Finding new ways to make money is something that can put you on track for reaching your financial goals, whether that’s to…
- Pay off your credit card debt
- Destroy your student loans
- Save for a downpayment on a house
- Buy a new car
- Pad your emergency fund
- Save for retirement
- Make a career change
And, there are lots of ways to make money in 2021. You can work online, make money on the fly, or bring in some passive income.
How to make money in 2021: 44 ways to bring in some extra cash
How to make money working online
This section includes some of the best ways to make money online. Many of these ideas are for freelance careers than can turn into your full-time job. And even if they don’t, these are flexible and scalable side hustles to grow your income.
1. Work as a freelance editor
As a freelance editor, you are providing editing services for a variety of clients. You might work for bloggers, have regular contracts with larger companies, or work on small one-off type projects.
In addition to editing content for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you may also improve a piece’s tone, structure, and flow. And, if you work for online clients, knowing a little about SEO goes a long way.
2. Start a digital marketing agency
Companies of all sizes can leverage social media’s huge reach and really benefit by advertising on Facebook. Big companies use in-house marketing departments, but most small business owners lack the knowledge and resources to run an effective ad campaign.
Facebook digital marketers can earn $1,000-$2,000 extra a month per client. And while you’ll definitely put some time into finding clients and setting up a successful ad campaign, most ads run on autopilot after you find the right strategy.
- How to run effective ad campaigns for small businesses in your area
- How to find clients who need your services
- How to get those clients to say “yes” to hiring you
3. Become a freelance writer
Surprisingly, you don’t need a degree in creative writing or English to make money as a freelance writer – it’s more about having a natural writing ability. You can write for blogs, magazine, online journals, content mills, etc.
If you want to jumpstart your freelance writing career, there is a great online course called 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success that teaches:
- The foundational aspects of a writing business
- How to find and pitch paying clients
- Learning a writing process
- How to promote your business.
4. Start a blog
Let’s start with the truth about blogging – it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. Blogging is a loooonngg game. It can take months of work before you ever earn a dime.
The key is to treat it like a job, even in the beginning when you’re not earning anything. Ideally, you love what you’re blogging about and your niche’s community. But, it is hard work.
Now that you know the truth, here’s the best part of learning how to make money with a blog – your earning potential is virtually unlimited. And, you get to do it all while you’re creating content that helps readers learn new skills, read a cool story, whatever!
If you’re interested in starting a blog, but don’t know where to start or what the next steps are, here are two great resources that will teach you how to make money blogging:
- Launch That Blog- This is a free service that helps you set up a WordPress blog hosted on Bluehost. You will need to pay for hosting services, but it’s as low as $2.95/month.
- Sign up for the Millennial Money Man free email blogging course. There’s a link below, and it covers picking a niche, building your audience, monetization methods, and more.
For more tips on how to make money blogging, read How to Make Money Blogging (How I Went from Teacher to 7-Figure Online Business).
5. Work as a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants take on a variety of tasks for their clients, including:
- Scheduling meetings
- Managing social media accounts
- Contacting clients
- Managing billing and payments
These are all tasks that don’t need to be done by the business owner themselves, and this field is growing because there are more and more online entrepreneurs, freelancers, and gig economy workers.
Learn how to make money as a virtual assistant at 30 Days to Virtual Assistant Success.
6. Teach English online
Here’s another growing field – online English teachers for Chinese and Korean students. And, there are two things that might really surprise you if you want to learn how to make money with this side hustle:
- You don’t need a degree in teaching or English
- You don’t need to speak any other languages besides English
And, you can earn from $14-$22/hour working for a company like VIPKid.
You teach in 25-minute increments, set your own hours, and the lesson planning is all done for you in advance.
7. Start an Etsy shop
If you’re a creative type, selling your goods on Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, can be an exciting way to make money online.
Personal finance enthusiast and maker Julie Berniger found immense success on Etsy by selling digital printables. She also found that they take considerably less effort than other goods to make, sell, and ship (you don’t have to ship a PDF). She teaches others how to make money online and passively by selling printables in her Etsy printables course.
8. Sell on Amazon FBA
Amazon FBA is selling items that you’ve personally sourced on the world’s largest marketplace, Amazon. The FBA part means Fulfillment By Amazon, and the idea is that you:
- Find wholesale items, retail arbitrage, or used and returned goods
- Ship items to Amazon
- List your items on Amazon
- Then, Amazon takes care of the selling and shipping aspects for you
9. Learn how to make money as a proofreader
If you have a natural ability for spotting misspellings and grammatical errors, working as a freelance proofreader is an awesome way to make money. Getting started takes learning some technical skills, especially if you want to work as a transcript proofreader.
