Ten Interesting Ways to Make Money
Throw a rent party
Perhaps one of the most fun ways of raising money is to revive the good old-fashioned rent parties of the 60's and 70's. The basic idea is that you're throwing a party to raise money for rent, inviting your friends, and asking them all for $5 or $10 a head for admission. They'd like to bring along a friend? Of course! Bring two or three! By doing this once a week, you can have three or four rent parties a month, and either defray or completely offset the cost of rent.
You can have a theme for each rent party, or you can leave them as-is. You can provide booze if you like, and sell beers for $1 for example. Imagine, each week having a different-themed rent party. You can supply music, or even have themed movie nights - Netflix is great for this, because you're not paying a ton to rent videos every week, it's a monthly subscription for however many DVDs you rent. So for the same price, you can have a differently-themed movie night every single week. You can also go to healthier grocery stores and pick up popcorn in bulk very cheaply - it's much cheaper than individually-packaged convenience popcorn. You simply put it in a large pot with some butter or margarine in the bottom, put the lid on, and turn on the range to high until almost all the popcorn pops. Going to your local thrift store and picking up a few party games is also a great idea. Make sure they're age- and theme-appropriate, and that they have all the pieces before you buy. Leave the puzzles for someone else, and if you can't find any good games for your party, check your local role-playing game store or comic shop. Apples to Apples is always a surefire winner at parties.
As with any party, noise complaints from the neighbors are always a factor. You can easily get around this by passing out invitations to them in advance. This makes them feel welcome, and also lets them know that there will be a party in your neighborhood on a given night - so they can plan for it ahead of time. You're much less likely to get upset neighbors if they're whooping it up at your parties rather than trying to get some shut-eye.
You can easily raise about $200 with a party every week. You'll want to speak with your friends privately afterward about not inviting people who have been particularly rowdy or disruptive - you don't want to have to pay for pony kegs smashed into the drywall. But by following these simple guidelines, you can have fun parties every week, become renowned among your friends for throwing great parties, and offset or pay your rent at the same time.
Become a medical guinea pig
Looking for an easy way to make money? Maybe something that will allow you to write at the same time? Maybe you have a lot of medical problems. People out there are trying to get these problems cured - or at least medicated - and will pay you to try out new drugs and therapies if you qualify for their test programs. There aren't a lot of these places in any one area, and you won't qualify for most of them - so the idea is to have a lot of leads, and keep checking back about once a week. I use Clinical Connection myself; when places are seeking medical volunteers for new therapies, they'll often post there. Sometimes, they're looking for healthy volunteers too.
There's a lot of concern in this area about health risks. I've found that they're usually exaggerated. Sure, there is a chance that something will go wrong, but the odds are slim and new drugs are tested on animals before they move on to people. Pay varies, but you can easily earn $1,000 to $2,000 for the right experiments. Some experiments require you to stay at their facilities for a few days, and some don't. Among those that do - and they usually pay more - often lodging is paid for as well. You can hang out, bring your laptop, work online, and after a few days you'll receive your money. While it is something of a gamble, I can tell you that the old adage does not apply here. It can pay to take chances with your health.
Put your camera to work
Ready to have your digital camera make you more than you spent on it? Now you can put it to good use! Lots of people on the internet need stock images of ordinary, everyday things. You can go out, snap some shots, and upload them online - and people will pay you commission to use them!
Have a look at some of the images I chose for this article. How much tougher is it for mainstream media professionals who are trying to put together the right look for their next article? They want something they can use to create the right impression, and often those images simply aren't available because nobody has taken them. You can be the one who does. With everyone going online and increasingly creating their own content, there will be a lot of people out there looking.
You can just take ordinary, everyday snaps of stuff, and people will use it. It doesn't have to be extravagant. Of course, if you've ever had an interest in trying hanggliding, scuba diving or snorkeling, parachuting, wildlife or taking nature photos, now's your chance! Beautiful snaps of stuff that's out of the ordinary will certainly sell well, as there isn't as much competition in that area. You may want to expand into modeling at some point, or wedding, reunion and party shots. You can also do well starting a collection of a certain kind of shots, like vintage pictures or pictures of life in Third World countries.
There are lots of options for stock photography websites to work with. ShutterStock, crestock, 123rf, zymmertrical, BigStockPhoto, and CutCaster, the search engines everystockphoto and freerange, and I understand Photrade, Fotolia and iStockPhoto do this kind of thing as well.
