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How to Make Money Online Without Paying Anything

There are a lot of great ways to make money online, regardless of whether you’re looking for a side hustle or a full-time income.

Some of the best options require you to invest money in order to get started. In many cases, these are the opportunities that involve building a business and ultimately give you the potential for a high income.

The amount of money that you’ll need to invest can vary. You can start a blog for less than $100, but if you’re starting an ecommerce site or creating a private label brand to sell products on Amazon, you might need a few thousand dollars, or more, for your initial inventory.

But if you’re looking to make money online without paying anything, don’t worry. There are some options to earn without any financial investment at all. In this article, we’ll look at many of the best possibilities.

The opportunities included here are broken down into 3 different categories:

  • Online tasks. These are great if you’re just looking to make a little extra money. They’re easy and extremely flexible, but it’s not going to turn into a full-time income.
  • Start a business. There are some types of online businesses that you can start with zero investment. All of these options can be done part-time, but they also give you the potential to become a full-time income in the future.
  • Work for someone else. You would work either as an employee or a contract worker for these opportunities. They can be done part-time, and some also could be full-time.

→ Related reading: 150+ Side Hustle Ideas to Make Money in Your Spare Time

Online Tasks

If you’re looking for a flexible way to make some extra money in your spare time, these can be great options. To be clear, you’re not going to get rich with the options listed in this section, but they can be a good fit in the right situation. They offer complete flexibility to work when you want, and you can start making money very quickly.

You can also combine these options and do several of them to have the opportunity to increase your overall income. If you’re looking to make money online without paying anything, these options can be great starting points.

1. Take Online Surveys

One of the most popular side hustles is to take paid online surveys. There are a number of websites and apps that offer surveys and getting started is easy.

The flexibility is definitely one of the major perks of taking surveys for money. You have complete flexibility with your schedule, and you can even take a survey when you have just a short amount of time to spare (some take only a few minutes). Some people even take surveys while they’re watching TV.

Aside from the flexibility, another perk is that anyone can do it. You don’t need any specific skills or experience.

Some survey websites also offer several other ways to make money, like watching videos, playing games, installing apps.

If you want to maximize your income from surveys, the best approach is to join a few different sites. Each site will be limited in terms of the number of surveys that are available to you, so using a few different sites will increase the number of surveys that you’re able to take.

Some of our favorite survey websites and apps are:

Swagbucks - Easily Earn Extra Money in Your Spare Time

How to Get Started with Online Surveys:

Getting started is easy. You can sign up and start earning money on the same day.

  1. Create a new email address with Gmail (or some other free service) to use for the survey sites.
  2. Signup at the survey sites listed above.
  3. Complete the initial profile or intro survey so they have some basic information about you (to find the surveys that you are eligible for).
  4. Start taking surveys. Each one will list the amount that you can earn and the time needed for the survey, so start with the ones that offer the best rate per hour.

2. Microtasks

There are several different microtasking websites that allow you to earn money by completing small tasks. This can include things like moderating content, basic research, categorizing data, and more. The tasks are simple and quick. You’ll get paid a small amount for each task and you’ll be able to complete a large volume of tasks.

Just like online surveys, microtasks are not the highest-paying side hustle, but the work is extremely flexible. You can sign up for a few different tasking websites and work as much or as little as you want. You can work a few hours in chunks, or just a few minutes whenever you have some spare time.

Some of the leading websites for microtasks are:

If you decide to use microtasks as a way to make money, be sure to track the amount that you’re earning per hour. Some of the tasks won’t be worth your time, so try to take the best tasks and leave the ones that don’t pay enough to justify your time.

How to Get Started with Microtasks:

  1. Create an account at the websites listed above.
  2. Check the available tasks to see how much they pay and how long they will take.
  3. Perform the tasks that seem to be worth your time, and track your hourly wage.

3. Test Websites

Another flexible side hustle is to get paid to test websites and apps. Of course, companies need to get user feedback related to their designs and the functionality of their sites and apps, and some are willing to pay people to provide that feedback.

