You can make money with nothing but your phone. Below, I’ve listed best advice for how to make money on your phone.
To be clear, you’re not likely to get rich (at least not quickly) with these methods. We did put together the options that have the most potential, even if they take some extra work.
That’s why we skipped common options like survey apps. They do make money on your phone but the hourly rate won’t be nearly as good as the list below.
If you’re ready to go from experimenting with a business to developing a serious side hustle — or even a full-time business — you’ll want to check out Earnable, my program that gives you everything you need to start and grow your own business. Click here to learn more.
How to Make Money on Your Phone: 13 Easy Ways
Let’s get started.
- Investment Apps
- Invest in Real Estate
- Work for a Delivery Service or as a Gig Worker
- Work for a Driving Service
- Use an App to Sell Stuff
- Sell Your Photos on FOAP
- Work as a Customer Service Agent
- Work as a Language Tutor
- Take Surveys
- Build Your Passive Income
- Get Paid to Watch Videos, Play Games, or Browse the Web
- Share Your Expertise
- Start Freelancing
The investment apps are ridiculously good these days. You can get:
- Automatic savings without having to give anything up
- Free investment trades
- Automatic investing for your entire portfolio
By getting a few of the right apps in place, you can set up an entire investment system that takes care of your future. Check them out:
Acorns: Allows you to invest as little as $1 per month. The app rounds up purchases to the next dollar and invests the difference automatically. It helps you to start investing with such small amounts that you won’t even notice the money missing. There are no account minimums and no overdraft fees. Additionally, Acorns partnered with over 300 companies that offer cash bonuses when you shop at their online store. The money is applied directly to your investment account.
Robinhood: If you’re interested in something a little more complex, Robinhood allows you to trade stocks, funds, and other financial products from your phone. And there aren’t any commission fees on self-directed accounts. This user-friendly option lets you invest as little as $1 in more than 5,000 stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrency. If you’ve been looking to trade from your phone for free, get this app.
Betterment: Betterment is a combination of investing and savings. You’ll create personal goals (buying a home, paying for a wedding, saving for college, etc.) and Betterment will help you create a personalized investment plan that works for your lifestyle. You can track your investment and make deposits on the app. Betterment charges a .25% annual fee. This is a fantastic option if you want an investment account, plan to set up an automatic monthly deposit, and then never want to think about it again. You’ll be shocked with how much money you made after a few years.
Invest in Real Estate
It used to be that you either had to get a massive loan or have millions in the bank in order to invest in real estate. That’s just not the case anymore. Now, not only can you leverage real estate investments to make money from your phone, but you can also do it with relatively little upfront investment.
That’s because real estate investing apps are crowd-sharing the cost of real estate across thousands of users. Instead of funding a new retail space or apartment building on your own, you fund a portion of it with dozens or hundreds of fellow investors. Then you each share the return on your investment.
Here are some real estate apps to take a look at:
Fundrise is one of the simplest and most well-known real estate investment apps. The minimum investment on Fundrise is $500 which is relatively low considering you usually have to pay hundreds of thousands (or millions) in order to invest in real estate.
DiversyFund is on a mission to help the 99% (the rest of us) invest like the most wealthy people in the world. The minimum investment is also only $500 and they allow you to build a portfolio from a wide variety of real estate options.
Work for a Delivery Service or as a Gig Worker
Gig economy apps are one of the most common ways people are learning to make money with their phone.
These simple apps connect you with customers who need specific tasks completed (think dry cleaning, home repair, or grocery shopping) and are willing to pay someone else to do them.
Gigs range from one-off jobs for a small payment to high-paying or even long-term opportunities with local customers.
Here are a few gig economy apps we recommend.
In 2017, TaskRabbit was acquired by furniture brand IKEA. That’s because TaskRabbit had become known, among other things, as a place to find someone who can assemble your furniture. In addition, you can get hired to help people move, clean their homes, do home repairs, and lots more.
Thumbtack focuses even more heavily on home repair, yard work, and similar projects, but isn’t limited to it. Anyone from painters to photographers to yoga instructors can sign up on Thumbtack and get hired by local customers.
Instacart specializes in helping customers get their groceries delivered. As an Instacart “shopper” you take customer orders, often visiting the grocery store, purchasing their groceries, and even delivering them directly to their home.
