5 Ways to Make More Money in Under 10 Hours a Week
Money may not buy you love or happiness, but it sure does make life easier, doesn't it?
Besides ensuring you have access to all the basic necessities, money also gives you a certain freedom that you might not have had otherwise. Freedom to travel, freedom to pursue more education, freedom to be a little picky about how you earn your living and yes, freedom to enjoy yourself just a bit more. (See also: Money Really Can Buy Happiness)
Unfortunately with the economy still dragging its feet, making some extra cash isn't always an easy thing to do… or is it? Here are five ways to make more money in under 10 hours a week.
1. Clean Out Your Closet...
In the past, this meant having the big, weekend-long yard sale, but let's be honest; that was often more trouble than it was worth. Besides, we're looking for ideas that don't keep you tied down all weekend, so let's revamp this idea by using all this great technology we've come to know and love.
You could certainly use eBay to sell some things, but eBay gets a percentage, and then you still have shipping to contend with, taking even more profit out of your pocket. Craigslist is a better choice, and because it's local, you have much more control over how and when you deliver the goods. (See also: 15 Places to Sell Your Stuff)
...And Sell Your Junk on Facebook
But the best way, in my opinion, to sell used clothing and household items is to turn to Facebook.
Facebook's Group function has enabled communities to create "virtual" yard sales, posting as many or as few items as needed, so that they'll be seen by others in surrounding areas. That means your buyers no longer have to drive all weekend to "happen" upon your sale. All they have to do is scan the Facebook Group page to see what fantastic items you've posted.
I picked up a wonderful selection of baby clothes for my new niece and I also found those coveted Miss Me jeans that my daughter just has to have for about half the price. Gently used of course, but that's better than paying full retail. And given how much I enjoyed the shopping experience, you can bet I'll be back.
Start with your closet and then work your way around the house… I've seen everything from clothes and shoes to books, toys, kitchen gadgets, fishing equipment, and even parts for a car. Listing is easy and with FB notifications on a smartphone, you'll always instantly know when someone inquires about your items. (See also: Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff)
2. Hang Your Shingle
I make my money as a full-time freelance writer, but before I took that leap, I did it part-time. And you can, too.
For years, I worked in an office during the day and then went home to write at night. I chose the jobs I wanted based on the amount of time could commit and in the process, created a steady little second income and eventually parlayed that into a full-time career. (See also: A Beginner's Guide to Freelancing)
If you need to go on vacation, don't book any jobs for that week. And if you find some clients who really like your work, you may end up with a regular stream of extra income, week after week after week.
Now, don't get me wrong; freelancing definitely has its share of headaches. To get those great gigs, you have to market yourself — a lot. You won't always get the jobs you're bidding on, so you have to keep bidding and learn to take rejection. That's just the nature of the beast, and you'll need thick skin if you want to succeed.
But it can be done, and contrary to popular opinion, there's a ton of work out there just waiting for you to find it. Outsourcing is becoming the new way to do business, so establishing yourself now may well open a new long-term career opportunity down the road.
If you can't or don't want to write, no worries. There are a variety of freelancing jobs out there, from graphic design and desktop publishing to accounting, office administration, and data entry. Take a look at Elance to see what type of freelancing jobs are available.
3. Leverage Your Mower and Other "First Job" Jobs
Mowing yards has long been a great "first job" for kids, but there's no reason you can't rekindle this skill to increase your income. The "team" that mows my mother's yard is comprised of three full-grown men. They arrive with a trailer full of equipment and do a bang-up job for $30 bucks. Now, think: How many yards could you do over a weekend?
And if mowing's not your thing, then look at some of those other "first jobs" to see what is. I'm writing this in February, for example, so mowing probably isn't in big demand, but what about shoveling snow? (See also: 30 Great Side Jobs)
Can you walk your neighbors' dogs or care for them while your neighbors go out of town? Can you babysit? House-sit? Tutor?
All those tried and true jobs we held as teens still offer plenty of opportunity, especially since you're now much more dependable and trustworthy than you were as a teen.
To solicit new customers, run an ad in your local newspaper or post flyers on public bulletin boards at the library and your grocery stores. You'd be amazed at how many people are willing to pay for just such a service.
4. Turn Your Garden Canning Hobby Into an Income
Small-scale, home-based food businesses are on the rise, and the states are responding with something known as "Cottage Food Legislation." These laws outline how, when, and where individuals can sell homemade goods to the public. Think Farmer's Market, a roadside stand, or even selling over the internet if you can handle the business and don't mind the shipping. In fact, the only thing that cottage food legislation seems to exclude is wholesale marketing, meaning that you could build a business to consumer (B2C) business right from your kitchen counter. (See also: How to Preserve Food)
Every state is different, of course, so you'll want to be sure you're familiar with local laws. To give you an example, Texas (my home state) allows up to $50,000 in annual sales before I need to worry about going officially commercial.
I can sell jams, jellies, dry herbs, and any home baked goods that are non-hazardous. There are labeling requirements, and you'll certainly want to check into any liability issues that might affect your homeowner's insurance, but it's otherwise fairly straightforward. I'm still testing the waters (and the recipes!), so I haven't yet ventured into any serious marketing or production yet, but the few things I have done (some tomato jam last summer, for example) has worked really well and produced instant cash when I needed it.
And if you like to cook and bake on a regular basis, well then, all the better.
5. Sell Your Handiwork
We've talked about marketing yourself as a freelancer and we've explored your culinary skills, but what about all those other wonderful talents that you possess? (See also: Awesome Money-Making Hobbies)
Are you crafty? Do you paint or make jewelry by hand? If so, you can sell your wares online, and you don't even need your own website to do it. Places like Etsy and Artfire are devoted to giving those with a knack for arts and crafts a place to sell their goods and this type of merchandise has become so popular that even Amazon now has categories for homemade products.
If arts and crafts isn't your thing, then consider other skills and abilities that you could parlay into cash. In high school, for example, I wrote poems for my friends — mostly girls who wanted their exes to understand the pain they had endured after the breakup — but the reason didn't matter: I liked writing poetry and my friends needed a poet. It was a win-win.
Sites like Fiverr or GigBucks offer the perfect venue to market this type of service, along with a whole host of other unique services that you may not have considered doing before. Granted, some sites limit the amount you can make and/or charge a commission on your earnings, but others don't, so you should be able to find a reasonable price for the services/skills you want to offer.
Now, this was just my top five. I'm sure there are other, equally good ideas out there, so share! Tell us how you make extra money when you need it.