Thanks to technology, you can make extra money online from the comfort of your own home. The convenience and flexibility of online work makes it a great option for busy parents, busy professionals, students, etc.
Okay, online work is a solid option for almost anyone, and that’s what’s so appealing about it.
Fortunately, the internet has provided countless options, and today you’re going to learn about the best way to make extra money in 2021.
13 Legitimate Ways to Make Extra Money Online in 2021
1. Run Facebook ads for small businesses
Facebook advertising is digital marketing on Facebook, and it’s one of the best ways for small businesses to grow their customer base and audience. What’s surprising about running Facebook ads is that you don’t need a background in advertising or marketing.
I started running Facebook ads for local businesses after I quit my teaching job to blog full time. I needed to supplement my income, and managing Facebook ads brought in an extra $1,000/month per client.
That was a few years ago, and since then even more businesses are interested in Facebook ad management, and you can realistically expect to make around $1,000-$1,500/month per client running Facebook ads.
Here’s what’s managing Facebook ads can involve:
- Listen to your clients’ goals and objectives
- Building audiences
- Create ads, including finding graphics and writing copy
- Evaluating landing pages
- Testing ads
- Optimizing ad campaigns
That might sound like a lot, but once you have your ads system up and running, it takes about 2-3 hours a week to run ads for your client.
Check out the Facebook Side Hustle Course if you’re interested in learning more. This course teaches you exactly how to use the Facebook ads platform, what kind of businesses need ad management services, and how to get those business owners to hire you to run their ads.
2. Start a blog
Blogging is my hands-down favorite way to make extra money online. Starting a blog legitimately changed my life. In a matter of five years, I went from a high school band director who hated his job to running a 7-figure business.
The trajectory I took isn’t the norm for every blogger, and blogging is a slow business model overall. But, it is possible to make an extra $1,000-$10,000 from your blog.
Blogging is hard work, but it’s extremely flexible. You can build your blog on the side of your day job, after your kids go to bed, first thing in the morning, etc. You’re also in control over how you make money blogging, from display ads to affiliate income.
If you’re interested in learning more, here’s what you need to do next:
- Read this article that explains how you choose a profitable blogging niche — you can literally blog about anything, but some topics are inherently more profitable
- Check out the 9 tips that every successful blogger follows
- Learn how to start a blog using Bluehost — Bluehost is a really affordable option (less than $3/month when you sign up through our link) and it’s built for bloggers who are interested in making money.
If you want help getting your blog up and running check out our free Launch That Blog service.
3. Take online surveys
Online survey companies pay participants for their opinions so they can help brands create better products and services. Surveys are a market research tool, and they are one of the easiest ways to make extra money online.
Before I explain more, I want to make it clear that survey sites aren’t a high paying option. You can realistically expect to make $1-$3/hour taking online surveys.
While you’re not going to get rich taking surveys, the ease of it all makes it a legit option, and there are lots of survey sites to sign up with.
Survey companies look for people who fit certain demographic criteria and characteristics to answer their surveys. That criteria changes from survey to survey — there’s no one type of person they’re looking for.
It’s pretty common to be disqualified from a few surveys before you find one that’s the right fit. I know it’s frustrating… I took online surveys back in the day… but it’s a reality you should be aware of.
One of the best ways to qualify for the most surveys is to sign up for more than one survey site. This gives you the most chances to make extra money.
Below are my top recommendations:
Swagbucks is another really popular and well-known survey site. Swagbucks also pays in points, and they have several other easy ways to make extra money online, like shopping online, watching videos, playing games, and downloading their browser extension.
Survey Junkie is one site I highly recommend. It’s completely free to sign up with Survey Junkie, and they pay you in points that convert to cash. They ask you to fill out profiles to match you with the right surveys and pay you for filling out the profiles.
It takes 1,000 points to cash out on Survey Junkie, which equals $10. They pay cash via PayPal or gift cards.
Pinecone Research is one of the survey sites I took surveys on when I was paying off my student loan debt. What I really like about Pinecone Research is that they have invite-only surveys, which means they only ask you to take surveys they think you will qualify for. It prevents late-state disqualifications.
4. Sell your stuff online
One of the fastest ways to make extra money online is sell your stuff. You don’t need to learn a new set of skills, there’s no financial investment, and selling online has become a legit option for both sellers and buyers.
There’s also a growing list of platforms for selling, and here are some of my top recommendations:
Decluttr: This site buys your gently used tech (cell phones, laptops, tablets, game consoles, video games, and even Legos). Decluttr gives you a no-commitment valuation, and when you accept their offer, you’re given a prepaid shipping label to ship your goods. Decluttr pays 24 hours after receiving your tech.
Poshmark: You can sell womens, mens, and childrens clothing, shoes, and accessories on Poshmark. You want to write clear and accurate descriptions and include photos. Make sure you disclose if there are any flaws. Poshmark has fees only if you sell, but it’s free to list.
Facebook Marketplace: Marketplace is one of the best places to sell to make extra money online because the Facebook app is already so widely used. It’s also free to sell, and you can sell in your area or be willing to ship.
eBay: Despite all of the new apps and platforms popping up, eBay is still a solid choice. The best selling items on eBay are Legos by the pound, Disney movies on VHS, car parts, remote controls (seriously!), and workout equipment.
5. Become a private tutor
Academic tutors help students get back on track with specific subjects or gain an edge. Tutors were in high demand when I was still teaching high school, and the demand has only increased with so many kids learning from home during the pandemic.