Work for a Driving Service
If you have a smartphone and you don’t mind driving around town, consider using your cell phone to pick up a side hustle as a driver for Uber or Lyft. The average driver makes between $8.50 and $11.70 an hour. If you’re comfortable driving in bad weather or during rush hour, you could make even more. Uber and Lyft apps notify you when there’s a rider nearby and you can accept or deny a fare at any time. You are responsible for your car and having the proper insurance.
Uber: To snag a gig at Uber, you need to have your driver’s license for at least one year, and a reliable 4-door vehicle. If you’re under 23 years old you need to have at least three years of driving experience. Uber runs a background check and you’ll need to submit copies of your driver’s license, car registration, and insurance. Once you’re approved, you can open the app and start scheduling rides. Uber takes 25% of each of your ride fares.
Lyft: Lyft has a similar system, but they also allow drivers to rent a car to use on their routes, for an extra fee. Lyft takes 20 to 25% of all fares, but drivers get to keep all of their tips. Lyft provides extra insurance for drivers, free, and drivers get to rate passengers. Lyft requires a vehicle inspection and runs a background check. Drivers can withdraw cash from their account immediately through Express Pay.
Use an App to Sell Stuff
One of the fastest ways to earn some extra cash is to sell things you’re no longer using. There are a lot of apps that allow you to sell everything from electronics to clothing, books, and even unused gift cards. Here’s the most popular one’s:
Poshmark: Poshmark allows users to list their items on the website. Once you sign up for an account, snap a photo of the item you want to sell, include a description, and set a price. The app even lets you host a party so your friends can list like-items together. Poshmark supplies the box and postage free! It allows you to list items free but charges a $2.95 fee for items under $15 and a 20% fee on items over $15.
Letgo: When you’re spending time decluttering or cleaning out your garage, you may as well earn a little bit of money while you’re at it. Letgo is akin to an online thrift store. Letgo works a bit like Craigslist, with a more modern platform and app capabilities. The app is free to use and you can negotiate prices if you really want to get rid of something. You are restricted to selling in your area and you can’t be paid through the app, so you’ll have to work out payment arrangements with the buyer (typically cash or Venmo).
Decluttr: Decluttr lets you sell media items like DVDs, CDs, books, electronics, and gaming items. Decluttr also accepts phones. The Decluttr app is particularly helpful because you can use it to scan the barcode of the items you want to sell and they will give you an instant valuation. Once you get your estimate, just request a kit, and send your items in the mail. Once they receive and review your items, they pay. They guarantee their first valuation (within 30 days) or they’ll send your item back.
Amazon: While you won’t earn actual cash, Amazon accepts thousands of eligible products for trade-in. Earn Amazon gift cards for trading in items like books, old cell phones, video games, Amazon products (Kindle, Echo, etc.) and more. See if your item is eligible for trade-in here. And if you’re interested in leveraging Amazon to earn more on the side, check out our guide to making money on Amazon.
Sell Your Photos on FOAP
Your obsession with the amazing phone cameras could pay off. FOAP allows creators to sell stock photos from their phones. The app is completely free and you can upload photos right from your phone. You can sell and resell the same photo as many times as you want. Photos sell for $10 and they keep 50% of each sale.
In addition to creating a portfolio of work, you can also submit photos to “missions.” The missions are created by big-name companies looking for a stock image. The pay on these are typically much higher, and companies may even purchase the work of photos that don’t “win.”
If you enjoy taking photos and don’t mind spending a bit of time adding keywords and descriptions to garner attention, this could be a good option. Think of it as Instagram that pays you for photos.
Make sure to look through popular photos to see what type of images are selling, and keep in mind most buyers are companies or small business owners trying to find an image for their website or blog.
Work as a Customer Service Agent
You may be able to make money working as a customer service representative on your phone. Major companies like U-Haul, Upwork, Getty Images, Dollar Flight Club, Delta Airlines, and JetBlue hire people to answer customer service calls from the comfort of their own home.
Working as a customer service agent from your phone will provide a more steady stream of income, but the jobs can be a bit more difficult to come by. You may also be required to go onsite for some training before you can work from home.
Work as a Language Tutor
If you have a smartphone and you’re fluent in English, you could make money working as an ESL tutor on NiceTalk. After you download the app, you can submit your registration form to the company. Once you’re approved, you can log on to your app whenever you want and take requests from students. You’ll need to be able to video chat with students.
You may be assigned a random student or students could choose you from a list of available tutors. Your sole responsibility is to have conversations with students. They are trying to learn English through conversation.
