13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren't Scams

by Damian Davila on 29 July 2014 4 comments

Welcome to the gig economy!

Thanks to faster and better startups sprouting all around the country, you are now able to make some extra dough on the side. You might even be able to ditch the whole 9 to 5 nonsense and set your own hours by booking gigs online. From tutoring children on the fine art of calligraphy to delivering meatball sandwiches to hungry office staff, there is a way to make money online waiting for you. (See also: 12 Side Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads)

Jack (and Jill) of All Trades

Let's start with the gigs that are available to those who are competent in many skills, but not necessarily outstanding in any particular one.

1. TaskRabbit

Unlike Liam Neeson in Taken, you don't have a set of "particular skills". But if you have a lof of free time and a great attitude, then TaskRabbit allows you to make money for tasks such as:

  • Waiting in line for concert tickets.
  • Installing blinds.
  • Assembling IKEA furniture.
  • Cleaning an apartment for somebody moving out.
  • Becoming part of a flash mob.

This service is currently available on 19 cities, including Austin, Chicago, and Seattle, and each task is insured up to $1 million. While the fine print states that TaskRabbit takes 20% from your fee, it also guarantees you a minimum of one hour for payment.

2. Postmates

If you felt the biggest adrenaline rush watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Premium Rush, then you are a perfect candidate for joining the urban courier service, Postmates. The service only requires you to be over 18, have a method of transportation (e.g. bike, moped, car), and an iPhone.

Deliveries range from restaurant take-out to shopping pick-up, so you have to be flexible, upbeat, and ready for anything (legal).

3. Fiverr

What if you're a bit more experienced than the average master of all trades? If you are really good at one of your many skills and are able to complete it fast, then you can churn that specific skill on Fiverr. Some examples of Fiverr gigs are:

All gigs pay $5 so you need to be creative to provide irresistible "gig extras," such as same day delivery, files in high resolution, or alternative takes, for your clients to book. Gig extras often range between $10 to $20 and provide a well-needed boost to make Fiverr worth your while.

4. Fancy Hands & Zirtual

Unleash your inner Peggy Olson, Joan Holloway, or Pam Beesly, by offering your kick-butt secretarial and personal assistant services to the highest bidder. Through Fancy Hands and Zirtual, you can get paid for requests such as:

  • Coordinate airport pickup and car rental for a traveling businessman
  • Research cheapest (and fastest!) way to ship an unusual package from DC to Miami
  • Coordinate appropriate meeting times for a party of 15 people
  • Organize a Dropbox folder of pictures for a real estate broker by property listing

Teacher and Tutor

If you've got skills so mad that you can take somebody to school, then you can make money online by offering your teaching and tutoring services.

5. Skillshare

Skillshare is such a popular option to make money online by teaching, that even actor James Franco jumped in the bandwagon with a 15-video lesson on screenwriting for short films. Heck, even famous marketing whiz Steve Godin offers not one but two courses.

Other examples of classes you can create to make some side money include:

6. Wyzant

I cannot tell you how to pronounce the company name, but I can tell you from personal experience that Wyzant is pretty neat. This tutoring search engine matches students with over 75,000 tutors in in hundreds of subjects, such as math, science, test prep, and foreign languages.

The site is great for new and experienced tutors to expand their client base without spending any money on advertising. Most Wyzant tutors set their hourly rate between $30 to $60. Keep in mind that the site keeps 40% of your payment until you become an established tutor. However, Wyzant does offer several incentives to boost your earnings. For example, they often run promos during which you keep 95% of your payments when referring new students to the platform.

7. Tutor.com

Unilke Wyzant, Tutor.com focuses on online tutoring. Since you meet with your students on an online room, you are required to have a good computer and a reliable Internet connection. Another important difference from Wyzant is that Tutor.com offers you a minimum average of five hours per week, which is important for teachers looking for more steady income. As a sample of potential income, Tutor.com claims that its most active Chemistry tutors earn anywhere from $800 to $1,600 a month.

Driver

If you got a nice set of wheels and driving skills that would make Jason Statham in The Transporter green with envy, then you should explore becoming a freelance driver.

8. Lyft

Known for its pink mustaches on the hoods of its cars, Lyft is a peer-to-peer transportation service that focuses on smartphone users that request rides on the go. The entire application can be completed through your smartphone and it includes a review of your:

  • Background check.
  • Driving record.
  • Current auto insurance.

If you pass the driver orientation, then you are on your way to start making money as a part-time driver. Lyft welcomes both full-time taxi drivers and part-timers looking for an extra buck.

9. Uber

If you talk about Lyft, you have got to talk about Uber. Both transportation services are pretty much the same. However, there are a couple important differences between these two:

  • Uber comes in two flavors: Uber (black towncar, fancypants service) and uberX (lower cost Uber service). Lyft is comparable to to uberX.
     
  • A driver that uses both Uber and Lyft, whose answer has been upvoted over 200 times on Quora, claims that:
    • The majority of Lyft drivers are women, while the majority of Uber drivers are men.
    • Generally, uberX is cheaper than Lyft.
    • While Lyft focuses on friendliness, Uber focuses on professionalism.

10. Getaround & RelayRides

Do Lyft and Uber sound like too much work? If you are not interested in playing Driving Miss Daisy anytime soon but do have a car sitting around most of the time, then you can look into Getaround and RelayRides. Both peer-to-peer car-sharing services allow people with idle cars to rent them out to individuals.

Along those lines, you might want to—

Host

If you enjoy being the hostess with the mostest, then cash in your good customer service skills with these three options.

11. Airbnb

If you got a spare couch or a whole rental property, then you can post on Airbnb, an online marketplace for vacation rentals that connects hosts and guests around the world. (See also: This Is How You Rent Your Place on Airbnb — and Succeed)

The great thing about Airbnb is that you have total control on your pricing and your guests. Also, you can decide how much (or how little) your property is available. By forcing all users to link their Facebook profiles to their accounts, Airbnb turns out to be a more reliable source of guests than alternatives, such as Craigslist or random bulletin boards. You get a better overview of who is interested in your property.

12. DogVacay

Turn your love for pooches into a business by becoming a DogVacay host. This is a great opportunity for dog lovers have either the available space or skill (e.g. grooming, training, or walking). This online community takes a 15% service fee for hosts, provides a $3 million in commercial general liability, plus $25,000 of veterinary coverage for dogs in your care, custody and control, and provides 24/7 emergency support. Keep in mind that the site highly encourages its hosts to create a PayPal account to process payment. If you insist on getting a check over the mail, be ready to take a $5 charge and wait up to seven business days for payment.

13. Just Park

If you want to keep things as simple as possible, then you can rent out your parking spot through Just Park. This is a great way to make money online in crowded cities, where parking spots are limited and come at a premium. The beauty of this service is that theoretically you can make your parking spot at home available while you're at work, and vice versa. Talk about maximizing your earnings potential!

How do you make money online?

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Guest's picture

I hadn't heard of any of these services except Fiverr. But I just signed up for Wyzant as a math tutor. Thanks! Great info!!!

Damian Davila's picture

Glad to help. When using Wyzant, try to refer students new students to the service as much as possible. The reason is that if you refer new students, you keep 95% of your hourly rate versus just 60%. What I like a lot about the service is that payment is processed through a 3rd party so it helps avoid awkward situations in which students take a long time to pay.

Guest's picture
Natasha

There are many companies out there that you can make money online with such as network marketing and they aren't scams contrary to what many people might think. I believe it is a lack of information and education on the type of buesiness that makes them think it is a scam.

Damian Davila's picture

Could you provide an example of such a company?