And there are! There are lots of ways to earn money using the internet, and some of them don't even involve taking your clothes off! (That's a joke! But seriously, taking your clothes off on the internet can be a great way to earn money, and I won't be covering that topic in this blog. If you're really curious, do email me.) The internet is a fabulous resource for us broke college students, since no matter how broke we get, we all still manage to have internet access. There is wi-fi on almost every college campus these days, not to mention libraries with free internet, and friends and neighbors who can't figure out how to protect their internet and thus are inadvertently providing free internet to the rest of their apartment building (let's not lie, we love those people). So with this wonderful, free resource at our fingertips, how can we put it to work to earn us money in some ways that DON'T involve filling out surveys and offers, trying to refer our address books for referral rewards, or clicking on hundreds of paid emails? Read on.
Craigslist is the #1 most basic site to use for earning money online. Many of you are probably rolling your eyes right now because this is just so obvious, but there are probably at least a few things you have yet to take advantage of on Craiglist. We've all scored a cheap TV or sold our minifridge to a stranger on Craigslist, but here are a few new ideas to try:
- Post your resume up in the "Resumes" section with a title describing your skillset. You never know who is looking for someone to help with basic computer coding, or photography, or theatre or whatever else you're majoring in or good at. Just in case they are posting ads instead of looking at resumes, though, continue on to the
- The Gigs Section has a few specific skillset categories: computer, writing, event, etc - and it's worth looking at just about all of them. There are loads of people out there with money willing to pay you to set up their event, or write some copy for them, or fix their computer or model for a painting
- If you don't find anything there, head to the Jobs and Services sections. While there are some postings that are offering jobs, it's a good idea to make a post advertising your own services as well. Here, you'll need to be a bit more pro-active in advertising the things you can help with. Try to find something specific that people might want that is not already posted about a zillion times: Moving/lifting boxes? Organizing a cluttered room? Setting up a website? Writing a press release? Putting up flyers around campus/town? Hauling something in your pickup truck? Painting? Photographing? Modelling? Marathon training? Whatever you can do, whatever skills you may have, post a detailed and professorial explanation of how these skills could benefit your potential employers, along with a pricing range (or "flexible/negotiable pricing" if you aren't sure how to charge yet) and some contact information. Try to sound as reliable as possible - Craigslist is a bit of a last resort for some, and you want to seem like a good investment. As for my personal experience with Craiglist jobs? I got an internship for this summer in the field that I'm majoring in (fashion design) through Craigslist, as well as a few other random jobs for other skillsets I have (makeup artist, social networking, etc).
- While you're on Craigslist, there are some other lesser-used ways to earn money on the site. Be sure to check out the Rideshare section if you're considering any sort of travel. You can save big on gas money by, say, sharing a car to New York.
- The Free section of the For Sale category is a personal favorite of mine for finding 100% free items (for those of you familiar with Freecycle, it's the same concept).
- You can find fun free events and even classes in the Community category, as well as garage sales if you're looking to score some stuff on the cheap.
Similiar to the categories on Craiglist that offer skill-based opportunities, there are entire websites focused around certain skill sets. As an added bonus in addition to the cash you can earn on these sites, many of them are great for resume-padding! Imagine how amazing winning a logo competition for XYZ corporation out of 100+ entrants will look on your resume as a graphic designer.... read on!
- Helium is one of the biggest paid writing sites. You can submit articles, which are paid for on a per-article basis dependent on the quality and popularity of the article - each article is "Rated" by the other members of the site and its readers. There are also writing contests, and requests for certain articles. It can be a bit confusing to get started earning on Helium, so visit the FAQ's For New Members page to get started.
- AssociatedContent.com is a site for writers that is owned by Yahoo!. You can write content about whatever you want - reviews, op-eds, guides, etc. Original content qualifies for up-front payment, but you can even publish articles that have already been published elsewhere, in which case the amount you receive per article is based on page views. You can sign in with a Yahoo ID to get started!
- To save space in this blog post, here is a link to an article linking 55 other paid-to-write websites: Click Here Now, moving on.
- Demand Studios offers paid work for more than just writers: publishers, filmmakers, copy editors, and more can find opportunities here. Essentially, the site provides content to other sites - such as YouTube and eHow - and as a paid member of the site, you help to provide that content. You must apply to the site to be a part of it. As taken from the site itself: "Once you are approved, writing for Demand Studios is easy. First, claim titles you want to write by searching within categories or sites you are interested in. These titles are yours alone and you have seven days to submit the completed article. After review and fact checking by a copy editor, your article is published and payment is processed."
- Seed.com is similiar to Demand Studios in that it is a content-producing site for other sites. It is part of the AOL corporation and provides content for a myriad of AOL-family websites. Seed offers opportunities for writers, photographers and filmmakers to produce content for money. Essentially, the site posts an "Assignment", which anyone can respond to with their own original content. Some or all of the responses are chosen, and those that are chosen receive money from the site. To read more about the site and how it works, read the How It Works page, or read this skeptical About.com article.
