Making money online is still a popular topic, and it’s how I stay self-employed. Yet, an additional wave of financial and career opportunities has surfaced on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Instead of having to work from a desk or laptop, you can now earn money with possession of only a phone.
For my list, I included opportunities that don’t require access to a computer. However, computers can be beneficial to evaluate how things appear across devices, for instance, how an Airbnb listing looks on a computer, tablet, and smartphone.
Making money on your mobile device is less about passive income activities and more about earned income endeavors (sorry passive income enthusiast). Nevertheless, one or more of these avenues may appeal to you.
Uber, Lyft, Cabify, and other ride-sharing companies are hiring drivers. The requirements to become a driver are minimal, for example, you must be at least 21 and own an iPhone or Android phone. Naturally, you do need a car whether you own or rent one (yes, some drivers rent cars for ride-sharing purposes).
I’m seeing more and more people using smartphones to develop their YouTube channels. Currently, I record my videos at home, but I’m looking to add some phone recordings for a different viewing experience. YouTube offers a robust app which allows for video uploads so you can record and publish from your phone. Additionally, many video editing apps enable you to produce professional quality videos.
YouTubers primarily generate revenue through views of ads shown on their videos, but there are other income sources to tap. For my YouTube tips, see my post.
Airbnb, HomeAway, and VBRO are three popular travel accommodation platforms. In fact, I’ve used Airbnb several times and have enjoyed my experiences thus far. If you have a home or room to rent, you can list in on their sites and get paid when someone rents it, and it’s not uncommon to read about individuals making six-figures on Airbnb. These companies have apps so once your listing is set up and booked, it’s just a matter of arranging access to your rental property.
E-commerce marketplaces bring together buyers and sellers to exchange goods including sports memorabilia to electronics to just about everything. While eBay has been around for years, OfferUp is relatively new and focuses on local, peer-to-peer commerce. Also, Facebook recently launched Marketplace to enter the e-commerce arena. Whether you have stuff sitting in your garage to sell or enjoy buying items to turn a profit, you have multiple apps that can accommodate.
- Facebook Marketplace
- MercadoLibre (Latin America)
I like trading stocks and exchange-traded funds. I usually place orders from my laptop, but almost all online brokerages offer apps. Similarly, you now have financial technology companies such as Robinhood, Acorns, and Stash who focus exclusively on mobile app investment/trading platforms. For example, Robinhood offers commission-free trading with their app. Acorns is more for long-term investing while Stash allows you to trade and invest. Just imagine yourself trading from a coffee shop with nothing but your phone. (Disclaimer: don’t blame me if you lose money. Profits and losses are inherent to investing.)
Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, TaskRabbit, and Thumbtack offer marketplaces that match freelance laborers with local demand, allowing consumers to find immediate help with everyday tasks, including housekeeping, moving, delivery, painting, plumbing, and handyman work. If this is up your alley, check out their apps.
Grocery Shopper and Deliverer
Instacart is an on-demand grocery delivery service. Customers order groceries from their favorite local stores, and Instacart picks and delivers them. You can earn money shopping and delivering groceries, giving customers more time to do what they love. Instacart offers four positions including shopper, cashier, driver, and driver-shopper.
Amazon Flex allows people to become their own bosses by delivering products on schedules they control. Individuals can make $18-25/hour delivering packages with Amazon.
Make Money and Reward Apps
Make money apps are plentiful, so I recommend looking at reviews before using any. Some pay you cash, some focus on rewards, and some are bogus time wasters.
Make Money – Free Cash App is a frequently downloaded earn money app. You can make money by completing simple tasks inside the app. Generate income by watching videos, trying free apps, completing surveys, giving opinions, testing services, endorsements, and free trials. As you complete tasks, you’ll receive payments to your PayPal account.
San Francisco-based Ebates provides customers with a way to earn cash back when shopping online at over 2,600 stores including Amazon.com, Macy’s, Best Buy, Home Depot and others. You get great deals, coupons, and discounts at thousands of online stores, and you can earn up to 40% cash by fulfilling your everyday shopping needs.
Google and Microsoft Reward Programs
You won’t earn cold hard cash, but you will earn Google Play credits by answering brief surveys through Google Opinion Rewards. Getting started is easy. Download the app and answer basic questions about yourself. They’ll then send you surveys once a week or so, although it may be more or less frequent. You’ll get a notification on your phone when a short and relevant survey is ready for you and can receive up to $1.00 in Play credits upon completion. Questions can range from, “Which logo is best?” and “Which promotion is most compelling?” to “When do you plan on traveling next?”
Microsoft has a similar rewards program which they’re now calling Microsoft Rewards. The more you use or buy Microsoft products, the more freebies you’ll receive in return. With the debut of Microsoft Rewards, you’ll also be able to accrue points by browsing with Edge or purchasing items at brick-and-mortar Microsoft Stores.