Note: This is a post from Joan Concilio, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan here. This post may contain affiliate links that help support this website.
At one point not too long ago, I had one full-time job and five part-time jobs – at the same time.
When I say we’re serious about paying down almost $90,000 in credit-card debt… I mean it. And that means that when Chris and I can make some extra money, well, we take the chance where we can. When we’re hustling, our family income can be over $13,000 NET in a month.
So when I ask you how could you – YOU – make an extra $200 this week if you had to, I’m probably going to be pretty skeptical if your answer is, “Uh, no way I could do that!”
So just keep that question in the back of your mind… “If you had to make an extra $200 this week, how would you?” One thing you could do is check our Survey Junkie which actually pays you to give your advice. Love it.
We’ll come back to that in a few minutes.
As of last fall, our family’s income situation looked like this:
- My full-time job income from the local newspaper
- My husband’s full-time job income from the local newspaper
- My part-time income from helping Baker with some projects
- Our joint part-time income from buying and reselling used books online via our Amazon store
- My part-time income from working as a Weight Watchers leader
- My part-time income generated as a Mary Kay consultant
- My part-time income from doing some private website setup and design
- Our occasional income from selling our crap on Craigslist, eBay, Amazon and our local “virtual yard sale” email group
- Our occasional income from monetizing our personal blogs using Amazon affiliate links, Google AdSense, etc.
Right now, we’re running a pretty similar setup, with a few changes and some streamlining. Today, I’d like to take a look at how I make all these “side hustles” work – in part, to help continue to introduce you to me and to our situation, but also because I have a sneaking suspicion that there are some applicable lessons out of my experience for anyone who’s trying to generate more income!
I’m using last fall’s list as a reference for two main reasons.
First, this was our longest “list of income streams” ever. It was notably long enough that it earned me a chance to do an interview as part of the Part-Time Money Podcast with Phil Taylor of PT Money about all my side hustles. (Funny story there: If you listen to it, I talk about working full-time from home at some point in the distant future – turns out it was much nearer in the future than I’d have guessed!)
Second, during the same period, I was participating in the Fall 2011 You Vs. Debt class and as part of that, for 30 days, I was tracking EVERY bit of income and expense in our life. That gives us a lot of data to draw from!
Our three main streams of income
This is actually the part I want to spend the LEAST time on today, but it’s an important background to the rest of the jobs.
In the fall, this was my full-time job income from the local newspaper, my husband’s full-time income from the same source, and my part-time income from helping Baker with some projects.
There are two main things to note here.
First and pretty obviously, my “full-time” and “part-time” jobs have swapped. I now (as you hopefully know!) work full-time with Baker, and I’ve remained an employee of the newspaper in a part-time, from-home capacity.
Second, all of this work is salaried. This is extremely important to note, because if I had to pick one piece of advice to give most people on generating extra income, it would be to take the simplest possible path, which is usually to pick up more hours or jobs doing what you’re already doing.
In our situation, though, especially when our full-time incomes came from both of us working at the paper, we had to look outside the box to make extra money. That was good – because that’s actually what led me to the full-time opportunity here with Baker! At the same time, I’d caution you from getting as varied and complex as we are if you have an existing stream of income that you can grow. Don’t create NEW complexities, new jobs, unless your current ones are maxed out for any reason!
Total income per month (average) from these: $8,000 (more in months with three paychecks at the newspaper, which pays biweekly).
One note here: Assume these figures to be net, but realize that with lots of part-time work comes a lot of tax-time finagling, some of which draws out of this pool of “income”; I won’t get into that in TODAY’S post, but please know I have an accountant who helps me out with all of this and keeps us in good shape with the IRS!
Our biggest side income stream: Our Amazon store
This is another post on its own – how we went from selling our own no-longer-needed books and DVDs on Amazon, to running a full-scale store with a massive inventory – but suffice it to say we average more than 1,100 items listed for sale at any given time, with a stockpile of more than another 300 items that will almost certainly be listed in the coming months.
Total income per month (average) from this: Varies; about $180 a month profit on a “regular” month.
That doesn’t sound like a ton, maybe, especially not when I consider this a “business.” However, we’re just now starting to hit our stride (and monetize on some previously purchased inventory), and there are months in which we top $300 to $400 if a big-ticket book sells. This is basically my husband’s hobby – and, over the course of a year, this “hobby” adds about $3,400 to our family’s income!
We’ll talk more about this concept when I talk about our occasional selling-our-crap income, but here’s a point to remember: Selling used goods online – whether they’re yours or someone else’s – can be pretty profitable!
Joan’s original side-income sources: Weight Watchers and Mary Kay
I talked a little about my job with Weight Watchers in my post about how I think being overweight and in debt have a lot in common. Essentially, since 2006, when I lost 50 pounds on the program, I’ve worked as a part-time meeting leader and receptionist.
The great thing about this job in particular is that you can choose how much you want to work.
Right now, for instance, I’m working only on a fill-in/substitute basis, helping out other staffers when they want time off. At my highest, I led 10 meetings a week across a three-county area (still ON TOP OF a full-time “regular” job). At my highest, I brought in about an extra $250 a week from this work.
Mary Kay is similar; as with any direct-sales business, you can certainly be as active or passive about it as you want. I’ve had months where I was really active, going out and doing facials, etc., holding open houses, what have you, again bringing in $250 to $300 profit in a week. I’ve also had months where my reorder business was the only income.
If you’re going to pursue direct sales – and I’ve heard many arguments both for and against these businesses – I highly recommend choosing a product that meets a need, is used year-round, and is consumable.
In a “down” economy, selling a product that’s completely a “want” can be hard to do, and if you sell something that doesn’t get used up, well, then the sum total result from your efforts will only be that one original sale.
With cosmetics, people are using them – and using them up – pretty much year-round, and that means if you’ve built a solid customer – even if you only ever sell them on one “product” – they’ll use it and keep coming back for more, which is pretty nice.
In both cases, the biggest draw for these income sources actually isn’t the income. The great thing about both of these “jobs” is that they spring from products/services I’d otherwise be spending my own money on.
In Weight Watchers, all Lifetime members at their weight goal can attend for free (so I don’t have to work there to attend at no cost), but staffers also get a 50% product discount, which I enjoy.
