Online Side Jobs: 30 Realistic and Legitimate Options

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There is a lot of fluff and deceptive marketing out there when it comes to earning money from online side jobs. No doubt you have seen some of those articles which promise $1000+ per month. Unfortunately, the reality is that side hustles are not likely to make you that kind of income – at least not at first.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to work from home and make some extra cash online. Many of these legitimate options can even be turned into a full-time job BUT you should not expect to make loads of quick cash from online side jobs.

Avoiding Scams, Marketers and False Promises

It is easy to come across ludicrous articles and YouTube videos promising online side gigs that “pay $600 per day.” They typically describe things like setting up affiliate blogs. Now, these can bring in hundreds of dollars per day, but you don’t start to see those sums until you’ve put in thousands of hours of effort, research and unpaid work.

Implying that something like this is a realistic side gig that you can earn from straight away is disingenuous and daft.

So, if you’ve landed on this article hoping for a magic bullet that will give you a load of extra money without putting actual work in, you’re going to be disappointed.

Those misleading articles and videos aren’t necessarily scams, but they rarely deliver on their promises. They end up discarded, like the majority of gym memberships, foreign language courses and diet plans.

This article is very different – it lists a variety of side jobs that almost anyone can do. They may not bring in the big bucks, but they can and WILL reward people who make an effort and do the work required.

There’s also nothing to stop you stacking up several different things, to end up with a rather respectable side job income. 

How to Find REALISTIC Online Side Jobs

There are plenty of realistic side jobs you can do from home, and there are loads of people who use such online jobs to boost their income.

The key is to accept that offers that seem to be too good to be true probably are. Genuine opportunities always require hard work.

Accepting this is the first step to finding real jobs rather than wasting your time chasing pipe dreams. All you really need to do is choose a couple of things that sound interesting to you and ACTUALLY TAKE ACTION.

We have provided a ton of legit ideas along with links to far more detailed information.

Not everything on the list is glamorous, but at least they are all legitimate online side hustles. In this article we will be real with you about what you can expect.

Earning money from online side jobs

30 Side Jobs Which Provide Legitimate Ways To Make Money Online

1.Searching the Internet

I’m going to start with the really low-hanging fruit. If you want a side hustle that takes almost no extra effort then you could consider using Swagbucks as your search engine.

You can get started right away if you are in one of the countries where they operate but the rewards will be tiny and you will get them in the form of gift cards rather than money.

If you would like to make more than around $10 in Amazon gift cards in one year then you might want to look at some of the other ways you can earn with Swagbucks.

2.Taking Surveys

I KNOW from the many emails I get that some people turn their nose up at taking online surveys. I can sort of empathise because there are lots of scammy companies out there where the income is so low that it’s not worth bothering.

However, if you choose the right survey companies, and clue yourself up on how best to work with them, it’s all perfectly worthwhile.

I still take surveys from a select handful of companies myself. This might seem odd when I have an established business, but I find the work pretty mindless. It’s the kind of thing I’ll do when I’m having a snack or a break from “real” work, and it also helps me write lots of reviews of such sites for HomeWorkingClub.

The key thing to remember is that survey income really does add up over time. I typically save up my income for Christmas presents and holidays.

More Information:

  • Prolific is the favourite survey site of HomeWorkingClub readers by quite a margin. This is because it involves academic research surveys instead of consumer stuff, which can get tiresome.
  • Some of our other favourite survey sites are discussed in this article.
  • We have a great article on online survey tips, to help you make the most of your time.
  • Swagbucks and PrizeRebel are worth looking at if you really want to get heavily involved in surveys. They both include all kinds of ways of making extra little bits of money.

3.Testing Websites and Apps

User testing is one of the side jobs that I most enjoy. It’s always the thing I start doing when I feel like I may be heading for a financial lean patch (and as a freelancer, those do happen!)

User testing involves interacting with a new website design or app and recording your honest thoughts and opinions. It can be quite lucrative, with my favourite platform paying $10 per test, with each typically taking ten minutes or less.

