Everything You Need to Know About How to Make Money Online

In this post: When it comes to how to make money online, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and maybe even a little confused. Let this mega guide lead the way to clarity and excellent options.

Welcome! You Can Do This.

Whether you’re looking to launch an online business, land a remote job, or just see if you can really earn money taking online surveys, you’ll find help here at The Work at Home Wife.

We aim to provide valuable information about:

  • How to make money from home
  • The tools of the trade
  • How to earn a living online without having to live online

Every moment of working at home is a learning process, and the online world changes daily. We try to keep you up to date.

I have been making money online since 2007, and I started researching my options long before that. You have hundreds of legitimate options to choose from. Some may require an investment. Some you may be able to start for free. Some opportunities may be working for a big company. In some, you may be working for yourself.

In this post, we’ll break down some of your options into a more easy-to-process manner. We’ll give you a short introduction to each money making idea and then a list of links to other posts where you can learn more about the topic.

The most important thing you can do for yourself while learning how to make money online and from home is to take action. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in learning that you never make the first move toward making your dreams come true. Educate yourself, but take action on what you have learned.

What Are the Benefits of Making Money Online?

There are so many reasons people choose to work from home:

  • A more flexible schedule to allow for taking care of children or aging parents
  • Being able to travel
  • The opportunity to create an income you desire regardless of your experience or education
  • Save money on childcare
  • More independence to work on projects that are important to you
  • A more flexible schedule that allows for volunteer work
  • No more office politics
  • The ability to work with your internal creative clock instead of against it
  • No more commute time
  • Earn as much as you want: Simply earn extra cash (or get paid via gift card) … or boost your bank account with seriously good money

Tools of the Trade: What Do I Need to Make Money on the Internet?

When it comes to landing – and keeping – a work-at-home job, there are a few basic tools you should definitely have in your bag. Here are my top picks:

A quality computer and other hardware

If you want to work from home, you need to have a computer – and a few other things, too. When you first start out as a remote worker, you may not have a lot of capital to pour into buying the latest hardware. That’s okay; just make sure you buy smart.

Think about the type of jobs you hope to land. Unless you’re a graphic designer, you probably don’t need the snazziest iMac or MacBook around. Save your cash and simply buy a new or refurbished computer that will last you for some years and has sufficient specs to keep up with changes in office suite software and Internet-based apps.

Some work-at-home jobs, like customer service, will have a list of equipment requirements that need to be met. This is to ensure you have a stable and secure connection when processing customer requests. Other jobs, like freelance writing, may have no equipment or internet speed requirements at all. You can literally do your job anywhere anytime.

If you are looking into the steady paycheck of customer service, this is a typical requirements list (each company is different, so please refer to the individual listing for that company’s requirements):

  • A desktop or laptop less than 3 years old
  • Minimum speed is 2GHz of processing
  • Windows operating system, usually Windows 7 or 8. The exception would be Mac-specific positions like Apple At-Home Advisors
  • 20 GB free hard disk space*2 GB of RAM (some companies require up to 8 GB RAM)
  • Sound and video card
  • DSL, Fiber Optic or Cable internet

Read product reviews before you buy. Decide whether a desktop or a laptop is best to suit your needs (Ex. You will likely need a desktop to get a customer service position. On the other end of the spectrum, proofreading can be done on a tablet if necessary.) And, while you’re budgeting for new hardware, don’t forget to factor in a good headset – many remote jobs require them. (To increase your marketability, you can also add a decent mic and an all-in-one printer. Or even a foot pedal if you’re going into transcription.)

A functional self-management system

Working from home takes a lot of self-discipline. Before you become a remote worker, make sure you have a good system for keeping yourself organized and on task. Use whatever works for you – make a bullet journal, organize your duties on Trello, keep a detailed Google Calendar with Calendly for setting meetings. Just make sure you have a self-management scheme that keeps you going. We really like the new Focused Collection from Erin Condren.

A comfortable workspace

Many work-from-home jobs that you find will require you to sit at your computer for long periods each day. So it’s super important that you have a comfortable space to work! Even if it’s just a comfortable chair pulled up to an old table that’s the right height, or a spot on your couch, put some thoughtfulness for your future self into your home office. Your body will thank you. (Oh, and make sure it’s in a quiet spot!)

Companies That Hire for Work From Home

There are so many large companies that hire remote workers to work online. We are talking about everyone from small mom-and-pop shops that can’t afford the overhead of office space and health insurance to Fortune 500 companies like Amazon and Apple. (Yes. Those companies actually hire people to work from home!)

The larger the company, the more requirements and prerequisites they likely have in place. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even though you may need a newer computer, they may offer health insurance and a full-time schedule. There’s always a trade-off. Know that more scheduling freedom and flexibility and less management oversight may mean lesser pay or no benefits.