Caitlyn Pyle of Proofread Anywhere put together a comprehensive course that teaches the theory and practice of proofreading. She has students earning extra income to pay off their debt, leave their day jobs, and more.
10. Become a life coach
Some people might think this isn’t a real job, but trust me it is. Or, trust M$M’s good friend Natalie Bacon. She went from attorney, to blogger, to life coach. She now helps countless people online find success and happiness.
Being a life coach is a little like working as a therapist, while focusing more on future development. Plus, you don’t need extensive schooling.
To work and earn money as a life coach, you can have a website where you offer one-on-one coaching sessions, give advice in articles, etc. You can also do what Natalie has done and start a successful podcast.
11. Start a YouTube channel
Like blogging, starting a YouTube channel is another way to offer your knowledge and opinions, and many use their channel to simply entertain their viewers. You earn income in similar ways, starting slow and building your earnings with paid sponsorships and affiliate marketing as you grow your audience.
To find out what it takes to start a YouTube channel, how to make money on YouTube, and the insane amount of money the top-grossing YouTubers make, read How Much Money Do YouTubers Make (2021 Guide).
12. Work online as a customer service rep
If you’ve ever called into a company for help, then you already know what a customer service representative does. More and more companies are outsourcing to remote reps – even large companies like Apple.
13. Do affiliate marketing on Pinterest
Affiliate marketing is when you partner with companies to promote products and/or services. The company gives you a unique link (affiliate link) that you insert in your posts, and when a reader clicks on that link and purchases something, you get paid a little.
Pinterest has changed their rules about affiliate marketing – first you could do it, then you couldn’t, and how you can share affiliate links on Pinterest.
Before you can start affiliate marketing with Pinterest, you’ll need to:
- Grow your following
- Pin on a regular basis
- Boost your monthly views
The key is to find affiliates for companies and services that resonate with your specific niche – this is how you build trust. You can find affiliate through networks like ShareASale, FlexOffers, and more.
Make sure you read through Pinterest’s guide for business owners to understand the rules and guidelines for affiliate marketing on Pinterest. This guide covers several other ways to earn on Pinterest.
14. Get paid to Pin as a Pinterest virtual assistant
Pinterest virtual assistants can help bloggers, social media influencers, and online business owners optimize their Pinterest accounts. That means Pinterest VAs do things like:
- Create pins
- Develop a pinning schedule
- Do keyword research
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, the Pinterest VA Course covers all of those things, plus how to find, land, and retain clients. The course is taught by Kristin Larsen, who have already helped hundreds of bloggers and online entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
They estimate that the average client is worth $500 a month. You can learn about more ways to make money on Pinterest at: How to Make Money on Pinterest in 2021 (Earn $1,000 Extra Per Month!).
15. Start an eCommerce site
One of the most popular ways right now to start an eCommerce site is by dropshipping with Shopify. You can use Shopify’s platform to sell your own products or someone else’s.
16. Create and sell an online course
If you have a website or blog, this is something you might think about pursuing, and you can learn how to make money with a course at How to Structure Your Course and Create a System to Sell the Hell out of It All Year Long.
This article covers:
- Creating a course on a topic you know well
- Testing for in-demand topics
- Pricing your course
- How to add a coaching component
- Using Facebook ads to sell your course
- Adding layers to promote your course even more
17. Write an ebook
Self-publishing is how newbie authors break into the business without going through the whole process of pitching a book to publishers, working with editors, etc. The barrier to entry is really low, and the profits can be pretty high if you know how to market your book well.
18. Work as freelancer
With more and more companies outsourcing to freelancers, there are lots of freelance opportunities in a variety of fields, such as:
- Web developer
- Graphic designer
- App developer
- Data entry
- Sound design
19. Make money online in a tech field
FitSmallBusiness.com found that freelancers in the tech industry are earning the highest wages – up to $100+/hour. These aren’t jobs that anyone can jump into because you’ll need specific skills for each, like being fluent in programming languages or able to use specialized software.
Here are some of the top-paying tech gigs:
- AI/Deep learning
- Blockchain architecture
- Ethical hacking
- Cryptocurrency jobs
- Amazon Web Services Lambda Coding
- Virtuality reality jobs
- js developers
20. Sell stock photos online
- You are paid when someone buys access to one of your photos
- Or, you are paid when someone buys a subscription to the site and uses your photo
These need to be high-quality photos, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a professional.
Learn how to make money on the fly
These are all ideas that are quick and low commitment jobs you can pick up on the side. Some are online and others are in-person jobs.
21. Flip furniture
Are you the type of person who sees potential in furniture that’s been put out on the street as trash?
