Never Wear Pants Again: 103 Creative Ways to Make Money From the Comfort of Home
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I prefer to work from home. My morning commute is 15 feet, food is nearby, and when I've been productive enough, I reward myself with a game or two of online chess.
You, too, probably like the idea of making money at home, whether it’s from a remote job, a home-based business or investments you can manage from anywhere. If so, and even if you already have a home-based income but want to learn more, this list is for you.
As you might suspect, many of these creative ways to make money at home involve the internet — but not all of them. And although some are one-off ways to pocket some cash, and others are decent-paying jobs, a few have the potential to generate huge profits.
Finally, while working from home is fine, this list is about making money at home. If a job, business or investment requires you to leave the house, you won't find it here. This list consists only of ways you can make money without leaving your house at all.
Have an internet connection? You’re all set to try these jobs.
1. Work for a Call Center
Customer service jobs are common with companies that hire at-home workers. You spend your days on the phone in front of your computer, talking to customers.
2. Be a Transcriptionist
To make $25 per hour as a transcriptionist, you need to listen well and type fast. You'll listen to audio files of varying quality, and you have to type out what you hear perfectly.
Not sure you want to do the typing yourself? Consider being a transcript proofreader.
3. Be a Virtual Assistant
As a virtual assistant you might answer calls, send emails, prepare reports or do any number of other tasks for busy executives and business owners. You can freelance or get a job with a VA company like Zirtual.
If you’d rather run your own show, you’ve got a lot of options.
4. Be a Social Media Manager
My wife does freelance social media work for an organization of poets, posting on Facebook and Twitter about the latest news from members and updates on events. For a more regular paycheck, apply for one of the many social media management jobs on websites like Monster.com.
5. Design Websites
Payscale says a web designer can expect to take home roughly $48,000 per year. It's tough to get to that point if you're freelancing, but this is definitely an at-home income.
My wife and I once did a package deal for a client for $430, which included the site, logo, contact form and several pages of content. Designing the website and letting the owner arrange for content is more common.
6. Host Websites
The website design package I mentioned above included hosting the website for a year for $80. We have to deal with any technical issues as they come up, but we rarely have a site down for more than a few minutes.
We can put unlimited websites on our reseller plan with HostGator (if you use the code PENNYREADERS, you’ll get 25% off), so adding one more costs us nothing.
7. Create Podcasts
When you create podcasts, audio files for downloading, you can sell them or use them as an advertising platform. Either way, try to provide an interesting and/or useful series of podcasts. The profit potential? Consider John Lee Dumas' story; he made $60,000 per month from sponsorships.
8. Create and Sell Courses
I've created a few online courses, selling some and giving away others to promote websites. I never made more than $100 in a month from any of them, but course creators Danny Iny and Nick Loper say you can do much better than that.
9. Start a Fiverr Business
How do you make much money with a $5 product or service when the website where you make the sales takes a dollar of your revenue from each sale?
People who make thousands of dollars on Fiverr.com suggest you create a simple product or service and have several “upsells” available for buyers interested in higher-priced options.
Other Ways to Make Money Online
We’ve only scratched the surface of ways to make money online.
- Be an Online Mock Juror
A mock or surrogate juror reviews evidence and renders a decision to help lawyers prepare for real cases. I wrote about how I made $150 as a mock juror, which involved eight hours in a hotel conference room. Fortunately, there are online versions; I listed several in that post. Those opportunities pay only $10 to $60, but they can take less than an hour.
11. Sell Links
12. Tweet for Cash
Tweeting for money isn't just for celebrities anymore. If you have a Twitter account and enough followers, you can get paid to tweet about products you like using websites like MyLikes.com.
13. Answer Questions
A number of websites will pay you to answer people's questions. If you're a lawyer, try JustAnswer.com.
14. Flip Domain Names
A friend registered a domain name for $12, and a few weeks later, sold it for $2,000. He just got lucky (it wasn't his plan), but if you have a good sense of which names have value, you can try buying and selling a few domain names. Marketplaces like Flippa can help you find buyers.