Below are some great posts filled with jobs ideas and companies that might be just right for you! Some will have a nice mix of industries; others will allow you to dive deep based on your experience and interests.

Ways to Make Money Online With a Home Business

Have you always dreamed about owning a small business? Maybe you don’t want to work for someone else. Maybe you want total control over your schedule and your future. That’s cool, too. Home business opportunities are plentiful.

Ways to Earn Extra Money

This next category is one of my favorites. And, it applies to almost everyone looking for a good side hustle. Why? Because it is something everyone should be doing regardless of whether they are looking for a little something to earn a few pennies during commercial breaks that requires minimal effort or they are looking to create a full-time income from home.

Other Ways to Make Money Online That You May Be Overlooking

When we think about earning real money online, our minds usually head straight to things doing like customer service for a company such as Amazon or writing a blog post every day – because that’s what everybody is doing. Right?

There are so many other options you may be overlooking!

Some of these ideas will allow you to use your knowledge, interests, and experience to make money. Because these are areas you know, it may not take much to get yourself set up for success.

Sell Your Knowledge

Our first overlooked opportunity is selling your knowledge. In this instance, we are talking about creating an online course, eBook, or other digital product that you can make available on the web. Because of the automation available today, you may be able to put in the work once when creating your packaged information and then enjoy those checks coming in for months or years to come.

If you are in need of quick cash, this is a project you will want to start on the side as the return may not be immediate. That being said, this is a passive income idea you should definitely take advantage of. Who doesn’t want to make money while they sleep or travel?

  • In a past post, we talked to Darrell Gurney who has had over 1,000 students enroll in his course on Udemy. This is a course he charges $200 to take.
  • We have also talked to women earning a full-time income selling digital products from travel guides to eBooks on Amazon and e-junkie.
  • Here is a great list of online research jobs

Help Others Do What You Do (coaching & consulting)

There are so many ways you can make money helping other people succeed and reach their goals. Depending on your background and education, you may be able to offer services as a business consultant, wellness coach and more.

The founder of coach.me told us that they have had coaches earn up to $7,000 in just one day. Though that’s likely out of reach unless you have an engaged following already, you may be able to get in on some of their other offerings.

If you’re really ambitious, you can start your own YouTube channel teaching people what you’re passionate about.

Sell Your Knowledge II (writing)

Maybe you don’t want all of the maintenance that comes with creating and upkeeping courses and eBooks. Maybe you don’t mind writing about your interests, but you just want to be done with it once it’s completed. Don’t worry. You’ve got so many options when it comes to being a freelancer, and many pay pretty well.

Sell Your Knowledge III (tutoring and teaching English)

There’s good money to be made as an online tutor. If you have specialized knowledge in a subject, you can tutor a high schooler or college student who’s struggling. Even if you don’t think you have any particular expertise, if you’re a native English speaker, there are plenty of companies that will pay you for your language skills. Some of them are as simple as video chatting with foreign-language learners on an app — on your schedule! Here are some tips about breaking into online tutoring and teaching English:

Work at Home Job Search Tips

Now that you know where you want to work, you need to apply. Be aware that the competition for remote positions is high. For every one job opening, there may be hundreds or thousands of applicants. But, don’t let that deter you! You can’t get a job if you don’t submit an application. Plain and simple. No one is going to magically show up on your doorstep offering you a great gig. You have to go get it.

When it comes to looking for jobs, we recommend the following job boards as legitimate ways to find work:

  • FlexJobs – researching all leads to ensure no scams, no business opportunities, nothing that doesn’t have flex potential
  • Indeed – huge job board, you will need to perform due diligence to ensure listings are legitimate
  • Freelance Writer’s Den – this site offers online training and a job board for freelance writers

You will find some of my best tips in the following post: how to find a work-at-home job.

Recommended Books & Courses


Can you really work from home stuffing envelopes?

I remember seeing ads to work from home stuffing envelopes way back when I was in high school. That was more than 20 years ago. Now, you may be thinking, if these ads are still around it must be legit. Not so fast!

What these opportunities typically turn up to be is a pyramid scheme. You pay a fee to sign up. You then receive a flyer saying how great stuffing envelopes is and list of names and addresses to mail said flyer. IF those people pay that signup fee so they can mail that flyer too, you get paid a small referral fee. ONLY if they take the bait do you get paid.

The #1 reason people get scammed when looking for work from home is that they think they can make big money doing little to nothing. That just isn’t how it works. If it did, don’t you think I’d be back there stuffing envelopes right now?

Don’t fall for this stuff. If it looks too good to be true, you already know it is. Read more:

Who hires people with no work-at-home experience?

