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Legitimate Ways to Earn Money Online

Updated on January 4, 2013
The Internet is full of money making opportunities.
The Internet is full of money making opportunities.

If you've ever been bored while surfing the Internet, chances are, you've done a Google search on ways to make money online. While skimming through the list, you may have been discouraged by the many "get rich quick" schemes and dozens of scams out there.

Before you give up on your search, rest assured that there are, in fact, legitimate ways to earn money online. However, you must be willing to search through the junk to find the hidden gems.

Online Money Making Opportunities

So, how does one utilize the power of the Internet to earn cash online?

The answer depends on your skills. When looking to make money online, your success lies in choosing a field that you're already established in, or by doing something that you're good at. A few ways to make money using the Internet include:

  • Writing
  • Online Surveys
  • Transcription
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Data Entry
  • Blogging
  • Referrals
  • Domain Naming

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to have a degree to earn money from the comfort of your home.

If you're a great writer, why not capitalize on your talents and earn money online as a writer?
If you're a great writer, why not capitalize on your talents and earn money online as a writer?

Companies That Pay You Upfront To Write

I have found, based on experience, that writing is one of the best ways to earn a steady income online. If you have impeccable writing skills and extensive knowledge in a certain subject area, you could capitalize on your talents.

There are literally dozens of companies willing to pay you for your work, as long as you're qualified. The websites listed below pay upfront.

Demand Media Studios
If you have a degree in a certain subject area, you may be qualified to write for DMS. There are numerous subject areas available, including fashion, parenting, education, home & garden, health, and various others. DMS pays between $3 and $25 per article and payments are made twice weekly.

Although CC does not pay you directly for your work, they make it possible for clients to find and purchase your articles. You simply submit articles to the directory, set your price, and wait to make a sale. The more articles you submit, the more likely you are to sell an article. You are paid once a month via PayPal.

The Writer's Network
Writers at The Writer's Network are paid to submit articles ranging from 300 to 1,000 words in length. The topics vary, and payment is from $10 to $20 per article. Writers are paid via PayPal.

Craft Bits
If you're a crafty individual, Craft Bits wants you to submit your original craft tutorials to their blog. Prior to submitting your work, however, you should send your idea to staff [at], along with a photograph of the finished product. If they like your idea, they'll give you the go-ahead. Payment goes up to $45 per submission.

Know More Media
Are you familiar with advertising, personal finance, health, or legal issues? If so, Know More Media is looking for you. The amount that you're paid depends on traffic and the average pay of the writers on the site. Writers have the chance to earn between $100 and $800 per month on average.

Drop Zone
Skydiving buffs need apply! Drop Zone is seeking content related to skydiving, whether it's the actual sport itself, equipment, or personal stories. They want experts, not research writers. All submissions must be at least 1,000 words in length. The minimum payment is $50 per article.

For writers just starting out, TextBroker is an excellent opportunity that will allow you to get your feet wet. Not only does TextBroker provide you with a list of articles to claim from clients, they also give you the chance to hook up with private clients for higher-paying opportunities. TextBroker pays weekly via PayPal as long as you meet the minimum payout.

An enjoyable website to write for, BreakStudios seeks writers with personality. The site focuses on pop culture, so you may find yourself writing about movies, television, celebrities, and trends. Articles are typically between 250 and 700 words long and are worth $8 per piece. Payments are made once a month via PayPal.

If you're able to produce clear, concise information on random topics, then WiseGEEK could be your forte. The style is similar to other "content mills" although there is only one editor assigned to each writer. WiseGEEK pays between $11 and $14 per article, depending on the complexity of the topic. Keep in mind, WiseGEEK is not always hiring.

Freelance Switch
Do you have something to share about freelancing that other people might find useful? If so, Freelance Switch will pay you for your submission. Payment is $50 per published submission. Depending on how often you produce accepted articles, your earning potential could be great.

Pro Blog Design
If you're a design fan who knows a great deal about PHP, JavaScript, general web design, or SEO, Pro Blog Design will pay you for your posts. Each post is worth $100 to $150, depending on the topic and complexity.