Me too! Oops, wrong point…
Taking other people’s trash and flipping it with some sanding, a fresh coat of paint, new hardware, and/or a little tightening of the joints is great side hustle idea. Your materials cost is low, and flipped furniture sells well in local buy/sell Facebook groups or the Facebook Marketplace.
22. Complete tasks on TaskRabbit
TaskRabbit is a site where people list small jobs they need help with and local Taskers pick up those jobs to make extra cash. Here’s a sample of jobs on TaskRabbit:
- Mount a TV for $35-$96
- Move boxes for $31-$64
- Clean someone’s kitchen for $33-$67
23. Dog walk or pet sit
Rover is an online platform that connects pet owners with people in their area to walk dogs and pet sit. Pay depends on where you live – dog walkers in urban areas often have the highest paying opportunities, earning upwards of $20-$25 per walk.
24. Start driving for Uber or Lyft
If there is a classic gig economy job for our generation, rideshare driving for Uber and Lyft might be it. There have been a lot of changes to these companies since they first started doing business. Did you know that Uber is 10 years old? But, there are still lots of people hustling as rideshare drivers.
Pay is dependent on where you drive and when you’re available, and both companies take around 25% of each fare.
25. Sell stuff online
Whether you have clothes, shoes, electronics, home decor, or really anything else sitting around your house to sell, there are tons of apps that make it easy to earn cash selling your stuff. You can even flip items you find at resale shops and garage sales.
Learn how to make money selling your stuff online at: 21 Apps to Sell Your Stuff Online (and How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off).
26. Rent out a room in your house
Listing a room or your entire house on Airbnb might be a nice way to bring in some extra income. You’ll earn the most for your house if you live in a big city, near a university, or in a tourist destination.
I love using Airbnb when I travel – it’s actually the only way I book stays now. What’s great for you as the renter is that Airbnb manages the reservations and payments for you.
27. Rent out your car
Similar to Airbnb, Turo is a site where you can rent out your vehicle to other drivers. Turo prescreens renters and offers up to $1 million in liability insurance and coverage in the event of theft or physical damage.
You’re paid 65-85% of the trip price, and they have a Carculator to give you an estimate of what you can earn with your car.
28. Deliver groceries
29. Deliver food
This is similar to delivering groceries, but it’s when you deliver food from area restaurants. Here are the average per hour earnings for some of the most popular food delivery services:
30. Sell your poop
This is probably the most out of the box way you can learn how to make money, but selling your poop is a real thing.
OpenBiome is a company that supplies stool for fecal transplants. This is a life-saving treatment for patients with C. diff infections. You have to be super healthy to be eligible, live in the Boston area, and pass a rigorous screening process.
31. Take surveys from the comfort of your home
Online survey sites provide companies with a valuable market resource. Survey companies need people fitting into a wide range of demographics to give them that information.
Now, the earnings aren’t huge here, around $1-$2/hour on average, but it’s incredibly mindless and easy work that you can do in your spare time. Think, sitting down at the end of the day and taking some surveys while binging on Netflix.
Some of the most popular and legit survey sites are:
Depending on the site, you might earn points that you redeem for cash or actual cash, and you can learn more at Is Completing Online Surveys for Money Worth It?
32. Test websites
One way companies get feedback on their websites is by hiring people to test both the desktop and mobile versions. UserTesting is a popular platform for finding jobs, and while the pay isn’t lucrative (your earnings are similar to taking surveys), it’s something you can pick up and do when you have some spare time.
33. Become a respondent
Respondents are people who participate in market research studies, and companies pay decent money for the valuable opinion of those in their target audience. Respondents make anywhere from $25-$200 per study.
34. Write resumes
Resumes are an incredibly important part of the hiring process, and it’s the first chance you get to make an impression on a future employer. Because of that, resumes need to be super professional while also standing out.
If writing resumes doesn’t induce anxiety like it does for some people, this is a decent paying job and one resume writer made over $320k in a year!
35. Participate in clinical research studies
Universities, medical companies, drug companies, and more all need human participants for medical research studies. Depending on the study, you might have to stay overnight, come back in for blood draws, etc.
There are studies for people who have certain diseases or disorders, and there are also studies for healthy individuals. You can use ClinicalTrials.gov to search through a database of over 300,000 different research studies around the world.
Learn how to make money passively
Passive income is when you aren’t actively trading your time for money. All passive income sources require some kind of investment to set up, either time/effort or financial. But, once you’ve set things in motion, you can earn money with minimal effort.
36. Open a high-yield savings account
The reality is that most consumers are unaware of what APY their current savings account offers. If your savings is with a traditional brick and mortar bank, then your APY is probably on the lower end.
That’s because banks with brick and mortar branches have much higher overhead than online banks that are offering higher than average savings accounts.
