Orlando: 15 Ways You Can Make Extra Money in the City Beautiful

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Sure, Orlando is known for its theme parks.

But if you live there and someone says Orlando is Disney, you probably roll your eyes so hard they about get stuck. Orlando is much more than theme parks. It boasts wide-open (albeit alligator-infested) lakes, green parks, local shops and breweries, and brick-lined historic neighborhoods.

It’s those theme parks, though, that draw upwards of 68 million folks into the city each year (according to the Orlando Sentinel) and keep the economy prosperous.

For locals, this means tons of ways to make extra money.

15 Work-From-Home Jobs, Orlando Edition

Whether you want to make rent this month or save for a vacation (away from a family vacation mecca), we’ve got a few ideas on how you can pocket extra cash in the City Beautiful — without sitting in a stuffy office all day.

1. Become a Work-From-Home Disney Travel Agent

A man on a computer sits planning vacations.
seb_ra/Getty Images

You’re right. I just lectured about how Orlando isn’t solely Disney. But I also said the theme park hub offers a ton of work opportunities, including becoming a work-from-home travel agent.

One Penny Hoarder contributor caught up with Kari Bonnes, who is a big fan of Disney and the founder of Marvelous Mouse Travels, a travel agency that specializes in (you guessed it!) Disney vacations.

Although the business is based in North Carolina, work-from-home agents are based across the country as independent contractors. The pay depends on dedication and hours.

“I offer generous commissions to my agents, plus referral bonuses,” Bonnes says. “I have some agents who make $35,000 to $40,000 a year working part time. But I also have others who just book a trip here and there and bring in some side income.”

A major requirement? Be familiar with Disney parks. Fill out the online application for a chance to join the Marvelous Mouse Travels team.

2. Profit off 2018’s Travel Trends

A woman stand near a window. with her luggage behind her on the bed.
BakiBG/Getty Images

Have a spare room? Might as well try to earn some money by listing it on Airbnb. (After all, Orlando made Airbnb’s list of popular 2018 destinations.)

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.

Here are some tips:

  • Make your space available during high-demand times in your area.
  • Be a good host, and stock your place with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
  • Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.

Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

3. Make Money While Hiding from the Humidity

A young woman is using a smart phone in bed on the morning.
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Sometimes you just want to hide from the heat. Maybe this includes binge-watching “This Is Us” all evening with a container of Jeremiah’s Italian Ice in hand.

But rather than sit passively, drop the frozen treat (or polish it off) and break out your laptop. It’s time to get paid to take some surveys.

Here are some of the best paid survey sites we’ve found:

  • Ipsos i-Say: You might recognize the Ipsos Panel name because it’s the same company that does most of the political polling during elections. Some of the top-end surveys can pay up to $95, but those are rare and can take awhile to complete. Most surveys pay a buck or two and only take 10 to 15 minutes.
  • MyPointsThis platform lets you earn gift cards for taking polls, answering surveys and other things you do online — a great way to cash in on long lines or an endless commute. You’ll earn a $5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.
  • InboxDollars offers several short, daily surveys you can take. If you take all of them each day, you could earn an extra $730 a year — not too bad.

4. Serve as a Mock Juror

Lawyer holding document and speaking to jury in courtroom.
Chris Ryan/Getty Images

Like every other person these days, I’ve become obsessed with true-crime podcasts. “My Favorite Murder,” anyone? Or what about the Florida-based crime podcast, “Sun Crime State”?

If you want an insider look at what happens when a case hits the courtroom, you can serve as an online mock juror. As a mock juror, you’ll help lawyers prepare for real cases. You can earn $10 to $60 for about an hour of your time.

From your computer, you’ll review evidence including documents, videos and photos.

5. Make Money Sitting in I-4 Traffic

A view from inside of a car while driving through city streets.
The Penny Hoarder/Jessica Kourkounis

Disclaimer, you’ll have to walk from your house to your car for this one, so I guess technically it’s a work-from-home hybrid.

Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?

Try driving with Lyft.

Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

We talked to Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $750 a week as a driver.

Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!

Because it’s easy to switch between apps, Lyft drivers often also sign up to drive with Uber.

6. Invest in Real Estate — Without Leaving the Couch

A young couple move into their new home and start to unpack.
sturti/Getty Images

Lately, it seems like everyone’s getting involved in Florida’s big real estate boom. But playing landlord or taking on a large mortgage isn’t always ideal.

We found a company that’ll help you invest in real estate — without the huge commitment.

It’s called Fundrise, and it does all the heavy lifting for you. Better yet, you can get started with a minimum investment of $500.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a multifamily townhouse at Lake Ellenor in Orlando or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).

(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

Interested? Get started with Fundrise here.

7. Rent out Your Car

Lights streak across Interstate-4 in Orlando, Florida
NASAPhotog/Getty Images

Because Orlando attracts so many out-of-towners, make some money by renting out your car.

If you need your car on a day-to-day basis but travel a lot and get frustrated paying for it to sit at MCO, look into TravelCar. It allows you to park for free at the airport if you agree to rent your car out. You could even earn a profit by the end of it all. Plus, the platform covers all the important stuff, like insurance and liabilities.

8. Go Green (Legally)

A dad holds his daughter as he teaches her about the environmentally friendly practice of recycling plastic and cardboard waste.
RyanJLane/Getty Images

Yup, the marijuana industry is budding like crazy, and as of now, medical marijuana (not recreational) is legal in Florida.