Online Jobs for Bloggers

For individuals with established blogs, you may benefit from joining a blogger network where you're paid to hook up with advertisers and post relevant content. Most of these networks require a page rank of at least 1 or higher, and consistent posts within the last 90 days. If you believe your blog is up to par, go ahead and sign up to start earning.

Blog Distributor
Each post that you complete is worth a specific dollar amount based on your blog's rating. Clients will provide you with instructions for a post, you will publish it on your blog and then link to your website. Each time jobs are available, you'll receive an email and you can either accept or decline the task. Blog Distributor makes it possible for bloggers to earn thousands per month.

Blogsvertise hooks you up with advertisers looking to have their link published on your blog along with a blog post. Each time an opportunity is available, you will be emailed and have the chance to accept or decline the offer. My average opportunities range between $3 and $8 each.

Bloggers can earn money by publishing blog posts relating to the advertiser's website and then linking to the advertiser's page. Work here is pretty consistent, but the pay is rather low. Either way, if you have a well-established blog, the opportunities might be worth more.

There are other blog networks that will pay you, but I didn't list information about them because I do not have first hand experience. If you're interested in checking them out, they are SponsoredReviews, ReviewMe, and Smorty.

Alternatively, you can earn money through your blog by sharing relevant ads or products in your posts through revenue sharing services such as Google Adsense, Chikita, and Amazon Associates, among others.

Writing Websites for Residual Income

If you'd rather earn income over the long term, there are residual income sites that allow you to earn money from your writing based on page views. Depending on how popular your articles are, you could earn a significant amount of cash every month.

To really increase your earnings, you could combine upfront opportunities with residual offers. Below are a few websites that pay you based on page views.

Yahoo! Voices
Payment for Yahoo! Voices articles depends on how many page views you receive. I have 90+ articles written on the site and I earn approximately $5 per month with them. Performance payments are made via PayPal around the 10th of each month for the previous month's earnings.

Your high-quality, original content can earn you some extra spending cash through Helium. Earning potential depends on the topic, originality, and complexity of your articles. If you reach the minimum payout threshold ($25), you'll be paid once a month via PayPal.

Suite 101
For every accepted article, you'll be paid $1.50 for every 1,000 page views. You are not paid upfront with Suite101. Depending on how often you write and how often your content is viewed, you could earn some extra cash every month through Suite101.

HubPages does not pay you directly, but instead, you can sync accounts such as Google Adsense, Amazon Associates, and eBay in order to earn some residual income. You earn some cash when people click on ads or purchase items from those synced accounts.

Info Barrel works similarly to the way that HubPages work. You earn cash through Google adsense. Info Barrel keeps 25% of your earnings and you keep the other 75%. Depending on how often you submit high-quality, SEO rich content, you could earn a significant amount of cash.

On Squidoo, you earn money through your "lenses" which are similar to hubs on HubPages. If you're a beginner, you will enjoy Squidoo's easy to use interface. If you're familiar with blogging, creating your first lens will come naturally to you. With Squidoo, you can earn money through lead generation, affiliate sales, traffic, and sponsorship.

Work at home transcription jobs are an excellent way to earn cash online.
Work at home transcription jobs are an excellent way to earn cash online.

Get Paid to Transcribe

If you possess excellent listening and typing skills, you may be able to earn money online as a transcriber. Some online transcription companies require that you have previous experience, whereas others will allow you take a series of tests to determine your eligibility. There are many different types of transcription services online, including:

  • Medical Transcription
  • Legal Transcription
  • General Transcription

Typically, general transcription services are easier to get into, as they do not usually require a degree or knowledge of specific terminology. Medical and legal transcription, however, require that you have extensive knowledge of medical and legal terminology, and you may need to present a degree and a squeaky clean record.

Below are a list of some of the websites that will pay you to transcribe from home.

Transcript Divas
If English is your native language and you're able to follow a schedule and meet deadlines, Transcript Divas may have a spot for you. Transcript Divas base their pay on average work-at-home transcriber hourly rates (between $11.60 and $16.67 per hour). You must have at least one year of experience as a transcriber and you must be available throughout the week.

