It doesn’t take much time to run across someone pitching a “get-rich-quick” scheme online. We’ve all seen them – people who promise to show you how to make thousands at home in your spare time.
Guess what? Like any get-rich-quick scheme, it’s only going to make money for the person running the scheme.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t reputable ways to earn a little bit of money online during your spare time. There are many easy and legal ways to earn a few bucks on the Internet. Here are nine to try:
Mechanical Turk is a program run by Amazon where anyone can sign up and complete simple tasks – like choosing which of two pictures depicts a bridge – to earn a few cents per task. With some practice, you can earn a few dollars an hour while just sitting on your couch watching television. And with enough focus, you can earn an amount roughly equal to minimum wage.
YouTube allows anyone to post nonexplicit videos on pretty much any topic they desire. Recording a video can be as simple as turning on the camera on your computer and hitting the record button. If you enable advertisements on your videos, you can earn money at a rate of about $1 to $3 per 1,000 video views. The more videos the have, the more views you can accrue, so this option really pays off if you record a lot of videos and build a viewership.
eLance allows people in almost any profession to find freelance work at home in their spare time. While the projects on eLance aren’t going to earn you a ton of money, they do provide a great way to build an independent portfolio to show off your skills while also building a network of clients.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing allows anyone who has written a book on their own to upload it to Amazon to be sold on Amazon Kindle devices. Let’s say you write a novel and want to sell it. If you upload it here and then promote it online through social media or blogs, you can sell copies of your book and earn as much as a 70 percent return on each sale.
Fotolia allows you to sell photos you’ve taken for stock photography usage. For example, if a publisher is looking for a picture of a beach and you uploaded such a picture, the publisher can use Fotolia to purchase the rights to use that picture in its publication and you receive a cut of that money. For a photography hobbyist, this is a great way to earn a few dollars for some of your best photos.
Swagbucks is perhaps the most popular – and most legitimate – of the online survey sites. Swagbucks pays you a small amount for participating in a consumer survey, which companies then use to figure out what kinds of products to make and sell. You can participate in several surveys a day, and Swagbucks earnings can be redeemed for gift cards from Amazon, Target, iTunes and more.
Fiverr is a website where you can make $5 doing almost anything. On the site, people upload jobs that they’re willing to do for $5, like writing Facebook posts for companies. Many of the jobs require creative skills such as graphic design or audio editing, but tasks are things you can easily do on the couch in your spare time.
Skillshare is a website where you can teach an online class and get paid for it. You record series of videos on a topic that you know about – popular subjects include crafts, film, fashion and cooking – and then participate on the Skillshare forums related to your class. In exchange, you receive a cut of the money from the people who take your class. No teaching degree is necessary to get started, and the site says teachers can earn an average of $3,500 a year.
Zirtual is perhaps the most time-consuming, but most rewarding, option. With Zirtual, you sign up to be a Zirtual Assistant to a busy person. The person will send you things to do such as write emails, research a topic and summarize the findings, or personal tasks such as order flowers, manage a personal calendar or write handwritten notes. The starting base pay is $11 an hour, and Zirtual Assistants work weekdays full time.
All of these websites offer great opportunities for anyone to earn some extra money online. It all depends on what you want to bring to the table in terms of time, money and effort.