- Personal Finance
Ten Quick Ways to Make Money
Everyone could use some extra money, particularly in hard times. Perhaps the bills were a little more than you'd expected this month, or maybe you're trying to raise some starter cash for your own internet startup or business. As the first Hub in an ongoing series, here are ten handy ideas to bring in some extra money.
Donate blood plasma
People often overlook this, but it's a good way to make money providing a desperately-needed service. Donating plasma is traditionally done through the Red Cross on a volunteer basis, but many collection services (like colleges and hospitals) will compensate donors for between $20 and $40 per donation... and donors can often donate twice a week. It's a good way to help out both you and your fellow man. You'll want to check in your Yellow Pages for blood banks and hospitals local to your area, and call around. Be aware that California does not allow financial compensation for blood products, and seems to insist that doing the good deed of providing blood cannot involve enlightened self-interest in any way. Also take note that the FDA has forbidden people who it considers to be at a high risk of HIV from donating at any price whatsoever, and would-be donors who admit to having had male-male sexual intercourse since 1977 are rejected on the basis that they "might have been exposed to HIV" - despite the fact that being at risk is not limited to any one sexual orientation. I haven't spoken with any blood bank staff who agree with this policy, but they all seem to perpetuate it through their enforcement of it regardless. For many who find that desperate financial times require considering unconventional sources of raising money - particularly students, although increasingly anyone in the middle-class - donating blood on a paid basis is an approach that works.
If you donate, you will want to be sure to eat immediately beforehand and to drink lots of water - to replace that lost fluid. Donating too often can cause temporary physical weakness and exhaustion, and if it's done in the same place too frequently without enough time to rest up it can result in some scarring of veins around the withdrawl area. Rotating sites and giving your veins a chance to rest up is generally a good idea.
Donate bone marrow
While it hasn't yet gained as much noteriety as donating blood, many college students are finding that they can donate their bone marrow for quick cash. Over six thousand people seek bone marrow transplants each day, desperate for the marrow that could save their lives. A recipient can only accept marrow that matches their marrow type, and so the potential for donors decreases significantly for any one recipient bent on finding that matching donor. And donors aren't in high supply... yet. That won't be the case soon as this approach continues to grow in popularity.
Most people tend to think that donating bone marrow requires surgery, and this used to be the case. Today, it's done with a needle and an incision that's so small it doesn't even require stitches. Nor does it require a hospital stay - donors frequently drive themselves to their appointment, and drive themselves back home afterwards. Within seven to fourteen days, they're back to normal. Bone marrow generally goes for:
- $125 for 25 cubic centimeters,
- $200 for 50 cubic centimeters, and
- $450 for 100 cubic centimeters
Additionally, white blood cells can be donated for about $350 in a procedure that lasts approximately five hours. A longer process, involving daily injections to raise the white blood cell counts, takes three to four days and pays $750. Lidocain, a topical anasthaetic, is used to numb the pain of injection on the skin, although this does not affect the pain that occurs when the marrow is actually drawn out of the bone. One donor, a college student, described it as hurting "really frickin bad". He also described the pain as increasing with each withdrawal on a given day. Since 25 cubic centimeters of marrow are drawn into each syringe, there are two marrow draws each, from either side of the pelvic bone. General anaesthetic is available at the discretion of the doctor overseeing the process, and the donor maintains communication with the doctor throughout the procedure regarding the level of pain he is currently experiencing.
While certainly not the most pleasant means of raising money, marrow donation is one of the few legal means of raising over $100 dollars an hour over four hours. In increasingly desperate economic conditions more people are turning less-orthodox methods of making money, and the idea hasn't yet become as prevalently-known as blood donation.
Appallingly, many facilities who perform the procedures for bone marrow donation do not make that information widely-known, in order to prevent financially-desperate and, in their view, health-suspect donors, from donating marrow. This includes one facility I spoke with which had recently been documented as financially compensating a marrow donor in an article describing the procedure. They replied matter-of-factly that they do not compensate their donors, although the donor himself wrote his own article in a firsthand account, providing more information and even pictures of the procedure. Evidently, facilities take the view that it is better to let some people in dire financial situations die from being rejected from the procedure, than risk accepting donors who might be "at risk"... which, from the position of other authorities such as the FDA, is both unrealistic and subjectively-defined. Be aware of this problem if you attempt to donate bone marrow.
