I love to discover businesses, investments and jobs I haven’t heard of before — and sometimes try them out. Fortunately, I get to investigate them for my websites and books, as well as for my freelance writing assignments. I’ve been doing this for years, but I still keep finding new ways to make money every week.
For example, before last year I hadn’t heard of the position of “search engine evaluator.” As soon as I stumbled on that one, I had to try it out. Sure enough, in my first full month doing the work, I made more than $700, working fewer than 15 hours weekly, at home and when I felt like it. That was a fun discovery. I was also a website tester and did surveys on Inbox Dollars.
But you may have already heard about those opportunities, and in any case I need something new to try. So I did a few hours of research to find the following seven new and innovative ways to make money, or cool twists on old options. Have you tried any of these ideas?
1. Become a Quantitative Editor
Can you write? Can you work easily with statistics and probabilities? Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight.com, recently hired a “Quantitative Editor,” which he says is “a cross between an economist, a quant, an editor, and a writer.”
Watch for more jobs like this in the future, as data-crunching writers and editors are needed to report on everything from social media’s impact on elections to the economics of online virtual worlds.
2. Buy an Apartment to Rent on Airbnb
You’ve probably read about renting out a room on Airbnb. But who would have guessed someone would buy an apartment just for that purpose? That’s what Jon Wheatley did.
He paid $40,000 for the place and spent $10,000 to get it ready, Wheatley explains in a post on Gizmodo. Then he started advertising it for rent on Airbnb. With a total investment of about $50,000, he made more than $13,000 net profit his first year.
3. Sell Smartphone Photos on Foap
Stock photography websites have been around for a while, but it isn’t always easy to get accepted to sell your photos. My own portfolio of photos was rejected when I tried to open an account on one of the more popular sites. (I think it was the camera.) And all that effort was to try to get 25 or 50 cents each time a photo was used.
But with the Foap App, you can snap a photo with your smartphone, upload it and collect half of the $10 fee when it’s sold. Foap targets buyers who want photos for social media marketing campaigns. Reviews are mixed, but maybe the platform will get better in time.
4. Invest in the Lending Club Secondary Market
Online peer-to-peer lending platforms have been around for a while. In fact, four or five years ago, I invested several thousand dollars using Lending Club. Some lenders report returns of more than 12%, but I had a few defaults, so over the years my total return was closer to 5% annually, which was still a lot better than the bank.
What I haven’t tried yet is the more-recently-developed Lending Club Trading Platform, which allows you to buy and sell notes (notes are investments in loans, through which lenders can invest as little as $25 in a much larger loan). For example, if you don’t want to tie up your money for the usual 36 or 60 months, you can buy a note that has only six months left. The seller might want a premium, which could reduce your return a little, but that’s the price you pay for only having your money loaned out for six months.
Young loans often sell at a discount. For example, at the moment there’s a note with 53 months left (from the original 60) and a balance of $188.24 with an asking price of $180.50. All payments have been made to date and the yield to maturity is 27.46% — information provided right there on the note-trading platform. Yes, it’s possible you could see defaults, but you can diversify into dozens of low-priced notes to reduce your risk.
5. Rent Your Driveway
If you live near a concert venue or an annual festival, or just in a busy area, you can make money with your driveway and yard — that’s been true for a long time.
But it has become easier to rent out parking space with apps like SpotOn Parking. That one is just for the San Francisco Bay area, and many platforms, like ParkOnMyDrive.com are only for the UK at the moment, but watch for more of these apps to come to North America.
6. Sell Used Luxury Goods
Got an old Hermes handbag that you’re not using? You can sell it on Cash In My Bag. In fact, if you can track down other luxury-brand handbags, shoes and jewelry at thrift stores or rummage sales, you might make flipping designer goods into a business. Cash In My Bag’s founder, Michael Zarkoff, says the site sells about $50,000 in products monthly, and typically pays 50% of the value to the people they buy from.
Just fill out a simple form and upload a photo of your item. The website says “We will contact you within 48 hours with our purchase price.”
Cash In My Bag isn’t the only site in this space. You could do the same thing on Tradesy or another consignment site, or even open your own eBay store.
7. Make Interview Podcasts
John Lee Dumas interviews people like Tim Ferriss, Brian Tracy, Barbara Corcoran, and Seth Godin for his “Entrepreneur on Fire” program. Dumas, his girlfriend and virtual assistants in Pakistan and the Philippines produce the show, which releases new episodes daily on iTunes, according to Forbes. Dumas started the show in the summer of 2012, and by December of 2013 had his first month with a net profit of more than $100,000.
You could try this in many other niches. Pet owners might like listening to interviews with animal experts. Stock investors would probably love to hear what financial experts have to say. Once you’ve decided what you’ll talk about, here are a few ideas for making money from a podcast.
I might already be a quantitative writer (but not an editor). I’m not sure about buying an apartment to rent out on Airbnb. Foap might give me another shot at selling photos, but I’m going to pass on selling designer purses and renting out the driveway.
Trading notes on Lending Club? That’s a real possibility. And I might someday do podcast interviews of people who make money in interesting ways. What about you?
Your Turn: Are you ready to try one of these new ways to make money, or do you have your own unique job, business, or investment ideas to share?
Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).