26 Creative Ways To Make Money Fast – Unique Side-Hustle Gigs
New Creative Ways to Make Money
At age 16, I wanted a job. So I did what any 16 year old would do before the internet, I looked at the employment section in the newspaper. It’s hard to imagine a time before the internet, where jobs were listed in a newspaper.
Since I was in high school, I couldn’t work during the day. So an Avon sales ad caught my attention. No age discrimination and I could make money in high school!
I applied, got my territory and ordered my sample supplies.
For those that haven’t heard of Avon, they sell cosmetics, toiletries, seasonal items and decor – door-to-door. Well, back then it was that way, but today Avon sells online and even in mall kiosks!
The job was a creative way to make money and it was fun.
I rang doorbells within my assigned territory, passed out brochures and sample products like packets of lotion, tiny lipsticks and bubble bath. Both men and women placed orders with me and when the merchandise came to my home, I delivered the products to my customers.
Selling Avon Products was a great way to make money in high school. I loved my high school job, I made good money as a teen and had tons of cool samples to try!
Decades later I realize that my success as an entrepreneur and investor began with that first job. I learned the importance of earning, multiple streams of income and saving. And, as I got older and began investing, I learned the power of making your money work for you.
If you’re in high school, college or older there are work at home job ideas as well as creative ways to make money fast. Even if you have a job, earning more is a path towards financial security and independence.
Start today with these creative ways to make money fast. Perfect how to make money for teenagers on up to senior side hustle jobs. And there are great strategies to make money while in college full time too!
How to Make Extra Money Fast
1. Garage sale arbitrage is a great way for high school students to make money. Of course, this is also great part-time job for college students, seniors and really just about anyone! Arbitrage is simply buying something for a low price and reselling it for a higher one. Visit garage sales and pick up marketable items on sale. Look for good condition, in-demand items that photograph well. Then re-sell the same items on Ebay or other online marketplaces. Poshmark is a great site for repurposing your stylish clothes-from your closet, or from someone elses.
2. Assemble Ikea furniture. Ikea is the “go to” source for trendy and affordable furniture. But, the reason the furniture is so affordable is that it is un-assembled. Busy working Mom’s and Dad’s or clumsy folks might not have the resources to assemble the furniture. That’s where you come in. Any reasonably handy guy or gal can put together a chair, book case or file cabinet. I’ve been assembling Ikea furniture for years, and it’s quite clear cut. After a recent visit to Ikea, I return to my car and found a flyer from an entrepreneurial hanyman offering to assemble my furniture. If you don’t want to go old school with flyers, try posting an ad on Craigslist. Or you can get gigs through an app such as TaskRabbit which has a special category for Ikea furniture assemblers.
3. Clean out garages. I would love someone to knock on my door right now to help me clean out my garage. I’d gladly pay someone to organize and clean out my garage. The same goes for an attic! If you like to organize and have a flexible schedule there is a demand for organizers. Although there are “professional organizers”, a knack for tidiness and a few extra hours are suitable skills for this part time job for high school or college students. Again, the advertising strategies are the same. If you live in a neighborhood with lots of homes nearby, why not hand out flyers with tear off stickers that include your phone number or email address. You could make $50 to $100 in an afternoon.
4. Get paid when you do stuff online. For example, college students, high school students and adults can get paid to surf the internet and play games and answer surveys. Swagbucks rewards you (you earn points called SB) for taking surveys, watching videos and even playing games. (There’s even a $5.00 sign up now). For example, take a short survey and earn SB points for each one completed. You can also complete quick “tasks” such as small editing, transcription and validation jobs. My favorite is watching video playlists that Swagbucks creates. They’re categorized by topics like technology, politics, sports fashion and food. You can use the Swagbucks search engine and earn points while you go through your day online. If you’re going to surf the net, then why not get paid with gift cards and more?
