Are there free ways to make money online?
That’s the very first question I grappled with when I first heard people were making money on the Internet.
Join Smart Panel, a new survey site where you earn rewards to share your experiences about how you use the internet. They pay you $15 just to install their free app.
And to my surprise, the answer was a big YES!
There are tons of ways you can make money right from your living room and in your pajamas.
If you’re looking for real, legit, and honest ways of making extra money online, try some of these free online money making opportunities.
Get Paid to Review Products
Signup with Vindale Research for free and get paid up to $75 per review.
These can be anything from financial products to websites, online services, and almost anything you can think of.
There are a few sites like this one, but Vindale is by far the best one out there. Sadly, they only accept members from the U.S.
Sell Old Books
BookScouter: If you are a bookworm like me, you probably have a few hundred (if not thousand) books gathering dust in your basement.
There is an easy way to turn those old books into cash.
Simply visit BookScouter and enter the ISBN number of any book you want to sell. It will instantly search over 40 book-buying websites to find you the site that pays the most for your book.
I have made decent cash from selling my unused books thanks to this site.
Online Rewards Sites
Just like many big credit card companies reward you with cash back and points, there are websites that also do that.
They are known as GPT (Get Paid To) sites.
Try Swagbucks, the famous rewards program that pays you for watching videos, taking surveys, shopping and more.
But unlike with the credit card reward programs, you earn points in more ways than just shopping – Taking surveys, answering polls and quizzes, playing games, signing up for newsletters, visiting websites, etc.
Of course, scammers have infiltrated this area too. They set up fake GPT sites, get paid from their advertisers from your activities, but when it comes to paying you, they don’t!
That’s why it’s important to do your research before joining any online rewards site.
Thankfully, I have been using many of these sites for a long time, so to save you some time, here are a bunch of legitimate and trustworthy reward sites that actually pay you for completing offers and shopping.
Swagbucks: As far as GPT goes, nobody can claim to be as big as this site. Swagbucks pays you for doing almost anything you already do on your computer – shopping, playing games, watching videos, etc. The points you earn can be redeemed for cash and prizes including Amazon gift cards.
Cashcrate: With CashCrate, the reward starts the moment you start going shopping online, taking surveys, and completing offers.
Gifthulk: This is a much newer site, but it looks promising.
CashDazzle : One of the lesser known rewards site that has been around for a while.
QuickRewards: I love this site. They truly are quick when it comes to paying. The fastest ever I have gotten money in my PayPal was in 22 minutes! That’s how fast they pay!
CreationRewards: Another fun cash back site where not only you can earn points for shopping, but you can also take surveys, answer trivia, play games, etc.
Get Paid to Read Emails
Ok, I know it sounds very fishy. I mean, who would pay you to read emails, right?…
Well, here is how it works… advertisers pay sites like InboxDollars to send traffic to their site. In order to get you to visit the advertiser’s website, InboxDollars shares some of the money they get from the advertiser, with you.
Now, they send traffic to the advertiser’s website in a variety of ways, but one way they do it is through “Paid emails”.
They send you an email that is basically an ad promoting a particular product or service (sometimes even with a coupon or discount code for you), you click on the link in the email, your account gets credited a few cents, regardless of whether or not you actually bought something from the advertiser’s website.
You are paid just for clicking the link in the email.
I know you’ve probably read or seen ads online promising $3000 paychecks from reading emails, but that’s all BS. The truth is you won’t be making much. Most paid emails pay just a few cents.
I use InboxDollars myself and their paid emails are worth $0.5 each. You usually get 2-3 paid emails a day.
But that’s not it with these kinds of sites. They also have many other ways for you to earn money, like shopping, playing games, taking surveys, etc. So, they are a kind of online reward site, but they also pay you to read emails.
InboxDollars: One of the most well-known paid to read emails site that I have been a member of for over 6 years. You can cash out once you have $30 in your account.
SendEarnings: It’s the sister site to InboxDollars.
Cash4Offers: This is very popular with stay at home moms. Lots of ways to earn points that can be converted into cash or exchanged for gift cards from hundreds of stores.
