Making Money

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Startup costs can be a real barrier to getting up and running, so here are some work ideas that cost little to no money to consider.
21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images
32 min read

Startup costs for training, schooling or equipment can be a real barrier for many people who want to make money from home and are limited to what they already have in hand to get started.

The good news is that with the foundation of a computer, internet access, and in some cases, a smartphone with a digital camera, your work-from-home options are fairly broad. While you need to seriously examine your inclinations, interests and skillsets before you invest in any job, these ideas allow you to work from home without the drag of pricey equipment or training. 

Here are 21 ways to make money from home for little to no cost. 

Related: 20 Creative Ways for Introverts to Make Money

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Transcriptionist

Transcriptionist
Image credit: Anchiy | Getty Images

Costs: None

Equipment: Computer, word processing software, headphones and internet access (optional to have transcription foot pedal)

Many of us already start at the baseline of having a computer, word processing software, headphones and internet access, so if you possess these things, there are little to no startup costs to work as a transcriptionist. As a transcriptionist, you need to be a fast and accurate typist, and you also need basic computer skills, including being able to download media files (so if you don’t have a media or audio player on your computer, you can download what's needed), attach files to emails and send them and convert word processing files into whatever file format the client needs.

The job can be done from home and has a lot of autonomy. The required speed varies depending on the company, but the faster the better. The average annual salary for a transcriptionist is $26,882. (You generally get paid by how long the audio file is, not how long it takes you to type.)

When looking for transcription work, emphasize any transcription or word processing experience you’ve had and underscore your knowledge of computer skills. To get started on your job hunt, do a search of “transcription” or “transcriber” on job sites such as FlexJobs, Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder and Indeed. Or you can register as a freelance transcriber on job marketplace sites such as TranscribeMe, Go Transcript, UpWork and PeoplePerHour.

Related: How to Make Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom


 
21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Chat support

Chat support
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images

Costs: None

Equipment: Computer and internet  access

This job requires a computer and internet access, with, perhaps, some on-the-job training. A chat agent assists customers online for various companies across a range of different industries. Often, there is an actual person behind that chat box that comes up that says something along the lines of, “Hi, is there something I can assist you with today?” when you’re on a website.

Chat agents assist people with a spectrum of customer service needs and escalate to the next service level if the issue can’t be resolved. The job requires messaging people frequently and juggling different chat streams. It can be done remotely from home, depending on the company. 

To become a chat agent, you will need a computer with internet access and the ability to type a certain speed with a level of accuracy. Some employers may test you. The pay varies, but a chat support specialist make an average of $14.62 an hour.

This is a customer-facing job, so possessing a polite and friendly computer manner helps as well as the ability to ask questions to gain insight to help resolve the issue. It depends on where you’re working, but it helps to know about the business, products, services, processes and policies of the company you’re working for.

To get started, check out major job sites such as FlexJobs, Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder and Indeed, and type in “chat agent,” “chat support” or "chat representative.”

Related: 12 Low-Cost Business Ideas for Introverts

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Data entry clerk

Data entry clerk
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer, internet access

Data entry work offers a flexible schedule and independent work from home. It also doesn’t require investment in equipment or skills training. Data entry work boils down to entering information on a computer. While it doesn’t requires previous experience or a bachelor’s degree, the work does require basic computer skills, such as knowledge of typing, accuracy and speed, as well as installing and removing software, creating new folders, sending emails and using the internet.

The average U.S. salary for a data entry clerk is $31,153 a year or $12.55 an hour. (Some companies pay by the completed piece or keystroke.)

If you want to get your feet wet in the data entry field, you can create a profile on freelance job sites, such as Freelancer, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Upwork, The Smart Crowd, Fiverr, Working Solutions, Clickworker and Microworkers. Once your profile is created, you can either do a search for “data entry” to find gigs to apply for, or you may be contacted for work.

For more ongoing part-time or full-time data-entry work, visit more general job sites, such as FlexJobs, Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder and Indeed. Type in “data entry” as your keyword. (Beware of any scams you see soliciting money to be registered in a data entry jobs database.)

