TL;DR: There are a number of creative ways to make money that won’t force you to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes, all it takes is a call to the right people to free up some cash in your existing products. Other times, you may need to navigate your way through the world of online businesses. Simple, easy, and fast, there’s simply no reason why you can’t start up a lucrative side hustle or negotiate your fees.
Have you ever met someone who had a job or business selling a product or service that left you asking, “How did you even think to get into that?” This often happens when you’re confronted with creative ways to make money that don’t fit comfortably in your “acceptable job” box.
For instance, imagine what Boomers are going through right now as they see people getting paid as influencers on social media. ‘Whaddya mean he gets paid to drink a soda and have his picture taken?‘
Just a few years ago people were laughing at Woody Harrelson for starting an oxygen bar. Yet, here we are, a decade and a half later asking Yelp where the nearest oxygen bar is.
The point is this, there are plenty of creative ways to make money out there. You simply need the know-how.
Top 14 creative ways to make money
If there’s ever a good time to generate more money, it’s now. Not only has the internet created numerous inroads for anyone with an internet connection, but there’s also a ton of fulfillment services that no longer require you to live in the same town, state, heck even country, for job orders to be completed.
For instance, way back when the internet was still scary and a u-haul was required to get our receipts and invoices to our accountants, we had no other choice but to take a road trip if we couldn’t find help locally. But not anymore.
But finding a creative way to make money could also mean stopping a leak in your financial bucket.
1. Use your current skill to generate an extra income
Working a 9-to-5 might just be your cup of tea, but when you’re running low on cash during particularly challenging months or have a large event coming up that you don’t want to max out the credit card for, it’s time to put your skills to work.
Professions that easily cross over into the side hustle arena include accountants, graphic designers, and even trades such as plumbers and electricians. It’s important to check whether your employer/employee contract has a clause against moonlighting, but if not, go earn those extra dollars.
You can also become a part-time virtual assistant. The pay range depends on your level of expertise and if you’re doing it as a side gig, it’s a nice addition to your vacation fund or savings pocket.
2. Monetize your hobbies
If you have a knack for making wooden toys or you’re really good at cultivating produce, it’s worth it to check out the local crafters’ or farmers’ markets. What’s more, you can join an online community, sell your wares (for free) on Facebook Marketplace, and even join a marketplace site for handmade goods.
3. Rent out pricey items for special events
If you’re running out of space and excuses to keep pricey items found in your shopping hauls, you may want to consider renting them out. For instance, if you have a knack for collecting vintage dinnerware and crockery, you can use these items at bespoke picnics.
You might even enjoy a few tax benefits by shopping if you set up a business entity that will view these purchases as tax writeoffs. However, word to the wise, speak to your tax consultant first before going on a spending spree.
4. Start an online store
You’d be surprised how many items can be sold online — and no, we’re not only referring to the baby onesies you made out of leftover t-shirt material (which is a great idea by the way!). We’re also referring to home decor, coffee paraphernalia, planners, stuff you made with your CNC machine, and almost anything you can stick in the back of a van and deliver to little Billie all the way out in Townsvilleshiredom.
Heck, go and raid your garage or storage unit and e-Bay the stuffing out of it. This is the only time where a garage sale might make you something worthwhile, as long as you use your earnings to buy more stock and keep your store alive.
Starting an online store is as simple as setting up a website with eCommerce features and then securing a great delivery system. FedEx and UPS have solid reputations, however, there are a number of smaller delivery services coming up the ranks and offering great solutions for small businesses.
There is no shortage of ideas for online businesses and the best part is they’re fairly simple to set up. You decide whether you’re promoting actual products or whether you provide an invaluable online service. Some of the most lucrative online businesses to start include advertising, software, coaching, affiliate marketing, and online courses. You’ll quickly learn that meeting your customer’s needs will be your biggest moneymaker. The best part is this creative way to make money can be a part-time gig.
5. No space? Dropship it
No, we didn’t accidentally typo the heading. Dropshipping is an actual thing. This is where you set up a site, find reputable vendors, and promote their goods on their behalf. The shipping is handled on their end. You won’t have to sacrifice your guest room or dining room table as a storage warehouse which means you don’t have to touch the stock, ever.
A word of caution, however, is to test your vendors to ensure that the quality is great and that your customers will be happy. You’ll ultimately carry the satisfaction portion of this partnership.
6. Max out your earning potential where you are
If you happen to have a little more time on your hands, it may be worth your while to invest in furthering your education. This will open up a few more doors in your career trajectory. Ramit is known to talk about the finite nature of savings, compared to the infinite possibility of increasing your earnings.
While this might not be a quick win, it will help you become more relevant and afford an opportunity to tap into the best possible income your career has to offer.
You might not even need to up your education for that new role. Simply ask for a raise. We’ll show you how, it’s kind of our secret sauce.