Those of you already familiar with BitCoin have started to notice some of the new investment options that have recently become available. Until recently, investing in stocks on a "real" stock market required thousands of dollars, and trading fees would eat up most of your profit. Additionally, you could only invest in official corporations - rather than projects that ordinary people actually wanted to make happen. BitCoin is already changing that, with bleeding-edge websites that allow you to invest in user projects for just a couple of bucks - or get money to start a project of your own! BitCoinStarter has been doing some major upgrades, and as of this writing is set to relaunch any day now. As you might imagine, it's a version of KickStarter that uses BitCoins instead.
What does all this mean? Well, in addition to having a way to invest for almost nothing, what happens when all the ordinary, everyday people out there can all throw in a tiny chink of digital change and make Big Things Happen? It means that anybody with a good idea that lots of people want to happen can get plenty of capital now to make it happen. It means that those huge crowds of users who are microinvesting will choose to fund the projects that matter the most to them. So if you have a great idea that lots of people would agree with as well, now is the time for you to put it out there, promote it and get the startup money to actually do it. And just like HubPages, you'll have a business or project that will keep making you money year-round... that you were able to start using other peoples' money. One of the secrets of the rich is that they became rich because they used other peoples' money to start their projects, and now everyone can do it too. All you need is a great idea, and if you don't have one yet you can easily come up with one by creating a solution to the problems and obstacles that everyone has been putting up with, and that nobody wants. It's true! You can actually turn the pet peeves and annoyances you've been putting up with in your life into ways to make residual money, just by coming up with a solution. And now, thanks to BitCoin, you can make that solution happen using other peoples' money.
I think we're going to be a world full of lots of new solutions very soon!
Solve problems online
Innocentive lets you register, select a problem and submit a solution to earn thousands of dollars. As you notice above that's no exaggeration, with $8,000 allocated for this particular problem. Unlike most sites, this one doesn't require you to have any sort of degree to provide a solution - entries are selected on the basis of what works. Some problems are technical in nature, while others are more generalized or rely on life experience. Those who devise the most effective solutions get the money, so you have a very easy way to get some cash from the internet just from using your noggin and solving problems.
Do a few odd jobs through local online resources
Easier and more painless than these are doing odd jobs in your local area. Painting jobs, for example, can be very lucrative in a short span of time. Construction sites also need manpower, and many pay well. Folks who are advancing in years and finding it more difficult to do yardwork also often need assistance, and often receive significant retirement money from the government, resulting in levels of disposable income that are disproportionate to the rest of society. Some of them even require live-in care, not only to take care of them physically but also to attend to needs such as mere cooking and housekeeping. A live-in caretaking job can often be arranged that will eliminate rent expenses while providing a small amount of income for the caregiver at the same time. In-home caregiving is the fastest-growing job in America as many citizens reach retirement age, and in fact more Americans are retiring than are working. A live-in caregiving job can be ideal for people who also work online, since they can be on-site for the majority of the time.
All of these jobs and many more can be found in your local area through online sources like GenieTown and Craigslist. It's worth keeping an eye out for, and Craigslist even has an RSS feed for each of its areas, so keeping up with it is easy, right from your desktop if you'd prefer. Checking the classified ads in your local newspaper might be worthwhile as well.
Tap the unused potential of the homeless
While you're looking through the ads for people in your area who want services anyway, consider that there are people in dire circumstances whose work potential remains untapped - people who are homeless. Contrary to popular belief, many of those on the street desperately want to work, but do not have access to resources, like the internet or the ability to make phone calls, that are necessary to arrange it. Acting as a go-between for people on the street and painters or construction crews who need the manpower can be prosperous for all involved. Earning a finder's fee, or a percentage, from connecting them together yourself can be a mutually-beneficial relationship. You may even consider creating a housecleaning service using primarily homeless manpower to staff it, and advertising it for free in your local area on Craigslist. Or a carwash. These people could use the money, and have huge amounts of manpower collectively that is just going to waste because they cannot apply it effectively. You, however, can. Make money while creating something that will provide a constructive approach to solving the homeless problem in your area, and you will have two bites at the cherry. You will also have access to a resource, untapped manpower, that most people seeking ways to make money - and who are to some extent competing with you in the market - have not even considered. This will put you ahead of the game.
