The internet isn’t all about cats with attitude, hashtags on social media, and endless Reddit discussion threads. There are also plenty of ways — some a bit off the beaten path — to make money. Here are seven surprising ways you can earn money online.
1. Sell your photos
National Geographic estimated that every American took an average of 322 digital photos in 2015. If you can easily beat that number and have serious photog skills, you should consider uploading your photos to sites that pay you every time somebody wants to download and use your image. Sites such as SmugMug Pro, Shutterstock, Foap, Clashot, and iStockphoto allow you to submit your digital masterpieces for review or you can apply to become a paid contributor.
2. Complete microtasks
If you have some extra time on your hands, rather than scrolling through your Instagram feed, make a little money by writing 50-word product descriptions, transcribing audio, or making sure that uploaded photos don’t contain sensitive material. Sites, such as CrowdFlower and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, allow you to find single, self-contained tasks that provide a monetary reward. Initial tasks usually pay just a few cents, but once you obtain higher qualifications you can earn much more.
3. Create an online course
When you’re really good at something and could teach it to anybody in your sleep, then you could earn passive income by creating a robust online course and receiving royalties every time that somebody watches your lessons or tutorials, or signs up to the service as a paid student. Some options to build on-demand courses are Skillshare and Udemy.
4. Tutor in real time
Since some students learn better by doing, you also have the option to deliver live tutoring through the web. Sites like Chegg Tutors and Tutor.com are constantly looking for experienced tutors on a wide range of subjects at the high school and college levels.
5. Become a beta tester
Some people wait in line for hours to get the latest smartphone model or video game platform. If you’re one of those, ErliBird.com offers you the opportunity to get a sneak peek and provide feedback on upcoming apps, websites, and products. Some assignments require ownership of a Windows PC, Mac, or other specific devices. Depending on your set of demographics and the needs from clients, the site provides up to five assignments per month, each one paying $10.
6. Be a virtual jury member
If you just can’t wait for the day to be called for jury duty, you can increase your chances of becoming a juror by signing up for eJury.com. Don’t let the late ’90s retro design fool you, this site is real and the Texas-based company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Assignments depend on location and demand from attorneys in that area, so it may take a while for you to land an assignment. But when you do, expect a $5 to $10 payment via PayPal.
7. Snap photos of help wanted signs
With the Job Spotter app from job search engine Indeed.com, you can accumulate points by taking photos of local job signs with your smartphone camera. For about 30 seconds of your time, you can win up to 150 points for submitting a local job sign. Once you hit 100 points, you can turn that into a $1 in Amazon.com credit. If you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, this is a pretty good deal for the amount of time that you have to invest.