Small Business 7
If the lyrics to the Dolly Parton song “9 to 5” could be your autobiography, maybe it’s time to consider some unconventional ways to make money. After all, if you’re “barely gettin’ by,” you’re probably looking for creative ways to earn extra cash about now.
Whether you’re struggling to pay the bills or just looking to pad your savings account, check out some clever ways to earn a buck that are on the strange side.
When I spotted a garage sale sign yesterday, I had to circle the block after missing my chance to turn. By that time, the sign had blown over but I stopped to read the tiny address scrawled at the bottom.
I drove down the street but there was no sign of a sale. Then I looked way, way down the long driveway. A girl sat on a side door stoop next to a bunch of clutter dumped onto the driveway. I looked around for a few minutes and left. I could see a wasted weekend ahead for that family. But your sale doesn’t have to be a bust.
One time, a friend and I threw a sale that took up two front lawns. At day’s end, all that remained was a small box with plastic Easter eggs and a few books. I marked the box “free” and set it on the curb. Thirty minutes later, it was gone. So, how did I do that? The keys are good planning and knowing how to let go.
Here are some tips for getting people to your sale and watching them drive away with your old things while you count the cash.
Just because you’ve retired from your primary career doesn’t mean you’re finished working. In fact, some retirement advice is to keep working at least part time.
Whether you need the money to make ends meet or are just figuring out what to do in retirement, there are options, especially work you can do from your own home.
Click through to find out which jobs are perfect for retirees.
Congressional Republicans are touting their new tax plan as a wage-boosting, job-creating boon to the middle class – despite harsh criticisms from the public and experts.
Business Insider’s Lauren Lyons Cole reported that while take-home pay is set to rise under both plans, most Americans won’t see a ton of extra cash in their pockets. But how much you save also depends on how much you currently earn.
Career site Zippia provided Business Insider with data breaking down how different occupations fare under the Senate’s tax plan. The estimated federal tax savings below are for a single, childless taxpayer who claims the standard deduction.
Click ahead for a look at how people in a number of different occupations, from fast food cooks to pilots to anesthesiologists, could see their taxes change next year if the Senate’s tax plan becomes law.
Some people work 40 or more hours per week and then abruptly stop working altogether the day after they retire. But there are also a variety of ways to gradually reduce your hours as you transition into retirement. Consider these flexible work arrangements for people approaching retirement age.
Sometimes retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe it’s boredom, loneliness, or just too much time on your hands — or the money runs short. There are plenty of reasons a job — especially part-time, flexible work (perhaps done remotely using a phone or computer) — can start to look good to a retiree. And there are plenty of jobs that seniors can pursue (with median hourly wages, where applicable, from PayScale).
Accounting skills and experience don’t just go away at retirement. Payroll, tax advice, or as-needed consulting can be done part-time. Accountemps has guidance for taking on temporary or part-time accounting jobs.
There’s money to be made buying and selling antique furniture, maybe doing some refurbishing along the way. Knowledge, experience, and contacts can make a difference in profits, and online sales channels such as Craigslist, eBay, Etsy, and Krrb help move merchandise.
Pottery, needlepoint, painting, sewing, and other arts and crafts shouldn’t be confined to gifts for friends and relatives. Consider selling at fairs (particularly around the holidays) and on websites such as Etsy, ArtFire, and others.
Writing can be creatively rewarding, and there many options for inexpensive self-publishing. Amazon is one of the most high-profile and has a simple how-to guide from its Kindle Direct Publishing group.
Especially for parents and grandparents, taking care of other people’s kids should be easy and familiar. Retirees near tourist attractions such as Disney World can explore “fairy godmother” hotel child-care services.
Styling hair for everything from corporate events to weddings takes someone with patience, skill, and strong nerves — people paying to look great can be quite picky. A makeup artist can charge a higher rate, according to PayScale, which puts the median pay at $17.25 an hour.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP
Ideally, customer service should be more than just listening to complaints — it can be more like detective work to help resolve issues.
Driving packages and documents around can be less work than driving people around. One interesting option for part-time delivery is with Amazon, which promises flexible hours and pay rates from $18 to $25 an hour.
