One thing I’ve noticed after spending a few years talking to people about side hustling and working online is that there ‘s still some skepticism around if online jobs are really legit.
I get it, trust me. If you told me 10 years ago I would be making a 7-figure income online, I might have asked you what scam I was running.
But the reality is that there are real, legit online jobs that people are working every single day, from freelancers, to bloggers, teachers, and more. There’s actually a ton of people working remotely on the internet.
In fact, according to a study done by FlexJobs, remote work has grown by 44% in the past five years and 91% in the past 10 years. That’s probably why 21-year-old Bobby would have been so skeptical.
Now that you know there are real jobs online, I’ve put together a list of options for 2020. You’re also going to learn how to get started with each of them, plus there’s a section that helps you find jobs and avoid scams.
18 Legit Online Jobs | The Best Flexible Ways to Make Money
1. Digital marketing on Facebook
This is one of the first legit online jobs I like telling people about because running Facebook ads is how I made extra money after I quit my teaching jobs to blog full time. I actually quit my stable teaching job after making $3 from this site… it was a rash decision, but I think it worked out pretty well.
Back to Facebook ads. I was successfully using ads to drive traffic to my blog, and I knew they would work really well for other kinds of small businesses. So I approached the jeweler who made my wife’s engagement ring and pitched my digital marketing idea.
He agreed, and I got my first client. Then I got another and another, and pretty soon I was getting paid more to run Facebook ads each month than I made as a teacher.
Running Facebook ads continues to be one of the best online jobs because it gives small business owners a way to run highly targeted ad campaigns on the world’s largest social media platform.
Big companies have been running Facebook ads for a while, and it’s something small businesses are just starting to tap into. The problem is that most of those small business owners lack the time and resources it takes to learn how to run an effective ad strategy.
That problem creates a need for Facebook ad managers, and small business owners are willing to pay $1,000-$2,000/month for this service.
It takes anywhere from 2-3 hours a week to run Facebook ads, which involves:
- Creating effective ads
- Testing the ads
- Managing leads
- Targeting the right online audience
- Maintaining ads
If running Facebook ads sounds like an online job you’d be interested in, check out the Facebook Side Hustle Course. I teamed up with my buddy Mike Yanda (lawyer turned digital marketer who brings in $30k/month with his digital ad agency) to teach others how to start, run, and manage their own Facebook ads agency.
Over the past few years, we’ve helped thousands of students start their own flexible online jobs. We’ve gotten to see some of our students hit the $5k club and the $10K club – scaling their side hustle to bring in an extra $5,000 to $10,000 per month.
Those big successes are awesome, but what we love the most is watching people start and realize that this system really works.
2. Virtual assistant
A few weeks ago, I hired a new virtual assistant and within a few days, she had completely cleaned or organized my email inbox. She now takes care of billing and invoicing, schedules meetings, and generally keeps me on track. I would struggle to run my business without my virtual assistant.
I only need my VA to do a fraction of what’s possible, and here are some of the most in-demand jobs for virtual assistants:
- Social media management: Sharing content, posting status updates, responding to comments, moderating groups, running ads.
- Email management: Responding to emails, organizing email inboxes, corresponding with clients, possibly setting up email marketing automation.
- Blog management: Scheduling posts, editing posts, paying freelancers, managing affiliate relationships, organizing past posts, updating plug-ins, formatting images.
- Customer service: Processing orders, managing payments, troubleshooting, responding to requests.
You need to be highly organized to work as a VA, and good time management skills are a must. But this is a fast-paced and flexible way to make money online. With online entrepreneurship growing – from bloggers, freelancers, consultants, podcasters, eCommerce site owners, etc. – there are growing opportunities for work.
Virtual assistants make anywhere from $15-$50/hour. It depends on your experience and the kind of services you offer. VAs that have specialized training running Facebook ads or with email marketing can demand higher pay.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out the course VA Success read How to Become a Virtual Assistant in 2020 (Best Courses Included).
3. Pinterest virtual assistant
A Pinterest virtual assistant is a niche field for VAs, and it’s one of the best online jobs for people who love Pinterest. But you’re not just pinning all day long – you are creating and implementing a strategy that helps business owners increase their traffic using Pinterest.
- Creating pins
- Scheduling with Tailwind
- Doing keyword research
- Running Promoted Pins (Pinterest’s version of paid ads)
- Creating sales funnels, opt-ins, and more
It’s incredibly flexible work that stays interesting, and you can make around $500/month per client. Many Pinterest VAs have more than one client at a time.
