The discussion yesterday about how to earn money when you've lost your job got me thinking about ways to earn extra income outside regular employment. None of these are quick fixes, but they're ways to generate cash in your spare time.
Get a second job
- To pay off your debt
- To build up your savings
- To get more experience
- To ease into a career transition
Real-life example: In 2000, I took a second job programming computers. For several months, I was working sixty hours a week. I've never been so flush with money in all my life. Too bad I was a spendthrift back then — it was all wasted on computer games, comic books, and Magic cards.
Become a consultant
Earlier this year, Andréa wrote a guest entry about becoming a consultant to defeat debt quickly:
“Consulting” may sound intimidating. It's really just a fancy word for someone who trades their knowledge and expertise for pay. Every time you make a suggestion, recommend a process, draw up a plan or manage a process, you're using consulting skills. To get into consulting, you just need to find someone who can use your expertise.
Read more advice about how to become a consultant at Andréa's site.
Real-life example: After I decided that computer programming was not for me, I set up a small computer consulting business. I designed web pages, maintained networks, and repaired computers. Though I didn't have much work (I never pursued the business as much as I could have), my hourly pay was the highest it's ever been in my life.
Earn money from your hobbies
If you're like most people, your hobbies cost money. They may cost lots of money. For example, I used to spend hundreds of dollars for new camera lenses just so I could take better photos of my cats. Is there a way to turn your hobby into a money-making proposition? Even if you make just a little cash, you can help offset your costs. Get Rich Slowly readers have been sharing their stories about money-making hobbies in an ongoing (though irregular) Sunday series:
- Selling digital photos (more here)
- Binding books and printing buttons
- Mystery shopping and belly dancing
Here are some more ways that you can use your hobbies to bring you wealth.
Real-life example: After spending a fortune on lenses and camera equipment, I've actually been able to make a little money on my hobby. The $750 I've generated from prizes and sales is peanuts compared to what I've spend on the hobby, but it's a start.
Make money online
Wait. Didn't I just write that blogging is no way to get rich quick? Absolutely. But blogging can be a way to supplement your income. If you have subject that you're passionate about, and if you like to write, a blog can let you earn extra money from your expertise.
Real-life example: This blog.
A final way to earn some extra cash is to sell things. Look in your closets. Check your bookshelves. Walk out to the garage. See all that junk? How much of it do you actually use? Couldn't you borrow books from the library when you need them? When was the last time you played Mario Kart 64? Wouldn't you feel better if your house were less cluttered?
As long as you don't try to sell it all at once, it doesn't take much time and effort to sell your used stuff to generate some extra cash.
- Sell your most valuable items on eBay. (My eBay tips.)
- Consider selling certain specialty items to specific stores: sell your used CDs to a music store, your used Nintendo stuff to a game store, etc.
- Use Craigslist to sell bulky items, or to get rid of stuff that just won't sell. (My Craigslist tips.)
- Hold a garage sale to purge everything else. (Our annual garage sale is just a month away — I can't wait.)
Real-life example: Once or twice a year, I sell extra stuff I've accumulated. Each year at our garage sale, I make about $300. Every couple years, I sell more valuable items on eBay. Last year I made $1500 for a few hours of work.
Use your extra money wisely!
What should you do with the extra money you earn using these techniques? Put it in a high yield savings account, establish an emergency fund, pay off debt, and then save for retirement!