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Brilliant Ways to Make Money from Home (and some life saving tips)

Everyone wants to work from home, but few people get past dreaming about it.


You’re one of the few taking action. You’re a go-getter. Do you know what that means?

You’re already ahead of the competition. But if you want to stay ahead in your journey to working from home, you need to keep reading.

What Challenges Will I Face Working from Home?

Working from home has a bunch of benefits:

  • No more commutes.
  • No more office cubicle.
  • Doing the work you choose to do.
  • Working the hours you choose.
  • Working from anywhere (not just home).
  • No more monotonous corporate tasks.

But it’s not all sunshine and unicorns. In the not-so-eloquent words of Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a…”:

Warren Buffett’s got money problems; the drunk hobo down at Kwik-E Mart’s got money problems; Buffett’s just got better problems than the hobo. All of life is like this. “Life is essentially an endless series of problems, Mark,” the [Disappointment] panda told me. He sipped his drink and adjusted the little pink umbrella. “The solution to one problem is merely the creation of the next one.” A moment passed, and then I wondered where the **** the talking panda came from. And while we’re at it, who made these margaritas? “Don’t hope for a life without problems,” the panda said, “There’s no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems.” And with that, he set his glass down, adjusted his sombrero, and sauntered off into the sunset.

Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***

When you choose to work from home, you are getting rid of office problems, but you are asking for a new set of problems. I’ll try to give you a preview. This isn’t to discourage you, it’s just to help you prepare.

Focusing On Work

By far, the biggest challenge when working from home is keeping focused. The list of possible distractions is unending:

  • Your kids are demanding chocolate milk in their favorite sippy cups (does this seem overly specific? Ask me how I know.)
  • Your mother keeps calling you.
  • Your favorite TV show is on and your eyes can’t look away.
  • You have to check your email, then Twitter, then Instagram, then you just got Snapchatted, oh and…

Just do everything in your power to stay focused. Turn off electronics, find different productivity methods like the pomodoro method.

Deciding What to Do

I’ve written this article to help you figure out what you want to do, but even once you’ve settled on an idea, there are a bunch of tasks that you still have to prioritize. Let’s say you decide you want to start an online shop, here are just a few of the tasks that will compete for your attention:

  • Creating or listing new products.
  • Taking photos.
  • Writing descriptions.
  • Filling orders.
  • Answering customer questions.
  • Posting on social media for marketing purposes.
  • Building connections with other entrepreneurs.

Staying Motivated

When you’re in control of your hours, it can be tempting to slack-off. Especially in the beginning. Sometimes, it’s just best to stick to a schedule, even if that was one of the things you were trying to escape. Build up a solid, go-getter work ethic, and you’ll eventually not struggle with this.

It can be especially tough when you’ve spent so much time and effort building something just for no one to care. It takes a certain kind of person to get through these early-stage problems. If you find yourself easily discouraged, then come up with some solid ideas for what to do when you start feeling it.

Making Money

The hardest part of all of this is finally making money. It takes a lot of hustle to start making money from home. Unfortunately, there are no services that drop pallets of cash into your yard. It just isn’t a thing. I’ve googled it.

If you want to make money from home, you have to pick a path and go for it. You keep trying until you make it. Some things will work, others won’t. Honestly, most won’t.

Now, Let’s Get to the Work-From-Home Ideas:

Now, we’re getting to the good stuff. In the following sections, I’ll cover different ways you can make money from home. Some I have tried, others I haven’t, but I know people who have.

I’m organizing this article a bit differently than some of the other people out there have done. Most “ideas on how to make money from home” articles are loaded with a bunch of terrible ideas for people who want to make real money from home.

If your goal is to waste some time to make a little pocket money, then cool, I’ll provide a few of those ideas, but the other articles you’ll find online don’t do a good job of telling you that some of their ideas will have you making a couple of dollars an hour if you’re lucky.

Pocket Money Ideas

These ideas won’t make you rich. Not even remotely. But if your goal is to make some easy money from home so you can buy things here and there or maybe go out to dinner a few times a month, then these ideas are perfect.

They are low-effort, and basically guaranteed money. The best way to judge a work-from-home opportunity is if you’re making money with your time. If you are, then you should expect to make less than $10/hour- often around $3-$5/hour.

Reward Sites

Websites like Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars and MyPoints all let you do various tasks to earn points towards cash or Gift Cards. Tasks will vary from site-to-site, but they tend to be some mix of:

  • Taking surveys
  • Watching advertisements
  • Playing games
  • Reading sponsored emails
  • and visiting specific websites

There are tons of other tasks but those are the core ones you’ll find at most of these sites. The earnings will be very low. You’re likely to make well below minimum wage, but these sites don’t claim to be careers. Just know what you’re signing up for.