A new site, Snapped4u, offers users a new approach to this. You sign up with them, go to concerts and events and snap attendees, referring them to the site. When they buy a photo for $4, the site will share $3.50 of it with you. Not too shabby!
Learn and offer massages
Wouldn't it be great to learn quickly and easily a job skill that would allow you to make people feel better? You can, and provide needed relaxation and comfort to overworked people in your area. You can learn massage and aromatherapy, and offer people a service that most people need but few usually get.
First you'll need to learn massage. You can do this online with courses from sites like Wings of Knowledge. They provide downloadable courses for many kinds of massage and alternative medicine. For a one-time fee and some time and effort, you can learn a job skill that will pay you somewhere between $40 and $150 per hour to go to people and make them feel better. You can name your own price in this business, and it all depends on what kinds of massage you offer, and whether you have something that sets you apart from the other masseuses in your area - like a theme or a multi-technique program.
For example, you could learn different techniques and include extras like aromatherapy, Swedish massage, Reiki, Hot Stone massage, or even erotic massage. Giving your clients an option, or a multi-technique session, provides more value to them and makes it worth more, so you can raise your rates.
You can also check eBay for massage tables. Many tables are relatively cheap, and can be folded up and taken with you on location. If you find business a little slow one day, you can go downtown and set up shop, offering passersby reasonable rates for brief massages - and you can give them your business card while you're at it. So there's no such thing as a slow business day with massage.
Find missing children
Are you ready to try something a little unorthodox? Maybe even spiritual or metaphysical? What if it meant bringing families back together, and making tens of thousands of dollars on a regular basis? Would that be enough to make it worth your while to consider something a little more obscure?
This one takes a little bit of explaining. Scientists have found a way to use the mind/body interface of the nervous system to tap into information used by the collective consciousness of which we're all a part. What this means is that peoples' consciousness isn't truly separate from each other, and any information that's known anywhere by anyone, can be tapped into by anyone else, anywhere else in the world. All of this came out several years back in a book called Power vs. Force, and it's become a big hit in the New Age community and become a bestseller as well. For more information about it, see my Squidoo page on it, in the above link.
Now that people can tap into this collective consciousness - and all the information accessible to anyone, anywhere - we can use it to make money and do good in the world, at the same time. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, nearly 800,000 children go missing each year. Their parents are desperately looking for them, but they're nowhere to be found. People are suffering, and lives are lost, simply because people don't have access to desperately-needed information. But you do. Power vs. Force hasn't caught on yet, and since the public awareness that this is all possible isn't widespread, you can use it to locate missing children - and missing persons in general - bringing families back together and collecting reward money well into the tens of thousands of dollars with each child you locate. You simply have to check online for missing children notices, find the ones with reward money being offered, and use the technique in Power vs. Force to determine the whereabouts of missing children. At that point, getting in touch with the parents and the authorities where the missing child is is absurdly simple. You can save lives and get rich doing it.
This isn't so odd as it might seem. A study has indicated, and CNN correspondent Jonathan Aiken has cited this on-air, that up to a third of America's urban police departments use psychics to help them solve their cases. Reactions to psychic investigation vary from person to person, especially with many frauds who approach devastated families and play upon their desperation, swindling money with vague descriptions of "a field" or "a desert". But rather than trust upon clairvoyancy, the precise and specific location can be easily ascertained through the technique described in Power vs. Force, and using a sort of 20 Questions approach to narrow down the exact location to pinpoint accuracy. Whatever someone's feelings about psychic phenomenon and the effectiveness of psychics, it's tough to argue with someone who gives you the precise GPS co-ordinates or address.
"... I said, `Find him! Show us where he is, please.' The planchette slowly began to move ..."
If you like, you can also use a Ouija board to assist you in locating the missing children. In fact, this is how I realized that the technique in Power vs. Force could be applied to locating missing kids. I had been at a Boy Scout summer camp, showing the rest of the boys in my troop how to use a homemade Ouija board, made from a large piece of art paper and a Sharpie, with a planchette made from an ordinary styrofoam coffee cup. We had been in the mess hall one night practicing with it, when one of our Scoutmasters dashed in and reported that one of the younger boys in our troop had gone missing, and that everyone was forming search parties and scouring the camp for him. We scrambled to go assist, when I realized that I could make a more valuable contribution to the search effort by doing just what I had been doing. In a flash of inspiration, I quickly ran to the camp office and got a photocopied map of the camp. We dashed back to the mess hall, I slapped the map down on the table in place of the Ouija board we'd been using, and we got our hands onto the planchette in a hurry. I said, "Find him! Show us where [the missing scout] is, please." The planchette slowly began to move, and with some determination it went along the map, following along trails, stopping at latrines. Along more trail, another stop at a latrine. We later found that the missing scout had run away, and had been hiding in latrines the whole night. Had we had access to one of the camp counsellor's walkie-talkies, we all could have located him immediately.
