If you have realistic expectations about making money online, you are already ahead of the competition. Many people naively think that they can make a living or, even worse, get rich quickly with low-skill online gigs. That isn’t happening, but what you can achieve is earn some little extra cash.

I have tested dozens of methods, got scammed with a few, and wasted my time with a lot more. The five below are most likely to bring you success, but you must know how to spot unprofitable platforms and what is the best way to cash out. Let’s start with that.

Cash, gift cards, or cryptocurrency?

Since you obviously cannot earn physical cash online, the second best option is bank transfers. Or so it seems at first. Traditional bank transfers have high fees, are limited in supported locations, and you might attract the attention of the taxman. That’s why most online hustlers seek to cash out their earnings by other means.

Cryptocurrencies are a popular option, but you need to be sure you know what you are doing. Even the more popular cryptos, such as Bitcoin, are difficult to cash out straight to your bank account. Many shady platforms don’t even offer well-known cryptocurrencies; instead, they offer some unknown ones or the ones they themselves created.

The best option most of the time is gift cards. These are digital pre-paid cards that you must spend in a certain online shop. They have an expiration date, so you must not take too much time and spend the money. However, this isn’t a problem if you choose a store or service you frequently use.

I like to choose food delivery or ride-hailing as it’s something I will spend money on anyway. Ten or fifteen dollars is also a significant enough amount for such services. If I would receive it in cash, my rent would eat it up almost instantly.

Profit and legitimacy signals

People’s experience wildly differs with online earning platforms because their situations are different. If you reside in Western Europe or the USA, you are likely to have many more possibilities, and receiving payments will be easier. That’s why there are many conflicting reviews of people who just don’t know how to find a platform that works in their region and with their skillset.

Too good to be true offers. That’s why you should avoid platforms that offer lots of money irrespective of what you do or where you are. Any reputable platform will adjust what it can offer you depending on your location.

Pay to participate platforms. Never pay for finding side gigs. In fact, never provide your payment card details. There are many scammers out there offering sweet deals just to steal your money in the end.

Intrusive questions about your identity. You should expect to provide some personal information to online work platforms, but there are limits. You should define how much you are willing to provide – your payment details, home address, and social security number should be off the limits.

Payment options. The more payment options, the better. Untrustworthy platforms usually offer only cryptocurrencies. Also, look for proof of payment from past customers.

Online Surveys

There are many methods companies can use to research the market. All of them are expensive, so sometimes it’s more economical for them to simply ask the customers about potential or existing products. Many platforms organize such surveys as intermediaries. Companies pay for the platforms, and they pay you to participate.

You can expect to get paid around $1 per 20-minute survey. This might not seem much, but most platforms work well on smartphones, so you can answer questions almost anywhere on the go. I had the most luck while answering questions on my daily commute.

Pawns.app is one of the best platforms today. They have daily questionnaires you can participate in, and the payout amount is as low as $5. I especially liked that they have a great selection of gift cards, but you can choose cash or crypto if you like.

Referral programs

The idea is quite simple here. You refer people to a service or product and get some of the profits. Most referral programs, however, will not pay money and instead offer discounts for their products. Although this can be a great source of side money, there is a more effective way to go about it.

Sharing reference links on your social media, YouTube channel, or blog can be much more profitable. Earning $10 per month will not require you to build much following. It can be done simply on the side.

ShareASale is the most popular platform for such affiliate marketing gigs. You can find a large selection of companies willing to share part of their profits. The more clicks you attract, the better rates you’ll get.

Cashback programs

Various cashback platforms can return part of your spending in reward points or gift cards. I suggest looking for platforms with the third option, as calculating how much you earn with reward points might be difficult. The only drawback here is that you will be limited to certain stores. I found Ibotta and Rakuten to work best for me.

Bandwidth Sharing

An unexpectedly easy way to earn money online is by sharing your internet bandwidth. You simply install an app on your phone, creating an access point for other people to use your connection.

It helps people bypass IP blocks and geo-restrictions while you earn money for each gigabyte transferred. Sharing bandwidth from one device can earn you around $10 per month. If you want, you can share multiple devices and start earning more.


Avoiding scams and having realistic expectations will get you far in the world of online side gigs. Any of the mentioned methods will help you earn $10 per month easily. If you combine a few of them, the earning potential is even more significant and quite stable every month.

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