These 40 People Told Us How They Make Money Without Getting a Real Job
If you’re looking for a variety of ways to work from home, know you’re not the only one.
It’s a cutthroat work-from-home world out there. You’ve got to dodge the scams and take your time into consideration. Is one cent for an hour-long survey worth it? Probably not.
Warning: This post is a bit lengthy, so we suggest you slap a bookmark on it and make your way through it bit by bit — and watch your money add up in the process.
But we’re going to make the process a bit easier for you. Here are 40 ways real people have made money without a job.
1. Monetize Your Love for Disney
We’re from Florida, so we’ve seen firsthand that Disney fans are, well, fanatical.
Don’t let all that love, passion or random trivia go to waste. There are several ways you can capitalize on it.
- Apply to work from home for the Disney Store, a childhood — and maybe adulthood — mall favorite. The listing is currently open, but we don’t suspect it’ll stay that way long; Mufasa. (Get it? Move faster…?)
- Keep an eye on open calls for Disney movies and commercials. These happen more frequently than you might suspect, and the perks are magical. (Like this one, which was casually located in Iceland.) Follow these sites for more: Auditions Free, Project Casting and Backstage.
our family just submitted an audition video for Disney commercial work. honestly don’t know why we don’t already have our own reality show.
— john r evans (@johnrevans) December 19, 2016
Keep up with any notable Disney happenings we find on our Facebook jobs page. (That’s where we share our favorites.)
2. Be in a Game Show (And Win Free Money)
If you’re one of those people who can pull useless pieces of knowledge from out of nowhere, you’ll want to download this app.
It’s called HQ Trivia. With at times more than a million players logging on at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. (EST) each day to play, you might’ve heard of it.
“Quiz Daddy” Scott Rogowski is the game’s main host. He asks 12 questions. You’ve got three multiple-choice options and 10 seconds to answer. If you get all 12 questions correct, you’ll split the grand prize (around $2,000 lately, though up to $12,000 on randomly chosen special occasions) amongst the other winners.
At the time we wrote this, the all-time leader had banked $6,000. And hey, even Dan Rather is playing — and winning.
If you’re not on HQ Trivia you should be. This dude is a bit annoying, but I guess there’s no such thing as ‘free’ money…
— (@pretty__nifty) Jan 17, 2018
Pro tip: Share your personalized referral code with friends and family to get an extra life. Trust us, you’ll want it.
3. Slide into the Driver’s Seat
Technically you’re going to have to leave your home to drive for a ride-sharing service.
But that’s all right seeing as you can just plop into the driver’s seat — and you can make some pretty solid money…
The perks are similar to a work-from-home job: You can set your own schedule and dictate just how much you work.
Everybody is an Uber or Lyft driver at night 😂
— I FOLLOW BACK (@JonB_954) July 19, 2017
Use Lyft’s calculator to find out how much you could make.
4. Share Your Opinions (Not on Facebook, Please)
These days, too many people resort to social media to share their opinion — wanted or not. But there are companies out there that do want to hear what you have to say. And they’ll pay you.
Vip Voice is one such legitimate paid survey company.
On these platforms, you’ll get paid to answer questions. Some of the best-paying surveys could net you an extra $95. Do note, though, those will take some time. You’ve got to earn it!
Most pay $1 to $2 and will take about 10 minutes to complete.
@VIP_Voice best way to earn
— Valeria (@Valeria28785566) July 15, 2017
Think of it as the perfect way to pass time during commercial breaks.
5. Stop Deleting Your Emails
Annoying emails worth money? What?
They are if you use Paribus, a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases.
Here’s how it works:
- You buy a toaster from Walmart’s website.
- The price of that toaster drops a week later.
- Paribus refunds you the difference.
All college students should seriously look in @ParibusCo $32 in savings just this week. That’s like a month worth of ramen.
— Queen Ri (@OhDearRikki) January 3, 2017
It’s free to download, and it works passively as you continue to online shop your little heart out.
6. Look for a Flexible Work-From-Home Job
This post is all about branching out from that 9-to-5 grind, so one easy way is to find a flexible work-from-home job — one that allows you to set your own hours.
Easier said than done.
But we know a site where a stash of these jobs hide: Lionbridge.
