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11 Best Ways to Make Money from Home (Legitimate, online )


Legitimate Work-From-Home Opportunities

The following are a variety of legitimate ways to earn extra income, get a second job, launch a full-time solo career, or start your own small business – all from the comfort of your own home. Some of these opportunitis build upon hobbies that you might already pursue without economic gain; you’ll find many in this article from Top Trends Guide on income-producing pursuits.

Also, though they don’t technically qualify as work at home opportunities and therefore aren’t mentioned in detail below, know that money-saving browser plug-ins like Wikibuy can help you find a lower price on the items you buy online everyday – adding some breathing room to your budget just as surely as extra cash does.

Just take care to avoid distressingly common work-from-home scams that can actually cost you money.


11 Best Ways to Make Money from Home (Legitimate)

1. Blogging: Sell Your Insights

Blog White Desk

Blogs aren’t just venues for bored people to share their thoughts about anything and everything. They can also be a legitimate source of income.

Your blogging journey begins with an idea. This is an early make-or-break decision for your blog – if it’s not entirely unique, your idea must at least be sharper and more compelling than your competitors’. You should know your blog’s subject matter cold – ideally from personal experience or formal training – and have no trouble writing fluently about it.

Next come the nuts and bolts: choosing and buying a Web domain, hosting and designing your site, and planning content. While this is a lot of work to put in before publishing your first post, resist the temptation to cut corners. You’re laying the foundation, hopefully, for a long-term endeavor. Once you’ve created a quality site and built a following, there are plenty of ways to make money from your blog.


2. Virtual Tutoring: Sell Your Expertise (Part 1)

Woman Online Tutor

Virtual tutoring is a more personal way to earn money by sharing your subject matter expertise. Unlike online courses, which are available to dozens or even hundreds of paying customers at a time, tutoring sessions are usually one-on-one affairs. However, you can have as many students as your schedule allows.

As with online teaching, to maximize your chances of success as an online tutor, stick to subjects you know well. Use a reputable and high-visibility venue, structure your sessions sensibly, price your services in line with the market, follow scheduling best practices, and promote yourself enthusiastically (or choose a platform that does so on your behalf).

The best places to find online tutoring jobs are platforms that focus specifically on tutoring, such as Education FirstVIPKid, and Chegg. Both pay set hourly or per-session rates based on tutors’ chosen subjects – for instance, computer science tutors generally earn more than English tutors. Chegg starts tutors at $20 per hour and claims prolific tutors can earn upward of $1,000 per month. Before you sign up, make sure your computer meets your chosen platform’s system requirements – you’ll need a reasonably fast processor and real-time video-chatting capabilities.


4. Downsize & Declutter: Sell Your Unwanted Stuff

Declutter Packing Box

Before you roll up your sleeves and monetize your personal or professional skills, why not earn some money by cleaning up your space? Selling your unwanted stuff is a great way to downsize and declutteryour life while earning some income on the side. If you’re transitioning to full-time work-at-home status, that income could help you create a proper home office or allow you to maintain your lifestyle during lean times.

When it comes to at-home income, selling your unwanted stuff is the definition of low-hanging fruit. Even if you’re intentional in your purchasing habits, you likely have possessions you can do without. Examples include old kids’ clothing and toys, sporting goods you no longer use, out-of-fashion wardrobe accessories, electronics, valuable but nonsentimental keepsakes such as watches and jewelry, old furniture, dusty tools and outdoor equipment, and perhaps even big-ticket items like a motorcycle or second car.

There are several ways you can sell your unwanted stuff.

