If you’re just starting out online, as I did back in 2008, you are probably feeling a bit overwhelmed or even downright ready to throw in the towel. It can be extremely confusing trying to navigate through all the scams, misinformation, and clutter online. If you are wondering how to earn money online for free, as many others are, let me just tell you that it’s totally possible. Anyone can get paid online without investing any money, practically from anywhere in the world. If you have an internet connection, you can be raking in some extra cash. And the best part is that it’s not difficult.
After a decade of research on this exact matter, I am more than happy to share everything about this matter that I have learned from personal experience. However, if you know of other legitimate methods that don’t require any investment, please comment below and share with other readers.
Here are 7 ideas for newbies looking to get paid online without spending a dime.
There are many companies that will pay you to work from your home office (or bedroom). You can choose from many different jobs including search evaluator, online tutor, transcriptionist, virtual assistant, call center worker, and more. Check out this article “50 Work From Home Companies That Pay $16 Per Hour Or More!” by Dream Home Based Work to get a list of companies.
You can also try searching on Craigslist in the “telecommute” section (click the little telecommute box) to find jobs that allow you to work from home. This is actually how I found most of my online work as an appointment setter. Try to stay clear of the scams on Craigslist; ones that make you pay money upfront to start working, have no website or real information about their company online, and seem downright shady. Be extremely careful when giving out your social security number (unless on required tax documents after you are 100% sure the company is legit), never give out your credit card number to a “job”, not for a “background check” or other reason.
Online Referral Programs
Many reputable companies will pay you to refer new customers or members, sometimes very generously. Think customer acquisition costs… most companies are aware of how much it will cost them to acquire a new customer. They would rather pay you a $20 referral bonus to bring them a new customer than pay thousands for a commercial or magazine ad. So, think of it as a win-win. There are hundreds of great referral programs out there that cost nothing to join, but allow you to earn some sweet cash. For a great list, read “Having Friends Pays Off: 24 Refer-A-Friend Programs That Pay You” from The Penny Hoarder blog.
- Ebates – This 100% free online rebates site will pay for every referral. You can earn $25 when they join and spend at least $25 shopping online, and they will receive $10.
Do you have an in-demand skill or expertise such as copywriting, bookkeeping, or graphic design? You can earn a full-time income online by joining freelancing sites (at no cost). Of course, they will keep a percentage of your earnings, but you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Freelance sites are fine if you’re just starting out freelancing online, but it’s best to branch out to your own virtual assistant business with a website and personal clients. That’s for another post.
- Jungle Market – They take out 20% of your earnings and connect you with Amazon businesses who need help with a variety of services including graphics, copywriting, videos, and more.
- Guru.com – They take out only 9% of your earnings and make taxes easy by providing you with 1099 forms each year and updated weekly earning reports (great for providing proof of income).
- Fiverr – They take out a small fee along with Paypal, but competition with low-pay sellers is pretty fierce.
With cash-back shopping sites like Ebates, you can earn money online for free without working at all. Simply sign up and activate your Ebates toolbar when shopping online at any major retailer, then earn money back from your purchase. This is typically 1% to 10% (sometimes higher) of your purchase. This really adds up when purchasing a major appliance or electronic item. They will pay you via Paypal or check. I’ve personally been using Ebates for many years.
Although very low-paying, you can earn a few bucks per day (or more if you refer new members) by completing simple tasks online including product/service offers, surveys, watching ads, listening to new music tracks, and more. You can often get a free cash bonus for signing up to these sites and withdraw your earnings quickly. I’ve been a member of all of these site for several years and have been paid by all of them.
Here are my personal favorite sites:
- Treasure Trooper – Paying members for 13 years, Treasure Trooper has a $20 minimum to cash out. Get a $1 free sign-up bonus. Really fun site.
- Inbox Dollars – Paying members for 18 years, Inbox Dollars has a $30 minimum to cash out. Get a $5 free sign-up bonus.
- Fusion Cash – Paying members since 2005, Fusion Cash has a $25 minimum to cash out. Get a $5 free sign-up bonus.
- Slice The Pie – Paying members since 2007, Slice The Pie has a $10 minimum to cash out.
- Paid Viewpoint – Paying members for several years, Paid Viewpoint has a $15 minimum to cash out. They are my favorite survey site because the surveys are short and you can qualify easily.
Online Focus Groups
You can earn anywhere between $25 and $300 (or even more) by participating in online focus groups. All you have to do is first qualify to be on the panel (usually by answering some simple questions online and possibly over the phone) and follow the instructions of the focus group. Online focus groups are great for people who love being part of a group and providing their opinons on certain topics. You will be required to provide your honest opinions and feedback, fully completing the projects to get paid. Focus group sessions can be held over live video conferences, phone, or chat. Sometimes the discussions are one-time, other times they continue over a period of a week or even longer.
Read “Best Paying Online Focus Groups For Your Side Hustle” for a list of legitimate online focus groups.
Start A Blog
Starting a free blog and earning money as an affiliate marketer is another way to earn money online for free. You can get free training at Wealthy Affiliate and learn everything about how to create a profitable blog online around your passions and interests. At Wealthy Affiliate, you can have two free blogs on their Siterubix sub-domain and then upgrade to a .com or other domain if you want in the future. I was a free member at Wealthy Affiliate for five years (since 2013) before I finally decided to upgrade to a premium member this year! You can learn a lot as a free member and even earn affiliate commissions from Wealthy Affiliate!
I hope you’ve found these free ways to earn money online useful. Please comment below if you have any questions or comments.