Now, you’ll have to act fast because these jobs are in high demand, but when you land one, it’ll be worth it.
It hires for a number of work-from-home positions throughout the year, including, recently, data validators.
Keep an eye on our Facebook jobs page for the latest opportunities.
— Chloe Swain (@chloecswain) August 24, 2016
Keep tabs on what’s available, or simply submit your application. It’ll get in touch with you when it needs you!
7. Strike Up a Micro-Investing Account
The thought of investing might be intimidating, but micro-investing apps can make it easy. And you don’t need an exorbitant amount of money to start. Actually, some of these apps hand you a bonus to start.
You can set your account to automatically deposit money. For example, set it to withdraw $5 from your checking account each week. It adds up. And the investing is done for you with “Auto-Stash.” Do note there is a $1 monthly fee for balances under $5,000.
8. Set Up a Passive Steam of Income
You’ve probably heard the term passive income.
It sounds appealing right? According to the definition of passive, it’d mean you’re earning income without participating or having to do anything at all.
Free money? Sign me up!
Unfortunately, that’s a common misconception. Just like you can’t pluck money from a tree, you can’t expect to earn passive income by being, well, totally passive.
However, it’s a viable way to make money, and offers you security and freedom.
— paulten8 (@moi_fa) November 6, 2017
We’ve got 14 ideas on how you can set up a passive stream of income.
9. Declutter Your Closet
Or go crazy and tackle your garage.
If you have boxes of old CDs, DVDs or videogames, think: When was the last time I touched these?
Consider selling them on a buyback site like Decluttr. Plus, enter FREE5 at checkout to get an extra $5 for your trade-ins!
— Jho (@jho4raizo) July 17, 2017
Next, move to your clothes. When was the last time you put that on?! List your clothing items on Letgo and market to locals in your area.
Finally, let’s take a look at those books. We value books, sure, but sometimes you just don’t need those boxes of them. Contribute to our greater society and see how much they run for on BookScouter. It’ll tell you where you can sell what for how much — so you get the most money.
10. Get Paid to Lose Some Weight
So this is the part where you scratch your head and say, “No way.”
HealthyWage is a program that allows you to place a bet on your weight loss. The idea is that maybe, just maybe, a cash prize will motivate you.
It has worked for many others.
Take, for example, Angie Richards who bet herself she’d lose 40 pounds in six months. She ended up losing 52 pounds and won $1,200.
Then there’s Katelyn Pincock and her husband Cort who bet $75 per month for six months. They ended up winning $3,000.
Here’s another one who’s on the way to her goal — and the money:
— Amber Temerity (@ThriftyGuardian) December 8, 2016
Unfortunately, the program doesn’t come with a magical diet or sweatless workout regimen. But hopefully cash can motivate you.
See how much you could win by entering your information into the HealthyWage Prize Calculator.
11. Sign Up for a Cash-Back Site and Score $10
Believe it or not, there are sites that will give you free gift cards just for signing up with them.
One of my favorites is Ebates, the cash-back shopping site. They’re giving away $10 gift cards if you sign up as a new member and earn your first cash-back rebate. You can choose a $10 gift card from Target, Walmart, Macy’s or Kohl’s.
You do have to wait 30 days, but it’s free money so can you really complain? 🙂
12. Rent Out Your Space Through Airbnb
Have a spare room? Might as well use Airbnb to make some money by renting it out to visitors of your town.
If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your bank account with Airbnb.
And if you don’t have a spare room, be creative. We even found a guy who earns $1,380/month renting out a backyard tent!
— Jessob Reisbeck (@jessob_reisbeck) March 22, 2017
(Hosting laws vary from city to city, so make sure you understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing. How much you actually make may vary with your pricing, type, and location of your listing, season, demand, and other factors.)
13. Launch Your Own Work-From-Home Business
If you’re having trouble finding that solid work-from-home job to support yourself and perhaps your family, consider launching your own business.
It’s not as difficult as it might sound, either. There are tons of online programs out there that’ll teach you the tools of the trade and how to get started.
Let us share three of our favorites with you:
- Start a virtual bookkeeping business with Learn to be a Bookkeeper. Daniel Honan did, and he makes about $50,000 a year.
