Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

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C40
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Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by C40 »

I’m starting this thread as a place to share ideas and experiences of earning money outside of formal jobs/employment. I invite you to share:
  • Your ideas - whether they are things you want to do or never would
  • Your experiences/results

Some factors that may be important about the types of work are:
  • What you are selling - is it a straight trade of your time? Expertise that allows accomplishing something? A product that you’re good at making? Infrastructure created by making something or use of capital?
  • Is it something that you would or already do for fun anyway?
  • Does support other types of work/income?
  • Does it support other goals? (perhaps social - in meeting people.. or fitness-related by doing physical work, or fulfilling - perhaps by feeling you’re helping other people)
  • Is the income easily outside view of the IRS? (some will like this to avoid paying for wars, to just get a better deal on government, or to control income for things like ACA, the recent Covid E.I.P, and possible future forms of UBI.
  • How much marketing is needed to get customers?
  • How scalable?
  • Can you stop and start when you want? (both for daily hours, but also if you want to not do that for some months)
  • Seasonality?

Ok.. please share your ideas and experiences!

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C40
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by C40 »

I’ll start things off with two lists - the first one is a list that I maintain for myself - options that I believe I would enjoy and some of which I expect to do in the future. I’ve already done some, but only a few from this list.


———HORTICULTURAL ———

GARDENING
  • Sell food (farmer’s market. Online. Set out front. Just set up myself somewhere
  • Sell plant starts
  • Sell house plants (clone them… clone succulents, etc.)
  • Sell Flowers
  • Make gardens in neighbors yards (for them, for money.. or for me, give them some)
  • Odd plants like ginger, food mushrooms, etc.
  • Grow and sell/trade/gift Marijuana, Psilocybin mushrooms, etc. (only where legal or decriminalized, of course)
  • Grow Micro-greens indoors. Sell to people, grocers, restaurants?
LANDSCAPING
  • Mow lawns
  • Trim bushes
  • Rake leaves
  • Shovel snow
  • Clean roofs
  • Install plants?
  • Fertilize? Aerate?
OTHER RELATED HOUSE/LAND SERVICES:
  • Snow shovel/blow/plow (but not much at all in places I’d live)
  • Put up and take down Christmas lights
  • Clear out overgrown brush


———ANIMAL HUSBANDRY———

DOGS/CATS
  • Dog - Exercise them. Run, fetch, etc.
  • Dog walking
  • Dog training
  • Pet sitting (dogs and cats)
BEES
  • Sell Honey
  • Make products with wax. Soap, etc.
  • Remove hives from other’s property
CHICKENS
  • Eggs - for me
  • Eggs - Sell


———ART———

PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Portraits - Standard
  • Portraits - H.S. Seniors
  • Portraits - Engagement
  • Portraits - For dating profiles
  • Real Estate photos
  • Drone shots for Real Estate?
GRAPHIC ART:
  • T-Shirt Designs (Sell on sites like Redbubble)


———COFFEE———
  • Coffee shop at home
  • Coffee shop somewhere else. (get location? Live at comm’ property? Use trailer?)
  • Sell roasted beans (without shop)
  • Set up at some business location. like a little stand/cart? (operate like 8-11am weekdays)
  • Work as barista? Work as coffee roaster at/for shop?


———MECHANICAL ———

VEHICLES:
  • Cars - Flip
  • Cars - Basic maintenance? - Oil, coolant change, brakes, ?
  • Motorcycles - Flip
  • Motorcycles - Fix and flip
  • Motorcycles - basic maintenance - MC = Oil, valve adjust, coolant, lube points, clean/lube chain
  • Van builds - do myself and sell
  • Van builds - do for a person, paid
  • Bicycle maintenance
CONSTRUCTION
  • Remodel my house, profit when sell
  • Remodel house for quick flip [***]
  • Build something for people (kind of like the chicken coops dad built)


———PICK IT UP———
  • Firewood - Harvest, cut, dry, split, sell, deliver [***]
  • Mushrooms
  • Edibles - berries, greens, etc.
  • Dumpster diving (for food for me? Sell? give away?


