A Roadmap to a Successful GTA Online Career

Updated: 10 minutes to read

You might be overwhelmed by the number of activities and properties in GTA Online and don’t know what to do. Here, I will propose a sequence in which those activities and purchases could be done, which will hopefully allow you to get more from the limited resources you are given when you join the game for the first time and eventually build a successful GTA Online career.

As a general rule of thumb, strive for sustainable development. There are two ways to spend your hard-earned money. You can squander it on ostentatious things like coolest super sports cars and fancy clothes, until there is no money left, and you don’t know how to get more money with your cool cars or clothes. Or, you may choose to invest it in a property that can help you get even more money, and buy those cosmetic stuff after you have a way to get stable income. Even if you run out of money, you still have a property that allows you to earn some more, and your GTA Online career is thus more sustainable.

Create a Character

When you join GTA Online for the first time, you will be asked to create a character who represents you in Los Santos. You can customize your character’s sex and appearance however you like.

You will also get a chance to customize your character’s stats for different abilities, which affects your character’s performance in relevant activities. If you follow my suggestion about setting these stats in this article, you can save a lot of effort to max them out later. The same article also offers tricks for boosting those stats, which will greatly improve your character’s ability to perform many essential tasks in GTA Online.

Get Your Start-up Funds

After creating your character, you are now in the game, owning almost nothing. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that are friendly to beginners to get some start-up funds. Follow this guide to earn your first GTA$1.25M, then buy yourself a high-end Apartment. An Apartment can be used as a spawn point; high-end Apartments additionally grant you access to Heists, which give you opportunities to purchase some vehicles at lower prices.

You might have purchased the Premium Edition of GTA V, which comes with the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack. If you have bought the game after January 2021, then it must be the Premium Edition because it is the only edition that is being sold after that time. The Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack gives you another $1M to spend and plenty of properties to claim for free. I would suggest you not claim all of those immediately but read this article about the Starter Pack to learn more about things included in it.

Buy a Vehicle for Missions

There are hundreds of car models available in GTA Online. Most of them are cosmetic, but a few cars are extremely useful for doing missions. The best mission vehicle for beginners is the Karin Kuruma (Armored). It is a bulletproof sports car with relatively affordable price, so for new players, it is both easy to buy and easy to use. It is recommended that every player gets an armored Kuruma because its bulletproof property makes it a versatile vehicle for many activities, including the original Heists, some Doomsday Heist Missions, The Cayo Perico Heist Prep Missions, Contact Missions, etc.

The original price of an armored Kuruma is GTA$698,250, but it will be available at a lower Trade Price, which is $525,000, to players who have completed The Fleeca Job. It is not hard to get through and complete this Heist, so you should try to do it and unlock the Trade Price to save some money.

GTA Online has a player level system where the levels are called “Ranks”, and the experience points for leveling up are “Reputation Points”, abbreviated to “RP”. You need to reach Rank 12 in order to unlock Heists. Once you get to this Rank, complete The Fleeca Job, and purchase the armored Kuruma at the Trade Price. As long as you do not waste your money on unnecessary stuff, and you have followed the steps to earn your first $1.25M, you can afford to buy the car at this point.

Buy a Kosatka

The Cayo Perico Heist is the best way for all players, including beginners, to grind and earn siginificant amount of money in my opinion. Once you master the Heist, you can generate a remarkable hourly income of $1.3M-$1.8M in just an hour. Unlike other Heists, the entirety of The Cayo Perico Heist can be done by yourself alone, so there is no need to worry about having no reliable teammates at all.

To unlock The Cayo Perico Heist, you must first buy the Kosatka submarine, which costs $2.2M. If you have followed the steps to earn your first $1.25M and have got the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack (remember, this is bundled with your game if you have purchased GTA V after January 2021), you should still have about $1.7M left after buying the armored Kuruma, which means another $500K is required for Kosatka.

There are multiple ways to earn $500K if you have an armored Kuruma. You may choose to redo The Fleeca Job a few times, do some Contact Missions, use some other ways to earn some quick cash, continue to do subsequent original Heists, or make a combination of all these methods. Remember to use your Kuruma in these missions whenever appropriate: as a bulletproof car, it helps you avoid damages caused by NPC enemies’ gunshots, making the missions significantly easier.

Once you can afford Kosatka’s starting price, buy it without any upgrades. You can upgrade it later after you get more money from The Cayo Perico Heist. Then, use your Kuruma to complete the required Preps for the Heist, and the Finale will be unlocked afterwards. Assuming you fill your loot bag to its full capacity, you can earn $1.4M from the Finale. This means you can easily break even after doing two Cayo Perico Heists!

