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The 11 Principles Series: Find Creative Ways to Boost Your Income

By Erik Folgate

You don’t need to explain to me that it is tough to aggressively pay off debt, save an emergency fund, and save for a down payment on a house after paying all of the monthly bills. The cost of living is rising, and there’s not much we can do about it. My philosophy about winning with money has its roots in spending conservatively, investing wisely, and finding creative ways to boost your income. If you manifest the mindset that you can make a great part-time income by being creative, then you will generate enough income to become debt free, save for a house, and start investing for retirement. Generating extra income is more of a mental feat than it is a physical one. Actually making the money is not the hard part. The hard part is getting yourself motivated to go ahead and do it. We are so set in our ways of relying on one stream of income, our weekly paycheck. What if you had multiple streams of income to rely on? If one stream of income went sour one month, you’d have three or four others to pull from. Once you are motivated to make extra income, the only other questions to answer are “What do I do?” and “How do I do it?”

Here are some previous articles that might help get your creative juices flowing:

eBay. eBay was my first experience with making extra money. There are thousands of websites and books dedicated to coaching people about how to make a fortune on eBay. The reality is that it’s getting harder every day to break into eBay and make a fortune off of it. Everyone has thought of every type of item and service to sell on eBay, and the competition is much more fierce than it was 7 or 8 years ago. Having said that, there are still opportunities to make some decent part-time income without letting it consume your entire life. The first thing that you can do is pick out all of the stuff you want to sell. Then, pick out the items that you think would do well selling on eBay. For example, an older digital camera or iPod will sell for decent money, but a used shirt from Old Navy is not worth selling on eBay. Once you’ve sold everything that you can, then you can start thinking of a product to sell for part-time income. Focus on a smaller niche that might have a certain demand. Stars Wars memoribilia or used designer jeans are a start. Do you like music? Maybe you could specialize in hard-to-find instruments or sheet music. The idea here is finding a product that you can buy for a fraction of the cost that you can sell it for on eBay. If you are buying a product for $15 and selling it on eBay for $20, you won’t make any money. After factoring in the eBay and Paypal costs, you may end up losing money on the deal. My wife and I found a pretty cool niche that we take advantage of whenever we need some extra cash. We go to consignment stores and garage sales searching for quality used jeans. Every now and then, we find Seven For All Mankind, Citizen’s of Humanity, True Religion, Blue Cult, and other high-end designer used jeans. Many of them are in great condition and we can usually buy them for $15 – $25 dollars. On average, we can turn around and sell them on eBay as pre-owned designers jeans for anywhere from $50 – $90, because these jeans retail for $150 to $225 new with tags. That type of margin is what I am talking about. If you can find a supply for your niche and resell it for double or triple the amount, then you can make some nice extra income from eBay.

Start a Blog or Write for a Blog. You can read more about how to do this from the links that I provided above, and there are more articles about it under my entrepreneurship category. The fact is that it is very easy to make some extra income from either starting a niche, informational blog or writing for another blog. I make a nice little income from doing this right now, and it usually takes about an hour out of my day to prepare and write an article.

Start a Part-Time Service Business.
There are numerous resources such as entrepreneur.com and various start-up blogs to read about how to go about starting a service business. I won’t get into all of the fine details right now, but maybe in the future I will do a series on starting a part-time business out of your home for profit. Think of one or two things that you love doing or have an expertise. Are you great with fixing and tinkering with computers? Start a computer repair business. Have you been hiking and going on outdoor excursions since you were in diapers? Start an outpost company that organizes hikes and weekend excursions. Are you a great piano player? Start a piano lesson business. Many service businesses require only some business cards, a website, and some sweat equity. You can generally start most home-based service businesses with less than $1000 of start-up costs, and if it does not work out, you could probably make back enough money to break even.

Think about this and bounce back your ideas in the comments section. Do you have a story about how you creatively made extra income? Share it with us unless you don’t want someone stealing the idea!

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • Casey

    Hey, have you every heard of Associated Content or Helium or another one of those websites where you can just wrote an article about anything and get money? What do you think about those versus blogging for money?

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