Guest post by Mel Trudgett of Mel’s Money Mindset
There are tons of ways to make money online these days and many of them don’t even involve leaving your house.
But when money is really tight or if you have previously been scammed by an online ‘opportunity’ that saw you out of pocket, the last thing that you want to do is to have to pay money out, before you have started earning some cash.
A lot of great side hustle ideas need a bit of money to set up, and even some online work requires an initial outlay of cash.
So is there actually a way to earn money online or from home, without having to spend any money first?
The answer is YES!
There are many ways to make money online for free, and you only need your time and usually a laptop or smart phone to get started today.
Ok, before I go any further I feel I should give a big disclaimer here, I HATE SURVEYS!
As with any money making activity, some people love it and some people hate it, and I definitely fall into the ‘hate it’ category when it comes to surveys.
But there are many people that love them, including people that I know.
Those people will tell you that they find it easy and you can do it whilst you at home watching TV or at work in your lunch break. So for that reason, it does really suit some people and they are happy to earn a small amount of side income for answering a few questions.
I don’t know anybody that makes a significant amount of money with it, but it is free and its easy to get started so I felt I should include it and you can make your own mind up.
If you do decide to go for it, ask around and do some online research to find the best survey sites (the ones that pay in cash rather than vouchers or points, and have a low payout limit – you don’t want to wait until you’ve earned £100 before they pay you!).
#2: Sell your clutter (or anything else that you can think of)
I recently wrote an article about weird ways to earn money online which proves that you can sell just about ANYTHING online these days, not just your old books and unwanted clothes or furniture.
The great news is that you don’t need any money to get started.
If you start by selling your clutter you can sell it on EBay and pay the fees after you’ve sold your items. To avoid any fees and postage at all, you can try selling it locally first, by using Facebook Marketplace and the many selling groups in your local area.
It does narrow down the audience of buyers, but usually you can find a buyer within a couple of days and they will come straight to you house to collect the item, so there’s no messing about at the post office!
If you enjoy doing this and decide on a side hustle selling things that people no longer need, you can keep some of your profits and start buying things to sell from charity shops and fairs.
#3: Cash Back Referrals
This is one of the best ways to make money online.
If you use any sort of cashback app or website (Ebates, Ibotta, TopCashBack are just 3 examples) you can not only earn cashback on products you purchase (or get a discount), but you can also earn a referral fee by telling people about it.
They will PAY you to recommend them to your friends.
It’s really easy to do.
You get a unique referral link and when your friends sign up, you get paid.
This can be done without any sort of online presence, but obviously it is much easier to do this via social media.
I’ve been using TopCashBack for many years. I have saved lots of money AND made cash back with it, so I do not hesitate in recommending it to others. The key here is recommending things that you genuinely use and like. That way, it sells itself rather than you having to beg people to sign up.
If you enjoy writing, there is an opportunity to write for online businesses or blogs, and get paid!
When you are starting out without any experience and without your own website, your payout rate will be lower than an established writer. But once you get a few samples and a couple of clients under your belt, you can then start to command a higher rate.
My advice is to tell everyone that you know that you will be offering writing services, even if they don’t have a blog or business.
Because they may not need your services, but somebody that they know may need a writer and with the recommendation from your friend you are very likely to get the gig.
Linkedin is the best social network for offering professional services such as writing.
But if you are not keen on writing you can offer any kind of freelance services, do you enjoy social media? If so, offer your services as a Social Media Manager.
If you have a flair for graphics, you could offer graphic design services. If you are organized offer your services as a virtual assistant or customer service agent.
Whatever you are good at, you can offer to do it for other people who don’t have the time or talent to do it themselves.
#5: Be a Website Tester
If you are online a lot and have a good idea of what makes a good website and what doesn’t (from the point of view of a user rather than the owner), website testing could be the perfect way for you to make money.
There are lots of sites that you can sign up to and the vast majority of them are free. Usertest and Utest are ones that are recommended by other testers. .
You will be required to navigate your way through a website as if you are a visitor to that site and talk about what you see. What you like, what you don’t like or doesn’t work.
This gives the website owner valuable feedback on how to improve their site. Tests usually take between 10-20 minutes and payment is around $10.
Like most freelancing sites, opportunities increase once you have a bit of good feedback on your first tests, so you will get more offer of tests as you get more established.
#6: Get Offline and Earn
If you are fed up with being sat behind a computer screen and want to get outside, there are lots of ways that you can earn money.
One of the most popular ways to earn money outside the home is Mystery Shopping.
If you sign up to be a Mystery Shopper you get to try products and eat out for free, and in some cases you also get paid on top.
All you need to do is write a report of your findings.
There are usually specific questions to guide you on what the Mystery Shopping Company wants you to report on, so you need to be good at following instructions.
But if you eat out a lot, this could be a great opportunity for you to do what you love, and earn money doing it.
#7: Be a Social Media Manager
If you have a knack for various social media platforms (especially Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest) you could be a Social Media Manager for small or local businesses that appreciate the benefits of social media and want to utilize them, but don’t have the time or knowledge to run it themselves.
If you can find enough companies to work with, this is a great way to make a full time income, without the commitment of working for just one company.
Choose a platform (Pinterest for example) and learn everything about using it for business that you can. There are plenty of online resources that are free to get you started.
Offer your services to a friend or family member with a blog and learn how to use your new skills professionally, learning as you go, and then once your confidence has grown and you have some real results which you can use as in your marketing plan, you can start offering your services to local businesses or to online bloggers.
If you have any experience of transcription or you have accurate fast typing skills and would be willing to learn, there is an opportunity to earn a full time income as a transcription service such as Medical or Court Transcription.
This is quite intensive work, so if you didn’t want to do it full time, you could offer another service such as proofreading to go with it.
For people that speak two or more languages, translation services are a great way to earn money online.
Google Translate is fantastic for one or two sentences, but in terms of business or important documents, most businesses will not use an automated translation website, as there is a risk that the translation will not be accurate.
If you wanted to take it to the next income level you could offer in-person translation.
#10: Technical Know-How
If you are generally gifted with technical know-how and can fix computers, design apps or websites, set up CRM systems or databases, or are happy to offer your services as the ‘go to’ person when a local business has problems with their emails or internet, your services are very sought after and you will have no problem finding enough work both online and locally.
As the intention is to start making money for free, set up social media accounts, especially Facebook, and use this as your brochure to show the services that you offer and give people a way of contacting you. You can set up your own website later when funds allow.
The best way to get your first clients for any service based side hustle, is to let everyone in your friends and family know what you are offering.
Bonus Idea: Matched Betting
If you are in the UK there is an opportunity to make money by Matched Betting.
Just to be clear, it is NOT gambling, there are no guarantees with gambling even if ‘experts’ try to tell you that there are.
Matched Betting is guaranteed profits and it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you still make a profit, which by the way are tax-free.
It does require a subscription service to give you the information needed to ensure that you make a profit, but the great news is that you get 7 days free and by the end of the 7 days you will have made a guaranteed profit which will be well over your first 2 months subscription, so effectively you can start earning for free.
So there you are, 10 ideas (11 if you’re in the UK) of how to make money online for free.
My advice is to pick one of them to begin with and stick to it until you have started making some money.
You can add in one or two of the others later.
Read More: Ways To Make Money Online
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