This is a guest post from Joel Ohman, a Certified Financial Planner and President of 360 Quote LLC. He is a serial entrepreneur and is currently spearheading several successful consumer comparison websites including Credit Card Chaser and Health Insurance Providers.
No doubt all of us have racked our brains at one time or another to come up with a way to make some extra cash. It can be tempting to gravitate towards the “get rich quick” and “make money overnight” offers that you see floating around online, but the reality is that if you really want to make some extra money in a legal and sustainable fashion without getting scammed right out of your underpants then you will need to get back to basics and commit to putting in some good old fashioned H-A-R-D W-O-R-K. Here are 23 different ideas that you can put to use to put your nose to the grindstone and make some extra cash:
1. Become a Tutor
If you are proficient in a certain subject then it is quite easy to make a tidy sum of cash as a part-time tutor. Most tutors work as independent contractors that are affiliated with a tutoring agency. The agency works to connect tutors with students that need tutoring and typically splits the tutoring fees somewhere around 50/50 so that if the average client will pay $50/hr to the agency then the tutor will make $25/hr. There is certainly opportunity it taking on tutoring projects on a freelance basis outside of working with an agency but unless you have a network of connections or are willing to market yourself online then chances are that becoming affiliated with a tutoring agency will make it easy for you to have a constant supply of people to tutor. When applying to become a tutor at a tutoring agency you will want to make sure you put together a strong resume outlining your strengths.
Note: Tutoring is a money maker that I can recommend from first-hand experience because when I was a new graduate from college and working to begin my MBA and start up my own company I frequently tutored students for the SAT – that provided a great source of seed money for me to start the first of my four current businesses.
2. Sell Your Junk
This is a great strategy for people that tend to be pack rats (if they can convince themselves that they would rather have some money lying around rather than a garage full of knickknacks). The downside to this strategy is that once you have finished selling all of the stuff that you no longer want, then the usefulness of this strategy comes to an end. That is why I tend to dislike this strategy unless you can come up with ways to replenish your inventory with new things to sell. If you do attempt this strategy and find yourself to be quite successful selling your own stuff, then you may find it quite profitable to start to sell stuff on consignment for other people. Garage sales, eBay, and CraigsList are all great venues for selling your stuff quickly.
3. Start a Website
One of the beautiful things about starting a business online is that your start-up costs are next to nothing and you can be up and running in hours. All you really need to get started is approximately $10 to purchase a domain name and approximately $5 to $10 per month to purchase a hosting plan to store your website files. Since start-up capital is not a limitation when starting your own website the only real limit to your money-making potential is your imagination, creativity, and drive.
Tip: Start a website on a topic that you already know and understand. For example, Len started this site because he has a lot of financial knowledge and wanted to communicate a common sense approach to finding financial freedom. I am a Certified Financial Planner and have a lot of knowledge about different financial topics so I naturally started various websites that, for example, compare car insurance rates, and find homeowners insurance quotes, just to name a couple.
4. Do Odd Jobs
Simply walking from door to door in your neighborhood and asking your neighbors if they have any odd jobs that you could do for a small fee is a great way to not only get some quick cash in your pocket, but also a great way to meet your neighbors and become a valuable neighborhood resource. The younger you are the better this strategy will work, but no matter how old you are, you will be surprised how well this strategy works if you make yourself look presentable and just go for a walk around your block to talk with your neighbors in a very friendly and polite manner.
5. Hand Out Fliers
Many local businesses will pay $100 or more to anyone who will hand-deliver marketing fliers for them. Sometimes local marketing companies will have projects like this available for you to sign-up for. You can also take a proactive approach and contact local businesses; many times they will be more than happy to compensate you for doing some legwork on their behalf.
Tip: If you are unsure of what businesses to contact first, then try contacting each of the businesses that are already marketing in the local “Coupon Clipper” fliers that you receive in the mail. Each of these area businesses are prime candidates for wanting to have their own fliers hand-delivered as they are already spending money on marketing in the area.
6. Scoop Dog Poop
Yup, you heard me right. Scooping dog poop is far from glamorous and as such it’s an easy sell to approach almost any dog owner and offer to come by once a week to scoop their dog’s poop into a plastic bag and cart it away for them. You could even buy a huge bottle of yard-safe odor killing spray and charge them extra to spray their lawn afterward too. While you may not be able to charge much, if you can line up 10-15 houses within walking distance of each other then you could make an easy couple hundred bucks for a Saturday afternoon’s worth of work.
Tip: You definitely will want to invest in a “pooper scooper” stick so that you do not have to bend over and so that you do not have to get up close and personal with the dog poop – I have a 2 year old Bull Mastiff and at times I think that a horse has been walking around my backyard so trust me – I know.
7. Invest in Domain Names
While you may not have the funds to be able to invest in rental properties or other forms of real estate, you probably have enough money to invest in domain names. Of course, it’s too late now to buy great domain names like Business.com or Candy.com and resell them for a profit (unless you have some serious cash on hand), but there are certainly other domain names still available that can be held onto for your own money-making website, or resold to someone else for a profit. Granted, this strategy is not to be jumped into without doing your homework; it is more suited for those of us who are big-time nerds (or at least nerds at-heart). However, this is a strategy that has potential to turn into more than just a small side income.
