk is the ability to work when you want and as much as you want (and of course, take vacations when you want, too).
Everyone has an opinion; why not get paid for yours? iPoll is a site that lets you do just that.
Specializing in online surveys, iPoll is free to join and use, but requires a minimum withdrawal amount of $50. This means that you must have earned at least $50 using iPoll before the “Redemption” button will appear in your Rewards section.
Unlike other jobs, iPoll transfers your earnings into gift cards or subscriptions, based on your preference, which can be redeemed for goods online.
Most surveys on iPoll are short with an estimated completion time of 15 minutes. Earnings vary by survey, but can be as much as $2.50 per survey. Because you’re strictly providing your opinion, iPoll is an easy way to earn cash while watching television or completing other tasks.
iPoll also offers a sign-on bonus (currently $5.00) and matches you with surveys aligned to your interests and background, so taking the surveys doesn’t have to be boring.
MySurvey is free to join and use. Like iPoll, MySurvey provides an online marketplace for people (often marketers or companies) who need surveys completed by real consumers like you. After you complete the initial level of polls, you will gain access to more specific surveys.
This survey-taking resource differs from iPoll in its payment structure in that it uses a point system. With MySurvey, roughly 1,000 points equals $10. Depending on the survey you are taking, users can earn between 10 and 500 points per survey.
Instead of awarding money and points strictly via gift cards, MySurvey offers sweepstakes as well, in which you can earn you additional points towards cash. MySurvey is also partnered with PayPal for hassle-free funds redemption.
In addition to completing surveys, you also have the option of signing up for MySurvey partners or referring friends to the site for additional points.
Offering micro jobs focused on digital media tasks, ClickChores is a really easy place to earn extra money.
Social media users and individuals with online writing experience will find ClickChores’ tasks very simple to complete. Most of ClickChores’ tasks focus on Googling specific phrases, commenting on blogs, and sharing posts on your social sites.
Although jobs start around 5 cents each, they’re very easy and quick to complete in most cases.
Ideal for writers and digital advertising buffs, all jobs on ClickChores have an online engagement focus, which make them no-brainers for anyone who regularly visits social sites and online communities.
ReceiptHog (Web, iOS, Android, Free)
As a web and mobile app that pays you to scan receipts, ReceiptHog is a very cool money-making option, particularly because snapping your receipts requires almost no extra work.
Taking pictures of your receipts, regardless of length or source, earns you in-app coins that can be redeemed for cash.
Why would anyone pay you for such a service? Brands and retailers want to know what and how consumers purchase goods in order to refine their marketing techniques. Thus, as a member of ReceiptHog, you are participating in market research that could potentially influence future products and promotions.
The coins you earn with ReceiptHog can be exchanged for gift cards. You can also take surveys to earn additional coins. 1,000 ReceiptHog coins are worth $5.00; 1,800 coins are worth $10.000; and 3,200 coins are worth $20.00.
However, your receipt “hog” gets full after you’ve earned 100 coins in a week. After that, regardless of how much each receipt you submit is worth, you will only earn 5 coins per receipt.
On the plus side, no matter how much money you’re able to pull in with Receipt Hog, it’s also handy that the app and site record and digitize your receipts, making tracking purchases quite simple.
Provide a Service via Freelance
If you’re looking for something more profitable (and more challenging), providing a freelance service is simple online.
However, this option is for someone with a few additional hours of free time each week. If your schedule is crazy hectic, you might want to stick to taking surveys or completing micro-tasks to avoid unnecessary stress.
Review the following sites for access to great freelance jobs.
Customers like clear price points for simple services, which is part of the appeal of Fiverr. The site is an online service exchange for clients and freelancers providing a variety of professional and recreational services (called Gigs) at one simple price – $5. Whether you’re a DIY expert or a top-notch writer, you can earn extra money on Fiverr.
Yet, unlike sites exclusively offering professional freelance services, Fiverr makes it possible to use your more creative talents to earn cash. Can you impersonate a fictional character, pull off a prank better than Ashton Kutcher, or dance up a storm? There’s a place for you on Fiverr.
Simply create an account on the site and write a brief description of the service you can offer (Note: only LEGAL services can be offered on Fiverr). Use social media to attract interested people and encourage them to rate the results they get.
You can also offer packages on Fiverr to earn extra cash. For example, offering two of the same service for $10 instead of $5. However, take note that Fiverr sellers are only credited for 80% of the purchase amount of their Gigs. In this way, the site itself takes a kind of fee out of your payments.