Related: 18 Low-Cost Ways for Parents to Make Money From Home

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Copy editor

Copy editor
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images

Cost: Under $100

Equipment: Computer, style guide (book or online subscription), internet access  

Copy editors review written material and check for factual accuracy, spelling, grammar and readability. This is an extremely detail-oriented job for people who already possess a solid foundation of English language, grammar, punctuation, spelling, as well as a high standard of accuracy. Copy editors often refer to writing style guides while copy editing -- the AP Stylebook or The Chicago Manual of Style are the go-to standards. If you already possess a knack for grammar, punctuation and spelling, then this could be a good way for you to earn money.

The hourly wage for a web copy editor in the U.S. is $29 to $31 an hour, and the median annual salary in the U.S. is $45,506.

Often, copy editing is contracted out to freelancers who work remotely, and the industries you can work in as a copy editor or proofreader are varied: from print magazines to financial institution reports to web copy to nonprofit newsletters. If you already possess knowledge in AP or Chicago styles, then you’re better suited for copyediting and proofreading for the media publishing industry, as well as for many advertising agencies. However, academic and medical written material tend to follow different guidelines, such as the AMA Manual of Style.

You can fine tune your copyediting and proofreading skills by taking an online copyediting course for certification at recognized online organizations, such as the American Society for Editing, Mediabistro or Poytner. These courses, at minimum, cost several hundred dollars.

To find work as a freelance copy editor or proofreader, you can check out major job sites including LinkedIn, FlexJobs, Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder and Indeed. You can also look for similar jobs by typing in “proofreader.”

Research freelance sites, such as FlexJobs, Fiverr, Upwork or Freelancer, Freelanced, PeoplePerHour, FreelanceWritingGigs, Super Copy Editors, Mediabistro and Global. Create a profile on these sites. Typically, you can either apply for jobs available or your profile may attract potential clients. Keep in mind, some places may ask you to take a short copy editing test to assess your skills.

For a further list of freelance writing and editing resources, check out “101 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs,” “The 7 Best Freelance Sites to Find Work” and “The 15 Best Freelance Websites to Find Jobs.”

Related: 22 Ways for College Students to Make Money on the Side

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Coder

Coder
Image credit: Hor Kosal | EyeEm | Getty Images

Cost: Zero to $3,500 (depending on whether you pay for training)
Equipment: Computer and internet access

Programming code is highly skilled work, but it doesn’t require a lot of equipment. If you have a knack for writing computer language for software, apps and/ or website, there is an abundance of free learning resources online such as Code Academy (which offers classes in 12 coding languages, including JavaScript and Python, as well as markup languages HTML and CSS) and Udemy, where the classes aren’t free, but they’re extremely affordable. Classes at General Assembly tend to run pricier, and the coding school offers one-shot classes and intensive six to 12 week training sessions online and in-class for a cost ranging from $140 to $3,500.

Coders must be detail-oriented and meticulous. There is high demand for freelance coders, and much of the work can be done from the comfort of your home.

Coding is a general term. There are many different coding languages you can learn. For instance, JavaScript and HTML are common programming languages used for website development. The upside of programming from home is that you can set your own hours and the mean hourly wage for programmers in the U.S. is $38.39. The median annual pay for a programmer is $79,840.

One direction you can go is specializing in front-end development, or coding the part of a website that you can see and interact with, including fonts, drop-down menus, buttons and contact forms. This requires fluency in HTML, CSS and JavaScript, plus coders should know front-end frameworks such as AngularJS and ReactJC. Or try back-end development, basically everything you can’t see on a website. Java, Scala and Python are the primary languages of back-end development.

If you’re at a loss of where to start, you can try coding languages that have staying power and are used in many applications. For instance, JavaScript is used in almost everything built on the web, including websites and video games. Every website uses HTML as a markup language, which controls how the website appears. Once you’re in the world, you’ll have a better idea of direction and where your skills lie.

To find work as a newbie coder, you can build your resume with freelance jobs before going out for full-time ones. Check out Upwork, PeoplePerHour and Freelancer for coding and programming jobs. Once you’ve established some experience and job references, you can search for full-time or contractual work on job sites, such as FlexJobs, Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder and Indeed.

Related: 15 Ways to Make Quick Cash on the Side

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Online retail consigner

Online retail consigner
Image credit: Indeed | Getty Images

Cost: Under $100

Equipment: Computer, internet access, smartphone digital camera, package mailing materials

Online consignment offers a great opportunity to make money through a completely virtual process from home. All you need are a computer, Wi-Fi and a digital camera that takes good photos. You’ll also need mailing materials to package and ship your clothing to the buyer, however you can recoup the shipping and packaging costs by passing the costs onto the buyer.

