TL;DR: Making money fast has nothing to do with pitting all your hopes and dreams on the roulette wheel at your local casino. Instead, it looks at skills and bills in your everyday life that can earn you more money. Some can get you hundreds to thousands of dollars in a few hours, while others a couple of weeks or months.
Fast money requires you to be creative and harness your inner entrepreneur. I’m not saying go all Walter White on me and break bad. No, far from it!
Making money fast is an essential skill set that will keep you flush when unexpected situations arise. I want you to confidently know which levers to pull to learn how to get some extra cash fast.
And time is relative, right? It’s going to keep ticking whether you bother to earn extra cash or not.
Because our ideas of ‘fast’ might differ, I’ve added in a few items that can make you cash in as little as an hour to projects that might take about 3 to 6 months.
22 ways to earn money fast
Whether you’re looking to start up a side hustle or using your skills to improve your income, it’s important to remember that there is no ceiling on your ability to earn.
1. Sell all the junk in your garage
This is a quick win in terms of monetizing things you no longer need. A word of caution, though. Selling things you no longer need is not a sustainable way to make more money. It’s a one-off. Also, unless you’re selling those goods for more than you paid for them, you’re also losing money on them.
2. Sell other people’s junk
If you have a knack for finding goods at a steal and selling them at a tidy profit, it may just be a great business idea for you. The best part is it takes very little time to set up and you don’t even need a shopfront to do this, as it’s a simple business model you can establish on the internet, too.
3. Start an online store
Riding on the coattails of the previous suggestion, an online store is a fairly simple and inexpensive business to set up. You can decide which items to sell, whether you’re selling your own products or whether you’re an agent for someone else. It might take a while to get established, but if you have the right product for the right market and you have a solid marketing plan, it might just happen faster than you think.
If you happen to have a few hours free every day and have a car that meets the Uber or Lyft criteria, the income you make here can be a nice addition to your take-home pay.
5. Open an Etsy store
If you happen to be gifted with creative talent and you’re a graphic designer, illustrator, or all-around crafter, an Etsy store can be a great source of customers. Just remember to tag your products correctly, provide awesome service, and once again, market the heck out of your store.
One of Ramit’s students was able to make over $25,000 dollars by selling his art on Etsy. That could be you!
6. Make your memories work for you
Photos can make you a lot of money. For instance, stock photos can range from around $4 to hundreds of dollars depending on the license of the photo, its quality, and the subject matter. Just be sure to have waivers in place for models and copyrighted items. Shutterstock, Creative Market, and Flickr offer neat packages and plenty of exposure to potential customers.
7. Become a shopper
Heading out to the mall anyway? Why not sign up with Instacart and Shipt to become a shopper? The best part is you can cash out your earnings immediately when you get paid. If the shopping part isn’t for you, how about becoming a delivery person? Quick cash and you determine your shifts.
8. Tutor online or in-person
Tutoring is a great way to use your skills to your financial advantage. You determine the number of lessons you’ll give and those who have pretty neat credentials can charge a worthwhile fee. You also choose whether you’re going to do it in-person or online.
9. Use your existing skills to grow your new business
Marketing whiz at some fancy firm? Accountant by day, financial guru at night? Your existing skills can pave the way for a lucrative side hustle. Other professions that can easily convert to a small business or freelancing career include graphic designers, web developers, copywriters, personal trainers, and professionals.
10. Become a transcriber
If you need something that is simple to get started in and doesn’t require a ton of training, transcribing offers fast money at reasonable rates. You might not be able to buy that house in the Hamptons with the cash you make here, but you’ll definitely make a difference to your emergency savings or vacation fund.
11. Expand your current business operations
Small business owners know the value of cross-selling. Buying a pair of brogues? Why don’t you buy this imported leather belt and cardigan to complete the outfit?
But it goes deeper than this. If you’re a shoe store owner, look to sell shoe care items, too. If you do web development for a living, expand that to SEO and digital advertising to generate more income. Or web hosting. Gosh if you can string two sentences together that elicit a positive response from readers, you might just be able to throw content writing in the mix, too.
12. Online courses
Opening an online business doesn’t always have to involve physical products as you can promote services too.
