How things have changed! If this article was written in 2008 I would have told you to get a part-time job at Starbucks and that would have been the end. Today, even low skill part-time jobs have a waiting list. People with advanced degrees and high levels of experience are competing against high school teenagers for low-wage, low-skill jobs. A full-time, highly capable sales agent with an interest in working nights may be overlooked for a similar candidate without a career job. Because of this, additional revenue has gotten hard to come by.
Fear not! I have a few tricks up my sleeves that don’t require an impossible to get part-time job.
Self Publish a Book – Are you an expert on industrial real estate? Write about it! Actually, you don’t HAVE to write about commercial real estate or your amazing sales techniques, instead you can write a children’s novel, fiction, or your memoirs. Set-up a website for your book(s) and allow online ordering. Café Press has an amazing “print on demand” for self published books. Café Press charges the customer, prints, and ships the book. You set your own retail price ($10+ per book) and Café Press sends you money each quarter. Give your book a legal US Copyright for a $65 fee. Purchase an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for $125. To gain some exposure, donate a few copies to your local libraries, churches, charities, or book clubs. If you want to continue with your book, sell an e-book on Amazon (Free!) and maybe send it to a few publishers. Note that many publishers won’t take risks on first-time novelists and will require you to invest your own money to publish (usually around $2,500).
Tutoring – Were you always good at math/science/English/music? Put an ad in the local school’s newspaper (oh yes, they still have them) advertising your tutoring skills. Look for a local tutoring service that matches students with mentors (a company will take a cut of your profits). Continuing education and private schools may allow you to teach night or weekend classes, but you may have the same competition issues as a part-time job. Note: You may be required to get a Sheriff’s card to work with children.
Utilizing Left Over Skills – During high school were you the best baby sitter in town? Advertise your baby sitting service in the paper, contact local sitting services (they’ll take a cut of your profits) or apply for “baby-sitter wanted” ads in the classified. Were you amazing at hockey/wrestling/baseball? Offer one-on-one coaching services and practice runs – you also may be able to get a gig at the County (look for local recreation centers) to offer specialty classes or coach games for the community (average pay is $10-$13 an hour). Music and art buffs can offer practice lessons and studio preparation – also contact your local recreation center to offer classes. Note: You may be required to get a Sheriff’s card to work with children.
Sell Stuff –Most of us have a collection of un-used electronics like that old TiVo, the tube TV, and a DVD-R player. You’ll be surprised how much you can get for those in a pawn shop. Also, sell your old DVD collection – how many times are you really going to watch Time Cop 2? CDs fetch a nice price on Ebay or pawn shops. Ladies, your brand name purses, jeans, and dresses can be sold on Ebay or apparel consignment stores. Also consider selling jewelry to a gold buyer. Most people will walk away with $500 in cash for jewelry they never wear. Used book stores will pay a surprising amount of money for your old books. Children’s gently used clothing and furniture can bring in good money at a specialty consignment store.
Apparel Designs – Are you an artist? Get a graphic designer and develop some cool t-shirt designs. Are you good at funny one-liners? Make your comedy into fun clothing. With a graphic designer + Café Press you can build your own online apparel store and get paid quarterly.
Not-so-Pleasant Ideas – It’s about to get weird. Selling bodily fluids like plasma, sperm hair, and fertile eggs (sorry ladies, there’s an age cut off of 32) can fetch a pretty penny, but is taxing on your body. You can get $20 to $50 for blood plasma and $60 to $100 for sperm, fertile eggs can bring in $7,000+, and hair will bring in about $200 depending on the length and health. Not the best options, mind you, but OK in a pinch.
Surveys for cash – In college, I probably took over 100 surveys and I never received anything but junk mail.
Credit card bonuses – Usually you have to spend $1,000 to get $1. Not a great return on investment.
Bank bonuses – “Sign up for a $30/month fee checking account and I’ll give you $25!” …That doesn’t add up.
Test driving cars – Some people are really good at walking away guilt-free with gift cards aplenty while others may be tempted to buy a car. Control yourself! If you buy a car, you’re getting $30,000 in debt for a $100 Chili’s gift card.
Secret shopping – Usually you have to pay $30 to secret shop and they send you a check for $80…eventually. It’s not stable work (jobs are sporadic) and it takes FOREVER to get paid.
Real Estate investing – Not for newbies! If you’re a new at real estate investing, consult someone who knows the business. Offer to work with them or become a shadow for a few properties until you feel competent. Don’t take on an investment if you can’t handle the associated costs.