Even if it’s a mundane task like walking dogs, you could start the next (or only) full-service dog walking and grooming service in your town, where dog owners rave over your business and always refer you to others. You can hire other dog walkers as you grow, and turn your side hustle into a sustainable enterprise. You just have to do the work, and do it well.
Research other listings in your city on AirBnB and see what the going rate is for a place like yours. You could also just rent out a private room as well or even a bed in a shared room. In fact, that's how AirBnB got its start. However, you might find it hard in the beginning without reviews, but as long as you take really good care of your guests and provide a lot of value, the reviews will eventually come rolling in.
Whether you have a website or are still dreaming up ideas for a blog, you can also look into affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you partner with brands and businesses within the content of your website. If you mention a product or service, you link to that produce or service using a unique affiliate code you received when you signed up for that particular affiliate program. From there, you’ll make money any time someone buys a product or service through your link.
Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
I recently stumbled on the Trim app and I have to say, this one is a game changer. It’s a simple app that acts as your own personal financial manager. Once you link your bank to the app, Trim analyzes your spending, finds subscriptions you need to cancel, negotiates your Comcast bill, finds you better car insurance, and more. And of course, the app is free! My bet is that it will only take a few days for Trim to put an extra $100 in your pocket. So easy!
Check with your local bank to see if they're giving away cash bonuses for opening up accounts. Banks run promotions like this all the time, so grab some real cash quickly if you're in need. It won't break the bank (no pun intended) but it will give you a quick $50 or $100 -- maybe even more -- when you really need it. You might need to deposit a minimum amount of cash (usually in the thousands) in order to qualify for these types of accounts (but not always).
If you're not self-employed and work for a company, find out if they have a retirement plan. If you're lucky, employers will sometimes match contributions you make into a retirement fund. Retirement plans also often have the benefit of being tax-deferred. The longer you get to keep your money (and make interest on it) the better. It's never too early to start planning for retirement.
There are several ways to make money from your car such as taxiing people, renting your car, or advertising businesses. Run the numbers before using your car to make money, especially if you're driving more than usual because it might cost more than you earn to use your car as a money-maker. Factor in depreciation, wear and tear, and gas expenses when you decide if driving is a cost-effective way to make extra money.
If it’s not clear yet, information and expertise are two of the most consistent and lucrative ways to make extra money online. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can sign up to get paid to answer professional questions on JustAnswer. There are thousands of questions being asked every month from people looking for help from lawyers, doctors, mechanics, vets, and more. To apply, you’ll need to supply your professional verification, resume, and a form of identification.
And while it will take time to build up a big-enough audience to attract advertisers and other ways to make extra income from your podcast, the opportunity is there. John Lee Dumas interviews entrepreneurs seven days a week for his podcast Entrepreneur on Fire and now makes more than $200,000 a month from it. In fact, John publishes all his income online and showed that he’s made almost $13 million since launching in 2012.
eBay: eBay is one of the most popular websites in the world, period. That means it’s a great way to attract lots of eyeballs to your unwanted items, fast. Initially designed as an auction site for DIY sellers, it’s now primarily a venue for fixed-price (though often heavily discounted) sales by professional merchants. Still, as long as you include high-quality photographs and thorough descriptions in your product listings, you can likely break through the noise. eBay’s fee schedule is complex, but as a general rule, expect to lose 10% of your final selling price to the site’s commission.
If you have a vehicle that just sits in your garage for long stretches of time, you might find a car rental service like Turo is one of the easiest ways to make extra money. Let’s say you list your 2014 Nissan Maxima in Denver, CO. If you rent out your car for just 11 days a month, Turo says you could make around $385. That’s over $4,600 a year!(6)
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be making extra money online. Major brands, gear companies, and even startups are willing to shell out $500-$5,000+ per post to get in front of your audience. While it’s getting harder and harder to build a massive Instagram audience, if you already have a solid niche and are posting quality content regularly with a great camera for taking Instagram photos, with a few small tweaks you can make yourself an influencer. Check out this awesome article from Shopify on how to build and grow your Instagram following to get started.
Work-at-home scams. Watch out for any job opportunity that promises high pay for low-effort work. “Businesses tend not to solicit employees on flyers on telephone poles or social media messages,” Hutt says. These offers are rarely legitimate, and they might end up losing you money. The Federal Trade Commission lists envelope stuffing, mystery shopping and certain types of multilevel marketing among common work-at-home scams.