InboxPays: A newer site, but that has already proven to be legit and paying.
Let me start with a few ways to earn extra money that wouldn’t fit into a category of their own.
RewardTV: A site that pays you to watch TV! Yes, watch your favorite TV shows as you would normally, then login every day and answer trivia questions about the shows. You earn points that can be redeemed for cash and prizes. It’s a fun site.
Bing Rewards: The payout from this program is not particularly impressive, but the search has become an inherent part of our Internet life anyway. Just dig in and get paid.
MusicXRay: A site that pays you to listen to songs and rate them.
Jingit: Make money as you watch ads. It also features an app for mobile check-ins at Walmart that rewards you with cash. The maximum payout is limited to $10-$15 every week.
Slicethepie: Listen to music and see how good or bad it is. This is how you make money.
Jebbit: Jebbit connect you with your favorite brands and you get paid answering simple questions about your visit to their website. (Update: this site has changed direction and it is now a marketing technology platform, so you can not use it for making money )
Start a Free Blog
A free blog is easy to set up and you can do so with many websites nowadays. Once it is ready to go, you can either monetize it with Google Adsense, affiliate links, or use services like Pay-per-post, Sponsored Reviews, Linkworth, SocialSpark.
Now, setting up a free blog may be easy and quick, but let’s be clear, there is nothing easy and quick about making money with a blog, whether a free blog or one you pay for.
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to drive enough traffic to your blog to make any decent money. But, if you can manage to build a popular blog, you can easily hit few thousand dollars a month.
My first blog, BlogStash.com, started on Blogger as satrapmakesmoney.blogspot.com. I worked day and night on that blog while keeping two full-time offline jobs.
Finally, my hard work paid off. After almost a year of satrapmakesmoney.blogspot.com being live, the traffic I was receiving was making me enough money that it persuades me to get my own domain and hosting, so I could be in full control.
So, I bought a domain, BlogStash.com, and in 2009 moved the blog there. The traffic kept growing. At the highest point, I was making over $7,000 a month from BlogStash.
It’s been a few years now, the traffic has gone down a bit, plus I am busy with this and a few other sites, so it doesn’t earn as much as it used to, but BlogStash still continues to make me money month after month.
I haven’t counted the exact number, but from my PayPal and bank account statements, I can say till date, I have made over $100,000 with BlogStash.
Yes, 100K in about 3 years, all while keeping my two day time jobs!
You know the best part?…
It’s almost entirely passive income now since I really don’t have to do much anymore, except for publishing a post every week or so.
I am not telling you this to brag, I am just trying to show you that it is possible. But it wasn’t always easy, though. In the first two years especially, I really did work hard, and I mean I spent every spare minute I had after getting off work, working on this site, writing content, promoting it, driving traffic and so on.
But it paid off, and it still is paying off!
I guess what I am trying to say is that, despite what you may hear online, making money with a blog is not as easy as setting up a blog and posting to it every day. It takes hard work, dedication, and most importantly, patience.
Also, if you use free blog sites to build a blog, as soon as you can afford it, get your own domain and hosting and move it there. You don’t want your blog being deleted and not be able to do anything about it.
I have heard countless stories from people who worked for years on a Blogspot blog, only to have it deleted by Google (who owns Blogspot) in an instant.
So, if you can afford it, I recommend you get your own domain name and a hosting account, so you can have full control over your business.
Build Your Site, Get it Online in Minutes with Drag & Drop Builder Site
If you don’t know how to build a site, what hosting is and all the other technical stuff, you can use a site builder company like WebsiteBuilder.com. They have an easy drag and drop builder that lets you build a professional looking sites in less than 5 minutes for free.
You can also upgrade and pay $5.99 a month which is already cheap compared to other services. But the best part is that they also give you a free domain name and host your website for you. It really can’t get any easier and cheaper than this.
Now, if you can’t afford that, or want to use one of the popular free blogging platforms, here are some of the best free blogging sites that you can use to get started:
Blogger.com (Also known as BlogSpot): Owned by Google, offers an easy and quick way to set up a blog in just a few minutes.