It’s not a perfect side gig for everyone. While it’s incredibly easy and impossible to get “wrong,” you do need to be uninterrupted. You couldn’t do it with children playing in the background, for example. (There is one option that would work in that scenario – see below – but it doesn’t pay very much).

UPDATE: I’ve recently added a new article about doing user testing, which you’ll find here.

More Information:

  • Read a review of UserTesting, my favourite platform for this work. (Please note that I’m aware sometimes people confuse this with a different service called User Testing CLUB, which I’ve yet to investigate at the time of writing).
  • Check out UserCrowd. This pays far less but only requires you to spend a couple of seconds answering brief questions.
  • Other user testing sites include TryMyUI and TestingTime.

4.Micro Working

Micro working is right up there with taking surveys as something many people look down on in the home working world. I disagree (on both counts).

Micro working, which involves carrying out repetitive online tasks for cents at a time, is actually well worth consideration for a lot of people seeking online side jobs. It can fit around any schedule and doesn’t require existing experience.

If you make sure you’re signed up on two or three different platforms, there’s usually at least some work you can get stuck into at all times.

Yes, it can be monotonous, and no – you wouldn’t want to do it full time. But it’s not unrealistic to earn $12 or more per hour once you get into the flow. There are plenty of people doing just that and enjoying a nice side income as a result.

More Information:

5.Offering Your Services on Freelance Platforms

Technically this is a way of selling your services rather than an online side job. In fact, plenty of the work on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour and Fiverr merges into some of the other options on this list.

If you are ever curious as to what kind of things you can do to make money online and have some time to kill you will find digging through Fiverr eye-opening. While you will find plenty of “traditional” offerings you will also come across some pretty unique ideas, especially in the personalized video segment.

Freelance platforms are getting their own place on this list because they facilitate freelancing as a side gig. You will almost certainly need to pay fees to the platform, but you will not need to do anywhere near as much work to get clients as you would if you are relying solely on your website, personal network, or word of mouth.

Freelance platforms provide one of the easiest ways to create an online presence, find online side jobs, and have greater security that you will get paid.

I still use platforms like Upwork when I want to make some extra money, so investing the time in creating a good profile and building your reputation are well worth the effort.

More Information:

6.Typing and Transcription

Many people are fascinated by the idea of data entry as it seems like an easy online job that anyone could do in their spare time. However, the world of data entry jobs is probably a little different from what you imagine.

Still, if you can type, you can make extra money online. The main type of data entry work is transcription. There are plenty of reputable companies and you should be able to find a steady stream of work.

The key to making a decent side income doing this is to work on building up your typing speed.

More Information:

  • If you are interested in Online Typing Jobs, our feature discusses which popular typing jobs make for good online side jobs.
  • Our Ultimate Guide to Work From Home Transcription Jobs covers everything you need to know about this kind of work as well as providing tips on how and where to get started.
  • If you are looking for a reputable company where you can make extra money, Rev is a good place to start.

7. Subtitles and Closed-Captioning

This side hustle is often included within transcription, but this particular niche is often far more interesting and lucrative. Needless to say, it can be a lot harder to get started in subtitling than in general transcription.

In order to get paid the extra bucks that frequently come with subtitling you will need to learn additional skills and compete harder for jobs. The surge in streaming services has created a lot of related work, but the task of subtitling or providing closed-captions often go to agencies.

General agencies, like Rev, can be a great place to start building your experience. Still, you will probably want to check out the preferred fulfillment partners of the major streaming services if you are keen to work for them.

This is not a service that a total beginner can offer, but you could end up doing business with companies in the television and movie industry if you are willing to pay your dues and put in the effort. One big advantage which could help you get started is if you are able to provide these services in multiple languages.

8. Proofreading

Another popular way to make money from home is to provide proofreading services. This way to earn cash online is well-suited to those who are detail-oriented and enjoy reading.

