Work-from-home opportunities that promise immediate returns with only a “small” monetary investment are questionable at best.
Starting a brick-and-mortar business almost always requires some kind of financial investment. But there are lesser-known ways to make money online without paying anything to get started.
These ventures can be lucrative even without upfront investments.
Don’t spend money on a dead-end business opportunity when money is tight. There are plenty of free money-making opportunities.
7 Ways to Make Money Online Without Investment
A lot of online jobs require an initial investment to get started, but it’s possible to find gigs that don’t cost anything.
1. Paid Surveys
Completing paid surveys is an easy way to make money online with no investment. This won’t make you rich quickly, but it also doesn’t take that much effort.
You can complete surveys while waiting in the doctor’s office, standing in line at the bank, or sitting outside on your lunch break. Instead of browsing Instagram, you could be making a few bucks.
Sign up with Swagbucks to get a $10 sign-up bonus. Fill out a personal profile to match with relevant surveys. Each survey awards a certain number of “Swagbucks” or SBs. Once you get enough SBs, trade them for gift cards or PayPal cash.
Then, set up an account with MyPoints and earn $5 for completing five surveys. You can earn more money by completing other tasks like playing games, watching videos, and shopping online.
Survey Junkie is another popular survey site where you’ll earn points for every completed survey. Every 1,000 points can be redeemed for $100 in cash.
2. Start a Blog
Another way to make money online is to start a blog. With a blog, you can make money by recommending affiliate products and selling ad space. Some bloggers even create their own products to sell on their site.
Ad networks like AdSense and Mediavine are another source of revenue. When visitors click on an ad, the blogger earns money. As the site’s traffic grows, ad revenue does too and can become a decent source of passive income.
To earn more money blogging, treat a blog like a business. Invest in a domain, paid hosting platform, and social media ads. These small expenses could be worth it in the end.
If you’re not sure about blogging, don’t spend hundreds of dollars right away. Once you start making some income, you can reinvest them back into the blog.
3. Write Content for Websites
If you’re a good writer, becoming an online freelance writer can be a lucrative side hustle. Freelance writers are in high demand in areas like finance, healthcare, and technology.
You don’t need to buy anything to become a freelance writer, but you can invest in courses if you’re interested in making it a full-time career. Six-figure writer Holly Johnson offers a free workshop with tips and strategies for beginner writers who want to make more from their writing.
4. Sell Items You Don’t Need
It’s easy to earn money online for free by selling stuff you don’t need or want. If you have a pile of things taking up space in your basement or attic, take the time to sell them.
For people who need money now, selling unneeded items is better than donating or throwing them away. You can sell anything online including secondhand clothing, old smartphones, and electronic devices.
There are several selling apps that make selling stuff online easy. Decluttr is a massive online marketplace that buys secondhand items and pays for shipping. Decluttr provides an instant estimate for items you want to sell. If the offer is too low, decline it and sell it on a different site.
If you have used clothing, you can sell them on thredUp, which buys gently used clothing. You can order a free Cleanout Kit from thredUp, fill it with clothes, and return it at no cost to you. After inspection, thredUp will send back a payment via store credit, prepaid VISA card, or PayPal.
Once you’ve sold all your clothes, consider consigning clothing, electronics, and used items for friends, family members, and neighbors. There’s no upfront cost to consign because the store only pays you if the item sells.
You can also sell items on Facebook Marketplace, local Facebook groups, and Craigslist. Platforms like Amazon and eBay are another option, but you’ll need to pay listing fees and shipping costs.
5. Offer Virtual Assistant Services
Like freelance writers, virtual assistants make money online by offering digital services. There’s no membership fee or startup cost when working as a virtual assistant. All you need is a computer with a good internet connection. You can set your own rates or negotiate them with each individual client.
Virtual assistant services include social media management, customer support, scheduling meetings, administrative support, and more. If you have any writing or graphic design skills, you can also include those in your packages.
If you don’t have any experience as a virtual assistant, you can start on a platform like Fiverr. A well-written profile can help you stand out among others offering the same services.
6. Teach English Online
VIPKID is an online-only tutoring site that matches English tutors with Chinese-speaking children. Tutoring English doesn’t require a teaching degree, but you do need a Bachelor’s degree or one year of teaching experience and basic computer knowledge to apply for an online tutoring position with VIPKID.
If you already have a professional-looking space in your house, there’s nothing you need to buy to be a VIPKID teacher. You just need the time. Tutors are rewarded if they have a flexible schedule and can be available anytime.
The interviewing and onboarding process for VIPKID may seem rigorous. But once you pass these hurdles, you’ll be ready to start teaching English online.
Related: DollarSprout’s VIPKID Review
7. Create Facebook Ads for Small Businesses
Local and small online businesses are desperate to gain traction on social media but most don’t know how to do so. That’s where Facebook ad managers come into play. It’s relatively simple to set up and manage Facebook ads that convert to leads and sales for businesses.
Creating Facebook ads can be a lucrative gig, especially if you can master the skill and bring in revenue for your clients. Plus, it won’t cost anything to start this small venture.
Bobby Hoyt of Millennial Money Man quit his job to work from home on his blog. When he realized that earning an income from blogging takes time, he decided to manage Facebook ads for clients to create a stable income.
Bobby charged between $1,000 and $2,000 per client and built his client base to cover his financial needs and more. Today, he teaches a course on how to build your own income stream by managing Facebook ads for small businesses.
Make Money Online Without Paying Anything But Your Time
As long as you’re willing to invest your time and effort, it’s possible to make money online without paying anything. It might take more work than you anticipate, but it’s worth it.
If money is tight, be cautious when researching moneymaking endeavors. Don’t believe success stories that seem too good to be true and do your research before signing up for a site.