1. Sell, Sell, Sell
Pop on a pair of gloves and a hoodie and clean out your attic, then see if there’s anything worth posting to eBay. You’ll be charged between $0.10 and $4.00 per item listed, then a sales fee on top of that if the item sells (more info on that here). Since it’s fairly cheap to list an item it can’t hurt to give it a whirl, and you never know what buyers will pick up: last year, my mom bought a pair of rowboat oars off eBay to use as a window treatment.
If you’re the type of person who needs to update his iPod every time a new model comes out, even better: the top three searches on eBay so far this month are “iPod,” “iPod Touch” and “iPhone.” Other technological goodies like laptops, digital cameras and gaming counsels round out the list.
Though this may not create a steady stream of income, it could add a nice chunk of change to your Christmas budget. Keep in mind that eBay is a massive website, so your item will easily be lost in the shuffle if it’s something commonly listed (such as artwork.)
2. Let Your Talents Take the Reins
If you’re crafty and think you could make some money off of your creations, check out etsy.com. This website allows users to post items to an online storefront for potential customers to browse. It easy to list items and inexpensive, since Etsy only charges $0.20 per item listed, then a 3.5% sales charge if the item sells. The more unique the item the better, and if your only talent is scarf-knitting you may want to move your skills to another product: there were over 75,000 scarves posted on Etsy at the beginning of December.
If you’re pretty snazzy with Photoshop, try cafepress.com instead. This website allows users to post T-Shirt and other product designs onto their website free of charge. The catch is how much they keep: since Cafepress creates and ships the items you’ve listed, you’ll only earn a couple bucks per item sold, depending on how much you charge per item.
These websites are a good place to start if earning some side cash isn’t an urgent need. It can take a very long time to get traffic through your storefront, and you should be prepared to list items for considerably less than you think they’re worth.
Have you been kicking yourself for earning that bachelor’s in English? Try freelance writing. With the publishing and newspaper industry suffering steady cuts due to the transition from print to online products, many companies are looking to freelancers to fill in the gaps left by full-time employee cuts. Local papers are a good place to start, though you can look online for inspiration as well.
To make money off freelancing you’ll have to devote a decent amount of time to writing as well as being rejected. Don’t expect it to pay off well from the get-go, but it does pay off to be persistent.
There are a number of online tutoring services that allow tutors to work from their own home. The hour commitment is often reasonable, with a minimum 5 hours a week asked at most websites. Try tutor.com and take the online test for whichever subject you are most experienced in, but expect to take it a few times before you pass, as the tests are difficult. You’ll be much more likely to find work if you pass the statistics or math tests, and much less likely if you’re into English.
5. E-Mail your Alma Mater
Many college departments receive job requests from individuals or companies who are looking for odd-jobs, so e-mail the department you graduated from and ask to be added to their list of addresses. Many university Honors Colleges do this as well. The jobs could be anything, but since they are aimed at college students the schedules are likely to be flexible and the hour commitment minimal.
Why you may want to skip Blogging
Many online articles suggest blogging as a way to make extra money, but for most people this isn’t a realistic option. Bloggers make money by posting ads to their blog and accruing a certain number of page hits, which then cues the ad company to pay up. Alternately, the ad companies may pay when their ad is clicked, not simply when the page is loaded. It takes a very large number of hits to make a decent amount of money from a blog, and to be honest, most of us just aren’t interesting enough to make money off our life story, memoirs or pop culture commentary.