You will need impeccable grammar and knowledge of the different writing styles, but you really don’t need any kind of formal certification. Professional proofreaders could earn anywhere from $12 to $30 per hour but you may need to accept lower rates until you build a solid reputation.

If proofreading is just going to be a side job to earn extra money during your spare time then you may want to just stick with offering your services on websites like Upwork or Fiverr. On the other hand, many people make a full-time living from proofreading.

The amount of work available makes proofreading one of the best side jobs to turn into a business if you are really good at it.

If you want to become a proofreader, there are lots of courses out there to help you understand what is involved and teach you some of the intricacies involved.

9.Bookkeeping

This is definitely not a side hustle for everyone. Let’s face it, bookkeeping is neither easy nor does it tend to inspire much passion (other than maybe hatred) amongst the majority of people.

Online bookkeeping is a BIG market because so many people hate doing it and so are happy to outsource it. Still, most people who offer this service do it as a full-time job or perhaps part-time because of other commitments.

The number of people doing bookkeeping as a side hustle is relatively low because of the investment and training needed to be successful. However, if your day job is bookkeeping and you want to change careers then this is a great side hustle that will pay you well and enable you to build that new career without stressing too much about cash.

10.Translation

If you are bilingual or have strong language skills then you might want to consider offering translation services for extra income.

Professional translators often complain about people who do not have formal training charging ridiculously low rates for poor translations. But the reality is that many translators have become professionals through work experience rather than taking a university course or passing a certification exam.

The amount of work available and the pay can vary greatly depending on the languages you work with. Joining an agency can make finding work easier, but many translators prefer to work directly with clients as they can earn more money.

It is fairly common to see people offer translation services on websites like Fiverr. Often the freelancer will charge lower rates to get started and then increase their rate once they have established a solid reputation.

More Information:

11.Online Interpreting

If you are highly fluent and able to switch rapidly between languages, online video or phone interpreting offers one of the best ways to make money from your language skills.

Online interpreting is pretty demanding work and the odds of needing a formal certification are higher than with general translation, but the reward is extra money.

Pay is typically around $40 per hour, but if you build a solid reputation then you could earn much more. Agencies charge clients closer to $90 per hour and often insist on hourly billing and a minimum number of hours. If you are willing to sell smaller time increments or offer lower rates then providing a stellar service is sure to win you return business.

The key to landing good clients and getting paid more lies in building your reputation, be it on a personal website or through a freelance platform. Companies are more likely to do business with agencies unless you can prove your service is just as good or better.

12. Article Writing

There’s an enormous amount of information about freelance writing on this site, and I know that many people are interested in becoming a freelance writer.

As online side jobs go, it’s not the easiest thing to get into as there’s a lot of hard work and hustling involved. To be frank, being a freelance writer is something you need to really want to do to make the effort worthwhile.

More Information:

13.Email Marketing

This is another writing-related job but this one focuses much more on psychology and your ability to sell. Email marketing has one of the best returns on investment and so it has become a crucial part of doing business for everyone from bloggers to local businesses to major companies.

Payment can reach pretty significant figures but don’t rush out to sign up for the expensive courses being touted on the internet. Courses can teach you some of the tricks and tools required, but the reality is that your pay will most likely be based on your ability to demonstrate proven results.

Get started by doing email marketing for yourself or a small business. Once you have data to show that your email marketing campaigns got results then you can start to offer your services for higher fees.

If you truly have a knack for it, email marketing can be one of the best side jobs in the field of writing. You could make a lot more than article writers whilst doing a lot less work.

14.Writing Resumes

Resumes are something that almost everyone needs. They need constant updating and few people like doing it. Writing resumes might not be as lucrative as some people claim, but it can certainly earn you a decent side income.

College students might find this service to be one of the best ways to make money. It is somewhat formulaic and they have easy access to a large population of potential clients. Get known as a good resume writer on campus and you might not need to advertise your services on freelance platforms or social media.

