Become a social media virtual assistant. Do you love Pinterest or Instagram? Many brands and bloggers do not know how to correctly use these social media platforms. Offer your expertise to coach or act as a social media manager. It’s a win-win: the brand gets the right type of social media exposure and you can make money doing something you enjoy.
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions related to money or personal finance goals. Whether it’s paying off a debt, saving up for a car or a house, or getting a job with a higher salary, there are a lot of great financial goals to strive towards, and many of them are absolutely doable despite the fact that most resolutions fail (and by February!). The most important thing when it comes down to finding ways to implement — and stick to — these strategies is to set realistic goals you know you can achieve.
Sell photos. If you have a decent camera and a good sense of light, color, and composition, you can take and sell stock photos – i.e. nondescript images that lend themselves to many applications and are commonly used to illustrate online articles or products – with minimal effort. Stock photos of locations (a fire hydrant, a bare wall near an interesting tree, or anything you might find as a default background image on your computer) are easier to take, but stock photos of people (i.e. people arguing, people kissing, people laughing) usually sell for more, as they have more uses and require the written legal consent of your subjects. Hunt for a reputable stock photo dealer or database that will pay you fairly before signing on with anyone.
Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online.
Be someone’s virtual assistant. Not all administrative support staff work on site and take notes in-person at meetings. You can also help an executive from the comfort of your home by scheduling appointments, typing letters, ordering supplies, and preparing presentations. Zirtual may be able to connect you with someone who needs your help, though it may ask for a fee to get you started. You could also send some emails to companies near you offering your services.
Monetize a hobby. While some hobbies actually cost money, others can be transformed into a profitable business venture. Ultimately, it depends on what your hobby is and how talented you are. You could turn your love of photography, for example, into a part-time gig taking family portraits and wedding photos or selling prints on Etsy or at arts fairs.
Be proactive. Remember Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong." Make plans, complete with as many calculations as possible, then anticipate everything that can go wrong. Then make contingency or backup plans for each scenario. Don't leave anything to luck. If you're writing a business plan, for example, do your best to estimate when you'll break even, then multiply that time frame by three to get a more realistic date; and after you've identified all the costs, add 20% to that for costs that will come up that you didn't anticipate. Your best defense against Murphy's law is to assume the worst, and brace yourself. An appropriate amount of insurance may be something worth considering. Don't forget the advice of Louis Pasteur, a French chemist who made several incredible breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of disease: "Luck favors the prepared mind."
Become a moving advertisement. “Wrap” your car in an advertisement, go about your usual commute, and get paid monthly to do it. (Some car-wrappers in San Francisco make as much as $400 a month doing this, but of course this varies depending on how big a city you live in and when / how often you make your commute.) You can also get paid to wear a company’s logo t-shirt around (particularly if you wear it someplace conspicuous, like at your school; see ShirtsInSchools.com as one example).