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.
Affiliate marketing presents a very low friction entry into selling products online. While you do need some type of audience to sell these products or services to, you could make a significant amount of money from home while doing it. Some products or services have very high earnings per click. That means, if you play your cards right, you could easily make a large profit on conversions by driving traffic to specific offers as long as you target the right interests.
Sign up with focus groups in your area. Studies that you are eligible to participate in pop up sporadically but pay quite well – often more than $50 for an hour of your time. You can also look for focus groups online but will have to sort through a lot of bogus “opportunities” and sites that ask you to pay up-front for the privilege of participating before you find anything worthwhile.
Sell hair, plasma, or other body parts/fluids. Long, healthy, untreated hair can be sold for a variety of purposes (including high-end wig- and extension-making) and earn you anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on color, health, and length. Plasma can be “donated” (for compensation) provided that you are old, healthy, and heavy enough to qualify. Sperm can be donated, but you usually have to know (and be able to document) a fair amount of information about your parents as well as your medical history to be eligible. But be wary; for example, donating eggs is often touted as a fast, high-profit medical procedure, but the process is actually requires that the participant undergo hormonal and medical treatment, receive regular checkups and ultrasounds, and abstain from sex and intoxicants, all of which take weeks or even months before the eggs are even eligible for removal. The removal process itself is invasive and lasts about 30 minutes. Consider your options very carefully before taking on anything like this.
Start a blog. Blogging is how I make a living and just a few years ago I never thought it would be possible. I made over $320,000 in 2015 by blogging and nearly $1,000,000 in 2016. You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $2.95 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
Nice writing style Ben. I’m finding out very quickly that to make any money writing, you have to read, read, and then read some more, no matter how smart you feel you are on a subject, before writing your first sentence. I have always been a fan of multiple income streams and am thrilled by the ideas of proofreading, editing, blogging, freelancing and transcribing. Having spent one of my careers doing just that for a large corporation, it’s a perfect fit, but now I can get credit for my work, thanks again for a great article.
That said, lot's of people are making extra money by publishing their own books on Amazon. For instance, my friend Bob published a few books on Amazon on how to make money blogging and has done very well. The first book provided basic tips for a small price, but his next book, Pro-Blogging Secrets, is offered at a premium price and he also has an online course.
If you're an exact size 4 or the perfect size 8, fashion designers need you to try on their designs and give feedback on what does and doesn't work for your shape. The pay is great—between $2,000 and $3,000 a day—but you need an agent. MSA Models (570 Seventh Ave at 41st St; 212-944-8896, msamodels.com) is the gold standard and holds open casting calls (show up at 10am on Tuesdays). Mary-Evy McNenny, a 51-year-old Upper East Sider, has works as a fit model for Lafayette 148 and Ellen Tracy—and she admits it's not easy. "You cannot lose or gain weight. Just a few pounds and things won't fit the same," she says. "I weigh myself every day. When I go on vacation, I bring a scale in my carry-on bag."
Are you seeing the possibilities here? Think about what book, or series of books you could write to help people in your field of expertise? You might start with an eBook offered on your own website that covers the basics. Use the eBook as an opportunity to tell people about your more in-depth book on Amazon and finally, follow through with an advanced book offering.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
Despite the jokes, it's not such a bad thing to come straight out of Central Casting (875 Sixth Ave at 31st St; 646-205-8244, centralcasting.org). If you're nonunion, download a registration packet from the website and deliver it Tuesdays or Thursdays (11am for men, noon for women). Have a SAG or AFTRA affiliation? Go on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays at 10am. Currently, the most in-demand parts are prep-schoolers for Gossip Girl and faux cops and corpses for Law & Order and its spin-offs. "Every day is a deadline," explains Brad Kenny, manager of Central Casting. "At 4pm today, a show could call and say, 'We need ten doctors and four nurses for tomorrow—they have to fit these sizes and be this ethnicity,' and we rush to find those people." The pay ranges from minimum wage if you're nonunion up to $160 a day plus overtime if you're SAG. Also try: NYCastings (nycastings.com) and Back Stage's casting search engine (casting.backstage.com/jobseekerx).