———MAKE THINGS———

HYGIENE PRODUCTS
  • Deoderant
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Sun block


———MISC SERVICES———
  • Knife Sharpening
  • Coaching - work-related for individuals
  • Coaching - to help companies
  • Coaching - personal life coaching


———ON-CALL / SHORT-TERM ———

(Being available to help on short notice. Both one-off work, and ongoing availability)
  • Help people move (esp if I have truck/trailer)
  • Delivery of items
  • Removal of bee hives
  • Help old people with simple things
Last edited by C40 on Sat May 02, 2020 7:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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C40
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by C40 »

Here are some ideas I jotted down from a quick read through "Earning Money without a job" by Jay Conrad Levinson. There are more in the book
  • baby sit
  • house sitting
  • boat help (wash, paint, clean, etc)
  • Smoke fish (near peir/warf)
  • Teach something
  • tutor children
  • paint homes
  • car washing
  • deliver lunches to businesses (set up plan with stores/restaurants and businesses, middleman/deliver)
  • Sell sanwiches/food (bar closing time - sport events, etc.)
  • help people declutter
  • retrieve golf balls from course ponds
  • Find and sell gold, silver
  • serve summons
  • engraving
  • cleaning (that requires machines)
  • guppy breeding
  • Raise and sell worms
  • furniture repair
  • metal detecting
  • home renovation
  • make some small specialized product. Fish flies. Animal calls (for hunting).. could be a long list..

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C40
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by C40 »

This post is a placeholder for linking to other forum threads that have information and examples (including both entire threads, and pages of journals with detailed examples). Please link them, and for as long as I can still edit this post, I'll list them here.

akratic
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by akratic »

My development in this area is kinda stunted by how disproportionately lucrative my specialized skill is, but I'll contribute where I can.

First of all, even better than getting dollars for the job would be directly solving a need or want. For example, house sitting where you get free home/internet/water/heat/furniture/electricity for some small task like watering plants or feeding pets or making sure nobody breaks in.

Anyway here's some on topic ideas grouped by who in my life I think they're best for:

Wife:
- soccer training or personal training
- english lessons for foreign speakers
- make youtube videos (she made a passive $80 last month from videos she made five years ago! that's like $32k @ 3%! need to be rockstar usually though and her channel has 4 million views)
- tutoring SAT/ACT

Son:
- shovel neighbor's driveway/walkway
- do neighbor's yard work
- watch neighbor's kids
- walk neighbor's dogs

Self:
- twitch streamer (need to be rockstar)
- bonus whore at casinos - not sure this one is self-explanatory so: try to find a game close to break even in payout. Move incredible amounts of money through the game. You appear as a highroller and they start bribing you to come: free hotel stay, free shows, free drinks, $2k vouchers. Remember if your game is close to break even you can turn their monthly $2k voucher into $1.99k cash.
- same as above but with small signup bonuses for online sites or credit cards
- create some recurring high-value gift stream, not to sell but to give away to friends, for example: homegrown pot, plex media server
- any website where you upload digital assets and get a cut of what people buy: t-shirts, photography, onlyfans ;)

sky
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by sky »

I am going to try sewing bikepacking equipment. I have a design for fork cages that I will make for my bike and make a few extra for sale.
I have made a few backpacking quilts and have an excellent design. I could try to streamline the process and offer them for sale.
I have made a windshirt and lightweight mittens for bug protection.
I have been looking at leathercrafting and shoemaking, that might be a future project (turnshoe, moccasin).
I built a bicycle trailer camper that could be a product. It is set up to hold 300W of solar power and charge an electric bicycle battery. The idea is you could carry enough water/food to boondock for a week or two, or you could ride cross country for 3 to 6 hours a day on solar power. Still unproven, not tested and I don't have the money (too cheap to spend the money) on an electric bike and solar gear.

Many of the things I want to do are on hold due to lack of money to buy materials. This is not really true because I have money but choose to live on a budget. My own mind holds me back, but in the long term I think it is wiser to choose ones purchases carefully and not spend much.