There are several different websites where you can sign up to be a tester. Some of the best ones include:

The amount of money that you make will depend on several factors, but in general, you’ll earn between $10 – $60 per test. The tests will often involve recording audio or video while you’re using the site or app.

The only downside to this side hustle is that the opportunities are somewhat limited. It’s become a popular way to make money online, so there are more testers than opportunities at times. If you sign up with several different websites, you can get notifications when new tests are available, but it’s not something that you can do on a large scale.

How to Get Started as a Website Tester:

  1. Signup as a tester at the websites listed above.
  2. Make sure that you have the needed equipment. Typically, you’ll need a computer with an internet connection, a webcam, and a mic. Most laptops will be sufficient.
  3. Take the initial test to qualify and be eligible for paid gigs.
  4. Check the testing opportunities that are available and follow the directions.

4. Research

Another highly-flexible side hustle that just about anyone can do is to conduct research. The research opportunities that are available vary from simple tasks like finding and verifying addresses to much more detailed and thorough professional research.

Because the opportunities vary, the pay and other details surrounding the work will also vary. But in general, it’s very flexible work that can be done from home (or anywhere with an internet connection).

Some sites that offer work for researchers include:

How to Get Started as a Researcher:

  1. Apply to work as a researcher at the sites listed above.
  2. Once you’re approved, check the available opportunities and follow the directions (the tasks will vary).

5. Play Games

Like all of the other options listed in this section, playing games is a very flexible way to make some extra money. As you might expect, most people that do this will make small amounts of money, but it can be done in your spare time and you’ll actually enjoy it.

There are a few different ways to make money by playing games, and to see all of the details, please read our article How to Make Money Playing Video Games. One of the easiest ways to get started is to download the Mistplay app (only for Android), which will allow you to earn rewards for playing a variety of different games. Swagbucks also allows you to earn some rewards for playing games.

Another option is Lucktastic (Android and iOS) which also allows you to earn rewards by playing games

If you want to take the income potential to a higher level, the options include starting a gaming-themed blog or YouTube channel, getting sponsored, or competing at tournaments. Of course, these options require a lot more work and effort than simply playing some games on an app, but the higher income potential may be worth it to you.

How to Get Started Playing Games:

  1. Install the Mistplay app and start playing games to earn rewards.
  2. Sign up for Swagbucks and play games (as well as other tasks) to earn Swagbucks that can be redeemed for cash or gift cards.
  3. Install Lucktastic and start playing games.
  4. If you’re looking to make serious money by playing games, start a gaming blog and work on growing an audience. See my article How to Start a Blog for step-by-step directions.

6. Passive Income Apps

There are several apps that allow you to make some extra money passively. None of these apps will pay you a huge amount of money individually, but if you use a few of the apps together you can make a nice chunk of change for doing next to nothing. Here are a few of the best apps that you might want to consider:


MobileXpression is a research company that will pay you in order to get access to your mobile browsing activity. All you need to do is sign up and install the app on your phone, and then every now and then you can open the app to claim points and redeem them for prizes. You’ll be able to earn gift cards for Amazon or many other stores/websites/restaurants of your choice. You can earn about $50 in rewards per year simply by having the app installed and active. And thanks to a signup bonus, you can earn a $5 gift card your first week of using the app.

MobileXpression – Easy Passive Income App

MobileXpression is a mobile app that allows you to earn rewards completely passive. Install the app and your phone and then all claim your rewards. You can about $50 in gift cards per year with virtually no effort.

MobileXpression - Easy Passive Income App


UpVoice is also completely passive. Just install it and you’ll earn rewards for visiting many of your favorite websites like YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, and LinkedIn. You can earn up to $75 per year just for visiting websites that you probably already visit on a daily basis.


Honeygain is another interesting app that is completely passive. All you need to do is install the app on your device (Android, macOS, Windows) and it will work in the background. Honeygain will share your unused net traffic with data scientists who use the Honeygain network, and they’ll compensate you for it. The amount you can earn will depend on a lot of factors like your internet connection and how many GB you share with the Honeygain network. For example, if you share…


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