You get paid for each full minute you spend talking to your students. NiceTalk pays $10 per hour. The company only pays via PayPal. While the pay isn’t great, if you have a few extra hours to help a student learn English, it could be a fun way to earn some pizza cash.
Another way to make money from your phone without having to build an entire business is to invest your time in survey apps with high returns.
The business model is pretty simple. Survey apps have clients (usually sizable brands and companies) that need information from certain target audiences in order to make decisions in marketing, product development, or elsewhere.
These companies pay survey apps who then pay you to take surveys about your preferences, your experiences, etc. Some survey apps are real garbage. But here are a couple we can confidently recommend to help you start making money on your phone right away without all the headache:
Survey Junkie is one of the most common survey apps around. You create a profile and then they match you with surveys you’re equipped to answer. For each survey, you earn virtual points which can be cashed in later for gift cards to places like Target, Amazon, or even PayPal.
Swagbucks also pays you to take online surveys. But they also pay you for other online activities you might be participating in any way. These activities can include watching YouTube, shopping at your favorite online retailers, or reading articles from news outlets.
Build Your Passive Income
Finally, if you feel like you don’t have any free time in order to make extra money, you’ll be happy to know there are quite a few passive income apps you can install in order to make money from your phone without a ton of extra work.
These apps essentially pay you to do things you’re already doing (like exercising, walking around, shopping, etc.) and can be a great way to make some extra money each week.
These apps don’t typically pay enough to replace a full-time income but can make for great extra pocket money when you need it.
There are tons of passive income apps you can try. Here are just a few you can try:
Fluz rewards you for shopping at specific retailers by giving you money back on purchases you would have made anyway. They’ve also got a networking feature so you make money when your friends join and shop too.
Ibotta gives you almost instant cash-back when you search for and use their coupons in major retailers. Plus, you can get an immediate $20 welcome bonus just for using the app.
One truly passive way to make money with your phone is to get the Neighbor app and list your empty garage, attic, or basement space for rent. Neighbors pay for your unused space instead of purchasing a storage unit.
Get Paid to Watch Videos, Play Games, or Browse the Web
Did you know there are companies out there that will pay you to just browse certain websites, watch videos online, or even play some mobile games?
These companies (who often have lots of clients that need more video views, more traffic, or some other online metric) pay you to just “act normal” while consuming content from their clients.
That way, they can learn more about how their content is consumed and improve it in the future—among other perks.
Here are a few companies that will basically pay you to sit on your couch, glued to your phone:
InboxDollars is one of the easiest ways to make money on your phone. They just send you videos to watch, games to play, or sites to visit and when you complete their tasks, they add money to your balance.
One of the oldest and most well-known media data companies in the world, Nielsen helps advertisers know what the potential reach of any given TV show, radio station, or website might be. To make money from your phone, just download the Nielsen app and use your phone as always. Over time, you’ll rack up a small balance and be able to enter big giveaways.
Slicethepie is the largest paid review site on the internet. When you sign up for Slicethepie, you get paid any time you leave a review for their clients. That means the more stuff you use, videos you watch, recipes you try, or songs you listen to, the more ratings you can leave and the more money you make on your phone.
Share Your Expertise
If you’re especially knowledgeable or talented in a particular field, you can make money on your phone by sharing that knowledge with customers through learning apps.
The most common expertise app to make money on your phone is called JustAnswer.
When you sign up for JustAnswer, you can set your own hours and areas of expertise. Then you just log on when you have some spare time and want to make money on your phone and answer questions from curious users in need of your help.
The process is incredibly simple and easy, making it a quick way to make money on your phone.
Freelancing is surging as a way for people to make extra money full-time or on the side.
That’s partly true because you can make money from your phone as a freelancer just by setting up a few accounts and monitoring them via apps or email in order to find new clients.
Here are a few freelancing apps to try yourself:
Upwork is a leading freelancing site that connects freelancers and clients from all over the world. You create a profile, bid on jobs, and build relationships. Upwork takes a percentage of your client revenue.
SolidGigs takes a different approach from Upwork and similar freelance marketplaces. Instead of facilitating the relationship between freelancers and clients (and then taking a percentage of your money) they act as an extension of your team, hunting down the best gigs that match your criteria and emailing them to you.
Fiverr uses yet a third model to help you make money from your phone as a freelancer. Instead of bidding on projects or pitching gigs, you post your available service packages and clients search the Fiverr marketplace for freelancers that meet their needs.