15. Get Paid to Listen to Music
MusicXRay.com is one of the better-known websites where you listen to songs (typically for at least 30 seconds) in exchange for cash or points that are redeemable for gift cards. The bands hope you'll become a fan, so it's a form of advertising you're paid to listen to. You won't make much with this scheme, but it's not a bad way to make a few bucks.
16. Get Paid to Watch TV
Download the HitBliss app or software for your computer, and you'll get paid to watch commercials. The big drawback, in my opinion, is that you're paid with points you have to spend on movies, shows and music in their store.
17. Take Surveys
You really can make money doing online surveys. I've done it a few times. While I once received a $30 payment from InboxDollars, that’s not the norm. I worked fast and typically made about $3 per hour for my efforts.
18. Work on Mechanical Turk
Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform lets you complete small tasks online for a fee. In the past, I made $2 for an hour checking out websites, so I wasn't impressed. But since then, Nicole Dieker posted about how to use Reddit to maximize your income on Mechanical Turk. Maybe I'll try again using her strategy.
19. Test Websites
I made money as a website tester in 2014, but not much. It was fun to check out new websites and voice my opinion, and I made about $10 per hour for my time, but there wasn't much work.
For a shot at getting more assignments, sign up with several websites that pay testers.
20. Be a Search Engine Evaluator
When I first wrote about being a search engine evaluator, I didn't reveal my hourly rate. Now I can tell you (without naming the company) that I made $13.50 per hour.
You choose when and how much you work (to some extent — I was fired after months of working less than two hours weekly). The various tasks include looking at sets of search engine results and rating them for usefulness.
21. Be a Magician
In my post on how to make money doing magic tricks, I covered being an online magician. Just do your show at home, and put the monetized videos on YouTube.
22. Be a Comedian
As you've seen in this post on being a YouTube comedian, you can make thousands of dollars. Some comedians have made over $1 million with their funny videos.
23. Review Toys
One 9-year-old boy has made more than $1 million reviewing toys on YouTube. You probably won't make that much. On the other hand, there are many other product categories where video reviews might be appreciated by a wide audience.
24. Make Your Cat a Star
OK, this is the last of the YouTube options, and maybe there are too many cat videos already. Or maybe not…
As I explained in my post on making money with YouTube videos, you never know what will become popular. I even made money with a backpacking show my wife and I created when we lived in Colorado.
Using Your Home to Make Money
It likely costs you a fair amount of money, so it’s time your house helped you earn some, too.
25. Rent Out Rooms in Your Home
26. Use Airbnb
Maybe you don't want long-term renters in your home, but you want to generate some extra cash. Just rent out that spare bedroom using Airbnb whenever you need the money.
27. Start a Bed and Breakfast
Want to turn your home into a bed and breakfast operation? Make sure local zoning rules allow it, and be aware that running a bed and breakfast is a lot of work.
28. Rent Your Shed
If you have one, you can rent your shed to someone who needs the storage space. Use a free Craigslist ad, and if all goes well, add another shed or two (check local ordinances first).
29. Rent Your Yard for RV and Boat Storage
This is another item from my post on ways to make money in your backyard. People need a place to put their boats and recreational vehicles during the off-season, which spells profit for you if you have space. Your home insurance policy probably won't cover damage, so you might have to add additional liability insurance (and check those local ordinances again).
30. Rent a Parking Spot
If you live in a large city or any town that occasionally hosts busy events, you can put out a sign and rent your driveway.
31. Sell Your Trees
Lumber yards will buy trees from your property. My friend made a few thousand dollars selling his trees with no ugly clear-cutting (they nicely thinned his 5 acres). There's even a website that buy trees now.
32. Grow a Special Herb at Home
No, not that one. Catnip grows as a weed in many areas, and a quick read of a guide to growing catnip will make you an expert. Many growers sell packets of the dried leaves online.
Are you a wordsmith? Put those writing skills to work to earn extra cash.
33. Get a Book Published
The publishing industry has changed. More than ever, a writer is expected to be the primary marketer of his or her books.
I got a contract with Wiley and Sons to write 101 Weird Ways to Make Money because my website about unusual ways to make money had a 5,000-subscriber email newsletter. Build an audience online, and you'll have a much better chance of getting traditionally published.