The reason you see these services pushed so hard is that the people promoting them make the real money. For example, my link above for Swagbucks is a referral link. If you sign-up using my link, then I get an affiliate commission. That’s one of the perks to running a successful website (which is another idea on this list).

What to expect from online reward site earnings.

Survey Sites

Beyond Swagbucks, I’ve never really messed with survey sites. The unfortunate truth is that survey sites have been a seedy corner of the internet often fraught with scams. Things are getting more legitimate, so I would simply caution that you look for reviews on sites like Reddit before signing up with a service. Just Google the name of the site with the word Reddit on the end. For example: “survey junkie Reddit” brought up this result for me.

Based on that, I would say that Survey Junkie is legitimate. Some of the sites I see pushing online surveys hard are claiming upwards of $50/hour in earnings. I’ll be bold enough to call that a complete lie. You won’t be making $50/hour taking surveys online. My guess is that you’ll be closer to $5/hour. Once again, the people making real money are successful website owners referring people to these sites.

How much can you make taking surveys?

Decent Money Ideas

Virtual Assistant

Through services like Upwork, you can be a virtual assistant to anyone in the world. I’ve hired numerous virtual assistants over the years and it’s absolutely a great way to earn money. The real trick it to differentiate yourself well enough to show your real value. Virtual assistance is a global market, which means you are competing with numerous people who charge $3-$5/hour.

If you can demonstrate your true value, then there’s no reason you can’t command $10-$15/hour starting. It isn’t enough to know how to do internet research, or to use Microsoft Word. You need to demonstrate that you have a firm command of whatever skill you’re selling. Having a portfolio of work to show is all the better. If you’re just starting out, then perhaps consider a lower wage to get a portfolio built and get a customer base established.

Online Tutor

Online tutors are kind of like super-specialized virtual assistants. With sites like Chegg Tutors, you can easily become an online tutor from anywhere. Online Tutors can make anywhere from $10-$30/hour with most services.

If you play any musical instruments, the demand for piano, guitar, violin, cello, drum, or flute instructors is always around. Another option for tutoring is online teaching; you can set up a webcam and share your knowledge and skills to a global classroom on sites like Udemy.

Aleena shares how she became a Chegg Tutor.

YouTube Personality

While the average person might read this and think “whhhaaaattt? YouTube People make a killing!” I know the reality: the majority make a few bucks a month. Less than one percent make a full-time income out of it, but there are tons of people who make multiple thousands a year.

So, while it is absolutely possible to put this into the “Real Money” category, I’m going to put it into the “Decent Money” category, because that’s what the majority of people who read this would end up earning if they decided to try this idea.

Reyes the Entrepreneur – I love this guy. I watch a lot of his videos.

Real Money Ideas

If you’re trying to build a real business and you want a real income from your efforts, then these are the ideas that will get you there. Of course, a real income doesn’t happen overnight. It happens through hard work, testing, and persistence. With enough effort, any of these businesses can truly be a real income from home.

Website Owner

This is what I do full time. I run successful websites, and I figure out different ways I can make money from them. Whether it is through selling digital products, advertisements, affiliate referrals or membership courses, there are numerous ways to make a living with a website.

I built my business on the side while working on my office job. That meant waking up early and working on it before work, and coming home after work and working on it. It took over 10 years, but here I am. Many other people have done it far faster than me, it just depends on what your requirements are.

Learn more: Making money with your health and wellness blog

eCommerce Store Owner

Amazon.com started out of a garage. Today, there is more opportunity than ever to run an eCommerce store. You can build your own website and sell a product, digital product or service, or you can sell something on one of the existing eCommerce platforms, such as:

Product Flippers

This idea kind of falls under the “eCommerce Store Owner” but I’ve watched this niche kind of explode into its own thing which is why I’m separating it out. These are people who go around to stores, yard sales, thrift shops and other places to find items for a great deal, then flip it on sites like eBay and Etsy for a much bigger profit. You can find tons of YouTube videos of people doing exactly this. It’s a neat, low-risk way to start making money from home.

Gary Vee shows you how to turn pins and hot wheels into money.

Making Money from Home: Wrap-up

As you can see, the ways to make money online from home are numerous, but so are the expected payouts. If you’re looking for easy money, then don’t expect to make a lot, and if you need to make a lot of money, then don’t expect it to be quick or easy.

If you would like more ideas but aren’t necessarily limited to working from home, we have a great article with over 40 small scale business ideas. Many of them are work from home, but many are also away from home. If this article has helped you in any way, then please let me know in the comments, and share it on your favorite social media sites to help others.

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