Same story with Mary Kay. I’d been using the products anyway, and paying full price to a friend. Now, I get anything I want at 50% off, and my income at a minimum covers the other 50%. That means that at the LEAST, in a month, I’ve saved the money I would spend on cosmetics. At best, there’s profit on top of that!
Total income per month (average) from these two sources: Varies; right now, about $100 a month on a “regular” month; can be over $1,000 a month combined.
Making money by making websites
This is perhaps my favorite “side hustle,” in part because it has been very serendipitous for me at various times.
In short, I design VERY basic blog-based websites for small businesses, churches, nonprofits, etc., then train personnel there on how to maintain and update.
I don’t do hosting and I do only light graphic design and technical support. I’m not working with huge companies with big chains of command. Generally, I do about two to three hours of work once, get a check, and then deal with the client by email as needed here and there (usually less than 15 minutes a month if that, unless a new “project” comes up, for which I then get another check!)
My favorite story about this is that one day, I received a Dropbox file shared to my email account. It was from a gentleman asking his web developer to take a look at his files and make some changes. I replied and said the digital equivalent of “Sorry, wrong number. … I’m not who you need, but by coincidence, I’m a developer and I can certainly take a look if your guy is for some reason unavailable.”
Long story short, that worked out, and I’ve now had several “batches” of work from this company, all of which can generally net me about $200 to $300 for a couple hours of work!
This isn’t the type of work I go seeking – other than my serendipitous email project, most of the sites I deal with are from local businesses that I either patronize or have personal connections to – but it’s something I can grow if I have the time to do extra work.
Total income from this per month: Varies, but can be $300 to $500 on a month where I have one to two projects completed.
Selling our crap for cash
This was something I was into even before I became a rabid Baker fan.
At a few points in my life, I was so broke that selling stuff for cash was how I got groceries.
In more recent – and better – years, getting rid of crap was something that I was doing anyway, often to prepare for a move, and since we tend to keep our stuff in pretty good condition, it seemed logical to at least cursorily try to sell it.
We’re very lucky in our area – our Craigslist is well-used and not full of freaks, and we also have a local email group called the “Yard Sale,” which often will fetch higher prices and more reliable buyers than Craigslist will. If you have such an option available to you, I highly recommend it! (Search Yahoo!’s email groups directory here to see what comes up for your area and phrases like “yard sale”!)
Total income from this per month: Varies widely, but can be $100 to 200+ a month, even more if we’re dealing in larger items like furniture.
Monetizing our personal blogs
Both my husband and I run blogs about our passions – his for old books and paper, mine for homeschooling – that we monetize lightly with Amazon affiliate links and Google AdSense.
We’re not going to get rich doing this. These blogs won’t likely become our full-time income sources any time soon (nor, really, do we want or need them to be). However, it’s pretty great to recoup a little money for something we were doing anyway.
Read that again.
It’s great to recoup a little money for something we were doing anyway.
That’s the key to a significant amount of our extra streams of income. I’m going to a Weight Watchers meeting each week anyway – so why not make some money doing it?
I’m going to buy, and some of my friends are going to buy, cosmetics anyway, so why not make some money doing it?
I’m going to be online anyway – so why not design some websites for a couple hours at night and make some money instead of just playing on Pinterest?
I want to get rid of a bunch of my stuff, so why not see if I can get back some of the cost?
And if we’re going to blog anyway, why not try to bring in an extra $100 or so here and there, which more than offsets our nominal expenses and gives us a little extra as well?!
Total income from monetizing our blogs per month: It’s fairly new, but so far we’re averaging about $80 to $100 a month.
So how could I make an extra $200 this week?
That was my challenge to you at the beginning of this post, and I’m willing to take it myself if you are. These “little hustles” can really add up – and when you’re trying to pay off as much debt as I am, or trying to get cash together to start or grow a business, or to fund an emergency fund… well, it comes in pretty handy.
So if I had to make an extra $200 this week, I’d probably start by selling some crap; I’ve got AT LEAST $100 of stuff sitting here that I had planned to donate (for lack of time right now), but I could take the time to list and sell it and bring in the cash.
The other main thing I could do would be to call some Mary Kay clients and see if any of them are in need of product reorders. That’s a quick and easy way to usually get $50 to $100 in sales. Not something I do terribly often, but I do like to check in and try to provide good service when I can, even though I’m very part-time with my consultancy!
What’s the big picture?
Remember how I said I tracked EVERY dollar spent and EVERY dollar earned for 30 days this fall? Well, here’s what that looked like:
Total money outgoing: $10,228 (included mortgage and debt repayment; some credit cards were paid twice in this 30-day period due to how the days fell)
Total money incoming from the sources above: $13,081
$5,000 of that income came from sources OTHER than our primary jobs. That’s intense – and it allowed us to make our outgoing number higher, as we paid a significant amount above the minimums toward our debt repayment. It’s not a level of dedication we can pull off every month – but if you’re entrepreneurial, even a “spare-time” business can make you some decent change toward getting your finances where you want them.
By the way, my numbers together added up over those 30 days to us being $2,853 ahead – which allowed us to create our emergency fund and start building a buffer in our checking account of a month’s expenses. (We’re not all the way toward that buffer yet, but we’re getting there!)
So can you make some extra money hustling?
I sure think so! Whether it’s $30 in selling on Amazon or $3,000 from a side business that you’re trying to build into a career, in my book, it’s worth doing.
How could you make some extra money this week – what’s ONE THING you can try?
Let me know in the comments!
137 thoughts on “How Could You Make An Extra $200 This Week?”
Wow I need to diversify like your family. Right now I don’t have a whole lot going on outside of my work and my blog.
Michelle, thanks so much! I will say that while diversifying is good, don’t get yourself in too deep – that’s one reason I pulled back so drastically on the amount of Weight Watchers meetings I was doing, just too overcommitted! 🙂
I agree with you Joan. I enjoy my full time job. I consider that “the cake”. Stuff like Ebay, blogging, and craigslist is what I consider the icing. Cake first and icing second lol!
thanks entirely to your help i have several items listed on Amazon. it’s been a HUGE help in some months and i’m forever grateful
YAY SUNDAY! 🙂
We’ve done Amazon for years. It’s easy and has allowed us to downsize our library.