34. Be a Content Writer
Content sites, sometimes called “content mills,” hire freelancers to write short articles and posts without including your name as the author. You have to work fast to make money as a content writer, since you may earn less than 3 cents per word.
35. Write Speeches
While Salary.com lists the median annual wage of a speechwriter as $122,983, don't expect to make anywhere near that much to start.
When I helped write a speech, I charged $25 per hour, and the client hesitated to pay that (of course, I confessed to having no experience with writing speeches). For the best pay, seek clients in politics or high positions in large corporations (if they'll let you work at home).
36. Write for Blogs
Blogs typically pay more than the content mills. Clients have paid me between $50 and $300 per article in the last year. There are many blogs that pay $100 per post, but there are also many writers trying to get those assignments.
37. Be a Character Blogger
Pick a character from a novel or a cartoon movie and start ghostwriting a blog as though you are that character. You may need permission to use characters in this way, so do your homework.
Character blogger Luana Spinetti says that if you develop a good following, your income from a blog “can range from $50 to $400 per month.”
38. Create an Email Newsletter
Over the years I’ve created email newsletters on topics ranging from backpacking to brainpower.
You can sell things directly in your emails or direct traffic to your websites — but keep the newsletter full of useful content in either case. I never tried to sell a list, but if you decide to try that, there is a formula for calculating the value of a mailing list.
39. Write to Congress for Cash
Yes, you can get paid to write letters to members of Congress. You'll be helping lobbyists and other advocacy groups influence lawmakers, and you get to choose which projects to work on. You can make up to $15 per hour doing this.
40. Sell Digital Products on ClickBank.com
For years, I created short PDF reports and ebooks and sold them through ClickBank. I still have a few there, but I no longer make hundreds of dollars monthly from them. It costs $50 to become a seller, and ClickBank.com takes $1 plus 7.5% of each sale. They have thousands of affiliates who can help sell your products for a cut (I offered 50%).
41. Write Slogans
Several websites will pay you to write slogans for companies. Some pay cash for each slogan, while others have contests in which you can win up to $1,000 for the winning creation.
42. Edit Blogs
According to PayScale, the average wage for an online content editor is $45,390. That seems high for an average, but you definitely can do this job from home. Perhaps my editor can confirm?
Editor’s note: Steve is right! I’m editing this post at home in my sweatpants.
43. Enter Writing Contests
Many writing contests pay cash prizes. Some pay more than $1,000 for first place, and also award a publishing contract. A few pay prizes of $5,000 to $10,000.
44. Give Away Ebooks
I used to make money giving away free ebooks. One, which I wrote in a few days, generated several hundred dollars in revenue within a few weeks.
You can use a few different strategies here. You can promote affiliate products within the books to make commissions, use a free sample ebook to sell a longer one, or use an ebook to promote your own products or websites.
45. Write Resumes
Some people just hate writing, and resume writing in particular. You can help them put that resume together using free resume makers online. Some people charge as little as $20 to do this, but at least one service has a price schedule that starts at $500.
46. Find Weird Writing Gigs
Not all writing assignments fall into the usual categories. I once charged $160 for four hours of work creating a metaphor and short story to help sell coaching services. In her post on weird writing jobs, Sophie Lizard shares examples ranging from writing personal emails for an executive (to his wife) to creating content for an adult website, at rates ranging from $30 to $500.
47. Write College Papers
Ghostwriting for college students may be the most ethically questionable entry here, but it can be lucrative. One anonymous academic paper writer says he makes $66,000 annually helping students cheat their way to degrees, and that's after the online company he works for takes half of the fees. A more ethical alternative is to help students with papers rather than actually writing them.
48. Write for Revenue Sharing Sites
Among the websites that pay for articles, the revenue-sharing ones are the easiest to break into. Some sites pay you 70% of what they make from your work, while others pay per view or comment, but either way, if nobody reads your article, you make nothing.
49. Publish a Kindle Ebook
I made $2,000 from a Kindle ebook about backpacking that took a week to write. It costs nothing to open a Kindle Direct Publishing account. If you don't want to write your own books, offer to put your friends' books on Kindle for half of the income.
