How to Make Money Online for Free

Three Methods:Online OpportunitiesPlanning Your Long-Term Online CareerFinding Career Opportunities

There are times when we find ourselves at loose ends in our careers. Sure, we could watch movies, take long walks on the beach, or play WoW until the kids get home, but that gets really boring, really fast. But there's hope, even when jobs are tight. We can turn to creative solutions to beat the blahs and generate some income, and what better way to do that than to use the Internet? There are ways to make money online that don't require any up-front capital. What follows is a sampling of the potential opportunities and some pointers for capitalizing on them and putting cash in your pocket.

Method 1
Online Opportunities

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    Play to your strengths. Making money online is a lot easier when you are doing things directly related to your source of income.
    • For example, if you are a regular blogger and have a following, you can use Google AdSense to generate income. AdSense analyzes your content, and directs ads to your page that is relevant to your followers. The more followers you have, the more AdSense will work for you.
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    Perform a service. There are many businesses out there that need as many people as possible, working online, to become successful. Usually these service-oriented companies do not pay a lot per item, but if you're fast and accurate, the the pennies add up to dollars and can be a great source of income. Look for opportunities like these:
    • Online surveys. Consumer data is an incredibly valuable commodity that companies will pay a lot of money to have, and the way a lot of this data is collected is through surveys. The more surveys you complete, the more you will earn.
    • Be a writer. The Internet is jam-packed with readers (you're one now!) The one thing that readers need the most are writers. There are sites such as Zerys that specialize in bidding out writing jobs that range from $.01 to $.10 a word. You may start in the $.01 to $.03 range, but the more you write—providing you write well—the more you will make per word.
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    Put your skills on the market. You may have talents in audio or film editing; you might be an awesome graphic designer; maybe your forte is programming, or making mobile apps that people love. Where once people went to the temp agencies, they now sign up with sites like Upwork (formerly Elance and oDesk).
    • Sign up is free, generally easy, and often can be handled simply by signing in through Facebook or Twitter. Create an online profile, use a professional photo, and people who need your skills will see your smiling mug and awesome skillset when they're looking for somebody with your talents.
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    Become an affiliate marketer. Like using Google's AdSense, if you have a web presence with any kind of following, becoming an affiliate marketer can generate a substantial income if you do it well.
    • Sign up with a company that has an affiliate program. You can research popular or trending topics with Google Trends, and pick an affiliate partner based on current events, or you can pick a partner based on your own preferences.
    • For example, if you are a musician, Musician's Friend offers an Affiliate Program that is very partner-friendly.
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    Buy and sell the Internet. OK, maybe not the whole Internet, but buying and selling domain names can generate some extra spending money.
    • Think beyond the obvious. While most short names have been long-since taken, consider a couple alternatives: hyphenated names are more common now that the one-word names have been assigned; also, unique family names have selling potential. While it may not generate the kind of dollars a multinational corporation might pay for a name, family names are personal enough that people might be willing to part with a few hundred dollars to "own" their surname on the Internet.
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    Be creative. Above all, use your imagination when investigating online money-making opportunities. Regardless of your education or experience, you have skills that people want. Grab your Google, plug in some keywords, and find your niche!