- Strike up an online proofreading business with Proofread Anywhere. You can take notes from stay-at-home mom Joanna Kelley, who makes up to $1,200 a month.
One of the best things about Proofread Anywhere is the way our community supports and encourages each other. Online doesn’t mean alone! pic.twitter.com/h6drecVduY
— Caitlin Pyle (@CaitlinPyle) May 12, 2017
- Finally, consider transcribing with Transcribe Anywhere. That’s what Alaina Roth did, and she makes about $2,000 a month.
Feeling empowered? Now’s the time!
14. Find a Work-From-Home Job in Any Industry
Work-from-home jobs come in all shapes and sizes these days.
Don’t know where to start? Peruse some of these sites. Those are the ones we use here at The Penny Hoarder, and we love ’em.
Work from home is the best. I’m getting just as much done as I would at the office and taking care of my laundry. Such a win. 🙂
— Gir Tygrin (@girtygrin) July 19, 2017
But, while you’re poking around, be careful. Be sure you’re not getting entangled in any scams. Before applying to anything, you’ll need to ask yourself four questions.
15. Sell Your Photos
Those thought-out photos you take can get you more than just Instagram “likes.”
Consider uploading your iPhone photos to stock photography sites.
You likely won’t become a millionaire; sites like Foap pay about $5 per purchase.
— Abby Juli (@purelifephotoss) June 9, 2017
However, if you have a nice camera, you can step up your game like Eliza Snow, who quit her corporate job to sell photos full time.
16. Hang Out With Your Favorite Fur Babies
You can set your own rates and market yourself to others in your area. You can opt for simple dog-walking or go all in and stay the night. Either way, you’ll set your own schedule.
Went to a dog-friendly pub tonight w/ a dog I am pet-sitting. Right when we walked in, he charmed 2 girls!!! takes mental note
— Adrienne. (@legacymermaid) June 23, 2017
You could even take ’em to the local doggy bar, too, we suppose.
17. Sell Your Stuff Through Amazon Fulfillment
We all knew those Beanie Babies and Furbies would be worth something one day, right?
Well, maybe they’re not the cash cows we hoped, but if you have a stock of toys or other items like this, you could make some money selling them through Fulfillment by Amazon. You provide the goods, and FBA handles the rest, from storage and shipping to customer satisfaction.
It’s one of the simplest ways to run an online business from home.
Choose from Amazon’s categories to sell anything you want, ideally something you know well.
The Penny Hoarder founder Kyle Taylor used to buy and resell toys, and he made $10,000 through FBA in November and December 2014!
— Seth (@justonedime) July 24, 2017
FBA offers a great opportunity to do a little bit of work around other daily tasks. It’s perfect if you want to make extra money around raising kids, doing housework or even a day job — or just clear your basement and clear out those old collections.
18. Start a Blog
Just starting a blog isn’t as easy as it might sound. But it’s worth it if you’re willing to work for it.
Do your research first.
Just kidding. We already did it for you. Use this ultimate guide to understand what it takes to start a blog.
They say do what you love so I guess I’m going to start a cheese blog.
— Cassie Kernick (@cassiekernick11) July 19, 2017
Read more about affiliate marketing, which, fun fact, is how The Penny Hoarder got its start.
19. Review Images for Shutterstock
Like looking at photos?
Mountain landscapes? Cats? Food? Funky illustrations? Your own face?
If you have some professional photography experience, but want a break from the field, a work-from-home job with Shutterstock could be perfect for you.
Shutterstock offers millions of royalty-free photos, illustrations and videos and has openings for work-from-home editorial image and illustration reviewers.
As a reviewer, you’ll check images to be sure they meet Shutterstock’s guidelines before hitting the online stock image or illustration catalog. You’ll work from home on a freelance basis for about 25-30 hours per week.
Sometimes my job involves typing phrases like “hipster girl applying mascara in bathroom” into Shutterstock and I wonder.
— Alice Sinclair (@aliceelizabethk) September 8, 2016
20. Walk Into (and Shop at) Stores
Sick of shopping online and headed to a real, live store? Download the Shopkick app first.
Once you sign up, the app pays you “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Target, Walmart, TJMaxx and more). These can be redeemed for gift cards to Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora, Best Buy and more.
