21 Ways to Make Money Online with a Chronic Illness

A mug and a tablet on a person's legs.

One of the difficult things about living with chronic illnesses is not being able to work. This is not to say that everyone with a chronic illness is unable to go to work, but the reality is that most can’t. But there are ways to make money without even leaving the house! In this post, I’m sharing 21 ways to make money online when you have a chronic illness.

Some of the methods in this post take up more time and energy than others. Make sure you try a few and see what works best for you.

My Suggestions

Here are some ways I recommend making money online when you have a chronic illness:

  1. Blogging — read this post on how to start a blog for more information.
  2. Transcription/Translation/Captioning
  3. Qmee
  4. Swagbucks
  5. Print-on-demand
  6. Affiliate marketing
  7. Sell digital products

I’ve had the best success with blogging and print-on-demand. I also made good money with captioning, but it made me too exhausted so I stopped. Although I recommend all these methods, I also stopped using them because it was taking up too much space in my brain (if that makes sense).

I now make money solely from my blog using AdSense and print-on-demand through my shop. This works well for me as blogging doesn’t take up too much of my energy and it’s very flexible. I schedule all of my posts and Pinterest pins so it’s still up and running when I’m in a flare.

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Other People’s Suggestions on How to Make Money Online

As I haven’t tried all the possible online money-making opportunities, I asked for some input from other chronic illness bloggers and the chronic illness community. Here’s what they had to say:

  • “I’m a social media marketing manager so I make money by working with clients, but I don’t recommend that if you don’t have the knowledge and experience because it is NOT as easy as some people will lead you to believe! I do recommend making money with affiliate marketing by recommending products you already use and love on the social channels you already use.”
  • ”I’m a freelance writer. I do have a degree in writing but it’s possible to be self-taught. I work with clients and write blogs, websites, and social media posts.”
  • ”Blog, affiliate links and promotions, sponsored posts, plus selling books, courses, wellness subscription box, and gratitude journals.”
  • ”I make money through an essential oil company. I educate mostly online, which is awesome because I have basically been on bed rest for the last month from a flare.”
  • “I’m a remote/virtual assistant doing a bunch of stuff for clients, such as admin/clerical, customer service, research, lead generation, email marketing, content writing, community management, Pinterest SEO, etc.”
  • ”I make a tiny amount from templates on Etsy (like pain management plan and sleep diary etc). I am just getting serious about affiliates with my blog. I’m also starting in coaching and yoga teaching (online).”
  • “I use Ratuken, a browser extension that gives cash back for purchases on certain sites. So, stuff I normally buy ends up being cheaper but it feels like I’m making money.”
  • ”I scan my grocery receipts using Receipt Hog, Receipt Pal, and Fetch Rewards.”
  • ”I’m part of Rare Patient Voice, SAVVY Co-op, and other reliable healthcare/medical-centred organizations that pay chronic lifers money to complete surveys. It doesn’t happen often, but they pay well when a survey comes out about my condition.”
  • “I have a Ko-Fi account and share it across my networks (mostly using my blog).”
  • ”I’m fortunate to have a good network of support online, so I even ask directly for money on social media when I have an emergency. I say something about what’s going on and what the costs are, and people pitch in (one ex. is last year urgently needing an air purifier during CA wildfire smoke so I didn’t have to evacuate).”
  • ”I have a seller account on Zazzle. Slow money, but it happens.”
  • ”I have an online business — a blog and podcast with sponsors and affiliate income. I work in the “patient advocate industry” that I only recently (last year) discovered existed so I’m an admin on a FB page for MS, I’m a moderator/Guide on an app for MS I write a lot of articles about my experiences for multiple online health information companies, I do videos for those same companies, I sell merchandise on my website, I wrote an ebook I sell on my website and on Amazon, I’m currently working on a digital course and membership site to teach other Chronics how to do all of these things so I’ll be selling a monthly membership to that as well (Patients Getting Paid — there’s a Facebook page you’re welcome to check out and ask people questions there as well).”
  • ”I’m on disability but make money on the side as a patient advocate by putting myself into patient-oriented research (honorariums), freelance writing (people pay me to complain on the internet) and I run a large Facebook page for RA, which I get paid to do so. On a good month, I am bringing in an extra $500–700… Took a while to get into it all.”

Georgina E Banks

full-time chronic illness manager | EDS + FND + too many others to list | chronically complicated musician | space enthusiast ♡

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