how to make an extra $500 a month

How to Make an Extra $500 a Month – 100% Legit No Bullshit [45+ Ideas]

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Could you use an extra $500 a month?

I’m joking!

Who would answer “no” to that question, eh?

$500 could cover a car payment, help you pay off debt more quickly, let you help people more, and, well, oh so much more….

The good news is:

earn extra money

There are SO MANY opportunities available to us today!

Opportunities to create our own incomes, work on our own terms, and truly take total control of our career and financial lives. And most of these opportunities didn’t even exist 10 years ago!

What a great time to be alive!

Aren’t you excited?

Well, get excited!

Why?

Because this list of ideas can get you started on making at least an extra $500 a month (and if you work at it – much, more more!).

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Tips on How To Use This List

I divided the ideas into 2 categories – “Online” and “Offline”. Some fit in both, though, so that’s arbitrary.

“Quick” means quick to receive income – generally within 1- 45 days. “Longer” means just that – these take longer to see the income – anywhere from 1.5 months to several years, but it mostly just depends on you.

These are meant to spur your imagination and get your thinking gears in motion.

I list ideas and examples, and it’s your job to take it further. Look around you, see what people want or need, and figure out how you can fill those needs or wants.

I briefly list the ideas and then several links where you can start your search for more info.

Always do your diligent research!

Never invest time and money without fully investigating the opportunities before you.

Research demand, competitors, trends, your markets, and more. Read books, get feedback, find out what laws may pertain to your idea…Get the picture?

This list of side-hustle opportunities includes legitimate gigs and ideas. I purposely don’t include time-wasters with little payout (or those that spam your inbox forevermore). I don’t list “Amazon’s Mechanical Turk” or “Take surveys online” because I don’t think they are worth your valuable time.

If you like them, though, feel free to pursue whatever makes you happy.

Scan the list and see what looks promising to you.

Allot at least 30 minutes every day on your calendar to make this work for you (or as much time as you muster). Put in maximum effort and see where you’re at and what you’ve learned after 30 days.

Then come back here and share your results (put that in your calendar, too 😊)!

NOTE: I believe you can learn whatever you need to learn, so if something interests you, don’t just automatically dismiss it because “I don’t know how to do that”. If it interests you, take the time to learn the skill. Libraries are amazing – and free!

ONLINE - QUICK

Appen

Appen offers flexible and legitimate work-at-home opportunities with good pay rates. There are many projects to choose from, like evaluating ads, search engine results, videos, and more. Hours can range from 1 to 40 hours/week. Choose what works for you.

Content Writer

Write content for others. Check out Verblio, iWriter, Textbroker to start.

Need to improve your writing? Check out Writing Without Bullshit, Letting Go of the Words, and the Yahoo Style Guide.

Guest Post for Others

Guest posting takes time, persistence, and writing skills. Offer guest posting services for website owners. Check out current going rates at Upwork and PeopleperHour.

Businesses can pay $6000 for an ad in a business or trade journal. Why not charge them $3000 to submit an article mentioning them in the content instead?

Need training? Take Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging Course.

ESL Tutor / Language Partner

Teach English to Foreigners. See iTalki and MagicEars to start.

Don’t want to teach? Be an English Language Partner for those who just want practice conversing. See Spoken English Partner.

Get Customers for Other Businesses

There are plenty of variations on this theme. Every business wants more sales, so be creative and find ways to bring other businesses customers – for a flat fee or a percentage of sales.

Make a mutually-beneficial agreement with businesses near and far. Make sure you can track which customers come from you (e.g., tracking link, special code).

Set up a website to collect leads using paid ads, hand out freebies and biz cards at networking events, set a local business up offering a deal on Groupon…there are hundreds of ways to get new customers for businesses. Be creative.

Teach Something Online

People want to learn stuff, and where do they turn first? Youtube. Videos. Online Courses. There are things you know that others want to learn. Create a course, tutor, teach online, sell eBooks…lots of possibilities.

See How to Make Over $100,000 a year Creating Online Courses, 7 Ways to Make Money Selling Online Courses, and a couple case studies with tips on getting started.

