Gears icon with text, make money online

The internet is the land of alternative income opportunities. Unlike a position where you may have to be somewhere at a specific time — like pulling weekend retail shifts or babysitting for your next-door neighbor — many digital side gigs can be done from the comfort of your own home and often on a timeline that fits your schedule. All you need is a decent internet connection, a computer, and our handy list of job opportunities to get started. Read on to see the ways you may start making money online in as little as a few weeks, plus a few that might take a little more time and patience.

1. Need pocket change now? Fast ways to make money online
2. Online ventures that might take a little bit more time
3. You’re in it for the long term: Slower methods that can still pay off over time
4. Too good to be true? Tips to avoid online scams
5. Stash your cash: How to save your earnings the smart way

A side hustle may help you start building savings, save for multiple goals at the same time or even pay off debt. And with today’s digital jobs, making some extra cash could be as easy as turning on your laptop.

Fast ways to make money online

With the following digital jobs, you could make real money in a short span of time — cashing your first paycheck in a matter of weeks.

1. Online surveys

Get paid for your giving your opinion? Where can we sign up? Register with survey sites online and start answering questions within minutes. Each survey requires just a few minutes and the amount you are paid is directly related to the number of surveys you take. Some sites have a minimum earnings threshold you must reach before you can receive your earnings. Others will pay you with gift cards. While these sites don’t typically offer a big payout, you can make a reasonable sum in a relatively short amount of time if you’re dedicated to the work.

Potential earnings: $ – $$

2. Sell unwanted items

Turn your gently used stuff into dollars by using an online marketplace. Scour your house for unused items, take photos of them, write clear, honest descriptions and start posting. (The downside? Your earnings potential is finite, since you’ll eventually run out of things to sell.) Many online sales sites are available for niche markets, and some broader local and online auction or listing sites may better suit your general needs, especially for various wares, including furniture, bikes, appliances, electronics and more.

Potential earnings: $ – $$

3. Make deliveries

Thanks to a simple click or tap, more people than ever are using on-demand delivery services for things like takeout and groceries. After a background check (if the company requires it) that can take just days, all you need to work for one of these companies is a car and a smartphone to process payments. Your efforts will earn you money per delivery (paid out daily or weekly). Plus, you can earn extra gravy in tips.

Potential earnings: $ – $$

4. Test websites and apps

Companies and organizations crave real-time data from users and customers. Instead of a penny for your thoughts, get dollars for your feedback on how easy (or not so easy) it is to use certain websites and apps. With some companies, you can take a short practice test and then get money for every test you complete — and even more for in-depth interviews. The amount of money you could make depends on how many companies are looking for participants with your experience.

Potential earnings: $ – $$

5. Home and vacation rentals

Do you have a spare bedroom or a vacation house that’s only used a few weeks out of the year? Are you planning to be out of town for an extended period of time? You can turn your house into a potential source of income with online rental services. Create a listing and start accepting reservations. Grab would-be renters’ attention with great photos of tidy spaces paired with good lighting. Be prepared to use some of your earnings towards cleaning and upkeep and service fees, but the high profit potential may offset these recurring costs.

Potential earnings: $$ – $$$

6. Rideshare services

If you have a decent sense of direction, a car in good condition (with four doors) and a fairly flexible schedule, you might want to consider driving for a ridesharing service. Before you hit the road, plan on a wait time of a few weeks for the company to conduct a background check, review of your driving history and confirm you have car insurance. Then download a rideshare app to track your fares, miles, and even get geo-location-powered directions. Your paycheck will arrive via debit card or direct deposit.  It’s important to note that ridesharing could affect your current insurance rates. Be sure to review your coverage.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

7. Rent out your car

You don’t have to get behind the wheel to make some money with your car. Some services let you earn cash by lending your vehicle. Like Airbnb for your car, these platforms only require that you post your listing (for free and can be done in a matter of minutes) and set your own price. Even better? To maximize your earnings, some services automatically adjust your price. Once someone books your car, you only need to arrange where and how to turn over the keys – then sit back and rack up earnings. It’s important to note that renting out your car could affect your current insurance rates. Be sure to review your coverage.