50. Write Reviews
If you have a website or blog, you could connect with companies willing to pay for product reviews. For example, at SocialSpark.com you can get paid to blog, tweet or post videos. To avoid selling false reviews, only accept assignments for products you actually love.
Investing at Home
Growing your money from the comfort of your own home sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
51. Make Loans Online
Peer-to-peer lending sites let you loan money at high interest rates. For example, to invest in loans on Lending Club, you look over information offered by borrowers and invest as little as $25.
Diversified small investments reduce the risk. When I invested a few thousand dollars with Lending Club, my 11% nominal rate was knocked down to 5.4% overall by a few loan defaults, but that's still better than a savings account.
52. Invest in Stocks
It’s easier than ever to invest in stocks from home. Free resources like Yahoo Finance let you do all the research you need online. Choose from hundreds of strategies, ranging from investing in dividend-paying stocks to the simplicity of using index funds.
53. Invest in Stock Options
Investing in naked put options is one of the few stock-related topics I've written about, but I've invested in stock options in other ways, including writing covered calls on stocks I owned. Study up and limit what you invest until you're making profits regularly.
54. Trade Currencies
55. Invest in Cryptocurrencies
When he was just 15, Erik Finman made $100,000 from a $1,000 investment in Bitcoin. The days of 100-to-1 returns may be over for Bitcoin, but there are other cryptocurrencies that may yet become popular and more valuable.
56. Make Hard Money Loans
“Hard money” refers to loans used for short-term real estate projects. When an investor hopes to make a profit of $20,000 or more flipping a house, he's willing to borrow at high interest rates from people who can make the loan fast and easy.
I make hard money loans at 10% interest with a guaranteed minimum and a first mortgage on the property to secure them. If you can't find a local investor (my preference), get listed in a directory of hard money lenders. You can do everything from home — even closing deals by email.
57. Fix and Flip Your Own Home(s)
The IRS says if you've lived in your home for at least two of the last five years, you can sell it and pay no taxes on the capital gains (up to $250,000 profit). In other words, you can buy a fixer-upper, live in it for two years, sell for a big profit and start all over.
We just sold a condo for a nice profit, after living in it for 26 months and renting it out for almost a year. Our tax bill on the gain is zero.
58. Move Your Checking Account
Kasasa checking accounts pay up to 3% interest, so you might want to move your money to one. The requirements can be tricky, including a minimum number of monthly debits, but if you don't meet the criteria one month you usually still make a little interest, and there are typically no fees.
We all have a few items we could do without. Instead of letting them gather dust, turn them into cash!
59. Have a Rummage Sale
When my wife and I had a rummage sale one summer, we made (drumroll please)… $156. You can't get much traffic when you're not close to a busy street. But in any case, this is a good way to make some cash while getting rid of all the things you don't need.
60. Sell Items on Craigslist
This might be a better than a rummage sale, since you don’t have to spend hours sitting outside hoping people will stop by. When we lived in a condo, we sold junk-picked items on Craigslist, including a table and floor tiles. Of course, I had to leave the house to check the dumpster, but it was less than 100 feet away.
61. Start a Used Books Business
There are a number of ways to sell used books online and yes, you can do this at home. Start by selling the books you aren't going to read from around the house. To make more money, learn how to do used textbook arbitrage (locate sellers with low prices and top-dollar buyers).
62. Create Unique Paper Products
Paper flowers, wallets and even furniture are some of the cool paper projects you can sell online. And, as with everything else here, you can do it all at home.
63. Sell Unique Jewelry
In addition to paper earrings, I've written about bird poop jewelry and other body ornaments that have done well for their creators.
64. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing is simple in theory: Link to products, and when people use your coded link to visit and buy something, you make a commission. I used to make hundreds of dollars monthly from affiliate sales. Search “affiliate program” or “associates” plus the name of a product to locate something specific to promote, or sell just about anything as an Amazon Associate.
65. Sell Things Through Amazon
When you sell through Fulfillment by Amazon, you never ship anything directly to customers. Amazon handles that. For a unique way to find products, read about successful sellers in the abovementioned post.
66. Sell Coupons Online
When I was researching my post on how to sell coupons online, I was shocked to see an eBay auction with a high bid of $361 — for one coupon! It was a 10%-off coupon, and it was close to Christmas. Grocery coupons sell for a lot less.