There are a number of online platforms -- such as Asos, Bib + Tuck, Poshmark, SnobSwap, The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective, Tradesy and ThredUp-- specifically for selling your unwanted clothing, jewelry and accessories. Also, you can always list on eBay. Make sure to research the sites to see what sort of items they’re looking for -- high-end designer, super vintage or Zara-friendly.

Pick a great user ID or name for your shop, use quality images and vivid descriptions of what you’re selling and if you’re doing the selling (some of these sites are peer-to-peer selling and others sell for you for a higher cut of the profits), make sure you offer responsive customer service.

It’s hard to say how much you’ll make. Linda Lightman, an eBay seller of 15 years, built an e-consignment empire, Linda’s Stuff, which now brings in almost $25 million a year. She began her online career by simply selling her son’s old video games, eventually moving to items in her closet and later selling items for friends. However, Lightman’s experience is more the exception than the rule. This is a business that takes time to build, so start small. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to start selling for others too. 

Related: 75 Ideas for Businesses You Can Launch for Cheap or Free

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Social media manager

Social media manager
Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Smartphone or computer and internet access

The job of social media manager requires a lot of time online and can be done from pretty much anywhere there is a computer or smartphone and Wi-Fi. If you have a knack for social media and have a good sense of the tools available, or are willing to learn, you may have a future in social media marketing, a job you can do from anywhere with a computer or smartphone.

The responsibilities of social media marketer includes setting up social media accounts, performing a social media audit (examining client’s social media presence), developing a strategy to create, curate and manage all published content across social media accounts as well as developing marketing campaigns. Social media managers grow sustainable social media followings.

There isn’t one way to become a social media manager. Most full-time positions look for, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism or marketing. If you don’t have one, then look for freelance work to build your experience and credentials. You can also seek additional training, for a price: Hootesuite Academy offers certification, and General Assembly offers bootcamps and workshops on social media management.

The bottom line for becoming a social media manager is to demonstrate command of social media tools and an understanding of how to build and manage a following through content. While you can do this through job experience, if you’re new, then you have to establish your credibility and create a successful social media following of your own. You can also market and promote your services online, blog for free on other related sites providing free tips and using social media channels, build a following and reach out to businesses or individuals.

The median salary for a social media manager in the U.S. is $54,238. If you’re just starting out in this line of work, search for more entry-level social media job titles, such as “social media specialist,” “social media assistant” and “social media associate.” The median salary for social media assistant is $49,395.

You can look for positions on job sites including LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, FlexJobs and Indeed. Or if you’re looking for freelance work, try a search on Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour.

Related: Need a Business Idea? Here are 55

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Music teacher

Music teacher
Image credit: PhotoAlto | Michele Constantini | Getty Images

Cost: Under $100

Equipment: Instrument, sheet music (have your own; also ask student to bring), computer and internet access (for marketing and research)

Maybe you’ve spent years -- maybe decades -- of your life developing your skills as a musician. So why not make money teaching? You can teach private lessons out of your home, as well as group classes.

To become a music teacher, you need to be able to break down reading music and playing an instrument into easy-to-learn steps. Also, like any teacher, you can create an individualized curricula for each student that takes into account their goals and the type of music they want to play. The median yearly salary of a music teacher is $51,925.

There are many paths to become a music teacher. If you want to teach in public school, the steps are more specific. You will need a bachelor’s degree in music and then complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. However, if you go into private teaching, you can avoid the licensing requirements. You still have to demonstrate expertise in your musical instrument and be able to really connect with your students to build a client base.

The startup costs are mainly related to marketing yourself. You will need a computer and internet access to do a job search and market yourself. To find clients for your music lessons, you can market your services where music lovers go: music and instrument stores, music learning academies and schools. Don’t forget to list your lessons on Craiglist, which is free. Also, do a search for “private music instructor” or “private music teacher” jobs on sites such as Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, FlexJobs and Indeed.

Related: Low Cost Business Ideas, How to Start a Small Business

 

 

 

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Virtual tutor

Virtual tutor
Image credit: Maskot | Getty Images

Cost: None
Equipment: Computer and internet access

Virtual tutoring is a good way to make money from home while creating your own schedule and using your expertise in subject matters or test preparation. Virtual tutors use FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts and other technologies.