7. Share your hacks with others
Founder of Spanx, Sara Blakeley, was getting frustrated that her hack for a sleeker silhouette meant cutting off the feet of her pantyhose. So she decided to do something about it and developed hosiery that could easily be worn under clothing with the sole purpose of smoothing out lumps and bumps. Her hack made her billions when she decided to share it with others.
Bryce Conway is another person who used a hack and subsequently made a great income from it. His claim to stacks of cash is sharing with others how to use your credit card rewards to save on travel costs. That allows him more cash to travel, greater travel deals, and more hacks to share with his followers. The earning potential Bryce has carved out for himself is seemingly endless.
8. Sell your digital skills
If you’re at a point in your life where you know you’re invited to some events just because they know you’re going to take kickass photos, it’s time to consider this a creative way to make money. Photography enjoys quite a large online marketplace as well as graphic designs and music clips. If it can be sent to a client in digital format, you can sell it. Helping others create content is a quick way to boost your pocket, once you’ve built up your client base.
9. Earn money for your organizational skills
We all have that family member who does the tidy-up after the family event and seems to effortlessly keep their environment in a constant state of order. If you’re that family member, even better. A natural knack to keep the sock drawer in a constant state of readiness is something some are willing to pay for.
Thanks to Marie Kondo and The Minimalist guys, America has never been more obsessed with their number one obsession: the accumulation of stuff. While it might have been great to show off your stuff before (not really, it was never okay), we’re now throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
10. Turn your campfire stories into dollars
If you happen to be gifted with gab — yes it’s a gift! — then words are your natural forte and it’s worth investing in a good spelling and grammar checker.
Copywriters, content writers, ghostwriters, novelists, and bloggers are all making money off their words. While freelance writers can work full-time, it also happens to be a lucrative side hustle that can easily fit into your spare time slot, you know, the slot reserved for reruns of Knightrider. It’s a fairly simple industry to crack and there is endless room for growth, which directly translates into endless earning opportunities.
11. Optimize your credit card perks
- Earn the maximum rewards: If you’re earning cash-back rewards on your Target spend, Walmart shouldn’t ever see you. If you’re a frequent traveler, get a travel credit card that rewards you for anything travel-related such as booking tickets to accommodation and dining out.
- Drop your APR: While there is the option to switch your balance to a 0% APR credit card, your regular APR shouldn’t rock your pocket either. We have a stack of scripts that will allow you to negotiate your best rate.
12. Cash in on freebies
If you’re subscribing to a service that offers a host of freebies such as travel perks or entertainment comps, then for the love of Cinnabon, why are you paying for these things out of your pocket? Anytime you have a voucher or a promotional code, use it. We’re not saying become compulsive voucher collectors, we are saying use what is available to you.
13. Have a chat with your bank
Banking fees are, to be frank, outdated. There are a number of online institutions that offer a host of great products at really low fees. They also happen to offer savings accounts that pay you a fairly decent (not yet inflation mind you!) APR, so why are you still paying hundreds of dollars in fees every year?
Possibly convenience, because your bank already has a few hooks in you — mortgage, credit card, savings, checking account. You might even use their investment broker and insurance agent. It’s not that easy to move so you assume you can’t do a thing about it. Wrong.
Banks need you, and the more entrenched you are with them, the more valuable you are. You pay checking account fees and interest on your credit products. You fund their credit activities with your savings account. Their agents and brokers earn a commission. So pick up the damn phone.
Ramit’s negotiation techniques are great for negotiating a new fee structure, from your checking account transactional fees to your mortgage and credit card APRs.
14. Other contracts can be negotiated too
Your gym and cable subscriptions might not be on the optimal plan for your needs. Switch to a package that suits you better, or ask for a discounted rate. This is especially handy when a rival company opens up in your area and you know the rates they offer are better.
Are you looking for creative ways to make money, but struggling to get going?
You know all the steps to take to make more money, but you still find yourself lagging like a Pentium 2? You may need to ask yourself a few questions to get the kick under the proverbial behind that you need.
Questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide between many creative ways to make money:
- How do I make an extra $1000 a month without jeopardizing my main source of income?
- Can I earn more money on the side?
- Is there room for me to grow my income within my current role?
- Will earning more money mean I need to sacrifice more time?
- Do I need to further my studies to earn more?
- How long will it take before I starting earning more?
- Is it easy to earn more money in my chosen field/interest/side hustle?
- How much will it cost before I start making money on the side?
- Is there a way to make money fast?
- Do I have what it takes to see it through?
The bottom line
Whether you’re hard at work setting up an online shop or listing your crafts on Etsy, it’s important to get started and not just sit on your idea. You’re not going to get paid for your thoughts.
When it comes to negotiating better fees, it’s important to remember that the worst they can say is no. And if they do, you’re not cemented in unless you have a binding contract. In many instances, however, a new bank or subscription service will offer to pay the penalty fees in order to get your business.
If you’re not happy where you are and they’re not budging on their fees, move. It’s time to make your decisions with your dollars and if your money doesn’t serve you, you’re serving it.