how to make money online
Updated April 07, 2023

How to Make Money Online: A Guide

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No matter if you are looking for a few at-home side gigs to earn income online or are interested in becoming a professional freelancer, you’ll quickly discover that there are hundreds of ways to make money online.

Unfortunately, not all of these opportunities are created the same. One of the most significant red flags we come across is a company who asks for an upfront investment for materials or supplies.

These companies are troublesome for a few reasons. Often they are scams, set up to either steal money or steal your identity. What’s to say that a company can’t request start-up funds and then never send you the materials?

If not a scam, the company could be a pyramid scheme, collecting your money knowing that you are not going to be successful in your attempt to earn income online while working with them.

Companies that request funds up-front often prey on those who are in a vulnerable position in their lives.

The belief is that those looking to earn income online are willing to do whatever it takes to do so, even it means investing absurd amounts of money without a guarantee that they’ll be successful.

This is something to be mindful of when browsing for freelance opportunities online. You should not need to empty your bank account to invest in a company up-front.

So, how is it possible to earn income online without an investment? Fortunately for you, we’ve taken the time to provide 11 opportunities for you do so. Continue reading below to learn more.

check out my full video walkthrough below.

1. SurveyJunkie

When it comes to making money online, SurveyJunkie continues to be one of the best opportunities we’ve found to date. According to the company website, they pay you to “be an influencer.”

You’ll take surveys from hundreds of companies, sharing your opinion on various products and services. The company will never ask for an initial investment, providing you with an excellent opportunity to begin earning money instantly.

Each time you complete a survey for the company, you earn points. The points you make are virtual, and you can only redeem them in the SurveyJunkie portal.

The portal allows users to redeem points for PayPal and e-Gift cards. So while you won’t be paid directly, you can quickly reclaim the points for a PayPal Cash Out option. The site also offers gift cards for stores such as:

  • Amazon
  • Target
  • WalMart

Many people enjoy SurveyJunkie because it is easy to get started and begin earning money. It’s also easy to turn your points into cash.

Anyone with a mobile phone or internet connection can work on surveys for the company. And, taking surveys allows you to make an impact, ensuring that your voice as a consumer will be heard.

One customer went as far as to say, “SurveyJunkie is actively the best survey community I’ve ever interacted with. It also has the best rewards. Thanks.”

For those looking to get their feet wet into the world of freelance and remote work, this could prove to be an excellent opportunity to do so.

2. Mistplay

Mistplay is a free new app that rewards you for downloading games from the App Store or Google Play Store through its own interface.

As you level up in the mobile games, you earn more points that you can redeem for gift cards at Amazon, VISA, PlayStation, Xbox, Apple, Starbucks, and more.

3. Sweatcoin

This opportunity doesn’t require you to make any investment besides the one you’ll make in yourself. That’s because with Sweatcoin you make money when you get in shape.

To us, that’s a win-win! You’ll benefit from improving your health and be paid for your efforts. If you’re someone who struggles with finding the motivation to workout, this could be an excellent way for you to stay on track and make money online.

In our opinion, the best thing about this opportunity is that it runs in the background, which means you can earn passive income without having to think about it.

The app relies on the GPS and accelerometer in your phone, tracking your steps throughout the day.

The app has its own currency, which is derived from the number of steps you take. According to the company’s website, 1,0000 steps is equivalent to .95 Sweatcoins.

Over time, your Sweatcoins will accumulate. You can then send them to a friend or choose to go shopping, using your coins as a digital currency.

Sweatcoin says that you can use its digital currency to get, “goods, services, and experiences ranging for anti-gravity yoga classes to high-tech shoes, to iPhones and Apple Watches.”

Right now, the company is offering a $50 Vivobarefoot credit for 75 Sweatcoins, and $1,000 PayPal Cash for 20,000 Sweatcoins.

So, while it may take you a few weeks or months to begin accumulating substantial money with Sweatcoin, it could be well worth your while to do so.

Seeing as all you need to do is download the app to your smartphone and complete the installation process, we see it as an excellent opportunity to begin earning income online without having to make an initial investment.

4. Turo

If you already own a car, then you may want to look into using Turo as a way to earn additional income. Turo is essentially a rental car service that utilizes the same principles as Lyft, Airbnb, and other customer-to-customer companies.

You don’t need to pay any fees to get started. Instead, you merely need to upload photos of your car along with a description. You’re good to go from there!

You’ll need to also keep a calendar up to date so that customers are aware when they can rent your car. Once someone books the vehicle, you’ll be able to confirm the trip and contact the driver to coordinate a location to meet.

Then, you’ll turn the keys over to them so that they can begin driving your vehicle and you can begin earning money!

Turo offers $1 million in liability insurance, so you won’t have to worry about damage to your vehicle. Also, customers are covered with 24/7 roadside assistance.

So, if you already have a car that you don’t use frequently, consider using Turo as a way to earn money without having to invest any additional capital.

5. Airbnb

Airbnb is very similar to Turo, except that instead of renting your car, you rent your home or your apartment. This opportunity may only be available to those who own their building, however.

If you rent from a landlord, be sure to check to confirm their stance about Airbnb. Many landlords do not want their tenants renting to a third-party and could evict you if they find out that you did so.

