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How to Make Money Online Without Paying Anything [2021]

By Forrest | Last Updated: September 28, 2021

If you're looking to learn how to make money online you're in the right place. These jobs are all designed so that you can make money without having to pay money first. No get-rich-quick schemes or MLMs that make you invest money upfront with no guarantee of results.

All of these ideas let you make money based on your skills and willingness to invest time and energy into your online business.

In this post, we'll explore how to make money online without paying anything, how much money you can make online, and some ways to get free money. Let's get started!

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How Can I Make Money Online With No Starter Money?

There are a lot of ways to start making money online, but your options are a little more limited if you don't have any money to help you get started. There are a few options though, which generally fall into one of three groups:

  • Complete small online tasks.
  • Do contract work for someone else.
  • Start your own business (this is usually the most difficult option).

Starting your own business online is usually the long-term goal of people who want to make money online. But it also takes the most time and effort, especially if you need to make money before you can invest in your business.

Completing tasks on websites like Fiverr or Task Rabbit can be a lot easier, but you probably won't make much money when you first get started. People with in-demand skills like copywriting or graphic design can usually make more money on these sites than people who don't have those skills.

But those sites are also usually more reliable since you're under contract with someone. As long as you do the work you should get paid for your time.

The last option, and usually the least lucrative option, is to do small tasks like completing surveys, watching videos, or visiting certain websites. Swagbucks and Survey Junkie are both good places to get this kind of work.

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We're also going to add one more way to make money online: Sell Your Intellectual Work. This is what people are doing when they self-publish books, start their own graphic design or illustrating business, or sell consultation services.

If you have an intellectual skill you can probably sell that skill online in one way or another. The trick is figuring out how to sell your intellectual skill, your property rights to what you produce, and how to market yourself and your product.

Most people who go this route end up starting their own businesses, but that doesn't have to be where you start.

Ways to Make Money Online for free

How To Make Money Online Without Paying Anything

Here are some of the better ways you can make money online without paying anything. Some of these options do have the option of paying out to kickstart your online business and make it easier to earn money online. But, everything we chose on this list can help you make money online without paying, even if paying money would make it easier or faster.

Earn Money Online Blogging

Blogging is one of the most common suggestions when people ask how to make money online without paying anything. It's not the easiest option, but blogging can be a good way of making money online for beginners. To make money through blogging without paying you'll need to use free hosting sites, which limits your options slightly.

The good news is that once your blog starts attracting more views you'll be able to earn money before you have to put any money back into the blog.

With blogging, you'll start by finding a niche that interests you. It's wise to pick something that you are passionate about to avoid burnout.

Once you've landed on a topic, you'll need to purchase a domain name. With Namecheap, this will cost you around $10 annually. Namecheap offers the best prices and a great system.

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After securing your domain, purchasing hosting is the next step in starting your blog. I recommend SiteGround for this. They offer fast, reliable, and affordable hosting for any blogger.

SiteGround is my favorite hosting platform to easily start a blog. They have top-notch customer service and prices starting as low as $7 per month. Sign-up below!
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Next, you can install a CMS like WordPress and start creating content.

Once your blog starts gaining traffic, you can monetize your site by adding an ad network like Google Adsense or Ezoic to start. This can be an easy way to generate passive income.

Make Money Taking Online Surveys

Online surveys are another common answer to how to to make money online without paying anything. Surveys are a form of market research, and there are a lot of online paid surveys out there for pretty much every demographic.

However, online surveys can be limited since many of the survey matching services don't actually do a good job of guaranteeing that you can take the surveys you're qualified for. That means that you can spend a lot of time just trying to get into an online survey, and any time you spend looking for a survey is time you aren't earning money.

If you want to earn a little money online, surveys can be a good way to go. But they probably won't pay your bills or turn into a sustainable income.

Survey sites like Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, and Opinion Outpost are all great options to get started.

When you fill online surveys you can earn a little money in just a few minutes.

Many survey sites offer a variety of ways to make money outside of surveys like playing games, watching videos, reading emails, and more.

