Many people are trying to make money online and look to certain sources for honest information. I spotted the article, “44 Ways to Make Money Online (At Any Age or Skill Level) in 2021” on Mint and couldn’t believe the information it had for each money-making idea. Some of the ideas were legitimate and others were flat wrong.
Let’s take an HONEST look at each of these ways with a more realistic outlook for monetization. Also, there are ZERO affiliate links in this post. This post is all about you. Let me know if you found it helpful in the comments.
1. Online Surveys
MINT CLAIM: You can earn money in your spare time, earning $5.00 – $35.00 per survey.
TRUTH: If you are bored and want to make a tiny bit of money each month, sure, you can do online surveys.
PAY: But online surveys pay very little and only pay in gift cards when you accumulate about $3.00 or through PayPal credit once you reach $20-30. According to a U.S. News article, you can expect between $0.10-$2.00 per survey.
BREAKDOWN: The reality is that most surveys will be under $0.50. And most surveys take around 10-15 minutes each. Taking the 50 cent per survey with only 10 minutes per survey *and needing to reach just $20 to get a cash out*, you can expect to do 40 surveys at 50 cents each for 6 hours and 45 minutes. That’s how long it will take to get paid cash.
HOURLY RATE: $3.00/hour max (Cash)
2. Selling Stock Images
MINT CLAIM: You can earn $0.25-$0.45 per image when you sell your photos to stock sites.
TRUTH: This one is pretty close to the truth. However, it all depends on the site. Some sites require portfolio reviews before allowing you to sell. Others have exclusivity rights that will limit your overall marketplace. Don’t think of selling your images in a dollar amount per photo either – think dollar amount per year for your entire portfolio.
PAY: According to photographer, Alexandre Rotenberg, you should aim for 6,000 photos uploaded over the course of 3 years with the hope of getting about $500/month. This isn’t guaranteed though.
BREAKDOWN: Assuming you are able to upload 5-6 photos per day over the next 3 years (the time length will allow for internet presence), you will reach 6,000 photos uploaded in 3 years. Let’s also assume that you can get 30 great photos in 2 hour sessions. That means those 6,000 photos will take about 400 hours to capture, much less edit. That’s 133.33 hrs/year or 2 hrs and 15 min of straight work each year. To get an hourly rate, lets use Rotenberg’s monthly income. So after you work at this for 3 years, you might make:
HOURLY RATE: $3.13/hour
3. Virtual Assistant
MINT CLAIM: Make $7-$40/hour as a virtual assistant.
TRUTH: A virtual assistant can be part-time or full-time. Some positions are only temporarily online and will need to migrate to in-person positions in the future. However, while researching for this post, I did find some jobs paying $34/hour and even $400/week with only 4-7 hours of time needed per week. However, this isn’t some side hustle or passive income. This is a real-world marketplace competitive job, so you will have some serious competition getting this one.
PAY: The pay for virtual assistants is similar to traditional jobs.
BREAKDOWN: This seems to be a legitimate way to earn a living online. Do you own research and see what opportunities are currently available. I’m even looking into some now!
HOURLY RATE: $15-55/hour depending on work requirements.
4. Money from Reviews
MINT CLAIM: You can earn $5-30/hour by writing reviews.
TRUTH: Where? Honestly, this is just a rehash of the survey information. Some of the survey sites, like LifePoints, do both surveys and reviews. Unless you can find someone to pay you to write reviews directly (which is worse than frowned upon), you are likely only going to make $0.45-$2.00/hour with a limit on the number of reviews/surveys you write, depending on the site. If you want a list of sites to write reviews on, here’s one from 2021.
***ALTERNATIVE: There are two alternative methods for making money off of reviews. The first and oldest method is to create a blog and use affiliate linking and ads to generate income for products you use. A newer version of this is to use affiliate links for the clothes you wear and products you show on YouTube videos, Instagram, and Pinterest. This could lead to higher returns, but affiliate marketing is still a long-term game.
PAY: The pay will be similar to online surveys.
HOURLY RATE: $3.00/hour on pure speculation.
5. Sell Household Items
MINT CLAIM: Sale unused household items for cash on Amazon or eBay.
TRUTH: Sell those items on Facebook Marketplace if you want them gone fast. If you are going to sell on Amazon or eBay, just look at similar items to see which platform is a better option for you before you list your items. And there are plenty more options that these three sites. BUT remember that this is not a solution for any financial problems. You can only sell so much stuff before your house is bare.
