Earn Money Online

If you’re visiting because you read about Mashup Mom in Woman’s Day or because you came to a “Point, Click, and Earn” program, welcome!

A lot of you have had work-at-home questions, so I’m rounding up a bunch of resources and info here to help you get started making money on the side by moonlighting on the Internet. I’ll continue to add to this, as it’s an ongoing work in progress — if you have resources to add, drop me a line or comment here! (Note: comments about make-money-fast scams will be deleted, so don’t bother.)

Sites that pay for your attention

Sites that pay for your attention — the basic point of these is that advertisers pay for you to look at their info and/or click through to their website. Most of these sites send you several emails a day; I recommend opening a Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail or Gmail account to keep this junk separate from your regular email.


  1. Crowdtap. Take little short polls for points, then redeem for things like Amazon gift cards. They sometimes also offer products for review or award points for participating in sponsored discussions on the site. You earn points for referring friends.
  2. InboxDollars. You get a $5.00 bonus for signing up, then get a couple of cents for each advertising email you read (which you HAVE to read through their toolbar, which I don’t recommend installing), $.50-$1.00 for every survey you complete, $.10 for each coupon you print and redeem, cash back for shopping through their links, and additional $ for signing up for offers, which can include anything from signing up for other sites to playing games. Note: I never recommend signing up for any of the offers that ask for money; pick and choose carefully. You also get $ for referring your friends to the site.
  3. SendEarnings. This is a sister site to InboxDollars, looks almost identical, works about the same way, and many of the “offers” are the same. Again, you get a $5.00 bonus for signing up and then get paid for your activities on the site. And again, they have a referral program.
  4. MyPoints. MyPoints sends 3-4 emails a day; you get a few points for clicking through, lots of points if you purchase a products or service, and 10-50 points for completing the surveys they send you. As with InboxDollars, you also earn points for shopping or playing games through their site and for completing other activities. Redeem points for gift cards to various stores (I generally cash in for CVS, but pick and choose!). They have a referral program through email and Facebook.
  5. Treasure Trooper. Similar to InboxDollars and SendEarnings: Surveys, offers, tasks, online shopping, and search. You get a $1.00 bonus for signing up, and they also have a referral program.
  6. Varolo. Watch video ads for a little $. Refer people to the site, who become part of your “village,” and earn a bit for the videos they watch as well.
  7. YouData. Create a “MeFile,” which contains info about you and your household. The more of their MeFile surveys you complete, the better chance you have of being matched with advertisers. Then, click on “Adgets” at the top. This will load several text ads, and you get paid a few cents for viewing and another few cents for clicking through. Check daily to see what new ads are available; it only takes a few seconds to view and click. Each week’s earnings automatically deposits into your PayPal account every Friday. They also have a referral program; get up to $1.00 for each referral ($.01 for each of the first 100 ads they view).

Apps that pay for your attention, actions, or content


While you can sign up and sometimes do a bit online, you’ll need a smartphone to take full advantage of these. Find more info at their sites, then search the app store or marketplace to download each and get going.

  1. Field Agent. Now both iPhone and Android. Download the app, then look for jobs — these mostly pay you for doing things like taking pictures of products or displays in your local stores.
  2. Gigwalk. Similar to Field Agent, but generally has fewer “gigs” available.
  3. Jingit. Get paid for watching ads either online or through the app, as well as checking in by scanning select products in your local Walmart.
  4. Staree. Share photos and videos, then earn money from advertising from people who view your media.
  5. Viggle. Watch TV and earn points, which you can then turn in for prizes including gift cards to stores like CVS, Starbucks, and Lowe’s! Currently available for iPhone, beta for Android. Check-in to shows using the app to earn points, and scroll through the “what’s on” section to watch ads for additional points.

Search to Win

Search to win sites — there are several of these, but the major one is Swagbucks. Remember to switch to Google when you have serious searching to do.

Search & Win

  1. Swagbucks. Win random points, or “Swagbucks,” for searching, then redeem them for gift cards or PayPal cash. Note: Their search is NOWHERE near as good as Google, no matter what they claim, because it only includes a few results from Ask and Google mixed in with sponsored (paid) links. I use it mostly for things that I already know where they are — type in Mashup Mom, for instance, when you want to come here. They also release random codes for bonus Swagbucks on their blog, twitter, Facebook, toolbar, and homepage, and you can take surveys and view offers on their site for additional points. They have a referral program, and this is a referral link.