But if you ever get bank or credit card coupons offering nice bonuses, you can get $10 or more selling them on eBay.
67. Flip Used Cars
How do you stay at home while doing this? Use the strategy in my post on how to buy and sell used cars for a profit. Basically, you get a partner to do the work while you put up the cash.
68. Sell Your Photos
Selling stock photography is easy now that several great sites help you list your photos. It isn't easy to make a lot of money, but even photos from around the house can be good options. For example, a real estate website with an article about staging houses for sale might need a photo of a living room with furniture. If they choose yours, you'll get paid.
Love sharing your knowledge with others? Here are a few ways to get paid for it.
69. Become a Life Coach
According to a Forbes' article on surprising six-figure jobs, about 20% of life and business coaches top $100,000 annually. The article notes that “No special degree or training is required,” but if you want, you can get certified by the Universal Coach Institute. You can coach your clients by phone and email from the comfort of your home.
Want to learn more? Check out our post on how to become a life coach.
70. Tutor People
You can tutor people on any subject you know well, from academics to how to write a business plan. When you open an account with websites like WyzAnt, you set your rates, which can go as high as $50 per hour. The websites that arrange the jobs typically take 20-40%. If you make yourself available only for online and phone tutoring, people will usually pay lower rates, but you might also find some decent-paying clients.
71. Become a Consultant
There is probably at least one subject about which you know more than most people. That makes you an expert and, if you want, you can become a consultant. Work from home, and do your consultations by email, phone and Skype.
Not all babysitters leave home to earn money — offer your services solely at your house. You can make up to $18 per hour as a babysitter now using sitting-focused websites to find customers.
73. Teach on Udemy
You don’t need experience or a degree to make money teaching on Udemy. If people want to learn what you have to teach, you can create a potentially profitable video course at home. Curious? Here’s where you can find out more about how to create a Udemy course.
Other Ways to Create an Income
Still looking for ideas? Here are a few more creative options.
74. Gamble on Elections
You can gamble on elections legally in the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM). You're limited to a $500 investment, but if you're good at predicting the outcome of national elections you can parlay that into thousands of dollars when election season comes around.
75. Be a Cat Behaviorist
The response to my post on how to be a cat behaviorist suggests a lot of people would like this work. The good news is that some “cat whisperers” offer their services from home via email, Skype and phone (at up to $165 per hour).
76. Be a Pet Sitter
You can make good money as a pet sitter. Rates for an overnight stay go as high as $100, but if you only watch pets at your home, you might have to charge significantly less.
Check local regulations to see how many animals you can watch at once without needing to be licensed as a kennel.
77. Charge for Your Friendship
You may have heard of selling your friendship on websites like RentaFriend. Some people claim to make $2,000 per week being a “friend.” That can mean anything from playing tennis with someone to showing a new resident around your hometown.
To make this a stay-at-home gig just list services like “phone advice” and “email friend” on your account page.
78. Be a Research Subject
Some clinical trials pay participants up to $15,000, but many of these require you to report to a facility far from home.
I didn't have to go anywhere in 2014, when I volunteered to take 10 aspirin in 10 days (the company sent the pills by mail), but I earned only $30. To find better at-home opportunities, check with an online directory for study volunteers.
79. Collect Sign-up Bonuses
I made over $1,000 last year from credit card and bank sign-up bonuses. Focus on offers with bonuses of at least $100, and schedule your card use to meet the spending requirements without having to buy anything you don't normally buy.
80. Find Lost Money
After I told my parents about lost accounts that are turned over to the state, a quick online search showed that they both had money waiting. My mother's forgotten insurance refund was worth $900 or so. It's easy to search for unclaimed money online, so why not see what's there for you?
81. Scalp Tickets
You used to have to stand outside of concert and sports venues to resell tickets, and it was of questionable legality. Now you can legally scalp tickets online, right from home, using online platforms. If you're good at predicting events that will sell out, you can buy cheap early and sell tickets for big profits as the event date gets closer.
82. Do Alterations
If you're handy with a sewing machine, you can make money doing alterations. You can add to that income by offering sewing lessons from your home.