Connect with paid posting jobs online
You're probably on HubPages because you can write, because you enjoy writing, and because you'd like to get paid for it. In addition to paid articles from sites like HubPages, Helium and Triond, and even paid letter-writing sites like LetterRep and paid product review sites like epinions and ReviewStream, paid forum posting is a particularly interesting concept from a writer's perspective. The basis for forum posting is that with new websites springing up on a constant basis - and many wilting away to nothing just as quickly - it becomes difficult for the creators of those websites and forums to build a base of users. It's the ghost town phenomenon - and few will be inclined to join and return to a forum that has no users or activity yet. With no-one joining, this problem dashes the hopes of a typical website forum to get started. Forum creators all over the net with less-than-earthshattering premises for their websites and forums have started to pay people to start the ball rolling, through "pay per post" sites. These sites register new users, allow them to select a paying forum to post on, and collects commission for partnering writers willing to post with forum owners who need the activity to keep their sites alive. PostingDirect is one such site, and offers an advancing scale of 10 to 65 cents per post (depending on the user's feedback from previous jobs), for jobs consisting of 10 or 20 posts. These forum posts are not meant to be timeless works of literary skill, and naturally aren't expected to be as long as HubPages articles by any means. They are meant to inspire conversation and dialogue on inactive forums. The prospect of earning $1.30 for two short forum posts is certainly an attractive one, and the concept can get even better when combined with the next tip.
Online Fundraising / Crowdfunding
If you're trying to make money for a particular cause, project or event, why not reach out to the people around you? Crowdfunding sites such as Go Get Funding allow you to easily create a compelling fundraiser and solicit donations from friends, family and even strangers. Although for the latter, you'll already have had to build up credibility by getting donations from people you know and by creating something that resonates with others.
Play for free, earn real cash!
Dragon's Tale is a free online world that pays out in BitCoins, an online currency that can be converted into cash! In this Asian-themed realm, you complete various quests to unlock games of skill and chance. Fractions of BitCoins, called BitMills, allow players to use small amounts of money to earn more as they grow and level. There are even places to accrue starter funds throughout the game - collect rare Herbs as they spawn, and refer other uses who have licenses to pick them. They'll split the value with you as your reward! Or check out the Terracotta Soldiers, who bestow gifts of BitMills to players. From there, you're all set to get started, and complete more quests to unlock new options. When you're ready, just transfer your earnings to a BitCoin account, to convert them to cash! Note: Dragon's Tale is currently in a rather stable Alpha release, and will be going into Beta very soon. Any BitCoins lost through a server malfunction will be restored, assures the Admin. Adventure your way to money, and make a few new friends too!
Promote hard-to-find goods and services online
Consider this: You're on HubPages, and perhaps Helium and Triond as well. You may even write paid posts on forums, as described above. You spend a lot of time writing, and your writing will be seen by many on the internet. What an opportunity for paid promotion, no?
I'm not advising that you compromise the value of your writing in order to make a few bucks; quite the opposite, in fact. Your work will reach many people, and until recently the only major intentional ad campaigns have been from big corporations through big media. As a result, people have become overly-familiar with big brands like McDonald's, because they have bought up a disproporationate amount of publicity. The internet is beginning to change all that and speaking frankly, it's certainly about time.
Not only is the internet producing more startups, websites, and forums more rapidly than society ever has before, it's also producing more good ideas than ever before because there's a faster flow of communication and anyone with a good idea can build a website to get it started. The problem today isn't getting it started, it's keeping it alive.
How does someone with a tremendously cool product or service that no-one's heard of promote it to people? People who don't know about it won't search for it. AdSense only works as a sometimes thing for new services, as the new terms for what they're doing haven't yet spread. If people don't hear about the idea, however good it is, it dies off through neglect. And few startups can pay conventional media to promote their sites, products, or services. How many people would love them, if only they heard about them?
And here you are, spending your time writing anyway. What an opportunity for a partnership, no? You could learn about new up-and-comers with great ideas in your field of interest, and you could mention them in your posts and articles because they deserve to be mentioned, and people will want to use them. Many of these starter ventures have affiliate and referral programs, so when you spread the word successfully you get compensated in some way. Usually, it's monetarily. Other times, it can be for perks or status within that site or community. But if it's a good service - and I don't mean the latest designer Viagra knockoff, but a worthwhile service - then you're providing additional value with your articles and posts, and spreading the word to people who need it to people who need to hear about it. And you're earning income from doing it. All the benefits of viral marketing, but planned and intentional. Planned viral marketing that works for everyone.