Opinion Outpost is one of my favorite survey sites because you can get paid via PayPal when you take surveys online. You can earn over $25 per survey completed!

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Use Referral Bonuses to Earn Money Online

There are many sites that offer referral bonuses that can help you get some free money just by asking your friends to register.

For example, with Swagbucks you can make 10% of your friends earnings, forever. That means if your friend make $100 on Swagbucks, you would get $10 for free!

Just share your affiliate link with your friends to start making money online without paying anything!

Below are some of the best sites with referral bonuses:

By referring friends with these apps you can easily make over $50.

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Make Money with Apps

Get Free Money by Registering for Apps

Did you know there are many websites and apps that will give you free money just for signing up?

That's right!

With sites like InboxDollars, Swagbucks, and more you can get free PayPal money instantly just for signing up.

Some of the best sites to get free money are:

With InboxDollars you can make money in your free time taking surveys, watching videos, and more. Plus, when you register with the link below – you'll get a free $5! So why not give it a try??
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Use the Neilson App for a Free $50

The Neilson Panel is a great way to get free cash without paying anything.

With this platform, you'll get paid to complete market research by allowing the platform to view your data.

Not only can you get $50 for free but also you can get automatically entered to win a $10,000 sweepstakes each month.

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Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is another online business that often gets mistaken for blogging, but the two aren't the same. Guest bloggers post on other blogs and websites, often by pitching a specific article and getting paid for their work.

Guest bloggers don't have to have their own blog, which makes a good way to make money online without paying. However, you may have to do several low-paid guest blogs, or spend a lot of time writing, before you'll get your first serious paycheck for guest blogging.

Affiliate Marketing to Make Money Online Without Paying Anything

Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways of making money online since it's relatively easy and effective if you know what you're doing. Most affiliate marketers are also bloggers and use their blogs as the platform for their marketing.

If you're wondering how to make money online without paying anything, affiliate marketing has probably come up before.

The problem is that successful affiliate marketers are also highly skilled copywriters, have good search engine optimization skills, and are good at picking products that appeal to their target audience.

If you have your own website this is one of the most lucrative ways to earn money online. Just don't think that getting into affiliate marketing is going to let you make instant money.

Online Tasks

Online tasks are another good way to earn money online, and you can earn a little more doing tasks than you can earn taking online paid surveys. It's pretty simple to earn extra money through online tasks, and successful taskers can earn a few hundred dollars a month with zero investment.

Doing online tasks is easier than starting or managing online businesses, and can help you earn extra money to pay bills or to invest money into an online business. But, doing online tasks isn't like having other kinds of online jobs. You'll probably be completing most tasks in an hour or less and earning a few dollars per task.

If you want to start doing online tasks to earn extra money, Task Rabbit, Fiverr, and Clickworker are good places to start.

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UserTesting

Website Testing

Website testing involves going to specific sites and seeing if there are any bugs, loading errors, or other common problems with the site. When you test websites you might sometimes have a specific list of clicks to tasks to complete, or you might just be asked to visit a site and review user interface and performance.

Website testing is common with market research companies, testing companies, or even the website owners themselves. This is because the more people test a website the more data points companies have to help improve their website.

Testing doesn't take a lot of time, but beginning testers also usually don't earn much money. However, over time you can learn this skill and turn it into a better-paid job.

Platforms like User Testing, Userlytics, and InteliZoom can help you get started testing websites.

Start Streaming

Streaming is another common answer when people are trying to learn how to make money online without paying anything. A low-tech streaming setup can start making money online without having to pay into the system at all.

Streamers can do any number of things on their streams. Plenty of streamers chat with their chatrooms, craft, play video games, or tackle important issues of the day online. It's a common way to make money online, though it takes some time to build an audience.

Streaming doesn't depend on money, so it's pretty easy to make money online without paying on streaming platforms.

Facebook, Twitch, and Youtube all have good streaming platforms, though Twitch is probably the most common and most controversial right now.

Professional Stream Moderation

Streamers need mods in their streams to help keep chat in line and deal with bot-raids and other forms of online harassment.