Parents are willing to pay good money to help their kids, anywhere from $35-$100/hour. The highest paid tutors offer test prep service for the ACT, SAT, MCAT, LSAT, etc.
One platform I highly recommend is Wyzant. You can set your own rates and when you’re available, and Wyzant tutors keep 75% of their pay.
6. Sell your unused gift cards
If you have a stash of unused or partially used gift cards sitting somewhere at home, selling them online can be an easy way to make extra cash.
Raise is a really popular place to sell gift cards, and you can also sell store credits which is a nice option if you’ve returned something to a store you don’t normally shop at. Raise pays via PayPal, direct deposit, or check.
GiftCard Granny gives you several ways to sell unused gift cards, the fastest way is to enter your gift card number and balance and see what the site will offer to buy it for. You can also name your price, which is slower, or trade your gift card for another one listed on the site.
7. Start freelancing
Freelancing is one of the best ways to make extra money online because more and more companies, both large and small, are turning to freelancers instead of traditional employees.
Freelancing is an ideal side hustle because you can start and grow your freelance business on the side and eventually go full-time with it. According to a study done by Upwork, more freelancers are seeing it as a respected, long-term career path than ever before.
I recommend starting with something you know because you can start to make extra money online faster. However, if you’re up for learning a new skill, look for areas where there’s a high need for new workers, like digital marketing (i.e. Facebook ads).
You can list your services on freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, or Guru. However, you can also create a website and promote and market your services online. Networking on sites like LinkedIn or in Facebook groups is another good way to get your name out there.
8. Test websites and apps
Testing websites is similar to taking online surveys because you’re providing valuable feedback that helps companies create a better experience for customers.
Website testers are paid to visit websites and apps and perform a set of tasks that’s outlined by the testing company. You record your experience and answer a survey at the end.
UserTesting.com is one of the most well-known testing websites. It’s been used by Microsoft, Expedia, NBCUniversal, Subway, Adobe, and more. They pay $10 for each 20-minute test you complete.
You will need an email address to sign up, and new testers need to complete a sample test before being officially approved.
9. Sell on Etsy
Selling on Etsy is one of the best ideas for creative people who are interested in learning how to make extra money online with their crafts or hobbies. There are so many different options for what you can sell on Etsy, like:
- Wedding decor, invites, attire, and more
- Home decor
- Social media filters
- Baby items
- ePrintables – things like invites, checklist, planner pages, calendar sheets, thank you cards, gift tags, etc. It’s a super passive way to make extra money because you’re creating and selling digital files that can be sold nearly indefinitely
10. Create an online course
Teaching online courses has been part of my business model for a few years, and you may have seen other bloggers and entrepreneurs create online courses too.
The reason is that selling online courses can be one of the most lucrative ways to make extra money online in 2021, and you actually don’t need an existing online business to successfully sell courses. However, you do need a marketable skill.
One of my readers, Lindsay Marsh, leveraged her graphic design skills to create a series of extremely successful courses. She started selling courses online on Udemy and Skillshare 3.5 years ago, and she’s now making $40,000-$50,000/month.
While the earning potential is there, your course needs to provide serious value to your student for them to be profitable. You should have a good working knowledge of the skill, give actionable advice, and be able to guide your students through each step needed to succeed.
You can learn how to put together your first online course in: How to Create a Course | Your 2021 Step-By-Step Guide.
11. Do machine learning tasks
Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology is rapidly growing, but companies need human help developing systems that work well. These are things like:
- Image annotation
- Data entry
- Evaluating speech
- Classifying objects found in satellite imagery
- Removing duplicate content from business listings
- Verifying restaurant details, like phone number and address
- Rating the accuracy of search engine results
Amazon MTurk is one of several crowdsourcing platforms where you can make extra money online doing small online tasks. It’s not high paying work, but it’s easy entry-level work that’s extremely flexible.
12. Rent your stuff
Renting your stuff can be a fairly passive way to make extra money online, and there are peer-to-peer rental platforms for all kinds of different things.
One of the most recognizable sites is airbnb, where you can list your entire house, a spare room, shared living space, or even your backyard for camping. But if you’re not ready to share your house with a stranger, you can rent your storage space, driveway, attic, or garage on Neighbor.
You can list your car on turo, and they have a free Carculator on their site where you can get an idea of how much you can realistically make with your car. There’s also Swimply, which is a site to list your swimming pool.
13. Use money making apps
Next to working online, there are several legit apps that have easy ways to make extra money. Here are some of my top picks:
Rakuten: Install Rakuten and online as you normally would through their app and earn cashback on your purchases. Rakuten gives you a percentage of your total back, and it can range from 2% to 10% back at major online retailers.
Ibotta: Ibotta is a cashback app where you can claim cashback offers in the app, connect your loyalty account to always take advantage of deals, or you can upload your receipts in the app to earn cashback on certain offers.
doshhelps you earn cash back on dining, hotel stays, and online shopping. When you pay with a credit or debit car you’ve linked to your Dosh account, the app automatically deposits cash back in your Dosh account which you can transfer to your bank account, PayPal, or Venmo.
The final word on how to make extra money online
There are more options than ever to make money online. I recommend thinking about what your financial goals are.
For example, do you want to make an extra $1000/month? If that’s your goal, consider running Facebook ads or starting a freelancing side hustle.
If you want to make extra money fast, like if you had an unexpected expense, selling your stuff online could help you meet your goal.
The bottom line is that there’s something for everyone. Keep in mind that the easiest options have the lowest pay, but if you’re willing to hustle, the online world is huge and full of potential.