That was what got us started too, Denise, we wanted to get rid of so much of our own stuff… and now it kind of snowballed!
Thanks for the swift kick in the behind. After reading your post I started thinking of how often I waste time when I could be using it to bring in extra income. Thanks for all of the ideas.
Brandi, thank you so much – and I think that’s exactly it. I don’t want to work ALL the time, but there are plenty of times when I’m not really “relaxing” or taking time “off,” I’m just playing around online and blowing my time. And that, I don’t want! 🙂
I liked your article and it made me think, which isn’t that easy ;-). I have in the past sold some old electronics on sites like gazelle.com, and have a few I can unload. Also I’m working on getting affiliate sales for only72.com this week.
Thank you, Christopher! I hope it encourages a lot of folks to think about what they could be doing to bring in some extra money. Even if not everyone actually DOES these things, at least I want to change the mindset that it’s “impossible” to make more!
Wow! You should be teaching our government on fiscal matters! This is an absolutely fantastic and practical blog that I will be sharing with my two early 20’s children. Why don’t our schools teach practical information like this? Keep up the good work!
Whoa, thanks Eric!
They do- or rather, I do! My top class (ages 10-11) are currently writing books to be released on the Kindle store. We spent a few days looking at passive income streams and my young bunch of ladies decided that writing books and building publicity websites would provide decent revenue streams that they could add to as they write subsequent books. I’ve rarely seen such dedicated writing, planning, and understanding of the ‘real world’ maths behind our venture.
wow, I feel so lazy! I dont understand how you have time to do all that.
Sadie, don’t feel lazy! I have time to do ALL of it – but not all of it at once! I take freelance web design jobs when I’m not busy with Weight Watchers. I hold Mary Kay parties when I don’t have freelance web design jobs I’m doing. Etc. etc. The thing is, they’re “lines in the water,” and that means when I need some extra cash, I can easily tap one or more of them and see what’s biting!
I really enjoyed your article on your multiple income streams. I, too, have found this to be a very workable model for me and my family. From 1998-2009, my wife worked a part-time job, I worked a full-time job, a part-time job, some occasional freelance work, and ran a micro-business. We did all right, but today we are still in debt like crazy.
In 2009, I left my full-time job because if I didn’t, I was going to be irrevocably damaged psychologically. I didn’t have a new full-time job to go to, so I had to be creative. As a Theatre and Creative Writing major, I found that I have a variety of opportunities. Since 2009, I have not had a full-time job, and our income streams have looked like this:
* my wife’s part-time job as a pre-school teacher’s aide
* my part-time income from teaching English and Theatre courses at 2 community colleges and one 4-year college (for aspiring college instructors out there – learn how to teach in a classroom and online; once you teach online, you’ve generated reusable content and can teach from home forever without consuming much time at all)
* my part-time income from working as a stage hand in the Theatre department of a third community college
* my supplemental contract income as Drama Club Adviser, Technical Director, and Spring Musical Director from a local high school
* my freelance income as a lighting designer, technical director, and play director for several local community theatres and community colleges (by the way, for any aspiring theatre majors out there, learn to use tools and how to build things in the scene shop or the costume shop; you will always work in the theatre if you develop these skills; become a TD, and you can write your own career ticket)
* my and my wife’s share of profits in our small murder mystery production company (including paying myself as a booking agent, director, actor, and writer)
* my part-time income from occasional substitute teaching for the local school district
While this seems really crazy, complex, and convoluted, it’s actually pretty easy to manage. In fact, it’s easier to manage than when I worked full-time and managed small freelance projects and designed and built sets for the high school. Only the stagehand work is hourly, which makes it the only job where my income potential is actually capped. Everything else is contract work that allows me to set my own schedule. Yes, I have to be in classes at the scheduled time, but unlike full-time professors, I don’t have to serve on committees, and I can schedule my office hours as “by appointment only.” With my laptop, I can grade papers while sitting in bed watching “Jeopardy.” Counter-intuitively, we make more money, I have more time, and I get more accomplished now with these multiple part-time jobs than I ever did with a full-time job, a part-time job, a micro-business, and occasional freelancing. In fact, I have more time to grow the micro-business in new directions and to take on more freelance work. For instance, this summer, I will be designing lighting for one show, designing and building sets for another show, teaching one course 3 days a week, and working in the scene shop once a week and picking up event work there as well. In a typical week this summer, I will have 3 full days off, and I won’t start working on any of the other days until Noon. In case you’re wondering, for 2011, our AGI was the highest it has ever been since 2001. No full-time job, and more income than we ever made when I did have a full time job, with a lot more free time, too. Counter-intuitive, bucks conventional wisdom, but it works. Oh, and my wife’s job qualifies us for health insurance through the school district. Her part-time premiums are higher than what a full-timer would pay, but they’re the same as what I was paying at my last full-time job. Go figure!
By working on contract, rather than hourly or on salary, I can determine how much time a particular project will take. I design sets and lighting twice a year for the local high school. I created a standard light plot 5 years ago, so I don’t have to re-design the lighting, other than changing colors and cues, for every show, thus maximizing my time versus income. I did the same thing with two other theatres I design for as well. I also know exactly how much time it takes to direct a full production, but I’ve learned shortcuts to maximize the work in each rehearsal as well. I’ve never had a quality control issue with my productions, either.
Working on contract like this, you do have to be creative with money management. Most of my paychecks come in lump sums after the work is completed, so I have to bank money from job to job in order to pay bills when there’s time between jobs. This year, we plan on paying off one vehicle, then snowballing that money over to pay off the other vehicle early before snowballing all of that over to start paying off the credit cards. I hope to write a book about my experience, part memoir, part how-to. I wanted to title it “Me, Myself, & I, Inc.” but there’s already a similarly titled book out there. Any suggestions?
WOW – that’s an amazing story and a great set of income streams! Maybe you should call your book something with a stage metaphor… Lights, Camera, Passion 🙂 (I’m terrible at titles!)
