How To Make Money Online: 11 Proven Ways for 2021

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Remote work isn’t new. As many as one-fourth of Americans worked a few hours from home even before the shutdowns that occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in the digital era, more money-making opportunities are available than ever before. You can earn money online without working around the clock — or leaving the house at all.

Plus, working online can have benefits that a traditional 9-to-5 job doesn’t have, such as extreme flexibility, passive income and even total financial freedom.

Are you feeling motivated yet? If so, check out these great ideas for how to make money online from home.

Smart Ways To Earn Money Online

If you’re going to take the leap into the digital workspace, choose work that aligns with your goals. Fortunately, you have plenty of options — from selling your photos to teaching peers — to earn money online and boost your savings.

Remote Work and Freelancing Jobs

A growing number of companies are hiring remote workers. It’s also possible to be your own boss and work as a consultant or freelancer. Here are a few examples of full- and part-time jobs that let you earn money from home.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

1. Take Remote Freelancing Assignments

If you have a passion for writing, you might be able to make money online in 2021 by writing content for blogs or websites. Many companies offer assignments to aspiring and experienced writers alike.

An Increased Need for Freelancers

Freelance sites, such as the popular Upwork, often have jobs available for virtual assistants, bookkeepers, web designers and more. Demand for freelancers increased dramatically during the COVID-19 lockdowns. According to Freelancer’s “Fast 50” report, job postings on its site increased by 41% in the second quarter of 2020 — compared to the same quarter in 2019.

2. Become an App Developer

If you design a wildly popular app, you might be able to generate significant income. You can earn money by charging for the app, displaying in-app ads or charging for in-app features and upgrades.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

Americans own more smartphones than computers. Moreover, the number of Americans who rely on their smartphones is expected to increase. This also increases the demand for new apps, so you can make money online with a smartphone while using your smartphone.

3. Offer Graphic Design Services

If you have an interest in web development, take advantage of the demand for designers to build sites for businesses or organizations. Most graphic designers have a bachelor’s degree. Knowledge of design, computer graphics and design software are necessary.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

Sites such as Upwork are a good place to start for finding clients and building your portfolio.

Digital Media Products

If you have in-depth expertise about a specific subject, you could create digital media products to sell your knowledge and skills to others. Choose the format that best suits your audience and skill set, and then start producing.

4. Start a Podcast

If you have a story to tell or special knowledge to share, record it in a podcast. Podcasts are surprisingly simple to create and cost significantly less to produce than other digital media. The one drawback, however, is the ease of entry, which can lead to overcrowding in the marketplace.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

5. Contribute Photos, Videos and Other Media

Sites such as Adobe Stock and Shutterstock allow you to contribute your prized photography in addition to other media, which can generate royalties from each sale. Best of all, you retain all of the rights to your photos. You can use them in your own work or promote them on other sites.

The trends for photography in 2021 call for pictures that tell an emotional story, return to nature or exhibit “realness,” Shutterstock reported.


The internet makes it easier to match people in need with those who offer in-demand services. Platforms such as Fiverr and Care.com — and even online classifieds listings like Craigslist — give you a place to advertise.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

Some services, like tutoring, can be done over the internet. Others, like food delivery, take place in the real world. Here are a few examples of each.

6. Offer Transcription Services

Medical transcriptions provide a valuable service to healthcare providers. They listen to recorded notes from doctors and other practitioners and type them into reports. It’s a great option for working at home on your own time.

7. Deliver Food

Pizza delivery has been a staple part-time job for years. Now food delivery apps like DoorDash and Grubhub have expanded the concept to restaurants of all types. All you need is a reliable vehicle and working GPS to find your way around town.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

You’ll work when restaurants are busy, mostly during lunch and dinner times.

Via Apps

If you have a smartphone, there are options to earn money from an app in 2021. Some of the top apps include cash-back services and mobile listing sites. Best of all, you can do this work wherever you are.

8. Sell Clothing Online

Selling secondhand clothing on apps has been so successful that it now has its own name: recommerce. Start by cleaning out your closet. Then browse yard sales, clearance racks and local thrift stores for pieces to sell for a profit in your fashionable side hustle.

This is one of the easiest ways to earn $100 quickly. You just need in-demand products that are priced to sell.

Online Business

You can do more than market products and services online. It’s also possible to earn money on a website in 2021, especially if you use a website to sell merchandise or set appointments for services. These are some of the best ways to earn money online.

9. Set Up an Online Store To Sell Handcrafted Items

If you have an artistic side, consider selling handcrafted items on Etsy or another site to make money off your hobby. Some of the trending items on the platform include products that support specific communities, home goods, self-care and activities.

10. Teach an Online Course

Create online video courses and earn money from students. For example, you can teach students how to play the ukulele, meditate or use a software program. Online platforms, such as Udemy, help aspiring teachers find paying students, mostly adults and professionals, in their chosen disciplines. A second site, Outschool, is for students up to age 18.

On Udemy, U.S. course prices start at $9.99 for students. Instructors earn between 37% and 97% of the revenue share. At Outschool, the teachers set the price for their courses, and the site takes a 30% service fee.

11. Sell Customized Shirts Online

Selling graphic T-shirts is a big business. Sites such as Teespring, allow you to design and sell these shirts for a profit. You can increase your profit margin through Teespring’s pricing discount, which triggers as you sell more and more shirts.

There’s a growing demand for customized T-shirts. Companies use them to increase brand awareness among their target market. Custom T-shirts also meet a need in the fashion industry among consumers striving to show support for a cause.

Make Customer Service a Priority

When you first start out seeking online opportunities, you simply might be looking for how to make money online. But a few gigs here and there won’t give you a sustainable stream of income.

The best way to earn money online is to find a way you can support, sustain and scale your services or products over time. For many companies, the ultimate measure of success is giving customers what they want. As long as you meet a need, you will get customers. And some of those customers will give you repeat business and even referrals, which will help you grow your client base.

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Jami Farkas, Taylor Bell, Grace Lin and Bill Pirriglia contributed to the reporting for this article.

This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.