How To Make Money Online In 2021: 21 Easy Ideas (2024)

Looking for tips on how to make money online? You’ve come to the right place. Summer 2021 has been called “the summer of quitting.” In the most recent employment report, the Department of Labor said that four million Americans quit their jobs in April 2021 alone—the biggest spike in history.

Sure, the economy is booming and there are more job opportunities, but there’s another motivation sparked by the pandemic: making money online. After all, who wants to go back to the office after more than a year of working remotely? Turns out that these days, you don’t need to go into an office when it’s possible to earn money online, so that means you can travel the world or live anywhere you like.

READ MORE: “How To Make Money Online: 33 Ways To Earn Money Right Now

Plus, while the pandemic crushed many industries, it fueled rapid growth in other industries—especially online companies that help people make money. For instance, TutorMe, which connects students with subject matter experts who can make money online by sharing their tutoring skills, saw usage surge by four times in 2020. Similarly, italki, a language learning community that connects students and teachers for one-on-one online language lessons, had more than a 100% increase in customer usage growth in the past year. “In an environment where people couldn’t go to school, we were a place where people could continue to learn. In a time when some teachers couldn’t work, we were another source of income,” says italki cofounder Kevin Chen. “I think a lot of people also saw the virus as an opportunity to change their lifestyle, and to switch some old activities with new ones.”

In both 2020 and 2019, I reported on creative ways to earn money online and live the dream. Here are some fresh ideas for easy ways to make money and work from home—or anywhere. Or maybe you don’t even work at all and just want to perform simple online tasks that will let the money roll in. Now we’re talking. Check out these 12 concepts and 21 resources for smart ways to make money online


Teach a Foreign Language

You don’t need to be a trained teacher to make money with italki, a platform where millions of users pay native speakers around the world in order to learn a foreign language. Using a marketplace similar to Airbnb, teachers showcase their services on italki, from language lessons to conversation sessions. You set your prices, and the more good reviews you get, the more money you can make. Unlike teaching at a school, there’s a ton of freedom—you can choose which students you want to work with, create customized lessons, plan your classes around your schedule and teach from wherever you want. Languages like English and Spanish are hot in demand, but the sky is the limit—people even teach rare languages like Basque, Esperanto and sign language. “So, can you make money from Italki?” asks Dave Trotter, who wrote about his experience making money on italki. The answer: “Yes. Is it enough for you to travel around the world? Yes.” And you might even change your life, like one man in Vietnam who said teaching on italki was transformative.

Fill Out a Survey

Do you like sharing your opinion on things? Surveys are a great—and easy—tool for making money online. One of the biggest outlets for this is Vindale. How it works: You share demographic information about yourself, then the company will match you to surveys that pay you to answer questions or test products. Other similar survey sites include Survey Junkie, InboxDollars, Product Report Card and Survey Club. And here’s the thing: The more you sign up for, the more money you can make.

Do What You Always Do

Want to earn some money on the side? One popular company, Swagbucks, runs a free loyalty and consumer rewards program that pays you to complete the everyday activities you’re already doing online—like searching the web, playing games, watching videos or shopping online. You’ll earn rewards in points, called SB, which you can redeem for gift cards or cash.

Tutor Someone

Due to so many schools going online over the past year, the tutoring world has exploded, making way for companies like the Los Angeles-based TutorMe to succeed. This online tutoring platform has a mission to level the academic playing field for students everywhere by connecting students with online tutors in under 30 seconds using a matching system powered by AI. TutorMe’s national network of online tutors use an advanced lesson space featuring video chat, screen-sharing, virtual whiteboards and more. “The pandemic not only created an urgent need for remote learning solutions such as online tutoring, it illuminated an ongoing need for personalized academic support for students, whether it be to address learning gaps or to help students reach higher goals for themselves,” says cofounder and CEO Myles Hunter.

