You don’t always have to spend money to make money. If you want to launch a side gig to generate regular part-time income, or if you’re looking for some quick extra cash, there are websites that can help you do it.
Of course, it depends on your definition of “quick cash.” Sometimes earning fast cash still means putting in a decent time investment. That’s why our list of ways to make money online is in order from approximately the longest time investment to the shortest time investment. Because time is, after all, money.
Consider these top resources to make money online:
— Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
— Fine Art America.
— Merch by Amazon.
— Fat Llama.
— User Interviews.
Depending on whether you’re looking to earn extra money temporarily or build a long-term income stream, each of the following websites offers unique advantages (and sometimes disadvantages) tailored to different needs and interests. Read on for more information about each site.
1. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing
How it works: It’s a self-publishing website: You write a book and Amazon will help you get it published on Kindle.
Highlights: You’ll be a self-published author, and if everything goes right, theoretically you could make some good money. By everything going right, you’ll need people to presumably already follow you on social media and be interested in what you have to say. You’ll get royalties, either 35% or 70%, depending what you choose. It sounds obvious that a 70% royalty is better, but there are various rules you’ll have to adhere to. For one, you’d have to price the book between $2.99 and $9.99. If you go with 35%, you can charge whatever you like. You’ll want to do some research on this before making a decision.
Drawbacks: Writing a book is hard, and if you really want to do it right, you may want to hire an editor or even a ghostwriter, both of which could set you back financially.
Time investment: Probably a fair amount of work. If you’re a fast writer, maybe you can crank out something readable in a few days, but let’s assume that if you’re going to do this right, at least a few weeks, maybe months or possibly years.
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2. Fine Art America
How it works: It’s a website where you can set up an account, upload your images and start selling your artwork to potentially millions of buyers around the world.
Highlights: You’ll keep whatever you charge. It’s the customer who pays additional commissions, generally 30%, or fees. And there are several types of art or products with art on them sold here. You could sell paintings, T-shirt designs, greeting cards and more.
Drawbacks: What if you painted a painting, and nobody bought it? That could definitely happen — and there are a lot of artists for people to choose from.
Time investment: It could take a lot of work, if you’re an artist and a perfectionist. It could take less if you’re a skilled artist who really knows what they’re doing.
How it works: This is a popular website that can be helpful for freelancers. Know something about digital animation? You can work for someone who doesn’t have these skills and pick up some extra cash. Even better, you can offer to compile web research for someone.
Highlights: You can make good money from the site, says Dan Bochichio, a web designer and digital strategist in Albany, New York, who runs a small business called Bocain Designs. He says his firm sometimes earns $3,000 to $5,000 a month on Fiverr.
“To stay ahead of the competition, I make sure my Fiverr profile and gig descriptions are well-written and communicate the value of the services I’m offering. When someone reaches out to me, I make sure to reply as quickly as I can and follow up with the inquiry by asking good questions. A quick but carefully written reply will increase the odds of them hiring you drastically,” Bochichio says.
Drawbacks: Bochichio’s success aside, Fiverr’s name comes from the fact that many people used to work for $5 a task. You can ask for more and arguably should, but a lot of your prospective clients may expect low rates. Keep in mind, Fiverr takes a 20% commission.
Time investment: Possibly considerable. If you’re asked to create a digital animated short, for instance, that isn’t something you’re going to whip up in 20 minutes. Plus, it may take 14 days for your money to reach your bank account after your work has been approved, although if you are a regular on Fiverr, you may get it in seven days.
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How it works: Upwork is essentially a meeting site where businesses and freelancers throughout the world can connect and collaborate on certain projects. Businesses hire freelancers for a variety of services, including writing, web design and pretty much any work that can be done on a computer.
Highlights: Upwork takes a 10% commission from freelancers.
Drawbacks: Upwork is popular, so there is a lot of competition on the website, and that can be a real drawback for people who are new to Upwork and aren’t up to speed on how it works.