It pays you even more “kicks” for scanning items in stores and purchasing them with a connected credit or debit card, as well as for scanning receipts and mobile shopping.
21. Hang Out in Someone Else’s House
Working from home is wonderful, but sometimes it’s nice just to experience a new space — perhaps in a new town or a new country.
Consider house sitting. You can make big bucks by keeping someone’s house company. There are tons of websites out there that’ll help you find the perfect, gig, too.
Literally in the backyard here, where I’m housesitting. It was a proposal. pic.twitter.com/gfdphCnqYk
— Charlie Oscar Smith (@MIRACLECHARLIE) July 20, 2017
Check out a few of these.
22. Sell Your Unused Gift Cards
Find an old gift card? Grandma get you another Starbucks gift card that you don’t need because you know that $10 can go a lot farther somewhere else?
Consider selling it online.
List your unused — or even partially-used — gift cards on a gift-card exchange site.
cleaning my room and i found a $25 gift card and an entire bottle of wine in my closet. i should do this more often 😂😂
— amber (@amber_render) July 18, 2017
Buyers use these sites to find a good deal on gift cards, and you get to turn that unwanted present into cash.
23. Grocery Shop for Someone Else
Some people really enjoy grocery shopping. Like really.
Perhaps they enjoy the methodical movements through the aisles or the sweet whiffs of cookies from the bakery.
If you can relate, consider getting paid to do someone else’s grocery shopping through an app like Shipt.
She works about about 10 hours a week and says she’s earned up to $2,000 a week.
Frith explains what it’s like to shop for Shipt and how to get started.
Shipt shopper and customer fall in love: a millennial love story pic.twitter.com/fFC7Juyh4x
— Abby (@abby_nicole95) July 10, 2017
Hey, you might even meet the love of your life.
24. Upload Videos to YouTube
Is your cat hilarious? Or are you really good at impersonations? Maybe you like doing crazy stunts.
Upload a video to Youtube.
Contributor Steven Gillman did just that. He monetized his YouTube videos with Google AdSense. For example, he shot 10 videos about ultralight backpacking. No, they didn’t become huge hits, but he’s made more than $1,000 since uploading them.
Holy crap! I just logged into my Google Adsense account to find a balance $1042 sitting there. Hooray, Youtube viewers!
— MegaDude (@PostApocalyptic) July 11, 2017
He outlines how you can start a YouTube channel.
25. Deliver Delicious Food
If you’re not so keen on driving people around, then consider signing up to deliver food with UberEats.
It’s recruiting drivers across the country. You’ll pick up food and drop it off to hungry patrons. Just be sure to air out your car every now and then.
I would be the type of uber eats driver that eats a few of your fries on the way there
— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) July 19, 2017
And don’t eat the fries.
But do eat up all the details about the delivery service here.
26. Test Drive Cars
Yes, you can get paid to test drive cars.
Try looking into a mystery-shopping company like BestMark, which will pay you to go out and test drive cars. I mean, you’ll also have to listen to sales pitch, which isn’t as cool, but still.
@BestMark enjoying the opportunity to work with a company who is legit and makes mystery shopping a wonderful experience.
— Amanda nixon (@Arabbrousseau) February 28, 2017
The Penny Hoarder founder, Kyle Taylor, used to do automotive mystery shopping and reported earning $60 for each dealership he visited. Not too bad for less than an hour of work!
27. Download These Apps
A number of companies will actually pay you for downloading apps on your smartphone — and you’ll get paid for every month you keep them installed.
The apps collect data and help companies better understand web and mobile usage — such as what times of day people browse, how long they stay on websites and use apps and what types of sites and apps are popular (or not).
I had a dream that someone re-arranged the positions of my apps on my phone and I legit woke up in a panic
— RyansAverageLife (@RyanAbe) August 24, 2017
- Nielsen Panel: If you have a PC, laptop or smartphone, this Nielsen panel will pay you $50 a year to keep its software on your device and browse the web like you normally do.
28. Earn Money Back When You Shop Online
Dosh is a new cash-back app that pays you for making purchases at more than 100,000 hotels, online stores, and restaurants — including Starwood Properties, Marriott, Cost Plus World Market, Nike, Target, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and many more.
