With the demand for remote work growing, more than ever, people want to know how to make money online. But actually finding the work isn’t always easy, especially since there are so many work-from-home jobs out there that are complete scams. For people who are starting their job search, it can feel overwhelming trying to decide which sites are legit and which ones are just looking to exploit vulnerable workers.
Thankfully, we did some research and tested out the most popular types of work-from-home jobs to see how legit they are. Although all the sites we researched are scam-free, they all have their downsides, too. Below, a rundown of what’s available in 2018.
As a writer, I obviously have a lot of opinions when it comes to the question of how to make money online. The biggest critique is that some of these content mills lower the value of writers and don’t pay all that well, but, if you’re desperately looking for an online job, these sites are legitimate. And if you’re a person without much writing experience, it can be a good starting point to gain some experience.
Arguably, the most popular content mill is Upwork — and a quick Google search about it will tell you that people have very polarizing viewpoints about it. However, it is legit, and you can make a modest income offering your writing skills, from writing blog posts to press releases, on their platform. The downsides are the quality of work you’ll be doing and the fact that you’ll be competing with fellow freelancers who are offering their services for next to nothing. However, there have been success stories if you have the patience to figure it all out.
Other legit writing sites are iWriter, Textbroker and Online Writing Jobs. All these sites are similar to Upwork in that you pick and choose which assignments you want to write and are paid on a per-assignment rate via PayPal. However, rates are low for newbie writers, and you’ll have to work your way up to gain access to five-star assignments with better pay.
For the sake of this article, I started an iWriter account and found the interface very depressing, with little to no work available for new writers. The problem is that these types of sites are all very popular and are full of freelancers who are looking to make money online, all fighting over the same $15 assignments. See? Told you it was depressing.
Although it’s feasible to use these sites to make a full-time income, you’ll most likely only be earning supplemental income. But hey, it’s still money.
Unlike those seedy content mills, work-from-home transcription jobs are lot less exploitative — and they’re legit! The most popular might be TranscribeMe!, which pays $20 per audio hour. The work is simple enough, but you do need to be trained and tested before starting — usually with no pay. However, because of its popularity, expect to wait awhile for your application and test to be reviewed and accepted.
Other similar sites are Transcribe, Quicktate and Allegis Transcription. Although no experience is required, some sites require you to have access to audio software like Express Scribe. Another downside is that these sites don’t offer enough work for you to make a living on. If you love transcribing and are a fast typer, it’s possible to turn it into a lucrative career, but, for the average person, you’re looking at maybe an addition $200-to-$500 a month, which still ain’t too bad.
If you’re a highly opinionated individual who likes surfing the Internet (which is everyone), you might enjoy working as a website reviewer. Sites like UserTesting and UserFeel will pay you $10 for testing out a website and sending in a verbal review of your experience — which is a decent pay when considering how to make money online. These sites usually require you to download an app that records your screen and accesses your microphone so that they can record your web-surfing experience. If you’re worried about privacy concerns, unfortunately, there’s no work-around. You have to download the app.
However, the good news is that the sites are legit and pay weekly via PayPal. I tested out UserFeel and found the whole interface and process easy to use. To qualify as a reviewer, UserFeel makes you take a 20-minute test where you review a random website, which, in my case, was Budget.com. It feels a little weird to be talking out loud about a website that seems mostly fine, but as you continue clicking around, you find nitpicky things to complain about. It’s pretty easy work, and at $10 for 20 minutes, the pay isn’t shabby.
But don’t expect to get rich being a website reviewer. Some sites will only allow you to review one or two websites a day, and others won’t even allow you to review a site depending on your demographic. However, if you’re looking for additional income, these sites are a fun and interesting way to do so.
If you like teaching and have access to a webcam, you can start a career as a work-from-home ESL teacher to make money online. These sites basically pay you to teach a language to people all over the world. Sites like Cambly pay roughly $10 an hour, which makes it a great option for students or people looking for part-time work. Another well-reviewed site is NiceTalk Tutor, which one Redditor used to make over $100 in two weeks.
Another great thing about ESL teaching is that you don’t have to be proficient in the native language of your student. For example, if you’re teaching English to a Chinese student, you don’t need to know Cantonese. The sites are designed for students who want to improve their basic language skills, which means the only skill required of you is to be able to speak your native language well. Doesn’t get any easier than that, right?
If you like sitting around reading comments on the Internet, you can actually get paid to do that. Work-from-home moderation jobs from sites like ModSquad and The Social Element pay around $15 an hour and are completely legit. And, better yet, if you like video games, Alchemic Dream is always looking for Community Managers to moderate comments for their gaming clients.
One thing that sets these gigs apart from the other work-from-home jobs is that moderating comments isn’t easy work. Most of these sites expect freelancers to work full-time hours, and you don’t get to choose your own assignments either. The pay also isn’t very high, especially for Alchemic Dream who, according to reviews, only pay $8 to $10 an hour — but, hey, it is how to make money online. Considering they expect moderators to work demanding hours, some people might not think the low pay is worth it. But, if you’re willing to accept low pay in exchange for a fun job that lets you work from anywhere, then you might want to look into it.
You’ve probably heard of sites that pay people to take surveys, and they’re usually always a scam — but there are few sites that are legit. Opinion Outpost and InstaGC are two sites I personally tested. Signing up is easy, and once you start, you can take as many surveys as you want. The way it works is that you earn reward points via how many surveys you take. Once you get 100 to 500 reward points, you can cash them in my depositing money directly into your PayPal (the minimum requirement is usually $10).
The one downside is that you won’t always qualify to take a survey. So what happens is that you answer a bunch of questions to see if you qualify, only to be told you can’t take the survey, which is a huge waste of time. Sometimes, you might be in the middle of taking a survey and then kicked out in the middle once the program realizes you’re not within the right demographic they’re looking for. Overall, it’s a pretty frustrating experience.
Obviously, you’re not going to get rich on these sites, but they are a legit way to earn an easy $50 a month from taking some dumb surveys.
Another easy way to make money online is to do “small tasks” for money. Sites like TaskRabbit, ClickWorker, Amazon Mechanical Turk and OneSpace are sites that offer small jobs in return for small pay. You won’t make a living on it, but they do provide a legit way to make money online. However, when I say low pay, I’m talking very low pay — in some cases .01 cents to $2 per task.
After trying out Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, I made exactly .01 cent typing out medical words from scanned images, which took about five minutes. With ClickWorker, I didn’t even get to sign up for any tasks because there was too much competition. Regardless of how quick and easy it all was, I personally didn’t like the idea of fighting for $1 task jobs. However, if you’re looking for experience, or simply want some additional pocket change, these sites are legit and usually pay weekly via PayPal.
With the demand for remote work growing, these types of sites will probably continue to litter the market. Just remember to always do your research before handing a site your personal info. Good luck!
Lead image via Getty
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