That could work. I would like to incorporate the business metaphor, though. Maybe something incorporating the old show tune title “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”
I like it!
Do you have your own web-site offering your freelance web design service?
I love creating new blogs and web-sites – however not big ones – as you have mentioned. I was thinking about creating an income out of it and your post made really focus on it.
It is a word-of-mouth strategy you use to spread a word about your services?
Agatha, I do have a “portfolio” website – my maiden name, joanconcilio.com – and that’s what I use to give people basically the short version of what I’ve included in this post. I don’t use it to advertise nearly as much as I do to give people an easy jumping-off point to connect with me in various ways because of having so many different connections.
The other thing is, I have a lot of “overlap” – for instance, I’ve gotten design jobs from the spouses of people I worked with at the newspaper. That sort of thing. So it’s definitely word of mouth, personal association, that leads to most of that business.
Good luck building your business up! Keep up posted!
I love reading articles like this! I love side hustling but sometimes I feel like other people don’t understand or share my passion. So when I find others who do, it’s encouraging. Thanks for sharing Joan.
I’m going to take your advice and sell some stuff that I’ve been putting off (due to time constraints) and hopefully make an extra couple hundred dollars this week. I have a full-time job and 3 side hustles, but I still feel I can step it up even more! Woohoo thanks for the inspiration. 🙂
You’re very welcome! I’m so glad you’re inspired to step up and take action! I can’t say I’d do all this extra EVERY week, but I can say it’s great to know that when I need to, it’s there – and there’s never a time I don’t need some extra cash!
Joan… You are inspiring. This article has made me think of what I could do… What I could add to our lives to make money with out making more stress and complications. And since I am drawing a blank, I’ll bravely put my hand up and say ”Miss Joan… Help!”
P.S. Your still my favorite superstar!
DANA, my dearest, ALWAYS will I help you! 🙂 You are definitely an asset to your family’s finances – wait’ll I post about couponing, I might need to talk to you about your example! 🙂
If I had to, I would work harder at selling my crap! I can never get things to go on Craigslist though!
Katie, it’s definitely hit-or-miss for me. The lucky thing for us is that local group – it’s been amazing. The other thing I do sometimes is put the word out via social media about my listings – that’s definitely gotten me some “warm” buyers!
I definitely do a buy/resell side hustle and it works GREAT! I “trash pick” and go to goodwill and buythings that I think are being undersold. ThenI turnaround and sell them for a nice little profit. Its a great, fun side hustle!
TB, that’s exactly what we’re doing now! My husband is amazing at what he calls “cherry-picking” at the Salvation Army, Goodwill, estate sales… then reselling! You have to be patient, it’s not “fast money,” but it is a steady income and, you’re right – FUN, too. Good for you!
I have tried selling on e-bay, amazon, craigslist and our local yard seller site and have not sold hardly anything. I refuse to post my books for .01 or even for 1.00 because then you are loosing money by the time amazon takes their cut. I do sell some through my moms bookstore. I also do crafts and vinyl lettering trying to sell on etsy. I have a facebook store for my vinyl lettering. I have tried for 30 years to make extra income at what ever I could think of and only get a small amount here and there. So what is the secret to getting things to sell?
Marilyn, we don’t sell ANYTHING on Amazon for less than about $5. Because of the volume of books we have, we make “box lots” for the penny books that we sell via Craigslist or our local email group for like $10 for two boxes, or sometimes we give those away!
I am a big fan of Etsy stores, but I think the secret to those is promotion; my friends who do heavy business (a full-time job) through their store also run a website about “upcycling” clothing, and then sell some of their creations. So the store itself benefits from the traffic to the site! I’m not sure if that would apply in your specific case, but do be thinking of how you can promote that shop!
your article is great. It is about acting instead of worrying. Of doing instead of talking. It is a great reminder that we are able to do much more if we only want to.
Now to your question:
I am still trying a few things (apart from my full time job and my part time job) like uploading pictures on fotolia – total income of 0,4 credits so far – and running a personal blog (it’s fun to write!) which gets 99% of its traffic from me =)
Not too successful in terms of income, right?
Back to your question:
I will check all my belongings to see what I am able to sell and furthermore check how to build a amazon shop and for sure have a long thought on your words ‘And if we’re going to blog anyway, why not try to bring in an extra $100 or so here and there, which more than offsets our nominal expenses and gives us a little extra as well?!’
If there was only one thing I could remember from your entry, it would be that =)
Andres, thank you so much!! I might be my own traffic half the time too – or my friends and family members – but I’m slowly building, and all it took was ONE person purchasing a big-ticket item on Amazon via my recommendation to pay for my domain name for a year. So, I figure, hey, why not? 🙂 Keep at it – and keep me posted on how it goes!!
Thanks Joan for your tips. I’ve worked for 3 different newspapers over the years and still freelance from time to time as needed. I know the salaries can be rough – which is why I don’t work there anymore :-). But you’ve given me some added inspiration to hustle in the other areas as well.
Like you, I do websites for small organizations and churches as well – but mainly through word of mouth.
And we’ve sold a number of books and DVDs and such but to a local half-price store verses directly on Amazon. Probably lost out on some cash by selling at bulk but your experience definitely gives me something to consider in the future.
Jonathan, thanks for the kind words – and the understanding about newspaper economy! You can imagine why we came to start hustling, huh? 🙂
Neat to hear we have such a similar background. Keep at it – and congrats on your own hustling!
I’m very impressed with your efforts. You must be a lot younger than me because there is no way I would have the mental energy to juggle that many balls! Once year we go through all our stuff and sell small items like electronics on eBay, large items (furniture) on Craigslist, and have a yard sale for the rest. I’m always stunned that we can usually make several thousand dollars getting rid of stuff we don’t want anyway!
Dee, thank you so much! I’m 29 – and I’m already “slowing down” from my heaviest hustling days. Having a 12-year-old daughter factors into that too; I personally don’t want to use all my time hustling like I used to! 🙂
I’m with you – the once-a-year house purge is a HUGE income boost for us!
I have tried all (except Mary Kay) your endeavors to some degree in my 67 years. I still have lots I want to do. Top of my list is earning money from my blog. How do I do that? My blog is not very appealing and I have such a small following. I would like to downsize our home contents and I have tons of cookbooks, textbooks, etc., that I would like to sell.
