Start analyzing your decisions from the perspective of a firm. In economics, a firm's goal is simply to maximize profit. Well-run firms spend money only if they can expect to make more money from their investment, and they allocate their resources to the most profitable use. You're not a firm, of course, and you have other considerations, but if you make the majority of your time and money decisions by choosing the options that promise the highest return on investment, you'll likely earn more money, and that's good news for your shareholders (you and your family).
WeReward: This iPhone and Android app allows you to complete small tasks (ex. taking a photo of yourself with your favorite beverage or eating at a new establishment) for points that translate to cash. Though the per-task reward is small, there are millions of participating businesses and the points can add up quickly. The location-based rewards are best if you already have an active lifestyle and won’t have to force yourself to starting eating/drinking out all the time.
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."
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.
While Etsy is fantastic for handmade goods that you’ve already created, if you’ve got killer designs that would look good on phone cases, t-shirts, or even wall hangings, pillows, and duvets, you can sell them on Society6 without paying anything to start. Society6 lets artists upload their designs and create their own shops where they choose what products their designs can be used on. That means one design can be used to make a whole range of awesome products that are printed and shipped on demand whenever someone buys from you. With top creators making thousands every month just from selling their designs.
Some businesses may be interested in adding other types of paid content to your website. This could include videos, podcasts, or any other material that would work with your site and help a business market itself. Always make sure that paid content isn’t too promotional. It needs to add value to your audience first and foremost, and not just present as an advert.
It doesn’t pay much, but if you’re a healthy person and want to make a bit of extra money online, the AchieveMint app will reward you for doing things like walking, tracking your food, or taking health surveys. AchieveMint works by connecting to fitness apps you might already be using like Fitbit, RunKeeper, Healthkit, and MyFitnessPal and then giving you points for certain actions. For every 10,000 points, you earn $10 with no limit on your earnings.
Creating a jobs board website can be another profitable venture. The ‘jobs’ field can be quite saturated, so it is important to find a niche that is still crying out for a jobs board website. Monetize this type of site by charging businesses to list their jobs on your site. Those searching for jobs could also be charged a fee to access the higher paying job adverts.
Since time is the most precious commodity on this earth, invest the time at the front-end so that you can reap the benefits on the back-end. This means putting in a bit of sweat equity and not getting paid today. Rather, you'll get paid somewhere down the road. And you'll continue getting paid whether you keep building that passive income stream or you stop. It's obvious that this is the preferred route, but clearly the road less traveled.
What are dividend stocks? They are just like regular shares of stock, but with one exception: For every share of a dividend stock that you own, you are paid a small portion of the company’s earnings. Basically, you get paid just for owning the stock! If you are looking to get started with dividend investing, check out Ally Invest (which is included on our list of best investment apps).