Earn Side Hustles

These 12 Real People Told Us How They Make Money Without a Full-Time Job

The Penny Hoarder Staff  |  May 20, 2020

If you’ve recently been laid off or furloughed — or simply want to pad your savings — here are some ways to make money without interacting with others.

If you’ve recently been laid off or furloughed — or simply want to pad your savings — it’s time to find a flexible way to make money without interacting with other people.

The key words here? Without interacting with other people.

The coronavirus has many of us cooped up at home, feeling a bit stir-crazy and helpless. But that’s why we rounded up a few of our favorite ways to make extra money. Hopefully some of these ideas can help you pay the bills this month.

1. Earn Cash While Watching Cooking Videos Online

If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh. It’s too good to be true, right? 

But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. 

No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone.

Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

Success story: The Penny Hoarder spoke with Sarah Houston, who, at the time, was a 26-year-old nanny and business student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. She used InboxDollars to make some extra money. In three years, she pocketed about $300.

2. Make an Extra $600 This Week and Help Local Restaurants

Businesses all around us are shutting down, and many restaurants are struggling to stay afloat with takeout orders. But people stuck at home are tired of cooking — so they turn to take out.

That’s where you enter the picture.

An app called Doordash will pay you to pick up and deliver food on your own schedule. All you need to get started is your preferred mode of transportation and your smartphone.

You’ll deliver things like coffee from Starbucks or food from Chipotle, Chick-fil-A or Five Guys. You set your own hours and work as much or little as you want, meaning how much you make is up to you.

If you sign up for Doordash now, it’s possible to get your first paycheck this week.

Success story: Jose Neri, from California, reported earning $500 to $600 a week working just lunches and dinners.

MORE: Confessions of a Side Hustler: When to Hold On and When to Let Go

3. Start Your Own Work-From-Home Business

Have you ever thought about launching your own business? You’ll get to be your own boss and set your own schedule.

Not sure where to start? Look into bookkeeping. It’s the No. 1 most profitable business, according to an article in Inc. And you can earn up to $64 an hour.

You don’t have to be an accountant or good at calculus to be successful at bookkeeping, either. As long as you’re motivated, a company called Bookkeeper Launch will teach you everything you need to know. It’s one of the leading training courses in the field, and it’ll even give you the first three classes for free. 

It’s helped thousands of people launch their own mini-businesses. If you’re just a little curious, you just have to submit your email address here to take the first free classes.

Success story: Daniel Honan, a military veteran in his early 30s, had never considered starting his own company. But he signed up for Bookkeeper Launch, and now he’s making around $50,000 a year keeping track of business expenses for his clients.

It only took him three months to get started, taking one class a week. Oh, and he makes his own schedule and is able to spend more time with his wife than ever. 

MORE: How To Manage Your Full-Time Job and Side Hustle Without Burning Out

4. See if You Can Get Free Money From This Company 

Although you’re stuck at home, that doesn’t mean you’ve stopped spending money. So why not make some money next time you spend it?

Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on free money. And who doesn’t want free money? 

Yep. A debit card from cash-management account Aspiration gives you up to a 5% kickback every time you swipe.

Need to buy groceries? Free money.

Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Free money again. 

You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get free money in the process?

It takes just five minutes to sign up for a new debit card and see how much free money you could earn with the Aspiration Spend and Save account.

Success story: Denisa Petricko, a financial planner who lives in California, realized how little her money was doing for her while sitting in a checking account at one of the big banks. So, she moved it over to Aspiration.

In addition to getting cash back, Aspiration also pays you up to 11 times the average interest on the money in your account. Petricko never looked back.

5. Start a Tech Career and Earn $60K+/Year Without Going Back to College

If you’re one of hundreds of thousands who lost their job recently, you might be wondering what’s next. What are your options, though? You might feel a little trapped right now. 

The good news is, it’s not too late to change careers. An education company called Springboard offers accelerated bootcamps in the tech industry that take just six or nine months to complete. Two of its most popular options include the data analytics bootcamp and the UI/UX design bootcamp

In less than a year, you could complete your bootcamp and land a job earning $60,000 or more per year. The bootcamps cost less than a semester of college, and they’re super flexible, so you can work a part-time or even full-time job while you’re taking them.

Plus, if it doesn’t work out, Springboard will give you your money back. Seriously. If you don’t get a job within six months of finishing an online course, Springboard will refund you, as long as you’ve been active in your job search.

Explore Springboard’s course options, and apply right online. Use the code SPRINGBOARDPENNY to receive a $500 scholarship. It only takes 15 minutes, and there are no application fees.

Success story: After one semester of college and six years of being a flight attendant, Maigen Thomas was ready for a change. She decided to take an online programming bootcamp in Portland, Oregon. When The Penny Hoarder spoke with her, she was working as a front-end developer/UX designer and earning three times what she did before.

6. Launch an Investing Portfolio With $1

It’s no secret you can make extra money by investing, but the market has had its fair shares of ups and (mostly) downs these past few weeks, but you shouldn’t panic. If you’ve got money you’ve invested, consider riding it out.

