The Ultimate Guide to Making Money

Interested in earning money on the side? Help me shape an upcoming bootcamp

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By a huge margin, “earning money” is the most requested entrepreneurial topic on I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

For the past few months, my friend and I have been putting together a bootcamp to help people earn more money on the side. We’ve written pages and pages, catalogued hundreds of ideas, started recording a bunch of videos (including case studies of people who earn lots of money on the side), and started thinking about pricing.

But before we go any further, we want to get your thoughts. If you want to earn more money on the side, can you spare 3 minutes to tell us what exactly you want to do? At the end of the survey, you’ll get a chance to sign up to get an early look at the bootcamp.

Let us know why you want to earn money on the side! [Edit: The survey is now closed. 1,300+ responses! Thanks, guys.]

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31 Comments

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  1. How about those of us that DO earn money on the side – want some testimony of what we’ve done and how it’s worked out?
    For me, I received my undergrad in mechanical engineering in May 08. Started work mid-June 08, and realized last fall/winter that, once I got home, I had nothing to do. School had dominated my time with homework, sports, etc., but the ‘real world’ was quite different. This eventually landed me with two other jobs: Freelance personal training as well as modeling. Granted, I have a natural predisposition to be qualified for these: I’ve been in shape my whole life, have a long background in sports with excellent coaches, and have a “look” that many advertisers search for (www.modelmayhem.com/wesykema).
    The money, however, was what drew me in. Personal training easily commands $25/hour or more. Modeling can quickly move north of $100/hour, plus free stuff like clothes or tickets to events. I know many of the GRS readers are college students or recent grads like me, and I’d encourage them to look into these areas as alternatives to retail or restaurant work.

  2. I filled out the survey! I hope i can be apart of this boot camp. It sounds really interesting. I am excited to see what you have up your sleeve Ramit.

  3. Wes – sadly the link that you posted is blocked by my ISP.

    With the job that I do (stewardess) we get plenty time off, especially when the ‘regular’ person is working and plenty of my colleagues have their fingers in modelling and coaching. Sadly this isn’t for everyone!

    ideas for jobs on the side lending your voice to an audio book prg/company voicemail systems. Just dont know of these openings where I live (the MiddleEast)

    Looking forward to the results of the survey, Ramit

  4. The bootcamp sounds good, I hope I get a preview. I’ve been earning money on the side by freelancing, but I’d love some more tips on how to earn more.

  5. Ramit, Definitely interested in hearing more about this. However, if anyone knows or has any experience with these so-called advertised jobs just browsing the web or “working from home”. How does that even work and should it ever be considered?? Maybe a small section on spam online jobs would be good?

  6. For college students, donating plasma is an easy way to earn a little extra money. Biolife pays $55 per week if you donate twice a week (up to $220 per month — can you say “beer money”?). Some places also pay for blood donation. It’s painless if you’re not squeamish about needles, and you can do your homework while you’re hooked up.

  7. The sruvey didn’t really cover what I would really like to know:

    I have a certain skill set that I know is marketable, but I also have a full time job doing that same thing. I’ve looked at elance, but it appears to cater to a certain Internet-savy, “I know about elance” crowd, and their job descriptors leave somewhat to be desired: my profession would be under “legal” but I am NOT a lawyer, and I’m hesitant to post something there and be caught up in a misrepresentation lawsuit or something to that effect.

    I have a lot of contacts within my profession, but they all want to offer me a full time job. Not consulting work.

    How do I identify and then market myself to the people I actually can help?

  8. I have been reading blogs by Tim Ferris, Glen, and you for quite a while now. I do find the information to be very helpful. However, I find two issues with the information given. 1) Much of the advice is tech/finance related, even for the entrepreneurial stuff you discuss, and if your not in those fields (which I’m not) what techniques should one use in a more traditional field like Education or Medicine (fields that require research and experience). 2) There hasn’t been too much of a discussion on building credibility especially if you are a recent graduate, or young professional trying to breakout on your own.

    My situation is such. I hold a graduate degree and make in the mid 40’s in my full time job (I hold a good title but just make no money). I work a part time job as an executive assistant making $9.00 in a cool start up without the funds for any serious growth right now. I have recently started my own business MËKScarves,(website coming soon). I live a very low cost lifestyle and have fully automated my bills, savings and investments. However, I am still broke and not living the lifestyle I would like to live. I think some part of the discussion around work/career/entrepreneur stuff is the ability to be patience, perseverant and resourceful (and what to do in-between the lulls of trying to do something new i.e….how much research should I do on drop ship, auto blogging, organic sponsorship, industry standards) this seems to be embedded in much of your content but not clearly discussed.