Digital Options

Depending on the amount of effort you’re willing to give and your preferred sales model, these digital sales platforms are worth considering:

  • EBayEBay is one of the most popular websites in the world. That means it’s an excellent way to attract lots of eyeballs to your unwanted items, fast. Initially designed as an auction site for DIY sellers, it’s now primarily a venue for fixed-price – and often heavily discounted – sales by professional merchants. As long as you include high-quality photographs and thorough descriptions in your product listings, you can likely break through the noise. EBay’s fee schedule is complex, but as a general rule, expect to lose 10% of your final selling price to the site’s commission.
  • Amazon. Many people don’t realize that Amazon is a haven for third-party sellers cleaning out their attics and garages. If you plan to sell more than 40 items per month on Amazon, consider registering as a professional seller. You’ll need to pay a roughly $40 monthly subscription fee, a referral fee that usually ranges from 6% to 20%, and a per-item closing cost for media items. You won’t pay the per-item selling fee, however. Alternatively, you can register as an individual seller. The fee schedule is the same as for professionals, except you do have to pay the selling fee and don’t have to pay the subscription fee.
  • CraigslistCraigslist is the scrappiest of the major online resale options. Its major perk is its enticing profit potential, thanks to the total lack of listing and selling fees for most items. The disadvantages are many and include potential safety risks and higher chances of nonpayment. If you do choose Craigslist, keep your wits about you and use the buddy system.
  • Trade-In (Resale) Marketplaces. There are plenty of other places to sell your stuff online, especially if it’s electronic. Popular and reputable online resale marketplaces include SellCellGazelle, and MaxBack. Major retailers such as Best Buy have extensive trade-in programs as well, as do national carriers such as Verizon and AT&TDecluttr, a hybrid option, cuts out the middleman and claims to deliver better value for unwanted tech items.

Hold a Yard or Garage Sale

Prefer to do things the old-fashioned way? Sell whatever you can’t or don’t want to offload online at a garage sale instead.

Follow these tips for a successful garage sale:

  • Set a Popular Time and Date. Most garage sales happen on weekends, and for good reason – that’s when most people are out and about. To maximize your exposure, consider a three-day event over a long weekend. If you live in a cold climate, wait until the weather warms.
  • Make Sure You’re Legal. Before setting up your sale, make sure it’s legal to do so in your community. There’s a good chance you’ll need a permit, but getting one is usually a formality and rarely requires a substantial financial investment.
  • Advertise Locally. Advertise your garage sale in appropriate local venues: your city’s Craigslist page, community social media sites such as Nextdoor, your local newspaper (online and in print), and any relevant local publications, such as neighborhood print newspapers or magazines.
  • Put Up Signs. Don’t assume every prospective buyer will find their way to your place using a navigation app. Put up signs directing people to your address in visible locations around your neighborhood, ideally on main roads leading to your street and multiple street corners in your home’s immediate vicinity.
  • Research Costs and Set Fair Starting Prices. Before setting prices for each item, research your local Craigslist website and nearby yard sales to get a sense of how to price them. Remember that many buyers will try to haggle, so set prices a bit higher than your bottom dollar but not so high you’ll scare off first bids. Roughly 10% to 15% higher is a good rule of thumb. Consider bunching low-value items, such as old CDs, into lots of five or 10.
  • Accommodate Multiple Forms of Payment. Many deal-seekers carry cash, but you want to accommodate every potential buyer. So in the days leading up to the event, consider purchasing a point-of-sale system that can accept credit cards. Square is a popular and relatively cost-effective option. It doesn’t cost anything upfront and bundles credit card processing fees into one relatively low fee: 2.6% plus $0.10 per transaction, for a net of $97.30 for every $100 charged. It’s a small price to pay to capture the ever-growing cashless consumer demographic. On the day before the sale, visit the bank and grab $100 in small bills and coin rolls to ensure you’ll have enough change for buyers who do prefer cash.

3. Freelance Editing and Proofreading: Sell Your Grammatical Skills

Editor Scrabble

Freelance editing and proofreading naturally follow from freelance writing. While not every writer is a born editor or proofreader, the skills often go hand in hand.

Freelance Editing

Once you’ve worked with a few different editors, you’ll likely get a sense of the skills and duties required for the job. Then, it’s just a matter of finding the right editing gigs.

As a new editor, start small. Look for part-time or project-based copy editing jobs. If possible, leverage existing freelance writing arrangements. For instance, if you know one of your freelance clients uses contract editors to clean up writers’ work, approach them about taking on those responsibilities directly.