- 99 Designs is a design site - graphic design, web design, even t-shirt design and more. Essentially, a company hosts a "design contest" describing what they are looking for with the price they are willing to pay. You, along with other designers, submit your best work in hopes of "winning" the contest. If the company picks your design, you get paid -anywhere from $5-$5000 dollars. Easy enough, right? To get started, register for the site and then click "Browse Projects." Once you find something good, click on it, read the brief - which contains specific information about the desired content, examples of content that the customer likes, and more - and then create and submit your design. Good luck!
- crowdSPRING is a logo/graphic design and writing site which has worked with well-known companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, LG and more. Registering is quick and easy, and once you've activated your account you can build a portfolio, browse projects and submit your designs. You'll be paid for your work when a company chooses your design. Right now, most of the projects are offering $200-$5000! Visit the Help center for more information.
- LogoTournament is a site for paid logo design. Its title is fairly self-explanatory: company posts looking for logos, designers submit logos in a tournament-style bidding process, one designer wins cash. Heck, even if you don't win, you might create some goodies to put in your design portfolio. Click "Signup" to begin.
- UpHype this is a site where you can post about "Hyping" sites up (via social networking, flyering, voice-overs, blogging or whatever other promotional ideas you can think up) for $8, $16 or $24 a pop.
- TaskArmy is a site where you advertise your skills for "tasks" that are paid upon completion, rather than involving a bidding proccess. Some of the skillsets paid for here are web development, web design, web marketing, data entry, translation and copywriting. Post up a short "ad" offering a specific service for a predefined price, and a company will select you and pay you for your service.
But I Don't Have Skills
Let's say you're not able to write or design graphics, or you can't think of anything to post on Craigslist. Fear not, my skill-lacking friend! There are still options for you.
- Fiverr is the most amazing site for making a quick $5 for doing whatever the heck you want - literally. You post a quick "ad" describing what you're offering to do for $5 - it can be ANYTHING, be creative! - and someone with $5 to spend pays you for your random, inane or useless offer. Literally, the first ad I saw when I clicked on the site was "I will film my Bird playing around your Ad or Message for $5." If you exist and have the internet, you can make money on Fiverr. (Bonus: this site is excellent for entertainment when you're drunk and it seems like a good idea to spend $5 to watch someone do cartwheels while singing Happy Birthday to you. Just sayin'.) And as if one website for making $5 doing whatever you wanted wasn't enough, here are some more:
- GigMe5 is pretty much the exact same as Fiverr.
- JustAFive you guessed it - exactly the same as Fiverr.
- Fourerr this one is for $4 instead of $5, because variety is good.
- GigBucks Here you can offer "gigs" for $5-$25 and get paid out via PayPal. How's this for Inception - one of the ads I saw offers "The Best Ads to Post on Fiverr" for $5. Ooooh!
- TwentyVille Like Fiverr et al, except for $20 instead of $5!
- TenBux You can post offering your services for either $5 or $10.
- Zeerk Post your services for anywhere from $2-$100.
Seriously, I Can't Think of Anything to Post on Those Sites
Ok, ok. So you want people to pay you to do something completely unskilled, that you barely even have to think about, right? Well, ask, and ye shall receive, or whatever. Anyway, there are sites for that too!
- Amazon's Mechanical Turk or Mturk for short is an Amazon site that provides money for unskilled internet labor - the kind that can't be automated, but is completely and mind-numbingly easy. Sign up, set up your payment information, and go find a low-skill task such as identifying whether or not photos are blurry, or verifying an address of a company on its website, or putting stuff into categories. Each task will take a certain amount of time and will pay out anywhere from $.05-$1.00. The good news is that there is no minimum payout - Amazon will pay you whenever you're credited for completing a task. The bad news is that this is not going to get you a lot of money quickly. Its great for when you're super bored and feel like doing something mindless on the internet for a small amount of money.
- YouData is an "Attention Payment Site" - literally, they pay you money for your attention, aka watching or looking at some advertisements. Sign up, fill out your "Me File" where you create a profile that advertisers will use to match up appropriate ads that might appeal to you, and then sit back and wait for someone to pay you to watch their advertisement. Again, this won't get you rich quickly, but there is no minimum payout (I set mine up to pay out via PayPal) and it is a completely mindless way to earn a small amount of cash quickly.
- Swagbucks and InboxDollars also have "Cash Tasks" and "Cash TV" which are essentially the same as Mturk and YouData in that you earn money for completing tasks or watching advertisements. I know I said I was branching out from paid-to sites in this post, but I'm just putting that out there.
So there you have it. 20+ sites you can use to earn money online, no matter what your abilities. As long as you have the internet, you can earn some extra cash, and you don't even have to resort to paid-to sites. Now, what are you waiting for? Get to earning!
Do you have a site like these that isn't listed in this post? Or do you have experiences or tips for using one of the sites in this post? Comment or visit my facebook page and let me know!