If you have extensive knowledge of legal terminology, you could work for SpeakWrite. You must have your own equipment (see website for a list). You earn 1/2 cent per word, so depending on your skill level, you could earn $10 or more per hour. Before starting, however, there is paperwork that must be filled out and sent in.

Morningside Partners, LLC
A digital publishing company, Morningside Partners is looking for transcribers with a minimum of 3 years experience and a Bachelor's degree. You must be able to work on your own and meet deadlines. Your own equipment is required.


A text messaging based question-answering system, ChaCha relies on transcribers to type up questions that are called in via their automated system. You must complete a series of tests in order to determine eligibility. Earning varies depending on how much work is available and whether you're using the cash or points system. Typical earnings are around $3 and $4 per hour, but the work is entertaining and enjoyable.

A more popular transcription website, Scribe pays $10 per hour of transcribed audio. This does not mean you'll make $10 per hour, however. Each file is broken down into 6 minutes, and you're paid $1 for every 6 minutes that you transcribe. It takes approximately 18 minutes to transcribe 6 minute audio with high typing speeds, so you're looking at earning roughly $4 per hour.

Despite what you may have heard, there are survey sites that actually pay.
Despite what you may have heard, there are survey sites that actually pay.

Get Paid to Take Surveys

Chances are, most survey companies that you've encountered have been scams or require that you fill out dozens of forms prior to getting paid. Below is a list of some of the legitimate companies that pay you to take surveys. However, it is recommended that you make a separate account for your surveys to avoid any junk mail that you might receive as a result of completing offers.

Opinion Outpost
At Opinion Outpost, you fill out questionnaires so that the company can match you to survey opportunities. When an opportunity arises, it is sent to you via e-mail. Each survey is given a point value, and once you complete the survey, your account is credited. Various payment options and rewards are available within the points system.

Cash Crate
It is highly recommended that you read my blog post about Cash Crate prior to signing up. With Cash Crate, you choose which offers you wish to complete and each task has a specified dollar a mount. After submitting your offers, your account will be credited within a few hours. While some offers are simple, others are more lengthy. There are both paid offers and free offers. Payment depends on the offers you choose. Cash Crate also has a referral program.

With ZoomPanel, you receive points in exchange for completing surveys. Points may then be redeemed for prizes and other items, such as a USB flash drive, for example. The variety of prizes is extensive and the surveys are generally quick and somewhat enjoyable.

Data Entry Services

Data entry services typically require you to sit at a computer and enter data into forms. Depending on the type of data entry you're doing, some companies require that you have a degree, whereas others will test you after you submit an application. Some, however, do not require testing or a degree.

Below are two work at home data entry companies.

Once you sign up at KeyForCash, you may have to play the waiting game before you're accepted. I waited approximately 6 months before I received a response that I was hired. At KeyForCash, there are three different types of data entry available; alpha, alphanumeric, and numeric. You can pick your category. You earn approximately $0.40 for every 1,000 keyed entries.* The work is rather enjoyable, although it can sometimes become repetitive.
* I have recently heard that the payment amount varies.

Dion Data Solutions
In order to work with Dion Data Solutions, you must have a typing speed of at least 60 words per minute with accuracy, computer skills, the ability to multitask, self-discipline, and excellent verbal and written skills, among others. If you feel as if you're an ideal candidate, go ahead and sign up.

If you like helping people, a work at home virtual assistant job could be right for you.
If you like helping people, a work at home virtual assistant job could be right for you.

Virtual Assitant

Being a virtual assistant is very customer-service orientated and typically requires you to make and answer phone calls, send and check emails, and generally help others obtain the information they require. There are many types of work at home virtual assistant positions out there including:

  • Telephone Operator
  • Virtual Tutor
  • Online Life Coach
  • Online Customer Service Representative

Most of these jobs will require some sort of degree or certification, whereas others will accept experience in lieu of a degree. Some also require some sort of background in customer service.

Apple, INC.
You can be an at-home customer service rep for Apple, Inc. Requirements include a technical knowledge, experience in troubleshooting, and must type at least 35 words per minute. The position is part time and requires applicants to work at home, so self-discipline is a must. Hours may include weekends and hours may be flexible depending on holidays and product launches. Benefits include competitive pay rates, employee discounts, and time-off.