Create and Sell with your Own Store

It’s free to set up a store at Etsy. And it’s not just for craftsy folks. You can sell downloadable printables and some rather weird stuff, too.

Create designs – or just text-based sayings – and put them on cups, shirts, clocks, and more. See RedBubble, CafePress, and Zazzle.You can embed your products elsewhere, but promoting your store is key.

Answer Questions

Got credentials? Get paid to answer questions at sites like Justanswer.com, Experts123, or other paid-to-answer sites.

ONLINE - LONGER

Blog / Content Marketing

A blog is your own piece of online real estate. Share ideas, sell products, recommend others’ products, create a membership site, and monetize it 30 other ways.

It takes time, and many never earn enough to cover their fulltime income. But do it right and put in the work, and you, too, can earn over $40,000 a month. Read my guide and start today.

Become an Affiliate Marketer

Promote other businesses’ products and services and earn a percentage of every sale. While retailers like Amazon and Walmart pay a mere 4-6%, on average, other affiliate programs pay a lot more. And don’t forget about Clickbank.

You don’t have to set up your own website, either. Post links (you can even post links as you answer questions on Q & A sites like Quora), make YouTube videos, and so much more.

Who better to start learning from than Pat Flynn who earns over $140,000 every month?

Be a YouTube Star

YouTube has changed a lot recently. The barrier to earning has increased, banning people for even innocuous content has, too. Even so, 1.3 billion people watch YouTube daily, and top earners make millions of dollars a year. Learn how to get started and upload your first video today.

Mobile App Developer

This is not easy and it takes time, but that’s why it’ll put you in demand and offer a potentially lucrative income.

Create mobile apps for yourself or for others. Start by learning one language, or take Harvard’s CS50 Mobile App Development Course.

Develop SaaS Products

This also requires coding skills (or the ability to hire coders), but Software as a Service is a booming and lucrative business.

Start off by reading Russell Brunson’s Software Secrets.

Graphic Design

Learn graphic design techniques and how to use graphics software (e.g., Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, or whatever you choose), find a niche, and specialize in making graphics for that niche.

Find customers at 99 Designs, DesignCrowd, or even Fiverr. Strengthen your skills with free courses and/or read books.

If you master Illustrator, Photoshop, or other software, why not teach it to others? One tutorial on TutsPlus pays $200 or more.

Video Creation & Marketing

Videos are huge, and demand is growing rapidly.People, websites, and companies need attention-grabbing videos for their websites and social media channels, as well as other venues.

Learn to make videos or be a consultant or teacher, teaching others about the what, why, and how’s of video marketing.Target local businesses and create a video marketing plan for them.

Dip your toes into the world of video marketing. See how much you can charge for a 30-60 second promo video.

Master one style and become the “Go-to Gal” for that genre (think kinetic typography, 3D animation, cartoon animations, whiteboard videos, and more).

Or, specialize and be the “Go-to Girl” for lawyer videos, wedding-vendor videos, kids clothing videos, and so forth.

It takes some software, plenty of practice, and time, but put in the effort ,and the wards will be yours.

Become a Great Copywriter

Imagine creating words that compel people to buy or make people cry. Your written words stir hearts and minds and create a massive movement….

Master the art of copywriting, and companies will gladly hand you thousands of dollars to sway hearts and minds in their favor.

Although, using your mad copywriting skills to sway the hearts and minds of your own customers is even better (hint: sell your own products!) ☺ .

Read these books to get started.

Sell Other People's Stuff Online

Some older people, especially, have lots of things they’d like to offload and could use help selling it. Others just don’t have the time to do it themselves. Start a service selling others’ stuff for a flat fee or a percentage of sales.

Target your townspeople or local businesses, take great photos, and blanket online selling sites like eBay, Craigslist, Bonanza, and more for quick sales.

Peer-to-Peer Microlending

Earn between 6-31% (or more) lending money to others – and help struggling up-and-comers. Be sure to examine all risks first. See Kiva, Prosper, Forbes article, Investopedia article.

OFFLINE - QUICK

Sell Drinks

Buy a 32-pack of bottled water at Walmart or Aldis (for example) for around $3.50 ($0.10 a bottle). Set up a table near your local dog park and sell water to thirsty pooch owners for $1 (a $0.90 profit).