But that’s not what I mean when I say go green. I mean get paid to recycle!

In Orlando, you can get paid to recycle large volumes of paper, cardboard and cans. “We buy in bulk,” the Orlando Recycling website boasts.

Here’s how it works: You collect a good amount of paper, cardboard or cans. Orlando Recycling weighs your items and makes you an offer. Bam. Money.

Now, we don’t expect you’ll make much, but it’s something. And you’re helping the environment.

9. Ride the Rides

A view of The Orlando Eye farris wheel.
no_limit_pictures/Getty Images

Just because you live in Orlando doesn’t mean you hate all things theme parks. In fact, you just might love them.

If you’re looking for a thrill — and some extra money — sign up to become a mystery shopper for amusement parks.

What’s mystery shopping, you ask? Basically, you’ll pose as a customer and review products and services. Amusement Advantage, a reputable company, is looking for shopper applicants, who’ll evaluate “attractions, amusement locations and entertainment facilities.”

“Our shops give you the opportunity to have fun while earning reimbursement for your expenses or free tickets and in some cases a little extra pay for your time and efforts,” the site reads.

To participate, you’ll need high-speed internet access and a private email address. You’ll also need a printer, a camera (a phone is just fine) and/or a scanner.

Amusement Advantage says it pays via PayPal within 21 to 28 days.

If you’re not into rides (can’t blame you), we’ve got more mystery shopping opportunities.

10. Rent out Your RV

Senior couple sitting near water with motorhome in camping
pchoui/Getty Images

Remember that time you bought an RV for that awesome camping trip or music festival… only to look back a few years later and realize you don’t use it as much as you thought you would?

Don’t worry. You can turn your unused RV into cash.

You can rent your RV to incoming tourists through RVshare, a peer-to-peer rental marketplace.

How much you’ll earn per day will vary based on your location and the type of vehicle you have. We ran a quick hypothetical and found that Class A models could make you up to $475 a night here Orlando.

That’s a smart way to make your pricy RV pay for itself — or to bank some cash for your next big road trip.

To see how much you could earn renting out your RV, enter the specs here.

11. Share the City Beautiful Through Freelancing

Woman taking photo of pumpkin soup with smartphone
Alexandra Iakovleva/Getty Images

As a freelance blogger, you can work as much or little as you want, so it makes for a nice side gig, especially in a big city with a lot going on like Orlando.

If you want to study up on how to get started, check out some of our favorite freelance resources. These include everything from how to make up to six figures to how to keep track of your income.

12. Cash in on Minimalism

clothes on a rack on a flea market
Armin Staudt/ Getty Images

Living that #Minimalist lifestyle is all the rage right now, so why not use this mentality to your advantage?

Start taking a good hard look at your belongings. What do you actually need? What can you make money from?

  • Clothes: If you have clothes you haven’t worn in the last year, why do you hang onto them? Try selling them to folks in your area through an online marketplace like Letgo. It takes about five minutes to create your account and list an item, and it’s free.
  • Technology: About your overcrowded entertainment center, likely full of outdated music and movies… Consider selling these items to Decluttr. It’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and even cell phones and tablets. Shipping is free, and Decluttr pays you within 24 hours of retrieval.
  • Books: Bookshelf collecting dust? We love books as much as the next person, but see whether your treasures are worth anything by simply searching their ISBNs at Bookscouter. The platform searches dozens of buyback sites to see where you could get the most money.
  • Gift cards: While you’re digging out those stiff winter coats, check the pockets. You might come across a gift card or two in there. If you do, sell it for rent money through a gift-card exchange site like Raise.

Ready, set, purge.

13. Get Paid to Lose Weight

A female runner runs along a footpath during sunset.
RichVintage/Getty Images

Listen. Losing weight and getting fit is easier said than done. (I’ve been saying this for years now, and it hasn’t gotten done…)

But will a little bit of money motivate you?

It’s motivating Florida resident Marcie Hagner, who has placed a bet on her weight loss goals through HealthyWage. If she can lose the 50 pounds she bet she could, she’ll pocket $862.

Read more about how she’s finding motivation to lose weight through HealthyWage.

14. Find an Open Casting Call for a Paid Role

A film crew team films a movie scene on outdoor location.
guruXOOX/Getty Images

Orlando is an entertainment hub, so there are always auditions happening nearby — sometimes for paid parts.

Take, for example, this casting call, which wanted couples and families to participate in an online audition for a shoot in Miami. Pay was $1,000 per person per day.

If you want to find more open casting calls, we recommend browsing Auditions Free or Backstage.

15. Advertise Your Babysitting Services

Shot of a happy mother playing with her daughter and toys.
PeopleImages/Getty Images

You know those rows and rows and rows and rows of strollers you see in designated “stroller parking” at Disney? Think about all the weary parents who push those things around all day. They need a break.

For that reason, Orlando is a great place to offer your babysitting services. Post a listing for free on Care.com, and connect with locals or tourists who just want to get dinner and drink a glass (or two or three) of wine.

It’s Time to Make Money From Home, Orlando

All right, Orlando. You ready to not get dressed and to not leave your house and to not deal with the chaos that is I-4?

We don’t blame you. Stay put and start making money on your own time from home.

Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She doesn’t love that her boyfriend lives two hours away in Orlando, but she has fun exploring the city on the weekends.