PAY: This will depend on the platform and the item.
HOURLY RATE: Varies, but hey, maybe you can sell some of those Pokémon cards, right?
6. Rent Your Gadgets Out
MINT CLAIM: Rent out your equipment on Aaron’s, Rent-a-Center, and Flexhopper.
TRUTH: Whoever did the research on this point was either drinking or confused. You CANNOT lease your equipment to any of those three companies. They do lease to own and have been for a long time now, at least the first two.
***ALTERNATIVE: There are apps you can use to rent out your stuff, like StyleLend for clothing or Fat Llama for a variety of items. Fat Llama also helps cover the cost of your items up to $30,000.
PAY: This will depend on the item. Before fees, items on Fat Llama were rented out for anything from $5/day to $450+/day. StyleLend lists prices from $45-$105 per rental, and you get to keep 80% of the rental fee.
BREAKDOWN: You will need to live in a densely populated area for renting “gadgets” out. Fat Llama, for example, is exclusively in big cities. StyleLend requires high end items. You won’t be renting out your Forever21 clothing! Even so, with an average item price of $40/day (and applying a standard 8 hour work day), you end up getting $5/hr. An item rented for $100/day will fetch you $12.50/hr.
HOURLY RATE: below $5 – beyond 12.50/hr
7. Data Entry
MINT CLAIM: Earn $10-$30/hour doing data entry from home.
TRUTH: There is a lot of grey area on this one. Not only will you find pay ranges anywhere from $6/hr to $77k/year, you will also find 3 day inventory jobs that aren’t really at home or jobs that don’t guarantee work hours. Anyone dreaming of getting $77k/year doing online data entry is simply deluded. Mint doesn’t even list any locations online to find these jobs.
PAY: The pay depends upon the company. Seek jobs looking to hire contractors under 1099 brackets. But you could see minimum wage rates.
BREAKDOWN: The Balance Careers offers some legitimate suggestions for remote data entry employers. This does seem to be a good way to earn money while working from home, but just remember that it is pretty much identical to traditional office work.
HOURLY RATE: likely minimum wage
8. Sell Printables
MINT CLAIM: Create and then sell your art on items. On Etsy.
TRUTH: This one hurts a little. I’ll explain. Etsy is a flooded market already and it’s hard to make a breakthrough on it. But if you don’t have an online store, you can still use it in conjunction with your social media reach. But the worse part of Mint’s paragraph on printables is that they don’t mention Redbubble, Society6, or any number of other print-on-demand sites. Udemy has a course I have personally used called “Sell Art Online Masterclass.” It covers more than traditional printables, but the instructor offers some insightful numbers. He said that it took him uploading about 1,000 designs before he saw at least one sale per day. To reach that number in a year, you would need to create nearly 3 designs a day. Needless to say, most people run out of creativity at item 20.
PAY: The pay will be a percentage of the selling amount. When sites issue sales, they may increase your percentage, but it’s still less than a full sale. Lyman Creative Group reports making between $126.16-803.11 in 2020. That’s with multiple item sales across the month.
BREAKDOWN: Assuming you can manage the 3 designs per day and that you can get one t-shirt sale a day…. You are still only looking at about $4.50 per t-shirt after the website takes its cut. If you only sell a sticker, it’s 40 cents. But the upside is that you have the potential to keep earning passive income from your designs over a longer stretch of time. You will be lucky if you only put in 2 hours for each design with another 15 minutes per site when you upload. And that will take several times before you are used to the process. (Don’t despair, we have all been there!)
HOURLY RATE: $0.56/per hour if you sell one shirt per day. If you can reach the $800/month mark, you will make approximately $3.57/hour. Not too bad if you are no longer putting in the work.
9. Sell Unused Clothes
MINT CLAIM: Sell your clothes on Postmark, thredUp, or The RealReal.
TRUTH: These all seem to be legitimate ways to sell items. However, you only have so much to sale, like I said in #5. But if you really need some more cash, this is one possible avenue. But you will need to have the right brands to sell.
PAY: Purely based on items sold. See #5
BREAKDOWN: See #5
HOURLY RATE: See #5
10. Product Tester
MINT CLAIM: Get paid to test out products. “Toluna, Nielsen, Vindale Research, and Pinecone Research are a few platforms that help you find products to test for some extra green.”