Of course, I would recommend that you create an online presence to ensure you continue to have a way to make money once you yourself leave the campus.

Resume writing jobs will generally come from platforms, personal references or your own marketing efforts. As companies like ZipJob show, people are willing to pay quite a bit of cash if they are convinced that you can help them land a job.

15.Start a Blog

Starting a niche blog is not a realistic way to establish a quick side income, and I object when people suggest it as such. However, if you have the drive and tenacity to build something great, starting a blog as a slow burn project is a fabulous idea.

It WILL take a LOT of time and effort before you see any real income, but if you get it right, starting a blog could end up being one of the most lucrative options on this list. It could also build into an asset that you could sell in the future.

If you need to earn extra money fast, writing your first few posts on a brand new blog is not the way to go. But if you want to dedicate some time to something that will gradually build momentum in the background, blogging is a really worthy idea.

More Information:

  • If you’re serious about blogging, check out my Patreon blogging group, where I take you step-by-step through building a brand new site.
  • You can learn all the basics of starting a blog here.
  • This guide will show you how to choose a profitable blog niche.
  • To learn which tools I use to run my own websites, click here.

16.Sell Your Voice

If writing is not your thing, perhaps lending your voice to the words of others might be a better fit. Whether it be for voiceovers or an audiobook there is plenty of work available if you have the right kind of voice.

In fact, on our podcast, the CEO of Freelancer.com, Matt Barrie, actually shared the story of a woman who needed to work from home for health reasons and started to do voiceovers on his platform. He shared her story because her dedication to building her profile and her involvement with other voiceover talent artists enabled her to turn a side job – created out of necessity – into a successful business.

17.Affiliate Marketing

In essence, affiliate marketing is about reviewing and recommending products and services. It is often considered passive income because you make money whenever someone clicks affiliate links on your website. In reality, blogging and affiliate marketing blend into one to a large extent.

You can actually make a decent amount of extra money per month by doing this but the learning curve for affiliate marketing is steep. To be successful you will need to be a good writer, passionate about your niche, know SEO and understand the technology.

Simply slapping a couple of affiliate links on your site is not going to get you far.

If you are interested in doing this part-time then you will need to equip yourself with the right tools and training – this is a real commitment, not a casual side gig.

More information:

18.Social Media Management

Those who love spending time on Facebook and Instagram may want to turn their experience with social media into a way to make extra money.

Large companies will want to hire a full-time social media manager so if you are looking for a side job you will most likely be looking at a social media virtual assistant title. Working for bloggers or small businesses could get you the social media manager title – but don’t expect any extra cash to go with it.

Even though it is not uncommon for freelancers to charge $100 per month or more for each social media network, you will have to work hard for your money. You will have to demonstrate your experience and keep up-to-date with the latest techniques for making the most of each platform.

Since so many elements can come into play you must be clear about what is expected of you when you set your rates. Otherwise, you might find that your pay per hour is well below what you expect.

If you are interested in this side job then I would strongly recommend that you check out our feature on becoming a social media virtual assistant.

19.Become a Virtual Assistant

If you have strong administrative skills, a good side hustle to get started with is to become a virtual assistant.

This is a nice option because you can sell individuals and companies a set of services based on your expertise. Unfortunately, many agencies source virtual assistants from countries with a low cost of living so you will have to prove your value if you want to charge higher rates.

Since agencies do not pay much, you will probably want to work independently and this means that you will need to market yourself and find your own clients.

While you can get started right away it will take some time and effort for you to be able to charge fees of around $20 per hour. It is also worth considering specializing as this can allow you to make extra money.

More information:

20.Online Teaching/Tutoring Platforms

Many people decide to teach or tutor online as a side gig, and plenty turn it into a full-time job. You don’t necessarily need to be an expert in a specific subject as there is a lot of demand for native English speakers to teach English online, often to children and young people in China.