If you're looking for a higher paying, more demanding virtual assistant position, you may want to consider working for eaHelp. As a virtual assistant, you will be assigned to certain clients and will handle scheduling, travel plans, research, presentation preparation, project management, and general business support.

Fancy Hands isn't always hiring, but when they are, you might want to jump on.As a virtual assistant, you help others handle specific tasks. Fancy Hands offers competitive pay rates, full benefits, and an enjoyable work experience.

As a Zirtual Assistant, you're required to perform tasks for your clientele. Tasks may include flight bookings, personal research, scheduling, or even finding a babysitter. You must have a reliable computer, high-speed Internet connection, a calm, quiet work environment, impeccable communication skills, solid phone access, and a positive attitude. Think you're up for the challenge? Go ahead and apply.

Domain Naming Jobs

Many people are unaware that they can get paid to help people and businesses name their websites, but it is, in fact, true. Clients provide the domain-naming company with a description of their site, and then the domain namers are put to work.
PickyDomains requires that clients deposit money into an account prior to asking for domain names so that the domain namers are guaranteed payment. After suggesting names, if yours is chosen, you will receive the money deposited into your account. It's as simple as that. However, there is plenty of competition to keep you on your toes.

Another way to earn money online through domain naming is simply by purchasing domain names, parking them, and reselling them. You can make a pretty decent profit by doing this and many people are able to quit their day jobs.

Have a bunch of stuff lying around? Why not sell your stuff online?
Have a bunch of stuff lying around? Why not sell your stuff online?

Sell Items to Make Money Online

An age-old way to earn cash is by selling unwanted items. Fortunately, with today's technology, you don't even have to leave your home to do so. Websites such as eBay, Craigslist, and Etsy have made it possible for others to list their items and earn cash while sitting at their computer desk. Below are a list of items that you could sell in order to earn some extra spending cash each week.

  • Books
  • Movies
  • Furniture
  • Crafts
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Clothing

A great way to capitalize on this business is by heading out every week and picking up free goods. "Trash picking" is one way to find free valuable items, or you could check the free section of classifieds. You could then sell these items for a profit.

If you have hair to spare, you could make some extra cash by selling it.
If you have hair to spare, you could make some extra cash by selling it.

Unusual Ways to Make Money Online

If none of the conventional ways mentioned above tickle your fancy, you could get a little "weird" and try the more unusual ways to earn cash online. As we all know, the Internet can be a strange place. Why not use it to your advantage?

Sell Your Hair
It's not as weird as it sounds. There are people looking to purchase human hair for dolls, wigs, and even weaving bags and clothing. "Virgin hair," or hair that hasn't been chemically treated or dyed, is typically worth more than color treated hair. Typically, companies require that the hair is at least 10 inches prior to sale. People have received thousands of dollars for their locks. Hair Work, BuyandSellHair, Online Hair Affair, The Hair Trader, and Great Manes will hook you up with people willing to pay for your tresses.

Write Letters
Sites such as LetterRep and UnsentLetters will pay you to write letters. LetterRep, in particular, will pay you $10 every time a client purchases one of your letters. You can write apologies, business letters, corporate letters, love letters, or whatever your heart desires.

Rent Random Items
Did you know that you can rent your television to someone? Or that you could rent your dog? There is no limit to the things you can rent. SnapGoods and Loanables allow you to list your items for rent, whatever they may be.

Be a Virtual Juror
You can participate in mock trials in order to earn a little cash. You must not have a criminal background and you cannot be a practicing attorney, lawyer, or paralegal or related to anyone practicing law. Sites such as eJury will pay you if you participate as a juror in a mock trial.

Complete Odd Gigs
Can you draw awesome stick people? Can you make weird beats with bodily sounds? If so, people might be willing to purchase your services. Fiverr allows people to post what they will do for $5 and others will pay you for your services. Some of the things I've seen in the past include, "I will be your loving Facebook girlfriend for a week for $5" and "I will draw a hideous cartoon character of you for $5." Go ahead. Give it a try.