Potential earnings: $$ – $$$

8. Video game streaming

If you’re a gamer looking to turn your hobby into a money making opportunity, a platform where you stream yourself playing games and watching others do the same) could be your next place of employment. Unlike other social media platforms where you need to build an audience in order to land company sponsorships, beginners are able to make money online. That’s because app users like to support their own and often donate to their favorite streamers. Just add a “donate” button to your channel – via PayPal or a third-party app — and viewers can show you the money. The brand partnerships can come later once you’ve grown your audience.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

Online ventures that might take a little bit more time

With these digital side gigs, you might have to be employed at least several months before you make any money. But stick with it, because these methods have earning potential.

9. Blogging

Blogging is a popular online side hustle. But with so many blogs out there, it might seem hard to get started. Wallet Hacks founder and blogger of more than 15 years Jim Wang says, “You learn the most by doing it … Be willing to make a hundred bad pieces of content because that’s what will teach you how to make good content.”

A graphic featuring a headshot image of Jim Wang, founder of Wallet Hacks. The graphic features a quote that says, you learn the most by doing it. Be willing to make a hundred bad pieces of content because that's what will teach you how to make good content.

From there, you can potentially turn your blog into a money maker through affiliate marketing programs (more on this below).  Once you become more established, you can sell e-books and other content based on your blog.

Potential earnings: $ – $$

10. Creating apps

Have an idea for the next Clubhouse? Combine that lightning-in-a-bottle concept with some significant coding expertise and you could launch something that turns a real profit. An easier bet? Offer your skills on reputable online platforms to companies and organizations that are looking for skilled app developers. You won’t need your own idea and you’ll potentially earn your paycheck faster.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

11. Affiliate marketing

Simply put, this type of work involves selling goods and services provided by another person or company. In return, you earn a commission. These days, it’s gone digital. Join affiliate programs, then add audience-relevant links throughout your website or blog and make money when users click and buy the products. But don’t link out to just any items. To find success, develop a strategy and only post about goods or services that your audience might want and align with your content.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

12. Drop shipping

You might not have heard of this money-making method, but according to industry estimates, between 20 and 30 percent of online retailers use it. Instead of purchasing and stocking products (at an upfront cost), a drop seller just resells items online from third-party suppliers. To start, you’ll need to set up an ecommerce site (or a virtual storefront) and attract customers by writing related blogs, social media posts, marketing emails and more. After each sale, the supplier ships the item(s) directly to your customer at wholesale cost to you.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

13. Freelance

Whether you’ve got a knack for writing, programming, design, marketing, translating languages or data entry, many ways to freelance online exist. Use websites like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com to search for work or launch your own site to market yourself.

Before offering your services, research the market rate for your skillset and experience so you know the going rates for your work. The amount of time it takes to land your first gig can vary but stick with it.

A graphic featuring a headshot image of Catherine Alford, a freelance writer and author of Mom’s Got Money: A Millennial Mom’s Guide to Managing Money Like a Boss. The graphic features a quote that says, success is based on your resilience. For me, my success has been the result of pure grit, not necessarily an over-abundance of writing talent. If you want to be successful and earn money, it’s very simple: Don’t quit.

“Success is based on your resilience,” says Catherine Alford, a freelance writer and author of Mom’s Got Money: A Millennial Mom’s Guide to Managing Money Like a Boss. “For me, my success has been the result of pure grit, not necessarily an over-abundance of writing talent. If you want to be successful and earn money, it’s very simple: Don’t quit.”

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

14. Tutoring

Calling all math whizzes and foreign language enthusiasts! If you excel at all things school-related, test prep and more, you could build a lucrative side gig as an online tutor. How much you can charge will be based on your experience, expertise and demand in your area. It might take a bit to land your first students, but once you have several happy clients, online reviews (and referrals) can go a long way to keeping you booked.

