When I was at CNN, I made extra money on the side by selling all my old clothes on eBay. Being thrifty by nature, I saw dollar signs in things other people might have given or thrown away. So to realize that value, I opened up an eBay store. No, I wasn’t going to leave my job to become an eBay seller (although, plenty of women do and make a killing). It was just a hobby, albeit a lucrative one. And if I ever had thoughts to the contrary, the one time a man asked me for a photo of my feet in the old shoes I was selling made it remain forever…just a hobby.
Just because your hobby isn’t a good fit for full-time employment doesn’t mean you can’t still make some extra money doing it. There are tons of ways you can bring in some cash on the side to supplement your income if you just get creative—and a little extra cash never hurt anyone!
1. Become a virtual assistant. Gone are the days when everyone had a personal assistant, Mad Men–style. These days, even big bankers and major celebrities have someone helping them out remotely. That someone could be you. Expect to screen your boss’s emails, arrange travel, make appointments and phone calls on behalf of your boss, manage the calendar, and take care of any other random administrative tasks that might come up. (How much you can make: $20–$100/hour.)
2. Make the most of e-commerce. Etsy is the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace, with a community of millions of buyers and small businesses. Think artisanal anything, from homemade soap to needlepoint belts.
If you’re the creative, right-side-of-your-brain type, turn your fun DIY project into some serious extra cash. (How much you can make: $10–$1,000; price varies by item.)
3. Get focused (grouped). Get on your computer and search for companies that conduct paid focus groups. I’m not talking about weird science experiment stuff. Focus groups can be for stuff like watching movies. Yes, please! In most cases, all you need to get involved is to place your name on a list and wait to be called. You can make a quick $50 to $100 just for answering an hour’s worth of questions about a product or service—and potentially more if the gig calls for hitting the stores in person as a mystery shopper or the restaurants as a secret taster (yum!). (How much you can make: $50–$200/hour.)
4. Ref sporting events. You have to take a quick certification session (but it’s no biggie, usually just a weekend of training) and then you are assigned by your local recreational association to games. If you’re a new sporty spice, you might be assigned to youth basketball, soccer, lacrosse games and the like. If you played sports in college or have a degree in athletics, you might be eligible to ref high school, college, or even semipro games, which are more lucrative and typically offer better schedules. (How much you can make: $20–$1,500 per game.)
5. Be a writer. Many websites need part-time writers. This doesn’t mean you need to be a professional novelist. Write reviews for restaurants, shops, parks and concerts in your area. Blogging job boards like BloggingPro, ProBlogger, and Freelance Writing Jobs (FWJ), which consolidates all Craigslist and other posts from around the country are good places to start. Organize your clips if you have them, or come up with a few writing samples ahead of time. (How much you can make: $0.01–$0.15 per word.)