This online side job won’t suit everyone and, even if you are not required to have experience, you may need to get certified. Still, it is possible to earn $20 per hour or more on online teaching platforms, all from the comfort of your home.

More Information:

21. Teach What You Are Passionate About

Teaching online as a side hustle is not limited to subjects like English or the use of educational platforms. With online learning going mainstream and communication tools becoming increasingly sophisticated you can teach whatever you are passionate about online.

To get started all you need is a tool like Zoom and a way to find potential clients. You can use social media, a website or even a platform like Fiverr to let people know about your classes. Just remember that to make money you will need to consider carefully how much to charge and how you are going to get paid.

You could teach art, music, knitting… or more traditional subjects as a side hustle without being limited by course or platform requirements as long as you are willing to put in the work needed to reach out to your ideal clients.

22.Coaching/Mentoring

No, I’m not jumping on the “You could make $x from home” bandwagon. The truth is that coaching and mentoring are not only legitimate but they can also be extremely helpful.

The problem with this side hustle is that is often sold as a way to make money quickly and easily to get you to buy an online course.

The reality is that you should only consider this as a side hustle if you already have extensive knowledge and experience and the ability to impart that information in a way that others can apply it effectively.

23.Online Course Creation

Teaching in person does not appeal to everyone. Don’t worry if this applies to you, because many entrepreneurs make a lot of money online by creating a course to sell.

It’s an interesting and attractive business model, because once you’ve put in the up-front effort to create your course it is mostly passive income.

Many consider this to be one of the best online jobs but unfortunately that has meant that a lot of unscrupulous people have created oodles of worthless courses

If you want to create an online course there are plenty of tools available. The main hurdle is to identify a topic that students want to learn and that you have the knowledge to teach.

Depending on how much you want to invest, you can sell your course on your own website, on popular platforms like Teachable or even on sites like Udemy.

I can tell you from the experience of creating my own course that an awful lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into creating a good online course long – before you will ever earn a penny from it.

If you get everything just right then, aside from updates and ongoing marketing, this could potentially provide you with significant passive income for a long time to come. The problem is that you need to put in almost all of the work ahead of time and there is no guarantee that you will earn anything.

24.Creating Digital Products

Digital products are extremely popular at the moment and a great way to make extra money online. The best part is that no matter what your background you can create a product based on your knowledge, talent, or experience.

Artistic printables, planners, informational leaflets, and even e-books are all digital products for which you can get paid. Some digital products lean heavily on visual design while others are classified as informational products. Whichever suits you best, you will be able to find plenty of tools and sites to help you with the creation of your chosen digital product.

You also have multiple options when it comes to making money from your products. Those creating artistic digital products do tend more towards selling on sites like Etsy but you can also create your own website or offer your services to companies. Digital products are very popular with companies and small businesses that are looking to build authority or to provide some value to their clients.

25. Start a YouTube Channel

This may once have been a path to great riches for a few but it is definitely a lot harder to make money from YouTube these days.

If you are interested in creating a channel then my advice is to get started as soon as possible and commit to keep posting consistently for at least a year.

One strategy that many are adopting is offering exclusive content to those who pay for a monthly subscription service. This business model certainly provides greater financial stability and incentive but remember that you will still need a lot of free content to attract viewers and motivate them to subscribe.

You need to be fully aware that you are playing the long game if you start a YouTube channel. Otherwise, you are probably just going to be wasting your time.

26. Podcasts

Podcasts are certainly the latest buzz but the monetary value of them is still not clear. Like YouTube, the vast majority of podcasts are free to listen to. Their value lies mainly in establishing authority within an industry and creating a connection with potential clients.

So how do you make extra money with this, you may ask. Well, there are a couple of ways.

If your podcast is successful then you can probably get sponsors or run adverts. I personally think a better option is to use a service like Patreon to allow you to charge a monthly subscription for access to exclusive members-only material.

Another way you can create a side hustle out of podcasts is to become a podcast virtual assistant, transcribe podcasts, or edit the audio.

