If you thought you needed a college degree to make money, think again. Try one (or more) of these eight ways to make money online.
First things first: making money is not the same as having a full-time job.
This needs to be said because many people seem to confuse the two. And to clarify, I’m not saying that having a job and making money are mutually exclusive.
For many people, it’s more desirable to make money from a job that doesn’t require a full-time degree. Why? You can start earning money without having to go through four years of school (and racking up student debt).
This is especially relevant in today’s increasingly internet-dependent world.
It can be difficult to choose a full-time job without a formal degree, but many online jobs can earn you a decent living even if you don’t have a college education.
8 Ways to Make Money Online Without a Degree
Before I start listing ways you can make money online, you should understand that there are several platforms, such as Upwork or Fiverr, that you can start freelancing on.
The jobs I’ve highlighted below are “platform-neutral,” meaning they can be found on just about any and every platform.
However, you might find that some jobs are more prevalent on one platform (like Upwork or Fiverr) and others on a different one (like Freelancer or Guru), so it’s best to have an understanding of various platforms.
While having a degree is not necessary for these money-making strategies, you do need to possess common sense, a desire to learn, and adaptability.
1. Become a Voice-Over Artist
Your voice might not be the most melodious, but believe me, that won’t hurt your chances of becoming a voice-over artist. That’s because there are so many types of voice-over jobs that your chances of finding a role that fits your voice are very high.
With clear enunciation and a decent microphone (try borrowing one first), you can start doing simple voice-over jobs. Experiment with different voices, and then keep recording the best ones—these will make up your voice-over portfolio.
In the beginning, you can earn up $50 per minute of voice recordings from a freelancing platform such as Upwork. After you’ve completed enough jobs to be considered a pro, you can move onto a platform like Voices.com, where you can join over 200,000 professional voice-over artists. At that point, your per-minute rates can average anywhere between $200 and $300.
2. Graphic Design
If you have an eye or passion for the visual arts, why not give graphic design a go? You don’t need high-end software or a hone-to-perfection skillset to start taking small graphic design jobs.
The most common graphic design jobs include multimedia, web design, and logo creation. You can acquire the relevant skills needed for most of these jobs quickly through online courses, and use freeware like Inkscape to get started without spending a penny.
Compared to other jobs you can do without a degree, graphic design can be very well-paying. Experienced graphic designers make up to $150 an hour, though as a complete novice, you may need to start out with jobs that pay as low as $10 per hour.
However, if you keep at it and develop a decent graphic design portfolio, you can easily earn up to $45 an hour, the average rate that freelance graphic designers earned in 2019 on Upwork.
3. Start a YouTube Channel
With so many popular YouTube channels out there, you may wonder: is it possible to develop your own YouTube following?
In fact, content creators and influencers are now focusing on videos because more and more people prefer watching them over reading text. It’s one reason why “how to” videos are becoming so popular.
To become a famous YouTuber, you don’t need to find the latest trending niche. You just have to pick something that you’re passionate about and competent in. Choose whatever you think you can develop the best content about, and start making videos.
Important tip: Don’t set lofty goals. Yes, there are kids making millions on YouTube, but if you set your sights too high and feel dejected about not making that much money, you will inevitably get discouraged. This is why it’s best to work with something that you love, so even if you’re not making too much money, you’ll still feel fulfilled.
On average, it’s possible to make $18 per every 1,000 views your video gets through ads—not a bad number. Just think: if one of your 10 weekly videos gets over a million views, that’s about $18,000 in two and a half months.
4. Odd Jobs
I might have shot myself in the foot with this heading because it encompasses so much, but weirdly, that’s precisely my point. There are so many things you can do to make money, with literally zero technical skills (apart from knowing how to use the computer and browse the internet, of course).
- Websites like Swagbucks pay you in gift cards and cash for doing things that you usually do online. You can watch videos, fill out surveys, or buy stuff—and all of these activities earn you “SB points” that you can convert into gift cards or cash. Users normally earn somewhere between $50 and $125 a month.
- With Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), you can do simple online tasks to earn money. That could be processing images and videos, completing surveys, transcribing audio content, or something else.
- If you’re willing to do some physical work, you can look online on websites like Craigslist or Kijiji for local gigs. Depending on the work available, you may be able to earn a decent sum of money.
5. Content Writing
So long as you have a solid grasp of language and communication, writing as a profession is accessible to almost anyone. Ever since you were writing history reports in grade school, you’ve technically been a writer.
With a decent vocabulary and understanding of syntax and grammar, you can start writing content and working as a freelance writer. Tools like Grammarly can even help with grammar and sentence structure if neither are your strong suits. Start by opening an account on one (or more) of these freelancing websites:
It helps if you showcase a few samples of your published or unpublished work. Your published work can be as simple as an article about making pancakes on your local bakery’s website.
Beginners usually start by working for as little as $1 per 100 (or 200) words. But the more you work, the more you’ll build your writing portfolio. Experienced writers can charge hundreds of dollars for writing a six-word slogan.
If you can write well, consider setting up a blog or website. It doesn’t have to be your primary source of income, but if you can cultivate a decent following, you can make a pretty sum off of your blog. Here are just a few ways you can make money from your blog:
- Online ads
- Affiliate programs
- Sell an online course
- Sponsored blog content
- As a platform to get freelance clients
According to a Glassdoor estimate, the average salary of a blogger is over $33,000 per year. Use this as inspiration to take up blogging as a part-time job.
The longer you stay at it, the more you may be able to earn, so long as you keep improving the quality of your content and staying ahead of the trends.
7. Web/App Development
Developing web and mobile applications used to be reserved only for hardcore programmers. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Plenty of online tools make it possible to start creating websites after only a couple of dedicated weeks of learning.
App development might require delving more into the realm of programming, but it’s still not as hard as it’s made out to be. According to Indeed.com, a web developer’s average salary is $74,450. You may not earn this amount in your first year, but you’ll get near it with a few projects under your belt.
8. Virtual Assistant
Some clients may require a degree for this, but many will only ask for good organization and communication skills, plus basic internet and software know-how. Virtual assistant (VA) jobs can include anything from replying and categorizing emails to doing some basic research or even advertising a client’s work portfolio.
In this way, virtual assistants vary widely in their roles. There’s the classic administrative VA, which you can land on a website such as 20four7va. Or you could be a VA that specializes in something specific, like managing Pinterest for business clients.
It’s one of the most common online jobs, as many businesses like to outsource simple tasks. You can easily earn anywhere from $12 to $16 an hour as a VA.
If you want a new career but don’t want to go back to school for several years, consider trying one of the aforementioned jobs.
Making money without a degree is possible, but your success also depends in part on the field or area you focus on. Pick something you’re good at or enjoy doing, and try to make it your business. You can write a blog, make videos or podcasts, or even develop a simple website about it. Chances are, you’ll be able to connect with a clientele that likes your version of the niche you’ve picked.
About the Author
Christopher Liew is a CFA charterholder who helps readers find the best ways to save and make money at Wealthawesome.com.