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Easy Money

If you think earning extra money is a nice idea, but unrealistic, think again. Nowadays it’s easier than ever to put extra cash in your pocket.

Gina Conroy
December 29, 2017

Money. It’s something we need, but most of us never seem to have enough. Many people hold full-time jobs and still find they’re living paycheck to paycheck with no room for things that aren’t in the budget. Other people do OK. They might even save enough money for a vacation, until that unexpected medical bill, retirement or car repair sucks the money right out of their savings. Then there is the rest of the population; drowning in debt.

Wouldn’t it be nice to make some extra money to pay those unexpected (or reoccurring) bills on time, say yes to your child when they ask for that toy or when you just want to splurge a little?

Of course it would. But who has the time or ingenuity that it takes to get out of the rat race? If you think earning extra money is a nice idea, but unrealistic, think again. Nowadays it’s easier than ever to put extra cash in your pocket or create an income stream you never thought was possible. All you need is a little knowledge and some creativity to start earning your way to a vacation or to pay off your debt. Here are a few ideas to get you started.


Beyond the garage sale
Though many people opt to sell their unwanted items on eBay and Craigslist instead of a garage sale, did you know that locally selling your items in Facebook groups can be more effective and profitable? Plus, you don’t have to worry about the hassle and cost of shipping.

“I found that I can bring in more money from the local buy, sell, trade Facebook pages than from a garage sale,” says Kim Zwegardt. “It’s very easy to go through your house and find things you don’t want or no longer use to make some extra money.” You can take selling to the next level by hunting for bargains at garage sales and consignment shops, and then sell them for a profit.

With the convenience of the Facebook Marketplace, all you have to do is take a picture of your item, create a listing, then choose the groups to upload your item to and wait for people to contact you via Messenger. The last step to cashing in is setting up a time and drop off location. Many people meet in the parking lots of Walgreens, QuikTrip, or other public locations for safety and convenience.


Go domestic
Mary Shipman always had a food garden growing up. Now she sells her garden produce, homemade jellies and pickles at the farmers market. “Everyone in the family loved my dill and butter pickles as well as my jellies,” says Shipman. “So we began taking the extra produce I didn’t want to the markets.”

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can still earn some extra income by doing odd jobs like house and car cleaning, ironing or baking for the holidays. You can even earn extra income house, animal or baby-sitting. Many people also need help when they are out of town with small things like lawn mowing, picking up the mail, dusting and general cleaning.

Michael Conroy started his own business by setting up mole traps in neighbors’ yards. “I’d charge $25 a mole when they were caught, which was much less than the other companies out there,” says Conroy.


Share your space
Room rental is becoming a more popular way to earn money than ever before with websites such as Airbnb and VRBO that, for a nominal fee, allow you to list your spare room or entire home or apartment for short- or long-term rentals.

“As a host, I have had great experiences,” says Mary Jo Masterson. “My favorite part of the process is that along with getting rated as a host from every guest, we give guests a review after checkout. This allows for screening of any guest you accept to be sure your room or property will be cared for. My business partner and I have never regretted our decision to be part of the hosting community.

“As a guest, I have stayed in several homes, both renting a single room and an entire condo. All have been great experiences. My only recommendation would be to check what amenities are included so you will have everything you need.”


Ride share
With apps like Uber and Lyft, ride share is becoming the most popular and fastest growing form of transportation. Many people use this transportation to areas that have difficult parking or to avoid driving under the influence. Others rely on it for getting to work when their personal vehicle is unavailable.

For the driver, making money is as easy as hopping in your car and driving away. After the initial background checks, paperwork and insurance verification, all you have to do is turn on the app and wait for a call.

Jennifer Hanson has been driving for Lyft for a year. “It’s great for people who like people, have a clean car and have a flexible schedule,” says Hanson. “How much you make is up to you.”


Create and sell
Amanda Schatzmann started crocheting for fun in her senior year of high school. Six years later, at 23, she sells everything from crocheted dolls and baby blankets to gloves and ear warmers. “Etsy as well as Facebook is a great way to sell crafted goods,” she says.

Schatzmann also suggests start selling to friends, and then expanding to other markets. “If you have stuff that will for sure sell and is not custom, try a craft fair or the flea market.”


Cash in your passion
“Instead of using your time and energy at a nine-to-five job that is not really your passion, try doing what you love and sharing it with others,” says Christina Worley who turned her love for singing, and playing guitar and piano into a teaching career. “I think it’s Dave Ramsey who said fond out what you love to do and then do it for a living.”

Worley acknowledges stepping out to pursue your passions can be scary. “It’s kind of like walking on water, and it is a step of faith but everyone has to start somewhere,” she says.

Jamie Barthel started his wrestling academy with 50 percent inspiration and 50 percent desperation. “When I was in college, I was really hungry,” says Barthel. “God was calling me to coach wrestling, so I started my own academy.”

According to Barthel, having a business plan and good organizational skills are key when starting out, but you have to be confident to attract clients. “You have to know what you’re doing, and you have to be able to network with people,” he says.


Teach or tutor
Do you have a special hobby or skill? Why not teach or tutor? From creative writing and painting, to financial and retirement planning or health and fitness, the internet is a great way to market your skills. You can keep it simple and advertise on sites like Thumbtack or create a course and take it to a community college or continuing education program. Do you want to expand your market and income? You can take your course to the internet with websites like Teachable or Udemy.


Decades ago, it was rare to find someone moonlighting after their full-time job, but according to a national survey of the New Workforce: Freelancing in America, 53 million Americans are doing freelance work, making it the new normal. That’s 34 percent of the population agreeing that the old way of working isn’t working, so they’ve taken their skills beyond their day job.

For the last four years, Linda Fulkerson has been freelancing full time by coaching and consulting for self-published authors, doing graphic design, building websites, and social media management. “I live in a small town, and the first two websites I sold were to well-respected businesses,” says Fulkerson. “The others were easy because I had two excellent references.”

Fulkerson says the key to growing her business was to spoil her current clients. “I try to do more than they hire me to do, and before I know it, I’ll get an email that says one of their friends recommended me,” she says.

While writers, editors and graphic designers can utilize sites like BlogMutt, Fiverr, and 99designs, no matter what type of freelancing you do, places like Upwork, Toptal and Elance are great places to start.


Network Marketing
Yes, it’s true, network marketing gets a bad rap and is often mistaken for a pyramid scheme, but nothing could be further from the truth. MLMs or network marketing is a legitimate business structure with income potential unattainable in the normal job market. So why are so many people leery of network marketing opportunities?

“People are accustomed to trading their time for wages and having that instant gratification of a paycheck,” says Jason Chillemi, who has been working his World Ventures business for just over a year. “A job is the opposite of network marketing. With a job, you work two weeks and get paid. However, this creates a future of struggle, poverty and surviving until we die.

“Network marketing allows you to work long periods of time while you grow and build, develop and shape, and create a future of prosperity, abundance and most importantly freedom. I’m more excited about my life and future now than I ever was working a 40 hour a week job in IT.”


Whether you have a short-term goal of paying off a debt or taking a family vacation, or have a real desire to change your lifestyle, with all the creative options for earning extra income, there really is no excuse not to do what you dream.