    In addition, I am looking to bartend so that I can rigorously pay of my school loans. This doesn’t leave to much time for fun in my life. I believe there should a better way for me to get to the same end, as spreading myself too thin will reduce the quality of my work product and affect my credibility. My skills are in education, programming, logistics, strategic planning. I can plan events on the cheap, I can help you grow talent in your organization, I can restructure your after school program to increase results and train your staff. However, I don’t have extensive experience to do all these things(though I can do them all and quite well), and I sit on a few different organizations, so I have no more time to volunteer, even though I do pro bono work on occasion.

    So what do I do… obviously I am doing everything right, but yet everything wrong… There should be a better way. Any thoughts Ramit?

    This is the second time I have ever posted on a blog, so any response would be appreciated!

    • Yeah part of the program will be addressing EXACTLY your concern. So it’s not just programmers or web designers, but writers/creative people and others with non-science/tech backgrounds. Sign up for the list…you would be pretty interesting to do a beta test with so we can see how much our stuff helps you. I bet we can help you earn a bunch.

  9. Not covered by the survey: I have particular technical skills that I use in my day job. I would like to write/blog/consult/ whatever using those skills, but I also need to avoid conflicts of interest with my day job.

  10. I filled it out. I guess the important thing I need to learn is how to market my skills? I’m your typical tech savvy, work with computers and networks all day guy. People always ask me to fix theirs, and it is usually easy for me to do that. I recently talked to a friend who was working with the best buy geek squad while looking for a real job after he got out of the Marines. He told me some of the fees they charge and I realized that some people pay ridiculous amounts of money for these services that I usually do for free in 5 minutes.

    • Adam, people are stunned when they find out what I’ve paid / charged for stuff that others would never dream of turning into businesses. For example, one summer I consulted for a venture-capital firm and taught them about Web 2.0 stuff like online video, online dating, social networks, etc.

      Eric, we might try to cover that but I’m not sure. Not that this is specifically directed towards you, but in my experience people who are really nervous about conflicts of interest also tend to be nervous about getting off their asses and doing anything at all. I repeat: Not directed towards you. We’ll see if we can fit it in, so thanks for the comment.

  11. I earn extra money with AdSense on some static informational web sites I have made. It’s passive income because once I have the site set up and do a little initial marketing for it, I can just let it go and the dollars roll in. Sometimes it makes more than at other times, but it’s all gravy.

  12. A lot of us have ideas as to what to do, but the missing element is marketing. Anything you can add in regard to marketing skills, businesses, trades, etc, would be most useful.

  13. Wow! I’ve learned so much from the responses in this post alone! Thanks for all those who have linked to their blogs in their responses as well, it’s a great way for me to learn.

    @Dom, I can relate very well to your situation and am very interested in hearing how this boot camp will help you out.

    Ramit, if it’s possible to volunteer, do you need others who are “rookies” in this type of a venture to be used as case studies?

    Thanks Ramit for a great blog and book and thanks to the others who I am constantly learning from!

    Josh

    • If you are willing to bust your ass — and I do mean put in 20-30 hours per week, minimum, for 2 months — yeah, we can potentially get you in the beta program. It depends on how many spots available, how proactive/experienced you are, and what your skills are. We don’t want to take all programmers, for example : )

      Just put your info in the survey.

  14. I don’t think Personal Training is the greatest of side jobs if you’re only in it for the money. As I’ve learned more about strength and health I realize that I don’t know jack. If a client walks in and you cannot assess his or her fitness and posture then what good are you? What I consider a good trainer is someone who has the schooling and the desire to continue their education.

    Read here: http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/lifestyle/step_up/index.php/2009/08/03/q-and-a-dealing-with-entitlement/

    If you can’t answer his 11 questions at the bottom I don’t know why you would think you’re a decent PT.

  15. Bust my ass for a worthwhile goal? awesome!
    Considering I’ve been working 3-4 jobs for over a year now and am a week away from paying off ALL my student loans and medical bills I’m looking for a new challenge, Ramit. I’ve already done the work to reduce my spending on things that are unimportant and all I have left to pay is my mortgage. Really, this would be fantastic timing and I’d be willing to chat with JMS along the way for the site. You have my email.
    ~Kelly

  16. Matt Malenczak Link to this comment

    I have been prepping all summer for a fall ass-bust of my marketable freelance skills – What perfect timing for this email to come along! I have a jack-of-all-trades computer and printing background which makes it challenging to market any one particular skill. I’ve always felt the need to be an “expert” in an area before trying to offer up my services, but what I keep finding is that I actually do know more than most people that are already offering said services. Suffice to say, it’s time to knock down the wall and charge full-speed ahead. choo-choo

  17. Good luck with the book!

  18. Say you have 50k sitting around in money market and 3-mo to 1-year horizon stocks, what non-traditional assets can you buy that will generate passive income? An obvious choice is real estate, but what else?