Now next, you’ll want to pick a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or OptimizePress. This is the barebones design of your site, which you can then customize with your own branding, copy, and images. That being said, you don’t want to cheap out. It costs less than $100 to buy a theme that will make your website look professional (and you can upgrade to a completely custom design once you get the business going).
Sell photos. If you have a decent camera and a good sense of light, color, and composition, you can take and sell stock photos – i.e. nondescript images that lend themselves to many applications and are commonly used to illustrate online articles or products – with minimal effort. Stock photos of locations (a fire hydrant, a bare wall near an interesting tree, or anything you might find as a default background image on your computer) are easier to take, but stock photos of people (i.e. people arguing, people kissing, people laughing) usually sell for more, as they have more uses and require the written legal consent of your subjects. Hunt for a reputable stock photo dealer or database that will pay you fairly before signing on with anyone.
There are many freelance options for graphic designers who are looking to make money online. Designing layouts and graphics for promotional material, corporate reports, magazines or book covers, are all tasks that businesses are looking for online freelancers to complete. Due to its flexible nature, graphic design possibilities can range from one-off projects to ongoing work with regular clients.
We all sign up for subscriptions that we eventually don’t want. As I’m sure you have found out, sometimes cancellation isn’t so easy. What I love about Trim is that they will identify these recurring charges in your bank account, let you know what you are being charged for and then give you the option to have them cancel them. They can send an email, make a phone call or even send a certified letter if that’s what the company requires. This service is currently free. Trim can also negotiate things like your cable bill. For that service, they charge you a percentage of your annual savings. Sign up here.
Offering specific online SEO services is also another online freelancer role that businesses are crying out for. If you know how to improve a website’s SEO by doing keyword research, creating content that can rank in search engines, adding metadata/schema to posts and pages, and building backlinks to a domain, to name a few tasks, then this could be a great line of work for you.
Finances. You need to be good at quick math and be able to make quick decisions. You have to be careful how much you pay for a book, and then keep careful track of the expenses involved in selling it. For instance, when you sell on a website, they’ll take a commission from the sale. In addition, some sites, like eBay, will charge you a listing fee for each book. If you request that your money be deposited via PayPal, then you’ll be charged a transaction fee per book. If you’re not careful, the fees will quickly negate your profits.
Are you a professional in a field that can help answer questions for people looking for your expertise? Websites like JustAnswer and LivePerson match you up with people looking for answers to technical or professional questions. You can make money online by simply answering these questions and providing the right information to people based on their individualistic circumstances.
The Ibotta app gives you cash back on the groceries you already buy. Some deals are brand specific, while others give you cash just for purchasing a certain type of item, like a loaf of bread from any brand. Choose your deals before you check out, then submit a picture of your receipt and get paid via Venmo, PayPal, or gift cards. Sign up with Ibotta to claim your $10 welcome bonus.
Freelance. If you have a skill that’s in demand, such as writing, web design, accounting or even data entry, you can get paid for freelancing your services. You can set a price for your labor and choose your clients. To get started, “go back to former employers and ask if they have any freelance work,” says Katherine Hutt, national spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau and former freelancer. If you don’t have any experience yet, Hutt suggests doing some volunteer work for a charity to build your portfolio.
It works essentially the same way as the phone apps do above. If you don’t care to let Google know what you do on a daily basis, you can make money from home by letting them monitor your Internet usage. They use the information they gather to help them market/increase the functionality of their advertising programs when targeting users that are similar to you.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Instash, Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
Whether you want to become your own boss, start a side hustle, or earn extra money on the side, any of the strategies listed above can help. By finding ways to increase your income, you can free up more cash to pay down debt, save for the future, or invest for retirement. Saving money is only half of the equation. And if you truly want to get ahead, you might want to figure out how to make money – and hopefully, lots of it.
Before I talk about some of the methods for making money online, I wanted to address the role of pain versus pleasure. Every decision that we make in life is weighed on a pain-versus-pleasure scale. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure, plain and simple. However, this is also what holds us back from succeeding in any endeavor.
A blog highlights your technical ability and showcases your ability to write blog posts. Your blog can be about different topics than those you write about for your clients. In fact, it should be on a topic that interests you. Visitors will see that you can not only write, but you can also build an online community. A good blog has the potential to earn you many referrals for more clients.