Most mods are volunteer friends of the streamer or fans of the streaming channel, but not all. There's a big push to pay moderators right now, and some people are offering paid moderation services using Paypal, Patreon, and Ko-fi as a way of collecting payment.

Finding streamers who are willing and able to pay their moderators can sometimes be difficult, but if you're already experienced as a moderator it's a good way to make money online without paying.

Playing Videogames (no, Really)

Playing video games online can also be a viable way to make money online. There are a lot of different ways to turn video gaming into a source of income, so we wanted to give it it's own category.

Skilled gamers can enter tournaments and win money that way, and there are some free-to-enter tournaments at the novice level.

You can also advertise your services as a character leveler, selling high-level characters with a specific build or appearance on popular MMORPGs. Similarly, some people will pay for others to take care of timed apps or other time-sensitive games while they are on vacation or traveling.

Serious gamers can also make money writing game reviews, critical analysis of their favorite games, and game guides for sale online.

If you really want to, there are a lot of ways to play video games and make money online. With a little more work editing and recording video, you can earn money from lets plays, streaming, or how-to gaming videos.

So yes, you can play games and make money online.

If you're looking for other ways to earn when you play games – I recommend using sites like InboxDollars or Swagbucks. These sites allow you to make money playing games and much more.

Sell Your Internet Data

Selling your internet data is another way to start earning money online. This is a way of tapping into the money that's being made from tracking your habits as an internet user, something most social media sites and search engines are already doing.

This is a form of passive income in most cases. Install a tracker or app, and you'll get paid for the information and for going to specific websites. Often going to Youtube or social media sites will be some of the most lucrative, though you'll only earn a little money by selling your internet data.

If you want to make money online without paying anything, this is one of the easiest ways to do it since it's 100% passive income.

To get started sign up with a reputable service like HoneyGain or UpVoice.

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Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is a common online job, but one that it can be difficult to make work. As a freelance writer you'll be making money by writing and marketing your own content, getting paid to write content for businesses, and getting paid to ghostwrite internet content. You may also write for social media accounts, and other online businesses like graphic designers or web designer.

If you want to earn money freelance writing you'll need to give your job a lot of time and energy.

You can have your own blog, or not. You can write an online course on how to succeed as a freelance writer, or just focus on content and copy.

There are many success stories of people who made it work as a freelance writer, but there are just as many stories of people who failed. It's common to go to online job boards to find writing jobs, but that isn't always the best option.

Sites like UpWork or Writers Work are great for finding jobs, but you do need to spend a little money to use them. Indeed and LinkedIn are both better options if you're looking to make real money without spending money upfront.

If you have good writing skills and know-how to market your skills, freelance writing is a great way to make a decent income on your own schedule. All you need is a stable internet connection and a few hours a day for writing, finding jobs, and marketing your services.

Freelance Graphic Design

Freelance graphic design is one of the quickest freelancing options to start making a decent income. That's because graphic designers are in a lot of demand, and good graphic designers can be pretty hard to find.

if you have good graphic design skills you can easily translate that into having a steady online income as a graphic designer. As a graphic designer you can either do custom work, pre-make graphics and logos for people to buy, or create printables with your design skills.

As a freelancer, it's common to do a combination of all of those to make money online. You can also earn some passive income by creating an online course in graphic design.

Freelance Programming

Programming is another important skill that can be turned into an online job a few different ways. You can make money by directly doing programming work for clients, and you can find a lot of work by looking on a programming job board.

Or if you don't want to use job boards you can find online platforms for programmers, or start your own website to advertise your programming services.

Like graphic design or writing, successful programmers can also make passive income by creating an online course, making videos about programming, or starting a free blog talking about programming.

Related: How to Make Money Programming

Freelance Photo Editing

Photo editing can be as in-demand as being a photographer, especially in the highly visual culture of the internet. Unlike a traditional job you can do photo editing whenever you want, and only take on clients on your own schedule and when you have availability.