WordPress.com: It’s different from WordPress.org (that one is installed on your server to run your own blog), but it offers the same ease of use.
Livejournal: This is not just a free blogging site, it also is a social networking site in its own right.
Blog.com: As the name suggests, it gives you a free blog and will host it for you for free.
Tumblr: One of the most successful blogging sites ever. Although mostly used by personal bloggers, it is becoming more popular amongst serious bloggers.
App popularity has exploded in the last few years. And while there are thousands of apps out there that will make it easy for you to shop and spend your money, there are a few that can actually help you make money.
Gigwalk: Gigwalk is a huge mobile work marketplace. You can use your Apple or Android powered smartphones to perform simple field work required, these could include mystery shopping, delivering items, testing mobile apps, taking photos, and more.
Field Agent: This is another site that operates similarly to Gigwalk. Here users of iPhone can become their source of mobile workers who scan barcodes, mystery shop, check prices, take polls, explore neighborhoods, and more. Work done can be exchanged for between $3 and $12 as wage for each task.
Shopkick: This app pays for your shopping trip regardless you buy or not. You will be paid in “kicks” that could be redeemable for gift cards or store discounts. The app works on both iPhone and Android.
CheckPoints: The company rewards you with points and rewards for scanning items, checking in at different stores, playing games, or completing offers. Points can be redeemed for discounts, gift cards, or products.
EasyShift: This app works similarly to Gigwalk. The jobs here are taking a picture, recording a price, etc. You get paid $2 to $20 for every shift. It is currently available on iPhone only.
Apptrailers: Earn points as you watch videos and download apps. It works for both iPhone and Android. You can change it to gift cards or convert into cash and deposit into PayPal.
Get Paid to Answer Questions & Give Advice
“Knowledge is power”!
We’ve all heard that. But knowledge can also earn you money.
If you are an expert on jut about anything, you can put it to good use by earning money by sharing your knowledge and expertise with others through the following sites:
SmallBiz Advice: Get paid via PayPal or by Check for giving advice and answering member questions which are all small business related.
Keen: If you always wanted to make money with your psychic abilities, this is the site where you can get started.
WerLive: This site allows you to earn money by providing tips and tutorials through their in-house video chat system.
Ammas: Another site where you can sell your knowledge on almost any topic.
ChaCha: This site pays you to answer questions via text messages.
JustAnswer: Questions are priced anywhere from $5 to $25 or more. If your answer is accepted, the money is credited to your account, where you can cash out via PayPal once you reach $20.
One of the best ways to earn an income working from home and online is through freelancing. Perhaps the best part about becoming a paid freelancer is that you don’t need to invest any money to get started.
All you need is a specific skill or a specific set of skills, your computer, and your willingness to work and deliver.
If that interests you, here are some of the best-trusted freelancing sites you can sign up with in order to get started:
eLance (now known as UpWork): A mixed bag of opportunities for freelancers. The work here could cover marketing, translation, writing, design, mobile programming, Web development, etc.
oDesk (now known as UpWork): An equally large scale freelance marketplace. Job ranges from writing to translation, sales and marketing, designing, and lots more.
Freelancer: I use this site myself to both earn extra money when I have some spare time, and to find freelancers to do things for me, like creating a logo for a site, designing a new theme, etc.
PeoplePerHour: Very similar to Freelancer and eLance. Register for free, set up your profile, browse and apply for available jobs, deliver, and get paid.
99Designs: A great place for designers to find projects.
Guru: Another freelancing site that is growing rapidly.
iFreelance: The name says it all!
Writing articles is a great way to put some cash in your pocket. The Internet is made of websites and websites are made of content, which means there will always be a demand for writers who can produce content.
Constant Content: Trade your blog posts and articles for cash. These can be of any subject so long the content is original.
Textbroker: Similar to above, you submit blog posts and articles in exchange for cash.
Yahoo! Contributor Network: (Unfortunately, YCN has been discontinued) This website encourages sharing among users and contributors will be compensated with cash by Yahoo! The shared content can cover written articles, photos, and videos. Take note that the content could be published on other Yahoo! sites.