Once I gain proficiency in a skill, I often become bored and move on to the next learning experience. That is good from the perspective of gaining knowledge in life skills, but if you want to make money, you need to focus on a skill and work.

All of the projects that I do must improve my life somehow. To me that is the most important for what I choose to do with my time. If others find value in it, and there is a way to make money, good.

You can do a lot of things if you don't mind making less than $1 an hour. If you want to earn money a job is the easiest way.

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Ego
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by Ego »

One way to make a hobby income-producing is to become the market.

For instance, start or join a Meetup for the hobby. Plant growing, furniture refinishing, mushroom growing, larping beekeeping, comic collecting, vintage clothing, bicycle maintenance... whatever. Once there are a handful of enthusiasts, find a place to hold a monthly or quarterly open air market and invite the more professional operations. Charge a fee to the sellers. Once you are confident in your skills at market management, expand the focus to include adjacent interests.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I have seen examples of high end landscape maintenance work. Customers will pay a premium for expert work from people who are super reliable, knowledgeable, friendly. Would need to know plants fairly well. The nice thing about this is that the work is weeding and touching up mulch, not building boulder walls, it is recurring, and only needs hand tools and a truck/trailer.

You would be a good handyman. Charge a premium for being a reliable perfectionist.

I used to flip cars and motorcycles. It is a pain and very hard to scale. Lots of tire kickers and complainers, hard to make real money for your time unless you get into expensive cars. Lots of ways to get burned. Best if you just love cars and want to have owned a lot of different ones or love wrenching.

George the original one
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by George the original one »

Gilberto de Piento wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 9:32 am
I used to flip cars and motorcycles. It is a pain and very hard to scale. Lots of tire kickers and complainers, hard to make real money for your time unless you get into expensive cars. Lots of ways to get burned. Best if you just love cars and want to have owned a lot of different ones or love wrenching.
You may have to get a dealer's license depending on the state. Oregon allows you to sell 6 cars per year, I think, before you need a dealer's license.

rube
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by rube »

Things come to mind we have done or are doing and provided some (minor) cash or could do so potentially:

Wife:
-"making" and selling kambucha scoby (4 I think so far)
-Making soap - selling is work in progress

Daughter:
-Baby-sitting

Son:
-Making electronic music - selling is work in progress
-Buying and reselling items (not really successful, but good for experience)

Myself:
-Sold a domain name
-Helping to build a house (I helped a few weekends voluntary and was asked if they good hire me also during the week)
-Having items according customer details/wishes produced (in Asia) and delivered to these customers in Europe (remains of previous full time business)
-installed solar panels, kitchens, skylights, flooring etc. at own place, rentals, friends and family (I did not charge money to friends and family).

George the original one
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by George the original one »

Metal recycling - aluminum & copper are worth more than steel, lead acid batteries when lead prices are up
Car dismantling, sell parts on eBay/craigslist

mooretrees
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by mooretrees »

DH and I were just talking about this during breakfast! A few ideas we've come up with over the years and have limited experience with include:
1. making leather drawer pulls/handles from old belts or thrift store leather goods - this is just an idea, no experience yet
2. Plants sales like @sky
3. Magnetic knife racks (we always get compliments on the one he made for us from scrap wood)
4. Canning classes: for this one, I'm basically thinking of doing what @Ego mentioned. With the big increase in gardening, most people are also likely thinking of preserving too. I'm going to start reaching out to friends soon and offer to host canning classes - no fee, just to experiment and learn. I'm not an expert by far, but I've canned over the years and have most of the equipment and have shown newbies how to can in the past, so I think I can do it again in a mellow friend environment. Might be scale-able, but maybe not for this year? Also, totally willing to get 'paid' in canned goods instead of money.
5. Brackets: DH made some brackets for our tiny kitchen remodel because the local options were shit. I've heard people admire them over the years.
5. Fruit tree pruning/spraying: i was a certified arborist previously, and I think a lot of people are going to be planting fruit tree that they don't know how to maintain. I'm going to reach out to a local friend that has done a lot of fruit tree pruning (I primarily did ornamentals) and see if I can sorta apprentice with him.