While this might not be a quick win for everyone, if you happen to have a decent following on a blog or YouTube channel, you have the opportunity to let your followers in on your moneymaking secret. An online course can provide a decent income stream for a long time to come, and opens up the door to great future earnings.
Other platforms worth exploring include Udemy and Skillshare. While you’re up against other course creators, a solid course and a great marketing plan will allow you to stand out from the rest.
13. Become a freelance copywriter
If you know your Dale Carnegie from your Don Draper (apart from the fact that one is a fictional character), selling the proverbial sand to a desert dweller might just be within reach. Even if you don’t, there are plenty of courses that will take you through the motions. Once you get started, earnings can start trickling in after just a few weeks.
Freelance writers come in all shapes and sizes and while there is good money in copywriting, you may also want to check out content writing, technical writing, academic writing, and ghostwriting. A lot of our students are interested in copywriting, and you can read more about our strategies in this blog post on how to become a copywriter.
14. Unleash your inner java beast
There is simply no better way to ensure you get your fill of flavored bean water than becoming a barista. Plus, you’re getting paid for it. It’s one of the quickest training programs and can have you earning in just a week or two. This is a great step for college students who need a part-time job.
Take this a step further and learn unique brewing methods, how to roast your own beans, and start an online business selling coffee paraphernalia. Coffee is a terrific business if you know where to look.
15. Host pop-up kitchens
If you have a knack for leaving your guests speechless at your culinary prowess, happy speechless that is, then you might stand a chance to make some good dough hosting pop-up kitchens. That pun was intended, don’t hate me!
People are intrigued by the mystery and want to be part of something unique. If you have the organizational skill, marketing flair, and culinary touch, this might just be your new moneymaker.
A pop-up kitchen is a concept that allows you, the cook, to set up a dining situation in random places. For instance, the roof of a New York apartment building, a local park, or even in an old, abandoned mansion. You will need to get the necessary permits and permissions, but with the right crowd, it’s worth it. Once these are in place, you send out the invite to a group of preselected people. The guest list is limited and a speedy reservation secures the booking.
The best part is you decide the lavishness of the event. You can start off small and simple, and as your kitchen gains popularity, you can add some more glamor and pizzazz to the event.
16. Become a landlord
If this headline brings up images of you wearing a kilt and carrying the title of Scottish lord thanks to those ads on social media, this is not it. But in all seriousness, if you happen to have property with decent square footage, you may want to crunch the numbers to consider letting out some of your space. Whether it’s a room or a cottage, or a piece of land to someone with a tiny house, your property needs to start working for you.
17. Set up a blog
While there are those who might argue that a blog isn’t fast money, there is no reason you can’t start earning on it immediately. Whether you market printables or products, if you manage to gain foot traffic to your site, it can be a tremendous moneymaker. Do guest posts, ad AdSense, or InfoLinks and you’re set.
You can also dedicate your blog to earn from sites such as Amazon through their Amazon Associates program. Once you start gaining regular visitors, making money with affiliate marketing can be a steady source of income and provide your financial freedom.
18. Lead generation
If you have a vast network that is easy to tap into, consider lead generation. Companies are willing to pay good money to get a hand on solid, qualified leads. Who doesn’t want some extra business? But that doesn’t really give you the meat of this business, does it? Let’s flesh it out a bit.
You have a news site that runs quizzes every now and then. You include a radio button that indicates whether your reader wants to be contacted regarding the topic of the quiz. For instance, “how often do you wash your carpets?” could get your reader into contact with carpet cleaning companies. Those are qualified leads. What’s important is that the reader wants to be contacted and has a preference in the method.
19. Refinance your debt
Right, this is something that you need to approach with caution because you want to do the smart thing over the long term. When refinancing debt to save money, it can only be for the following reasons:
- Reducing the term (which means increasing your installment) to save on future interest
- Reducing the interest rate because of your FBI negotiation skills (if there is an FBI for lower fees, that is)
- Reducing the installment because you’ve paid a lump sum into your mortgage
If you’re reducing your installment by extending your term, big red warning bells that rival anything that Tim Burton could fabricate should pop up in your mind. You may run the risk of paying more in interest over the total term of the loan.
