Online Side Jobs: Ten Realistic and Legitimate Options

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People talk a lot of nonsense about online side jobs.

Before I put a piece of content together, I always have a look at what’s already out there on the subject. For this one, I came across some ludicrous articles and YouTube videos promising online side gigs that “pay $600 per day.”

Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not realistic.

Avoiding Scams, Marketers and False Promises

I watched some of the YouTube videos and they typically describe things like setting up affiliate blogs. I am, of course, very much aware that these can bring in hundreds of Dollars per day, because I’ve been blogging for a decade.

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 is another suggestion I saw that involved delivering expert coaching on the phone for $100 per hour.

Yes, people do this, but they’re people with a ton of experience who’ve put a lot of time and money into marketing themselves. Again, not a realistic side gig for most people.

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.

Sadly, I KNOW this is what a lot of people want, or they wouldn’t be searching Google for things like “easy money” – and my research shows that they are.

This is why less honest bloggers create these misleading articles and videos. They’re just telling people what they want to hear.

And then, in most cases, they offer to sell them something that will make the magic happen.

These 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 ten online 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 many realistic side jobs you can do from home, and there are a great many people who use such online jobs to make extra money.

There are also millions of people who ignore the genuine opportunities because they seem too much like hard work.

Off they go looking for the next “get rich quick” scheme, not realising that this endless hunt for the impossible earns them NOTHING.

All you need to do to establish a side gig is to read through this article, choose a couple of things that sounds interesting to you and ACTUALLY TAKE ACTION. There are lots of legit opportunities here, along with tons of links to far more detailed information.

Not everything on the list is glamorous, but at least it’s real!

And with that lecture out the way, let’s begin.

Typing and Transcription

If you can type, you can earn money online. There’s always a steady stream of transcription work out there, and there are reputable companies offering the work.

While it can take some time to get up to speed, rates of $20 per hour or more are feasible for those who become fast and accomplished.

Typing transcription

More Information:

  • Our Online Typing Jobs feature discusses transcription, as well as some other popular typing jobs that make for good online side jobs.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Transcription takes you right through the experiences of somebody already making money from this work.
  • Rev is a reputable company where you can start to make a part time income from typing and transcription.


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

Microworking, 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:

Selling Items Online

I’m often asked for online side jobs where people can make money straight away. Sadly, there aren’t that many possibilities for people who need cash fast.

Most legit sites pay on a certain day, so it’s not unusual to wait a week or more for payment.

When people are desperate for money, selling items online is a good option. If you list some items on Facebook Marketplace, for example, you could have people come and hand you money for them by the end of the day.

The better way to sell items as an online side gig is to do it as a constant process. There’s actually quite an art to learning what sells and knowing which items go better on which platforms. You can even take it further and start to buy items to “flip” online. Some people make lots of profit doing this, and thoroughly enjoy the process.

Pokemon on eBay

My wife and I both make an effort to make sure we place a couple of things up for sale each week, regardless of whether we need the money. Obviously the income depends on what you’re selling, but this generates the equivalent of at least a couple of hundred extra Dollars each month.

More Information:

Testing Websites and Apps

User testing is one of my favourite online side jobs. 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 playing around with a new website design or app, and recording your honest thoughts to share with the developers. 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 a far more “pocket money” level of income, but only requires you to answer brief questions that take seconds.
  • Other user testing sites include TryMyUI and TestingTime.

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 more work than I can handle and bill my consultancy services out at high hourly rates, but I like to keep an eye on the survey marketplace.

I also find the work pretty mindless, and it’s the kind of thing I’ll do when I’m having a snack or a break from “real” work.


The key thing is that survey income really does add up. I typically save up my income for Christmas presents and holidays. As I discuss here, the amounts involved are far from small.

More Information:

  • Prolific is our reader’s favourite survey site 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.

Creative Online Side Jobs

It doesn’t get much better than being able to enjoy your hobbies whilst making some money at the same time.

There are plenty of ways to do so, from creating designs to sell on bags and T-shirts, to heading out with your camera and taking pictures to sell to stock photo sites.

More Information:

  • To find out about selling photos online, click here.
  • To read about print on demand – a way to turn your art into physical products and sell them online, click here.
  • Here is an inspirational case study from someone who turned a crafting hobby into an Etsy side business.


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

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, it’s something you need to really want to do to make the effort worthwhile.

More Information:

Online Teaching

Many people teach online as a side gig, and plenty do it full time. Teaching doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be an expert in a certain subject, because there’s a lot of demand for people to teach English, often to people in China.

Admittedly, this is one of the online side jobs that’s harder to get into, and it won’t suit everyone. However, it’s more than possible to earn $20 per hour or more doing this, all from the comfort of your home.

Teaching online

More Information:

Starting a Blog

The observant among you will perhaps remember that I said, right at the start, that I didn’t view starting a niche blog as a very realistic side job idea.

What I meant was that it’s 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 do it right, it could end up being more lucrative than anything else on this list. It could also build into an asset that you could sell in the future.

If you need 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 simmer slowly in the background, it’s a really worthy idea.

More Information:

  • This article will take you through all the basics of starting a blog.
  • This guide discusses how to choose a blog niche that will make you money.
  • To learn about all the tools I use to run my own websites, click here.

Hunting for Offers and Freebies

OK, I’ll admit that it’s a bit of a stretch to call hunting for freebies a “job,” but sometimes saving money is as good as earning it. There are all kinds of ways to save money online, get things for free and enjoy luxuries you probably wouldn’t pay for with your own money.

Freebie hustling works better as a complement to other online side jobs, but it’s well worth doing. Sometimes, it takes little more than concentration and proactivity to keep getting free treats and bargain offers.

How to get free stuff

More Information:

The Most Important Tip

The key thing to do with online side jobs is to “rack em and stack em!”

You’re not going to make a huge amount of money from joining a single survey site, or by writing a single article each week. But if, for example, you join several sites, do an article and a couple of user tests, AND sell a few items via Facebook marketplace, it will all add up to something meaningful.

None of it will take long AT ALL to do either.

It’s also great to always have a plan B. In the distant past, I used to do quite a lot of microwork. There would be times when the work would seem limitless on a specific site, and other times when it would dry up. The answer to this is simple: make sure you’re registered for more than one site!


As I’ve explained, the online side jobs listed in this article are realistic and not glamorous – and that’s completely deliberate.

This article doesn’t pretend to be a definitive list of everything you could possible 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 ways to 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.

11 thoughts on “Online Side Jobs: Ten Realistic and Legitimate Options”

  1. Thank you for keeping it real especially for some of us that are naive in regards to some of these side jobs! I like your honesty and am looking forward to delving right into some of your mentioned sites! I am now a subscriber so I can’t wait for more of your articles! Take care!

  2. This article is inspiring, it motivates me, breaks it down nicely and brings it down to my level, beginner as I am. Thank you, Ben

  3. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for a nice and inspirational article. I have a question for you – do you know of any lucrative and realistic online jobs specifically for highly educated people? I’m asking as a PhD, disillusioned with the academic world. Speaking with friends and colleagues have led me to believe that I’m not alone in my weariness of the crusty structure of traditional research. OTOH, after years of studies it’s a little disheartening to do say unskilled surveys for $5/h. Maybe it could be a topic for an upcoming article?

  4. Hi Ben. Found your site just today and appreciate the honesty and thoroughness of your blog posts. Great advice and helpful tips and links. Thank you. Warm regards from beautiful Cape Town, South Africa


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