This is really just a matter of taking whatever motive you have for your writing, and dovetailing it nicely with another agenda - making money. You've already done this, if you've written a Hub and put ads on it. You can do it further by overlaying another agenda - promoting companies for referral bonuses, on top of that strategy, provided that you do it in a way that doesn't conflict with your other agendas. This means not compromising the quality of your writing by hyping the latest gimmicks instead of providing your readers with worthwhile information. But done correctly, it can actually be harmonized with those other objectives. For example, when people need to hear about a new idea in a field you're interested in, and you know of a new product, website or service in that area, people will be better off for having been presented with that information through your writing. You will have provided them with something of value. The fact that it's also a form of advertising does not diminish that. It has become a misperception that advertising must only serve the goals of the advertiser; in a functional world, someone would only do something that had value both to themselves and to the rest of the world. This is simply enlightened self-interest. It's a beautiful concept, and more importantly it's a concept that works for once, so I'd love to see it flourish in the world. So, ads aren't necessarily bad - provided that they contribute value, as they should. It's time to start spreading that idea itself, particularly in a world that tries to cram McDonald's food down our throat whether it's healthy for us or not, and tries to convince us that's all advertising can be.
While we're on the subject, it's worthwhile to note that we can also intentionally dovetail our writing with another agenda that isn't monetarily-based. We can use it to promote and reinforce positive social agendas by sneaking them into our writing where they're appropriate. In other words, we can promote not only products, websites and services, but approaches to a better world by increasing awareness and prominence of better alternatives. We have a media that tells us that fast food is normal, and that enlightened self-interest isn't. This is wrong, and it's the recipe for something that doesn't work. And now, for the first time, we can do something about that. We can promote social change through our work. We can champion causes. We can inspire action. We can share great ideas and solutions upon which that action can be based. We can marry our writing with the agenda of creating a better world, and in the process help to bring it about.
There are many affiliate and referral programs out there. I personally prefer to use clixGalore, because I've found larger networks like Commission Junction to be slow and unconcerned with the needs of their users. clixGalore is small enough to take their users seriously, and large enough to have an extensive network of affiliated merchants to choose from. If you know of other good affiliate programs, feel free to share them in the Comments area of this Hub. I'm sure Hub authors can put them to good use.
Offer freelance consultations
While you're writing online articles and posts, changing the world and promoting great new goods and services that are out there... have you considered promoting your own?
You're presumably writing about your own areas of expertise. Your readers are obviously interested in that area, which is why they're reading. They're usually not as knowledgeable about the subject as you are, and they're gleaning what they can from what you've written. They are, in all liklihood, attempting to apply that information to their own lives and situations in some way, and must try to customize it to fit their needs. Traditionally, it hasn't been possible for them to go to a webpage and read up on something, and get answers specific to their own situation. But all of that changes with HubPages.
Part of the beauty of HubPages is that it has the ability to connect readers with knowledgeable people in any field of interest. Unlike Google searches and Wikipedia entries, readers can click the Contact link and send the writer e-mail. Why not put that to good use, and offer your readers the benefit of your knowledge, advice and experience by offering them paid consultations? Whether what you know about is fashion, business, computers or construction, you can write articles based on your areas of skill and knowledge - presumably that's what you're already doing - and offer consultations by phone, VOIP, or over internet chat. Your reader can ask direct questions relevant to their situation, and get answers immediately. It allows them to get the exact solution they need, like a kind of Magic Internet Oracle. And it pays a lot more than promoting someone else's services through AdSense.
Like AdSense, though, it's cumulative. With several Hubs providing information about things in your skill area, and offering your consulting services as well, more people are going to read your Hubs each day. Each time someone reads a Hub that also offers your consulting services, it's an opportunity for them to request them - right to your e-mail Inbox. Imagine a few months or years down the road, getting up in the morning, checking your Inbox and having a stack of consultation requests waiting for you to schedule them and call them. They'd all be things in your own area of expertise, so one day you might be giving phone consultations for fashion accessorizing and pet grooming tips, and the next you'd be telling people how to pull cable through their walls to wire their house for broadband, and telling others how to get their own website going. Sharing your experience and knowledge in an area by phone, and being able to do it for a living.
What you're actually doing is adding value to your Hubs, by offering your readers an option for individually-tailored solutions to their own situation. You're finding new ways to offer value to people, and as a result you're finding new ways to provide value to yourself as well. Everybody comes out a winner.
Sell your clutter on eBay
You're looking around for ways to make cash, and if you're like most people you have a ton of stuff that you don't actually use, cluttering up your living space. Too much stuff on one hand, and not enough cash on the other. Take a good look around your place at the stuff you have. How much of it do you actually use? Could you bear to part with any of it by selling it? If it's in your life and it's not working for you... get rid of it. (If it's a spouse, I suggest trying counselling first.)