Here’s all you have to do:
- Download the app and sign up.
- Securely connect a debit or credit card.
- Live your life and watch the cash back roll in.
In addition to cash back, you can also collect a $25 bonus for booking your first hotel through the app, as well bonuses for referring friends and local businesses.
Love LettersGreeting Cards
Even in this digital age, greeting cards are still “a thing,” and you can contribute.
Some greeting card companies will pay you for your words, art or photos. We put together a list of eight card companies that’ll pay you up to $300 for submissions.
That awkward moment when you write happy birthday on a greeting card, stop for a moment and wonder… how to insert the cake and heart emoji
— SwatKat (@swatic12) July 19, 2017
You don’t even have to leave your computer!
30. Get Paid to Search the Web
Become a search engine evaluator through Lionbridge, a company notorious for its work-from-home positions.
Similar positions have paid $12 to $15 an hour, and at Lionbridge you’ll work part time — 10 to 20 hours a week on your own schedule.
Makes me even more proud to work for Lionbridge 🙂 https://t.co/AE7dtRxKmC
— Henrik Hove-Andersen (@henrikhove) November 9, 2016
Find out more about the contract gig here.
If it’s full by the time you get to it, be sure to search other work-from-home opportunities at Lionbridge or keep tabs on our Facebook jobs page.
31. Monetize Your Phone Addiction
We’re constantly told we have a smartphone addiction in this country, but it’s not always a problem. You can get paid for it.
Instead of a picture of your dog or some flowers on your lock screen, the Slidejoy app presents ads for various products and services. Like what you see? Swipe left on the ad to go straight to the advertiser’s website, YouTube video or app download page.
If the ad doesn’t resonate with you — or if you’re in a hurry — simply swipe right to go to your phone as normal.
It’s like a dating app for ads, except instead of nonsensical pick-up lines, you get paid for your swipes. You can earn up to $60 a year just by using your phone as you normally would.
I have redeemed 4,000 Slidejoy Carats @GetSlidejoy for two $2.00 Amazon Gift Cards.
— Vanita Perry (@SweetestVee_) June 19, 2017
Download the app for your Android phone. (Sorry Apple addicts.)
32. Channel Your Favorite “Law & Order” Episode
Fascinated by courtroom drama, but hate wasting the day in jury duty for a measly payout?
Serve as an online mock juror to help lawyers prepare for real cases.
$120 to be a mock juror but why come regular jury duty compensation is only a quarter of that? LOL
— V.Ranae (@iamladyv) June 25, 2017
You can earn $10 to $60 for about an hour of your time. Instead of hearing arguments from both sides of the case, you review the evidence like documents, videos and photos — at your computer.
33. Deliver Packages for Amazon Same-Day
Amazon Flex is that service you’re utilizing when you choose one-hour delivery.
Flex needs drivers across the country. It’ll be your job to pick up packages from your local Amazon facility and deliver them to locals who use that one-hour delivery option.
It’s like a pizza delivery job — but you never know what people are going to order from Amazon. Plus, your car won’t stink.
You can read all about the requirements on Amazon Flex’s FAQ page. Then sign up. If Flex isn’t recruiting in your area, you can always join the waitlist.
Banker during the day. Postmates, UberEats, Amazon Flex driver at night.
— Gary Taylor (@gtaylor83) July 10, 2017
Take a look at some more information here.
34. Enter Writing Contests
If you have a way with words, consider making money by submitting your fiction, nonfiction or poetry to writing contests.
Nope, writing contests aren’t just for middle school students. There are tons of year-round competitions including a few of these from last year.
i won a sectional writing contest! i won $250 and got in the local news it was pretty cool
— angelia (•-•) (@tarofuel) June 27, 2017
35. Design Your Own Stamps
Not like the mail kind — the rubber kind.
If you love to draw, submit your work to Stamp Press, “a world of exciting craft stamps!”
You don’t need to be a professional artist, either. It encourages those who simply love doodling or sketching to submit their art.
“So if you’re always doodling after putting the kids to bed or you have a sketchpad of things you’ve drawn for art college then we’d be really interested in hearing from you,” it writes.