We currently sell our coffee at a friends farm stand in the next town over and are considering building a small covered structure to sell the coffee out of our front yard. We are selling more coffee this year than ever before and since we're in the bigger town, it seems reasonable to think that we could sell more if we had coffee in town. We live on a busyish street and have a big school bus in the drive way, so it's pretty visible and a marker for folks to find us.

The consideration I've thought most important for a side gig is low maintenance as far as actively managing the product. We've done the farmers market for our coffee and it is a LOT of work with set up, break down and cleaning. I don't want to have to sit and interact with people to sell something. I'm getting comfortable with trusting people to pay without anyone watching. We cut wood on our own for our heat source and DH would love to have a wood truck and do more. However, it really needs to be a two person (at least) operation for safety and with our small child we always have to have one person with him. I like chainsaws though, so maybe when he's older, we'll start doing this more for sales.

Excited to hear others thoughts and see what their experiences are like going forward.

theanimal
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by theanimal »

-Finding morels
-Collecting sap and converting it to syrup
-Selling hawaiian shaved ice
-Writing freelance essays for newspapers or magazines

wheatstate
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by wheatstate »

Adding to the construction side:
Building your personal residence then sell 2 years later for 100% tax-free gains. Repeat.
My dentist had a patient that did this. Dentist asked, "How long will you do this?" Patient, "Till I find a better way to make tax-free income."
This could be done with either flips or new construction. Key would be to buy at a comfortable price, manage the project and create a product to sell for top dollar.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Create detailed landscape inspection reports for new home owners.

Travel nanny.

Have an eternal garage sale that is more like a salvaged parts hardware store in your garage or basement.

Make puppets based on classic tales out of discarded clothing you find while urban hiking. (It is weird how many single socks you will find on side of road if you keep your eyes open.)

Crabapple and wild mint jelly.

Mother’s helper for big events like weddings.

Roommate service for elderly people who don’t quite need assisted living but would benefit by sharing maid service etc.

Adult diaper vending machines.

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C40
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by C40 »

mooretrees wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 12:15 pm

We currently sell our coffee at a friends farm stand in the next town over and are considering building a small covered structure to sell the coffee out of our front yard. We are selling more coffee this year than ever before and since we're in the bigger town, it seems reasonable to think that we could sell more if we had coffee in town. We live on a busyish street and have a big school bus in the drive way, so it's pretty visible and a marker for folks to find us.

The consideration I've thought most important for a side gig is low maintenance as far as actively managing the product. We've done the farmers market for our coffee and it is a LOT of work with set up, break down and cleaning. I don't want to have to sit and interact with people to sell something. I'm getting comfortable with trusting people to pay without anyone watching.
Could you expand some on your coffee selling experience so far?

- What is your setup like at your friend's farm stand?
- How much business do you do there? (how many customers, volume, prices?)
- Are you selling beans, or end product coffee? What kind(s)? Where do you get beans? Do you roast yourself? etc. etc..
- How do you get customers? Any marketing efforts? Do you have 'regulars'?


------

A fantasy I have is to live somewhere that it would work to have, basically, a coffee shop at home... I feel like it's a pipe dream, but if it worked out for me, I think I'd enjoy it a lot. I'd probably only have the shop open for a few hours in the mornings, or just for like half-days on the weekends.. For the customers, I imagine it being more like folks who live or work right around there, and friends/acquaintances.

If this did work out for me, I think it may be possible to combine the 'coffee shop' with selling various other things at the same time - things like roasted beans... plant starts for gardens.. food from my garden.. eggs.. honey.. houseplants.. little succulents I've cloned.. natural and eco-friendly products like deodorant, soap, etc.... to advertise other types of work I'd like to do... And as a way to build friendships, acquaintances, and social capital.

Even if the coffee shop makes no profit, I would still be happy about it if I have some success with the other things listed.