TRUTH: Neilson will allow you to become a representative to select panelists. Vindale is another survey site. Toluna is a survey site as well. Care to guess what Pinecone Research is? That’s right, another survey site and the link is incorrect. In fact, almost all online testing is simply survey taking.
***ALTERNATIVE: One alternative, albeit not an easy one, is to connect with a company that will offer you products for influencer videos/social media profiles. An example of this is YouTube’s BrandConnect. You’ll need a substantial following to join.
PAY: See #1 and #4 for surveys and reviews. As for BrandConnect or other direct product testing/demonstrating, the pay will differ per different item AND your degree of social reach.
BREAKDOWN: See #1 and #4.
HOURLY RATE: See #1 and #4 for surveys and reviews. I have read that you can get $100-300 for each influencer post/video/profile.
11. Bake/Meal Prep
MINT CLAIM: Earn $200-400/month making meals and selling them. Example was Snap Kitchen.
TRUTH: You would have better luck running a food truck. There are so many food codes that have to be abided by that it likely wouldn’t be worth doing as a business. Doing something similar to a bake sell might work though.
PAY: I have no idea how they got that number. But say you cooked a meal for $10/meal, then you are looking at 20-40 meals a month. Whereas you could have a bake sale once a month and get about $150.
BREAKDOWN: I’m not sure that this can be broken down with any accuracy.
HOURLY RATE: None to offer. Mint’s number is pure speculation with luck.
MINT CLAIM: Get paid to transcribe YouTube videos and other media.
TRUTH: This is a great idea for some side cash, but it will cost you time. You can easily make $5.00 per 15 minute video, scaling up to $30 per 60 minute video. Anyone who has ever gone through the painstaking work of adding captioning to a YouTube video will tell you it’s not fun, but not hard.
PAY: The pay will depend on the number of minutes in the job, the turn around time, and your reputation on freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
BREAKDOWN: $5.00 for a 15 minute transcription seems a common rate. If you could continuously do this for an hour, you would have a $20/hr rate. However, there’s a lot of competition, so you will be lucky to get more than 2-3 jobs a week unless you really push for it. Assuming you got 2 jobs a day or 1 hour job a day, you would get an hourly rate of (compared to a traditional job):
HOURLY RATE: $2.50-3.75/hour
13. Sale From Garden
MINT CLAIM: If you like gardening, get paid for it online.
TRUTH: Making money from home-grown produce has been around, well, forever. However, I would like to point out to those who have never grown a garden that it is labor intensive. It’s therapeutic hard work, you might say. The Real Farm House offers some good general tips on “How to Grow a Garden for Profit.”
PAY: Completely depends on how much you plant, how much you actual harvest, and the amount of time you put into selling. The online aspect seems to be location based too.
BREAKDOWN: The Produce Price Index is a good place to start for a breakdown of average selling points per major location.
HOURLY RATE: Based on speculation alone, anywhere from $10-20/hour within an 8 hour day. Not sure how many days like that though.
14. Rent Out Your Clothes
MINT CLAIM: Rent out your clothes on StyleLend, Loanables, and RentNotBuy.
TRUTH: Well, now Mint does mention StyleLend. I think this should be merged together with #6.
PAY: See #6
BREAKDOWN: See #6
HOURLY RATE: See #6
15. Play Online Games
MINT CLAIM: Earn $10-15/hour playing video games. Listed resources are Cash Crate, Appcent, Applike, and AppNana.
TRUTH: Now that’s a claim. Let’s break it down. Cash Crate is more or less another survey set up, but there may be software opportunities from time to time. Appcent is… confusing and I couldn’t see how any individual could connect with the company. Same with Applike. But AppNana fits the description. And of course there are the other random phone games that let you earn a little money for playing. They usually have a cash out threshold and you have to fight to get to it. The usual ploy is to give you an easy start to get you hooked and then offer less and less rewards to win – almost like one of Xeno’s paradoxes.
PAY: The pay usually comes as coupons, sweepstakes, or gift cards. You rarely reach the threshold for a cash/PayPal payout.
BREAKDOWN: Just play games for fun. Strive to make money on YouTube or Twitch with video games. You will enjoy your time better.
HOURLY RATE: Subtracting the hours of your life wasted trying to get a payout, the rate is likely a negative number (unless you had fun).