My good friends Kirsten Larsen and Gina Horkey created the Pinterest VA Course to teach you how to make money as a Pinterest VA. They teach you all the necessary skills, plus how to find and land clients.
4. Freelance writing
Did you know freelance writers are responsible for a lot of the content you read online? There’s obvious stuff like articles and blog posts, but freelance writers are also responsible for ad copy, emails, web copy, sales pages, and more.
Having a background in English, journalism, or creative writing is helpful, but it’s not a must. One of my staff writers, Ariel, shares how you can start freelance writing and find online jobs in How to Become a Freelance Writer: The Ultimate Guide for 2020.
Ariel started writing and editing as a side hustle about four years ago, and it’s turned into a full-time income for her. The flexibility of making money on her own time is one of the major draws for her.
Proofreaders basically run a quality check on written content. That’s at least how I think about it. And not everyone is cut out to be a proofreader – you must be able to point out the smallest punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors.
But if you’re good at those things, proofreading is an incredibly flexible online job. You can proofread blog posts, online articles, self-published books, legal transcripts, essays, manuals, and more.
Proofreaders earn anywhere from $15-$45/hour, and you can start finding jobs on freelance websites like Fiverr. You can learn more about getting started in Proofreading Jobs: Make Money Pointing Out Mistakes or check out the course Proofread Anywhere.
6. Become a blogger
Years ago, blogging never would have been considered a legit online job, but I guarantee you that it can be. Now, blogging is a slow business model overall. It can take months to start making money but has the highest earning potential out of anything on this list.
I made my first $3 from this site after blogging for a few months, and in less than five years, I run a 7-figure business from my home.
That trajectory isn’t the norm for everyone – you have to hustle hard to really grow your site, even before you start making money. But you’re in complete control of when and how you work. You can blog after work, while your kids are napping, first thing in the morning, on the weekends, on your lunch hour, etc.
You also have total control over what you write about and how you monetize your blog.
Learning how to start a blog has been life-changing for me, and I felt that way when I was making an extra $2,000-$3,000 a month from my site.
If you’re interested in starting a blog, I highly recommend a WordPress blog hosted through Bluehost. It’s $2.95 a month, and it’s great for new bloggers.
But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, check out Launch That Blog. This is a free service when you go with Bluehost. My team sets your site up for you, it comes with a free domain name, and you get a ton of bonus freebies.
Transcriptionists listen to audio files and convert them into text documents, and you can work as a medical, legal, or general transcriptionist. General transcriptionist is a catch-all for work that doesn’t fall under the medical or legal category.
The work might sound easy – listen to a recording and type what you hear – but most online jobs for transcriptionists require you to have some training. That’s because you’ll have to understand specific terminology, work with thick accents or background noises, and learn to use the tools that make the job easier, like a foot pedal.
General transcriptionists make around $15-$30/hour, but if you have a legal background, like paralegal or legal secretary, you can make even more as a legal transcriptionist.
Learn how to get started in Online Transcription Jobs for Beginners | 7 of the Best Companies to Start With.
8. Write an ebook
Writing and self-publishing an ebook has become an affordable option for new authors that want to enter the market. You can save a lot on design, printing, and distribution costs, plus you don’t have to deal with editors or publishing companies that want to change your work – you’re in control of it.
And for successful authors, ebooks can be a fairly passive way to make money.
I’m not going to say this is an easy way to make money… you have to write an entire book. But ebooks don’t need to follow traditional publishing standards for length or style. If you’re interested in self-publishing, start by checking out Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. This platform is set up for new authors.
9. More freelance jobs online
This article lists several freelance online jobs (writing, proofreading, ads manager, etc.), but the reality is there are online jobs for nearly every kind of freelancer. All freelancing means that you’re paid as an independent contractor and work for a variety of clients.
Most of the people on my team are freelancers – I have a couple of editors and virtual assistants, as well as a web designer, writer, SEO guru, and project manager. Some of them freelance as a side hustle and others do it full-time.
You can also freelance as a:
- Graphic designer
- Video editor
- Sound design
- Web developer
- Travel consultant
- Data analyst
- Property management
- WordPress developer
Another idea is to set up a blog or website to tell people more about who you are and what you do, identify the kind of clients you’d like to work with (what niche you want to work in), and then email potential clients to introduce yourself and give a brief description of how you can help them.
You’ll inevitably hear some people say “no thanks,” but you won’t get a “yes” until you put yourself out there.
10. Online English teacher
VIPKid is a platform that connects teachers to young Chinese students who want to learn English. But here’s what’s interesting about the online jobs on VIPKid… you don’t need to have a teaching degree or a degree in English.