I should point out that the mechanism of Ouija boards and the technique described in Power vs. Force are based on different phenomenae. They can be used in conjunction with each other to verify data and to get more detailed information, but Power vs. Force's technique is objectively and scientifically-verifiable. Ouija boards can give varying results, depending upon which entity is currently accessing the planchette. If you find that Ouija boards give you good results, you can also find - or use magickal techniques to create - a servitor entity to work with you. By building a relationship with an entity, the approach can be more effective and information conveyed more easily, since you'll be used to each other and know what to expect from each other and how to interpret the meaning of the information more accurately. It's just like building a relationship with a friend who's physically-incarnate - you learn to understand each other, because you learn how the other person thinks and speaks as you get to know each other better.
This can be a great way to make loads of cash easily and quickly. It also provides a valuable service to those who desperately need information, and cannot get it. Provided you can get past the social stereotypes and hangups associated with psychic investigation, you can excel and prosper in a way that benefits everyone enormously.
And besides... having "Psychic Investigator" on your business cards is just too cool for words.
Design and sell with Ponoko
If you've read Ten More Quick Ways to Make Money, then you already know that the next major aspect of the internet will be the ability to create online, and have your creations published and manufactured. On-demand manufacturing and "Production is the new Consumption" concept is already taking effect on the internet, and many companies are beginning to find ways to allow their users to create physical products and items simply by uploading the right information. A company called Ponoko is leading this innovation, and if you haven't heard about them in the news yet, you're about to.
Ponoko allows users to use its online point-and-click interface, or a file from a computer-aided design program, to send them build schematics which they can use to make items from materials like plastics, acrylics, and even wood. Users are already creating jewelry, funiture, dolls, lamps, and just about anything else you can think of, and sharing the schematics online. Some plans are free, and some pay the creator a fee to use. Ponoko users can use a pre-existing plan, or one of their own, to have Ponoko craft them into a tangible item and ship it directly to them - or to someone else.
The opportunities here are amazing. You can design a stylish, unique item and either have Ponoko create it for you and allow you to sell it online, or you can simply upload the plans and let people pay you to use them. Ponoko is just starting out, with a facility in New Zealand and another currently getting underway in San Francisco (and they're hiring, by the way). They're also taking a poll from their users as to what materials they should let their users create in, including plastics, magnets and various metals.
When Ponoko's momentum increases, and as various other companies retool to provide this kind of service, the prospects for this industry will be fantastic. Imagine creating a unique product and letting the internet sell it for you to countless interested users who find value in it. As this industry progresses and refines itself, the shipping and manufacturing costs will come down significantly. But even now, you can apply these opportunities and make money.
In addition to simply using Ponoko's services and making a bundle, you can also make even more by getting together the people needed to retool existing manufacturing plants to provide this service. There's plenty of work available to manufacturing facilities who plug into the internet and open their doors to public demand. You don't even have to know the industry - you can find the right people online, put together a team of Ajax and Flex coders (for the user-design part) and industrial techies to bring the data from code directly to implementation on their manufacturing machines. You need some startup financing, you'd need to find the people with the right skills, and then you'd just need to contact existing manufacturing plants and offer to add this capability to their systems. If you need ways to get that startup financing, see the section in this article on Peer-to-Peer Lending, and the Translation section of my Hub Ten More Quick Ways to Make Money.
Use new P2P lending
As the banks collapse, raising interest rates, service charges and fees, and nobody can get a loan at a sane rate nor invest, the internet's all set to route around the problem. Yes, people are getting together and giving and getting loans to each other online. If you've ever used a Peer-to-Peer file-sharing network like Limewire, BitTorrent, BearShare or Gnutella, this is pretty much the same concept with money instead of data. Someone with at least $50 can throw it in on sites like Prosper and Zopa, wherever they choose, and get a better return on their money than any bank will give. And with everybody doing that, those people looking for loans can get one from several people combined, and at better rates than any bank will give too. This Peer-to-Peer Lending is already taking off, with a handful of sites all over the world starting up to do this.