If you are interested in starting a podcast, I review the service we use at HomeWorkingClub here.

27.Selling Your Used Items Online

People often ask me for online side jobs where they can make money straight away. Sadly, the truth is that there aren’t many legit options for people who need money fast.

Since most sites pay on a certain day, selling used items online is often the only good option for people desperate for money.

When people are desperate for money, selling items online is a good option. If you list some items on Facebook Marketplace, for example, there is the possibility that you could have money in your hand before the end of the day.

If you want to make selling items an actual online side gig then you will want to take a much more considered approach. There is a real art to learning what sells and on which platforms you can earn the most. Some people even start buying items to “flip” online because they have learnt how to make lots of profit and thoroughly enjoy the process.

Depending on what you sell, you can generate a couple of hundred extra dollars each month if you place a couple of things up for sale each week.

More Information:

28.Dropshipping

If you enjoy selling items online and have some more spare time to spend then you could take things to the next level and start dropshipping.

This involves creating an online store but you don’t actually have to invest in stock since it is only when a customer places an order that you actually purchase the item. The third-party from whom you purchase the item then ships it directly to the customer.

Although you don’t need to invest money in stock, dropshipping is a pretty complex operation so you will need to invest plenty of time to learn the process and do the necessary research.

This is a very demanding side hustle and definitely much more suited to those looking for something they can eventually turn into a day job.

If you are interested, Shopify has a useful guide that discusses all the major aspects of dropshipping,

29.Selling Your Photos

Most of us love photographs, and with the quality of smartphone cameras it is increasingly easy to turn this hobby into a side hustle.

There are plenty of sites where you can sell your photos but it is important to remember that your photos will only sell if they are good. Taking a digital photography class could really pay dividends if it increases your passive income from selling stock photos.

While this can earn you some extra cash, remember that it is a whole different ball game than building a home photography business.

30.Selling Your Designs Online

Print-on-demand technology has created a whole new way for creative people to make money. Platforms like Society6 allow you to let your creative juices flow while they take care of inventory, shipping and customer service.

With a little bit of work up-front, it is possible to create lines of products that could produce a somewhat decent source of passive income. You won’t earn a significant amount on any single sale but, with enough products, those royalties can certainly add up over time.

Just remember that YOU need to actively market your designs if you want to make sales!

Tips for Making the Most of Side Hustles

Tips for Online Side Jobs
  • Be clear as to why you want a side hustle – is it an outlet for something you are passionate about or is it just a way to earn money?
  • Understand your current and future time commitment – some side jobs will require you to put in more effort than others in order to earn some extra cash.
  • Start doing extra work online before you urgently need to make money. Pressure to earn money quickly will make you more susceptible to scams, since most jobs require you to put in a significant amount of effort before you get paid.
  • Remember that building a reputation takes time, effort and consistency.
  • Always deliver the best possible service you can – it will ensure you have a good reputation, help you get paid more and might even enable you to quit your day job and take your hustle full-time (if you want to of course).
  • The key thing to do with online side jobs is to “rack em and stack em!” – Each job may only earn you a tiny amount but when you combine several side hustles it can really add up to something meaningful.

Conclusion

As I’ve explained, the online side jobs listed in this article are realistic rather than glamorous – and that’s completely deliberate. The truth is that side jobs will generally give back based on how much time and effort you invest in them.

This article doesn’t pretend to be a definitive list of everything you could possibly do to earn extra money from home. There are tons of other options, and I’ve written about plenty of them on the site.

What IS on this list are tried, tested and legit online side jobs which can boost your income. If I can’t motivate you to get stuck into at least one of them, there’s probably not much I CAN help you with.

All the information is right there. What you do with it is up to you.

Before you Go!

If you’re looking for a significant long-term income, I’d love to train you up to be a fully-fledged freelancer, serving your own clients and earning good money from doing work you enjoy. Take a look at my course, Freelance Kickstarter, to find out more.