The more complicated an edit you're willing to do the more money you're likely to make. How much money can you make as a freelance photo editor? As much as you want.

Photo editors can also create complete works of art by manipulating stock photos and other photos they have the right to. That's a great way to start making online courses teaching photo editing, just film yourself manipulating stock footage to turn it into a work of art.

Plus, art prints can earn a decent income on print-on-demand sites.

Freelance Web Design

The last specific type of freelancing we want to talk about is web design. Web designers provide templates, whole websites, or customize and add to existing websites. You can specialize in certain kinds of web design or just do a little bit of everything spending on your schedule and preferences.

If you want to make money online web design is one in-demand skill that most people can learn on the do. Create a few sample websites and you'll be well on your way to making money for your design skills.

Related: How to Make Money Building Websites

General Freelancing

General freelancing is another option, either if you have a skill we haven't mentioned or if you don't have a specific skill but are willing to be a jack of all trades. This kind of freelancing can look a lot like doing tasks, except that the tasks are usually bigger, better paid, and take more time.

If you want to start making money as a freelancer being a general freelancer can also help you figure out what kind of freelancing will work for you and which kinds of tasks are more enjoyable for you.

Work as a Virtual Office Assistant

Working as a virtual assistant is another really common option when you're learning how to make money online without paying anything. Virtual assistants need to be very organized, but you don't need very many other skills to get started as a virtual assistant.

Experience with Microsoft Office apps and the Adobe Creative Suite are both plusses. You should also be familiar with either the Google family of communication and digital apps, or the Outlook suite of apps to be an effective virtual assistant.

One of the big advantages of working as a virtual assistant though is that you can work on your schedule, with clients you choose, and often without a dress code or a lot of face-to-face time. This kind of job is perfect for organized people who are great at scheduling and management, but who don't enjoy or need the more social aspects of being an office assistant.

If you want to start as a virtual assistant you'll probably want to apply through traditional job boards or through freelancing sites. In some cases, temp offices and recruiting programs can help you find positions as a virtual assistant.

Data Entry

Data entry is similar to being a virtual assistant in some ways, but it's even more self-directed and independent than being a virtual assistant. As long as you can keep deadlines and have an eye for detail you can probably do data entry.

A lot of people get into data entry through friends and family connections, but you can also find data entry jobs through free platforms, job boards, or traditional hiring sites.

Market Printables

Printables are anything you can sell online to print. For instance, scrapbooking pages, borders, and decorations pages are an incredibly popular printable since people are always looking for new and interesting things to add to their scrapbooks.

Other popular printables include calenders, fitness trackers, daily affirmations, and anything else people can reasonably print off on their own or at a print shop. Jokebooks, coloring sheets, and meal planners are other good options.

A lot of graphic designers start printable shops, but you don't need a ton of artistic skill to make printables work. Better yet, since printables generate passive income once they're uploaded, you can make printables in your spare time and upload them as you're ready.

Start A Print-On-Demand Business

Print on demand sites are a little different from printables. Instead of creating things that are designed to be printed at home or by consumers at printing services, print on demand sites print your designs onto specific kinds of merchandise as they are ordered.

For instance, Redbubble allows artists and graphic designers to have their designs printed on masks, T-shirts, mugs, phone cases, bags, and much much more. You choose what merch is available when you upload a design and can control sizing and other details before your goods are ready to sell.

Print on demand sites are great for artists since you get a cut of the profits, but don't have to handle inventory, manufacturing, or shipping.

Threadless and Deviant Art also offer print-on-demand services.

Merch By Amazon

Merch by Amazon is another print-on-demand site, but it's a little different than many sites since it's owned and operated by one of the biggest online retailers in the world. Merch by Amazon makes it a bit easier than some of the other options to get traction and start winning your first customers, but you'll still need excellent designs to really start making money online.

Write E-Books

Writing and selling ebooks is another good way to start making money online. Ebooks can be as long as traditional books, or as short as a long brochure or guide article, which gives you a lot of versatility and flexibility to write and make money.