Once you’ve outgrown your existing client base, look to online job boards such as Upwork, as well as media-specific platforms such as Mediabistro. Common types of online editing jobs include:

  • Copy Editor. Copy editors ensure written copy is polished before their bosses hit “publish” and often serve as the main point of contact with contributing writers. Though it’s not exceptionally well-paid, copy editing is often a springboard to more lucrative editing or production opportunities.
  • Assistant Editor. Assistant editors supervise copy editors, photo editors, writers, and other support staff involved in producing digital publications. Larger blogs and online-print hybrids generally have at least one assistant editor on staff. These gigs can be part- or full-time. They’re typically intermediate between copy editing and managing editing jobs.
  • Managing Editor. Managing editors supervise and direct editorial teams, including lower-level editors. These jobs are harder to come by and require more of your time, but temporary arrangements look great on your resume. If you lack much formal editing experience, start with smaller blogs and niche publications with modest budgets and limited content needs. Some publications don’t have enough work for a full-time editor, making it feasible to string together a handful of part-time editing gigs or try out a single position to see how it suits you.
  • Photo Editor/Web Editor. Photo and Web editors create or edit visuals that appear on websites and other digital media, such as white papers and corporate reports. This line of work is a great way to exercise your visual skills and become more familiar with layout and editing programs such as QuarkWordPress, and Photoshop. These gigs often require basic to intermediate coding skills, so they’re great for freelancers who want to expand their expertise beyond the written word.
  • Manuscript Editor. Looking for a longer-term engagement? The self-publishing boom has created an unprecedented demand for manuscript editors – specialists who help writers organize and sharpen book-length works before publication. Depending on your clients’ budgets, manuscript editing can be lucrative, though it’ll likely take time to build your reputation to the point that you’re working with accomplished writers. Entry-level opportunities abound on reputable freelance platforms and with niche publishing houses.

The prerequisites and best practices that make freelance editors successful are broadly similar to those freelance writers need. A suitable home office is important, as is aggressive networking, a strong work ethic, a clear understanding of your value, and a hunger for self-improvement.

Freelance Proofreading

Freelance proofreaders draw on the same skills and competencies as freelance writers and editors, but their career paths are distinct. The best way for someone new to the freelance proofreading game to get started (even with prior writing or editing experience) is to invest in a proofreading course to establish credibility with potential employers. Proofread Anywhere is a great example. With free introductory modules, there’s no obligation if you decide the gig isn’t for you.


4. Pet Sitting: Start a Doggy Day Care in Your Home

Fun and rewarding as it can be, pet sitting is a business like any other. Successful pet sitters – those operating legit doggy day cares out of their homes – invest in local marketing, commercial insurance, formal accounting, organized recordkeeping, and perhaps even legal services (to manage contracts and reduce liability).

You can juggle all these obligations yourself, or you can outsource much of the heavy lifting to a pet sitting platform like Rover. Think of Rover as the Airbnb of pet sitting – a scalable platform that handles a lot of the behind-the-scenes work of running a profitable home-based enterprise without micromanaging your work. Rover claims its pet sitters earn up to $1,000 per month, though actual earnings vary by client volume and the amount of time you put into the business.


5. Remote Accounting: Launch a Virtual Bookkeeping Business

If you prefer clients who won’t shed all over your house and you have an affinity for spreadsheets, a virtual bookkeeping business could be just what you need to earn a stable income without leaving the house.

Because bookkeeping is a competitive industry that rewards skilled professionals with solid reputations, the surest way to break into the business is to invest in a credentialing course. For instance, Bookkeepers offers three different tracks (“communities”) for bookkeepers at various stages of learning the trade and building their businesses. Learn the ropes with Bookkeeper Launch, then progress to Bookkeeper Lab and Bookkeeper Elite – if you have what it takes.


6. Retail Arbitrage: Learn How to Buy Low and Sell High

“Buy low, sell high” is an expression more commonly heard in the noisy bullpen of an investment bank or brokerage house than the relative quiet of one’s home office. But there’s one type of arbitrage – the art of selling assets for more than you paid without adding value – that’s perfect for at-home workers.