Tutoring doesn’t require in-state teaching certification, but the majority of companies hiring ask for a bachelor’s degree and some sort of demonstration of expertise in a subject through an exam or other type of assessment. Many tutoring companies offer convenient online free training modules. If you already have some experience either in teaching or tutoring, that’s an excellent start and experience you want to emphasize.

The median hourly wage for a tutor is $17.72 an hour. Do a quick online search of tutoring wages in your area to manage your expectations and set your price.

Tutors in math (all grades, as well as the math used on the SAT and ACT) are always in high demand, along with physical science subjects (physics, chemistry, earth science) and English (critical reading and reading comprehension for test taking), writing (essays) and ESL (grammar, test preparation and English for specific purposes, e.g. specific occupations).

You can create a profile for virtual tutoring companies, which will allow you, in most cases, to be contacted by clients, or you can “bid” on clients looking for tutors. Check out the tutoring companies and marketplaces, including Wyzant, Tutor, Revolution Prep and Course Hero, to get started.  

Another growing opportunity lies in teaching English to students abroad in countries such as China. Some English tutoring companies to research are VIPKID, Englishunt, Topic-Time, Twosigmas, Lingoda and Funbulous.

Related: 50 Work-From-Home Jobs Paying as Much or a Lot More Than the Average American Salary

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Telemarketer

Telemarketer
Image credit: PeopleImages | Getty Images

Cost: Under $50
Equipment: Computer, internet access and phone headset

We’ve all gotten calls from telemarketers, possibly trying to sell a bundled internet and cable package or alternative electricity and gas. While telemarketers often get the phone hung up on them, the upside of telemarketing is that it’s an excellent work-from-home option, and you don’t need a bachelor’s degree or a lot of training for the work, so the entry barrier is relatively low.

What you do likely need for this job, which requires making multiple calls to sell products, conducts surveys and solicit donations, is to be articulate, friendly and thick-skinned. If you have any sort of sales experience, that can work for you.

Telemarketers can make, on average, $16.08 per hour. To find this sort of work, you can simply search through job sites such as Upwork, Glassdoor, Monster, Indeed or FlexJobs. Type in “telemarketing” or “telemarketing” into the search box with your specific parameters.

Related: 12 Tips to Make Money On YouTube

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Virtual assistant

Virtual assistant
Image credit: mapodile | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer, internet access and smartphone

A virtual assistant performs remote tasks across a number of fascinating industries, but the core of the job is administrative. Most of us have booked travel, arranged catering for meetings, done expense reports, maintained a calendar, performed general research and other administrative tasks -- these are among the skills you want to emphasize for the job, along any other organizational or administrative experience you possess.

The beauty of the job is that it can be done from home, and it can be done on a freelance basis -- some gigs last a day, some for weeks or months. The median salary for this position is $15.57 an hour, and like any assistant, virtual ones need to be good on the computer, well organized and deliver what is asked. Having a good phone and email manner helps.

You can kick off your job search by looking for “virtual assistant” on job sites such as FlexJobs, Upwork, Remote.co, ZipRecruiter and Freelancer.com.

Related: 10 Secrets to Making Money While You Sleep

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Babysitter/Childcare expert

Babysitter/Childcare expert
Image credit: G. Mazzarini | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer, internet access and smartphone

A job as a babysitter encompasses various roles, such as picking up a child from lessons or school, helping with homework, making dinner and bathing. The startup costs are low -- the job simply requires human capital and caring skills. 

While you can always go the route of running a daycare business from your home, that would require ramp up time and the proper state licenses and permits, which take time and money. (Researching the National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations can help you figure that out.)

If you wish to skip the hassle of running a daycare business, then stick to babysitting and make sure that you’re not mistakenly running a daycare business. For instance, in New York State, “Any child day care program planning to serve three or more children for more than three hours a day on a regular basis must obtain a license or registration.”

You can offer your childcare services through word of mouth as well as through social media and personal networks. Put up flyers or signs where parents would be, like at schools and local stores that carry kid products or specialize in kid activities. Get permission first.

Also, try leveraging online job marketplaces such as Care.com, Urbansitter.com and Sittercity.com, which connect childcare and babysitting professionals with jobs. Or you can look on Snagajob, a general jobs website for hourly work.