Selling ebooks isn't as consistent as most jobs, but it's still a legitimate way to make money online. If you can spend time working on ebooks at least once a week and publishing a couple of ebooks a year, you can turn that into a reasonable income. You won't make money right out the gate, but the more high-quality books you publish the more money you can potentially make.

Social Media Management

Social media management is another great way to make money online without paying, especially if you don't want to start your own blog but like interacting with social media content.

Unlike having your own blog, social media managers usually only have to write short amounts of content and mostly focus on scheduling content and making sure content is performing well. You may also use Google Adsense or other advertising platforms to boost social media pages or help monitor your traffic and website performance.

Start A Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping businesses are one of the harder options on this list to start without paying money, but it can be done. Starting your own website with a free e-commerce platform and working with a dropshipping warehouse to start selling your first few products can be done, though you'll probably have to screen more options than someone who can pay for a sales platform and product samples.

Dropshipping businesses are a way to start earning passive income since you don't need to do very much to run a successful business. You'll need to occasionally check and make sure orders are being processed and shipped appropriately, and that you're responding to product reviews and business reviews.

Having some online marketing skill can be a huge advantage for people who want to start a dropshipping business.

Start A Youtube Channel

Almost anyone can start a Youtube channel. If you have a webcam, a steady internet connection, and something to talk about you can start your own Youtube channel.

Youtubers who want to make a lot of money online have a rigorous schedule and try to publish videos at least once a week, and may publish videos several times a week. It takes time and commitment to turn a youtube channel into a successful business, but you can earn a decent income if you're willing to put in the work.

Youtubing is also another space that you can make money playing video games if you want to.

Related: How to Make Money on Youtube Without Making Videos

Start A Photography Business

Online Photography businesses are usually less about going to clients or photography clients coming to you, unless you want to do it that way! Instead, online photography jobs are about doing artistic photography and selling prints and merchandise with your art on them.

This kind of photography business is more low-pressure and relaxed than portraiture or event photography, but the photographers themselves usually need to be more skilled.

You can do this kind of photography with a phone camera, but at some point it is a good idea to invest in much higher quality cameras and a range of different lenses and lighting options.

Write For Medium

Writing for Medium is one of the most low-cost options get into making money online. Medium is a site that's free to post to, though you will need a membership to start earning money directly on Medium. However, there isn't a requirement not to post affiliate links or to direct readers to your online businesses off Medium, so you don't need a membership to start earning money indirectly.

Well-written content tends to thrive on Medium, but it's also a site that's particularly good for people with opinions about society or social conflicts since a lot of Medium users love that content.

Make Online Courses

We've already talked about making online courses in the context of some specific skills, but you can make a course for almost any skill and post it online for sale. Some people even make online courses about how to communicate better, how to build friendships, how to keep your house cleaner, or how to bake great sourdough bread.

If you have a skill and know anything about online marketing you can make money online by selling online courses.

Digital Consulting

Digital consulting is the art of teaching individuals and businesses how to use the internet and digital marketing to earn money. Most digital consultants have some online marketing, social media management, or marking management experience before starting this job. But, if you have this experience you can always turn those skills into online income.

Just make sure, if you still have a traditional office job, that you aren't under a non-compete agreement or other limiting factors.

Rent Your Stuff

Renting your stuff, like a spare bedroom on Airbnb, your video games on peer-to-peer rental sites, or a high-end costume you aren't using anymore, can be a reasonable way to make money online. You do need to have some assets that you don't mind risking in a rental, and this option definitely works a lot better in metropolitan areas. But, if you have those two advantages you can actually earn some serious money just renting everyday items to people who need them now, but don't need those items all the time.

Furniture for children and infants is a particularly good option for renting your stuff to earn money online. A lot of people want more equipment than they want to buy, and are willing to rent that furniture and equipment for a couple of months to a couple of years at a time.

Event equipment, like speakers or a karaoke set are also great rental options. But those kinds of equipment are more for people who want to start an online business renting things vs. people who want to make some money on the side.