That would be retail arbitrage, one of the top careers for self-employed introverts. Practitioners of retail arbitrage buy products for pennies on the dollar at auctions, from online retailers, even at garage and yard sales, and then sell them online at sometimes-substantial markups. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is the most popular platform for U.S. sellers, but other options work too. Learn the FBA ropes with this low-cost Udemy course.


7. E-books & Audiobooks: Take Your Writing (or Acting) Career to the Next Level

Audiobooks Headphones Books

Even the most diligent freelance writers get bored and disillusioned after a while. If you’re tired of writing Web content or blog posts on a contract basis, or you simply want to expand your horizons, consider tackling long-form projects that exercise your creative muscles and carry substantial passive income potential.

You can make money with audiobooks in a couple of different ways:

  • Recording Your Work. If you’ve already written a book, you can leverage an entirely new revenue stream by turning it into an audiobook. It doesn’t have to be your voice on the recording. In fact, unless you have voice acting or radio experience, it’s better to hire a trained voice actor. Reputable platforms like ACX typically have low production costs and innovative royalty-sharing arrangements that maximize rights-holders’ (writers’) income potential. Check Publishers Weekly for a list of platform options.
  • Recording Others’ Work. If you’re a trained voice actor or narrator, or you think you have what it takes to break into the niche, you can use ACX and other outlets to find audiobook recording jobs. You’ll need to audition for each role, but once you land a gig, you’ll earn money two ways: at an agreed per-hour rate for the actual job and a shared royalty arrangement with the rights-holder and others involved in the production. If you’re a union actor (SAG-AFTRA), you’re required to charge a minimum fee (variable, but above $200) per finished hour (roughly two studio hours). On a 10-hour audiobook, that’s a minimum payday of $2,000 before royalties.

Though seeing and hearing your name in print is a worthy accomplishment in and of itself, selling audiobooks probably won’t make you rich. In most cases, your royalty-sharing arrangement will amount to just a few dollars per download. A lot depends on the extent to which you promote your audiobook and how visible it is on platforms such as Audible and iTunes. If you’re lucky, a successful audiobook can generate a five-figure annual income stream. More obscure titles might earn just a few hundred bucks per year.

8. Paid Social Posts: Get Paid to Tweet, Post, Pin, & Share

Social Media Likes Computer

You don’t need millions of followers to become a social media influencer. You just need to follow the basic rules of social media etiquette and find a reputable platform that pays you to share sponsored content from its clients or promote affiliate products.

Pay-per-tweet platforms such as PaidPerTweet can get you started, but they’re not the most lucrative options out there. Unless you have tens of thousands of Twitter followers, you won’t make more than a few bucks per tweet on Paid Per Tweet – and that assumes you’ll find paying clients whose buyer bases align with your follower base.

If you’re serious about making real, sustainable money on social media, try either of these strategies:

  • YouTube Partner Program. The YouTube Partner program empowers YouTube channel operators to monetize certain types of videos. Finding paying advertisers is hard work, and you need a sizable following before you can find companies willing to pay for direct or indirect promotion. Plus, your videos must meet YouTube’s monetization criteria, which ban explicit or copied content. Pay potential is directly proportional to the size of your channel following and, to a lesser extent, audience demographics.
  • Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your blog or website, but it can also generate income from your social media properties. (Many affiliate marketers do both.) ClickBank is a good place to start. Pay is directly proportional to your follower count and audience demographics.

9. Software & Game Reviews: Sell Your Testing Abilities. 

Gamer Headset Computer Screen Neon Silhouette

Getting paid to test new video games and consoles sounds like a dream come true for gamers. But video game testing is a job like any other. It requires significant time and energy commitments. It’s not something you can do with a few spare minutes or with less than your undivided attention.