Just Ask For Money
Cyber-begging has become more and more popular and more cyber begging websites are popping up. A few include CyberBeg, FreeBeg, and GoFundMe. alternatively, you could create your own website, ask for money, and post a PayPal donation button and then promote it.

Yes, there are even ways for teenagers to earn money online.
Yes, there are even ways for teenagers to earn money online.

Paid Opportunities for Teens

Yes, even teenagers can earn money online. There are many ways to do so, although you may need to obtain a parent's permission prior to signing up.

If you're at least 16 years old, have an excellent grasp of the English language, impeccable writing skills, and are tech-savvy, then dotTech is looking for you. Writers are required to produce at least 8 to 10 articles daily on technology topics.
* To apply, email admin [at] dottech [dot] org. In the subject line, write "I Want to be a Tech Writer," and in the body of the email, include your name, age, where you live, how many articles per day you're willing to contribute, what you wish to write about, how much you expect to be paid monthly, and a relevant writing sample.

Sex, etc.
TIf you're a teen under the age of 19, you could get paid to write online. Sex, etc. is the place for teens looking to make some money. It is a national magazine written and run by teens. Editorial contributors earn $75 per submission that is published.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      We're a group of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with useful information to paintings on. You've performed a formidable job and our entire group can be thankful to you. dggbafbefaed

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a wonderfully organized post! Making it on your own is a great feeling. The web still has very profitable ways to make money. If anyone's interested, message me at ryguides @ gmail . com and I will share my online money making methods with you to drive targeted traffic and earn some money. Personal finance and success is a passion of mine and I'll be more than happy to help those who are learning.

    • Emilia_Lamberto profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Lambert 

      6 years ago from New Carlisle, Ohio

      Thanks for stopping by, Jordan!

    • Emilia_Lamberto profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Lambert 

      6 years ago from New Carlisle, Ohio

      Thank you for reading!

    • rebeccamillar profile image

      Rebecca Millar 

      6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Excellent ideas, thank you for sharing!

    • Jordan Mallad profile image

      Jordan Mallad 

      7 years ago from Boston, MA

      Great hub to help sift through the garbage and find some legitimate supplemental income opportunities!

    • Emilia_Lamberto profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Lambert 

      7 years ago from New Carlisle, Ohio

      Thank you, Appajack and Joseph for checking it out!

    • Joseph Muendo profile image

      Joseph Muendo 

      7 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Most outstanding Hub with Helpful detailed information. Thanks a bunch

    • Appajack profile image

      Aja Wright 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Outstanding job, very helpful information.

    • Emilia_Lamberto profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Lambert 

      7 years ago from New Carlisle, Ohio

      Sure, I'll go ahead and add them now. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • ServandoSilva profile image

      Servando Silva 

      7 years ago from Somewhere between my Laptop and my Desktop

      Hello Emilia. Great post and format. Would you include Infobarrel and Squidoo in the passive income along with Hubpages?

    • Emilia_Lamberto profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Lambert 

      7 years ago from New Carlisle, Ohio

      Thank you, Jimmy!

      I took a long break from HubPages and recently decided to come back. I hope to continue adding valuable information for my readers.

    • Jimmys Money blog profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Emilia,wow this is well put together and lots of informative information.Enjoyed reading it and will be keeping updated with your posts...Jimmy

    • Emilia_Lamberto profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Lambert 

      7 years ago from New Carlisle, Ohio

      Thank you, Alecia!

      I was having some trouble with the layout, due to the amount of information, but I'm going to use your advice and check out your page dividers and make the titles bold. Thank you!

    • aleciajeanne profile image

      Alecia Brown 

      7 years ago from Paso Robles,CA

      You did a awesome job on this hub,and the capsule's being split,i love it. Since there is so much content, you should separate the categories with page divider's,when there is a lot of content and its not separated, i tend to overwhelmed,haha,i have page divider's on my top hubs,you can steal them,or get some off of google, again awesome job on the hub OH, and make the title's bold,i just went and scrolled up then came back to edit my comment to tell you that lol


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