When you are just beginning to look for new ways to make money, the last thing you want to do is sink your few precious dollars into expensive startup costs. While the common catchphrase we often hear is “You have to spend money to make money,” that isn’t always true. In fact, it is entirely possible to make money from nothing. Here are 10 ways to make extra money that don’t require any start-up fees.
A few of these are affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a commission if you click on those particular links and then sign up. (There’s no charge to you, though. And yup, becoming an affiliate for services you love is another potential way to make money from nothing.)
1. Freelance on Upwork
If you are looking to freelance online, give Upwork a try to start building an online resume and network. You can get paid to freelance write, design graphics, be a virtual assistant, or be a computer programmer.
Unlike a few other freelancer sites that require a monthly membership fee or charge you for certification tests, Upwork is completely free to apply for freelance job postings. Upwork does keep up a portion of your earnings, but, other free and paid platforms do as well.
You receive 60 credits each month that allow you to bid on client-listed jobs with your rate. Each proposal normally requires two credits meaning you get 30 bids a month. You can also receive invitations to interview from clients that do not require any credits.
Of course, you can also simply tell everyone you know that you’re available for freelance work — giving specific details about the kinds of work you can do. Even if they don’t need work done themselves, they may know someone who does!
2. Start a Blog or YouTube Channel
Either option is free and you can eventually make money through advertisements and affiliate marketing for products that you use and recommend once you establish an audience.
You can blog about your favorite interests like personal finance or teaching dog tricks. If you start a video channel, you might show videos of how to beat challenging video games or testing new makeup products. The possibilities are limitless.
Just keep in mind that if you do start out blogging on Blogger and are successful at it, you’ll eventually want to switch to using WordPress and a paid hosting plan for maximum control and flexibility. But you don’t have to start out that way, and making the switch later is completely doable!
3. Sell on Craigslist
Instead of giving away the belongings you no longer need, sell them on Craigslist. Listing is free and all you need is the time and ability to meet prospective buyers around town in safe location. You can sell (or buy) just about anything on Craigslist, as well as find gigs.
Whether you are looking to sell equipment from an old hobby you no longer have time for or simply want to clean out your house or garage, selling on Craigslist is an easy way to make money. If you have skills like sewing, photography, the ability to move or haul stuff, etc that people will pay for you can list your services there as well.
4. Become a Street Musician
If you are musically talented, look into becoming a street musician. In the evenings and weekends in big cities, there seems to be somebody playing the guitar, sax, or drums for cash.
Most places do not require a permit to perform and you get paid as passersby drop money into your music case or bucket. Just check with your location to be sure.
5. Teach Music Lessons
In addition to performing on the street to earn a little extra income, you can also teach music lessons. A lot of parents are looking for teachers to help their child learn the piano, guitar, violin, or trumpet. Lessons can typically be 20 to 30 minutes long each week and you just have to be available in the evenings after school is finished for the day or on weekends.
You can start looking for clients by putting up notices advertising your services at your local music store, library, or community center. You can always see if your family friends have a need or if your local school’s music department will refer people to you.
For the academic-minded, you can make a healthy side income by tutoring. Students of all ages are looking for help when it comes to foreign language, math, science, history, and SAT/ACT college entrance exam prep. Pay can start at $15 per hour depending on your level of expertise and where you live.
Tutoring is a good option for college students looking for some extra cash or working professionals that can meet in the evenings. The best place to advertise your services is at your local library, school message boards, or online at places like Tutor.com. (See their FAQs here.)
6. Become a Handyman
Are you good with your hands or enjoy home improvement projects? If so, you could make money using services like TaskRabbit. With TaskRabbit, you can get paid to help local neighbors with that need an extra hand. Tasks can include pressure washing a house, building a bookshelf, helping a person move houses, or mounting a flatscreen tv. After attending an orientation, selecting the tasks you can complete, and your work schedule, you can begin accepting jobs.
People also often look for help with tasks around the house in neighborhood groups on Facebook and sites like NextDoor. Joining your local neighborhood group is an easy way to let others know about your services (in a non-spammy way) and to meet your neighbors in the process.
7. Take Online Surveys
Other companies will only pay you in gift cards or credits, like Swagbucks Surveys and Google Opinion Rewards. If you can get a better redemption rate with the gift cards, that payment option can be as equally valuable if it is to a store or restaurant you visit on a regular basis anyway. Then you can use your cash for other things instead.
8. Create Stock Photos
If you have a camera and take great pictures, you can make money with stock photos.
Each time your photos are downloaded by users from sites like Depositphotos, you can earn a royalty ranging from 30% to 42% per download depending on your contributor level and the download method used.
There are several stock photo sites to choose from. Take a few minutes to see which is the best option for you and the photos you can provide, and to see what types of photos are in demand.
9. Design T-Shirts
Fashion is one way we can all express our individuality. Sometimes nothing is better than a t-shirt with an eye-catching design or a witty saying. If you can make crafty t-shirt designs, creating your own store at Cafe Press allows you to connect with shoppers from all over the Internet that are interested in buying your designs.
It is free to create your store and payments are sent via PayPal. In addition to designing shirts, you can also design hats, sandals, and coffee mugs at Cafe Press too.
10. Become a Petsitter
While you might have thought that walking your dog was a chore as a child, you can get paid good money to walk other peoples’ pets while they work or travel. In fact, some professional pet sitters and dog walkers earn over $100,000 a year.
To get started, check with your local veterinarian or pet store to share your contact information. And, you can also list your services on Care.com. If you enjoy it, this paid hobby can quickly replace your full-time profession.
Don’t forget to check with your friends and family as well, especially during peak vacation season. It’s often hard to find good pet sitters, and the fact that they know and trust you can be a big help.
It doesn’t take long to realize that you can make money if the only asset you currently have is time. There’s no need to get caught up in ventures that require you to pay money up front to join. Whether you are looking for local work or completing projects online for somebody on the other side of the continent, you can get started making money from nothing today!