    • Why non-traditional? Why not just use a savings account or CD? Also, what are “3-mo to 1-year horizon stocks”? For 99% of people, there are no such things.

  19. Here’s what I WISHED I did to earn money on the side.

    There are many, many companies out there that pay college students, recent grads (and even people overseas) to write simple articles and blogs (250-500 words) for their company on a regular basis. Everyone has a blog these days but many companies don’t have the time to keep it updated, so they pay others to write interesting stuff for them. If you have mediocre writing skills and speak English, you’re pretty much qualified. The pay isn’t anything to brag about, but it’s definitely a great way to make cash on the side pretty quickly.

    Two websites I’ve used when hiring writers for my own company are Odesk and Elance. There are a ton more out there (Craigslist is always a winner). All you have to do is market yourself! As Ramit has said before, If you know 4th grade algebra, you’re now a math consultant! Almost any skill you have, you can market it and make money off it.

    I recently learned that there was such a big market out there for freelance work when I was actually looking for work to be done for my company. Hope that helps.

  20. would love to know more about the bootcamp.

    just reading these posts gives me hope in the midst of fear.

    in the past i’ve done lots of freelance graphic design work but often for free or reduced rates.

    interested in how to use freelance work to transition to other areas of interest (writing, video).

    interested in coaching/strategies to overcome: inertia, self-doubt, fear, belief that a corporate world is the safe, charging fair rates

  21. By non-traditional, I really only meant, in addition to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs… and real estate. Perhaps I used the wrong phrase.

    I recently read Rich Dad/Poor Dad and the principle theme was to acquire assets early. I’m not entirely interested in real estate, particularly because of my remote location lack of a near-by market. Since I’m already set on CDs, Money Market and well valued investment stocks (the 3-mo to 1 year time line, but more if need be), I’m looking to expand my holdings.

    I suppose I could spend some more time reviewing bonds, but the thrust of my question was to determine what the less obvious forms of investment are.

  22. I would always look at all cash business/events. No reciepts, no 1099′s, no tax. Things happen quickly when cash is involved. I never use an ATM, you get used to it.

  23. Sometimes the most effective way to make money is to charge the employer nothing. Not only is this a terrific way to get started, it’s also a great way to prove you are worth it. No pay = low expectations = super easy to exceed low expectations in a very short amount of time = lots of money.

    If you excell at proving your worth, you can ultimately turn what would have been a side job that paid $10-15 an hour into something more.

    As the self-proclaimed queen of side jobs (from tutoring to editing to catering to club promoting to public relations to contract negotiating) I must say that many of the most profitable ventures started out with me offering my time for free.

    This is an especially valuable concept for those recent grads (like me) who don’t have the experience (or the confidence) to go out there and charge exorbitant rates like Ramit!!

    If anyone would like to chat more about this topic, feel free to contact me at tracykimball@gmail.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Oh and Ramit – terrific concept, I can’t wait to see what you bring to the table on this one.

  24. I just started making an extra $300 a month! Tax free. Here’s how–I’ve been renting my apartment out on http://www.airbnb.com. I know this sounds like a commercial but I swear it’s not. I rent my place out to visitors and then crash w/my parents who live nearby. It’s dead simple, email me if you want details. And don’t worry–I have a contract in place, security deposit, renters insurance, etc. EASIEST money I’ve ever made : ).

    Edit from Ramit: This seriously looks like a spam comment, but it’s not. This is a good way to earn some extra money.

  25. I agree with most of the people here , marketing is the key. I have some unique skills at work. Market is great for those kind of skills.
    Can I join your beta program Ramit?

  26. Finding the side-work is one thing… How about covering how to earn the top dollar that your skills can net you?

    I’ve found that looking for jobs that (a) are in cities that have a higher cost of living than where I live currently and (b) allow me to telecommute, allow me to charge anywhere from a small, to a substantially larger, amount than I could in my local market – all for the same skills/work.

    Ramit – I know that you have already selected your beta group for the study, but I feel I am at a pivotal moment in my professional quest and would love the opportunity to become involved in any way possible. tia