Say you sell for 4 hours/day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and you average 40 bottlesa day. You pocket $432/month.

Get fancier and offer other options, too, like Gatorade for the owners or homemade, healthy dog biscuits.

Get some collapsible water bowls for around $0.65 at aliexpress and sell them for $5 or so. Or maybe even some doggo bandannas?

No dog park nearby?How about a festival, flea market, or other event?

Mystery Shopping & Other Tasks

Help business owners by evaluating stores as a mystery shopper. Gigspot offers plenty of opportunities. Evaluate churches as a mystery guest, too, and earn $45 (or more) for a one-hour visit.

Check out Craigslist’s Gigs and TaskRabbit, too.

Drive People Around

It’s no secret that Lyft and Uber provide plenty of flexibility and added income. Sign up, work when you want, and pocket that cash!

If you live near an Amish community, they always need drivers. Or simply post a local classified ad offering to drive people to appointments (be careful, though, because safety is paramount!). Alternatively, offer to take kids to and from extra-curricular activities to give busy parents a break.

Deliver Food

Instead of driving people around, deliver food.Grubhub, Doordash, and Uber Eats are the main players in this arena. Some pay a flat per-hour rate plus tips (for scheduled times) while others are commission only. These gigs are easy, and you set your own schedule.

Shop for Others

Hate shopping? Especially grocery shopping? Lots of people do, and they’re willing to pay you to do their shopping for them.

See Instacart, Shipt, and Seamless (part of Grubhub).

You don’t need to just shop for groceries, either. There are plenty of other shopping gigs, too.

Rent Your Stuff

You own stuff. Others don’t. Rent your stuff!

Everyone knows about renting rooms thru AirBnB, but you’re definitely not limited to just renting out a room. Think of all the things you’ve paid good money for that others might need to use occasionally.

What about:

  • Bicycles, skates, sporting equipment
  • Tents, camping supplies
  • Tools
  • Yardwork: lawn mowers, trimmers, landscaping equipment, sprayers, etc.
  • Prom dresses, clothes

You can rent part of your garage for those who need extra storage. Rent part of your yard for parking if you live near seasonal events.

Advertise your services online or create a website so your whole town can rent their items (and charge a commission).

Be sure to protect yourself and your stuff with legal contracts first.

Take Seasonal Gigs
  • Work for a Halloween store that opens for a couple months every year.
  • Work for the census every 4 years.
  • Dress up and wave customers into Tax Prep companies during tax season.
  • Deliver phone books every year.

Christmas offers plenty of seasonal opportunities, as well. Use your imagination, and seize those seasonal opportunities.

Pet-Sit / Walk Dogs

Pets are awesome, but then….you gotta go on vacation and have no one to watch Fido or Fifi. Or you work 50+ hours a week and just don’t have the time or energy to exercise them.

That’s where you come in. Pet-sit, walk dogs, or even start a pet clean-up service (think pooper scooper). Find clients at Rover.

Also: master dog training and offer your services online or offline. (Think in-person, online video courses, eBooks).

Yardwork & Outdoors

Mow lawns, landscape, shovel snow (buy a snowblower!), plant flowers, and more for people or businesses. Get a pressure washer and clean houses, fences, equipment. An oldie but goodie.

Food. Glorious Food.

There’s plenty of ways to make money with food, but you’ll have to be aware of required licenses and regulations.

You could:

  • Decorate cakes
  • Sell pies or other baked goods
  • Sell a week’s worth of healthy, homemade, ready-to-go meals (people can order and pick them up)
  • Sell mason jar meals for people on the go.
  • Sell homemade jams and sauces
  • Teach baking, cooking, cake decorating, canning, and more – offline or online
  • Sell healthy kids lunches for busy parents 
  • Sell vegan meals
  • Sell smoothies
  • Sell “Romantic Evening” dinner plans and help others rekindle relationships

Use your imagination and research what people in your area need and want.

Sewing / Alterations / Thread, Yarn, and Fabric

There are plenty of ways to make money with yarn, thread, and fabric, as well.

