As of writing this, I am living in Barcelona, Spain. Spain is known, among other things, for its sunny beaches and good food. But it is also known for having one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe. There’s a certain belief that Spaniards are somewhat lazy, and prefer to spend their time eating and having a “siesta”(nap) rather than working hard.
While I can confirm that this stereotype is not completely unfounded, the fact that unemployment is so high here is not a matter of choice or something that people are happy about.
The problem of unemployment is not limited to Spain either. Most developed countries suffer from this at varying levels.
It’s somewhat baffling to me. This idea that people are eager to work, but they just can’t. It’s unfortunate, for sure.
So today, I’d like to explore some easy ways any proactive person with some time on their hands can have a go at to try to make some extra money.
I’m not necessarily saying these are alternatives to a regular job. More than anything, I’m suggesting ways people can use to make some extra cash to increase their savings, start investing and getting a step closer to their objective of financial independence,
However, it is possible to turn these activities into full-time jobs.
Start your own Business
Before you start rolling your eyes, hear me out.
When I say start a business, I am not talking about getting a huge loan from a bank, getting an office and hiring employees. This is the 21st century people. You can run a business from the comfort of your home with the help of a laptop and some powerful software.
Think of yourself as a micro-entrepreneur, putting some time aside each day to work on his own thing. There are literally thousands of things you can do to make money online and in real life.
One of the easiest and most fun ways is to start your own blog. It doesn’t take a lot of technical know-how. All you need is an interest, better yet, a passion, that you can write about. You have that right?
You may think the market is already saturated, that there are already tons of blogs and websites out there, which is true. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for you.
I’m not going to go into the exact details of how to run and monetize your own blog, all I’ll say is that you have to try and pick as specific a topic as possible. You have to find a niche market. The more specific your audience, the easier it’ll be for them to find and connect with you.
If you are not a writer, there are even easier ways to make money online. Just start an Instagram account. There are tons of people now making money through Instagram and not just Instamodels.
Accounts that post funny memes or news are also highly followed. Instagram has tonnes of users and it’s relatively easy to build an audience.
E-commerce is the future. The number of people buying online is going to grow significantly in the next few years and this is a great opportunity for anyone with something to sell. Setting up an online shop is incredibly easy thanks to advanced software like Shopify.
In just a few hours, you can have your store set-up and ready to deliver around the world.
The truth is, you don’t even need to sell something that you make. You can simply sell other people’s products through your store and take a cut.
Think of yourself as a marketer of sorts. You could, for example, have a clothing store in which you feature various designs from local merchants. You sell through your shop, place the order with them and they deliver the goods to the consumer.
This kind of activity is known as dropshipping and can also be very lucrative.
Create an App
Apps are taking over our lives. We use them to move around, we use them to keep track of our finances, we use them to meet people we use them to entertain us…
If you have a good idea for an App why not go ahead and do it?
Again, you don’t need to be an experienced programmer to design an app. There’s plenty of software out there available to help you build a simple app. For more complex projects, you could work with a professional.
The beauty of Apps, like blogs and online stores, is that, once they are set up, they don’t actually require much maintenance. Once your website is getting a healthy number of visitors, or your app is being downloaded, it’s like making money without work.
This is what I call 21st-century capital because it is effectively that.
All of these ideas have the potential to make you money forever without you having to even be there, and that, like investing, is one of the best tools in your arsenal to reaching wealth and financial independence.
Read: Revolut App Review
I have heard so many stories of highly skilled individuals who are struggling because they can’t get work. It’s painful to watch.
The best advice I can give these people is to get out of that head-space of working for a big company. The world around us is changing rapidly, and the 9 to 5 will be no more.
Now comes the age of the gig economy.
Gig economy can be defined as “a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.”
Now some people may be reticent to this change. It involves less stability, for sure, but I like to look at the other side of the coin.
Being a freelancer and taking jobs basically means more freedom. It means being your own boss and isn’t that something we all strive for?
Once again, thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to market your skills and get people to pay you for your services.
Websites like Upwork or Freelancer are great places to start. All you need have to do is create a profile, list your skills and you will soon have access to an avalanche of potential jobs you are suited for.
Take Online Surveys
Survey Junkie is the most well-known platform which will pay you for taking surveys. They have been around for over 14 years and are the leader in this area. You can take surveys and complete other assignments to earn points which can then be redeemed for real money via PayPal.
Sell the Things you Don’t Need
Not only will you be making some extra cash, but you’ll be de-cluttering your life. There are too many people, and I include myself here, holding on to useless possessions.
All of those things you don’t need can be put to good use. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and it’s never been easier to turn your trash into treasure.
Thanks to the internet, we can easily connect with people who are looking for what you are selling. This is a lot more profitable than going to standard pawn shops where you will get ripped off.
I even know people who make a profit out of simply trading in these goods. They either just resell at a higher price or put some time into increasing the value of what they are selling. Like maybe refurbishing an old piece of furniture.
Rent out a Room or Space
If you are serious about saving and investing, you have to put every single thing you own to work.
An empty room in your house is an absolute waste, even an empty sofa.
I understand this isn’t for everyone, maybe you have a family and you just can’t have strangers coming in and out of your house. But even in that case, you could rent out your house/apartment when you go on holiday, or simply do a house swap.
Even an empty room that isn’t livable can be put to use. Maybe you know someone who wants a place to use as an office, or maybe your neighbor’s kid needs a place for his band to practice.
Every bit helps.
I know people who make over 1000 pounds a month by renting out their rooms.
Renting has never been easier and safer.
Exploit/Learn new Skills
Maybe you have some skills that you can put to work and you hadn’t even realized. Skills that may not suffice to give you a steady income, but can help you add an extra source of it.
Something as simple as playing music.
There are tons of amateur bands out there. Most of them won’t make it big, that’s for sure, but they are doing something they enjoy and, a lot of them, are at least getting something in return, even if its just free drinks at the venue.
Maybe you love cooking. Why not start cooking for other people? There’s a certain fashion now in Barcelona of people setting up mini restaurants in their home. They advertise somewhere like meetup.com and cook a meal for small groups, normally tourists.
Do you love going to the gym? Why not market yourself as a fitness coach?
All the information is out there to be an expert on fitness. As long as you are honest with people there’s nothing wrong with doing what you love and are good at.
I think that people’s preconceptions of what a job is, severely limits their capacity of attaining one.
We have to break down these ideas that a “job” is working for a big company. Or that you can only do such and such if you have a college degree or certification.
Don’t limit yourself. I am a big believer in being self-taught. All the information you need is out there and free. All you need is the dedication, to perfect or learn a new skill, and the willingness to put yourself out there and do it.
Embrace the new world and believe in yourself.