When I talk with people who are out of work, it's heartbreaking to hear how much they are suffering from their lack of income. When you don't have a way to make money, doing all of the other things that you need to do to find a job becomes next to impossible. For example, going to an interview means that you have to be able to buy an interview outfits, or at least be able to get your suit dry cleaned. Then, you have to pay for things like printing copies of your resume and gas or bus fare to get to the interview – all in hopes that you'll get the job. Sure, it might not sound like a lot, but when you're trying to make a very limited amount of money last, a few dollars for gas can be next to impossible.
However, even if you haven't had much luck finding a full-time job, there are still ways that you can use your free time to make a little cash. In earlier blogs, I gave some ideas about how to get a side hustle going, and then later, I listed a few more ways to make money.
After the second blog, I thought that I had run out of ideas for making money at home, but now I have 5 more, even crazier ways to make extra money:
Sell ad space on your car. Have you ever seen those cars that are covered in advertisements for things like energy drinks and potato chips? Well, the people driving them are being paid to drive around in what amounts to a mobile billboard. It might sound crazy, but believe it or not, people who participate in these promotions are typically paid between $400-$900 a month and often are given free use of the car. It's a great deal, but getting it can be tough. You have to go to a website like FreeCarMedia and enter your location and driving habits. If a sponsor wants to reach people in your area, they will notify you and you can take it from there. Typically, you'll be required to drive a certain number of miles every week. Just as a word of warning, if you don't live in a very populated area or don't drive much, your chances of being selected for these opportunities are slim. Also, there are many sites that claim to be databases of companies looking for drivers, be careful and do your research to ensure that you aren't being scammed. A good rule of thumb is if they charge you a fee to sign up or to increase your chances, they probably aren't a legitimate company.
Become a Direct Seller on Ebay. There are many websites that can give you more information about this, but in general, the idea is that by partnering with a company that has a large selection of products, you can list their items for sale on Ebay. Once the item is sold, the direct seller will handle the shipping of the product and you receive a cut of the profits. It sounds complicated, but it works a lot like other sales jobs like Avon or Amway. You sell the product, purchase it from the company at a wholesale price and they give the product to your customer. As with any work at home opportunities, be on the lookout for scammers who want to take advantage of you. If the company requires large start-up fees or requires you to buy products up front, you probably don't want to do business with them.
Sell your gold jewelry. Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed that the price of gold has reached record high levels. Almost everywhere you look in any major city you'll see signs for places that offer to buy your gold. In fact, there are even companies that offer “gold parties” that work sort of like the old Tupperware party. You invite a bunch of people over and a representative from a gold buying company gives a presentation. Your guest can bring their gold and get appraisals and even payments on the spot. As the host, you will get a percentage of the total purchases.
Be a mystery shopper. This is a job that is super hot for scammers. If you want to be a mystery shopper, be aware of this and do your research before working with any company. As with anything, if the company asks you to pay a registration fee, they are probably not legitimate. That being said, there are real mystery shopping opportunities. Mystery Shopping Providers Association is a reputable company that offers a list of legitimate companies. As a mystery shopper, you can get paid for visiting certain businesses and then reviewing them. If you live in a metro area, you have a higher chance of being able to find these opportunities.
Rent out a room. If you have a family, you might not feel very comfortable having a roommate, but if you have the space, it can be a great way to save money on your housing costs. If you have an extra room, there are many places where you can advertise your room for rent. Be sure to do your research and find out about local and state rental laws as well as a background check for your new tenant.
Finding ways to earn extra money on the side is hard, but with some creativity you'll find that there are lots of opportunities, you just have to look for them.
What do you do to earn extra money? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.