At a reception held recently for the Schenectady office of www.mycommunityloanfund.org, Rep. Paul Tonko remarked that "the economic recovery is still emerging" in the Capital Region. As it does, here are some unusual ideas outside of the traditional income solutions, a.k.a., the 9-5 job.
- Gig yourself out. Can you write a catchy jingle? Translate Mandarin? Design a killer company logo? Figure out what you’re good at and put it up for sale on Fiverr. We live in the gig-economy—especially the younger generation. The payout: Sellers on Fiverr offer unique services—everything from writing press releases and crafting poems to offering animal care and doing voiceover work—ranging up to $8,000.
- Become a professional friend. If you’re an affable person who likes to meet new people, you can make some extra cheddar just by being friendly. RentAFriend is a strictly platonic “friends-for-hire” website that allows users to select a friend for an event, a tour around town, or an evening at the movies.
- Turn your car into a billboard. If your daily commute is a complete drag, turn it into a money-making operation. Companies such as Adz in Motion and Free Car Media will pay you for displaying ads on your car. But experts warn that these companies are extremely selective about who they work with. They choose based on the make and model of the vehicle, as well as the driver’s geographic location.
- Download apps. It doesn’t get much easier than this: Just download a few apps, let them sit on your smartphone, and watch the money roll in. Installing Media Insiders Panel and Google Screenwise can add up to a couple hundred bucks each year. These are mobile apps that run in the background on your phone. They don’t track calls, but they do provide data to Google and other companies about how long you stay on websites and how often you’re using Facebook to help them make better marketing decisions.
- Rent your space. If you have an extra parking spot in your driveway or a big empty basement in your house, you can rent out your space to make ends meet. Websites such as StoreAtMyHouse and ParkAtMyHouse allow you to advertise your unused space online and attract renters. Parking spaces can be especially lucrative if you live near a sports stadium or a commuter rail line.
- Participate in a mock jury. Can’t get enough of Law & Order? Get in on the action. These fake trials help lawyers test out arguments or reach settlement agreements before real cases go before a judge. You can find opportunities online, but the ones where you go to a lawyer’s office usually pay better, Taylor says. The payout: Online mock jury trials could pay as low as $10 per trial or up to $50 per trial. However, a trip to your local law office could net you around $100 for a few hours—plus free lunch.
- Be a gym rat. If you can’t go a day without pumping iron, download GymPact (free for iOS and GooglePlay). Each week, you make a pledge for how much you’ll work out. You’ll also be required to state how much you’re willing to pay if you don’t keep your pact. As long as you achieve the goal you set, you’ll earn real cash from other members who didn’t meet their weekly resolutions.
- Name a company. Are you a wordsmith that can come up with catchy names and slogans? You might as well be creative for cash. NamingForce is a website where new companies or products solicit users for name suggestions. Anyone can submit ideas, based on a short description provided by the company.
- Review music. If you’re always hungry to find new tunes, you could get paid to listen to music clips through SlicethePie. Music fans can sign up, listen to 90-second sound clips, and write short reviews to help bands and marketers gain insightful feedback. The quality of your review and how often you submit evaluations will determine how much you get paid.
- Resell cardboard boxes. The United States Census Bureau estimates that about 50 million Americans move each year—so think about all of the cardboard boxes that wind up in landfills. You could actually turn those empty boxes into bucks by reselling them through websites like BoxCycle. All boxes need to be in good condition, with their structure intact. If you’re feeling ambitious, call local stores to see if you can take their extra cardboard boxes away, or look for free box listings on Craigslist.
Dave Balog teaches financial basics to families. firstname.lastname@example.org. 355-0967.