5. Become a pet sitter. My daughter lives in San Francisco and pays a lot to have someone come in to watch her cat. Her cat sitter stops by twice per day and plays with the cat, feeds her and changes the litter. Then the sitter texts my daughter details and pictures. She even leaves small gifts for the cat. Cat sitters charge from $20 to $80 per day, depending upon the number of cats, and services provided. This is a perfect job for a high school student because you can take care of the cat before and after school hours. If you want to DIY, you can advertise with flyers in your neighborhood or on Craigslist. If you opt to work for a service like Thumbtack they will take a cut of your pay.
6. Sell money. According to a vintage CNN article, “People who search circulating coinage successfully for a side income do so in very large numbers, she says. They buy rolls of coins from banks, typically in whole boxes, and sort through it to find stuff that just doesn’t belong, Headley says. Half dollars, for example, were no longer made from 90 percent silver after 1965, but they still had 40 percent silver in them until 1970; either of these turn a nice profit. Presidential dollar errors can be worth $50 to $5,000 each; uncirculated state quarters can sell from $10 to $50 per roll; and rare error coins can value up to $35,000″. Look online for high value coins so you know one when you find it!
7. Sell cold water at outdoor festivals and busy vacation destinations. For the industrious, buying a flat of bottled water for $4.00 and selling the 15 bottles for $15.00 is roughly a 300% profit. If you live in a college town with football games, you can clean up on game day. Or hang out near festivals and and events to sell you water. The demand is high as are the profit margins. Check out local vendor regulations so you don’t get hit with a hefty fine. While vacationing in Las Vegas one summer, the street vendors with coolers filled with water bottles selling for a buck were beating out the shops who sold the same water for $3.00.
8. Clean curtains and blinds. Who prioritizes cleaning their window blinds or curtains? I can’t imagine. Even restaurants and businesses need people to clean their blinds and window coverings. This is another home maintenance job that many folks just don’t get around to doing. And, folks might not even now that they ‘need’ this service, until you point it out! I like Craigslist because you don’t need to pay a fee for working through tackl, thumbtack or another app. For a small investment, the curtains could be cleaned with a hand held steam cleaner. With some entrepreneurial drive and a small investment, word-of-mouth could propel your side hustle cleaning gig.
9. Design and build water features. Although I received a beautiful garden fountain for Mother’s Day, I could imagine someone with a bit of a yard would love the addition of a small water feature. If you live in a warm weather climate, water features are so popular. And, with a bit of online research, you could develop a niche in this creative arena. To keep your costs down, use recycled materials and garage sale finds. You could sell your fountains at flea markets or your own etsy store. Or, an easier strategy is to buy up water fountains on sale at the end of summer and then resell them at full price in the spring.
10. Seasonal goods arbitrage. I love the idea of buying items cheaply and re-selling them for a huge mark up. This is a great idea for making money in college and works well for seasonal items. First, stock up on cheap Christmas, Halloween, Valenties Day and Easter items at the dollar store. Then, go back to the dorm or college apartments and sell the decorations for a marked up price. Freshmen students are a perfect market for these decorations as many campuses ban cars for first year students. Or, you could use the same strategy and sell the goods at a flea market.
11. Wash windows. This is another low cost service business that both homeowners and businesses need. And, most homeowners want their windows washed and rarely take the time to do so. The supplies are cheap; a bucket, squeegee, cleaning fluid, rags and a ladder. If you’re brave, you might go door-to-door on a Saturday morning – in a safe neighborhood – and offer your service. At $15 to $20 per window you can make money fast. In fact, businesses need this service performed regularly as well. You could try the same tactic at a strip mall too. Or if you prefer, advertise your services with flyers or on Craigslist or a neighborhood email list. I got my last window-washer from Craigslist.