If you ever wanted to consolidate your bills, pay off loans with absurd rates, or start up a business - now's your chance! Get that internet startup going (and if you don't have ideas for one, contact me - I've got plenty) and start making a ton with a legitimate website or business! You'll have the startup costs covered, so it's time to get moving and get out of the rat race - and quickly, before everybody else does. P2P Lending is just starting to take off, and it's about as unstoppable as the P2P file-sharing networks that inspired them. P2P Lending alone could revitalize the economy, if people used the opportunity to start innovative, necessary businesses rather than trying the latest trendy scams and huge markup approaches. It doesn't take much to use the opportunities the internet provides to do what big corporations are doing, and undercut their big fat CEO markups, putting out a better product or service for less money, and filling dire needs people have. It just takes some thought, that's all. And you could be sitting pretty about a year from now.
Solve problems for cash at crowdsourcing sites
If you're an idea person like I am, wouldn't you love to be paid $1,000-$2,000 to solve major problems online? Now you can. Idea Connection is a crowdsourcing website that allows companies to post their ideas privately, select candidates to work on a solution, and then select the idea they like. The Solver who came up with it gets paid - and well. If you come up with an answer in a brainstorming session, the money is equally-divided. Idea Connection hangs on to the money while a problem is being solved, to make sure the corporation doesn't cut and run.
Crowdsourcing sites are part of the new internet, and lots of opportunities exist out there not only for people who want money for their ideas at places like Innocentive and Idea Connection, but also for those who want to get their innovative startup ideas off the ground with critique, advice, and startup capital at places like Cambrian House. If you haven't gotten your startup going yet, now's the time.
Create and sell audio and video content
Put your computer to good use! You don't even need a webcam to record stuff right from your screen with Debut - which is absolutely free - edit it with JumpCut, if necessary add a soundtrack and suddenly you can create tutorials for software, webpages, writing, drawing... you name it! Now you have some content that people want. You can take it to sites like Flixya and Revver - like HubPages, but for video content - and make AdSense revenue just like HubPages gives for articles. Flixya gives you 100% of it, Revver gives 50%. CutCaster will find you buyers for your video content, and Lulu will just plain create DVDs you can name your price for and sell through them, with it all paid for upon sale. You may also want to check out imcandy - a site that pays you bonuses and residuals for making ads, kiptronic, which inserts ads on the fly into video content, and Panjea. There are all kinds of options out there. If you can make any worthwhile video content that people will need, even a walkthrough of a game, you can make something people will watch, click ads on, and pay for outright. And like HubPages, the revenue from your work will accumulate, month after month, while you're making more.
Become an escort
Just for a second, set aside what you may have heard about escort services. Let's imagine for a moment that you had people lined up to take you out on the town, go to movies and theater productions, take you out to dinner at expensive restaurants, go dancing at clubs, engage in sparkling conversation with you, and just generally have a great time enjoying your company. And what if they not only paid for everything, but they'd also pay you upwards of $100 an hour just for the privilege of your wonderful company?
This isn't just a glamorous fantasy. People actually do it, every day. I had a friend who signed up as an escort over the phone while I was there with her. She was paid one to two hundred dollars per hour to get taken to plays and shows, and be wined and dined! She was signed with one of the top-rated escort services in San Francisco to meet executives and other people who were usually in town briefly and didn't know the area or have anyone to go out on the town with, just to show them around and be friendly and outgoing with successful people. The downside? She had to keep a cel phone on her. She had to work a minimum of four weekend nights per month. She had to have cab fare. And she had to submit a naked body shot to be considered for the job. That was it! For this, she'd be making one to two hundred dollars an hour, and have fun with successful people at least four nights a month. She could get repeat clients. She could accept tips. This job, if you can call it that, would easily pay her spendy San Francisco rent, and all of her other bills as well - for working at least four nights a month. The rest of her time was her own, if she chose.
And she didn't have to do anything she didn't want to with a client. Not a thing. If she was interested, she could make a lot of extra cash with a client. If she wasn't, she wouldn't even have to move in that direction with them. One of the reasons escort services pay so well is to ensure that escorts have a free choice in what happens with their clients, without being forced to do anything against their will because they're not able to pay the bills. This is common practice in the industry, I learned. And escorts always had a cel phone on them, reporting their whereabouts and with a crew of people back at the office making sure they were safe if they didn't check in - good luck getting that kind of support network with an ordinary blind date.
She had a great time, she allowed other people to have a great time, and she got to meet lots of interesting, successful people in her work. She was well-compensated, and she didn't have to work very much unless she wanted to. And unlike most dating situations, she didn't have to spend the whole evening silently wondering if she'd end up getting lucky at the end. She already knew.