To get started as a game tester, sign up with a reputable network such as Keywords Studio, whose Global Beta Test Network(GBTN) helps game developers push their products to the limit and ensure they go to market with as few bugs as possible. GBTN’s tests typically involve dozens to hundreds of testers around the world running simultaneous tests on different aspects of clients’ games. Most tests are time-limited, project-based affairs. Pay varies but typically ranges from $20 to $50 per hour. Diligent, skilled testers who work part-time can earn $10,000 to $20,000 per year; testers who work at or near full time can easily exceed $50,000 per year.

Successful game testers have certain capabilities and personality traits in common:

  • A Professional-Grade Gaming Setup. If you’re an avid gamer, you probably have this covered. If not, the cost of upgrading your setup in the hopes you’ll be hired as a tester could be prohibitive.
  • Unwavering Attention to Detail. Video game testing isn’t like regular gameplay. The whole point is to prod for any bugs and defects that could potentially impact play, no matter how small or unlikely. Your eyes must be peeled for any deviance from expected results.
  • Flexible Schedules With Long Blocks of Uninterrupted Time. Simultaneous game tests typically occur at the client’s convenience. If your game’s developer is based overseas, that could mean testing in the middle of the night. For night owls, that’s not a big deal, but 9-to-5ers may struggle. Also, tests typically take several hours, so this isn’t something you can do for 20 minutes at a time and move on.

10. Website and Product Testing: Sell Your Testing Abilities 

User Testing Web Designer

Websites and products need testing too. Here’s what to know about each type of gig.

Website Testing

If you’re not much of a gamer, or you can’t spare the long blocks of time and unwavering attention required of professional game testers, consider signing up with UserTesting to try out new websites and mobile apps.

UserTesting’s website testing gigs do require focus and rigor, but they’re far shorter and don’t need to happen simultaneously, making them much easier to fit into your schedule. They don’t pay quite as well as game testing, though. If you’re diligent, you can reliably earn $20 per hour, though the overall work volume is sometimes thin. You need a decent, relatively new computer or smartphone to complete tests.

Product Testing

If you prefer hands-on testing, consider signing up to test products with Toluna, a leading market research firm. You’ll have the opportunity to try real product prototypes and beta versions before they’re released to the general public, and your feedback could meaningfully influence their development.


11. Cash Back & Coupons: Earn When You Shop

Cash Back Phone Mug Laptop

Cash back isn’t technically income because you need to buy something to earn it. It’s more like a discount. But when you earn it for purchases you’d make anyway, it’s a great way to make a little extra money.

The most common way to earn cash back on purchases is with a cash-back credit card. But while a credit card is a great tool for building credit, there are many legitimate arguments against using one. If your spotty credit or personal preferences preclude you from applying for a credit card, don’t sweat it. You have plenty of other opportunities to earn cash back on purchases made in the comfort of your own home. Look into these options:

  • WikibuyWikibuy is a browser extension that helps folks find a lower price on thousands of products when shopping online. Use it whenever you need to buy something without leaving the house.
  • RakutenRakuten (formerly Ebates) is a wildly popular coupon site that offers multiple ways to save online. Cash back accrues immediately, so there’s no need to go through an extra redemption process. You can choose from thousands of partner merchants.
  • TopCashbackTopCashback leverages affiliate arrangements with thousands of merchants to deliver a slew of instant discount and cash-back opportunities for U.S.-based shoppers. There’s some friction involved, as you need to click through to specific offers from TopCashback’s website, but the depth of the savings makes this extra step worthwhile.
  • PiggyPiggy is an intelligent coupon plug-in that works in the background as you browse and automatically serves you with the most relevant, up-to-date coupons on your favorite shopping websites. With over thousands of merchants in the network, virtually every major brand is here. Savings opportunities range up to 70%.
  • Qmee. As a low-friction plug-in, Qmeegives you the option to act on or ignore shopping discount offers. You can cash out in virtually any amount, so it’s worth using even if you’re only a sporadic online shopper.
  • Giving AssistantGiving Assistant puts a charitable spin on online shopping discounts. Functionally, it’s similar to Qmee and Piggy, but users have the option to donate their earnings to their favorite charities. Of course, those who prefer to pocket their cash still can. You can reliably earn 5% cash back with Giving Assistant and more at select merchants.

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