12. Drive for Uber or Lyft. If you can drive and have some spare time, driving for Uber or Lyft is a no-brainer. And if you don’t like the idea of dealing with passengers, you can choose to become an UberEats Delivery Partner. Although I live in the crowded bay area, where cars are a nuisance and Uber is a blessing, I’ve ridden in Uber across the country when I travel. The demand for Uber drivers continues, and if you learn the ropes, watch some videos and follow the rules, you can earn decent money in your spare time. Whether you’re looking for a job while in college, a senior, or a salaried employee, Uber is an easy way to pad your income.
10. Mobile car washing. With busy two parent households, car washing falls low on the “to-do list”. You can accomplish this task for busy workers and make good part time money. There are several ways to approach this side hustle. Go to a high density apartment or condominium complex and post flyers for car washing service. Or, if you’re tech-savvy, create a quick website and advertise there. List the name of your town, and mobile car washing in the url. For example, Terre Haute Moble Car Wash. Again Craigslist can help. List your service on the Craigslist website. Or, work for an existing mobile car washing company. I saw a Craigslist job posting for a mobile car washer paying $20 per hour. Just remember, if you DIY, make sure not to breaking any laws or covenants.
11. Golf caddy. If you live near a golf course this is an amazing way to make money in high school or college. Older established country clubs are great places to start. Typically, a golf caddy goes through a one day training, and earns higher pay with experience. If you’re wondering how to make money in high school, this is a job to try, as the minimum age is typically 14 years old. You must be an early riser for this side hustle, as golfers get started early in the morning. And, the benefits go beyond the actual salary. You’ll be caddying for wealthy and successful people and if you listen carefully and develop relationships with the golfers, you could get job leads and contacts for the future.
12. Be surveyed. Marketers are clamoring for your opinion. Large companies and well known brands want to understand their consumers – and that’s you. By taking surveys, you help them create and market new products – based on your survey responses. You actually become an influencer through your survey responses! My favorite place for online surveys is InboxDollars. There’s even a $5.00 sign up bonus now. Sign up here and start earning while you’re watching tv. Another benefit of InboxDollars is that you receive cash payment for completing the surveys.
12. Sell yourself online. (Not that way) There’s Tackl, Fiverr, Elance, Craigslist and a growing number of online platforms that connect workers with jobs. Depending on you skills, one platform might work out better than another. Scan the types of gigs offered and requirements for each platform and then choose the one(s) that fit your skill-set. I just received some design work from an online provider. Have a beautiful voice? Create personalized phone greetings. Are you a wiz at editing videos? Do it for others. Are you knowledgeable about design? Create a logo for customers. The list is endless.
13. Pizza taste tester. Yes, this is really a job! I found the listing for this very job on flexjobs.com under the “surprising” category. It’s a remote job which means you can work in your own region. The company needs freelance pizza taste testers to help develop recipes and act as a pizza brand ambassador. You do need to be interested in cooking and experience making pizza dough is a plus! Even if this job is filled, there were other cool and unusual jobs listed on the flexjobs site.
14. Translation expert. In the San Fransisco Bay area you can’t go anywhere without hearing a variety of languages other than English. Our local Home Depot claims it has workers speaking over 20 distinct languages. If you are fluent in two languages you can offer translation services on a part time basis. Major hospitals need on-call representatives to translate for non-English speaking patients. Advertise your translation services on Craigslist and see what type of part-time translation job you can land.
19. Love mystery and shopping? Be a mystery shopper. There are many online companies who can link you up with sweet “mystery shopping” gigs. A mystery shopper job duties include talking with employees, making a purchase and investigating the “shopping experience” at a store or restaurant. Companies use the results of your visit to improve customer service. The pay varies and is typically a per visit dollar amount. To maximize your revenue, sign up with several legitimate mystery shopper organizations (search online). Get organized so that you’re not wasting your earnings on gas. Then shop quickly to maximize your earnings.