Time investment: As with Fiverr, you may find projects that require days to complete. If you’re tasked with creating someone’s website, that may take a little time. Then after your work has been approved, it can take 10 days to get paid. If you’re working regularly for someone, you may be able to get paid weekly.
How it works: Rover is a website that matches interested dog and cat sitters with people who need their pets watched. You can offer services like dog walking, but you can also offer other services like housesitting at the pet’s home or keeping your client’s pet at your home.
Highlights: Rover takes a 20% to 25% commission.
Drawbacks: Well, you’re taking care of pets, and things can go wrong, like being on the receiving end of a dog bite or having a cat scratch up your sofa or a dog doing his business on your new carpet. Rover does have insurance that will reimburse you if something went terribly off course, but you’d have to pay the first $250 of any damages.
Time investment: Hard to say. If you’re walking somebody’s dog on a regular basis, maybe you’re spending 30 or 60 minutes a day on an activity. If you’re caring for a dog at your home for two weeks, then it’s a two-week investment. Either way, if you’re a pet person, it sounds like a pretty enjoyable way to make some money.
How it works: If you’re an artistic person who can make unique wares, such as custom jewelry or refrigerator magnets, Etsy is the place to sell your products.
Highlights: It’s easy to navigate the site and set up a shop.
Drawbacks: There’s tough competition on Etsy. On one hand, a lot of people know about Etsy and visit the site. But once you put up your wares, as with Upwork and Fiverr, you are among scores of people selling stuff on Etsy. It may feel a little overwhelming. And while you can make good money on Etsy, you could also invest a lot of time and earn nothing, or very little, if there isn’t demand for your products. Also, you’ll pay a 6.5% transaction fee to Etsy on every sale.
Time investment: How fast does it take you to make your products? You’ll work at your own pace, so depending what you make or sell, it could take a week or it could take a couple hours. Generally, you get your money about three days after your point of sale. After three months on Etsy, you’ll start getting paid the next business day.
How it works: Are you willing to get your hands dirty? People come to this site to find those willing to do various tasks, such as putting together a bookcase, cleaning out a garage or running an errand. Do as many tasks as you want, and this could become quite the part-time (or full-time) job.
Highlights: You can apply for tasks, but you can also create a profile, explaining what tasks you’re skilled at, and people may seek you out for work.
Drawbacks: A lot of the tasks you’ll find on TaskRabbit are, as noted, physical — like setting up furniture. Of course, if that’s your jam, that’s a plus.
Time investment: Plan on it taking several hours. Generally, these tasks aren’t huge time investments. Payments are usually approved within 24 hours of task completion, and you can expect the money to land in your bank account three to five days later.
8. Merch by Amazon
How it works: John Frigo, a digital marketing specialist in Naperville, Illinois, says he sometimes makes money on the side by creating designs for T-shirts. He sells them on Merch by Amazon as well as other platforms like Redbubble.com.
Highlights: Frigo says you can simply upload your designs to Merch by Amazon and get paid. “Graphic designers can upload T-shirt designs and at that point it’s pretty much entirely passive, and you’re paid a royalty for every one of your designs that sell — but you don’t have to handle returns, do any customer service or ship anything,” Frigo says.
Drawbacks: You probably won’t get rich. For instance, Merch by Amazon offers examples of royalty prices, and for a T-shirt that sells for $15.99, the royalty would be $1.93. Still, once the hard work — designing the piece — is done, it’s easy money. If somebody buys your T-shirt, that is.
Time investment: Let’s assume at least a few hours. Maybe you’re an artist who can knock designs out in a hurry. Maybe you take weeks. Most people should expect to set aside a few hours. As for when you see your money, assuming you’re doing a brisk business selling your products you could get paid once a month.
How it works: Do you have storage space in your house? Or maybe an empty garage or storage shed? You could rent out these spaces on Neighbor.com, which is sort of like Airbnb for the self-storage industry. You set your own prices, and the person who rents your space will pay Neighbor.com a service fee.
