A fistful of dollars

Make $20 Per Day

Make $20 Per Day: Introduction

You are probably thinking that $20 doesn’t sound all that great. To an extent you are correct. However if you are able to consistently make $20 per day then there shouldn’t be much stopping you scaling that up to $50 or $100 a day. You just need to pick the right way to go about it.

Even $20 per day, if you are able to do it consistently is $600 per month which in many parts of the world is actually a living wage. If you are able to up that to $50 or $100 per day then all of a sudden you have a reasonable income even for most developed countries.

Ideally you want to earn this money in the fewest hours possible. If you are having to work a hundred hours a week to make your $20/50/100 per day then you are going to burn out pretty quickly. 


Zero Skills – No Problem!

The first thing I will suggest while not strictly speaking making you $20 per day might save you almost as much. A penny saved is a penny earned as the old saying goes! It is also a lot easier to stop spending than to increase your earnings!

Take a look at your bank statement. Do you pay for a gym membership, streaming services, Amazon Prime, magazines, book club or food delivery service? Do you actually get value for money from those services? If not then think about cancelling them.

Do you pay monthly for a software service such as Microsoft Office? Did you know that Libreoffice can do pretty much anything that Microsoft Office can do and for free!

You could then be looking at your utility bills. Cell phone (mobile) contract, internet service provider, electricity, gas. Do you really need an unlimited call plan? Do you really need 512 MB download speed? Can you find a better deal for your electricity supply? It is amazing how many people stick with the same supplier despite being overcharged for the service. Maybe you are paying for add-ons that you don’t really need. 

The final area to examine would be your insurance premiums. Many people just accept the renewal quote from their insurance company rather than shopping around. In my experience significant savings can be made. For example a few years ago I got buildings and contents insurance on my house for the sum total of £8. The premium was actually £108 but there was £100 cashback (via a cashback site called Quidco.com).

In the current financial climate these sorts of deals are a little harder to find but you can still make savings.

Just by making an effort to tidy up your finances you could be looking at somewhere between $100 and $200 a month in savings.

All this is going to cost you is a few hours going through your bank statement. Plus the effort of checking for better deals when you renew your insurance/utility contracts.

Now it starts to get harder as you actually have to start putting in a bit more effort!


At this stage of the article everybody will mention survey sites.

While they can earn you small amounts of money the hourly rate will generally be poor. You would also struggle to find enough surveys to repeatedly make $20 per day. 

I would suggest only doing surveys where you consider the payout per hour to be reasonable (greater than the minimum wage). Also only do them when you haven’t got time to do something more profitable. 

Another suggestion some people make is signing up with sites like 20cogs. My experience with them was not great. Most of the offers were ones I’d already signed up for so it was impossible for me to make any money. Many of the offers also required you to provide financial details. You then had to remember to cancel the trial subscription before they started taking payment. If you weren’t careful it would end up costing you money. Their own promotional video suggests the average member earns £200. The offers available were generally pretty low value.

Swagbucks is a similar site and suffers from the same problem.

I would sign up for sites such as quidco.com or topcashback.co.uk in the UK or topcashback and ebates in the US. They will offer you cashback on purchases online and in some cases in-store. When I’m buying insurance I will check to see which ones may be offering cashback before making a final decision. If I have 3 quotes that are similar then guess which one gets my business. None of this will make you rich but if it’s money you’re spending anyway you might as well recoup as much as possible.

market research

Market research

This might involve online surveys or in person focus groups. If you are able to get involved with the in person studies then this is likely to be significantly more lucrative. A former work colleague was making up to £200 ($275) per study. Even allowing for travel time this was still working out around £40-50 per hour. In order to get to a reasonable monthly figure you would need to sign up with as many companies as possible. If you want to concentrate on the in person studies then you would probably need to be close to a large city where they are more likely to take place. For someone who has the spare time these could produce a nice little side income. 

In the US you could try some of the following companies:

user interviews

User Interviews

Just a quick glance at their home page shows that you could join studies which would pay $40 for a 30 minute zoom call. $125 for in-person app testing in San Francisco and $200 for a long term test of food delivery.



Offering studies from as little as $10 for a five minute phone call up to $250 for a 60 minute study. 


Fieldwork do both online and in-person studies they operate in multiple locations around the US:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis
  • New York
  • Phoenix
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Focus group

To maximise your earning potential try to focus on national studies that pay between $75 and $200.

PingPong website testing


Slightly different option with this company. You will be testing websites and apps. This will involve screen recording while you use the app and talk about your experience. You would earn €15 ($18) for a 30 minute session or €30 ($36) for a one hour session. You may be able to get up to €200 ($240) for custom sessions involving people from specific backgrounds.

PingPong does accept candidates worldwide.

Here is a long list of other alternatives for the USA. 

focus4people homepage

For those in the UK the following is a list of uk based market research companies:

mystery shopper

Mystery Shopping

If you love to shop, then mystery shopping might be right up your alley. You are being paid to shop. It is not a difficult way to make money especially if you enjoy shopping. One of the most difficult things about mystery shopping is finding a trustworthy company to work with. 

