Whether you need help to get out of debt or you just have some spare time you’d like to monetize, side-hustles are a great way to keep yourself entertained while raking in extra cash. The tricky part is knowing where to start. From full-blown scams to companies that simply don’t pay you what you’re worth, there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid in the side-hustle game. To ensure you navigate successfully, start with the following five legitimate options: 

1. User testing

What better way to make money than by doing what you do in your spare time anyway? Put simply, user testing involves interacting with websites and apps and reporting on their usability. Each project will have different parameters, and you’re usually required to access the sites via a special program that allows you to record your real-time reactions. Once you’re through the qualifications, you can make around $30 an hour. 

2. Online survey sites that pay cash

Many online survey sites offer grand promises but then fail to follow through on them, making most of their money by directing you through a confusing maze of pages with ads on them. If you’ve been turned off by sites like these, take heart – there are legitimate platforms out there. 

Sites like Pureprofile and Inbox Dollars offer interesting surveys from a range of companies, government agencies, universities, and market research groups. Instead of paying you in gift cards or products, they offer cash payouts to your chosen account. While you won’t be able to quit your day job, you will be able to cover your phone bill or put the money towards debt payments. 

3. Human Intelligence Tasks

If you sign up for sites like Appen and Amazon’s mTurk and get through the qualifications, you’ll be offered Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs). These can involve problem-solving questions, testing websites and search queries, mini transcription jobs, and so much more. 

The work is entirely dependent on client demand, so one month you may earn a couple of thousand dollars, but the next month you might only earn a couple of hundred. Still, when combined with other income streams, this can be a nice income bump. 

4. Online tutoring

Regardless of your industry and level of expertise, there is guaranteed to be a website out there with students willing to pay to learn what you know. If you’re doubting your own worth right now, consider this – the fact that you can read this article means you have a valuable language skill many people in the world want to learn. 

The best part about this line of work is that it’s flexible, and when you sign up with a tutoring site, they’ll set you up with a syllabus to follow. Whether you become an online high school tutor or simply help kids practice their English, online teaching is one of the most fulfilling side-hustles out. 

5. Freelancing

If online tutoring isn’t for you, consider using your skills as a freelancer. Whatever industry you’re in, there’s likely to be a demand, either directly as a worker, or indirectly as a writer or consultant. LinkedIn is a good place to start, but you can also get on Google and search for freelance + your industry to find the best platforms to advertise on. 

The best thing about these tried-and-tested side-hustles is that you can dedicate as much or as little time to them as you want. Add one to your spare time and put the proceeds towards paying off debt, or get involved with all of them and free yourself from the 9-5 cycle – the choice is yours.