I am a full-time homemaker and quilter with a retired husband. He makes birdhouses and sells them way below their value. I really enjoyed your suggestions.
Hi Mary! Thank you so much for your kind words. I don’t know what blog platform you use, but the quickest and easiest way if you’re JUST getting started is to look at simple ways to integrate something like Google AdSense into your site. Most platforms (Blogger, WordPress, SquareSpace, etc.) will include a way to do that with some kind of widget or plugin.
That’s not a way you’re going to get rich, per se, but it’s a good way to LEARN about how advertising works on a personal blog! From there, you can really branch out into other things and see what feels like a good fit. Follow some blogs that accept advertising of various sorts and talk to the bloggers about what’s working, see what they say! If there are companies in your niche, you could even approach them specifically about advertising, but that might be kind of a “next level” thing!
I think quilting may be your “money making niche.” I have personally purchased and listed handmade quilts quite successfully on eBay. If you are a quilter then I bet you already have handmade quilts people would love to buy. Your opportunities are endless — quilter’s blog — quilting lesson e-books — quilting lessons via YouTube or locally from your home one night a week.
But seriously ….. handmade quilts sell, sell, sell on eBay. Give it a try. I’ll think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
This is really inspiring, thanks for breaking it down honestly! I’ve got Baker’s Sell Your Crap guide and LOVE it – but I’ve only explored the eBay part. I do have tons of extra books that could be resold on Amazon.
I could also easily do the site development stuff on the side. I guess I’d just need to get out there and ask someone if I can help them.
Deacon, you have hit THE NUMBER ONE FACTOR in getting extra income – ASK if you can help someone. Worst that can happen? They say no and you’re no worse off than you are now. BEST? You get some income and they get the benefit of your time and experience!
Nice article! I like your point about growing your income out of “things you’d be doing anyway.” I’ve done that to some extent with my love for biking and working on bikes – I don’t pull in much because of time constraints (day job, small children at home, etc.) but between repairs and buying/fixing/reselling, I get at least a couple hundred dollars extra a month without too much trouble.
This week I happen to be working a lot of overtime… but that’s unusual!
Matt, that’s awesome that you do that! I think the idea is not just how much you pull in, but for what effort; if I can make $200 in an hour of “extra” time, plus time I’d already be using, well, that’s pretty great! Glad to hear you’re working that too 🙂
Great article, and very inspiring. I’m confident I can make an extra $200–just not in one week’s time. I wasn’t even able to do that as a freelance copywriter. I love that you’re selling your old books on Amazon, though. That’s something I’ve been meaning to start doing, I just haven’t taken the time yet. When not at work or spending time with my family I’m writing fiction and formatting ebooks to sell on Kindle. I’m also starting my own publishing imprint. But I will definitely keep looking for ways to sell my old stuff and clean off my bookshelves.
I sure can’t make $200 extra every week! But on a good week I can, and it’s very comforting to know if an emergency came up, I could make it happen! 🙂
You got me thinking here….there’s no way I could juggle so many different things (my brain would short circuit, I’m sure!) BUT….this gives me a few ideas, like getting some ads up on an old blog that still gets decent traffic and doing some basic blog design–I’m encouraged by what you say about “basic” why not? I’m pretty good with Thesis, and WP itself and free themes are a no-brainer for me…why can’t I do that? Oh, right, I’m comparing myself to the really amazing designers or something…
Thanks–great ideas! But you make me wish I hadn’t taken boxes and boxes of books to charity a few years ago instead of selling them…oh well 🙂
Leah, I’m NO expert – and I purposely stay away from organizations that are going to want high design or high maintenance. In fact, some of the sites I set up, I let THEM do whatever they want with design, though sometimes I then get nervous about my name being associated with it! But the point is mostly the setup for so many people. They don’t want to register a domain or transfer a domain or create pages and navigation and a header. If you can do that, you can get business from the right KINDS of clients. And I have a couple other people I will pass larger customers on to, which is kind of a win-win; they pass me the jobs from people for whom their “big” services are too expensive, and I pass them the jobs from people for whom I’m too low-budget! 🙂
Thanks Joan! I’m inspired 🙂 I still have 3 or 4 (or more?!!) boxes of books that we are getting rid of to unload on Amazon. I need to get on that. And I have another few piles of stuff to sell. Just need to do it! I could make an extra couple hundred right now if I took the time to list everything for sale. And maybe offered some help with stuff for people, child care, housecleaning, set up facebook pages, easy websites, etc. It’s just a matter of squeezing it all in!
GO LEAH! You can do it. And remember, you don’t have to squeeze it ALL in. Just do one thing. Then one other thing. And it all adds up! Hence the picture of the coins piled up in the post 😉
I lucked out, my mom recently moved and asked me to sell all her old books and CDs for her. With the bonus of keeping all the money from the sales. I’ve been selling stuff pretty consistently on half.com. Any reason you are using Amazon over Half.com?
Honestly, our three biggest factors are: We shop on Amazon ourselves, so we were more familiar with it starting out; the existing inventory of OLD books, which is mostly what we specialize in, is larger; and, also, more people we KNOW shop on Amazon, so they’ve been willing to spread the word for us, because they “get” what we’re doing moreso. And it’s worked well enough that we really only use other venues when we have something of particular need (we’ve used Alibris, for example, for certain rare books not in Amazon’s catalog.)
Love that you lucked into that!!
Aloha Joan, thanks for sharing!
I sell stuff on Amazon too – slow sales but very satisfying – and it also helps stop me from buying anymore (well sorta kinda). Ebay is also good, but requires a bit more effort.
I also sell Protandim, which can be lucrative because of the way everyone can get benefits (as well as it being a really great product for my health). Instead of really making money though, I structure it so we are getting it at a really good discount, and I give away samples.
I hope to earn income blogging one day, but for now I just have an info website that I put a lot of time and love into.
But my best way of making money is investing what we do make and save – mostly with real estate for the very long term.
Mahalo again for sharing,
Aunty, thanks for the kind words! Sounds like you are in the same mindset as I am – if you’re passionate about a product, why not get your own at a good price and then help your friends out too? 🙂 I like it. Good luck!
