BY RYAN SPELTS
If you have watched or read the news lately, 2023 might seem pretty doom and gloom, especially when it comes to financial news. Layoffs have begun, interest rates continue to climb, and everyone is in worry mode. My first advice is to turn the news off if you begin to feel fear while consuming it. Take a break. It also helps me to consult the past. Being a business owner, I like to look up businesses that were started during rough financial times. Some examples: Netflix was founded right before the dot com bubble popped in 2000, Airbnb was started in 2008 amidst the real estate crisis, and Revlon was started in 1932 right during the Great Depression. These time-defying companies are only a few of many successes that happened despite the troubles of their times. I believe our current times offer the same opportunities for us to succeed, even if the news pundits get their way and we do have a recession.
Maybe you aren’t particularly adventurous and don’t want to start a company. Maybe you just need to put a little extra cash in your bank for life’s unexpected challenges. Last year, we had four car breakdowns in a little over two months. It was about $5,000 in expenses that we weren’t planning on. I talked to a friend yesterday who said her water heater went out which cost her an extra $1800, which she didn’t have room for in her budget. I have heard it said that the average family only needs an extra $300 a month to give them security when these unexpected expenses arise. This article is going to focus on ways you can add a little bit extra to your monthly income. It is certainly not exhaustive but might give you some ideas on how to fill the gaps in your budget.
This is the era of the side gig. Regular, everyday people with regular full-time jobs are doing all sorts of side gigs to make extra money. We have gathered a list that is by no means all-inclusive but hope this gives you a little extra motivation to decide to put yourself out there and start making some extra money.
People or Food Delivery
Most people have heard of the next couple of options. Ride-sharing and food delivery are both a way to bring in extra cash. Companies like Uber, Lyft, and GrubHub are easy enough to sign up with and get rolling. You can potentially earn an extra $300 – $1000 a month doing any of these on the side; however, it may mean extra wear and tear on your vehicle, so be aware of those costs. The benefit of these services is that your schedule is 100% in your control. You can work one night a week or every night if you want. It is up to you.
I drove for Uber before we started the magazine for one night. It was New Year’s Eve in Salt Lake City, and it was busy. I didn’t love the drunk passengers, but I earned a little extra cash and realized that it wasn’t for me. I use the service from time to time though, and I always ask the drivers how they like driving and the responses are nearly universally, “I love it!” They say it is so great to have a flexible schedule and they love that they can meet new people all the time.
Rent out your Extra Space:
Another option is to use your extra space and rent it out. I have had the chance to travel a bit for work and have used Airbnb and VRBO for finding a room. You can also rent out your side yard or garage space on different sites online. One couple I stayed with had a large home in Boise where they raised their family of four kids… The kids had all moved out, so they started renting the extra space on Airbnb and it earned them an extra $1000+ per month. When I was traveling to Boise to pick up magazines earlier this year (when we had so many problems with printing), I stayed with them. I liked it better than staying at a hotel, plus it saved me a few bucks. I also parked my big delivery truck we use to pick up magazines in someone’s large backyard for $50 a month. If you have extra space, you can find someone to utilize that space and bring in some extra cash. Your income potential here will vary based on what you have to offer but the range is potentially from $50-$1500 a month.
Sell your skills
Maybe you aren’t in a place in life where you have extra space or a large piece of property. That is okay; you have other skills. Connection Publishing has used this part of the market for nearly all of what you see in these magazines. We have freelancers to do much of the work it takes to publish these magazines: writing, editing, graphic design, and social media. A freelancer is someone who works for a company but is not employed by the company. They work as a contractor and are often paid by the piece. Here are some of the most common freelancers needed in today’s market.
Writers: We have found that there are quite a few people who like to write but are not in a position to work full-time, particularly moms who want to stay home with their children in the early years. There are so many writers needed in the general market that it is a common need. Website content, blog posting, articles, technical writing, sales copy, and many more are all areas that companies need help with, but may not need to hire someone full-time.
Graphic Designers: From making advertisements, logos, magazine layouts, social media posts, and website designs, and even making unique designs of your own, you can sell your skills or your products online. I taught myself how to do graphic design using YouTube and friends to help me get past the initial stages of design so I could help make advertisements for our advertising clients. I am not a professional, but I can do the basics, which is often all you need – especially if you have an eye for good design.