The hourly wage for babysitting and nanny services vary, depending on the responsibilities (such as if you’re asked to tutor) and geographical location. The average babysitting rate in 2016 was $13.97 per hour. Research the average rate in your area.

Related: 11 Secrets That Made These Entrepreneurs Millions 

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Customer service representative

Customer service representative
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer, smartphone and internet access

The job of a customer service representative allows you to, in some cases, work from home. Some places require for you to work from their call centers. The job is typically taking inbound calls and helping customers. The work is in shifts, and because you’ll be interacting with a lot of people over the phone, some who probably are frustrated or upset, having a knack for staying calm, friendly and solution-focused is a plus.

The role of call service representative typically requires a GED and a year of experience, so when applying emphasize any experience you’ve had in customer service or in jobs that have asked you to assist people over the phone and problem-solve. Most call service representative jobs come with training. The median pay for customer service rep in the U.S. is $16 an hour.

To kick off your search for this type of work, look on job sites for job titles that include “Customer Care Representative,” “Customer Success Specialist,” “Call Service Representative,” “Client Service Representative” and “Client Success Specialist.”

Related: 7 Things You Can Do Today to Make More Money Every Day

 

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Translator

Translator
Image credit: lechatnoir | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer and internet access

Translation is skill-based work -- you are either fluent in English and a second language (Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Arabic are in demand) or you’re not. If you’re fortunate enough to be multilingual, you can translate audio recordings, written documents and videos, or interpret in settings such as schools, hospitals, courtrooms, meeting rooms and conference centers.

Translation is a fast-growing field with a projected growth rate of 18 percent by 2026. Most translators are self-employed and work remotely, from the comfort of home.

To become a translator or interpreter, you typically need a bachelor’s degree -- some places of work require a bachelor’s degree in interpretation. However, most places simply require proficiency in English and another language.

Related: 32 Proven Ways to Make Money Fast

If you’re looking for freelance translator/interpreter work, there are plenty of platforms, including Gengo, Upwork, American Journal Experts, Cyracom, Interpreters and Translators, Inc., Language Line Certified Languages Interpbridge, Andovar and Rev.

Also, you can look for part-time and full-time translation and interpreter work by going to the usual job spots: LinkedIn, FlexJobs, Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder and Indeed. Search for “translator” and type in the specific language (other than English) you’re fluent in.

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Online expert

Online expert
Image credit: Petri Oeschger | Getty Images

Online expert

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer, smartphone and internet access

People will pay for your expertise -- and you don't have to leave home. The gig economy and freelancer marketplace have opened an online market for professionals who can sell their expertise from home. Workers with professional degrees in a variety of high-skilled areas, such as accounting, law, medicine, social sciences, grant writing, marketing or veterinary medicine, can create their profiles on expertise marketplaces, where clients can either select you for your services or where you can bid on jobs.

Among the places where you can get started is on the consulting and coaching platform Clarity.fm, where experts get paid by the minute to talk to clients over the phone or online. Or sell your expertise on JustAnswer, where potential clients post questions online and registered experts (e.g. doctors, lawyers, antique appraisers, engineers, essay experts and many more) bid to answer the question.

Some other gig platforms where you can sell your expertise may take you out of the house: Fiverr (the marketplace is geared toward services required by the lean entrepreneur, e.g. video and digital marketing), TaskRabbit (household and errand services), Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (mostly menial repetitive computer tasks), Amazon Home Services (home improvement and handyman services) and Upwork (another marketplace also geared toward services needed by lean businesses). These marketplaces vary in the range of required expertise and pay per job.

Another way to make money selling your expertise online for little to no cost? Creating a class in your area of expertise (personal finance, public speaking or fundraising) on one of the many online learning platforms. This would require considerable work in the front end: Recording video lectures, creating a class syllabus and coming up with assignments. However, once the work is done, you simply have to post your class and get a percentage of the sales. Some online learning platforms to consider are Zeqr, Skillshare and Uscreen. Pay models vary, but typically you get a percentage of the sales combined with royalties calculated by minutes of your videos watched.

Related: 50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle


 
21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Social media evaluator

Social media evaluator
Image credit: eclipse_images | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer, smartphone and internet access

Social media evaluators get paid to gather information about a company’s social media strategy and presence (evaluating the quality and relevance of ads, search results and news feeds) in their market. You can do this entry-level work from home, so long as you have a computer or smartphone and internet access.

