We all have those moments when we see a business that's so simple or so lucrative -- or both -- that we kick ourselves for not having thought of it first. I prefer to channel those moments into something positive, however, realizing that if "those people" could do it, so can any of us. For inspiration, here are five nearly insane (and often insanely lucrative) businesses that actually worked.
Ask your parents if they'll pay you for doing more chores. You're probably already expected to do chores around the house and help out your family for free. If you need a little extra pocket change, however, ask your parents if there's something else you can do for a small fee. For instance, maybe your mom really hates folding laundry and would be willing to pay $5 a week for you to do it instead. Whatever it is, let your parents know you're willing to take on more work for a bit of allowance.
If you can find and restore items like furniture and appliances, you can make a substantial amount of money. You can acquire the items on Craigslist, or even at garage sales or estate sales, restore them, and then list them for sale on the site. You may also be able to market certain items on eBay, particularly if they are small, unusual, but high in price.
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Today, if you're at all serious about succeeding in any endeavor, whether online or offline, you have to deliver enormous amounts of value. Yes, you have to do the most amount of work for the least initial return. This is especially true online. Why? Because it takes time to build authority and create an audience, two primary ingredients necessary to succeed in the wonderful world of commerce on the web.
Try pet sitting. Find friends who are going out of town and offer to take care of their pets while they’re gone. Professional boarding places tend to be very expensive (not to mention impersonal and intimidating for a pet), so your cozy little house or apartment may seem like a very nice alternative. Around the holidays, pet-boarders fill up quickly, meaning you can probably charge more.
Participate in medical studies. If just the thought of this frightens you, know that the intensity of such studies varies greatly. Some studies ask participants (particularly those with medical conditions) to test treatments or medications that can have adverse side effects, but others ask participants to perform physical tasks with no lasting effects. If you are able-bodied and paranoid about keeping it that way, you can even participate as a control in a study at a nearby medical research facility or medical school.
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing, and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who've done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.
Landscape. Look for brush-clearing, mowing, or woodcutting jobs, some of which may land you regular customers. This can save you money at the same time: if you are hired to pick up pine needles, use them to mulch your roses, which will appreciate their acidity and smothering effect on weeds; if you are hired to cut and clear a fallen tree, use it to heat your house that winter.
If you are a confident web developer then designing your own themes is an obvious path to follow if you are looking to make money online. ThemeForest sells a wide assortment of developers themes, including themes for WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, and Tumblr, to name a few. Once you have created your theme, get it accepted onto the ThemeForest marketplace and make money each time it sells.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
Sell baked goods. Working parents might not have the time to whip up a birthday cake or cupcakes for school parties. That’s where you come in if you can create tasty baked goods. A friend of mine who is a single mom started making cupcakes as a way to keep herself occupied while staying with her dad when he was undergoing chemotherapy. She posted a picture of her cupcakes on Facebook and instantly received several orders from friends. Now she makes about $200 a month making cupcakes for others who hear about her through word of mouth or see pictures of her cupcakes on her Facebook page.
So, I put together a free master course for you to take that spreads out all of the work involved in starting a blog, into a series of action-packed lessons. My free course breaks the entire process of starting a blog down into an incredibly simple 7-day process for going from 0 to publishing (and promoting) your first blog post in just 1 week. I can't recommend it enough.
Make the most of your spare space by listing it for short term rentals with Airbnb. If you know how to be an Airbnb host that wows their guests, you have an amazing opportunity to make money fast. By creating a wonderful experience for your guests, you’re setting yourself up for great reviews and lots of repeat guests. Check out our complete guide on getting started as an Airbnb host.
Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is something I don’t use as much, but I do occasionally earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “Swagbucks” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up today!
Profit from you photos. If you’re skilled with a camera, you can turn your photos into cash by selling them to stock image sites, such as Shutterstock.com. If the photos you submit are accepted, they can be downloaded by Shutterstock’s subscribers and you can earn anywhere from 25 cents to $120 per image download. Other sites that accept photos from contributors include iStock, Dreamstime and Sqeeqee.
Keep your costs down. In order to turn a profit on what you're selling, choose to sell an item that's inexpensive to make. Lemonade is a classic because all of its ingredients (water, sugar, lemons or lemon juice concentrate, and ice) are fairly cheap and easy to obtain. Popsicles are another favorite because they can be bought in large quantities from the store!
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Clearly, there's a lot of demand on Amazon, and if any product is going to sell, it's going to sell well on Amazon. But the goal here is to source the right products that will easily sell at the world's largest online retailer. Generally, products between $10 and $50 sell very well here. Just be sure to do the right market research before jumping on this bandwagon.
More than half a billion products are sold on Amazon every month, making it an incredible opportunity to make money online. But, like everything else that involves making money online, you have to do quite a bit of work to earn it. One option on Amazon is to find products that are already made and buy and sell them at a discount. For example, you could research generic products such as clocks, keychains and mugs to attach to your brand. For an incredible deep dive on how to make extra money with this strategy, check out how digital marketer Neil Patel recently did this as a public experiment right here on his blog.
Sell scavenged valuables. If you have a metal detector, or even just a good eye, go to public places where people are likely to drop something unnoticed (such as parks, beaches, and shopping areas), and look for money, jewelry and other valuable goods. This method isn’t very reliable, but you just might get lucky and be able to find something you can sell quickly for cash.
Amazon will have you work on micro-projects that require some sort of human interaction. Tasks can include translating a paragraph into English (or another language), rating the search results for certain keywords, or reworking an article. The tasks are simple, and you will be paid a small amount to complete each. But if you do enough tasks quickly, you can make a respectable amount of money.
Then Compass Point hits you with the upshot: "Multiple expansion combined with earnings growth leads to alpha." In other words, the way to outperformance (alpha) is to buy small caps and wait for them to grow so that the market rewards the same assets with a higher multiple. Find a growing small REIT with a solid management team and let them run their game plan. That's the secret.
Amazon offers a service called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which can be extremely useful for arbitrage sellers, or others selling their own products. If you opt for FBA, Amazon will store, pick, pack and deliver your products. That means you can scale your arbitrage business quickly as you don’t have to store products in your own home or waste time with postage.
Here’s a good example of how lead sales can work in real life: My second website, Life Insurance by Jeff, brings in a ton of traffic from people who are searching the web to find answers to life insurance questions. While I used to have the website set up so I could sell these people life insurance myself, it was a lot of work to process all the different requests and clients. As a result, I started selling the leads I gathered instead.