Potential earnings: $ – $$

15. Buy and sell domains

In today’s digital-focused world, reselling domain names can be a smart way to make money. But how do you select URLs that are bound to fetch a profit later on? Look to online guides that  cover several factors to consider before buying, including domain length, keyword strength, and memorability. Once you’ve made your purchase, you’ll need to list them on a sale page to draw potential buyers. It’s important to note: Finding a buyer can take time, the value of names is subjective and, for legal reasons, stay away from all trademarks.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

16. Coaching

If you enjoy working with people and helping them reach their goals, coaching could be the side hustle for you. Whether you’re a life, career, business, executive, financial or wellness coach, face-to-face video conferencing makes it easy to connect with people all over and potentially earn a substantial sum for doing so. Pull together materials like lessons or workouts, assignments and recorded audio and video segments, then build a website and use your personal and professional network (including your LinkedIn profile) to market yourself.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

17. Peer-to-peer lending

Sometimes called “social” or “crowd” lending, P2P lending is a type of financing by connecting people or groups lending money to borrowers. You can open an account on a P2P reputable lending platform with potential to earn extra income while also diversifying your portfolio. Once approved, deposit the funds you intend to loan. Then, review loan requests before lending to qualified borrowers. P2P lending is risky, but you could potentially earn a higher rate of return compared to other methods.

Potential earnings: $$ – $$$

18. Website flipping

Similar to flipping a house, website flipping involves purchasing a site that already exists, improving it and then reselling it for a higher price. The advantage of buying an existing site? Google recognizes sites with authority and age over new websites — plus these sites have likely already built an audience. Once you make improvements, authority and audience should only grow — making your site even more valuable. According to Flippa, a digital real estate marketplace, flipping a website can take five to eight months. So, be prepared to put in a lot of time before you see any profit.

Potential earnings: $ – $$

Slower methods that can still pay off over time

These pursuits require patience and determination. Remain committed for the long-term (a year or more) and your audience — and paycheck — will grow over time.

19. Video content creation

Video content isn’t just for product reviews, cat videos, and meme-able moments. If you’re already an avid video creator or have some video editing skills, you could potentially create an income stream from ads placed in your videos and subscriptions to help lead your most fanatical viewers to purchase your swag. You could also partner with a brand to create sponsored content or offer product placement.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

20. Social media

You don’t have to be one of Instagram’s storied “influencers” with followers in the millions to make some cash on the platform. (Building an audience that large can take years.) Even if you have a follower count in the thousands, you could work with companies as a micro-influencer creating sponsored posts and stories (the number one way people make money on IG). Seek out brands that align with your account’s content or partner with an agency that connects and/or manages your work.

Other social networks may offer you several ways to monetize your digital interactions. The downside is that you to have an engaged audience — and that can require a significant time investment before you see any earnings. Once you have built a fan base, you can place ads in your videos, let viewers subscribe to your page (netting you a monthly, recurring payment), and potentially get paid for going live and hosting online events.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

21. Podcasting

Audio is having a moment, but it takes time to gain listeners and subscribers. Once you’ve established yourself, advertising and sponsorships are both popular ways to earn money from your podcast. Your audience’s size will determine how much you can make from these methods. But Money Coach Tess Wicks has found financial success with her show, The Wander Wealthy Podcast, through other means.

“My podcast has a very niche audience — only about 1,000 regular listeners. But I know what they need and want, so I reserve my ads to sell my own coaching programs and offerings,” says Wicks.

Potential earnings: $ – $$$

Be aware of online scams

As the internet has created new job opportunities, it’s also given would-be fraudsters opportunities to take advantage of people. Look out for:

  • High returns, low risk, and “golden opportunities”
  • Work-from-home scams surrounding medical billing businesses, envelope stuffing schemes and assembly projects
  • Phony freelance and job listings that are just “phishing” for financial information
  • Promises of “free money” and significant returns for small investments

Do your homework and double-check the validity of any opportunity before you share any of your sensitive personal or financial information. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Your safety is our priority — read more tips to help protect you from cybercriminals.  

Save your earnings the smart way

You have fitness apps to log your marathon training progress, book apps to keep up with your annual reading goal and even sleep apps to ensure you meet your nightly Zzz needs. And now, you can have an Ally Bank Online Savings Account that lets you set, name and visualize multiple savings goals while you save for them, view and optimize your progress and plan for the future.

With Ally Bank’s Bucket Goals tool, you have the power to divvy up your Online Savings Account into 10 customizable digital envelopes, where you can set individual target amounts or dates for each and every savings objective. You can easily view your savings progress within each bucket, receive tailored insights on how you’re doing and use savings boosters (like Recurring Transfers and Surprise Savings) to meet your mark even faster.

Let your hard-earned money work smarter for you.

Start Today

As your ally, here are few things you should know: Ally Bank does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, accounting professional and/or financial advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, accounting, and financial advisors before engaging in any transaction.