Highlights: You’re paid via direct deposit or you can receive a debit card at the end of the month. There are fees subtracted from your payment for using Neighbor.com: a processing fee of 4.9% of the total reservation plus 30 cents per monthly payout.
Drawbacks: If you suddenly need to use your storage space, you must give your renter 30 days of advance notice to pick up their stuff. If you don’t give them enough notice, you’ll pay a $60 early eviction fee.
Time investment: Plan for at least a couple of hours to prepare to store someone’s stuff, which may involve cleaning. You get paid after approximately 30 days of providing storage.
How it works: If you don’t have the energy to hold a yard sale, OfferUp may be the next best thing. After you take a picture of what you have and price it, hopefully someone nearby will see it online, love it, send you a note and you’ll meet — in a public place, OfferUp’s website recommends — and you can get your cash. OfferUp also offers ways to mail items to buyers.
Highlights: OfferUp is often compared to Craigslist, but some users claim it’s an easier site to post on. If you download the app, you can send instant messages to buyers and sellers, plus members who have profiles, so you can get a better sense of your buyers. If someone has earned badges on OfferUp, that’s a good sign they’re considered a trusted, reputable seller on the site. It’s also worth noting that it’s free.
Drawbacks: The site is free to use, but it does have some services, like nationwide shipping and fast deposit, that come with a fee (there is no free lunch). Also, as noted, if you meet a buyer to exchange an item, meet in a public place. On its website, OfferUp says, “Keep in mind that just because someone is buying or selling online doesn’t guarantee your safety: You’re responsible for your safety, so when you arrange a meetup, take sensible precautions. In the event of an emergency or any danger, call 911 or your local emergency number.”
Time investment: Probably an hour or two of work, or the process could span days, depending how long it takes to sell your item. You take some pictures, set a price, negotiate with the buyer and possibly schedule a meetup to exchange the item for cash. If you ship an item to a buyer, it generally takes about four to five days for the money to show up in your bank account.
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11. Fat Llama
How it works: Do you have a lot of nice stuff that you think people in your neighborhood would want to rent out? For instance, maybe you have an expensive telescope or camera that often sits in your closet? You could rent it out on Fat Llama’s website for money. Note that everything is insured for up to $30,000.
Highlights: It’s a good way to make money off something you paid for but don’t use all the time. For the renter, it’s a practical strategy to spend less money instead of buying something expensive that they won’t use all the time.
Drawbacks: You may have a lot of stuff, but not stuff anyone wants to rent. While you decide on the rental fee, Fat Llama takes 25% of that.
Time investment: As long as it takes to post photos of what you’re renting out and to meet the person and so on. Fat Llama’s website says that when you rent out an item, they’ll send you the due amount within 24 hours of the start date of the rental. This will normally hit your account a few work days after the start of the rental.
How it works: Nick Loper, creator of the blog SideHustleNation.com, is a fan of UserInterviews.com. “They specialize in matching you up with high-paying market research studies,” Loper says.
“Many of the studies are aimed at tech and industry professionals, but there are some general population studies as well,” Loper says. He adds that he has made $50 on the site, testing an online video tool, $30 to give his opinions on retiring early, and $10 to answer a short survey for bald men.
“If you’re not looking for regular freelance work, this is an easy one to add to your toolbelt,” Loper says.
Highlights: The money. While Loper’s earnings are on the low side, he believes you can make $40 to $200 an hour on the site.
Drawbacks: You do have to match up with what the site is looking for, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be chosen for something you would like to offer your opinions on. So it is a possible way to make occasional money and not something you’ll likely turn into a consistent cash cow.
Time investment: It truly varies. You might spend 10 minutes or a couple hours offering your opinions. But the more time you spend, you more money you’ll likely get.