But be forewarned, some of the drawbacks for this type of work is that the hiring process itself can be impersonal (entirely digital) and the assessment for the job can take weeks, according to feedback on Glassdoor about one of the leading social media evaluator employers, Appen. The upsides: the hours are flexible and the work is easy.

The pay range is $10 to $14 an hour, depending on where you’re located. You can start looking for work by going on job websites including Glassdoor, FlexJobs and Indeed and typing in “social media evaluator” in the search box. Another similar job title you can search for is “web search evaluator.”

Related: 12 Ways to Increase Your Income This Month

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Market tester and researcher

Market tester and researcher
Image credit: Caiaimage | Rafal Rodzoch | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer and internet access

Companies will pay for your opinion and testing of products, and you can do most of these jobs from home. The pay for this type of tester and research work varies. For instance, a website tester can get paid $10 for a completed test that takes 15 minutes. So depending on how many tests you can take in a day, you could make up to $40 an hour. However, the reality is, you likely won’t be doing test after test all day.

Related: 5 Ways to Grow Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Income

Here are a variety of ways for you to participate in market testing and research:

  1. Website tester: You provide feedback on apps and websites for an average of $10 a completed test, which typically takes 10 to 15 minutes. Some companies you can check out for this type of work are UserTesting.com, Whatusersdo, UserTest, Userfeel, Startuplift and Analysia.

  2. Become a mystery shopper: You get paid to secretly visit stores and report back your experience. The average U.S. wage for a mystery shopper is $14.81 an hour. Find out more through these mystery shopper companies: Mystery Shopper Providers Association, Market Force, Best Mark, Sinclair Customer Metrics and Experience Exchange.

  3. Join a research study or focus group: Companies will pay you to sit in groups and answer consumer questions, from an hour to all day. The pay varies. You can sign up for focus groups at SIS International, Focus Group, Focus Groups, Global Strategy Group and PaidFocusGroups.com.

  4. Fill out online surveys: Register your information for a market research survey site, and you’ll be contacted when there is a survey that fits your demographic. Here are some survey websites where you can register: MyPoints, Survey Junkie, Pinecone, Survey Spot and Opinion Outpost.

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

"Landlord" in the sharing economy

"Landlord" in the sharing economy
Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer, internet access and smartphone with digital camera

If you have an extra room or converted basement or garage to rent out, then you can join the sharing economy and rent out part of your living space on Airbnb. You can also list your living space on a vacation rental site, such as HomeAway.

You can not only rent out your living space, but you can also rent out your driveway for parking using sharing platforms, such as Rover Parking, JustPark, Parklee, Panda Parking, Pavemint and CurbFlip. There are also platforms to rent out your backyard, such as Nookzy, however this can run you into some legal trouble in certain cities.

If you have a much-coveted garage or additional storage space in your apartment, you can use the apps Roost and Spacer to rent out storage space. The money you can make from renting out space varies, depending on where you live and the demand in your community. However, according to Spacer, you can make from $2,000 to $4,000 annually renting out your garage for storage.

Listing your rental assets typically won’t require startup costs, other than the time and energy needed to take digital photos of your asset and listing it on the appropriate site.

Do some research on whether there is demand for storage, parking and rooms in your area. What’s in demand in an urban area, such as a parking space, may not be for a rural area where parking isn’t a problem. However, that doesn’t mean that someone may not want to rent your driveway to stash their boat or RV. By researching the platforms to see what people are renting out in your area, you’ll get a better idea of how to market your rental spaces.

Related: 18 Ways I've Earned Rent Money When I Was Broke


 
21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Virtual recruiter

Virtual recruiter
Image credit: d3sign | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer, smartphone and internet access

Virtual recruiters find candidates for job openings. The idea is that virtual recruiters reach out to a large and more diverse pool of applicants using “virtual open houses” where the recruiter can meet with interested candidates online to talk about the company and open positions and using “gatekeeper questionnaires” that screen interested candidates. The job of the virtual recruiter is to save time and labor for companies before the company meets candidates face to face. Glassdoor reports that recruiters can make from $30 to $40 an hour.

