Supplemental Income Ideas for Nine-to-Fivers

Maybe your 9-5 gig is getting dreary. Maybe you love your job but could use some extra income here and there. Whatever your reason is, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of your skill set and make some extra cash on the side. With our world growing more and more connected as time goes on and alternative options become readily available, there’s never been a better time to tap into that reservoir of options to get your finances in order and grab a hold of a better income.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at self-employment income tips for nine-to-fivers.

Uber

Do you have a car? Do you have insurance on that car? Well, then chances are pretty good that you can become an Uber driver. Even if you don’t have a car, Uber has flexible options to help you finance a new vehicle for use in driving for the company. This is a great way to bring in extra income, too, when you consider the fact that with Uber you’re your own boss, and you can set the hours that you work.

On top of that, you’ll probably have plenty of good conversation with the customers that you drive. An added bonus is finding those customers who want to go to a place a couple towns over. This way you’ll be pumping up your income even further than what is usual.

Write

Do you want to activate your inner Hemingway? Got a million article or blog ideas bumping around in your head? Whatever your reason is, there are plenty of opportunities for you to write on the side. You can reach out to your local newspaper with a story idea, maybe cover a local event that’s going to be going on soon. What’s more likely, though, is that you’ll find a gig online.

There are plenty of sites that offer you the opportunity to write for clients that bring article ideas to the site. This way you don’t even have to worry about coming up with an article idea. You can simply follow the instructions that are provided and get to writing.

Consult

If you’re a highly educated professional who wants to augment their income, one of the best ways to do this is through consulting. There will never be a shortage of individuals looking for help in their business operations. There are even sites that will connect you to professionals who are in need of professional consulting help.

It’s all a way of boosting your income, rejoining the talent pool, and meeting interesting people while still having a job. This would also be perfect for moms who want to spend time with their baby yet still need to make an income on the side.

Use Your Car

We already covered being an Uber driver, but this option we’re about to cover is very different. Many people need a car, but they aren’t willing to pay to lease one, so they’ll only need a car temporarily. This is where the concept of renting your car comes in.

Instead of letting your car sit there unused, you can always rent it to someone who will pay to use your car. You can have them pay by the hour, the day, the week, or the month. Whatever works for you will do the job just fine.

Maybe your 9-5 gig is getting a little tiresome. Maybe you love your job but could use some extra income here and there. Whatever your reason is, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of your skill set and make some extra cash on the side. With our world growing more and more connected as time goes on and alternative options become readily available, there’s never been a better time to tap into that reservoir of options to get your finances in order and grab a hold of a better income.

Low Income is Better than No Income: How to Climb Out of the Low Income Bracket

Nowadays low income brings up a negative image. It feels like a curse word to those that have to list it in their paperwork and feels like a scarlet letter that you just can’t shake. It’s difficult to move from one class to the next, but low income only means you’ve fallen on hard times. If you feel like you’re a part of the low-income lifestyle, take a few things into consideration and you’ll be climbing up the ladder before you know it.

  • Use Your Debt Wisely. Piling on massive amounts of debt isn’t good for anyone. But there is a time and a place where loans can be beneficial, especially when they stop you from defaulting on other payments. Debt can be paid back, but items that are sent to collection agencies stick around your credit report for far too long. If you face an emergency and run the risk of defaulting on your bills, consider looking for emergency money sources. Everything is done online and your application is processed in a day, making it easy to get the funds exactly when you need them. Staying loan free is a good thing, but not when you run the risk of those important bills being closed off for good.
  • Use Your Resources. There are plenty of people out there that want to help you succeed if you just know where to look. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help when you need it in the form of private or government assistance. Take advantage of the resources that are out there because you’re the person they’re there to help. Look into options for help paying your loans, paying for housing or even paying for basic necessities. Once you’re back on your feet, do your part to keep the wealth going for others! Find out about assistance in your area.
  • Use Common Sense. If you started from the bottom, be prepared for it to take time to get where you want to be. Too many people lose hope when trying to get themselves out of debt or financially stable because it takes time to see progress. If you have any amount of extra money, send it off to your credit cards rather than letting it sit in your bank account. You’ll see the mark you’ve made on your payments and feel more motivated than ever to keep it going. Do the same with large amounts of money you get. It may not be as much fun as a shopping spree, but it will be well worth it when you go to buy your first house or car.