One nice thing about Fiverr is that the site holds you accountable for making good on the services you offer. Buyers pay in advance for your service but, if you don’t deliver, the buyers can report you and get their money back.
Although I wouldn’t say it’s an incredibly serious freelancing site, Fiverr does enable you to get paid for everything from voiceover recordings to psychic readings. If it’s legal and somebody wants to buy it, you can sell it on Fiverr.
While you are at it, keep the many Fiverr alternatives that have sprouted up.
Elance (Free, Paid Membership Starts at $10)
Geared toward professional service providers, Elance is among the largest international freelance marketplaces with millions of awarded jobs each year.
Free to sign up and use, the platform provides 40 connects per month, allowing you to submit to up to 40 job proposals for free. This can help you get your freelancing career started so you can build up your portfolio. Jobs available on Elance run the gamut from administrative work to Web design.
If you want more connects, paid membership plans begin at $10 per month and offer 60 monthly connects with rollovers allowed.
As you become more successful, you have the option to sign up for Elance as a business and use the platform to earn new clients, provided you keep all transactions within Elance.
When compared to similar freelancing sites, Elance offers a generous number of free connects and takes a smaller cut of the profit (8.75% vs. 10% elsewhere).
However, it’s not as simple as accepting and completing a micro job. Freelancers are awarded jobs based on proposals, which you must create for each job.
Elance recently joined forces with oDesk, which is covered in more detail below.
Similar to Elance, oDesk is a repository of professional talent, from finance professionals to computer programmers.
Although oDesk takes a larger cut of the awarded job amount (10% as of Jan. 2015) you do not have a monthly connection limit and job prices are often higher, as many require subject matter expertise or a technical skill.
Freelancers can choose from long-term or short-term projects, and may work with a team if the client chooses.
As a bonus, oDesk provides freelancers payment flexibility. While similar platforms require you to complete transactions via their platform, oDesk funds can be transferred to your personal bank account, PayPal account, or one of four other payment options.
Making money on oDesk can be a very viable way to earn extra income if you have a few hours of free time on your hands. The site also includes additional features for freelancers, such as access to a custom health benefits plan, which really make oDesk stand out from other freelancing sites.
Guru (Free, Paid Membership from $8.95)
Guru attracts professionals of all backgrounds, from legal to finance, and offers a basic free version. However, Guru also has tiered membership plans with an option to purchase monthly or annual plans, the latter of which is the least expensive.
An extensive portfolio and knack for writing proposals are essential if you want to succeed on Guru. Yet, freelancing on Guru is particularly easy and risk-free when using SafePay to process invoices, as you can access arbitration and negotiation services if needed. Particularly helpful because you can focus on delivering projects, this additional benefit is one of the reasons why Guru is preferred by many freelancers.
Depending on your skills and free time, it’s possible to make a significant amount of money on Guru. However, keep in mind that Guru deducts transaction fees for each project that you are paid for. Depending on your membership level, transaction fees range from 8.95% to 4.95%.
iFreelance ($6.25-$12 Monthly)
Although iFreelance doesn’t have a free option, its monthly rates are very affordable and the site never takes a cut of your profits. If you’re looking for a way to eventually turn your free-time money earning into a new career, this is a good site to get involved with.
Earning jobs on iFreelance does take time, as freelancers must submit proposals, create a detailed profile and post any applicable portfolio work. However, making money from jobs on iFreelance may lead to a stable job with reputable employers, as your information is listed in the company’s candidate directory.
To begin working on a freelance project, you also have to submit “bids” for that project. Bids are the prices that you agree upon for each project, as opposed to another freelancer’s prices.
Typically, lower bids will help you get more work. However, you don’t want to bid too low or it will tell the prospecting customer that your work isn’t top notch. Find a happy medium and you have a good chance of making the bid process work for you.
Sell Your Stuff Online
Whether you have an eye for value or know how to make goods yourself, the online marketplace is the best way to access customers locally and internationally in your free time.
Are you crafty, artistic or a collector of vintage items? Etsy is a growing online marketplace for people with your talents and passion. Set your own prices, market your products and expand your social network using Etsy’s platform designed with creators in mind.
Comparable to more generalized marketplaces, Etsy specializes in making the work of both amateur and professional creative geniuses available to the public.
Etsy is free to sign up for and does not require membership fees, but does take a 3.5% cut of each sale in addition to charging $0.20 per listing.
