Mystery shopping can be a way to earn a little money moonlighting close to home. Also known as secret shopping, it involves pretending to be a regular customer at a business and then providing feedback on your experience to the company that hires you. That company then aggregates the feedback of multiple mystery shoppers to let the business know how it can improve. However, these types of jobs can also be the bait for work-at-home scams, so you have to be very careful and know the signs of mystery shopping scams.
If you do have a blog, then make sure you have a “Hire Me” tab if you are available. This will then let others know that you are looking, and also what you are available for. Many blog owners might also be looking around, or they might make blog posts directly stating that they need staff writers. Keep an eye out for this. It doesn’t hurt to just e-mail the websites directly. If you truly want to write for them, try sending them a quick e-mail, and attach some writing samples, and/or link to your blog as well.
If you have an extra room in your house, consider listing it on Airbnb. Airbnb is a new way to travel for many people around the world. Instead of booking through expensive hotels, why not stay at someone's house? As a guest, you can choose high end to low end, choose to stay with other people or opt for privacy. As a host, it's a great way to make side money, utilize unused space, and meet new people! How much you can earn depends on your area so I recommend finding out by becoming an Airbnb host yourself!
For example, donate to the American Red Cross, Sierra Club or Women for Women International, and earn 10% to 30% of that tax-exempt donation back in the form of an Amazon gift card. You can then donate that cash back to other charities, purchase items to donate to your local homeless or animal shelters, or simply use it to help feed your own family that month.
Be proactive. Remember Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong." Make plans, complete with as many calculations as possible, then anticipate everything that can go wrong. Then make contingency or backup plans for each scenario. Don't leave anything to luck. If you're writing a business plan, for example, do your best to estimate when you'll break even, then multiply that time frame by three to get a more realistic date; and after you've identified all the costs, add 20% to that for costs that will come up that you didn't anticipate. Your best defense against Murphy's law is to assume the worst, and brace yourself. An appropriate amount of insurance may be something worth considering. Don't forget the advice of Louis Pasteur, a French chemist who made several incredible breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of disease: "Luck favors the prepared mind."
Have pretty hands or knockout gams? Put them to work as a parts model, where your body parts or facial features can earn between $50--$250 an hour for print advertisements, according to Dani Korwin, president of Parts Models (partsmodels.com). If you're at least 18, send in professional photos of your precious appendages. Once deemed worthy, your feet or hands could be gracing the next Avon or American Express ad.
Buy underpriced used books. Outfit a phone with an ISBN reading app, scan the ISBN numbers of books at used bookstores and thrift shops, and compare the asking prices with what the books are selling for on a site like Amazon. Whenever you get a good hit (which won’t be often but, since the process is fast, won’t take long, either), buy the book and resell it online. Be discreet about this, as the store managers probably won’t like what you’re doing.
Lynne Norris, who works out of her home in Pennsylvania (NorrisBusinessSolutions.com), says that rates for VAs run about $25 to $75 or more an hour, based on the types of services you provide. The startup costs are about $500 to $1,000, assuming you have an up-to-date computer and printer. Lynne loves the flexibility. "My children are happy that I don't miss the important things in their lives." Check out the International Virtual Assistants Association, orvirtualassistantjobs.com andteamdoubleclick.com for more.
I’m a huge fan of blogging because I love writing and connecting with people all over the world. To give you an idea of what is possible with blogging, DollarSprout.com is part of a group of blogs that routinely brings in over $100,000 a month in revenue. While it takes time to build your blog up to that income level, you can get the initial set up done in under 30 minutes (no experience needed).