Finding ways to make a little extra income on the side can help relieve the burden of monthly bills. This is true for nearly any family but especially true if you’re out of work, unable to work, or otherwise experiencing a dip in your monthly income. Such cases can cause panic—rightfully so—and getting some additional income coming in can really help. There are plenty of ways to make money out there, but those with low startup cost are often the best for periods of financial uncertainty.
Side Hustles & Passive Income
Before wading into the world of side-hustles, passive income, or even a small business it’s important to consider a few things. First, and arguably the most important, is how much money it’s going to cost you to get started. There are many Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) businesses out there such as Avalon, LuLaRoe, or even Herbalife that can help earn side income but also require significant startup investment. If you’re already strapped for cash these aren’t an option. The second most important thing to consider is the amount of time you’ll need to invest. If you have 3 young children you’re probably not going to be able to devote 8 hours a day to anything—much less a side hustle! Just keep these two things in mind as we discuss a few different ways to make money.
Sell Things You Don’t Need
This is a no-brainer and you’re likely already doing it. Yard sales, Craigslist, and even eBay are great ways to get rid of things that you no longer use. This can be as big as an extra washing machine or as small as a shirt—there’s a market for anything! For the things that have been used or are damaged too much to resell consider donating them to organizations such as Salvation Army or local thrift shops. You won’t get any cash-in-hand but you can use those tax write-offs to help make what money you already have last a bit longer. Here’s a quick list of some of the best places to sell used stuff online:
- Facebook Marketplace
However, be careful of upfront costs and percentages that get deducted for selling on marketplaces.
If you’d like to save and sell on a platform that doesn’t charge any fees or percentages try out https://www.sheepbuy.com.
Sheepbuy makes buying and selling easy as it allows buyers and sellers to transact directly with each other. There are no fees or commissions for selling and it's secure as all transactions are processed through PayPal. They even have a free tier so you can start selling right away.
Create New Things to Be Sold
Many people often underutilize their talents. If you’re a creative type there is an endless amount of small creative craft-type products you can sell to others. Hand-knit gloves, custom-made picture frames, logo designs (calligraphy), or maybe even just your art. While some artists find big money online, it’s more likely that you’ll find a moderate amount of success unless you offer something truly remarkable. This shouldn’t discourage you—just have realistic expectations. There are a lot of online businesses that make it easy to sell prints of your work without having to invest in expensive equipment or manage annoying shipping costs. One of the most-notable ways to sell your hand-made crafts or art online is through Etsy.
Affiliate Marketing and/or Blogging
Are you an expert on anything? Do you enjoy becoming an expert on certain subjects? If you feel like either of these two describe you then affiliate marketing or blogging could be your ticket. Affiliate marketing is basically just a fancy way of saying that you advertise other people’s products. You don’t have to have a website to do this—many do it directly through social media—but it helps things out quite a bit. The basic setup looks like this: create a website that discusses a certain topic and within the content on that site include links to products that will earn you a commission when people buy something. You don’t have to buy inventory and if a product ever goes out of stock you can just link to another one! It’s hard to make a living with affiliate marketing but it’s easy to get a bit of extra financial help with it. To learn more about how to start a blog and getting started with affiliate marketing check out the Money Mound website for a quick crash course.
Pick Up Some Side Jobs
Depending on your schedule, you may have several blocks during the day which you’re able to work. Checking the local Craigslist posting for odd jobs like dog-walking, lawn-care, or even house cleaning can be a great way to earn extra money. What you’re able to do will obviously be dependent on your skillset, but it’s likely you can find something to suit your needs. If you have a professional skill that is more marketable to a global market, try checking out websites like UpWork or Freelancer.com to find skilled contract jobs that range anywhere from a few hours to several months. There’s a lot of competition in these markets but if you have a skill don’t be afraid to toss your hat into the ring!
Crowd Sourced Labor
The evolution of the internet has been a great thing for those of us who like to earn money on our own terms. Newer companies like Uber, Lyft, and even Amazon are providing ways for anyone to earn money at their own pace, on their own schedule. Signing up to be an Uber or Lyft driver might take an afternoon of your time but afterward, you’ll be able to earn some extra money whenever you have a few minutes to spare. One lesser known types of these programs is the Amazon Flex program which provides income in exchange for package deliveries in your local area. This is a great option if you aren’t necessarily keen on having to deal with strangers in your car.
Learning how to generate some passive income for you and your family can be a great learning experience. The skills needed to compete against others to sell your products, or market a website can be invaluable ways to refine your professional skills. Sometimes an affiliate website that starts out as a hobby might bud into a newfound passion. Keeping a level head about how much money you’re putting into your side hustle is important. If you’re strapped for cash, look for ways to make money that involve little to no initial startup costs. Only you can know which type of side business might fit into your lifestyle but all the different approaches listed here have the potential to help!