I wish i could get paid to draw but it’s fine twitter can just keep getting to see them for free pic.twitter.com/WOj3j4w95k
— abby (@abbbyjenkinss) July 19, 2017
Read more about how to submit your designs and get paid here.
36. Complete Random Tasks for Cash
When we say random, we mean random…
Fiverr is an online platform that allows people to sell their products and services for $5 each. More and more folks are using it as a way to leverage the internet to earn cash; Fiverr boasts 4,000 new listings (or gigs) each day.
Tasks are broken down by categories. Here are a few examples of what you might find under “Fun & Lifestyle”:
- A unique gift idea
- To send you a telepathic message
- To write your message on their chest while playing a kazoo
- To prank call anyone
- Balloon popping
HELP! i did a video where i paid people on fiverr to do weird amazing things. what should i title it? “Paying People To do Weird Things”??
— Shane Dawson (@shanedawson) July 17, 2017
OK, so some are totally silly, but people have made some big bucks using the platform — like Charmaine Pocek, who quit her full-time job and banked $1 million.
If you want to get started, take some tips from other freelancers on how to make the most money with Fiverr.
37. Squirrel Away Your Change
In a world of credit cards, spare change is a little more rare; our piggy banks have been looking a little thin.
But that’s OK because Acorns is an investment app that collects your spare change and dumps it into investments for you.
You can connect your most-used debit or credit card, and Acorns rounds up your purchases and squirrels away the change.
For example, if you go to the grocery store and pay $32.02 for groceries, 98 cents of that will go into Acorns.
This adds up.
Acorns is the dopest app ever for saving money. Completely forgot about it for a month and I got $100+ just from rounding up my cents
— Matt (@eisicebaby) July 6, 2017
When you sign up, you’ll get $10.
38. Earn Up to $30/Day With “In-Theater Checks”
I actually got paid $30 to attend one of the Harry Potter movie premieres. And it’s the fifth movie premiere I’ve been paid to attend. Let me explain.
Theaters and movie studios are interested in collecting data about the audience that attends their movie premieres. They want to know how many people buy tickets on opening day, what screening time is most popular and what previews are being shown. And they want independent data from third-party evaluators.
Can I get paid to binge watch shows & movies like that’s all I want to do
— Shy (@alilhunny) January 8, 2018
How to Apply for the Job
They are known as “in-theater checks” and to apply, you’ll need to fill out an application with one of the largest mystery shopping companies, Certified Field Associates. The application is just a few questions long and nearly everyone in the United States and Canada is eligible to be hired.
(Note: I get a lot of questions about how to know if a mystery shopping company is real. Here’s a hint: you should never have to pay a fee to join! That’s a big red flag!)
Once you’ve been accepted as a new auditor with Certified Field Associates, you will want to keep a close eye on their online assignment list. As new assignments become available, they will be posted to that list. If you find a movie that you would like to attend, you have the ability to self-assign the project to yourself.
“In-theater checks” don’t have huge paydays attached to them, but you can usually expect to make between $10-20 per hour.
39. Play Cupid
Have you ever played matchmaker? It’s thrilling when you can smoosh two friends together, and it actually works out.
You can get paid for this talent now, as a matchmaker with Tawkify. The matchmaking service is always open to hiring more matchmakers to join the team.
So excited to join Tawkify as a professional matchmaker (yes, this is a real job)! If you’re single and looking, get…https://t.co/PlwpWSAyNA
— Tania Abramova (@Tanz2020) July 16, 2017
Some matchmakers, it claims, make up to $100,000 a year.
40. Put Your Useless Knowledge to, Well, Use
Are you the one who carries your trivia team to the end? (There’s always one of those in the group.)
Rather than winning a free beer coupon from the local dive bar, start playing Perk Pop Quiz. It’s an app that allows you to play trivia for points. Those points can then be exchanged for gift cards to your favorite stores (like Amazon!).
SO there’s this app where u can play trivia quizzes on ur fave shows/movies/etc & earn points to get gift cards & money
— (b)ireland 🌈 (@AccioCisco) April 23, 2017
Unfortunately, you won’t get rich doing this (though one claims it’s saved her life), but you can make an extra $15 to $20 a month, which will cover your bar tab come next trivia night.