Don’t be discouraged that you’re not where you hoped to be. Instead, use that as motivation to get what you’ve always wanted. Be the next person to start from the bottom and wind up a millionaire – you won’t be the first person to have started from scratch!

Lessons Learned From Making Money On The Side

Today I’m trading places with Jon from Money Smart Guides. He wrote the post below while I shared my thoughts on the topic of my first side hustle on his site at: http://moneysmartguides.com/first-job-taught

The headquarters of eBay in San Jose, Californ...

The headquarters of eBay in San Jose, California. Photographed on August 5, 2006 by user Coolcaesar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many of us, we primarily work a full-time, 9-5 job. While this is all well and good, one day while running through various calculations to see when I could retire, I made a startling discovery: if I work a regular full-time job and save money, I’ll have the chance to retire around age 65.

Some reading this might get excited, thinking that retirement is a possibility. For me, it was the opposite. I didn’t want to work until I was 65. I wanted to be done with work as soon as possible so that I could do whatever I wanted. (This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t work, just that I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. I’ve always seen myself doing something on a part-time basis.) I realized I needed to find ways to generate additional income outside of work. Enter eBay.

My Adventures With Reselling

I first started reselling with eBay back in the late 1990’s. If you remember back that far, eBay was the mecca of swapping items for cash. For the first time ever, you could find that rare item you were looking for because someone, somewhere in the country had it and was selling it on eBay. Add to the fact the novelty of eBay, and people were buying things like there was no tomorrow. I quickly took advantage of this.

First, I set out to yard sales. I didn’t know what would or wouldn’t sell on eBay. This was before Smartphones when I could just check eBay regardless of where I was. So I just took a chance and used my judgment. This worked well for me. My first purchase was a crystal tea cup set of four cups and four coasters. I paid $0.25. When I went to pick it up, one of the worked yelled to me that I bought all four boxes for $0.25. I ended up selling each set for $35-40.

From there I moved onto old magazines and records. I went to a yard sale that had stacks of old Life magazines. I had no idea what was valuable, so again, I used my judgment. There were a handful from the 1960’s with JFK on the cover. I know people still talk about JFK so I bought them each for $0.25. I sold them as a set for $10.

Not All Good Times

I don’t want this to sound like everything I bought turned to gold. There were some things I bought that I might have been able to make a nice profit on, if I knew how to best describe it. I bought a wooden thing (see I still can’t describe it!) that hangs on the wall. It has hooks for keys, but also a few small drawers and a shelf. I think the inability to describe it and categorize it ended up costing me.

Then there was the bike. I have no idea what I was thinking, other than I simply got caught up in the moment. It was a road bike in mint condition. The seller was asking $5 for it. I knew I could easily get $50 for it. But I didn’t consider the shipping part of the equation. It ended up sitting for a few years until I unloaded it on Craigslist for $15.

Lessons Learned

While my story is exciting and sounds like making money on eBay is quick, easy and fun, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Selling on eBay has completely changed, so much so that I rarely do it nowadays because of the high fees eBay charges and the fact that so many people are scouring yard sales for deals, the deals are few and far between. If you still want to give it a try, here are some guidelines:

Know What You Are Selling: While it was great to make a huge amount of money on the items I talked about, you need to know what you are selling. My best friend bought a painting and sold it as an oil painting. It looked like and oil painting to both of us, but it turned out it was a print on canvas. The buyer was not happy.

Pick a Niche: Related to the above point is to pick a niche that you are familiar with. If you love and know everything there is to know about salt & pepper shakers, focus on that. The more you stay in your area of expertise, the increased odds of success you will have.

Understand The World: Be aware of what is happening in the world and how it affects what you are selling. When I was making money on eBay, I signed up for the CD clubs and got 10 CD’s for $0.01. I bought the most popular CD’s and turned around and sold them for $15 each on eBay. Then Napster came along and the CD well dried up rather quickly. If I was unaware of Napster, I would have continued to buy CD’s and eventually would have been left with a stack that I couldn’t get rid of.

Know Your Margins: There is no point in selling items if you aren’t going to make a profit on them. Understand how to calculate return on investment so that you know whether the products you are working with are profitable or not or even which product you should focus on.