83. Print Products
Have you thought about starting a 3D printing business? A decent unit is about $2,000, but prices are dropping, and if you focus on making high-end products you can recover your investment quickly. Selling online allows you to do this exclusively at home.
84. Sell Your Junk Mail
Yes, there really is a company that will buy your junk mail. You won't make much, but hey, what better use do you have for it?
85. Design an App
No idea how to design an app? Read and/or watch an online tutorial on app designing. Then get busy. And check out the atheist who makes $6,000 monthly from a Bible app he designed.
86. Cut Up Old Magazines
How do you make money with old magazines? Cut out old advertisements and sell them online to nostalgic collectors. One person who does this buys magazines online just to cut them up and sell the ads, so you can even resupply from home.
87. Make Money With Old Newspapers
The ads in old newspapers sometimes have nostalgic value just like magazine ads. But you can also make money with old newspapers in other ways, like selling them to people who were born on the same date as the paper was printed.
88. Win Recipe Contests
If you have some great recipes, start submitting them to contests online. Some award electronics and small cash prizes, but a few pay out thousands of dollars for first place. Check a list of recipe contests to get started.
89. Play and Teach Chess
Tutoring someone as you play online is a good way to make money from chess. I used to make money betting on my games, but that's hard to do from home. Another alternative, if chess is your thing, is to sell ebooks about the topic or sell chess-related products online.
90. Join a Class-Action Lawsuit
Here are six recent class-action lawsuits involving companies like Toyota, JPMorgan Chase and the now-defunct Trump University. If you've used products or services from a company being sued, you might be entitled to some money. And you may not need a receipt to join a lawsuit and recover damages — read the individual requirements for more information about eligibility for each suit.
91. Rent Out Your Car
If you try to rent out your car on your own, you'll probably invalidate your insurance. And you have to find customers. But companies like Getaround and RelayRides will find the customers for you and provide the insurance.
92. Make a Complaint
My guide to profitable complaining explains how I received cash and discounts repeatedly by letting companies know when they’ve done something wrong.
If you like to knit, you can make sweaters and other items to sell online. But an opportunity you may have missed is getting paid to be a test knitter. While many test knitters earn wool and other goods, some also earn cash.
94. Rent Out Your Stuff
Got a pingpong table you don't use? Someone might need it for a party, so why not rent it out? You can make money with almost anything in your home now thanks to websites that make it easy to rent out your stuff.
95. Sell Your Music
If you create music (perhaps with a home studio?), companies like TuneCore make it easier than ever to sell. You pay a small fee, and they help you distribute your tunes through digital vendors. You keep all royalties.
96. Create Things to Sell in Online Games
You've probably heard about people selling items in online virtual reality games, but it's often against the rules. Still, Gamer.com reports one seller had made $100,000 as of 2014.
97. Sell Your Gift Cards
Don't you hate it when you get a gift card for someplace you never shop? Instead of letting it sit in your wallet, unused, cash in! Here are a few of the good places to sell gift cards online.
98. Cuddle With Strangers
Yes, professional cuddling is a real thing, and some cuddlers work exclusively from home. A typical rate for letting strangers snuggle up with you (only platonically) is $60 per hour.
99. Cuddle With a Group
If you just can't get enough cuddling, or want to expand your services, become a cuddle party facilitator. You'll arrange parties where everyone snuggles together in their pajamas. You can even get certified for this unusual job.
100. Become a Calligrapher
Do you have great handwriting? Sell that skill! Start a calligraphy business, and you can make up to $5 per envelope addressing wedding invitations.
101. Treasure Hunt at Home
I've written about treasures found in attics, valuables found around the house and cash found in walls. It's amazing how many things people hide in and around their homes. Maybe it's time to start looking for items your home’s previous owners left behind.
102. Install Apps on Your Phone
Market research firms are always looking for ways to track consumer behavior. That's why you can get paid to install apps on your phone.
103. Invent Something
You've probably seen new products and thought, “I could have invented that.” Well, why not invent something and make some money? Read my guide to creating low-risk inventions.
Need more money-making creativity? Here are 45 ways to make money online.
Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. Of the more than 100 ways he has personally made money, writing is his favorite (so far).
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