However, you will need a bachelor’s degree or higher and have experience working with kids. That can be raising your own kids, working at a summer camp, babysitting, working at a daycare or preschool, and tutoring.
VIPKid teachers make $14-$22/hour, and as a former teacher, I love that VIPKid takes care of lesson planning for you. That takes a lot off of your plate!
Learn more in my VIPKid Review: How to Apply, How to Get Paid, and Is It Legit?
Bookkeepers are similar to accountants in that they help with the financial aspects of running a business, but bookkeepers are responsible for doing specific jobs, like:
- Paying bills
- Collecting payments
- Update financial records and check them for accuracy
- Receive and record payments
- Reimburse work-related expenses
- Manage payroll
You will need pretty solid math skills, know how you read and create spreadsheets, be detail-oriented, have excellent organizational skills, and be a problem solver. Bookkeepers can make anywhere from $20-$40/hour.
Learn how to get started at How to Become a Bookkeeper (Can You Really Start With Zero Experience?). I explain how to start on your own, plus courses and certification options.
As soon as companies started leveraging social media to reach new customers and increase brand awareness, there became a need for social media managers. These are people who execute and supervise a brand’s social media presence. It’s a little public relations, some marketing, and customer service.
Big brands obviously need social media managers, but there are online jobs available at smaller companies and with solopreneurs. And you can make $15-$40/hour doing things like:
- Scheduling posts
- Replying to comments
- Creating images for posts
- Running reports and analyzing traffic data
- Moderating online groups
- Developing a brand identity and ensuring brand consistency across platforms
Most social media managers I know love the flexibility and the fast-paced and fun environment. You can learn more in our post on How to Become a Social Media Manager in 2020.
13. Create and sell online courses
Before starting this site, I was a high school band director. I didn’t enjoy district meetings and dealing with angry parents, but I genuinely loved teaching. That’s probably why creating online courses has been a big part of my business strategy.
I’ve leveraged my skills and expertise to teach people how to make more money and grow their blogs. It’s been incredibly rewarding, and my courses now make up a pretty decent chunk of my income.
Creating courses allows you to make money teaching people how to do something that can improve their lives. It can be a skill they can monetize (side hustle skills) or just something they’ll enjoy doing (watercolor, meditation, drawing, etc.).
And this might surprise you, but you’re probably qualified to create a course on something. Hear me out…
What are you really good at? What topic do people ask you for help with? What skills do you have? Use your answers to those questions as a starting point.
One of my readers created a course on graphic design, and she’s been sharing her success in my M$M Facebook Community. It’s been pretty phenomenal watching her go.
Once you have an idea, check out online teaching platforms like Teachable and Udemy to see what courses similar to yours include and how they’re priced. But above all, focus on what you can do to improve your students’ lives. That’s what they’re paying you for.
You can learn even more about creating a course in this article written by my good friend and business partner, Mike Yanda: How to Structure Your Course & Create a System to Sell the Hell Out of it All Year Long.
14. Start a YouTube channel
I’m going to be completely honest with you, I kind of didn’t think YouTube was a legit online job for real people for a long time. That sounds crazy since I’m a blogger, and lots of people still don’t think this is a real job.
But then my wife Coral started a YouTube channel, and I realized that there is money to be made on YouTube. My wife has been running her YouTube channel for over a year now, doing product reviews and offering home decorating tips, and she’s actually been making money.
It took her about three months to make $200, but now she’s started making affiliate income and more in ad revenue. One of her videos recently reached 100K views!
Before I get in trouble, it’s not that I didn’t believe she could do it, I wasn’t sure if there was still room to make money on YouTube. Turns out she was right, like always!
Making money on YouTube is a fairly slow business model, like blogging, but there is still room on the platform. Coral has had a ton of fun doing it because she’s focusing on something she loves – that’s the key!
Coral shares a little bit about her experience starting a YouTube channel, and I explain the steps it takes to start a channel in How Much Do YouTubers REALLY Make in 2020?
15. Start an Etsy shop online
Etsy is an online marketplace for crafty, handmade, and vintage goods. It’s grown into a massive platform connecting makers and buyers around the world.
People have started turning to Etsy for party favors, decorations, jewelry, home decor, clothing, gifts, and so much more. But if you’ve ever made something with your hands, you understand how hard it is to make your money back.
One area that offers a higher profit ratio is creating and selling printables. These are digital files for all sorts of things – invitations, cards, stickers, calendars, planner pages, organization tools, even art that you can frame.