Avon, Tupperware, and Mary Kay still use “sales consultants” but are not the only game in town. When exploring “multilevel marketing,” in which people are encouraged to sell to relatives and friends and sometimes recruit them to sell, look to the Federal Trade Commission for guidance on how to ensure the work is legitimate.
Dog walking doesn’t just pay — it adds fresh air and exercise into the mix. Put up fliers in local coffee shops, community centers, pet stores, and animal shelters to bring in work, or sign up with Rover.
Work editing and rewriting other people’s work can come from Craigslist, Indeed, or a number of other sources and sites, and involve anything from real estate brochures to restaurant menus or small newspaper ads.
Ever wonder where websites that answer questions get their information? Many employ people part-time to find the answers. JustAnswer pays for expertise answering questions in specific areas — up to $706 a week on tech issues, according to the site.
FAST FOOD WORKER
No one’s going to get rich working in a fast food restaurant, but it’s one way to make some extra money working part-time.
FOCUS GROUP MEMBER
For as long as there has been market research, there have been focus groups. These days, many focus groups don’t meet physically; the work is done online, making some focus groups little different from online surveys. Focus group sites worth a look include Focus Pointe Global, SIS International, and Luntz Global.
GARAGE SALE CONSULTANT
You can run your own garage sale a few times, but after a while there won’t be much to sell. To make a part-time job out of it, use your experience to help others. The money you can make depends on your ability to negotiate every last cent for a pair of wooden salad tongs that would otherwise go to Goodwill.
Florists work with beautiful products all day, make people happy — or at least feel better — and get to use their creativity. It helps if applicants walk in with some knowledge of plants and flowers, innate talent, and customer service and time management skills.
Design brochures, websites, menus, and other products for individual clients, or do work delivered online through sites such as Creative Market and Big Cartel.
Are friends and relatives always coming around for help with odd jobs such as building fences or fixing furniture? Get the certifications, licenses, and insurance described by the Association of Certified Handyman Professionals and start making money off those skills.
HOME HEALTH CARE AIDE
These health-care workers look after people in their homes — typically working with elderly patients or those with disabilities, doing everything from checking vital signs to helping with physical therapy.
This is a good job for someone with interior decorating skills who can handle tight deadlines and is good at working with others. Home staging typically involves partnering with real estate agents to help them inexpensively redecorate for-sale homes. The Staging Diva has tips for getting started.
Some find a zen-like peace in cleaning. Part-time house cleaning can be lucrative, with flexible hours, and work might be just as easily found independently as by visiting websites for housekeeper recruiting such as Care.com.
Home inspection requires training, and can be tough — done properly, it may displease the homebuyer, seller, or both. But it can make a real difference in people’s lives at an important moment.
Offering to take care of people’s houses while they are away means often staying somewhere new, but not all placements pay — some people look at it more as a way to save money, since they’re not paying rent, and travel. Explore the possibilities on sites such as House Sitters America.
If mowing the lawn and trimming the trees in the yard seems more like fun than a chore, it can be a route to making a little extra money. Compensation for taking care of a few lawns and gardens in the neighborhood depends a lot on location.
Working at a library generally involves listening to people describe the kind of information they want and helping them sift through possible sources — like a human search engine. The work is usually quiet and suits those who enjoy working with people.
MEDICAL RECORDS CLERK
Those paper forms that must be filled out at a doctor’s office are just some of the complex sets of information health-care professionals need to have quickly and accurately entered into electronic record storage systems.
MENTOR OR JOB COACH
To stay close to a profession without the hassle of a full-time job, consider mentoring or career coaching someone just starting in the business. LinkedIn has advice on becoming a career coach.
Modeling isn’t just for teenagers. After all, the magazine, website, and TV ads featuring those vigorous-looking older people don’t use kids in makeup and wigs. To find out more, visit the websites of agencies specializing in senior models.
Musicians working local dances, weddings, or live-music nights at bars and restaurants may not make a ton of money, but they get to make music and be paid for it. Despite the relatively high hourly rate, PayScale shows musicians and singers making less than $40,000 annually (reflecting the limited number of hours typically booked).