So, as a person who is already doing something similar (the coffee selling), I'd love to read about your experiences

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Lemur
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by Lemur »

Power-washing homes can be very profitable because people don't like to do it and the ingredients are very inexpensive to remove algae/moss. In a bucket, one just needs bleach, detergent (or dawn soap), and soak one SOS pad. Wear gloves. You'll need a water source (from home owner), a hose, and one of those pressure wash attachments at the end of the hose. You could use a sponge or my preference a deck scrubber on the house siding.

mooretrees
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by mooretrees »

- What is your setup like at your friend's farm stand?
- How much business do you do there? (how many customers, volume, prices?)
- Are you selling beans, or end product coffee? What kind(s)? Where do you get beans? Do you roast yourself? etc. etc..
- How do you get customers? Any marketing efforts? Do you have 'regulars'?

The farm stand is close to one entrance to our friends town, a smaller town 10 or so miles away from where we live. We have a simple chalkboard sign and some bags of coffee on a shelf in the stand, both half pound ($7) and full pounds ($14). We have our roaster (6 kilo Mill City Roaster) at her farm just up the road and DH roasts about once a week. Our farmer friend is very active at marketing, we really do nothing. She has a big sign at the turn off, does instagram, facebook and a weekly email to a large list. I've had an instagram account for the coffee before, but got sick of it and stopped all social media. She's also extremely well connected in this area and seem to know everyone.

The farm stand is open April - Oct, basically her growing season. I've not seen our April check but I hope to get it this week. She takes a decent cut, something between 22-27%. I think that is fair-ish, as it is her stand and she is our primary advertiser. This is our second year at her farm stand, we've been at the farmers market for three years, maybe four. So we had a number of customers who knew and liked our coffee already. During the off market time, we had our coffee beans at two locations. One wanted coffee to serve to customers (an outdoor sporting goods place) and occasionally sold a pound or two and the other only sold whole beans (a bakery). I could never get the bakery friend to make the coffee, and didn't want to push too hard.

We like having two kinds of beans, always a Central American and then some other variety, African or something else that DH researches and likes the idea of. I lived in Portland with Stumptown employees for many years, so I got tons of free excellent coffee and the idea that coffee could be light and delicious. We both prefer a light to medium roast, though DH will do a darker roast by request. I feel like people don't really understand coffee and we're starting to educate them locally about what good coffee can taste like. I hear a lot of people say how they like it dark, but I really interpret that to mean that's all they've ever had. We've switched around who we get coffee online, I think we've used Coffee Shrub and Atlas. We try and buy at least two 50-100 lb bags at a time to reduce shipping costs. We store the green coffee at her farm.

We love working at the farmers market and that was a fantastic experience for starting a business. Lots of normal rules are waived at farmers markets, so it's a good place to dip your toe into something. DH build our coffee cart tricycle and so we have a good visual to draw people in...It was also a great way to meet a lot of people and get connected with the local economy. I'm not sure we will do the market this year because the restrictions with corona....well, it might not be worth the effort.
If there is anything else you'd like to know, fire away. Happy to give more details.

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C40
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by C40 »

mooretrees wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 7:44 am
...
Wow, very nice. How did you end up owning such a large roaster?


Lemur wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 7:41 am
Power-washing homes can be very profitable...
Oh, yes. Also cleaning roofs. When I lived with my friends in Portland, I once cleaned their roof as part of my 'house duties'. They have really big coniferous trees that drop a lot on the roof. It was easy to clean with a blower. Recently, my buddy there said a guy approached him on the street outside his house to offer to clean the roof. I asked how much it cost. My friend explained that he got a rock bottom price at like $300, and my mind was blown. It took me maybe an hour to do it. If I'd have been careful to capture all the debris, it would have taken maybe two hours or three at most. I suppose the hard part of that job may be getting customers, but if one could establish regulars, business would be spectacular. (in an area like this, where there are huge trees above houses, one could definitely have a full set of repeat customers and recurring business)

elkend
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Re: Income sources other than ‘normal jobs’

Post by elkend »

Back in college I got very good at buying and selling things locally on our classified ads. Had about 30k I worked with and could make about 10-15k a year just doing it casually. Just stuff I had experience in, cameras, pianos, video games, comics, dog houses, whatever I wanted to learn about. Wrote a python script to help me out. Always viewed it as I was investing in the short term, not really viewed it as buying and selling.

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