Cracked: If you have a funny bone or tend to have interesting perspectives on things, Cracked.com could be for you. For every unique presentation that you could pen, your reward is $100 per article. Over here, you will be assured of vast audience due to the tremendous popularity of Crack.com.
Seeking Alpha: If you are financially savvy and able to write sensible articles on the financial market, they are happy to pay you here.
Fool: Similar to Alpha, you will get rewarded with cash if you can write great financial stories, or have interesting perspectives on stocks, mutual funds, ETF’s, etc.
Postloop: You make money here by dispensing informative blog and forum posts.
DemandStudios: This is the company behind the giant how-to site, eHow.
Paid to Click
I am not personally a big fan of this because I have been scammed and robbed of my earnings many times years ago, and because there are way more scam sites here than there are legit ones.
Basically, you are paid to click on their advertiser’s ads.
Some ads may get you a few cents, but usually it’s less than a cent.
They say the only way to really make anything decent with paid to click (or PTC) sites is to refer hundreds of people since you earn a percentage of your referral’s earnings.
Either way, I personally think its a waste of time, but in the spirit of listing any free money making idea I can think of, I am going to list a few legit and really well-known PTC sites.
Neobux: Neobux offers a generous pay-to-click (PTC) scheme and the points you earn could be redeemed for prizes. The site also carries a great referral program.
Clixsense: Yet another PTC site to enjoy both cash and prizes.
Another free way to earn money on the web is through affiliate marketing. Having a website or blog of your own is a plus here, but even if you don’t have a website, you can still publish articles on sites like HubPages and earn affiliate income by displaying Amazon ads.
If you do have your own website or blog, all you need to do is sign up with a few affiliate networks, choose a few quality related products, and start promoting them on your site. You could either place banner ads or use contextual links for this.
Here are some of the better affiliate networks I myself have been using for the last 5-6 years:
Amazon Associates: For anyone who clicks on your Amazon affiliate link and make a purchase inside the next 24 hours, you’ll receive a cut of that purchase.
eBay Partner Network: Again, get a cut on eBay transactions when people are led there through your affiliate links.
Commission Junction: An all-encompassing marketplace for affiliate offers.
MaxBounty: This one has lots of free offers that don’t require the person to buy anything, so it’s easier for you to promote and get conversions out of them.
Clickbank: This is probably the largest marketplace you can find on eBooks and other digital products.
Lately, micro job sites have been popping up everywhere, especially after the huge success of the first big site of its kind, Fiverr.
This is pretty similar to freelancing, but often jobs or “gigs” are smaller than what you would find on major freelancing sites.
But what makes micro freelancing sites like Fiverr very appealing is that it’s not limited to graphic designers, writers, and computer gigs. You can offer almost any kind of service and make money with it. For example, on Fiverr, there is a guy how has made over $100,000 by making tough decision for people, charging each $5.
Check out these micro freelancing sites if you are interested:
Fiverr: For $5, you can find all sorts of jobs at Fiverr: Funny and Bizarre, Social Marketing, Graphics, Advertising, Technology, Business, etc. Creative users tend to “value-add” their gigs so as to find broader appeal and better profit.
mTurk: I personally like this one for some spare cash. It does not take much to earn $20 a day. Some claim that they are able to make a living by dedicating their time on different jobs at mTurk. You will have to go through a learning curve, but once you get comfortable, you will find plenty of good and interesting HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks) to work on.
Microworkers: This is like mTurk where you choose from a wide array of micro jobs.
ClickChores: A new but very fast growing micro job site calling itself “The web’s trusted micro jobs site”.
Revenue sharing is a very clever concept that many companies have adopted. Basically, you sign up with a site, publish content (article, video, eBook, etc), the site displays ads with your content, then the earning from the ad is shared with you.
Some sites split the profit half and half, others give you 70%, and there are a few that let you keep 95% of the earnings.
This is a great way to supplement your income without having to worry about building and maintaining a website, promoting it, driving traffic, etc. All you need to do is create and submit your content. And since most of these sites are usually huge and popular, you don’t have to do much to get traffic to your content.