However, Etsy does provide innovative and often free or low-cost marketing tools, including Facebook integration.
All in all, Etsy makes it pretty simple to list your items and start earning extra cash from your creative works in your free time.
The largest online auction house, eBay is considered the place to go to sell goods easily and quickly. Furthermore, you can earn extra money by selling stuff you already have or by creating new items for sale.
Unlike other websites, eBay allows both direct sales via the Buy Now feature and the ability to auction items with or without minimums.
Both buyers and sellers can securely process transactions via eBay and PayPal, enhancing protection for all parties. Each month, your first 50 listings on eBay are free, after which there is a $0.30 fee.
Although entirely optional, setting up an eBay shop begins at $15.95 per month, if paid in annual increments. This allows you to get more free listings and offers a reduced commission percentage depending on your plan, allowing you to pocket more money.
If you’ve discovered money in the form of unused, vintage or custom items sitting in your house, eBay is a great place to liquidate it. Check out Ryan post on how to find a free eBay seller template and see what kind of profits you can make.
A rival to eBay, Amazon’s marketplace is equally huge with optional features, such as order fulfillment and customer service, available via Amazon on the seller’s behalf.
Individual accounts are free and provide up to 40 sales per month, for which a $0.99 per item and other fees are deducted. Additional marketing, advertising and sales tools are available for professional accounts.
The best part about selling on Amazon is benefitting from the platform’s back-end support and algorithm changes. In other words, Amazon invests in helping sellers gain higher visibility online, which, when you’re selling an item and want to sell it fast, is always a good thing.
However, this visibility comes at a price. You are charged a referral fee for each item you sell on Amazon, which varies based on the kind of product you are selling. You can reference this list for the full details on Amazon’s referral fees.
The Whiz Cells (Free, Some shipping materials)
Living in the Internet of Things means homes and offices are cluttered with old iPhones, smartphones and tablets that are quickly outperformed by the latest models.
In addition to zero monetary returns, these devices pose a threat to the environment if simply thrown away. If you want to get rid of old or even broken mobile phones and tablets, you can send them to The Whiz Cells for some instant cash back in your pocket.
The site will send you a free shipping label for your phone so you have very minimal shipping expenses. They’ll also send you a box to ship your phone in but, if you’d like to save a little extra time, you can also package the device yourself, which should be the only expense you encounter in selling your phone to the site.
While you likely couldn’t use this strategy as a long-term plan to earn extra money in your free time, it is a good way to de-clutter some of your gadget drawers around the house and make some short-term cash.
Simply check out the Devices section of The Whiz Cells’ website. If you can find your carrier, phone brand and phone model, you can sell your phone to the site. If you don’t see your phone’s model or your carrier, the site likely doesn’t accept your mobile device just yet.
The only things you really can’t send to The Whiz Cells are phones that have been reported as lost or stolen, for obvious reasons. All phones sent to the company are checked against a national database and reported phones are sent to the police.
Selling on eBay and Amazon is quick and easy, but costs you money for each successful sale in the form of fees.
Because these can quickly add up, using Shopify to create your own store online can save you a significant chunk of change.
Though startup plans begin at $14 per month, it’s well worth the money if you’ve decided to sell goods you make or have lying around. Additionally, you’re free to establish your own terms of sale, shipping rates and policies, and more, thanks to Shopify’s customization options.
Unlike ready-made international marketplaces, Shopify acts as your personal storefront and can be managed via free apps.
Shopify was designed to be an ecommerce alternative for business owners without coding or Web design knowledge, so getting set up, personalizing your store, and marketing your products is quick and easy.
While using Shopify does require more of a commitment to selling goods than either eBay or Amazon, it’s an affordable, practical way to earn extra income online if you have a decent amount of products to sell.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I could never make money as a photographer,” Clashot aims to change your mind.
Free to sign up and list photos, Clashot encourages image submissions by both amateur and professional photographers who wish to earn income by licensing photographic works.
When compared with other creative marketplaces, Clashot focuses solely on high-quality images and can help you build a professional reputation while earning some extra money on the side.
Uniquely, Clashot allows you to earn money in a variety of ways. In addition to selling images, users can also make money when photos receive social likes or upvotes.
As a bonus, Clashot also provides exclusive offers to members meeting certain criteria. For example, if you specialize in beach scenes and Clashot has a client in need of beach photos, you may be contacted directly for a revenue opportunity. How cool is that?