By itself you will probably struggle to make $20 per day even if you are signed up to numerous companies. Combine this with some of the other options and you should be looking good for $20 or more per day. 

Here are some US based mystery shopping companies.

If you are in the UK then you could try :

Fiverr.com programming page


In theory there are also a number of fiverr gigs you could perform with little or no skill. Things like background removal, using tools to create intros for youtube e.g. panzoid or voiceover work. 

The problem is going to be actually getting your gig rated highly enough that people purchase it. The only other option would be to set the price so low that people would take notice. Obviously then you would have to do a lot more work for not much money. Admittedly the work involved is unlikely to be taxing. 

What is drop servicing

Drop servicing

You become a middleman between a service provider and the customer. For example you might offer a service designing covers for e-books. This service might be available on fiverr for $10. You create some form of website selling that same service for $20 or $25. Every time you get a customer you get the freelancer on fiverr to do the work and pocket the difference.

While it is not impossible to do this with little or no skill you would be advised to stick to topics that you understand. E.g. don’t  start a business offering SEO services if you have no idea about how to provide them.

Skills Required!

Moving on to ways of earning money that will require some type of skills.

Freelancer working on a laptop


If you have a marketable skill then you could set yourself up as a freelancer on sites such as up work or fiverr. For example being able to translate, perform SEO tasks, code or teach. Assuming you are able to attract enough business then you should easily hit an average of $20 per day. You can market skills like that at higher prices. If you don’t have marketable skills, it might be time to learn one. There are any number of resources online to help you learn skills.



If you have a talent for writing then you could sign up to site such as textbroker. You can pick up jobs creating blog posts or other forms of written material.

If you have the ideas and motivation you can even try writing a book. You could then self publish using Kindle or set up your own website to sell it.

Drop shipping

A relatively low risk business opportunity. You again become a middleman between manufacturer and customer. This time you would be selling physical products.

Ideally you would like to find the product that you can sell using free traffic from Google. Unfortunately, these days it is becoming increasingly difficult to do that. You will most likely end up having to pay to advertise which makes it difficult to turn much of a profit.

To be successful with drop shipping you really need to be looking at items that can’t be picked up easily from local stores. As a beginner you might be advised to avoid expensive products. People would expect a level of expertise from the store that you probably aren’t going to be able to offer.

Unless you have deep pockets you will have to quickly become an expert in many areas. E.g. product selection, product sourcing, marketing, returns and accounts to name just a few.

teespring homepage

Print on demand

A variation on drop shipping where you create designs to appear on T-shirts, mugs and other merchandise. You then link out to a print on demand supplier who creates and ships the product.

You don’t even need to be particularly good at design as its often very simple text based designs that sell well.

People generally take one of two routes either setting up a store on Etsy, Amazon or Redbubble. Alternatively they create their own store from scratch. They then link to products produced by the likes of printful, printify or teespring et cetera.

Both methods have their pros and cons. Using existing sites such as Etsy gives you built-in traffic assuming you can get your designs to appear in the search. The downside is you have no control over the user experience.

If you create your own store obviously you can tailor the experience however you see fit. For example offering different up-sells or discounts. The downside of running your own store is that you have to generate the traffic either by using paid advertising, SEO or social media.

affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing

A method that sounds fiendishly simple that can be very difficult to implement correctly.

Affiliate marketing as the name suggests means you will be doing the work of marketing the product and you get a cut of the sale.

Digital products invariably give much greater commissions. For example if you become an affiliate for Amazon you’ll be struggling to get 3% commission and will often be looking at 1%.

Conversely if you sign up to be an affiliate for some email marketing software you could be looking at as much as 60%. This is likely to be recurring as long as the customer keeps paying for the product.

Products such as these are ideal for reaching your $20 a day (or more) since over time every sale would build up to give you potentially a tidy income.

As with any form of online enterprise the problem is always attracting the right type of traffic. If you are promoting physical products then there’s a good chance that paid advertising wouldn’t be profitable. This is due to the level of commission you receive. You would probably look at creating a blog reviewing products which then link through to Amazon (or whichever company is selling them)

When promoting digital products you can go the SEO route although it is becoming increasingly difficult for new people. Alternatively you could try the paid route. It may still prove profitable due to the recurring nature of many of the digital products and the level of commission that you would receive.


If you need $20 a day every day straight away then you’re probably going to have to go for freelancing using one or more of your skills. You can always top that up with a bit of market research here and there when the payouts are $100 or more.

If you don’t need $20 a day straight away then affiliate marketing might be a better bet. This is because it will scale so much better than freelancing for example. Of course there’s nothing stopping you doing a bit of freelancing to earn some cash while you build up a more long-term business.

It is tempting to go for the get rich now option particularly if you do actually need the money right away. But if you are able to wait for the income then I would look at building something more long-term. Whether that be drop servicing, drop shipping or affiliate marketing via a blog.


Related: Make money on Fiverr, Drop servicing