Tip: This is one of my personal favorite money making strategies. I have three companies that own close to 1,000 domain names in total, with many of them developed into websites that are quite profitable and consistent money makers. I would recommend first reading the 25 rules for learning how to choose a domain name and then reading how to buy and sell domain names for profit before you even think about giving it a try on your own.
8. Peruse CraigsList
The CraigsList.org “Gigs” and “Part Time Jobs” sections of the site are great places to find quick weekend money makers as well as the traditional 15-20 hour a week part-time jobs.
9. Write Articles
With so many people moving their businesses online and starting new websites there is increasing demand for talented writers. Demand Studios is one place where many writers can find an abundance of writing projects with pay ranging from $10 to $20 per article.
10. Join Amazon Mechanical Turk
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a marketplace where you can sign up to complete online Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs). Example HITs include categorizing different products, matching images to descriptions, and other tasks that are very easy for a human do but are difficult for a computer to accomplish.
11. Start a Business
Sure, this is a very broad suggestion, but maybe at least one of these 999 business ideas will give you a flash of inspiration.
12. Pay Off Your Credit Card
OK, maybe this is not technically a way to make money per se, but if you are carrying a balance on your credit card then, as the owner of a credit card comparison site, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the faster you can pay off your credit card the better off you will be because you will save yourself a boatload of money on interest charges. Also, as Len mentioned so astutely in an earlier post you can also put your credit cards to work for you by utilizing cash back credit cards that will cut you a check ranging from 1% to 3% of everything that you spend.
Tip: Remember, if you carry a balance on your card then these cash-back benefits are negated.
13. Detail Cars
One of the great things about going into the car detailing business is that your start-up costs are so low. You can purchase all of the supplies that you will need for under $50 and you can even wait to purchase your supplies until you are sure that you have a few paying customers lined up. Washing, waxing, vacuuming, and cleaning cars will certainly require some sweat and some elbow grease from you to make it a successful venture, but the upside can be great – especially if you love cars as I do.
14. Deliver Food
Start a service that will deliver food from restaurants that do not offer delivery. The customer calls you with their order, then you drive down to the restaurant, pick up the food and bring it to the customer’s house. The customer then pays you for the food plus your fee.
15. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketers are similar to salespeople that market products or services online for a sales commission. Almost every large company has some sort of affiliate program on their website that you can join and if you market their product or service and people buy through your special affiliate link then the company will pay you a sales commission. Try the Amazon affiliate program or the Walmart.com affiliate program. You might even try signing up for a third-party affiliate network like Commission Junction that aggregates listings of many different companies affiliate programs.
16. Wait Tables
Waiting tables is certainly not a creative way to make some extra money but it is a tried-and-true money maker that almost anyone can do. Nuff said.
17. Become a Landscaper
Landscaping is another great part-time money maker that, although definitely not a new concept, is a proven way to spend your weekends making some cold hard cash. If you spend your weekdays working in an office then a side-benefit to spending your weekends doing landscaping jobs for extra money is that you get to do some work outdoors and enjoy the fresh air, which makes for a nice change of pace.
18. Design Something
If you are creative or crafty, then designing cool artwork, stationary, stuffed animals, etc., could turn into a cash cow if people love what you do.
19. Clean Houses
Call up a local cleaning company that does residential cleaning and ask them if they have any part-time work.
20. Throw a Party
Plan a gigantic party complete with refreshments, live music, snacks, and dancing, and then charge a cover charge to get in. If you plan ahead, are somewhat of a social butterfly, and pay strict attention to the budget then you can turn your party into a smashing success, not only for the party-goers but also for your wallet.
21. Give Driving Lessons
Sure, there are plenty of professional driving schools that offer driving lessons, but if you are a patient and dependable-looking person then many parents would likely jump at the chance to have you assist them in teaching their kids to be safe drivers – especially if you can undercut the professional driving school’s prices.
22. Coach or Referee
If you enjoy sports and are knowledgeable about a certain sport then call your local YMCA or local youth center to see if they have a need for any coaches or referees for any of their youth sports leagues. Not only can you make some extra cash, but you can also feel good about being a strong role model and teaching kids about a sport that you love. Of course, if you are a referee then all of the kids could end up hating you too. (I just wanted to throw that out there.)
23. Organize Houses
If you are a perfectionist and/or a neat freak and NOT someone that is prone to being a pack rat, then you would likely be perfect at helping others organize their garages and closets into space-efficient areas. The trick is just to get yourself invited into the house to conduct a free five minute “space efficiency evaluation” and then, if you are good enough at making grossed-out looking faces as soon as they open their garage door, you have likely won yourself a client.
I hope that at least one of the 23 ways to make extra money listed above stood out to you as something that will be useful for you. What ideas for making extra money do you have?
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