You don’t have to sign up with Uber or Lyft to help people in the neighborhood with transportation, whether they be young parents wanting to get kids to after-school activities, seniors who can no longer drive, or others who don’t own a car. Sites such as Monster can be a resource for finding clients.
OnlineCollege.org has a guide to get people started teaching online, and the National Education Association has advice on teaching secondary school students online. Sites such as Udemy and Teachable allow instructors to create their own courses and earn money based on their success.
Fresh air, scenery, and wildlife — sound like an appealing workplace? Some park ranger jobs require a degree in a related field such as forestry, and sometimes emergency training as well.
For people who enjoy cooking, a gig as a part-time personal chef may be a good fit. Cooks must be able to accommodate personal needs and tastes and meet deadlines.
Like house-sitting, a lot of pet-sitting opportunities offer a place to stay instead of money. But with so many owners who spoil their pets like children, there is money to be made by building up clientele and courting word-of-mouth referrals, especially.
Photographers who do weddings, baptisms, graduations, and baby showers need specialized equipment as well as skills and experience, but selling work to stock photography websites such as Shutterstock and iStock is an easy way to get your feet wet in the industry.
It’s not only university professors with master’s degrees who can create and teach college classes. Community adult education centers and community colleges often use people with bachelor’s degrees and life experience.
If most of your career has been spent managing projects, don’t leave that behind entirely. Stay connected in your industry and offer your services for contract project management work. The website Upwork can help find work.
Give back with public service. The part-time compensation for serving on a school board or city council counts for more knowing you’re doing something worthwhile for the community.
Sites such as LinkedIn and Monster advertise jobs and find applicants, but there is no substitute for experienced people who know what a company needs. Recent retirees may be in the perfect position to help recruiters and headhunters. PayScale has insight into what it’s like to work in recruiting.
For those who understand how things tick, literally as well as figuratively, there’s money to be made fixing everything from watches and clocks to lawnmowers and sewing machines. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sees modest growth in the sector through 2024.
Research assistant is a good job for people who love finding and evaluating information. LinkedIn reports more than 5,000 open research assistant positions in towns and cities nationwide in academic and corporate settings. Pay can depend a great deal on qualifications, experience, and sector.
Yes, retirees can still be winter resort ski patrol members. The job often comes with perks such as a heavily discounted ski pass, on top of knowing you’re helping keep people safe and providing aid when there’s trouble.
There’s more to busking than having an instrument, a pleasant singing voice, and patience — street performing is legal and safe only in certain places, and a permit might be needed. In New York City, using a “loudspeaker, megaphone, or stereo in a street performance” requires $45 for a sound device permit. Balloon animal artists, magicians, and sketch artists can do this too.
Being a part-time swim instructor and lifeguard is a way to get paid to stay in shape and meet community members.
If you’ve spent another tax season being asked by friends and relatives for help, you probably have the skills and experience to be paid for it. Anyone can be a tax preparer, so long as they have a preparer tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service.
Being a tour guide is a good way to explore a community and share knowledge. It takes work, study, perseverance, and being good with people. One way to ease in is by volunteering at a local museum, art gallery, zoo, or aquarium.
Writing or speaking another language is a huge asset in many sectors, including tourism, government services, and business services. The BLS shows strong growth for translation through 2024.
Creative types can find a number of easy, low-cost ways to get into clothing design. Using websites such as Teespring and Teechip, it’s simple to get shirts (as well as other clothing items) custom-made for you to sell. Zazzle and Etsy can take a designer even further.
There are lots of tutoring services in need of people, including Kaplan, Gold Voice English, and Chegg.
If you believe you have the pipes to do voiceover work, such as for audiobooks or training videos, VoiceBunny has advice. Although the median hourly rate is very respectable, PayScale lists the average annual pay at below $35,000.
Items to Avoid at Walmart
From staples like food and clothes to oddities like the famed yodeling pickle, Walmart has become a one-stop shop for just about everything. The retail giant is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
But while the company is known for its “everyday low prices,” Walmart isn’t the only place for saving money. Based on prices, quality and expert opinion, here are some of the worst items to buy at Walmart.