Programmers/ Website Development: I know several people who do this type of work in their full-time jobs. These skills are in high demand, and it would be easy to post on a freelance site and start taking on some side work to make extra money.
Here are other skills that are in high demand for freelancers: Cybersecurity, programming, app development, voiceovers, video production, automation, data science, transcription services, social media management, cloud consulting, blockchain, tutoring, and many many more. I have met people who help people get organized on the side. If you have a skill, put it out there and see what options you have to bring in extra cash as a freelancer. It may take some time and effort to start earning business as a freelancer, but build your customer base and make sure to make people happy and you will get busy over time.
This one is unique. Nowadays, you do not need to go to a title company or a bank to sign important papers. Most companies will send a notary to your home or business to sign the same papers. Mobile Notaries are a key piece of this industry. Notaries must train and be licensed with the state, but this can be a lucrative side gig. A couple of years ago when we signed our refinance papers, I asked our notary about his job. He said he replaced his full-time income after about two years of working as a mobile notary. The notary will make anywhere from $75 per signing with a client to sometimes upwards of $300. It can be quite lucrative. You will need a bond and seal, and to license with the state. Reference notary.utah.gov for all the steps. I will warn you that it will likely take a year or more before this is a steady income. Rates have gone up and signings are less in demand, so it could be a little more challenging right now, but where there is a will, there is a way.
Sell stuff online
If you are a deal hunter, this one might be up your alley. Buying and reselling items people want and need can be a great way to earn extra cash. This can include buying everyday products that you find on sale, then reselling them online with a markup. Many people don’t shop for sales and instead, look for convenience. Another idea I have come across is buying older furniture and cleaning it up or refinishing it, then reselling it for a markup. I have even met a few people who create artwork or useful items like calendars and sell them on sites like Etsy or eBay. Get your creative juices flowing and think about things that people may want, then create the product and sell it online. You may need to learn marketing skills to do this effectively. You can follow along as I teach marketing on my website at ryanspelts.com to learn more.
If you know a particular skill, you can also sell your knowledge online. You can put together a course on your skills and sell access to that knowledge. I am working on my first course to sell online about sales and marketing. I was told by the SBA that the most sought-after knowledge by new small businesses is sales and marketing skills. I have spent the last 25 years mastering those very skills and I will be offering a course that is designed to help local small businesses. For now, I am recording myself speaking about those skills and putting those videos on YouTube and ryanspelts.com to build a following so that when my course is ready, I will have a group of people to whom I can offer it first. I figure I might as well put it out there and see if the lessons I can offer are wanted.
Become a salesperson
This has a massive range of possibilities. You can sell just about anything. Either online or in person. I know people who sell cosmetics, others who sell oils, and others who still sell healthy juices or supplements. Then there is the internet. If you are good at creating videos or making social media posts, you could help other companies create that type of content for their pages. Another option is to become an affiliate marketer, which is where you represent and sell nearly any product you can think of and make a commission on the sale. Social media influencers often do this when they pitch their favorite brands online; they will often use a link to send you to a site like Amazon which will later pay them a commission for their sales.
I knew someone who made videos of their favorite throw rugs, linked people to the sites where the rugs are sold and made a commission on those items. I also found companies that would drop-ship their products so the seller didn’t have to carry inventory.
This one will take a little sales and marketing know-how, as well as some tech abilities, but it could be a way to add to your income. You could look at supplying products on Amazon as well. I know several people who have built multi-million dollar businesses buying items in bulk from places like alibaba.com and reselling them on amazon.com or Walmart.com. I believe that sales are such an important skill; I encourage my kids to take on jobs where they get to practice sales skills. Even if they don’t spend a career selling as I have, I want them to know the skills so they can use them in their other endeavors.
There are so many more options available today, it’s amazing. The only side jobs I knew about when I was a kid were delivering newspapers and working at the local gas station for the night shift. Today the possibilities are limitless. They are not without effort or investment of your time. There is so much that you can learn and do online. Let’s make 2023 an economy-defying year and make our lives better by taking control of our opportunities. Let us know if we missed a side gig that you think others would enjoy.