For example:

  • Homemade afghans and quilts often sell for good prices.
  • Knit and crochet wearables (babies, kids, and adults)
  • Do alterations
  • Create and sell your own unique style of clothing, hats, accessories
  • Paint or decorate canvas shoes
  • Embroider unique gifts
  • Teach
  • Make your own line of pet clothes and accessories (iguana hats, anyone?)
  • Fix leather furniture
  • Create and sell patterns

Get creative, be unique, and profit from sharing your handiwork with others.

Fitness

Make money with fitness and help people get healthier.

Some ideas include:

  • Personal trainer
  • Yoga teacher
  • Reiki practitioner
  • Massage therapist
  • Exercise motivation specialist (who doesn’t need that? 😊)
  • Bodybuilding or weightlifting coach (target middle-aged women who are starting to feel their age catching up?)
  • Swimming teacher/coach
  • Self-defense classes

There are plenty of opportunities in the fitness arena. Use your imagination, gauge your competition, and determine needs.

OFFLINE - LONGER

Care Packages Service

Who doesn’t love a care package when you’re far from home? Offer care packages for others!

Sell care packages for:

  • Kids at summer camp
  • Lovers away on business
  • Relatives in nursing homes and hospitals who are far away (or near!)
  • Kids at college
  • Soldiers at boot camp or stationed afar

Offer pre-made packages or create an online store or catalog where people choose their gifts. You assemble and deliver.

Check out eSWAK and CarePackages.com for inspiration.

Gift Baskets

It’s fun to receive gift baskets, but it’s not so much fun finding good ones to give.

So many of them include the same, not-so-useful stuff at rather exorbitant prices (for what you get). Create a gift-basket service that has useful, witty, unique, or durable items – and make the prices more in line with the cost of what’s included.

Advertise to local businesses or townfolk or set up a global shop online with WooCommerce.

See Gift Tree and Harry and David.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping allows you to sell products or open a store without purchasing inventory.

As always, research first! Work with only reputable sellers who use inexpensive payment methods (wire transfers overseas – a definite no-no!). There are a lot of scammers out there.

While there are “dropshipper directories” that can charge hundreds of dollars, you can find your own dropshippers for free if you invest the time.

Or, find products at Alibaba or Aliexpress. For Aliexpress, you can simply order the product after you receive an order and set the shipping address to your customer. Add a note to the seller specifying that no promotional materials to be included in the package.

Be sure to honestly warn your customers if the product is going to take a month to arrive, though, or you’ll have plenty of refund requests, and yourreputation will plummet.

Local Tour Plans

Create and sell local tour plans – either real-life tours or digital do-it-yourself tours. Offer different ones for holidays, like Halloween (haunted tour?). Offer tours for business clients coming to town. Offer some for teens, others for local families who are looking for new things to do.

Partner with businesses to earn a percentage of new business or work out a deal that benefits you both.

After-School Fun

Thousands of parents across the country are nagging their kids to get off the electronics and do something right now (I guarantee it).

Start an after-school program to give kids fun things to do besides video games and YouTube. You could do an hour a day, 2-3 days a week. Charge for your services and have fun in the process. Big bonus if it’s fun and educational!

Teach Something Offline

You might teach:

  • a musical instrument
  • drawing
  • painting
  • sign language
  • coding
  • gardening
  • cake decorating
  • flower arranging
  • millenials how to change a tire and maintain their car (or other life skills)
  • financial management / getting out of debt
  • CPR
  • Concealed Carry classes
  • survival techniques
  • sports, swimming, fitness…..

The possibilities are endless. What’s useful and in demand where you live?

Build / Create and Sell

Possibilities include:

  • Wood furniture
  • Cool and unique doghouses
  • Jewelry
  • Router family names or addresses on wooden signs (take orders first!).
  • Gazebos. Nice, unique gazebos that don’t come out of a box from China are valued and rare.
  • Websites and sell them on Flippa or Websitebroker (much cheaper).
  • Templates, fonts, printables (sell on Graphic River or Creative Market)

Again, there are endless possibilities within the build / create arena. Research! Understand demand, competition, profitability…

Start a Tasks-You-Hate Service

One idea: give people plastic totes. They put their dirty clothes in them and set them on their porch. You pick it up once a week, wash and fold it, put it back in the tote, and set it back on their porch.

