In the last year, I’ve been an electric tram chauffeur, security guard, website publisher, handyman, real estate investor, junk picker, house painter, search engine evaluator and surrogate juror — and that’s a partial list. But I’m primarily a writer, so I don’t always have time to try out every new idea I come across. In addition, some ways to make money are relatively new and untested, so it’s difficult to research them.
That’s where you can help me and other readers. You may have already tried one of the following money-making ideas, or perhaps you will after reading this post. If so, please let us know about your experiences in the comments below so we can all benefit!
Here are four crazy but effective ways to earn a buck…
Doing Business from Storage Units
A friend saw an ad for a couch on Craigslist and met the seller at a self-storage unit. He was shown not only the couch, but dozens of other items, and he bought three pieces of furniture. After talking to the seller, my friend discovered he had several storage units full of things for sale. He was running a used furniture business from storage units!
His story got me wondering what other things could be sold from storage units. Small units rent for $49 per month around here. Since everyone has a phone already and Craigslist ads are free (if you run them as personal ads), the only overhead for a business like this would be rental fees. Even the cost of three of those small units adds up to a lot less than renting space for a store.
I did find one article from Hawaii about businesses run from storage units, but the practice isn’t quite common yet. If you have ever tried running a business from a storage unit or know someone who has, please tell us how you did it!
Finding a Sponsor for Your Wedding
This idea that goes back a few years, but there hasn’t been much written about it lately. Couples have had their weddings “sponsored” by various companies to get free wedding dresses, invitations, reception dinnerware and more. It’s primarily a way to save money, but making a profit isn’t impossible, since some sponsors might pay to have their logo on the various items or on the walls of the reception room. (Like this idea? Click to tweet it!).
The website WeddingSonsorships.com says, “Some couples acquire $1,000 worth of sponsorships and others acquire over $20,000 with our wedding sponsorship plans.” They sell information and forms for arranging these deals, but to be honest the website was out-of-date when I visited. It isn’t clear whether wedding sponsorship still happens often, which brings us to a question for you, the reader.
Do you know of anyone who has been paid cash or free things in exchange for promoting companies or products at their wedding?
Selling Water in the Street
Selling bottled water in the street is common in other countries, and in the U.S in large cities, but can you make much money at it?
When you sell something that costs just twenty cents for a dollar there ought to be a way to make a decent profit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much more than speculation when looking for success stories online. I did find a post about one man’s bottled water sales experiment, which didn’t work out that well, although he admits to making some mistakes.
With a few dollars spent on ice, could you sell 200 bottles in a day, for a profit of about $145? Hot days at events with lots of people seem like the best bet. A permit might be required, and that could cost something. If you know of anyone who has done this and made better than minimum wage, please share with us in the comments below.
Working as a Freelance Drink Server
A few years back, a friend of mine was in a bar with her sisters and they were almost out of money. The bar didn’t have any servers that went to the tables, only a bartender, so my friend had an idea. She went to a table with a few guys and took their order as if she worked there. Using her last few dollars to buy the drinks at the bar, she delivered them and collected what was due plus a nice tip. She went to other tables to do this, and within 30 minutes she had $20 in tips, enough to last her and her sisters the rest of the night. It never was clear whether the bartender knew what she was doing or even cared.
That got me wondering if there’s more to this idea than just a way to make some beer money. After all, in many places, a server can make $30 per hour or more in tips during busy times, and that’s exactly when a bar might need help. If you formed a business and worked at different places to be classified as an independent contractor, perhaps you could offer your service for free to bars, but only when they’re busy. You get to leave when it slows down, meaning you only work when the pay is good.
Know someone who has tried this or something like it? Share your story!
Would you consider doing any of the things above to make a buck? All four money making ideas have been tried, and they worked to some degree, but none of them have a documented history of success — yet. I might try one or two of them myself in time; a storage unit business seems promising.
Which ones would you try?
Your Turn: If you’ve tried or considered trying one of these ideas, tell us your story in the comment section below!