Research selling prices of items similar to yours. Look up completed sales or current listings of items similar to yours. Find the high- and low-end prices, and price your object around the median price level. If you want your item to sell quickly, price it at the low end. The condition of the item also affects the price. Items in poorer condition should be priced at the lower end. Also, consider how many listings there already are of items similar to yours. If many similar items will be competing with yours, you may have to set the price lower to get the sale.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
Provide excellent customer service. Answer any questions buyers post as quickly as possible. Be professional and courteous. Positive communication builds your reputation with buyers and gets you return business. Also, package your product well and ship it out quickly. Allowing an item to become damaged or taking too long to ship can negatively affect your reputation among buyers. Wrap all items, especially fragile ones, in appropriate packaging. Commit to shipping items as soon as you receive payment.
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If you want to clear some space out in your house and have a big stack of books you’ve been holding onto for too long, you can make money selling your books and textbooks online. Stores like Half Priced Books and others will give you cents on the dollar for each of your current books while you can check what your book is worth by simply entering the ISBN number on Book Scouter.
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The secret to making money isn't working at a high-paying job, it’s finding creative solutions to people’s problems, and it doesn't take a fancy degree to do that. To get your creative juices flowing, check out these common and not-so-common ways of lining your pockets. Below that, you’ll also find more general financial advice as well as some money-making ideas for kids.
Often, what happens is that we run into unscrupulous Internet Marketers (IMs) who have less-than altruistic intentions of extracting money from you rather than helping you to make it. However, this isn't something new. People have been falling for networking marketing, pyramid schemes, and affiliate marketing scams since before the start of the net.
While many people start a home business to create or replace a full-time income, some people simply want to generate a little extra money to pay debt; save for a rainy day; or use as mad money, a sum of money reserved for small expenses or impulsive purchases. In the past, those who wished to make extra money needed to go out to find a second job. Fortunately, times have changed and people are thinking creatively about how to make extra money from home. They may be selling their services such as driving or shopping, skills such as writing or sales, or used items such as furniture, technology, or clothing to bring in extra income. Websites designed specifically to assist you in getting rid of unwanted items or selling your services or skills can help.
Participate in medical studies. If just the thought of this frightens you, know that the intensity of such studies varies greatly. Some studies ask participants (particularly those with medical conditions) to test treatments or medications that can have adverse side effects, but others ask participants to perform physical tasks with no lasting effects. If you are able-bodied and paranoid about keeping it that way, you can even participate as a control in a study at a nearby medical research facility or medical school.
You can create your blog using a free platform from WordPress.org, but you’ll need to pay a small amount – as little as $4 per month – to have your blog hosted. Try GoDaddy.com, which can provide a domain name for your site, email addresses, database storage and other Web hosting services. To make money, you can use the free Google AdSense service to display advertisements on your site. The amount you’re paid varies by ad and usually depends on how many people see it. There's also what's called affiliate marketing, in which you earn a commission (usually less than 10%) whenever someone clicks on an ad on your site and purchases a product. The Amazon Associates affiliate program allows you to advertise the retailer’s products on your site, or try affiliate networks such as CJ Affiliate or ShareASale that work with thousands of companies. Depending on how much time you put into your blog and how many people visit it, you could be making a few hundred dollars each month within a year.
You’ll also need to have some technical know-how if you want to be marketable as an online writer. You don’t need to be Bill Gates, but you should at least know how to add a link and crop a picture. You can practice some of these skills by playing around with a free WordPress site, experimenting with features and publishing a few stories. That way, you can gain experience and create a small portfolio of articles you can share with other businesses when you want to start applying to writing jobs. According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a writer in the U.S. is about $48,000.
Are you a highly organized multitasker who’s good at meeting deadlines? Working as a virtual assistant may be a good way to put those skills to use to help you make money from home. You may be asked to use administrative skills to assist an executive or a team with managing schedules, travel, phone calls, email, and records and accounting maintenance. You’ll need top-notch communications skills to work in this fast-growing field, and related past experience as a virtual assistant helps.
As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.
When you lack the luxury of time, making money on or offline can seem like an impossible task. How are you supposed to do that when you're working at a life-sucking nine-to-five job? While the stability of full-time employment might allow most to sleep well at night, it doesn't empower your creative juices to search for new income-producing strategies.