How it works: This e-commerce company appeals to thrifty types looking to make money and sell their clutter for cash. The online thrift store sells previously worn women’s and children’s clothes. You send your clothes in a ThredUp bag with a prepaid mailing label, and ThredUp decides the value and how much you’ll get (as much as 80% of what it retails for), favoring popular brands and clothing in good condition.
So, if your clothing has seen better days but you still want to sell them, you may want to hold a yard sale. But if you have quality clothing, ThredUp enables you to sell these unwanted items and may even pay you enough so that you can buy new threads.
Highlights: The process is simple. ThredUp sends you a prepaid bag to put your clothes in or a shipping label if you prefer.
Drawbacks: You won’t get paid until your clothes are accepted by ThredUp. And if your items aren’t accepted, they are recycled unless you pay a fee to have them shipped back to you.
Time investment: Possibly a couple hours, or as long as it takes to look through your closet and navigate ThredUp’s website.
How it works: Like ThredUp, Swap is an online consignment store. After you send in used clothes and toys and games, Swap will sell them for you. As for how much you can make, the website explains that if something is priced for $8 or less, you’ll get 15% cash back or you can get a slightly more generous store credit. If your item sells for more than $8, you’ll get 70% of the cash, minus a $4.95 processing charge, or you can get a slightly more generous store credit.
Highlights: It’s easier than selling on Facebook Marketplace, where you generally must meet a buyer to hand off an item. Aside from gathering items in your home and putting them in a prepaid box, the process is easy.
Drawbacks: As with ThredUp, your clothes that you try to sell with Swap may be rejected, which means either you won’t get them back or you pay a fee to have them returned. There are also fees if more than 40% and especially if 50% of your Swap box is rejected. Swap is trying to demotivate people from sending them junk that nobody would pay money for.
Time investment: Possibly a couple hours or as long as it takes to hunt for some clothes and become familiar with Swap’s website. Even if you sell something quickly it can take some time to get paid. You’ll get paid at the end of the month for sales from the prior month.
How it works: If you have an old cellphone or another electronic device like an iPad or MacBook, you can sell your it here. The website will give you a cash offer for your device. If you agree, you’ll receive packaging materials. Gazelle pays the shipping costs, and you wait for a check in the mail, a gift card or cash transferred to your PayPal account. You may not make a fortune, but it’s better than letting an unused device collect dust on a shelf — and far better for the environment than tossing it in the trash.
Highlights: It’s a pretty seamless process from start to finish.
Drawbacks: If you send in, say, a cellphone, and it doesn’t meet Gazelle’s expectations, the offer for what it will pay may go down considerably. On the other hand, Gazelle will send your phone back for free, so you aren’t risking much other than time.
Time investment: Minutes. If all goes well, once Gazelle has your phone you’ll have it inspected and be paid within about three to five business days.
How it works: This is a popular site for selling gift cards. If you have unused gift cards and would rather have cash in your pocket, CardSell will make you an offer and you can exchange them for cash or another gift card.
Highlights: There’s no charge to mail your gift cards to CardSell and the process is pretty easy.
Drawbacks: You’ll never get the full value of your gift card. But that’s the downside any time you sell it on a website.
Time investment: Minutes. Within 48 hours, you should see the money in your PayPal account.
How it works: This is an online rewards program that has been around for more than 20 years. You can earn money in a variety of ways, including by doing surveys, visiting websites, completing offers and watching videos.
Highlights: You typically get paid within three days and there is no minimum amount required to cash out, which you’ll do through PayPal. You can also get paid through gift cards for as low as $5. Average surveys pay 75 cents for about 10 minutes of time.
Drawbacks: As you’ve probably guessed, you aren’t going to get rich doing this. QuickRewards doesn’t suggest that would be the case, however.
Time investment: It’s one of those type of websites where you can spend a few minutes taking surveys, or you can spend hours and hours. It’s up to you to decide just how much your time is worth.
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Best Websites to Make Money Online originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 10/12/23: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.