For instance, on a loan amount of $240,000 at an APR of 3.8%, you’ll pay roughly $1,492.18 per month, excluding property taxes and insurances on a term of 20 years. The total interest paid over the term is $103,004.36.
That same loan at the same rate over a period of 30 years might lower your installment to $1,118.30 before taxes and insurances, but your total interest paid over the term is $162,587.15. Do you see why it’s important to ask the $30,000 questions and forget about the $3 ones?
20. Ask your employer for extra work
Your current employer might just be the easiest stream of additional income. The obvious ones are to find out whether you can pick up extra shifts or work overtime. You can also offer to take on additional roles at a predetermined rate, such as managing their social media accounts.
21. Tap into hidden income
If you’re anything like me, there are a number of bills that come through every month and I pay religiously. In fact, my finances are automated so I don’t really pay attention to it at all. I just check my statement every now and then to make sure the amounts are correct.
But when I want to make money fast, this is the first place I look. I take time to dissect each payment to make sure I’m getting the best value for money.
I want to share this with you because this is easy money, sitting right under your nose.
- Subscription services
- Gym membership
- Gift cards
You’re going to call them up, tell them what a great customer you are, and ask them to give you a better rate. That’s it! Sure, they might say it can’t be done, but then you’re going to follow that up with, “I’d sure hate to have to move to your competitor because of a silly money issue. Is this the best you can do? Is there someone else I can speak to?”.
Believe me, it’s far cheaper to retain an existing customer than to sign up a new one. Here’s an example conversation script you can use:
22. Negotiate your salary
I’ve done the groundwork for you. Negotiating your salary shouldn’t cause sweaty palms and a dry mouth. In fact, with the right preparation, you’d be in a position to negotiate with ease. But that means knowing how to build up to the event, or d-date. No, that sounds too ominous. Let’s call it the More Money date. See what I did? Remember, top performers negotiate regularly.
You’re not just requesting this increase for now. It’s going to affect your future increases too as your increases will be based on your new income. The effect is exponential and future you will thank you. Did I mention your cash bonuses might get a worthy bump too should your increase place you in a new salary bracket?
According to my own personal experience, it takes around three months to ask for that raise. This is why:
- 3 months before: You start gathering your portfolio of evidence: your contribution to a team effort, ways you improved your role, value you added to the company. You also want to ask your boss for ways to excel in your position.
- 2 months before: Initiate those changes and ask your boss whether your efforts are in line with the expectations, and how you can improve on those even further. You also want to gently introduce the Briefcase Technique. This is where you pull out your five-page proposal on areas in the company where you can make a difference.
- 1 month before: Open the conversation of compensation, and that you would like to meet in a month’s time. Ask your boss what they would like you to bring to the meeting that would add value to your request.
- More money day: All your research and preparation culminates in this meeting. Be sure to address the points your boss raised before and make your desired compensation known.
Ramit put together a quick video to break down the basics of salary negotiation:
Ask Ramit: How can I negotiate salary when they tell me they can’t pay more?
How to create extra time to pursue those additional income streams
Fast money is not always easy and you may have to sacrifice some free time — at least for a little while — to increase your earnings. Some tips to get you started:
- Don’t be afraid of the 5-minute work blocks – Whether you’re a parent constantly on the run or a busy exec that simply can’t clear out their inbox, those five minutes lulls between events can be pretty helpful. Successful people know that working in the fringe hours of the day is sometimes all you have. While others are idly scrolling on their phones, you’re building your Best Life.
- Schedule a time to work on your additional income stream – If it’s important to you, you’ll make space in your calendar for it. As simple as that.
- Pay for some services that take up too much time – You’re going to want to save on as many services as you possibly can during your startup phase but some are just worth handing it over to the experts. For instance, designing your branding, building your website, and if you’re not a regular Chip Gaines, someone to take care of your shopfitting.
Making money fast can be a satisfying and rewarding pursuit. It allows you some wiggle room if finances turn a little hairy and circumstances change. It gives you the freedom to write your own paycheck and be the one in your friendship circle that always has spare cash.