20. Sell your sperm (men only). Sperm donors are in high demand and the pay is excellent. If you’re seeking a job for college students or graduates, are in excellent health and willing to submit to extensive screening, then consider donating your sperm. The top sperm banks seek healthy men who are willing to undergo some questioning and testing about family history and psychological background. Search online for reputable sperm banks in your area. A California sperm bank requires that men be taller than 5’9″, have a clean medical history and be willing to take a psychological test.
21. Sell your plasma. This relatively safe procedure is governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You’ll be paid from $20 to $50 per donation depending upon the volume of plasma you can donate. The donation amount is related to your weight. Higher weight folks can donate more plasma. To sell plasma you must be healthy, between the ages of 18 and 66 and weigh at least 110 pounds. If you’ve gotten any piercings, tattoos or permanent makeup within the past year, you’re out! Search online for reputable donation sites in your area.
22. Flea market upsell. If you’re crafty and like a challenge then this is a fun and creative way to make money. Buy old and/or flawed furniture and home accent pieces. The stuff is so easy to find. You, your Mom, and Grandma all probably have perfect items in the attic or garage. Or, get the stuff from Goodwill, flea markets or yard sales (see #5). Add a coat of paint or some decorator accents and resell. Watch “HGTV’s Flea Market Flip” for ideas. On that show, contestants have made hundreds of dollars sprucing up old stuff and reselling it for huge profits. You could make more than $100 on a good flea market upsell.
23. Become a dog walker or doggy-day care center. There is big money in pet care. With so many of us working – a lot, our pets need care during the day. If you have a big yard and are home during the day, you could become a doggy-day care (check zoning requirements first). The dogs’ parent drops her off at your home and you feed, play with and keep an eye on the dog(s). Or, if you’re interested in ago smaller time commitment, and have a flexible schedule, I know a lot of folks who walk others dogs. It’s great money, fun and doesn’t take too much time. Stick flyers in your neighbors’ doors or with and app like wagwalking.com or rover.com. According to theNest.com walking one dog per week could net an extra $100 per week. Per visit fees range from $15 to $25 per visit.
24. Haul junk. After paying someone close to $500 to remove boxes and junk from our home after our move to California, I’ve been a huge supporter of this side hustle. If you have a pick-up truck, there is big money to be made. You’lI need to find out where to take the junk, legally, and how much it’ll cost you. Incorporate your costs into your fee. We found our junk hauler on Craigslist – of course – but today you can get a part-time job as a junk hauler from an app or an established junk company. In general, dirtier jobs can command higher fees. Work alternate Saturday mornings and you could make close to $1,000 monthly.
25. Rent out a room. Friends rent out 2 rooms in their 4 bedroom house, and they barely even see the tenant (a 35-year-old sales associate). This slices their mortgage to the bone. Make sure to do extensive screening and draw up a detailed rental agreement before allowing someone in your home. Don’t forget to google the prospective tenant and check his Social Media profiles. Use one of the online legal sites for a sample rental document. Or use one of apps such as airbnb to rent out a room on a temporary basis. If you live in a tourist area, all the better. Regrdless of how you rent out a room, investigate local ordinances so you don’t find yourself running afoul of the law!
26. Sell your crap. Take all the extra stuff that you have laying around the house, that you don’t need and sell it on ebay, Craigslist or one of new apps such as Offerup. We just sold my daughters loft bed in a day for a good price! Take a nice picture, in good light for the best responses. Older electronics and game consoles that still work are great money-makers. There’s so much stuff that we accumulate, and if you’re not using it, sell it to someone who will. Once you get the hang of selling online, you can leverage this side-hustle by seeking out free stuff on Craigslist or on the side of the road and selling.
Bonus money-maker. Install the Swagbucks extention on your browser and make money while shopping and surfing the internet. Here’s how it works, the SwagButton automatically tells you if the website you’re visiting offers cash back for shopping. And of course with Swagbucks you can watch videos in your spare time to boost your side hustle income.
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Updated on October 16, 2018 (The original version of this article was inspired by Kylie Ofiu’s “365 Ways to Make Money” book.)