Hi, I make a bit on the side by signing up for focus groups with market research companies and also doing online surveys that pay $$$.
I’ve done some of those too. Not for, you know, tons of dollars, but I also delve into the “I’ll review your product for free samples” gig. Got some great food that way! 🙂
Man you guys are tough, all those extra jobs. I couldn’t do it, but I do like the idea of selling my stuff. I usually donate it, but I think I can do both. I’m planning on replacing my flooring next month, so I have to clean out closets and bookcases. I might as well try to sell the stuff. Thanks for the idea!
It’s definitely not for everyone – and we have definitely gone through phases even just in our seven years of marriage, with more or fewer of these! Selling the stuff is something that I think just about ANYONE can benefit from, though. Good luck, and keep us posted on how it goes!
Whenever I move, ( which we do often) I list stuff on eBay as I am deciding what to pack. One year I made $500 in one evening from books and used clothing as we were preparing to move. Not only reduced the load of stuff we would have had to pay to move, but also. Paid for the truck and movers!
Thanks for sharing! One thing I have found to be very successful is selling other peoples stuff on Craigslist. It takes no money out of pocket, very little time, and it’s pure profit. There are a ton of people out there who don’t know how to list there stuff on Craigslist, that’s where you come in. Not a get rich quick thing, takes some work, but it’s fun and FREE!
Kate, we have done that too! No overhead is key – you’ll see that for most of my hustles above, too. That’s helped us out a lot.
Joan, you are very busy businesswoman! Great job (and post too)!
Great tips! I also help people out with websites, and my hourly rate is intentionally low since I’m still learning. Do you charge by the hour or a set rate to set up a website? If you don’t mind, I’d love your feedback on my portfolio: http://frugalportland.com/hire-frugal-portland/
I usually set a total fee based on the number of hours I expect the job to take, then charge an hourly rate for work after the initial setup. You have to be a little careful with that, obviously, and usually I’ll say if it’s more than an hour either direction, we’ll discuss it again and see what’s what. That way I don’t take up more of my time for the same amount of money, and if I get it done super-fast, I’m not penalizing the customer.
I have no idea if that’s a “good” system or not, but it’s worked well for me!
For your portfolio, I really like it because you specify what parts of the site you worked on. I think I should do more of that – there are some sites I’ve worked on that I basically do the “tech work” for but have nothing to do with the design, and don’t necessarily WANT people to think I did the design, if you get my drift! 🙂
You must have/had some collection to make money on Amazon – the books I own go for pennies on Amazon!
Joe, depends entirely on what types of things you had. My husband was very interested in art-film DVDs (Criterion collection), so weeding out that collection was profitable. We read mostly nonfiction, which tends to sell much better than fiction, especially popular fiction. And our inventory that we buy to resell is NOT current titles at all – almost everything is from 1980 or earlier, I’d say. (Rare/out of print/foreign/just plain “old”). Wait’ll I share our Amazon story in a future post – I think you’ll be interested!
This article is so inspiring! With a little creativity and hard work we can all make a little money on the side.
Carl, thanks so much! I think that’s the key takeaway – whether you choose to do it or not is almost beside the point. The idea is that it CAN be done!
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Joan, I am so happy to read that you are making money from different streams and i hope it continues like that and grow to thousands per week for you.
Making extra $200 per month like you pointed out is very easy and achievable if you can set your eye on the goal. If its online, it is a matterof setting up a website to promote amazon and clickbank with 10 sales each, you will net more than $200 (though it needs lotta work).
There are just so many options, aren’t there? That’s what I love – there is an almost unlimited ability to MAKE money, if you do the “lotta work” part!
I just found MVD the other day but something about it made me want to keep reading. I love this post. I’m always trying to find new ways to make money but for some reason every time I find a way that looks promising I can never seem to make it work. Recently I have been trying freelance sites like Odesk and Guru but haven’t had any luck yet. I’m going to keep at it though. I’ll keep reading and try to share more if I find anything good.
Definitely! I’ve done Odesk, elance and some related sites, but none of them really “clicked” for me – too much mental overhead and system stuff to deal with in order to get decent jobs! Doesn’t mean they’re bad systems – but in my case, I’d rather work with people I know and not go through all the background stuff unless I have to!
When my wife and I decided to get out of debt, I figured delivering pizza would be my best bet. So applied at every pizza joint within a 5 mile radius and I got a job with 8 days. I averaged over $13/hour and it worked great with my full-time schedule. If you are looking for some extra income, I highly recommend considering pizza delivery.
Deacon, that’s a great idea! I’m so glad it worked for you!
Great post! We basically make our entire living on multiple streams of income, producing a varied amount each week. We own a construction company and a home services company, I do web and graphic design and also help a photographer during the sports seasons, amongst other small jobs. We are always looking for ways to bring in a few extra dollars. We even survived a rough patch a few years ago by building and selling cedar furniture. If you’re creative and willing to try there’s always a way to make more money.
Also, as a side note, we had a yard sale this weekend (as a result of all the decluttering!) and made $738 on things that we wanted out of our lives! We’re going to keep pulling things out and have another one at the beginning of June.
Yay, Lena!! Good job on all the side hustles – and the yard sale! I think you hit it on the head: “If you’re willing to try, there’s always a way!”
Hi Joan, this post is very timely! Just this morning my husband and I were discussing on increasing our income to reach our financial goal. And this means getting part-time jobs here and there.
A list of source of income that we have:
*my husband as online graphic designer
*our online store offering tshirt printing services and other digital printing
*my math/physics tutorial lessons
*online SEO jobs (oDesk, elance, & vworker)
*my day job
*anything that comes in!
We need keep up with our recurring monthly payments which we have charged to our credit card.
Belinda, I’m a little late in saying so, but that’s a great list! Way to keep at it – and having that goal in mind will make the extra work worth it, in my experience!
Just goes to show what can be achieved with a bit of dedication. I am learning slowly that there is always something I can do if I want it enough. Time for some more action, you’ve inspired me to list another 4 items and power ahead with cutting the crap to fund a new adventure on my list!
