Near the start of 2020, I quit my office job at a digital marketing company, booked a one-way flight to Medellin, Colombia, and went all-in on the digital nomad lifestyle.
Since that time, I’ve made my entire living from my laptop. This also let me travel and live in several places like Mexico, Dubai, South Africa, and the United States while earning income every month.
But my story isn’t unique. In fact, millions of people make money with their laptop and live this sort of remote lifestyle, and it’s never been easier to do the same.
That’s why this post is covering how to make money with a laptop as well as some of the most valuable tips I learned along the way to help you do the same.
How To Make Money With A Laptop
These days, there are so many ways to make money online thanks to the power of the Internet and remote movement. And all you need is a laptop to get started with these ideas:
Table of Contents
1. Freelance Writing
As mentioned, in 2020, I left my office job and went all-in on freelance writing while living in Colombia. At the time, I was still somewhat new to freelance writing. I had a few clients, and I was earning anywhere from $0.05 to $0.10 per word for the various contracts.
All-in-all, I was earning about $2,000 a month from freelance writing, and the rest was all blogging income.
But what I love about freelance writing is that you can gradually increase your rates as you become a better writer, land more clients, and specialize in a niche.
After about a year and a half, I had a few more clients and was earning $0.15 to $0.25 per word with some of them. At this point, I was making about $4,000 to $6,000 per month from my freelance writing.
And this is the perfect way to make money with a laptop since you don’t need a fancy setup or even a massive desktop screen to work efficiently. Plus, you can always post up in a cafe, coworking space, or your Airbnb if you decide to hit the road and get work done.
Pro Tip: Check out mybrand new course, Freelance Writing For Freedom, for the exact game plan I used to go from $0 to $100,000+ in writing income!
2. Start A Blog
Another awesome way to make money with a laptop is to start a blog. This is a similar idea to freelance writing, except you’re making content for your own business, not a client.
I started This Online World in 2018. And in its first year, it only made $1,700. But fast forward a few years, and This Online World made $272,000 in 2022, which just goes to show how profitable blogging can be.
It took a few years to get here. But all of this started out with my trusty Acer laptop, some basic WordPress hosting, and an inexpensive blogging theme.
What I really like about blogging is that you have a lot of ways to generate revenue, including display ads, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and selling your own courses or products.
Again, this all took hundreds of articles, learning SEO, and a lot of trial and error. But it’s an amazing way to make money from your laptop, and the income ceiling is practically endless.
3. Answer Paid Surveys
Want an easy laptop side hustle? Youu can always try using paid survey sites to make some extra cash.
- Branded Surveys: Share your opinion to earn free PayPal cash and gift cards!
- Pinecone Research: Get paid $3 for every survey you complete with this premium research panel.
- Swagbucks: This site pays you to play games, answer surveys, watch ads, and shop online.
- Ipsos iSay: A globally-friendly survey site with PayPal and gift card rewards.
- InboxDollars: Get a $5 sign up bonus and earn rewards with this nice Swagbucks alternative.
- Kashkick: Another popular gpt platform that pays you with PayPal.
- Prime Opinion: A new and global survey site with a nice sign up bonus.
These sorts of GPT sites won’t make you thousands of dollars. But if you just want some part-time pocket change, these sites can make a few dollars per hour.
4. Get A Remote-Friendly Job
One of the best parts about working with your laptop is that you can gain location independence.
In fact, I’d say most people I’ve met during my digital nomad travels were remote workers. Some popular remote-friendly jobs people had included:
- Computer programmer
- Digital marketing
- Graphic designer
- Software developer
- Social media manager
- SEO expert
- Video editor
- Virtual assistant
- Web designer
Colombia was full of programmers when I lived there for example. And if you travel in a similar time zone to where your work is based, you really don’t have to adopt a crazy schedule. Plus, coworking spaces are everywhere these days, so you can find reliable, fast Internet while making money with a laptop.
If you need a helping hand finding your next remote job, you can try looking for Upwork jobs or using different remote job websites. You can also use FlexJobs to find flexible and high-paying remote gigs, even as a complete beginner!
5. Become An Online Tutor
If you enjoy working with kids or helping people learn new skills, online tutoring is another gig worth considering.
People commonly do this by teaching English online. Once again, I met many online ESL teachers while living in South America and over in Dubai.
The main attraction of online tutoring gigs is that they often pay $15 to $25+ per hour, so you can make very decent money. And all you need is a laptop, webcam, and decent WiFi.
Some popular online tutoring gigs you can apply to include:
- BookNook: This company pays you to tutor English or Math to students in the United States.
- Qkids: One of the more popular online ESL tutoring platforms.
- Studypool: This platform lets you make money as a tutor but also lets you sell notes for cash.
Tutoring platforms often require you to have an undergrad degree or some type of teaching experience, so this is the main downside. However, tutoring is still a great way to make money with your laptop, and it’s a great job for retired teachers, current students, and recent grads.
6. Use Microtask Websites
If you want to make money with a laptop but just need some quick cash and don’t need a full-time income, you can always use micro task websites.