Putting stuff up for sale on eBay is easy. You take a digital camera (chances are a friend has one) and you snap a few shots of what it is you're selling, all on its own. You put the image on your computer, sign into your eBay account, and upload the sucker when you put it up for sale. People who want your stuff will bid and outbid each other for it, and you'll make more and more money. They'll pay the shipping and handling, so don't worry about it.
You can also have a traditional yard sale. These can be fun, but you don't usually get much for them. You also have the added responsibility of sitting outside all day making sure you're available, and that your stuff doesn't get stolen. Freecycle is one alternative option, if you just want to get rid of the thing. You won't make any money out of it, but like putting an item up for free on Craigslist's free stuff you're practically guaranteed to get rid of it. Some of my readers mentioned Freecycle and yard sale as options, and I wanted to include them here because having options is always a good thing.
Personally though, I'm more for selling off your extra stuff online. You can easily turn your clutter into cash this way, because odds are someone wants the stuff you don't want anymore. Instead of a piled-up mess around your home, you can have money in the bank. Ah, how sweet it is.
Start recycling for cash
People usually overlook this option, particularly if they're not currently recycling or are giving it away to the city for pickup. But what you have is worth something, even if it's just the cans your soda came in. Tossing it into a separate bag when you throw it away and taking it to a recyclery every so often can not only bring you a fair chunk of cash, it can also reduce what you pay for your trash pickup. It naturally reduces your environmental impact as well, so it's an approach that's good for everyone.
Establish an area in your kitchen - a closet, perhaps, or under the sink - and have a place to put your metal, glass, paper and plastic. Think of how much that will reduce your trash output right there. You just throw them in there instead of the trash, and put full bags somewhere else and replace them. Once in a while, you take it all down to your local recyclery and they pay you per pound. Just be sure that your recyclables don't have food matter on them, because that can gum up a whole load when they try to recycle it - and so many recycleries have had to become choosy about what they take. I have a housemate, for example, who always tries to recycle his pizza boxes. I cannot seem to get it into his head that cardboard with melted cheese and grease on it cannot be recycled. The same goes for frozen dinner packages - run them through the dishwasher first, or just rinse them off briefly after you're done eating.
A lot of cities offer free recycling pickup. My, what a magnanimous gesture on their part! For free, they will pick up material from me that has value. Until they start deducting the value from my trash bill - or until I have the power that they do to implement my own taxes - I need that money far more than they do. So do you.
Be a software bounty hunter
If you know how to program or how to create webpages, there are plenty of places online that will allow you to do that for money on a freelance basis. And if you don't know how to code, W3Schools will happily teach you online for free at your own pace. They have free online tutorials for essentially any web coding environment, and other sites offer the same thing for programming languages like C, Python, and so on. W3Schools makes its money only if you want to get certification for what you've learned. Once you've learned something, you can pay them about $60 and take their exam, consisting of 60 multiple-choice questions in 60 minutes. When you pass it, they will send you your certification. If you don't, you have the option of paying again to take the exam again. As long as you have a working knowledge of the coding language you've learned, you can go on freelance coding sites and make offers on projects that are out there. PHP-Freelancers and PHPjobs.com, for example, are just a couple of the sites for PHP programmers. Additionally, GetAFreelancer.com has not only coding jobs, but paid proofreading and article writing as well. Jobs tend to range from simple $5 and $10 tasks, medium tasks for $100 - $200, and even large projects for $1,000 to $5,000. You can make money online rather easily, by learning how to program and doing it for those who need it. It's an ideal telecommuting job, and can be combined with live-in caregiving at the same time. This can be a great way to make money, particularly interspersed with article-writing and paid posting. The online world provides a wealth of new options out there, just waiting for you to find ways to integrate them into your life.
Freelance classifieds aren't the only places to find paid coding work online. Sites like Drupal have their own communities of users who are constantly seeking module design. They'll get together and post bounties for projects they'd like developed. Small jobs range from $20 and $70, with larger jobs going $1,000 and over. By learning PHP and being in a community where there's constant paid demand, there's no end to the money you can make. If you come up with a phenomenal coding idea of your own, you can post it and put a reverse bounty on it - letting users toss in funding until it meets your requirements, allowing you to be paid via the internet for coding your own ideas. With a little bit of skill, you can easily make a living online just for having a good idea and following it through.
Ready for some more? Discover Ten More Quick Ways to Make Money. This one can easily change your life!