Rather than earning 0.03% back at your current bank, a high-yield savings account may earn you 2% back or more. It’s a small amount, but the interest you earn is passive income.
Here are 9 online banks offering high-yield savings accounts and tips for finding the right one.
37. Invest with an online brokerage
One of the best sources of passive income that will help you grow your retirement nest egg is investing in the stock market with a broker. Many online brokerages – including well-known brokerages like Charles Schwab and Vanguard – offer low fees, a number of asset classes, and tools to help you get the most out of your investment.
38. Start micro-investing
Micro-investing has grown in popularity over the past few years as it removes some of the barriers that come with traditional investing. If you’re not familiar, micro-investing is:
- Investing with small amounts of money, even spare change
- Can be done with companies like Stash or Acorns
- Typically has a Robo-advisor component
This is a great way to get familiar with investing, but know that you’re not going to retire off of spare change alone. Still, those small amounts can add up if you make it a routine and grow your contributions.
If you’re interested, here are some articles to check out:
- Acorns 2021 Review
- Stash Review 2021︱Worthwhile Investing App or Waste of Time?
- Is Micro Investing Worth it?
39. Buy an investment property
This is probably going to take a hefty upfront investment (remember, all passive income sources require some type of initial investment), but rental properties are a great way to increase your cash flow. It gets even more passive when you outsource a lot of the work to a property management company.
BiggerPockets has lots of great resources if you’re interested in learning how to make money with investment properties.
40. Invest in a REIT
REIT stands for Real Estate Investment Trust, and it’s how average people invest in commercial real estate. Fundrise is one of the leaders for making real estate investing accessible because you can start investing with as little as $500.
You can choose which real estate projects you fund, from apartment complexes to retail centers, and once the project is funded and turning a profit, you get a return.
Learn how to make money with REITs at Fundrise Review 2021: Commercial Real Estate Investing for All.
41. Refinance your house
Learn how to make money refinancing your house??? I know, not what you expected, but read on…
Mortgage interest rates are relatively low right now, so depending on when you purchased your house, you might be able to find a much better rate if you refinance. The money you save with refinancing is money you’re earning for savings, investing, paying off debt, etc.
Here’s an example taking a $150,000 mortgage at a term of 15 years:
- At a rate of 6%, you pay $77,841.34 in interest
- After refinancing at a rate of 4.5%, you pay $56,548.19 in interest
In this situation, refinancing your house can save you $20,000+ over the course of your loan You’ll need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the best rates, and it’s always best to shop around for lenders and learn about additional costs like closing fees.
42. Earn credit card rewards points
To entice new customers, credit card companies offer points and big sign-on bonuses when you open a new card and use them for certain purchases. You can earn airline miles, points, and even cashback.
This is one of my favorite ways to earn passive income, and I typically use my rewards to pay for travel expenses.
Churning credit cards, travel hacking, and just earning rewards points is only worthwhile if you’re able to pay your full balance on time and every month. It’s not just bad for your credit score if you don’t, interest charges and late fees will more than negate any rewards you earn.
43. Try peer-to-peer lending
P2P lending is a way for people to crowdsource loans that they may not otherwise qualify for if they went through a traditional lender. With a P2P lending company like Lending Club, you can fund a number of loans, like:
- Home buying
- Debt consolidation
- Home improvement
- Credit card refinancing
- Business loans
- Medical expenses
- Moving fees
It’s like GoFundMe, but the people you’re supporting pay you back.
Now, there are some risks to trying to make money with peer-to-peer lending. For example, the annual default rate with Lending Club is around 6-7% annually. They do assess the risk of each investment before approving it, and Lending Club also suggests that you invest in a number of different loans to mitigate your risks.
44. Get cashback for shopping online
Rakuten, which used to be known as Ebates, is a company that pays you to shop as you normally would online. Here’s how it works:
- Sign up is free
- Use their portal to shop at over 2,500 different online retailers
- When you make a purchase, Rakuten earns a commission for sending you to one of its partner companies
- You earn a small portion of that commission as a thank you
- Rakuten pays you via check or Paypal
On average, you can earn 1-4% back on your purchases. And, there are no additional fees or catches for earning cashback with Rakuten.
Final word on how to make money in 2021
It’s probably pretty clear by now, there are a growing number of ways to make money. You can find something that fits your situation and schedule so you can optimize your time while making extra cash.
You can find more ideas in these articles:
- How to Make Money from Home in 2021: Make Money in Your Underwear
- 13 Legitimate Stay-at-Home Mom Jobs You Can Start Quickly
- 15 Realistic Side Hustles for Teachers (By Someone With Teaching Experience!)