It can take some time to land a work-from-home job. And it can get frustrating when you run into job leads that say “previous experience required.” But, there is hope! There are actually quite a few industries that are a little more lenient. Check out this post:

I have small kids/pets/live in an apartment building, so I can’t get a phone job that requires no background noise. What are my options?

While customer service positions are some of the most readily available to those looking to work from home, they aren’t a good fit for many. The good news is there are some customer service positions that allow you to assist customers by way of email or chat. You should also consider alternate industries like transcription, search evaluation and writing. Learn more about those opportunities and others at:

How can I get started as a freelance writer if I don’t have experience?

Freelance writing is such a great industry to get involved in if you want to work remotely. There’s plenty of work available and it’s typically one of the most flexible gigs in terms of scheduling. (You can often do the work whenever and wherever you choose.) Even better, it’s pretty easy to get started freelancing with a degree or previous writing experience. Read more at Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners

How can I make money selling stuff online?

There are so many ways to earn extra income by selling things online. You can cash in by getting rid of things you don’t want anymore, like clothing, books and DVDs. You can open an online store to sell items you make or flip; services like Amazon FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) can help you with the e-commerce and shipping aspects. If you have graphic design skills, you can create a digital download of your artwork and sell it somewhere like Etsy for great passive income. Here are some more ideas:

Can I really make money online with a survey site?

Yes, though you won’t earn a full-time income, so be careful that you don’t spend all day answering the questions. Surveys are best seen as way to make extra money if you have gaps in your day, like if you have some down time at your kid’s swim meet. See which survey sites are worth the effort here: 10 Opportunities to Take Surveys for Cash

I want to start a blog, but I don’t know where to start.

Blogging can be a great side hustle. Though the income may not be steady and it can take awhile to get rolling, there are a few steps you can take to ensure success. Before you start thinking about money, you start thinking about the topics you are truly passionate about. What can you talk about and learn about for days? That’s exactly what you’ll be doing for years to come, after all. Once you’ve figured out what your niche is, then you can think about monetization and potential partners for an affiliate marketing strategy or a helpful sponsored post. Get some more tips on starting a blog here: How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 7 Steps

What do virtual assistants do? How can I get started?

Virtual Assisting has come to encompass so many things over the past few years. Some virtual assistants handle entry level tasks like making appointments or monitoring an email address. Others specialize in more advanced fields like scheduling book tours and podcasting.

The good news is you can create a business around your strengths and even learn new skills as you go. Here are a few posts that will help you learn more about the industry:

I want to work for myself but I am on a budget.

One of the reasons home businesses are so popular is that they often require very little investment. Depending on the business, you may be able to start working with what you have and make upgrades and investments as you go. Here are a few opportunities for you to consider:

I’ve fallen for scams before. Where can I find legitimate companies hiring?

Falling into a scam is a total bummer. But, it happens to the best of us. Rest assured, there are thousands of great legit opportunities out there waiting for you. The companies in these posts are on the up-and-up and frequent hire for work at home.

Top Ways to Spot and Avoid Work-at-Home Scams

I’m looking for something part-time/flexible.

Flexibility and freedom are two things that make working from home so appealing. For those of us preferring to work on our own schedules and with an hourly commitment of our choosing, you have some awesome options available. Check out these posts to learn more:

Is FlexJobs legit?

FlexJobs is 100% legit. While it may not be necessary for everyone, if you have limited time available to dig around on the internet and vet companies for legitimacy it’s well worth the investment. They research each job lead to make sure it is truly remote or flexible and it isn’t a scam. I’ve had a membership for a very long time and find it well worth the small investment.

If you are looking for companies that hire beginners, here’s one of my favorite searches within FlexJobs. Once you join try hitting the Advanced Search tab > Telecommuting Level 100% > Career Level Entry-Level. You can also hit buttons for full-time, flexible, employee/freelance and more to find just what you are looking for.

Join FlexJobs

I don’t have a desktop/laptop. Is there anything I can do to make money with just a tablet?

The awesome thing about working at home is you get to decide the kind of work you want to do and you can usually decide what type of equipment you want to use – with the exception of many customer service positions, of course.

If you only have a laptop or tablet, or just want to work on the go, you have some great options waiting for you.

What about taxes?

Many work-at-home companies hire you as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee. That means you are responsible for submitting your own tax payments. Taxes won’t be taken out of your check like you are probably used to. It’s so important that you keep good records of your income – and expenses. We highly recommend Quickbooks Self-Employed.

Any other recommendations?

You can see the tools we use to work at home like a pro here, plus check out our budget-friendly home office upgrades.

Published December 2016. Updated February 2021.

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