Method 2
Planning Your Long-Term Online Career

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    Look ahead. While finding ways to generate an income online can be fairly straightforward, taking that from the spare change category to a full-fledged income takes some dedication. But the process isn't difficult if you do a little planning.
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    Open your calendar application. If you're going to make money online, you're going to need to manage your time. Google Calendar is a great solution if you don't already have a calendar application.
    • Look at the month view. See all that empty white space? We're going to rectify that.
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    Switch to the week view. Now, scroll to next week, and starting next Monday, create an event that represents the time you can spend working.
    • If you have coffee with a friend in the morning, a racquetball game at noon, or have to pick up the kids at 3pm, adjust your time accordingly—including commute and decompress time.
    • Repeat this step for every day of next week, until your calendar is filled:
    • Don't forget to give yourself a lunch break of at least a half hour. You—and your eyes—will need the break.
    • This will not only help you plan your work availability, it will also help you see where you might be able to recover some extra time for launching your online career.
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    Remember, quality over quantity. Launching a career requires hard work, but if your time is managed well you are exponentially more likely to become successful than if you dedicated an entire day but accomplished nothing.
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    Be a self-starter. This may or may not come naturally to you, but it's a valuable skill to master for working online. As the saying goes, "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog," but you do. Here are a couple tips to help you stay motivated:
    • Remind yourself at the start of the day what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you hope to accomplish. Do that for the short term—today—and for the overall goals you have set for your online career. If you don't do any of the other steps, do this one. It not only helps direct your focus, it puts you into a "work" mindset.
    • Keep a morning routine as if you were going into a professional office. (On casual Friday. Let's not get carried away here!) Set your alarm clock, work out, shower, shave, have some breakfast—whatever your routine might be for office days, keep it going. It puts you in the mindset of "professional," rather than "homebody."
    • Don't sit for 8 hours at a time. Every couple hours—or whenever you finish a significant task—get up and take a walk. The latest reports say sitting all day is very unhealthy. It's hard to be motivated and at your best when you are ill.
    • Don't neglect your personal life. It can be very easy when focusing your energy on starting a career, but play the long game. Friends and family are important, and will be there long after you've retired.
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    Be realistic. Starting a business—any business—is hard, and it's not going to make you rich overnight. You've probably heard the stories where the excited housewife went from living in a trailer park to owning a mansion in just a year, thanks to "Willy Billy's Patented GetRichNow™" program, but that's not reality.
    • Willy Billy, on the other hand, wrote and sold 50,000 copies of his book for $39.95 and raked in nearly $2 million.
    • He also planned a marketing and sales campaign that hooked a mere hundredth of 1% of the U.S. population. Willy Billy got rich, but he didn't do it overnight.
    • Exercise due diligence when looking at any online opportunity.

Method 3
Finding Career Opportunities

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    Think about what you want to do. It's always best to play to your passions—for example, if you're a wine aficionado, you could start a wine blog and become the next Robert Parker while supporting yourself selling ads on your blog.
    • Just as in the world of brick-and-mortar, there are entry-level jobs and high-paying careers. You may need to start at entry level and work your way up, or you might be able to start at the top. But don't expect to start at the top unless you've already got a lot of expertise and recognition in your field.
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    Think big. You may not have the expertise or recognition you need—right now—but if you think ahead, and think big, there's no reason not to get started now, and start building for the future. Here are some online careers that have a lot of traction now, and will likely continue to be career-worthy for some time to come.
    • Home-based physicians and radiologists. Part of a growing field loosely defined as "telehealth," medical professionals are finding life outside the office is rewarding, both monetarily and in flexibility. Other jobs in this field include registered nurses and medical transcriptionists.
    • Software engineers. This is one of the original "work at home" professions, and comprises software engineers, computer scientists, system administrators, technical support, database programmers, UX designers, and more.
    • Creative arts. This broad category includes authors, bloggers, graphics designers, PR specialists, social media experts, and the ever-popular web designer.
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    Understand that this is a process of trial and error. Whatever online career you undertake, there will be successes and failures. Accept this, but do not become complacent.
    • Learn from your mistakes and use the information you've gathered to change your methods and improve your productivity, quality, or whatever you've found needs attention.
    • Keep moving forward. As philosophers have long recognized, "perseverance furthers."


  • Don't let anyone hold you down. Many people criticize those making an income from home. Refuse to let negativity stop you from achieving success.
  • "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier
  • According to Forbes, studies show that at-home workers are willing to earn up to 30% less. When you factor in the lack of a commute—including gas, wear-and-tear, and restaurant (or fast-food) lunches, it's not a surprise.
  • The most important tip is: Never give up! If at first you don't succeed, try again. Sometimes the future may seem bleak—do not let that hold you back. Keep pushing, and you'll come out on top.


  • Always beware of scams! Perform your due diligence before handing over your information to any program, company, or offer.
  • Examine the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service for anything you're considering signing up to. This will help you determine if they are going to spam you, sell or rent your information to other companies, and things of that nature.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Working from Home