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 still 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 get started.
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.
I’ve personally been making money with a laptop since 2018 when I began blogging, so I know this lifestyle is possible. In fact, I’ve managed to grow my business and income to much higher amounts than my old office job, all while enjoying location independence.
If you’re ready to do the same, let’s dive into some great ways to make money on a laptop you can use.
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.
This isn’t uncommon, and I know plenty of freelance writers in various niches making six figures or great income from their work.
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.
Other online skills you can sell, like photo editing or graphic design, can require more serious work stations and really good Internet to work efficiently. But freelance writing is a laptop job you can do from just about anywhere!
You can also check out my brand 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 $92,000 in 2021. And in 2022, This Online World made $272,000, 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 with companies like Google Adsense, Mediavine, and Monumetric
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling your own digital or physical products
- Sponsored posts
And a lot of this can turn into passive income as well. For example, This Online World earns $400 a day approximately just from Mediavine ads alone.
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
If you’re still wondering how to make money with a laptop, you can always try using paid survey sites to make some extra cash.
This isn’t a very lucrative side hustle. But it’s a reliable way to snag some free money and gift cards in your spare time.
A few of my favorite sites that I’ve tested out include:
- 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.
I also made a YouTube video that covers some of my favorite survey platforms if this laptop money-making idea sounds appealing to you.
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 most straightforward ways to make money with a laptop is to just get a remote-friendly job that lets you travel.
The main advantage to this method is that you don’t have to work on scaling your income like you do with freelancing; you just start earning a salary while working remotely.
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
- 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.
I also like this approach since you can take advantage of geo-arbitrage and work remotely from places where your own currency goes a lot farther. This is especially true if you get paid in USD or Euros.
If you need a helping hand finding your next remote job, you can try looking for Upwork jobs or using different remote job websites.
5. Become An Online Tutor
If you enjoy working with kids or helping people learn new skills, another great way to make money with a laptop is to become an online tutor.
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. You can read our BookNook review for all the details.
- 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.
Additionally, China has many new regulations and laws that have made it much harder to find ESL tutoring jobs since that market is basically shut off to foreigners now.
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. Try Other Freelancing Gigs
I mentioned freelance writing as a way to make money with a laptop since it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years. However, there are plenty of other skills you can sell online to get into freelancing.
Some popular freelancing industries and jobs you can consider include:
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Email marketing specialist
- Computer programmer
- Graphic designer
- Social media management
- Video or podcast editor
- Virtual assistant
The advantage of freelancing is that many of these fields can pay $25 to $50+ per hour or even more depending on your experience level and clients.
And this is incredibly popular. I’m in South Africa at the time of writing this post, and I’ve already met loads of freelance graphic designers and social media managers who all make money from a laptop.
The main downside to freelancing is that it takes time to find clients, build up your network, and get enough consistent work to fill a work week.
But if you’re living somewhere very inexpensive, you might only work 20 hours a week and spend more time relaxing and traveling. And you can always work up to 40 hours and full-time income and then work purely from your laptop somewhere.
7. 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.
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.
8. Start A YouTube Channel
One fun side hustle and realistic way to make money with your laptop is to launch 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 16,000 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.
Plus, you can repurpose some of your content into blog posts or a podcast, so there’s a lot of ways to scale your audience and income.
9. Play Games For Money
Do you spend time gaming? If so, one fun way to make money with a laptop is to play 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.
- Gamekit: A similar website to Gamehag that pays you to play PC games.
- PlaytestCloud: One of the best ways to find user-testing gigs that pay you for testing new apps and websites.
My YouTube video covers even more apps and ideas you can use to earn money by playing video games.
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.
10. 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.
I actually tried selling POD products on Etsy back in college. My goal was to make money selling meme mugs, and even though it didn’t work, I ran everything from my laptop.
There are lots of Etsy POD providers you can use, although I used Printify for my merchandise. The quality was high, and it has a great design tool, so it’s perfect for beginners.
Of course, Etsy is just one sales channel as well. You can also upload your designs to websites like Redbubble and Society6 to reach even more customers.
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!
11. Start Investing
One final idea on how to make money with a laptop is to simply use your computer to begin investing.
This is a decent passive income side hustle that anyone can start these days thanks to the power of technology. And you have lots of options if you want to begin investing for income.
For example, some popular investing options include:
- Investing in real estate with crowdfunding companies like Arrived
- Investing in dividend stocks and ETFs
- Investing in small businesses with platforms like Mainvest
- Buying artwork with companies like Masterworks
- Opening a high-yield savings account
- Earning passive income with apps like Tellus
- 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 Making Money With A Laptop
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 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!
Best of luck!
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!
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