Markets are unpredictable, and they will always be volatile, which means sometimes they’ll go up, and sometimes they’ll go down — but over time, they tend to go up. 

If you haven’t started investing and have some money to spare, you can start small. Investing doesn’t require you throwing thousands of dollars at full shares of stocks. In fact, you can get started with as little as $1.1

The Penny Hoarder likes Stash, because it lets you choose from hundreds of stocks and funds to build your own investment portfolio. But it makes it simple by breaking them down into categories based on your personal goals. Want to invest conservatively right now? Totally get it! Want to dip in with moderate or aggressive risk? Do what you feel.

Plus, with Stash, you’re able to invest in fractions of shares, which means you can invest in funds you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.

If you sign up now, Stash will give you $5 after you add $5 to your account. Subscription plans start at $1 a month2.

Success story: Colorado resident and freelancer Farrah Daniel tried Stash. She admittedly didn’t have a lot of experience investing, but she liked that she could start with just $1, and she was able to automate the process.

7. Get Checks in the Mail When You Stock up Online

Most of us have started shopping online more and more. It’s the best way to stock up without leaving home.

On your next order, get paid when you use a free website called Rakuten. It has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy. 

It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start shopping your go-to stores through the site.

Plus, if you use Rakuten to earn money back within the first 90 days of signing up, it’ll give you an extra $10 on the first check it sends you.

Success story: Since Denver resident Colleen Rice started using Rakuten, it’s sent her checks in the mail totaling $526.44. She says she uses it to buy things she’s already buying. 

8. Play Free Scratch-Off Tickets For a Chance to Win Big

Honestly, hitting a big jackpot would be great right about now. But buying gas station scratchers isn’t the best use of your money.

Instead, try playing for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000, in cash or gift cards to popular retailers.

It’s not a guaranteed way to add extra money to your bank account, but if you’re sitting on the couch binging “Tiger King,” why not?

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. It’s not guaranteed money, but at least Lucktastic is free to play. And hey, somebody’s gotta win.

Success story: The Penny Hoarder talked to single dad Oneil Campbell, from Boston, who was shocked when he won a $5,000 Lucktastic prize. 

“I didn’t see that one coming,” Campbell said with a laugh. “I really didn’t. This is something good that happened to me at the right time — when I can really use it.”

9. Sell on Etsy — Even if You’re Not Super Crafty

Millions of folks shop on Etsy to find the perfect birthday present, bachelorette party supplies or customized T-shirts. And now that everyone’s stuck inside and bored, they’re turning to Etsy for entertaining craft projects.

That’s where you could make some money.

Sure, traditionally items sold on Etsy must be handmade or vintage, but did you know you can also sell craft supplies and tools?

This alleviates the hours you put into your work and simply allows you sell the supplies to folks who want to tap into their creative sides.

Success story: Janet Berry-Johnson, a CPA and freelance writer, earns an extra $200 a month on Etsy — without crafting a single thing.

She loves cross-stitching but knows selling her own designs isn’t a moneymaker. Instead, she buys kits and patterns at local thrift stores for a few bucks each and marks them up anywhere from 400% to 1,200% for Etsy buyers.

MORE: The 5 Best Platforms to Sell Your Stuff Online

10. See if the Government Has Money For You

Hopefully we’ll be getting out stimulus checks sooner than later, but the government could owe you more money… Did you know state treasuries throughout the U.S. have had more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds at one time, according to The New York Times?

To see if you have any unclaimed money, check with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. (Beware: There are several look-a-like sites out there. Be sure you’re searching legitimate ones.)

Success story: Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell performed a quick search and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name. Sure, it was only $56 in an old insurance claim, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right?

11. Become a Voice Over Artist

No, you might not be on Kristen Bell’s level, but you’ve gotta start somewhere. Voice over work is a flexible way to make some extra money on the side — and from home.

Not sure where to start? Look into Voices.com, an international online voice-over acting marketplace that helps vocal talent — both professional and amateur — find clients who need them.

Success story: Janna Polzin, a stay-at-home mom in Toronto, earns money as a voiceover artist. She finds gigs through Voices.com. “I often walk away from my computer thinking, I can’t believe I just made money from that!” she said.

12. Create an Online Course

Are you an expert in, well, anything? You might not think so, but consider what you studied in school, your hobbies and passions — even those thousands of YouTube tutorials you’ve watched on random subjects.

Now, take that knowledge, and share it in an online course on a platform like Udemy or Skillshare. Once you create the course, all the hard work is done. Now it’s just passive income rolling in!

Success story: Former math teacher Rob Percival created four online courses covering various programming topics and made more than $1 million in nine months.

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This story originally ran on The Penny Hoarder.

1For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

2You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.

The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.

Editor’s note: We maintain a strict editorial policy and a judgment-free zone for our community, and we also strive to remain transparent in everything we do. This post contains references and links to products from our partners. Learn more about how we make money.
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