For fraudsters, no target too small

A lot of people I know get at least part of their income from a side business. For instance, before I quit my job, I was freelance-writing on the side. I have friends who give private yoga lessons, who sell handmade items on Etsy, and who pet-sit. Before my mom retired, she started her sewing business and sold clothing online and at trade shows.

Technology has made it easier than ever to run these small businesses. There's an inexpensive and time-saving solution for everything from the proposal to invoicing. In fact, my invoicing software even helps me track income and expenses, which makes life a lot easier come tax time.

There is a downside

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How I sold my comic books (and why)

It's fun to meet readers for coffee or lunch. It used to seem a little strange that random strangers knew so much about my life, but nowadays it just makes conversations easier.

People always want to know about three things:

  • How's Kris, my ex-wife? (Answer: Kris is fine. We see each other often. I help her with tech stuff and share my Portland Timbers tickets with her and her boyfriend. She gives me pickles.)
  • How are the cats? (Answer: The cats are also fine. They all live with Kris. They're getting older and fatter and lazier, as cats will do.)
  • How's my comic book collection?

The answer to that last question is actually vastly more complicated than the answers to the first two. You see, I've (almost) given up comics completely.

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Being a landlord: Is it worth it?


In 2006, my husband and I bought our first rental property. We put 10 percent down ($8,500) on a small brick ranch in the same Midwestern community that we call home. I had gotten my real estate license several years prior, so I had some basic knowledge to build from. We still weren't 100 percent sure about what it meant to be a landlord, but we thought that it would be a great opportunity to build long-term wealth. We also hoped that the home would provide a passive income stream for us once it was paid off. A few months later, we converted our starter home into our second rental, and we bought and moved into our third home, where we currently reside.

So, there we were - 27 years old, with two rental properties and high hopes that everything would turn out as planned. Another landlord we know gave us a copy of his lease to use, and we got lots of advice from other friends who own rental property. We placed ads in the local newspaper and signs in the yards of both homes. Luckily, they both rented out quickly for the amount that we asked without much effort. We were young, dumb, and in love...and we thought that we were real estate moguls!

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Stop Being the Person You Think You Are

How's your life going? Do dark nights of the soul outweigh the good days? Have you spent more time than you care to acknowledge wishing for something — anything — other than what you have?

Get over it.

It's not that simple, obviously. But in order to move in the direction you desire, you need to stop being stuck in the place where you are right now. Specifically, you need to stop being the person you think you are.

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Can’t get a job? Get a microjob!

Looking for work? Somebody out there wants you to design websites, board dogs, run errands, write blot posts, do laundry, deliver packages, be a virtual assistant.

Sites like eLance, TaskRabbit, Fiverr, 99designs and are virtual employment offices offering gigs you can pick up and put down as needed. Sometimes you bid on jobs and sometimes you post your own ad, whether serious or offbeat. (“I will create a lacrosse trick and name it after you.”)

Whether you call this consulting, freelance or “microjobs,” more of us are headed that way, according to Kristin Cardinale. The author of The 9-to-5 Cure, Cardinale cites U.S. Department of Labor projections that “millions of short-term workers” are needed.


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How I Won $10,200 on Game Shows

Can you spin a wheel, answer in the form of a question, or guess the price of a showcase without going over? If so, appearing on games shows can be a fun way to earn some extra cash.

Way back in the 1900s, when I moved to Hollywood, I won $7200 on Wheel of Fortune and $3000 on the now-defunct DEBT. Being a contestant on game shows was fun and profitable. I'll tell you how you can do it too!

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The Real Secret to Making Money by Following Your Passion

You've probably heard the line about following your passion to the bank. Just do something you love and cash in...right?

As an astute reader of Get Rich Slowly, chances are you also know that there's more to it than that. Lots of people follow their passions and fail to make any money. Meanwhile, others are indeed able to craft a new life for themselves — and earn a lot of money — by pursuing something they love to do and finding a way to craft a business around it. What's the difference between these two groups? What separates those who fail from those who succeed?

Well, it's not about working less, manifesting riches, or waiting for wealth to arrive at your doorstep. It's about making something that improves the state of the world — or at least the lives of a small group of people willing to pay for it. It's about working more, but spending your time on the things you love to do.

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Book review: The $100 Startup

In March, I attended the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas, and I had a chance to meet a few online personalities face-to-face, like former GRS staff writer Adam Baker of the Man vs. Debt blog. I also attended a session called The $100 Startup, a book reading led by Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity.

Long-time readers know that J.D. and Chris are good friends, which is why J.D.'s not reviewing this book. I, however, hadn't met Chris until attending his SXSW session. I'd like to think this would make me an unbiased book reviewer, but the truth is that the guy is just instantly likeable. His session that day felt much like it did to read his book: a personal conversation with a friend who sincerely wants to help you out.

So there's my disclaimer — nicest guy ever. Luckily for me, his book is a must-read for anyone who's harboring a desire to start a small business ('cause how awful would it be to have to write a scathing review of a book by the nicest guy ever?). Continue reading...

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How to make money at the farmers market

This is a guest post from Lee Doppelt and originally appeared on The Dollar Stretcher.

You enjoy sauntering around your community's farmers market each Saturday morning. Besides purchasing fresh produce, baked goods, and homemade crafts for gifts, you feel good about supporting local growers and producers. Additionally, it's fun to meet friends at the market.

The wood carving that you do is a fun hobby and friends have raved about your finished projects. They've encouraged you to create more and sell them. Perhaps having a booth at the farmers market would be worth trying.

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How and why I sold Get Rich Slowly

When I started Get Rich Slowly — on 15 April 2006 — it made very little money. It earned a few pennies per day. Slowly, the income grew. A few pennies per day turned into a few dollars per day, and that turned into tens of dollars per day. Eventually I was making enough money from this site that I could quit my day job to blog full time. The last time I mentioned my income on GRS, I wrote that I was making $5,000 a month. That was in November of 2007, I think. Then my wife, my lawyer, and my accountant all asked me to stop writing about my income. When that holy trinity speaks in unison, you listen, right?

The more I worked on this site, the more the income increased. I won't say how much I was making, but if you read Crystal's guest post from earlier this month, you can make some educated guesses.

As Get Rich Slowly grew, one of the curious side effects was that people began to make offers to buy the site. I always ignored those offers.

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