If you've been on the job market for a while and you're having no luck, your situation might feel pretty desperate. The good news is you have lots of ways to make money if you're willing to think creatively. Some of the best options include doing odd jobs in your community, finding freelance work online, selling your unused items and joining the sharing economy. If you decide you'd rather work for yourself, you can even kick start your own business online.
Do Odd Jobs
If you put yourself out there, you might find you have a lot of skills that can translate into cash. Look at your skill set or think about things you like to do. If you like pets, offer your services as a dog walker or pet sitter. If you're good at fixing things, let people know you're available as a handyperson. You might also offer to shop for groceries, clean houses, or do lawn care for people you know. Spread the word to your friends and family about what you can do, and you may be surprised at how many jobs you get through those connections, as well as those who refer you to other people.
Pursue Freelance Work
In the modern economy, traditional jobs are not the only way to make money. Lots of people work full-time doing short gigs in writing, editing, web design or marketing. Look for work on websites that allow you to create a profile and bid on jobs, such as Upwork, Freelancer or 99 Designs. Also search Craigslist or other local newspapers or websites where employers might be seeking local talent.
Sell Your Stuff
Unless you're living in a bare-bones apartment, chances are you have stuff you can sell. Things with high resale value include wood furniture, music, books, kids stuff and newer electronics, suggests BankRate.com. If you don't have a space to host your own yard sale, post your items on Craigslist, eBay or another free online classifieds site in your area. Another way to really sell big: Team up with other people to host a larger sale, which you can advertise as "multi-family." Bigger sales that are advertised with more signs and lists of what's available will tend to draw in more potential buyers. Also check out resale shops, used book stores and other stores that buy used goods.
The Sharing Economy
There's yet another way to leverage the items you already own: share them in the sharing economy – also called the peer-to-peer economy. If you have a car, join a site such as Lyft or GetAround and loan it out or drive people around. If you have extra space in your house, rent out a room on Airbnb or Craigslist. While some cities place restrictions on these types of rentals and may require you to pay additional taxes, the sharing economy is still a viable way of taking advantage of resources you already have.
Start Your Own Business
Take odd jobs to the next level. Selling your unused items and doing one-off odd jobs can only take you so far. If you're looking for something that will bring you ongoing, steady income, consider starting your own business doing something you love. Take full advantage of online tools to create your own website to list your services, or set up a site on a platform like Etsy.com, where you can sell your artwork and crafted item. If you do any sort of creative work, from traditional arts to creating apps and games, check out Patreon.com, a site that lets you solicit patrons to help support your work for as little as $1 a month. The site manages payments and collections so you can focus on creating. Check in your own community as well. Many cities have entrepreneur hubs that can help you with everything from getting a business license to sharing expensive equipment and office amenities.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.