1. Take Paid Surveys

I've gotten a few spare dollars here and there doing paid surveys online. Some of them are far more worthwhile than others. I wouldn't recommend trying to make your entire income this way, as it can be quite tedious, but it can be a good way to fill income gaps, especially if your internet isn't stable enough (or your signal isn't strong enough) for other work involving video conferencing. These are my top picks in order of earning potential and effort vs. payout.

  • SurveySavvy: This one is great in that you can get a check sent to your house as payment, so you don't have to be paid in gift cards as is the norm with some other survey websites.
  • MyPoints: If you want to sign up with my referral link, you'll also get bonus points when you spend $20 (I think it means 20 dollars in points) or more. This has some easy tasks that can net you a few cents, and you get some points for attempting surveys even if you don't qualify. You can get payouts via PayPal or gift cards.
  • Ipsos Panel: For this one, the pay is the lowest, but you can receive a check as payment. I think I've earned maybe $50–75 from them in a year.
  • Radial Insight: While this one is legitimate, I put it as last on the last because I haven't received any new surveys from them in a long time. When I did get their surveys, they were quick and easy. Just keep in mind they only pay in gift cards—not checks or PayPal. Surveys are super quick and easy and generally pay pretty well.

Taking surveys online isn't the most lucrative task, but it is a nice way to earn gift cards or cash during your free time.


13. Professional Athletes

Some talented individuals may choose to pursue a career in professional sports after high-school. Should you do well in the NFL combine, or show promise on the basketball court – you could end up with a college scholarship that allows you to get an education for free.

Many pro sports teams hire athletes straight out o

Many pro sports teams hire athletes straight out of high school, paying them outrageous sums of money to play for their side.

2. Real Estate Agent or Broker

No degree, no problem. A real estate agent is a great career path for someone who loves working with people and likes having flexibility in their lives. Like anything, there is a learning curve to becoming a great agent who makes over $100,000, but it won’t happen overnight.

In fact, most people in the world will never make over $100,000 annually, so patience is key with any industry, especially real estate.

Real estate is a grind. You need to know your game and be open to learning and growing in order to hit the 6 figure club. Matthew Lama made the jump from accounting full time to working for himself as a real estate agent and in this video below, he shares the steps to becoming a real estate agent:

You can start a real estate side hustle on the side and grow it as you learn before making the big jump, or you can do what Matt did and go all in. Either way, recognize that becoming a real estate agent does not guarantee you six figures.

That being said, becoming a real estate agent and keeping your nose to the grindstone can be one of the best jobs without a degree!

6. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers/Cardiovascular Technologists

Median salary: $70,380 Education needed: associate degree Job growth: 12%

Sonographers use medical equipment to create images of organs, tissues and blood vessels that allow people to understand what’s going on inside their bodies. Cardiovascular techs work with physicians to perform complex procedures related to heart health, such as inserting stents or pacemakers. They also help perform tests to diagnose cardiac health problems in patients.

These jobs are experiencing higher than average growth, which means you should have plenty of employment opportunities if you go this route!

3. Nuclear Technician

Median salary: $84,190 Education needed: associate degree Job growth: -19%

Nuclear techs work in nuclear power plants and use computers and other equipment to monitor and run nuclear reactors. They work closely with scientists and engineers. This job offers competitive pay, but keep in mind that it’s on the decline, which means poor job security in the future.

7. Firefighter or Police Officer

If you feel like giving back to your community after high school, then why not sign up to be part of the local fire or police services? These community services offer free training to cadets, and a guaranteed spot on the team if you pass the tests.

While the starting salary for a rookie police offi

While the starting salary for a rookie police officer or firefighter is not outstanding, should you choose to make it your career path and end up in an executive position, you can expect to make more than 6-figures a year.

Air traffic controllers

Patrick Doyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Median annual wage: $124,540Projected job growth through 2026: 3 percent

Coordinating the safe movement of aircraft pays top dollar, but it also requires lots of training. Air traffic controllers are responsible for directing aircraft in the ground and air, controlling all ground traffic on runways and taxiways and giving landing and takeoff instruction to pilots. Because their role impacts the safety of hundreds of passengers per flight and typically requires quick decision-making for multiple aircraft, they must be trained and licensed.

Many people become air traffic controllers by obtaining at least an associate's degree through an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program. All air traffic controllers must also hold an Air Traffic Control Tower Operator Certificate or be otherwise appropriately qualified. Controllers are then tested throughout the course of their career, needing to pass a physical exam each year and a job performance exam twice per year.