Survey sites and focus groups

Survey sites and focus groups — fill out a profile, then answer surveys for points or cash. You’ll also occasionally have the opportunity to test products at these sites. The frustrating part is that sometimes you’ll try to answer surveys, not qualify, and waste your time.

My Survey

  1. Craigslist. Look under jobs, ETC. for focus groups and user studies.
  2. Dollar Surveys. Take a survey, get a dollar in your PayPal account. Note: Sometimes they’ll try to get you to do trials, etc., and take a survey — just skip all that junk and stick to the surveys.
  3. Find Focus Groups. Pretty much what it says — find focus groups in your local area. As opposed to surveys, focus groups are real time, whether in-person, online, or over the phone.
  4. MySurvey. Take surveys, earn points, redeem for cash or merchandise.
  5. Opinion Outpost. Earn points, redeem for rewards. They email several survey opportunities per day.
  6. SurveyHead. Get a $5.00 bonus for signing up; then earn $.10-$.25 for each “profile survey” (info about yourself/your household) and then generally $1.00-$3.00 per completed survey. Cash out for rewards or gift cards or PayPal at various levels. Note: After you complete a survey they show you “offers.” Don’t feel obliged to sign up for these. This is an affiliate link.
  7. Valued Opinions. They don’t send a lot of surveys, but the ones they do send pay between $1.00-$5.00, with the rare product test or higher value survey. They’ll email you when new surveys are available.

Also check out Roboform, which automatically fills in forms for you and can save a lot of time if you take a lot of surveys.

Get paid to provide content

Writing sites — while professional freelance writers will try to market their work to on- and offline publications, most of the sites below seek writers to contribute articles on various topics. Most pay based on traffic — the more people who read your article, the more you earn — while others also pay a flat fee for articles (generally $7-$15). Also try craigslist.org for general freelance writing gigs.

  1. Bukisa. Again, revenue share for articles.
  2. Constant Content. Post articles on the site for sale to others.
  3. Demand Studios. Write articles, create videos, or otherwise provide content. Flat fee per article + revenue share.
  4. eHow.com. Write “how-to” articles.
  5. The Examiner. Write on topics in your local area; choose from a list of available topics.
  6. Helium. Earn an up-front fee for contributed content, plus a small revenue share.
  7. Yahoo! Contributor Network. Sign up to be a contributor on Voices, Shine, and other Yahoo! properties. “Earn money through up-front payments, exclusive assignments, and performance bonuses based on the traffic your work receives.”

Create your own blog and use ads and affiliate links to earn income

Affiliate links pay the publisher, or blogger, either a percentage of each sale made through that link or a flat fee per new signup or click-through. Ads pay per person who clicks through that ad.

escalate network

  1. Amazon Associates. Sign up with Amazon.com. Then, post links to individual products or banner ads or widgets linking to Amazon, and earn a percentage of the sales generated by people clicking through those links. This is not available to blogs in Illinois and some other states because the nexus laws in those states have caused Amazon to drop all affiliates.
  2. Commission Junction. Sign up with Commission Junction, then apply individually to advertiser’s programs within their larger portal.
  3. Escalate Media Network. Sign up with Escalate and then run campaigns from their list to earn affiliate income.
  4. Logical Media. Sign up with Logical Media, and then you can choose from various campaigns they have available. Get paid per signup, purchase, information request, coupon print, or other variable determined by the advertiser.
  5. MySavings. Works similarly to Logical Media.
  6. Skimlinks. Use this to create affiliate links to 1000s of sites you don’t have a direct affiliate relationship with, including Amazon and other sites affected by nexus laws.

Ad networksPlace an ad block on your site, and get paid per click-through. The rate generally depends on your number of visitors — the more traffic you get, the more attractive you are to advertisers, and the more you’ll get per click-through.

  1. Google AdSense. Sign up with Google AdSense. They’ll walk you through creating different sizes of text ads and give you the code to copy and paste into your website or blog.

Sponsored posts. Work through these sites to create sponsored posts about companies, products, and services — you must disclose that the content has been sponsored, and give your honest opinions.

Connect With Advertisers - Sign up for SocialSpark!

  1. PayPerPost. Advertisers pay for sponsored blog posts about their brand or product.
  2. SocialSpark. SocialSpark is owned by IZEA. They work with brands and companies, and will extend you offers to post about specific products, services, and more. Requirements are clearly disclosed for each campaign, and you are free to accept or decline any offer — or to negotiate payment.