Use Affiliate Marketing

Have you heard that affiliate marketing can be lucrative, but don’t really know what it is or where to begin? Affiliate marketing is a way to make money by recommending a product or service that will pay you a commission for referring users. This can be done by launching a blog, YouTube channel, website, email list or social media page, then incorporating affiliate links. But here’s where it gets overwhelming: The options are endless when it comes to companies with affiliate programs that will pay you money. Cuelinks helps cut through the clutter by connecting you to companies that will pay you for your links, and it helps entrepreneurs who have content creation skills but lack reach and traffic. The way it works: The company sends outbound traffic your way and helps you monetize your content in an effective manner with minimal effort.


Are you a master networker? Check out WebTalk, which uses a next-generation personal and professional networking platform and shares revenue with its users. With this tool, anyone who wants to use social media to start or expand a business (whether it’s full-time or a side hustle) can organize their social media contacts and target content that is specific to a group. Users earn points—and revenue—simply by using the site. Another advantage of WebTalk: You can post on social media publicly or target posts, making it easier to get the right information in front of the right people—and make money.

Start Your Own Business

Want to launch a business and create a lucrative career that you can do from home? Breakaway Bookkeeping & Advising has a unique franchise model that allows you to launch a business as an accountant, bookkeeper, virtual CFO or more, offering remote accounting services for small businesses. Plus, you don’t need to be an accountant to join, so it’s an ideal career for someone looking to completely switch fields or searching for more flexibility in their work/life balance. “We give people who have an entrepreneurial spirit the opportunity to work for themselves, not by themselves, which means we shoulder the burden of the tough parts of being a business owner and provide resources so they can effectively and joyfully serve their clients,” says Kristen Keats, founder and CEO.

Make Stuff

Do you have a creative skill? On Etsy, artisans can earn money from selling products they’ve made—though the reality is that it takes a lot of work to truly compete in that world, as sellers need to take care of every aspect of their business, from creation to execution to delivery. A new concept that makes things a bit easier for independent artists is Redbubble, a print-on-demand service that allows users to design and sell their works. Artists select which works they want to display, then Redbubble arranges for all the printing on a range of more than 60 products (including T-shirts, mugs and coasters), then ships to almost anywhere on earth.

Sell New Stuff

Here’s a new word and a new concept to add to your online money-making toolbox: dropshipping. With this clever concept, you can sell things that you don’t have. Sound confusing or shady? It’s not. What you do is design an e-commerce website and list products for sale. But unlike traditional stores that keep an inventory, you don’t actually order the products until a customer places an order with you. Then it’s shipped directly to your client. A major clearinghouse for dropshipping is a company called Shopify, which offers an easy one-stop solution for starting, running and growing a business like this.

Sell the Stuff You Have

Look around you—there’s probably a ton of stuff that you could sell, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, CDs, DVDs, books and more. In fact, according to a recent survey, Americans are sitting on a staggering $43 billion of unused tech products in their homes, which comes out to about $199 worth of technology per household. With the buy-back site, Decluttr, consumers can sell their tech for free and get payment the day after their items are received in the warehouse. Decluttr provides free shipping labels, allowing you to print, box and ship straight from your home, without having to venture into a physical store. Another company that helps people resell their tech products in a green way is ecoATM Gazelle, an e-waste reducer that provides a safe, simple platform to sell old electronics, while simultaneously making the world a greener, happier place. Have some clothes having around? Tradesy is the way to go.

Buy Stuff

Do you shop online? Sign up for Rakuten, which works with thousands of online retailers and will give you cash back on all purchases. It will also pays you money for people you refer. Another similar platform is Honey, which trolls the internet for sales and will also pay you to refer friends.


Always wanted to invest in the stock market but don’t know where to begin? Check out Robinhood, an app that pioneered commission-free trading. The company—which recently went public—is devoted to democratizing investing and opening up the markets for young investors. Plus, since Robinhood has no account minimums, you can start trade stocks immediately with just a few dollars. Another easy investing tool is Acorns. Here’s how it works: Every time you make a purchase, Acorns rounds up the amount, takes the difference and invests the funds for you, creating a passive income stream that can turn into real money.


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