Virtual recruiters typically work independently or for an agency -- the latter is recommended for anyone who doesn't wish to invest much money up front for this work, requiring access to job board subscriptions and costly recruitment tools, which can be accessed for free if you join an agency.

Recruiting may require some training on the process and tools available, however both are typically available for free if you join a recruiting agency. If you already have a background in recruiting and human resources, then you’re ahead of the game and should emphasize this experience when you apply.

If you don’t have a background in recruiting or HR, don’t worry. These companies are looking for someone who can match job seekers to jobs, and to do that, you need to establish that you have the infrastructure to do so (meaning the tools and the process) and also the ability to screen candidates. If you don’t have the software tools, companies may give you access to theirs.

While you don’t need a bachelor’s degree for this work, you should have at least an associate’s degree or related experience. Go to any job site, including Glassdoor, Monster and LinkedIn, and type in “virtual recruiter” to find available positions.

Related: 18 Ways You Can Make Money Right Now

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Freelance writer

Freelance writer
Image credit: pixdeluxe | Getty Images

Cost: None
Equipment: Computer, smartphone and internet access

The life of a writer allows you to work remotely, as long as you have a computer, internet access and a phone. To be a writer, you need to start with a foundation of good writing and research skills. You will also likely have to interview sources, so your interview skills need to be on point. There’s all kinds of writing jobs, from copy writing to content writing across industries to branded content writing (which is essentially marketing), and the majority of the jobs can be done remotely.

Not surprisingly, demand is directly related to your experience and areas of expertise. Niche expertise, such as within the aviation industry or blockchain applications in security, can impact your marketability. So define some areas where you already have contacts and knowledge, and make sure you have a website that showcases your best work and features your contact information. (If you don’t have samples of published work, then that’s where you need to start.) The average base pay for a freelance editor is $51,104.

However, if you’re just starting out, there are also freelance writing job boards and marketplaces to advertise your services and look for work, although the competition can be tough, writes Entrepreneur.com contributor John Rampton.

Some places to start looking include the part-time jobs website FlexJobs, which features writing gigs in specific categories, such as gaming, financial or medical writing; Freelanced, a freelancer social network where you can search for jobs and share your portfolio; and FreelanceWritingGigs, which lists freelance writer and editor jobs across a variety of industries.

For a comprehensive list of freelance writing and editing resources, check out “101 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs,” “The 7 Best Freelance Sites to Find Work” and “The 15 Best Freelance Websites to Find Jobs.”

Related: Jeff Rose Has 7 Streams of Monthly Revenue. Here's How He Did It

21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

Resume writer

Resume writer
Image credit: awayge | Getty Images

Cost: None

Equipment: Computer and internet access

Resume writer work is flexible and can be done from home. There's also low overhead: You simply need a computer, internet access and word processing software. This work requires a knack for organizing and formatting information and the ability to punch up job experiences into worthy accomplishments and call out singular skills.

A professional resume writer creates resumes for people who find themselves unable (or unwilling) to format and organize a narrative of employment, education and skills on their own. It’s a specific skill that requires editing (a resume should be, at most, two pages) and copyediting (it’s painful to see a glaring spelling or grammar mistake on a resume). Also, resuming writing requires you to find out a person’s background and shape it into a concise format. That’s not an endeavor that takes 30 minutes to an hour. It can take four or five hours.

Professional resume writers can charge between $50 and $75 per resume and between $200 and $300 for a Fortune 500 executive. However, if you’re just establishing your services, it’s advisable to start at a lower price point.

Information on how to write resumes (tips on language and keywords) and actual resume templates are readily available online. You can offer your business to those with less job experience and shorter resumes -- anyone fresh out of college -- before you market yourself to professional with long and varied careers. To find those college students, you can market your services in their career centers or advertise on campus and in the campus paper (if they still have one).

Writing resumes for professionals who have extensive job histories is a different skill than writing resumes for those fresh out of college, who often need a chronological resume as opposed to a targeted one. Job seekers with significant experience have a much more narrow search, so you can leave large parts of their unrelated work experience off the resume. While it’s not necessary, you may want to get certified from the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. To get started, search for this type of resume work on Elance, Freelancer, FlexJobs, Indeed, RiseSmart, Talent Inc. and Upwork.

Related: Here Are 7 Well-Paying Side Hustles You Never Knew Existed
 
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  • 21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home
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