The flip side here is that you are building a business on someone else’s land. If one day they decide to close the shop, all your hard work (i.e. content) is gone.
There are some who say it’s best t put content on your own site, so you can have a website of your own with lots of content in the long run. But again, if you don’t want to deal with building and maintaining a website, working with revenue sharing sites is a great option.
YouTube: You could earn money through the good old fashion Google Adsense, or you could insert your affiliate offers below your videos, though make sure that these offers can connect to your content somewhat to maximize its impact.
Squidoo: First pages called “lenses” have to be created and you then embed affiliate links or Google Adsense to monetize your pages. I include here a detailed description on how you could earn money with Squidoo and also on how you could maximize your time there.
Hubpages: If you enjoy writing, try your luck on this arguably biggest and most popular revenue-sharing article websites.
InfoBarrel: Make available your content (can be articles, videos, reviews and how to guides) and make money.
WebAnswers: It’s a question and answer site where ads are displayed on your answer pages. The revenue generated from those ads is then shared with you.
Market Research ( Online Focus Groups)
Businesses are always in search of ideas for product improvement and new products that will blow the market away.
If you belong to a certain demographic group or live in a particular area, opportunities are aplenty if you make yourself available for such studies and focus groups for these market research companies.
Focus groups are usually conducted locally in a physical location, thus, you have to live in close proximity to be able to participate. But, there are some sites that conduct online focus groups as well.
2020Panel: Backed by one of the giants of the market research industry 2020 Research, this is the best chance you have of getting invited to an online focus group. They also conduct normal online surveys.
Thanks to the internet and the sites mentioned below, you don’t have to be a famous designer to put your stamp on products. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can earn money with this.
All you need to do is sign up with a site like CafePress, upload a design you have created, decide which items you want the design to go on (i.e. T-shirts, hats, mugs, etc), and make money selling them.
The best part about this is that you don’t even have to ever touch the actual product, nor do you have to spend a dime on manufacturing these products. They do all the work for you. You just upload the design, choose the items you want your design to be on, and they’ll handle the rest (i.e. manufacturing, payment, shipping and handling, returns…).
Cafepress: It helps you to market your creative content, be it graphics design, logo or text.
Etsy: This site specializes in handmade and vintage goods. It helps to sell handmade or vintage items, art, and supplies. It is arguably the most popular and largest marketplace for such products.
Skreend: If you are good at t-shirt designs, you can market it here.
SpreadShirt: Not only you can earn money selling your own designs, you can also sell other designer’s stuff and earn money.
PrintFection: It gives you a free online store so you can sell products with your design on them.
Zazzle: You can put your design on more than 400 products, and sell them.
Another legit and scam free way to make money is through stock photography. Hundreds and thousands of new blogs and websites are born every day, and all these sites need pictures. And most of them use stock photography sites to find quality and inexpensive images.
You don’t have to be a professional to do this. As long as you can take decent pictures, you can upload them to any of the sites mentioned below, then every time someone buys one of them, you earn money.
The vest part is that 1 picture can be sold over and over again. So, imagine if you have 100-200 popular pictures on one of these sites!
ShutterStock: You are paid 25 cents for every image of yours downloaded. The cool thing about this site is that when you refer another photographer, you earn 3 cents per photo sold by them.
iStockPhoto: You get 20% of the total price for images between $1 to $20 and 40% if you sell your images only on their site.
DreamsTime: You can get 50 to 80% from each image sold.
BigStockPhoto: You can pocket anywhere from $0.30 to $3 for every image of yours sold.
Crestock: They’ll give you 20% commission on pictures with prices between $5 to $15. Your commission goes up to 30% once you hit your first 100 sales.
PhotoStockPlus: One of the highest paying stock sites where you get to keep 85% of the profit.
123RoyaltyFree: Not only you get 50% of each image sold, you also earn 15% of your referral’s subscription or purchase, plus 10% of every image sold by a photographer you refer.
Fotolia: 50% for each picture downloaded.