Keep grinding through The Cayo Perico Heist, and you can see your wealth being accumulated. After repeating the Heist a few times, it should become a piece of cake. Whenever you need money, just setup another Cayo Perico Heist, and all problems will be solved.

Optional: Invest in a Passive Business

The Cayo Perico Heist requires you to actively play the game for an income. On the other hand, GTA Online has some businesses that can generate income for you without very much player interaction, which are classified as passive businesses. As long as you are online, your business can generate profit, even if you are participating in other activities like Heists or staying in idle.

Here is how a passive business works:

  1. You obtain Supplies for the business. The recommended method for obtaining Supplies is to purchase them, because they are not very expensive after all.

  2. The workers of your business make Products from the Supplies. The only thing needed to let the workers do their job is you staying online, so you may do any other thing during this process.

  3. You sell the Products to collect the income.

The way a passive business works fits into the grinding process of The Cayo Perico Heist very well. Before starting the Heist, buy Supplies for the business. While you are doing the Heist, the Supplies are converted into Products. After the Heist is done, you can sell the Products and get extra money in addition to the income from the Heist.

If you want to earn more, consider starting a passive business. For your first passive business, the Bunker is recommended because it is easy to manage and generates satisfying profit.

Upgrade Your Equipment

Once you have a stable income, you can start buying useful and powerful equipment that makes your grinding more efficient and helps you defeat tough enemies in Missions and Heists.

First and foremost, buy some essential weapons. The weapons in GTA Online are unlocked mainly by getting higher Ranks. Since all of the activities you have been doing, including The Cayo Perico Heist and Bunker sell missions, should give you a lot of RP, you should have reached a Rank high enough to unlock many weapons. So, complete your arsenal by purchasing the weapons you weren’t able to buy at lower Ranks. However, don’t buy all of the weapons you have unlocked! You can refer to my minimum collection of weapons for advice on what you should buy.

If you have purchased the Bunker, you can let your Bunker Staff do research instead of manufacturing. This will temporarily stop your Bunker generating profit, but the research projects provide useful and powerful upgrades for your weapons. For example, the Thermal Scope for Heavy Sniper Mk II is very helpful in the Avenger Setup Mission of The Bogdan Problem (Act II of The Doomsday Heists).

Optional: Complete the Original Heists and The Doomsday Heists

You now have more powerful equipment than what you had when you were still new to the game. Your familiarity with the game mechanics should be better. Your skills in driving, shooting and flying should have increased too. Now you are ready to delve into more demanding missions: the original Heists and The Doomsday Heists. Although the payouts are not very high, these Heists put your PvE skills to the test, present you with a wonderful story line, and provide you with unique multiplayer experience – although by “unique”, I could mean both some remarkable things you would hardly find elsewhere, and the ordeal of waiting for enough people to start the mission and failing the mission due to a teammate’s mistake.

This is why I have decided to suggest doing the original Heists and The Doomsday Heists after having other reliable sources of income. Due to the fact that those Heists require multiple players and can sometimes be hard to complete, it would take too long to successfully pass even all original Heists as a new player, and the stasis in your GTA Online career could be frustrating. The difficulty in both the missions themselves and gathering a reliable team, plus the relatively low payouts, all make the original Heists and The Doomsday Heists unsuitable for money grinding. But as an integral part of the gaming experience GTA Online offers, not playing those Heists means missing a lot of fun. So, why not do those Heists just for fun, when you don’t need to worry about earning money at all, and you have got experience in playing this game that already prepares you for those challenging missions?

If The Cayo Perico Heist has become boring to you, consider playing the original Heists and The Doomsday Heists. I would suggest trying the original Heists first, before attempting The Doomsday Heists, because the original Heists are relatively easier than the latter.


After you have saved a lot of money to spend, feel free to treat yourself! Buy the super sports car you love, the plush Casino Penthouse, a Yacht, or a vehicle that has a lot of fun to play with. But keep in mind, those items will also be on sale sometimes, so you might want to wait for a discount.

Once you have done everything you want to do and bought everything you want to have, you can claim your GTA Online career to be a successful one and retire! No more hassles of grinding, just drive your favorite car through the sunset, hang out with your friends, and watch other people play. If you are well versed in Heists, you can also accept those mission invites that pop up endlessly and play Heist missions with others. In fact, this is what I usually do now when I play GTA Online.

Occasionally, Rockstar may also give away cash rewards to players who log in GTA Online during a specified period. Be sure to stay tuned for any such event for your pension.