While many people start a home business to create or replace a full-time income, some people simply want to generate a little extra money to pay debt; save for a rainy day; or use as mad money, a sum of money reserved for small expenses or impulsive purchases. In the past, those who wished to make extra money needed to go out to find a second job. Fortunately, times have changed and people are thinking creatively about how to make extra money from home. They may be selling their services such as driving or shopping, skills such as writing or sales, or used items such as furniture, technology, or clothing to bring in extra income. Websites designed specifically to assist you in getting rid of unwanted items or selling your services or skills can help.
Find a profitable niche. Starting with your interests, write down as many niche ideas as you can. Think about topics people might search online. Ideas include passions (like surfing or body building), fears (like spiders or speaking in front of crowds) and problems (like getting out of debt). Do keyword research to see it others are interested in the topic. Find out if a domain name is available that matches the keyword 100 percent. 
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Instash, Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
How to Get It: Visit companies such as DarwinsData.com, PineconeResearch.com and PaidViewpoint.com. (Search "surveys" on RealWaystoEarnMoneyOnline.com for more options.) Then sign up with as many sites as you can. The sites will contact you when surveys that fit your demographic pop up, and you take them right away. A word to the wise: Do not register anywhere that has a membership fee, asks for your Social Security number or bank information, or is vague about payment. There are many survey services out there that are fraudulent.
Maybe you have a commute that makes you frustrated before you even hit your desk, and all you can do while you drink your morning coffee is fantasize about what you could buy with all that gas money. For employees who work far from the office, cutting out the commute can make a world of difference for their stress and overall health. For Charlie Harary, CEO of H3 & Company and professor at the Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University, cutting down on how many days a week one of his employees needed to commute allowed one employee to get more done in her working hours. “I have an employee that has a two-hour commute to the office each way. Once day, she mentioned to me that she had to leave early to get home in time to make a family obligation. I asked her why and she detailed out her daily commute. I was shocked by the sheer difficulty it was for her to get to the office each day.”
If you’ve ever wanted to try real estate investing but don’t want to deal with all the stress of being a landlord, you might want to consider investing with Fundrise. Fundrise is a new platform that allows you to invest directly in a real estate portfolio that a team of professionals identifies, acquires, and manages on your behalf. With a starting investment as small as $500, you get exposure to dozens of solid, value-producing assets.
CashCrate sends out literally thousands of payments a month to users just like you who spend time completing surveys and offers on CashCrate.com. How do they do it? Well, they do surveys and offers regularly. It really adds up! Your initial goal should be to meet minimum payout, which is $20.00. Making $20.00 in free cash is actually quite easy considering there are hundreds of surveys and offers available, but here are a few tips to get you to your goal faster:
Many of my readers have started proofreading from their iPads, scanning legal documents for court reporters as a result of the Proofread Anywhere eCourse I recommend. You can read some of their testimonials in the comments on this post. They offer a 7-day intro course free so you can decide if that line of work is right for you before you pursue the training.
Getting businesses to advertise on your podcast, either at the beginning or end or both is a great way to create a revenue through podcasts. Most businesses won’t be keen to advertise on your podcast until you can prove a large number of listeners. Therefore, it is unlikely you will be able to start out from the get-go with sponsors. But once you accumulate regular listeners or a high number of downloads from iTunes, you can start to sell advertising space on your podcasts.
There are a variety of online lenders out there, and if your credit is fairly good, you can apply for a personal loan online and be approved almost instantly. The money will still take a few days or even a week to hit your account, and the interest rate will be higher than, say, a home equity loan. But a personal loan from a reputable company — and be careful, for some online lenders are little more than payday loan shops online — beats credit card debt for a couple of reasons: Installment loans are better for your credit than revolving credit card balances, and even a 10% interest rate is preferable to what you’d pay for a cash advance.
Test websites. Remote usability testing means getting paid to navigate a website for the first time and giving feedback to the website owner. Most tests take approximately 15 minutes, and you can get paid up to $10 for each test. A test involves performing a scenario on the client’s website and recording yourself doing it. For example, you might be asked to go through the process of selecting and purchasing an item on a retailer’s website.
Amazon will have you work on micro-projects that require some sort of human interaction. Tasks can include translating a paragraph into English (or another language), rating the search results for certain keywords, or reworking an article. The tasks are simple, and you will be paid a small amount to complete each. But if you do enough tasks quickly, you can make a respectable amount of money.
“I love being a part of TTEC@home because of the flexibility of the schedule. There are way more benefits to working from home than most people realize. I save money on transportation and clothing. I save time. I have a tax write-off. And I have less anxiety. The bonus of working with TTEC is that I’ve met some great people and have learned new skills.”
Amazon and Google are far from your only options for online advertising. Rakuten Linkshare is a great place to search for other affiliates for your ads. Through their program, you can get customized ad links, email links, and banner ads for Starbucks, Walmart, iTunes, and a slew of other popular brands. With this program, you can also find smaller companies, regional or specialized brands, and more. I run a combination of Google, Amazon, and Rakuten’s programs, and my monthly income is approximately $150 from these programs. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s also not a lot of work for residual (it means recurring…since the ads are permanent…) income.
Stand in line for a new, long-awaited product that's about to launch in stores. Or wait in line for super hard-to-come-by concert tickets. Plenty of people are willing to pay the money for the product or the ticket, but they don't want to have to spend the time camping out in line. That's why you're there to do it for them. You can find gigs like this on sites like TaskRabbit.
You can charge up to $995 for a service, but many if not most gigs still start at just $5 (of which you make $4), so the key to making money on Fiverr is either working in volume or offering custom add-on services. But it’s free, easy, and quick to get started, and payment happens fairly quickly, so if you’re able to whip up a logo or business card design without much effort, it’s not a bad way to cash in on your creative skills.
Another strategy to make money online is to become a social marketing manager. Being present on social media is key for any business that wants to attract new customers, promote their products and grow their following. However, constantly posting, liking and commenting on the numerous social media channels is extremely time-consuming. More and more businesses are recruiting social media managers to run and organize all their social media. And to save money, social media employees are often employed as online freelancers.
Multi-vendor marketplaces, like ThemeForest, can be very successful. Chose a niche and create a vendor website for it. Your marketplace could be anything, from a platform for local artists to sell their work on, to an online digital product store. Once set up, invite people in that industry to sell their products on your site. You take a percentage of their profits when items sell.
Drive for Uber or Lyft: If you're in a locale where you can find Uber or Lyft (or even one of the many competitors around the world such as China's Didi), you could easily make a respectable income. The hours are flexible and you can work as you see fit, making it perfect even if you currently have full-time employment but are looking to make some money on the side.
Focus on the surveys and offers at the top of the list. Here's a tip not many people know. CashCrate has a special algorithm that automatically selects the best surveys and offers and places them at the top of the list. There are several factors that go into determining which are the “best”, including payout, approval rate, and a variety of other factors. But all you need to know is that these surveys and offers are great, so you can do them in confidence!