These sites pay you for completing short online tasks like data entry work, social media moderation, AI training help, and other similar jobs. I used a bunch when I was trying to make money in college. And even though you only make a few bucks per hour usually, you don’t need any skills to start.
Three popular micro task sites you can use include:
- Clickworker: A leading micro task site that pays you with PayPal cash for completing various tasks.
- Appen: Has a range of part-time jobs and micro task work you can apply for.
- Amazon MTurk: A popular site from Amazon that pays you with direct deposit or Amazon gift cards.
- Remotask: Another easy way to make a bit of side money by completing short tasks.
Sites like Appen are best if you’re looking for a steady schedule. But you can always apply to a variety of micro task sites and cherry-pick the highest paying gigs going around.
7. Start A YouTube Channel
Now I know what you’re thinking: making money on YouTube is impossible, and you have to be an amazing filmmaker to even try.
Well, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I started my own YouTube channel back in 2020 with a pretty budget Sony camera and cheap USB microphone. It now has over 30,000 subscribers and makes $1,500 per month in advertisement revenue.
In fairness, it takes a while to monetize a YouTube channel since you need 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 hours of watch time. But once you achieve this and get a steady stream of organic traffic to your videos, you basically make money on autopilot!
And again, you can film content on a budget camera or even your phone. Then all you need is a decent laptop to edit, render, and upload your videos to run a channel.
8. Play Games For Money
Do you spend time gaming? If so, you can start earning with your laptop by playing video games for money.
This is what some of my friends do since they run gaming YouTube channels and also stream their gameplay on Twitch. But you don’t have to be famous or build your audience for this online side hustle to work.
In fact, there are numerous paid gaming apps and websites you can use, including:
- Buff: Earn passive rewards for playing leading PC games like League of Legends and Valorant!
- Gamehag: Enjoy free Steam games, gift cards, and in-game prizes for playing games with Gamehag.
- Scrambly: One of my favorite discovery rewards platforms that also has games.
- PlaytestCloud: One of the best ways to find user-testing gigs that pay you for testing new apps and websites.
- Earnweb: A new rewards website from the same company that runs Gamehag.
You won’t earn $1,000 a day or anything even close with these websites. But if you spend time gaming anyway, you might as well get paid. And if you want to make money with your phone, you can try even more gaming reward apps, such as Rewarded Play and Mistplay.
9. Launch A Print On Demand Business
Launching an ecommerce store is an amazing business you can try to build real wealth. But many ecommerce businesses involve logistics and in-person fulfillment sometimes, defeating the purpose of just working with your laptop.
However, a print on demand business (POD) is an online business you can run with just a computer. That’s because POD companies manufacture and ship your merchandise for you. This means you just have to worry about designing products and marketing your store.
This is a similar business model to dropshipping. But I like it more since you can create your own brand rather than just reselling cheap products from overseas.
You need some graphic design skills or very clever ideas for POD businesses. But you can manage everything from anywhere in the world with just a laptop!
10. Sell Your Internet Bandwidth
Did you know that you can get paid just by sharing your internet bandwidth with other people?
I tested out both of these apps during my time in school and afterwards. And while they won’t make you rich, apps like Honeygain and Pawns can run completely on autopilot. So, this is an easy way to turn your laptop into an income stream, all on autopilot.
11. Start Investing
One final idea on how to earn money with a laptop is to simply use your computer to begin investing.
For example, some popular investing options include:
- Investing in real estate with crowdfunding companies like Arrived
- Investing in dividend stocks and ETFs
- Buying artwork with companies like Masterworks
- Opening a high-yield savings account (companies like Current pay 4% APY and have a $50 sign up bonus)
- Bonds and CDs
- Buying alternative assets like sports cards, gold and silver, or other collectibles
There’s no single right or wrong answer for how to get started. And your investing timeframe, goals, and risk tolerance all influence what’s right.
If you have questions, it’s wise to speak with a financial professional. But I do love the fact that just about anyone can start putting their money to work with their laptop and without needing a fortune.
Extra Reading – How To Get Paid For Doing Nothing.
Tips For Getting Started
Now that you know how to make money with your laptop, here are a few tips you can keep in mind to increase your odds of success!
- Play To Your Strengths: I chose freelance writing and blogging because I enjoy writing. Pick some skill or interest of yours, and see if you can apply it to making money online.
- Set An Income Goal: Are you looking for beermoney, or a full-time job? Different hustles have different income potential, so pick one that makes sense.
- Take Advantage Of Location Independence: My favorite part about earning money with a laptop and remote side gigs is the fact that I can travel. This helps me see new places around the world, but I can also keep costs low by living in certain areas where my dollar goes farther.
I hope this guide on how to make money with your laptop inspires you to make the leap and begin earning an online income.
I know from personal experience that it can be freaky to jump ship from an office job and go fully online. But in my experience, I think the freedom and higher income potential is worth the risk.
And who knows, you might find that this sort of laptop nomad lifestyle is what you’ve been missing and never go back!
Looking for other ways to make extra money? Checkout:
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please use our contact page to get in touch!