Remote Bookkeeping

If you love numbers and can be detailed in bookkeeping and accounting duties there are businesses that want to hire you. All you really need to make bookkeeping work are some basic skills and a reliable internet connection to help make sure you're available and no data is lost.

Bookkeepers are always in demand, so this is one job that can actually give you a decent income right from the start as long as you don't low-ball your services.

Online Tutoring

Working as an online tutor is one of the easier ways to start making money online. It's usually helpful to have some kind of college degree, but some people work successfully as tutors with just a high school diploma or some college education.

Tutoring can be focused on a specific age group or subject, or can be more general. You may offer one-on-one time through a video call service like Zoom, or you may mostly talk through chats and other online forms of communication. Some tutors also teach group classes instead of one-on-one, or work with a specific family or school to find their clients instead of advertising online.

There are a lot of ways to become an online tutor, but being a good teacher, good with kids, and some kind of educational expert are the only main requirements.

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Disclosure: This link is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Start An Etsy Store

Starting an etsy store is a good option if you're looking for something you can do to make money from a craft or skill you already have. It might not cost anything to get started on Etsy, but thee materials and supplies for most etsy crafts certainly cost money.

So, we're fudging it a little on this one, but if you already make macrame, jewelry, ceramics, wood handicrafts, or almost any other handicraft, you can probably start an etsy store with little or no additional investment on your part.

Remember to bake shipping costs and production costs into the price of your goods. Most customers on Etsy expect shipping to be included in the price of the item and the last thing you want to do is lose money to please a customer.

Related: Things to Sell on Etsy to Make Money

Work As A Transcriptionist

Transcriptionists are another in demand profession that doesn't really take a lot of skill to start off with. The main thing you need to be an effective transcriptionist is fast and accurate typing skills. You also need to have clear hearing to be able to hear what you're transcribing clearly and accurately, even in a range of audio quality that may not always be perfect.

Transcriptionists work for public speakers, politicians, major events, news and radio coverage, TV and movies, and even singers in order to produce accurate transcriptions. The increasing accessibility movement is making transcriptions more important and common than ever, which means that you can earn pretty good money working as a transcriptionist.

Go Transcript and TranscribeMe are both good online platforms for beginning transcriptionists.

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At-Home Customer Service

Working as an at-home customer service representative is another option if you don't mind working over the phone or in online chatrooms. A lot of businesses are always looking for people who can take on customer service work with a little onboarding and training to help get them started.

Like any customer service job, this can be fairly stressful. However, it's a good way to make money online without paying if you're looking for something that will pay the bills and that will let you start right away.

Indeed is a good place to find at-home customer service work.

If you're considering getting into in-home customer service work, remember that you will need a reliable internet connection, a reasonably good computer, and likely a home phone line dedicated to your work. Some companies may help cover these expenses in exchange for long-term work, but you may have to cover them yourself if you're looking to freelance or change companies frequently.

Create Rank and Rent Websites

Making rank and rent websites can take a little longer than some of the other options on this list, but it's a reasonable way to start making money online. If you get good at rant and rent websites you can make really good money online with this model.

Basically, rank and rent sites are created by web designers who have really good SEO skills to help them rank sites quickly. They choose high traffic or high-value niches, create a specialized website, and once it's doing well enough either sell the site to a company in that niche or sell the sales leads from that site to a company.

This option really is a high-skill game, but it's also one that you can get into and learn without needing a formal education in how to do it. There are plenty of how-to guides that can help you start a rank and rent website business.

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Survey Junkie is a great option to get paid to take surveys online and complete paid focus groups. You can make over $150 on qualifying focus groups you complete.
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Final Thoughts on How to Make Money Online Without Paying Anything

Learning how to make money online without paying anything is easier than you might think.

Some of these options might take more skill than others, but all of them are reasonable options for people who don't want to invest in an online business upfront.

Between taking online surveys with Survey Junkie, starting your own online business, or playing games to earn money – there's sure to be an option for anyone.

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Forrest is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing enthusiast dedicated to helping others obtain life long wealth. He owns several different blogs and is also passionate about health and fitness.