Printables have a higher profit because you don’t have to invest as much time and money into creating and making these goods. The cost of shipping is pretty much gone considering the digital files are delivered online. Those reasons also mean this online job can generate some fairly passive income.
16. Professional flipper
Flipping furniture is an idea I’ve been telling people about for years. See, people are always getting rid of perfectly good pieces of furniture – I’m sure you’ve seen stuff on the curb for big trash pick-up.
Most of the time this stuff is in great shape. I think people just want something new and don’t want to spend their time selling or donating things. You might need to repaint, polish, tighten screws, or replace hardware, but flipping those things for a profit is a viable option.
Once you’ve fixed the item up a bit, you can sell it on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, start your own website, and more.
Flipping isn’t limited to furniture either. You can flip sports gear, collectibles, workout equipment, as well as gently used clothes, baby gear, video games, electronics, and more. The couple behind Flea Market Flipper made over $79K in 2019, and they were only working 10-15 hours per week.
You can learn what kind of items they flip, how they got started, and their tips for selling in this free workshop: Learn the Art of Flea Market Flipping.
17. Customer service representative
Over the past few months, I’ve been paying attention to what kinds of online jobs big companies are hiring for, and one of the biggest areas is customer service. It’s an easy one for companies to push to remote work because it’s something that can be done 100% online.
The barrier to entry for this kind of work is incredibly low too, which means it’s something almost anyone can do with very little experience. Still, there are some qualifications:
- Patience and politeness: You’re going to deal with frustrated (and sometimes rude) customers who really need help, so make sure you’re able to stay polite and professional.
- Ability to multitask and problem solve: You’ll need to be a quick thinker who can stay organized.
- Basic computer skills: Some online jobs will require more advanced skills, but most don’t.
- Quiet workspace: You’re spending time on the phone or listening to people’s issues online, so make sure you’re in an environment where you hear them well and give them your undivided attention.
Online customer service representatives make around $10-$20/hour, and FlexJobs is a great place to look for openings.
18. Take online surveys
Before I tell you much about this one, I want to warn you: taking online surveys isn’t a high-paying job at all. But taking online surveys is a really easy way to make a few bucks when you have a little extra time.
Online surveys are tools that companies use for market research. Consumers (like you!) answer questions that help companies understand what customers want so they can create better products.
Surveys generally only pay around $1-$3/hour, but like I said, it's easy money if you have a little extra time and want something that requires very little commitment.
Survey Junkie is one of the highest-rated survey sites – they have over 10 million users. Learn how to sign up and how you make money in Survey Junkie Review 2020: Is It a Legit Side Hustle?
Where do I find online jobs?
What’s nice about these platforms is that you know exactly who’s hiring so you’re not wasting your time. The downside is that you’re competing with lots of other freelancers and side hustlers. Plus, some of these platforms can take a small percentage of your earnings.
The alternative, and I mentioned this when I talked about other freelance job opportunities, is to create a website or blog, list your services on that site, and then start pitching clients. I’d also recommend reaching out to people you know, using old contacts, and networking within your field.
I got my first Facebook ad client by pitching the idea to a business I used, and I grew that side hustle by pitching others and using word of mouth.
Learn how FlexJobs works at FlexJobs Review: Is It Worth Paying For?
How do you know if an online job is legit?
This is a really good question! And the sad reality is that there are lots of online or work-from-home job scams out there. Here are some tips to protect yourself:
- Google the company and look for reviews. Sites like Trustpilot, Glassdoor, and even the Better Business Bureau will have online job reviews that will help you avoid scams.
- Avoid companies that ask you to spend a lot of money upfront on products. I’m talking about multi-level-marketing companies that promise $$$$ as long as you buy this starter package. Also, if your earnings are tied to what the people below you are making, that’s a major red flag.
- Stay away from “opportunities” that sound too good to be true. If a website promises you will earn life-changing money in just a couple of days by doing something super simple, it might be a scam. Your gut will probably tell you to avoid these things – listen to it!
- Be smart when it comes to payment. For online jobs where you’re dealing directly with a client, you can always ask for a partial payment upfront if you’re concerned. Checks or bank transfers coming from individuals would make me nervous, but that’s the norm with larger companies. I personally use PayPal to pay my freelancers, and this or Venmo is pretty standard.
The final word on online jobs
There is a lot of room out there in the online sphere. More and more companies are outsourcing to freelancers or moving entire departments to remote work. This provides some inherent flexibility, and I’m all for that.
But as you’ve learned, there are plenty of online jobs if you’re just looking to make some side hustle cash. This gives you a great opportunity to set and reach your financial goals. Now take what you’ve learned and put it to work!