Neil, that’s awesome – glad to hear it! Keep it up!
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I think one of the only options I have is picking up extra lessons teaching English.
That is something I’m plotting about; but it’s also a huge time investment, especially while I’m just learning the ropes at my new full time position.
I’ve participated in fundraisers – but for local charities, not personal monetary gain.
I’ve kept my accumulation down since moving abroad so I don’t have much to sell; perhaps a lone paperback book now and again. Yes, when I’m visiting the States I can continue to purge my stored boxes a little at a time, but when you’ve only got two weeks there isn’t a whole lot of time to work towards selling as opposed to just trashing, donating or saying ‘well, next time.’
Twice a friend has organized women’s clothes swaps here – and I’ve come away getting rid of clothes I don’t need, picking up a few new items and sometimes making I don’t know, 2 dollars?
There is quite a lot of direct sales for commission business here; but I find most of it run by citizens and not expats. As a small side business I haven’t seen that as an option on the ground here; expats that do have this are in big business (or web design for out of country clients and that’s not quite my speciality), or at least small and full time businesses.
The trickiest thing – actually doing anything, even volunteer work, that’s not stated in your work permit is a violation of your work permit and stay.
Not that that has stopped who knows what number of people here, myself included.
But English lessons and test-prep tutoring seem to be the go-to.
Jenny, it sounds like you’ve thought a lot about all of that – and I’ll say, too, that you may NOT be in the season of your life right now where what you need to be focused on is making extra money!
Right now, that’s totally where I am – and I “know” you well enough from your comments to know that if you needed those extra baht (did I spell that right?), you’d get it done!
Thanks Joan! You spelled baht correctly; though I’ve seen it spelled ‘bath’ I believe that is incorrect, and baht is correct. I have actually picked up a bit of English teaching, but not so much to put me out of my mind. (or hit the $200/week mark). But it’s certainly a help! And teaching is fulfilling. I also remember one of my problems in the past in achieving the extra income streams before – was trying so many at once I was failing at all of them. Better to have the one committed one than stretch yourself and wipe out.
I feel like I’ve been pretty solidly in the ‘gain career experience’ mode for quite some time, since finishing college or before, and will still be in that mode for some time to come.
That said; I’d like to have enough to visit home more; and to know when it’s time to pursue a Master’s Degree I’ll have a landing pad. Even six-twelve months ago it appeared I had a cushion for that which seems to have evaporated for other emergencies (including some master’s classes for license renewal).
Working on the saving end. Broke the budget this month; though I’ll be reimbursed for the visa next month and the doctor trip I really couldn’t put off; should get partially reimbursed for that. There is technically still baht in the drawer that is ‘savings,’ and I’m raiding it because I have 18 baht in my bank book.
If I had to make $200 fast, I’d probably sell one of our TVs or entertainment consoles on craigslist, and have the money in one big chunk. We have way too many of them anyway. 🙂
I just wrote a post this week on my site about 50 ways to make extra money – I’m a big fan of finding side income streams to add to the bottom line. For me I’ve currently got 5-7 regular side income streams coming in from my blogs, my graphic design business, doing site setup and consultation for others and a variety of other things. It helps greatly to have that extra income, and to have it diversified so that if you lose one of them, you’ll still be doing great.
Great post and great idea to find as many streams of income as you can!
Thanks, Peter! I am a huge fan of finding multiples – that was something I picked up way back in the day from books like the One-Minute Millionaire. My challenge lately has been to pick and choose and simplify so that I’m making the MOST profitable use of my time, because there were actually too many!
Hi Peter, whats your site address, I’d like to check it out.
The site can be found by clicking on my name on this post, or on the post above. 🙂
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I would very much like to sell items on Amazon but I am confused on what to sell there. How do you know what will sell or won’t items won’t sell?
Toya, the great thing is that you don’t pay a fee to Amazon UNLESS your item sells – so I list anything that’s in their catalog, and then, hey, if it sells, great! It’s definitely a waiting game, but if you have the patience, there’s money to be made!
You can check out on any Amazon item, by the way, its “sales rank” in its category – anything under 100,000 in a large category like books or DVDs almost always means, yes, this is an item that sells!
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I’ve been looking for tips all night for making some side money. In my opinion I found this article to have been the most helpful/realistic, and enjoyable to read!
Probably because I’ve been thinking of doing Weight Watcher’s and knowing that they have flexible p/t job opportunities is a nice perk, if that’s not motivation to lose weight…I don’t know what is!
I do pet sitting for one client, but I’m realizing if I find a few more people the work might be more steady, so I just made a post on Facebook to my friends to make them aware that I offer overnight pet sitting services. I am even considering dog walking…
Layla, that’s great! The thing that I find is that most people struggle to figure out “where to start,” and the solution is often SOMETHING YOU ALREADY DO. Do more, make it known that you do it, etc.! Good for you!
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Last month I made about $230 from Ebay. I am trying to make about the same this month. I seem to be able to only find the time to maintain between 13-20 items at a time. With my little one at home and all the things to do, I try to get up items when I can. So far I have just put of my stuff that I want to get rid of from the past. When all of it is finally gone, I may go to garage sales and estate sales to look for unique items to sell. For now I am just trying to get more traffic to my sites, which it is hard to find these days. I advertise on Craigslist, Twitter, a bunch of bump it sites, and Pinterest. I skip Facebook, because I don’t want to be a bug to my friends and family, so my FB is just for personal, the rest is not. I would love to have hundreds of items up, but don’t know if I could keep up.
Getting multiple streams of income is really important. A term I first heard from Robert Allen about 20 years ago (name of a book of him, excellent book by the way). Our family has been working on doing online school instructing. It first started as one class and a few hundred a month income. Now have four classes, and will be up to 6 classes by next month. Now pretty significant. Also, have my Fortune 500 company early retirement. Also, subsidized with mystery shopping.
If you’re into graphic design, then selling your art on zazzle can make a nice little profit. I make designs in my spare time, upload 1-2 a month, and then the designs sit there for free and make money (especially around Christmas time in November/December).