Sell your stuff. You can also make a little extra money by selling your old things. There may be a lot of items sitting around in your house that you hardly ever think about, but which can earn you some serious cash. You shouldn't have to part with anything you love or need for sentimental reasons, but if you can get rid of some things you don't really care about, you can earn some extra cash while also doing some inadvertent clean-up around the house. Here are a few things to sell:
Believe it or not, there's an actual business, Profile Helper (profilehelper.com), that interviews clueless daters and charges them $50--$100 to revamp their dating profiles. Clever up your Facebook page to advertise your profile prowess; post info about your service on OKCupid (okcupid.com) and Craigslist. Charge $30 a pop and tell your successful clients to pass the word along. For more money, offer to snap flattering photos.
You can submit an updated 2019 W4 Form to your employer so that the appropriate amount of tax is withheld from your paycheck. If you experienced any life events like a change in marital status or had children during the year, chances are that you’ll want to change the amount of federal tax withheld from your paycheck. The last thing you want to do is leave money on the table that could be accruing interest or gaining value.
Ask your parents if they'll pay you for doing more chores. You're probably already expected to do chores around the house and help out your family for free. If you need a little extra pocket change, however, ask your parents if there's something else you can do for a small fee. For instance, maybe your mom really hates folding laundry and would be willing to pay $5 a week for you to do it instead. Whatever it is, let your parents know you're willing to take on more work for a bit of allowance.
Pro tip for first-timers: Carefully consider the pay rates that are listed. Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler has used the platform to find freelance writing gigs, and she reports low rates — like $3 for 500 written words. It’s probably not worth it. (And, yes, you’ll have to scroll through a whole lot of these low-paying listings to find the good ones.)
If you live near a university, there are likely all sorts of research studies looking for participants. While I was an undergrad at Virginia Tech, I got paid $500 to participate in a 6-week dietary study. The study provided all my meals and paid me, but I had to eat a 5,000 calorie diet of 50% fat for 6 weeks, plus I had multiple muscle biopsies, urine/blood testing, etc.
ChaCha (chacha.com), the service that responds to random questions from phone calls or texts, hires guides to text back answers from home. To apply, take a quick test on the website to determine your "guide role." We got info about becoming a guide via text, of course: "I was lucky enough to make Top Guide and now make 20 a text. Thanks for asking!" As a generalist or specialist, you can expect payments between 10 and 20 per completed task.
Market your course: The beauty of using a course to make money online is that you can continue to sell it for as long as you’d like. Look for niche communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Reddit that might benefit from your content. Guest post on relevant blogs and sites. Look for anywhere you might be able to get in front of the right people. With just a few hours a month you can continue to generate sales.
Photographer Ashley Macknica, 27, and her boyfriend, Joel Barhamand, 29, cashed in on their social circle's engagements, volunteering to shoot their nuptials. The two set up A Couple of Cameras (acoupleofcameras.com) and now photograph about ten weddings a year at $3,500 a pop. "We always dress like we're guests—the more you blend in, the easier it is to get candids," explains Macknica. If your friends aren't tying the knot, post a profile on the heavily trafficked Wedding Photography Directory (weddingphotographydirectory.com).
Selling clothes you no longer wear is a quick way to make some money. Start with local consignment shops for faster cash, or use sites like ThredUp and Poshmark to find buyers. If you go the online route, be sure to take clear, well-lit photos of your pieces and research similar items to set competitive prices. Get tips on how to sell your clothing.
Know your local lore? Big Onion Walking Tours (212-209-3370, bigonion.com) offers jaunts through more than 30 Manhattan and Brooklyn enclaves and is looking for new guides, who get $50 and up per hour. "But we have extremely high standards—all our guides must have advanced degrees in history and be licensed [by the Department of Consumer Affairs]," says Seth Kamil, Big Onion's president. "And it takes four to eight weeks of pretty serious training to learn the Big Onion method."
Another option is to take photos locally for homeowners. Many people don't have good home listing photos of the home they're trying to sell. If you notice, many of these pictures, aside from the ones done by professional photographers, have bad lighting, show clutter, etc. If you're good at taking pictures and have a nice camera, you might be able to sell your photo taking services to real estate agents or to people trying to sell their own home.
Ebates is another cash back app, similar to DOSH, and right now they are offering a $10 signup bonus. There’s no rule saying you can’t have multiple cash back apps, so why not sign up for a couple just so you get the bonuses? Once you get your bonuses, then just use whichever app gets you the best deal on your upcoming purchases. Easiest money ever!