Who wouldn’t want their menial tasks done for them? What despicable task would people gladly pay you to do? I’d gladly pay someone to clean my bathroom or litterboxes once a week!Just sayin…

Dumpster Diving / Flipping

Pick up discarded or broken furniture or other items, fix them up, and sell them. (Beware of bedbugs, though!)

Buy clearance items at retail stores or items from Alibaba.com or Aliexpress and re-sell for higher. Go to auctions, estate sales, and garage sales, too. Make unique bundles or collections to sell even more.

Haul Stuff

Get an old truck and get hired to haul away big items, pick up scrap items and appliances (either fix them & re-sell or take them to the scrapyard), help people who buy furniture and have no way to get it home, help people move (if they don’t hire official movers or rent UHauls), and more.

A related gig: Drive cars and trucks to faraway destinations. Many times people need a vehicle delivered to TN, but they live in Michigan. Rental companies and dealers also need long-distance vehicle transporters. Ask around, espeically if you’d like to get paid to drive and get away.

Start a Food Truck

You can make a lot of money running a food truck. It’s portable, so you go where the most customers are, and you get to be in control (as opposed to jobs where someone’s always telling you what to do, where, when, and how to do it).

Start with Business News Daily’s guide on how to get started.

Get Land, Grow Trees

Selling trees and other plants can be quite profitable. It does take time and care to grow, them, though, so there’s that.

Buy a cheap plot of land and plant high-value trees. Years later, harvest and sell.

Got a new baby?Get a plot of land, plant the trees, and when he turns 18, sell the timber and pay off his 4 years’ worth of college tuition.

No land? You can still make money selling plants. Simply grow them in containers and sell. See “How to Make $40,000 (or more) Growing Potted Trees”.

I wanted to plant winter-hardy bamboo in my Ohio yard, but the cheapest plants sold for $34.95 per plant! So I purchased bamboo seeds from wish.com – and they grew! (Surprisingly enough – I make everything die). For my $1 packet of seeds, I can sell my bamboo plants for far more – individually.

I also bought multi-colored rose seeds from Wish and grew those.
My $1 packet of seeds turned into lots of individual $30 potted plants.

See Growing Trees for Profit, Growing Profits, and Pay Dirt.

Collect and Hold

We all want stocks, gold, and bitcoin so they’ll grow in value and pay handsomely years from now. But other items might be a better investment.

Lego sets can yield bigger returns than large stocks, bonds, and gold. Is the cryptocurrency Ethereum the next bitcoin? What about certain types of alcohol? Some toys become quite valuable a mere 10-20 years later. The trick is figuring out which items will skyrocket in value in the future, eh?

Plan Events

Are you great at making awesome birthday parties for your kids? Turn it into a business – online or offline.

Love weddings? Corporate parties? Get skilled at planning events, market your skills, and get paid to party.

See 99 Resources to Get Into Event Planning.

Choose & Start!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Chinese Proverb

REMEMBER THIS:

The most important parts of this list aren’t the ideas.

The important parts are to remember that:

  • You have control. You can determine your income levels. Take control!
  • If there’s something you don’t know, you can learn it! Yes, it might take plenty of time and practice. You’ll get frustrated and want to give up. Keep on going! If you want it, you’ll make it happen. You have it in you.
  • Copycat businesses don’t get to the top that often. Infuse your business idea with your unique personality, ideas, and passion. But just because someone else is doing your idea doesn’t mean you can’t do it better. Don’t get disheartened.

So many people say, “I’m going to start a ______”, and then years later, you run into them and they haven’t done it yet! But they’re still talking about it.

Don’t be that person. 

Take one small step toward your dream today. Then another small step tomorrow. Be persistent and consistent.

Before you know it, you’ll be miles ahead of everyone else, living the dream.

YOU GOT THIS! 

Now go get ’em, Tiger.

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How to Make an Extra $500 a Month – 100% Legit No Bullshit [45+ Ideas]

by Michele time to read: 18 min
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