8 Secret Tips for Making Money Online

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Times are tough right now for many Americans. Inflation is still a force to be reckoned with, major corporations are announcing massive layoffs, and a recession is almost certainly on the horizon. As woes over the economy worsen, the need to make moneymore money — is intensifying. 

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A new study from LendingTree found that 44% of Americans say they have a side hustle — up 13% from 2020. Depending on income from more than one job has become the norm, but what side gigs are out there?

We all know about driving for Uber or DoorDash, but what about things we can do from the luxury of our own homes via the internet? Here too, we know some played-out ideas — e.g., selling things on eBay, becoming a virtual assistant, getting into social media marketing.

There’s more you can do with a strong Wi-Fi connection and some smarts. Here’s a look at eight lesser-known ways to make money online.   

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Creating Written Guides

“There are plenty of TikTok videos on how you can create and sell study guides for different subjects and then sell them via Amazon (by publishing on Kindle) or on Etsy as a digital download,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.

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“These may require some knowledge of things like Canva or Adobe programs to create the pages, but Canva has a lot of free options; so, if you don’t want to pay for pro levels of services, you have options. Be sure to pay attention to how your items are performing — it may be worth creating some easy guides to see how they do and then lean into that format for all of the ones you create. These are usually pretty cheap — around $4 or so depending on the subject and complexity of the guide — but this is a really easy way to make some passive income; and, over time, you may earn more as your products garner better reviews.”

Gaming Live on Twitch 

“If you like presenting video games, then know that you may be able to make a living from your passion thanks to the Twitch platform,” said Daniel Neale, the founder of Gadget-Faqs. “Twitch is a platform that will allow you to do ‘lives’ and therefore have spectators who will watch you play video games. These viewers will be able to donate and subscribe to your Twitch channel. By subscribing, viewers pay $ 4.99, half of which is yours.”

Make Your Money Work Better for You

Running a Faceless YouTube Channel 

“Faceless YouTube channels report earning up to $2,000 a month for beginners with a steady number of subscribers and viewers,” said Ronald Ander, the CEO of SEOAnt. “You will need to continuously create content by tapping the free video and soundtrack databases only to help keep your channel vibrant and interesting. Also, consider creating black screen content that people can sleep to such as rain sounds, chilled life lectures and meditation speeches.”

Monetizing Your Location Data

“You probably have over a dozen apps on your phone that track every step you’ve ever taken,” said Min Tom, the CEO and founder of Happy Hong Konger. “It’s now time to monetize it. Tapestri users can earn up to $25 per month simply by enabling location sharing. Tapestri then collaborates with major brands to gain insight into consumer behavior and shopping patterns.”

Selling Photos 

“This is something that I have been doing for over 15 years,” said Jurga Rubinovaite, founder of FullSuitcase.com. “It started as a hobby; but, a few years later, I made a few thousand dollars from it every month. Now I have my own business and haven’t uploaded any new pictures for over five years, so the income from royalties is significantly lower. But, even after so many years, I’m still making $100 to $300 per month from the old pictures with zero time spent on it.”

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Testing Apps 

“Another low key way of making income online is through app testing,” said Julien Brault, the CEO of Hardbacon. “Some platforms like User testing or Try My UI will pay you to test new mobile apps or websites. You’re providing value for companies, because they want people to test their apps, and this is much cheaper for them than going through a user testing company. They simply put up the info in the app, you try it out and get paid.

“When you take part in user testing, you can earn $10 via PayPal for each 20-minute test or interview that you complete — a nice and easy quick side hustle that is very low profile and doesn’t require you to get your name out there.”

Legally Scalping Tickets  

“If you’re someone who is interested in buying and selling but would prefer a more low-key, secretive way of doing it, you can try getting involved in online ticket scalping,” Brault said. “As people are going to more and more live events through 2023, there is a unique opportunity to make money from ticket prices, and you can do it all from home and very low profile.

“When people are looking for last-minute concert tickets, they are willing to pay extra to get the seats they want,” Brault said. “That’s where you come in. Sites like StubHub allow you to legally purchase tickets for concerts and other events and resell them on their sites. Choose the right concerts that are selling out and that you know are going to be popular, then simply list the tickets at the price you want on StubHub or another similar site.”

Becoming an Amazon Mechanical Turk

“Despite embracing technology and automation, some tasks require human touch,” said Tom Koesternen, a chartered financial analyst with The Guaranteed Loans. “You can work as an Amazon Mechanical Turk and maintain a low profile. Your work will be to tag images, classify receipts or transcribe videos. You can get the position by joining MTurk Crowd forum or Turker Nation subreddits. It pays between $17 and $20 an hour.”

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Make Your Money Work Better for You

About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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