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How to make money online

Making money online is the sweet spot people look for in the gig economy. Whether you aspire to be a six-figure social media influencer, or are just looking to supplement your regular income with some online side jobs, we’ve found some viable options.

A man makes money online with freelance work.

1. Pick up freelance work online

Make money online through websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com. These sites offer opportunities to do a variety of freelance jobs, such as writing, programming, design, marketing, data entry and being a virtual assistant. Fluent in a second language? Check sites such as Gengo or Blend Express, or drum up business through a site of your own. No matter what freelancing you do, keep track of the going rate for the kind of work you provide so you know what to charge. Learn how to get started on Upwork.

Total time: It can take a while to get your first gig. Setup: 24 hours. How easy to start: Easy, if you have the expertise. How fast you’ll get paid: Varies by site.

2. Test websites and apps

Another way to make money from home is on sites like UserTesting.com. You get paid for your thoughts on how well — or not so well — certain websites and apps work. You’ll have to complete a short test to be accepted, then you’ll be paid depending on the test type.

Total time: Approval time can vary. Setup: Less than an hour. How easy to start: Easy, if you have the tech gear and complete a sample test. Age threshold: 18+. How fast you’ll get paid: Seven days.

3. Pick up tasks on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

Even in the age of automation, some jobs still require a human touch. Companies often outsource those jobs to a crowdsourcing marketplace like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. As a “worker,” the tasks you’ll be assigned can be tedious — tagging images, transcribing videos, classifying receipts — and can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Temporary employers or “requesters” set the price for each task and approve the finished product before paying you. That can leave room for scams, so do your research. Online communities like the Turkkit and Turker Nation subreddits can steer you away from shifty dealers and give a realistic idea of how much money you can expect to make. Read more about Mechanical Turk as a way to make quick money online.

Total time: Up to three business days to find out if you’re approved. Setup: Depends on the task you choose. How easy to start: Easy if you have certain skills. Age threshold: 18+. How fast you’ll get paid: You get paid following work approval, which can take up to 30 days.

4. Take surveys for money

You can make money from home by taking online surveys, but don’t expect to earn a lot. Survey sites don’t typically offer a big payoff, and many sites are more useful for earning gift cards than cash. Some of the more popular survey sites include Swagbucks and Survey Junkie. Read our analysis of survey sites to find out which one is best suited for you.

Total time: It will take a while. Setup: Just minutes. How easy to start: Very. Just register and begin. Age threshold: 13 to 18+. How fast you’ll get paid: Varies by site.

5. Make money from your blog with affiliate links

If you’re a blogger who gets decent traffic, you could make money by joining an affiliate network. Affiliates (that’s you) get paid when someone clicks through from the website to the partner site and buys something there. Some bloggers make a lot of money this way. Read more about affiliate marketing and other ways bloggers can make money.

Total time: It can take quite a while to build an audience. Setup: With blog templates, building a site is easy. How easy to start: Starting is not that difficult. Creating regular content may be another matter. Age threshold: Any. How fast you’ll get paid: A month or two, on average.

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