Get Creative: When I was selling on eBay, profit was generated simply from selling the item for more than I bought it for. Nowadays, there are many other ways to increase profit. You can buy things with cash back credit cards, take advantage of new credit card sign up bonuses, and online shopping malls to name a few. Any one of these could easily add an additional 5% or more to your profits, which is huge. So be creative when looking to keep your costs down.

Final Thoughts

I’ve since moved on from eBay for the reasons I mentioned early and now am generating income with Amazon and through blogging. I’m sure if you find me in 10 years, I’ll be doing something else. But that is why I do this. It’s exciting to me to find ways to generate income from everyday things and situations that the average person doesn’t recognize. I’m always looking for new ideas, so feel free to share in the comments below or head over to my blog and email directly.

Yakezie Blog Swap Participants

Read about what others learned from their early employment!

 

When Scrapping Becomes Theft

SCRAP sign

(Photo credit: San Francisco Public Library)

Scrapping has become a big phenomenon as people struggling to get by rely on collecting scrap metal to sell to scrap yard. I do a little scrapping myself, mainly in the copious aluminum cans I find scattered around my work sites. Plus, having as little as a pound of aluminum can get you around a minimum weight limit on scrap steel. But sometimes people go to far with scrapping and collect as scrap metal things that aren’t trash. This crosses a line from scrapping to theft.

One of the biggest problems with resorting to theft for scrap metal is the stolen item costs much more to replace than the scraper receives for it.

The economic cost of scrapping theft is larger than the scrapping industry

In road construction, a traffic control supervisor typically collects all of the signs, cones, and other equipment they will need for the duration of the project and sets up an equipment yard somewhere on site. In some cases, this “yard” is as little as a wide spot in the grass on the side of the road.

On Monday, we arrived at work to discover that a dozen of our signs from our equipment yard had been stolen. Each weighs about 10 pounds and is mostly aluminum. At current scrap rates, those signs were probably scrapped for about $100. Sounds like a pretty good haul for whoever took them.

Unfortunately, those signs cost more like $1000 each. Each sign is coated with a material that reflects light back at its source, making them easy to see and read in the dark. The material costs roughly $.40 per square inch. The signs are 9 square feet. That works out to each sign requiring over $500 of the retro-reflective material.

Other stories of scrapping theft

While in jail, my friend Jake shared a cell with a guy who got caught breaking into houses to steal copper water pipes. Copper has been fetching high prices and is making an attractive target to thieves. But even assuming that a homeowner could replace the pipes for the cost of the scrap price, they are likely to require a plumber who charges $80 or more to install them.

Copper theft has actually reached epidemic proportions. While breaking into an occupied home to steal its pipes may be the most extreme case I’ve heard, construction sites, farms, and businesses around the country are constantly being raided for their copper. Some areas are even starting to regulate scrap copper sales requiring that copper be held for up to three days before recycling, in case it gets claimed by its rightful owner.

How to protect against inadvertent scrapping theft

When you scale a fence or break into somebody’s basement, you obviously know that you are doing something wrong. But many cases of scrapping theft are accidental. For scrapers accustomed to laws treating curb-side garbage as public property, seeing equipment stored by the road can be mistaken for legitimate scrap. To combat this, I’ve compiled a short list of ways to tell if an item is not scrap.

Logos Traffic control companies always put their name or logo on the back of their equipment. When picking up potential scrap, scan all sides for something that identifies the owner. If it does, it probably isn’t scrap.

Last month, Highway Technologies, the largest traffic control company in the US, went out of business rather unexpectedly. It was so sudden, in fact, that all of their equipment was left out on the road. I head one person recommending to others that if they saw any equipment with the HT logo on it, to feel free to collect it for scrap. Sorry, but that is theft. As the company goes through bankruptcy proceedings, some other company (or several companies) will wind up buying their assets, including all that equipment sitting on the side of the road. If you take it, you are stealing from its new owner.

One piece – We hardly ever throw equipment away. If it is broken, we will usually use it for parts. Other companies may just throw the broken equipment away, but nobody junks working stuff. If it appears to be in one piece, or even mostly one piece, then the chances of it being trash are slim.

Away from the road – Legitimate trash and scrap will be on the curb.  People’s definition of “on the curb” seems to vary from anywhere of in the road to in the grass before the sidewalk. But if something is more than three feet from the edge of the road, it isn’t scrap. It’s somebody’s property that they are expecting to find where they left it.

Do you collect scrap metal? Have you ever picked up scrap that was questionable whether or not it was truly scrap?