If you own your apartment or home, Airbnb could be an excellent way for you to make money without having to invest any additional income.

At Airbnb, you determine how much your home will cost per night. This means that you have direct control over your revenue stream.

Do you live in a prime location? Do you have a cool feature at your house that renters will enjoy using, such as a hot tub or pool table? Is your area an attractive destination on the weekends?

If so, you could set the prices of your home higher so that you can make more money. Airbnb also offers significant protection for their renters.

No matter if you have an entire unit you’d like to rent or merely a small guest bedroom, you can make additional money online with Airbnb.

6. GetUpside

Do you frequent gas stations and grocery stores? If so, you have an excellent opportunity to save when using GetUpside. As one individual described on the company’s website, “It’s free and you get free money back. It’s a win-win!”

According to GetUpside, they partner with business in the area who are looking to expand their customer base. By using the GetUpside app, you can see which local companies are offering deals for their services.

Then, you can shop at that location to earn free money. GetUpside offers up to 25 cents back at gas stations, 35 percent back at restaurants, and 15 percent back at grocery stores.

Getting started with GetUpside is easy, as you need to do nothing more than download the app to your iPhone or Android device.

You do not need to provide an initial investment to begin making purchases and earning cash back. The areas in which the company operates are a bit limited as of right now, but we expect them to expand rapidly soon.

7. Ibotta

Another excellent way to earn money online is through Ibotta. Ibotta rewards you for buying specific goods from a grocery store.

The company allows you to collect three ways – by sending a receipt, by linking a loyalty card, or by purchasing with their mobile app, which you can download to your phone.

Once you make a purchase, Ibotta will credit your account within 48 hours. The company works with nearly 300 stores, including Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, and Kroger.

You can also earn money back when purchasing through websites such as, iTunes, Groupon, and eBay.

Unlike some other opportunities on our list, which pay you in digital currency, Ibotta pays you in cash. All of your earnings are transferred to your Venmo or PayPal account once you accumulate at least $20.

The company also grants you the chance to convert your earnings to gift cards as well. This site is an excellent way to earn money by doing nothing else but shopping online.

8. Long Game

If you consider yourself a savvy investor, you may want to look into Long Game. We believe that this is one of the most exciting ways to earn money online and could prove to be beneficial for those looking for ways to start saving money.

When you download Long Game, you’ll begin by opening an interest-bearing savings account, which is FDIC-insured. Once the account is open, you can link a bank account to set up recurring payments.

From there, you can begin saving to earn Coins to play mini-games. When playing mini-games, you can win up to $1,000,000 in cash. You can earn Bitcoin and Ethereum as well.

As the company describes, Long Game is “the fun of mobile games and the thrill of the lottery, all with no risk…you can withdraw all your money at any time.”

The more financial goals that you meet, the more chances you’ll have to win free money. So, not only can this app help you save money but it could also help you earn free money as well.

9. Swagbucks

Swagbucks requires nothing more than an initial download, but it could prove to be very easy to use and begin earning. Customers can sign up for free and use a Swagbucks Search each time they browse the internet.

Each internet search provides users with access to points, which the company calls Swagbucks.

The company redeems these points at a rate of 100:1. This means that 100 Swagbucks is equivalent to one dollar.

Customers can then choose to redeem their points for any number of gift cards or PayPal Cash.

The company will also reward users for watching videos, shopping at one of more than 500 online stores, discovering special offers, answering surveys, and playing games.

Seeing as the website primarily runs in the background of your computer, there’s no easier way for you to begin earning money without having to provide an upfront investment.

10. Nielsen Computer & Mobile Survey

Another excellent survey opportunity available is through Neilson’s Computer and Mobile Panel. Here, the company will log particular statistics while you are working online, allowing them to build a comprehensive overview of internet behavior across the United States.

Customers who work with Neilson are eligible for a $10,000 giveaway each month. Getting started is easy, as you’ll first register with the company and answer a few questions about your background and your household.

Once registered, you can download the Nielson App to your computer and smartphone. With digital rewards available, it’s an easy to way to earn money online.

11. Writer

Another excellent way to begin collecting money online is by writing. You could do this on the side, starting a free blog. As your blog begins to gain traction, you can be paid for advertisements and clicks that your site receives.

You could also choose to work for a freelance marketing content company. These companies often pay freelancers by the word, providing you with numerous articles to write each week.

To get started with one of these companies, you may need to provide a writing sample, but you shouldn’t have to pay money upfront to access the opportunity.

It’s Possible To Make Money Without An Investment

Think about the time in which you applied for your first job. Perhaps it was at a local restaurant or retail store. You may have had to purchase a skirt or a tie and a nice pair of shoes to impress your interviewer.

Even that was not made mandatory by the company. Besides having to fill out initial paperwork, what else did the company ask from you? Likely nothing.

The same concept exists when it comes to making money online. A reputable company will not ask you to invest in their program, nor will they ask you to provide up-front funding for training or materials.

A reputable company will invest in you and your career, providing these materials for you.

When looking for ways to make money online, don’t settle for having to provide a substantial payment to get started. Continue to look for quality opportunities that pay you for your services, and not vice versa.

At Money Done Right, we work to find and provide such opportunities to our readers, which is why you’ll see hundreds of such opportunities on our website.


Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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