Do tasks for side income

Doing tasks sites — do things that aren’t easily automated, like transcribe audio or provide keywords for photos.

  1. Amazon Mechanical Turk. Earn money for completing tasks, or HITs, that just can’t be automated. Tasks that pay real $ are those that take more time, such as writing articles or transcribing audio. As you spend more time on the site and complete more tasks, your rating goes up and you’re able to see more tasks and qualify for more HITs.
  2. Fiverr. Things people will do for $5.00. Post your offer or find gigs.
  3. TaskRabbit. Sign up with task rabbit and let them know what types of tasks you are available to to do in your local area. You can also reply to people looking for help with everything from grocery shopping to handyman services.

Sell stuff online

Selling stuff sites — sell things you own, things you make, things you pick up at garage sales.

  1. Amazon Marketplace. The pluses here: No listing fees, so you don’t get charged til your item sells; Amazon takes a per-item commission and a percentage of the sale price. Your used items also show up along with the new items in Amazon’s product catalog. Amazon automatically charges the buyer a shipping fee, for which you are credited. This is best for books and media.
  2. Bookoo. At Bookoo, list items you want to sell locally, or advertise your garage or yard sale.
  3. Cafe Press. Have an idea that should be on a t-shirt? Coffee mug? Tote bag? Create and sell all of the above and more.
  4. Craigslist.org. Good for selling locally, especially bulky items for which the shipping fee would be prohibitive.
  5. eBay.com. There are encyclopedias written about eBay — some people do well haunting garage sales and thrift stores, then reselling online.
  6. Etsy.com. Are you creative? Do you make stuff? Post it on Etsy, which is basically the world’s largest craft fair. It’s a good place to reach people looking for one-of-a-kind gifts.
  7. Made it Myself — Similar to Etsy; sell stuff… that you made yourself!

Mystery shopping

Sign up with mystery shopping companies and get offers for “shops” in your area. Get reimbursed for whatever you need to buy to do the shop, plus you will be compensated for your time. Legitimate sites will NOT charge you to sign up. Sign up with more than one to expand the number of opportunities available to you.

  1. Confero.
  2. Corporate Research International.
  3. Customer 1st.
  4. DSG Associates.
  5. ICCDS.
  6. MSPA North America.
  7. Shopper’s Critique.
  8. Volition.com. There’s a lot of stuff on Volition, but here check out their mystery shopping forum for everything from job postings to scam alerts.

Freelance sites

Freelance sites — Create a profile, then bid on projects. The big negative on these sites is that the number of users tends to drive the price per project way down, and you’re also competing with international providers.

  1. Elance.com. Create a profile on the site, then submit your proposals for projects posted on the site. They have levels ranging from free to $40/month (meant for businesses bidding on projects).
  2. Guru.com. Again, post a profile and then submit proposals for projects posted on the site.
  3. Upwork.

Resources to find work-at-home jobs

  1. Rat Race Rebellion. Screened work-at-home job leads.
  2. Telecommute Directory. Also check out ways to earn extra income in the top menu.
  3. WAHM.com. Some of your most useful resources here are the boards with business opportunities and work-at-home jobs, and the forums are full of other work-at-home moms who offer advice, leads, and info on companies to avoid.

At-home customer service

These companies provide at-home call centers/customer service, so you’ll be a CS rep working out of your own home. Often flexible hours.

  1. Alpine Access.
  2. LiveOps.
  3. West At Home.

Other Work-at-home or flexible work ideas

Just a few examples. Decide on your own skills and interests and look for a targeted site for your type of work.

Sorting out the scams

Set up a separate email account, and don’t pay in advance (with the exception of products for legitimate big name home party businesses); don’t give your credit card info; never, ever pay for “information” or “work-at-home kits.”

Red flags

  1. Companies that require you to shell out money up front.
  2. Multilevel marketing.
  3. Any opportunity that comes unsolicited to your email.

Researching the scams

  1. Check Snopes.com.
  2. Google “name_of_the_company + scam”
  3. Check Work At Home Mafia and WAHM.com to see if others have reported it as a scam.
  4. Anything that comes unsolicited in email: DELETE.

Disclosure — some of the links here are affiliate links, where I’ll be compensated if you click through and sign up.