We’re currently facing the craziest pandemic of my lifetime (or any recent lifetime, for that matter), and this has huge repercussions for the economy. I personally have friends and family who have lost jobs amidst this outbreak, and I know things will get worse before they get better.
In times like this, I count my blessings. I’m so lucky to have the skills and experience to work online. I’m lucky that not all of my clients withdrew contracts. I’m lucky to work in multiple industries, giving me greater job security in crisis events like this.
I know others aren’t nearly as lucky.
I have an entire online money-making podcast focused on helping others build their own income blogging and freelancing. I’ve written countless blog posts about how to make money online even without a lot of experience. The primary focus of this blog is for college students and twenty-somethings looking for a way to make money virtually.
Yet, none of those posts seem like a good reaction to this situation. Instead, I needed a way to share 7 realistic ways to make money online quickly. These aren’t get-rich-quick-schemes. They’re not scams and MLM pyramid schemes.
They’re not glamorous. They’re real-life ways to make money in a pinch.
As someone who has found herself unable to make ends meet for months on end, I know about the hustle and the struggle. I know the late-night panic attacks and budgeting for meals of rice and beans. I know the desperation to take literally any online job you can find. That’s why I’m hoping this guide helps.
The Problem with Online Work
I love working online. I’ve started my own online blogging and content writing business, and it’s sustained me for years now. I’m lucky to have come so far.
Yet, online work isn’t perfect.
I could wax poetic about the issues related to online work all day. In fact, I do just that on my weekly podcast. However, I can trace the main issues down to these few points:
- It takes too long. Money doesn’t come overnight. Usually, there’s a waiting period, whether it means building your freelancing portfolio or earning enough to cash out.
- There are a lot of time-sucks. Some parts of working online just aren’t worth your time. They take forever to set up, and then you’re left earning less than minimum wage.
- It’s a race to the bottom. For many industries and fast-paid gigs, you’re racing to the bottom. People from lower cost-of-living countries and clients who don’t want to pay hurt the market for everyone. That’s not to say those in low-cost countries shouldn’t work online, but it’s hard to compete with this.
That being said, there ARE legitimate, quick ways to make money online. If you just found yourself without your normal load of clients or you were laid off (temporarily or otherwise), try these tried-and-tested things below.
1. Content Writing on Textbroker
I don’t love Textbroker. I don’t even like Textbroker.
But I have used Textbroker several times since college, and it’s reliable.
Textbroker is an online content writing platform. You must be a US citizen to join, and you do need to prove your identity which can take a few days. However, after that, you’re able to access a lot of different paid writing gigs ranging from $0.02 – $0.05 per word.
This isn’t a great wage. It’s not even a good wage. But if you can write quickly, and you cover things you already know something about, this is a great way to bring in some extra cash quickly.
Before you get started, here are some tips from a Textbroker veteran:
- Stick to niches you already know something about
- Don’t accept any projects with a ton of confusing guidelines
- Work on the longer word count articles since they’re more worth the money and time
2. Do data entry on Upwork
I’ve been using Upwork for a while, and it’s a great way to find clients. Even though a lot of US-based clients aren’t hiring right now, many are in other parts of the world.
Even if you’re not exceptionally skilled, odds are you’re capable of doing data entry or other basic admin tasks.
To get started, create a profile and follow some of these tips about finding your first client on Upwork.
3. Complete Tasks on mTurk
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (mTurk) is something I’ve seen a lot about, but I’ve never personally used it. You’re never going to make a lot of money here, but you can bring in some extra money if you have a bit of free time.
Businesses and researchers post human intelligence tasks (like reading an article or watching a video) and pay a small fee for anything you do.
You can sign up quickly, so this is a good option if you’ve got a few spare hours to kill. Get started on the Amazon website.
4. Become a VA
A VA is a Virtual Assistant, and this is an entry-level gig for working online. You don’t need any experience (though it helps).
To find gigs, you can look on Facebook groups. I highly recommend blogger or small business Facebook groups. There are also VA-specific groups were employers go when they need a VA quickly.
A VA does any number of tasks including data entry, project management, marketing, customer support, and travel planning. Basically, you help in small ways to make someone’s job easier.
Some industries are booming right now and business owners are in need of all the help they can get. In addition, many medical facilities and schools need virtual help. Picking up a few hours a week might be a huge help, and it could lead to more work.
5. Test Websites on UserTesting
UserTesting is a platform I recently learned about that helps businesses refine their apps and websites. For every 20-minute video you complete, UserTesting pays $10 via PayPal.
Basically, you just interact with websites and apps and speak your thoughts aloud. As long as you have a microphone, a smart device, and some time, you can bring in some money doing this easily.
There are also tests you can complete based on your experience with a website or app, and you can earn up to $60 for these. Since it’s so simple, this is a great option.
6. Deliver for Postmates
I personally have delivered for Postmates in the past, and I can attest that it’s super simple. Right now more than ever, Postmates and other online delivery are in high demand.
This is also a great option right now since you don’t have to come in direct contact with anyone, and you can do this gig from your phone.
Signing up is easy, and you can get started in just a few minutes through their delivery signup portal.
This is an affiliate link. Learn more about my affiliate policy and why I support brands I personally use and love.
7. Transcribe with Rev
If you’re a fast typer, you can make money writing transcriptions. Rev is a simple way to earn money by transcribing audio, and you can do it from everywhere.
To sign up, you’ve got to complete a sample quiz. Pay close attention to your grammar and spelling. This got me a bit confused when I signed up years ago!
After that, you can take on any gig available on their platform. You get paid through PayPal every week.
Do the Best You Can
Now is the time to start hustling. I know from experience just how stressful it is to not know how to make ends meet, but it doesn’t have to be a bleak experience.
At the end of the day, do what you need to do to support yourself. If that means working for minimum wage, do it. If that means working online with one of these ideas, do it.
Just know that you’re not alone. Feel free to reach out if you need anything or want to learn more about my own experience as a freelancer and blogger. It’s possible to make money online no matter your experience level. I know it’s hard out there, but we can hang in there together.