A good source for earning some extra money is mystery shopping, also known as secret shopping. What it is is going into the place of business and observe the customer service and that the business the corporate standards. Like I go into McDonalds, have lunch, and report results. I get the lunch reimbursed and a shopper fee. It is nice money, will not get rich. What it is not, glamorous, high end shopping, luxury, etc. there are a lot of scams proposing such and asking upfront money. Avoid those. There are about 400 or more legitimate companies. You register no fee, take a shop and they give specific instructions, do shop, and they pay when accept report. Almost all will have you pay for our purchase upfront (like my McDonalds lunch) and they pay, usually 30-60 days. I have done almost anything one can think over many years. Just some thoughts.
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Thanks, Joan I really enjoyed reading that article. It’s nice to know that my little side jobs are really worth it. I sell princess house, sell on yard sales on line and cook and I take pictures for friends. I now use this money to help pay down my debt. It’ can’t come in fast enough right now! Thank You.
Tina – thanks for your kind words!! Those little bits really do add up – and doesn’t it feel good to see it making a hit against the debt?!
You rock. Keep it up!
Great advice, Joan. Any suggestions for selling a bundle of children’s books? Selling one at a time on Amazon just doesn’t seem worth it.
I’ve sold sets of books (series like Magic Tree House) using our online FB yard sale group in the neighborhood or just emailing other groups of parents through MOMS Club, church, etc. That’s who is looking for them!
Make a bundle deal for the books to someone. Or put in a consignment store would be my suggestion
I am popping back to update, I made an extra $500 with side hustle this week, non sustainable I admit but I would have otherwise just let it waste as I wasn’t using any of it!
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Incredible post Joan, it reminds me of a few years back of taking a 2nd job as an assistant restaurant manager in order to get my financial house in order, pay an outstanding debt and ultimately help me build wealth.
By doing this, I really got a leg up on finances and I encourage others in this boat to do the same. It’s how I approach all debt and wealth building now. My journey to Financial Freedom is paying off and i’m helping others along the way.
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I saw video on Tedx and love how put in place the simple ways to change ones lifestyle. Your journey to Australia for a year and how your enjoy by clearing your stuffs at home.
Amazing and awesome … thanks for sharing , my best regards to your wife Joan and your kid.
I am going read your blog and change myself too.
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I would love to learn how to sell stuff on Amazon. About ten years ago, I tried selling my extra stuff on eBay. None of my stuff sold, and I had to pay them to post it, so I was losing money. Then, I checked out one of their features that helps out people who have trouble with selling. Well, I hooked up with a seller, who had a perfect rating, and he ended up avoiding me after I dropped off my stuff with him. I don’t know if he lost it or sold it. Needless to say, I continue to look for ways that I can earn extra money.
Look up mystery shopping
GREAT POST! Joan- you are truly an inspiration.
I will be sending this to some friends!
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I would love to do a bunch of small things and make money! I just don’t know what I’m good at!!!
To make some extra money, on the side, I have started doing some online tutoring. I teach English to a Japanese student, several times a week, via Skype. I enjoy it, and I can work from home.
I would love to make money on the side. Problem is I am only 17 but I will have to leave home next year and get at least a flat. Any advice as to what I can do at my age? Bearing in mind I am still at school.
I read your article and found it to be such a relief. I’m currently in a situation where my tenant is moving out, and as a result I will be $250 a week SHORT to make ends meet. I do not want another tenant, so I Googled “how to make $250 a week” and was pleasantly surprised to see that I’m already on the right track! I’m a single mum with two kids, and work full time. The ex pays NO child support, so nothing coming from that direction. I sell Mary Kay but that does not bring in a lot at the moment. I’ve got excellent secretarial skills so I recently started advertising on our local Facebook buy/swap pages for me to type, and I’ve developed a pretty busy resume business! Also, I have a desert garden and each weekend when I’m weeding I dig out the pups and since I can’t bear to throw them out, I went to the Reject Shop and bought several cheap plastic pots and potting soil, and have been selling potted cactus like hotcakes, also on Facebook. In addition, I do LOTS of mystery shops, as I am registered with 6 different companies (at the moment). Reading your comment of “It’s great to recoup a little money for something we were doing anyway.” is totally true. Find something you are already doing and find a way to make money at it. I’m trying to figure out how to increase what I’m already doing to make up for the loss of this tenant, but at least I know I’m on the right track. Thank you!
I read your column and truthfully I find it full of mularky. If you are able to do all of this then you must not have any children or else you would be spending a fortune in childcare because lets face it in reality there is no way you can work full time from home and have little ones screaming and needing you constantly. So you would need in home child care. And if they are older then they would be into sports and after school activities. As for the Weight Watchers around here people are only volunteering to be the receptionist and the same for a leader. All the money goes to rental for the room and to the corporation nothing for those who ” work” outside the actual corporation.
Not only that but all of those ” gigs” would overlap and you would end up getting fired from your out of the house gig or have to give up one more likely two of the other gigs.
People are desperately looking for a real way to make extra money please don’t feed them a bunch of bull and make money off desperate folks.
So true. The article is impractical for family with kids.
Selling on Amazon is something I tried but failed miserably. I have a day job in IT industry and part time blog, together I earn around $10,000 gross every month. We are two and my wife doesn’t want to do anything for work. She’s happy with her hobbies and taking care of home. with blog and job I don’t really have time for other things. my wife could have helped a bit..let me show this post to her.
Joan, would you please share how you went about learning what you needed to know to set up websites? I’ve worked in IT all my career ( mostly in Quality Assurance and systems design), but website design and set up is a mystery to me! Thank you…
A lot of good ideas here. Other than occasionally repairing a computer on the side for friends and co-workers, I can’t really think of anything I could do. Now my grandfather used to garden and would sell by roadsides and roast/boil peanuts and sell them to local convenience stores to make ends meet.
I really am refreshed at the stories of putting together multiple strings of income for some people. I am about to get started on ebay with the goal of starting up my own little merchand website with home crafted goods. its gonna take me a few months to get it all together up and running but I am definetly extremely exited and motivated.
Wow. Sounds like an awful life. Better to NOT spend so much, then you don’t have to sacrifice your whole life to scrounging for money. You sell all of your stuff at a loss. Don’t buy it in the first place. This lifestyle is simply not sustainable …