Play Video Games
In addition to providing a service or selling a product, you can also simply play video games – pretty cool, huh? Consider the following money-making games to earn extra income while having fun in your free time.
CashPirate (Android, Free)
Most people spend a sizeable chunk of time staring at their smartphones. If this sounds like you, why not get paid while you do it? Granted, you won’t make a fortune if you use CashPirate, but you’ll make a few extra dollars (about $2.50 to $5.00 a day).
The majority of tasks available on CashPirate involve playing a new video game, watching an ad or trying an app, and you earn coins for participating in each task. Because coins can be redeemed for cash or gift cards, you benefit from being able to choose which payment option best meets your needs.
Be warned that you need to meet a minimum of 2,500 coins before you can cash out any amount of money, and that amount is quite small – about $2.50.
Based on user reviews, the best way to make money with this app is to refer friends and redeem referral codes.
Second Life ($6-$9.95 Monthly, Additional Fees)
Second Life is unlike any other gaming platform, as it is truly a virtual world complete with relationships, enterprises and in-game merchandise.
Most importantly, Second Life has a real economy based on Linden Dollars, which can be exchanged for your country’s currency. As Joel said about Second Life’s in-game currency, you can collect Linden Dollars and sell them to other players for real currency.
Keep in mind, though, that there are a significant amount of variables that can impact how much money you’re able to make in Second Life. Aside from in-game fees for owning and maintaining land, there are also taxes levied against real-world currencies.
Though not a requirement, having a computer with an advanced graphics card and fast processor is recommended for playing Second Life, and some especially determined players use multiple screens or processors to multitask and earn money in the game.
Options to earn cash include selling products, opening a business, designing in-game items or virtual consulting – if that’s your thing. All are worth money in Second Life just as they are in the real world. Second Life has gone down in public memory, but it still sees a good number of footfalls. There are plans for a resurgence.
Entropia Universe (Free)
Also covered in Joel’s earlier article (mentioned above), Entropia Universe has its own economy, allowing players to earn in-game money.
However, the rate of exchange is always the same, as the game’s currency – Ped – to USD ratio is 10:1 For example, $1 is the equivalent of 10 Ped in the game.
This virtual money-making opportunity is unique in that it’s free to play, meaning you keep 100% of your hard-earned cash, and offers unlimited income potential if you plan to tackle gaming full time.
Interestingly cosmic in theme, Entropia Universe is a bit more futuristic than rival Second Life. In other words, it feels more like a game whereas Second Life is, well, like life.
Earning money in Entropia Universe provides you the unique opportunity to truly escape into gaming while padding your pockets with cash. Also, the game offers more than small, sporadic earnings; a highly sought-after item in Entropia Universe can surpass prices of $10,000 USD.
Team Fortress 2 (Free)
The last of my list, and the last of Joel’s suggestions I’m going to mention, is using Team Fortress 2 to make some extra money in your free time.
If you’ve got tech skills and love to game, creating cosmetic gear for Team Fortress 2 players can be very lucrative.
Like other popular gaming platforms, Team Fortress allows items to be traded among players and sold for real money – if your gear is awesome. While building enough knowledge of the game to play and create cosmetic items can take a while, your earning potential is only as limited as the game itself.
The in-game Item Workshop, a feature not found in other similar games, is where most cosmetic pieces of gear are designed.
Almost entirely created by players, items in Team Fortress face scrutinizing review by the game’s community. Although not all reviews are kind, items that earn the most appreciation from fans go on to be showcased on the game’s virtual storefronts, where players buy items from the game. To show their appreciation, Team Fortress’s creators, Valve, give the items’ creator a percentage of the profits.
While your average Jane or Joe may not make a significant amount of money in their free time, Team Fortress 2 is a fun game that could have the potential to help you earn some extra cash. You can also check out this MakeUseOf post for some additional ways to make money with video games.
Whether you need extra income to get by, are in between semesters as a student, or simply want to earn some extra cash, there are many online job opportunities available to you. Though we have tried to be as informative as possible, do look into each site’s terms and conditions before beginning the micro jobs. For instance, some payouts may be limited to U.S.only.
Choose one that fits with your skill set and passions, and you can find creative, new ways to monetize your free time.
Do you have experience with any of the suggestions listed above? Share your thoughts and opinions on them in the comments section below, or suggest alternative, legitimate ways for people to make money in their free time.
Image Credit: StartupStockPhotos