5. Sell Photos

Websites need photos, so the site managers, owners, or writers turn to stock photo websites, where they can buy everything they need. If you have a portfolio on these websites, you get a cut of the revenue every time one of your photos is purchased.

How much can you make? Keith Morris made over $250,000 in the course of a couple years, and that was on just one stock photography site.

But income like that isn’t common, and it takes work and patience to get to that level. Morris says it took him six months to get to the point of selling just one photo monthly.

If you’re good with your camera and want to give it a try, check out a list of the many stock photo websites where you can sell your work.

There is usually an approval process (typically you upload a sample portfolio), but if one platform does not accept you, there are plenty of others to try.

Power distributors and dispatchers

Thossaphol | iStock | Getty Images

Median annual wage: $82,510Projected job growth through 2026: -3 percent

Also known as systems operators, these workers control the flow of electricity as it travels from generating stations to substations and users. They monitor current converters, voltage transformers, and circuit breakers over a network of transmission and distribution lines as well as resolve problems such as transformer or transmission line failures.

To become a power plant distributor or dispatcher, you'll need a high school diploma combined with several years of onsite training and experience. Those whose work could affect the power grid may require certification through the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's System Operator Certification Program.

Become a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants do a wide range of tasks so if you have strong digital and administrative skills, you can find employment.

Many clients want someone to respond to emails, schedule social media posts, or respond to queries and comments.

Others need appointments, interviews, or trips booked. However, some may also need help with accounting or bookkeeping, report preparation, or research.

You can, therefore, choose the types of gigs which match your interests and qualifications.

In many cases, you can work for clients anywhere around the world so your options are numerous.

9. Design and Sell T-Shirts

In a post on how he made $100,000 in five months selling t-shirts, Benny Hsu says, “I’m tired of listening to people say ‘get a real job’” (I like that attitude).

Hsu uses Facebook ads as a primary sales method, and he uses Teespring to print and ship his shirts (there are also other platforms you can use).

Again, it isn’t easy. Hsu says he had 21 failed businesses before he made a real profit (but he also made a $30,000 profit in 30 days from an iPhone app).

Invest in real estate

Anyone with enough up-front capital can jump into real estate and start a rental-property business. But do you really know how to manage a property successfully? If not, team up with an experienced developer or venture into commercial real estate through crowd-funding opportunities.

Crowd-funding sites like RealtyMogul.com can give you access to commercial property developments for as little as $5,000. Investors can also save time and resources by looking at pre-vetted deals and online presentations to help them make decisions.

Become a Photographer

Do you know your aperture from your shutter speed and how the two work together?

If you have basic knowledge of photography, practice makes perfect.

Brush up on your skills and begin offering your services professionally.

You are unlikely to find anyone who cares whether you have a degree. Clients just want you to bring their concepts to life and portray them in the best light.

You can choose from a wide range of niches including weddings, portraits, events, fashion, and product photography. You can even choose to focus on real estate or travel.

The growing demand for content means photographers are in heavy demand.

Get adventurous

Skydiving was a life-changing event for me that I’ll never forget. Skydiving instructors don’t need a formal education, though a license may be required from the United States Parachute Association (USPA), depending on where you work. Consider guiding whitewater rafting and kayaking tours or mountain climbing groups to earn money while you enjoy an adventure.

Adventure-related jobs may not pay much if you go the traditional route by working for a company; skydivers for example reportedly earn only roughly $40 a jump. But there are still ways to profit from your passion. Branch out and start your own business; or sell gear; or train clients to get certified to jump. Also, think about organizing weekend retreats.

7. Sales Jobs

One of the quickest ways to best jobs without a degree is to land a sales job.

Whether you are selling exterior home products or software, most sales jobs require a general understanding of products and people.

There are plenty of sales jobs as companies always want to grow their profits. If you think you might be someone who is or isn’t good at sales it doesn’t matter. The process of learning how to make sales work for you typically consists of:

  1. Personal development & reading
  2. Product Knowledge
  3. Sales system and process
  4. Follow up process
  5. Care for the person or customer

Pros of Sales:

  • Flexiblity in schedule
  • Can sometimes work out of your home
  • Can make more money than salary our hourly jobs

Cons of Sales: Demanding expectationsCan mean more hours to make salesIrregular income Quota adjustmentsAlways on the clock


Liz Westwood from UK on May 08, 2021:

This is a very helpful article. It's interesting to hear how you have found using some of these different income streams.


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