ShutterPoint: Another high paying site that gives you 85% of the total sale.
StockXpert: You can earn $50 if you offer your image with an extended license. Otherwise, you earn 50% of each sale.
Get Paid to Tweet
OK, let me be brutally honest here, if you think somebody is going to pay you $5000 to tweet an ad to your few hundred followers, you’re going to be disappointed.
Sure, people do get paid big bucks for tweeting, but they are usually famous folks who have a great deal of influence on their massive number of followers.
Having said that, businesses are starting to realize that the average consumer is more likely to buy something if they hear it from their own friends and family. Which is why the sites mentioned below are now making it possible for the average tweet user to make a few bucks from tweet ads.
SponsoredTweets: One of the biggest sites of its kind where big names like Diddy get paid to tweet.
PaidPerTweet.com: This is where even average Twitter users can earn up to $5 per tweet.
Twivert.com: Not only you are paid for tweeting, you can also increase your earnings by referring other folks.
TwitPub.com: Another site to try.
Sell Unused Items
Perhaps the one to make money effortlessly is to simply part away with items that you no longer need. Currently, it makes sense to me as I am planning to move from the east to the west coast. This allows me to make my move a lot easier as it earns me some pocket money.
Craigslist: Without a doubt, it is the largest online classified ad site. Ads can be easily posted and you can sell anything or barter trade on your old stuff.
eBay: Simply put, you can sell anything imaginable on this largest online auction site.
Gazelle: Exchange your old cell phones and electronics for much-needed money.
BackPage: Effectively a mini size Craigslist.
Amazon: They are not particularly well known for this, but users can actually sell or barter trade products back to Amazon and get Amazon gift card credit in return.
Like focus groups, online surveys are also conducted on behalf of manufacturers and companies to gather feedback from consumers about their products and services.
A fair warning, though:
The paid survey industry is full of scams.
So, you have to really be careful with this. A good rule of thumb is that all legit survey sites are free to join.
So, if a site asks you for sign up fee, it’s either a scam or not an actual survey site but a database of survey sites basically charging you a fee for access to their list of survey sites (which b the way can be found online for free).
I have actually started my online money making journey with paid surveys about 8 years ago or so. So I do have a lot of experience, which is why I have actually created my own paid survey review site, SurveySatrap.com, where I tell you which sites are legit and pay, and which are scams.
You can check SurveySatrap for a bigger list of legit paid survey sites, but for now here are a few top survey panels I have gotten paid by numerous times over the years:
Ipsos Panel: One of my favorite survey panels with lots of surveys and cool prizes. Not only you earn cash for taking surveys, but you also get entries to sweepstakes with massive cash prizes.
MySurvey: Previously know as SurveyDirect or MyView, this is one of the top online survey panels. You get paid via PayPal once you reach $25.
Opinion Outpost: One of the best survey panels out there.
GlobalTestMarket: Backed by GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.), this site sends lots of survey invites, although you only qualify for 20-30% of them. You can cash out once you have accumulated $50.
iSurveyWorld: One of the newest online survey panels that is becoming more popular because of their consistent survey invites and payments.
PineCone Research: Hard to get into this panel since they only open their doors for a limited time throughout the year, but once you get in, every survey you take earns you $3. Most surveys are 15-20 minutes long.
that was more than 4500 words. Yes, my fingers are very tired. I hope it was worth it and you guys did enjoy this post.
More importantly, I truly hope everyone who reads this post, finds at least one fitting money making option that they can use to supplement their income.
If not, I am sorry, but I promise that I will update this post regularly, adding new options as I come across them.
I spent quite a lot of time researching and writing this post, hoping it would help those looking for truly free ways of making money online without worrying about getting scammed.
If it has helped you and you enjoyed it, I would truly appreciate it if you would spread the word and share it with your friends and family, on social media sites, etc.
If you look up, there are a few share buttons you can use to quickly share this post on your favorite social media sites. Thanks.
I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think of these options, or if you found one that you really like.
Also, if you know of any other truly legit and free ways of earning extra money online, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will add it to the list with your name.