Working in the nonprofit industry sometimes means taking a hit in your salary. Not that it isn’t worth it – it’s just – money is money, and we all need it whether we like it or not. Of course, God always provides, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to put in a little extra time and effort. Who knows, it could be a part of His plan for you to branch out a little. Here are 9 great ways to earn legitimate side cash:
Sell your crafts on Etsy. This can be tricky. You start off thinking, “oh, this is going to be a great way to earn money.” It is easier said than done, but certainly not impossible. Just know that it’s not as simple as listing your crafts and watching the dollars add up. First, you need your photographs to look good. Then, you really need to think through your pricing plan. Start with your friends and family and ask them to give reviews after purchasing. If you thoroughly enjoy making the craft you are selling, it won’t really matter if it doesn’t sell right away. It will be a pleasant surprise when it sells!
Resource: The Etsy Sellers Handbook
Caution: Be ready to proactively market your products. Start a Facebook page for them, consider Google or Facebook ads, etc.
Become a notary. This requires a small investment upfront. I think all in all I paid about $300 for the online program, the test and the supplies (but don’t quote me). But, it’s good for 4 years and so long as you don’t post hours, it’s completely on your own time. I can only speak for CA. My boss actually finds it useful because he frequently notarizes international letters to pastors. I would never dream of charging him, but he does pay me and it definitely helps us out. I could even do things like loan documents and earn much more since so many signatures are required at one time.
Resource: Start with the Secretary of State’s site for your state and search “notary.” Each state has different requirements.
Caution: Be diligent in checking prices for classes and supplies. Some programs can really rip you off. Also make sure whatever site you go with is completely legal.
Blogging. I’m sure after a few years in whatever position you hold in the philanthropy world, you will gain a wealth of experience that others will find useful. After all, that’s the business we’re all in, isn’t it? Helping others. You can start your own blog, guest blog for others or even ghost blog. Just make sure it’s something that you enjoy. Try typing up a page on any topic of your choice. If at the end of writing it, you feel energized rather than drained, then give it a try! You will need a few sample articles to submit with your applications if you are freelancing.
Resource: List of Freelance Writing Sites
Caution: If you are starting your own blog, you won’t make money until you’ve generated enough traffic to put up worthwhile ads, put together an eBook, write paid book reviews, etc. Also, if you are using a freelance site, make sure the workload is something you can handle on the side before applying.
Graphic design. Are you creative? Do you have a good handle on Photoshop? How about Illustrator and InDesign? If so, try making something out of it. Don’t expect a lot of money upfront. You really need to have experience and education to earn as much as you probably pay your graphic designer at work. But, how do you think they got started? You just have to get out there and do it. Try a flyer, simple brochure, facebook cover photos or status quotes. Put together a few samples (a portfolio) before asking people if they need designs.
Resource: I learn almost everything by googling specifics within a program and by watching tutorials (small monthly fee) on www.lynda.com. I highly recommend Lynda.com.
Caution: You need to be able to take criticism, start small, be patient, watch the time you’re putting into it and like anything, networking is key.
mTurk. This is Amazon’s program. You won’t earn a lot of money doing this, but after about two weeks of doing tasks at lunch, I earned about $20. You do simple things like Google terms and give them the results that come up, transcribe an audio clip into text, take surveys, write short product descriptions, etc. The possibilities are endless, it’s whatever people want to post. Sometimes you can find a good survey that will only take you 15 minutes or so for $0.75 (or more!…or less). That doesn’t sound like much, but if you’ve brought your lunch with you, you’re sitting at your desk with nothing else to do, why not?
Resource: mTurk Tips from the Simple Dollar
Caution: Again, in my experience, this is strictly if you are killing time. It can add up though. Also, beware of scams, use good judgment before accepting a “hit.”
Sell stuff you don’t need. I’m talking about eBay, Craigslist, yard sales, book buyback programs, etc. Walk through your house and mentally pick out things you haven’t used in the last two years. Be honest, would you really miss that item if you got rid of it? You haven’t used it in two years. You probably forgot it was there until you noticed it again. Sell it! One time my husband and I got on this yard sale kick. We’d go to yard sales looking for desirable stuff we could sell for a higher price. Not only was it fun, but we spent quality time together. And, you meet your neighbors. Win, win…win.
Resource: If you have electronics that are not too old, you can actually get decent money for them at www.gazelle.com.
Caution: I would use a yard sale as a last resort. You can really make a lot more money selling stuff on Craigslist and eBay.
Rent out a room. Do you have an extra room? Do you mind living with an extra person? If not, or, if you need to – do it. Even if it’s just temporary, it’s a decent side income. The new roomy could be a blessing in disguise. Or you could be a blessing to them. You never know…
Resource: Should you rent out a room? MSN Money article.
Caution: You can be burned by many a housemate by not having a written agreement in place before they move in.
Write an eBook – If you have a flare for writing and are not afraid to do your own marketing, this could be for you. Try making it into an eBook and selling it on Amazon.
Caution: It needs to look professional. If your design skills are not at a professional level, definitely hire a graphic designer friend to do the cover and inside pages.
Direct Selling. There are a ridiculous amount of direct sale companies. Some you’ve probably heard of and maybe even tried are, Mary Kay, Avon, Amway, Pampered Chef, PartyLite, Creative Memories, etc.
Resource: This site will let you choose your interests and give you a list of their members who are in a particular industry. http://www.dsa.org/forms/CompanyFormPublicMembers/
Caution: Just remember to stay “yourself.” We all know of people who have been very successful at direct selling, but basically, they only contact you when they want you to buy from them or sign up to sell under them. Don’t be that person.
There’s one that I didn’t list for good reason. It really irks me that there are so many people advertising about selling your gold. Don’t sell your gold! There’s a reason people are buying up gold like turkeys on Thanksgiving. Save your gold. Invest a bit in it if you can.