Thursday Cash Grab: Odd-Jobbing


Odd jobs. Perhaps the oldest trick in the book when it comes to grabbing some extra cash on the side. What is an odd job? It’s anything you want it to be, from mowing your neighbor’s lawn to helping a high school junior with his college applications. The possibilities are endless, but it important to find the right jobs for you and play into your strengths.

Here a few potential odd job ideas depending on the type of person you are:

The Handy Man – Those summer weekends helping your Dad build and paint the back deck have paid off and you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty. You could be the right person for:

  • Minor Renovations/Fixes – Door hinges, window panes, tables, chairs
  • Painting – bedrooms, decks, garages
  • Moving – huge $$$

The Personality - You’re a talker and you have a big smile.

  • Driving – doctor’s appointments, airport rides
  • Babysitting
  • Bartending – grad parties, family reunions, trust me people need them

The Creative Type - When the blog streets are quiet you need something to do.

  • Writing tutor – college essays, resume and cover letter critique, essay revisions
  • Powerpoint lessons – some people just don’t have a clue
  • Cameraman – family functions, little league games, photo shoots

Understand that these are simply a few suggestions, and a true odd-jobber will be up for anything, within the confines of the law of course. Remember to keep an open mind and welcome any new experience.

And regardless of what type of odd-jobber you want to be, a successful one has advertised well. Facebook should be your first thought. If you can’t do it, have someone design a flyer for print and digital formats. Give copies of that bad boy to friends, family, the barber, your neighbors, anyone! Eventually the word of mouth will spread and you’ll be good to go.




Five Minute Money Mondays: Lyft

Welcome to Five Minute Money Monday. We’ll examine a money-making venture and put it into simple terms.

What is it? Lyft is a service that connects passengers and drivers via smartphone. Anybody can sign up to be a driver.

Lyft sets itself apart by trying to turn ride sharing into a community thing. Drivers fist-bump passengers when they pick them up up, there are pink mustaches on the front grill, and they emphasize things like sharing gum or changing music.

One difference is that Lyft drivers also set their schedule in advance, instead of just doing it whenever they want.

What are the requirements to be a Lyft driver?

From the Lyft website:

 You must be at least 23 years old, and have your own car in good working condition. Our driver requirements are a 2000 or newer vehicle, 4-door, in-state insurance and in-state license, and a relatively clean driving record.

It also depends on where you live. Lyft currently operates in the following cities: San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, San Diego, Washington DC, St. Paul, Indy, Atlanta, Phoenix and Charlotte. (Drivers only operate in certain sections of each city.)

How much money can I expect to make?

Lyft’s website says that drivers can make $35 an hour. An article on Venturebeat said that Lyft drivers can make $750 a month, which would equal working about 21 hours a month at that rate.

What are the alternatives?

There is a growing market for these ride-share services. Uber and Sidecar are the biggest competitors. The major difference in them is culture. Uber’s focus is on professionalism and might be a better choice for those people who are professional drivers. Sidecar is smaller and operates in smaller markets.

Is there anything I should be worried about?

There have been a few regulatory problems in places like Dallas and California (which is now cleared up). Expect these to continue as the sharing economy continues to expand.

There have been reports of push back from traditional taxi drivers. And here is a creepy story of a Lyft driver turned stalker.

Also, the pink mustaches on your grill.

What are some side benefits?

Lyft really pushes the community aspect of their services with driver hangouts and support. (Of course you might think of that as a negative.)

Anything else?

Here is a Reddit AMA with the founder of Lyft,  John Zimmer.

How Much Money Can You Really Make Walking Dogs?

If you’re a part-time blogger like me, there is a good chance you have some extra time on your hands. If you want to occasionally see the sun or spend time with other living creatures, dog-walking could be a fun and lucrative venture.

The great thing about dog walking is that you don’t need much to start your own dog-walking services. Just throw an ad up on Craig’s List or make some flyers. You might need some treats and plastic baggies.

However, if you want to join an established dog walking company, you might need a little bit more. I searched dog walking on Boston Craig’s List and found 78 positions. Some of them required past experience with dogs, access to cars, and a general flexibility in your schedule. Many of them required at least a six month commitment.

Here is the good part. The pay is really good for something you can do in your spare time. Most of the listings on said they would pay between $10-$20 per hour. A few even had $25 per hour.

Negatives? Well, if you’re not an outdoors person or a dog person, you probably shouldn’t be doing this. It helps to have Pet First Aid. And if you’re in a less-densely populated area, it might not work.

This profession has been around a while though. Check out the New York Times obituary of Jim Buck, who is credited with creating the first professional dog walking service.


Business Books for Non-Business People: Rework

I hate business books. I don’t understand them. They never seem relevant to me. Talking about Sigma 6 training and total customer synchronicity make my eyes glaze over.

However, my head editor recommended the book Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson. It’s striking how different it is than most business books. It doesn’t have the picture of a smiling CEO in a suit and it doesn’t promise to help you learn everything. The back cover says: “ASAP IS POISON – UNDERDO THE COMPETITION – MEETINGS ARE TOXIC.”

Why this book is relevant to non-business people:
-It provides good advice to help accomplish things more efficiently. (Workaholics are overrated.)
-It’s a good motivational tool to get your ideas flowing.
-It’s a super easy read.

The books chapters are short and easy to digest.

You can check out a free excerpt of the book here.

Shapeways: The Amazon of 3D Printing

Ever thought you could build a better mousetrap, but never had the materials to do so? Shapeways can help you out with that. Shapeways is a marketplace for designers and small businesses to create and sell objects made via 3D printer.

Their online store is pretty cool to browse as well. There is everything from upcycled water spouts to iPhone cases.

It’s pretty easy to get started selling products online.  Of course, it helps if you have a background in design or you know a thing about computer modeling. However, the site has plenty of tutorials, simple apps to help you create, and even designers for hire.

This business model is a big upgrade over conventional 3D printing. Even though Staples has started selling 3D Printers they are still relatively expensive at over $1200 a pop.


Five Minute Money Monday: AdSense

Welcome to Five Minute Money Monday. We’ll examine a money-making venture and put it into simple terms.

What is it? Google AdSense is a program that allows you to put advertising on your blog or website. Advertisers bid on the space Google then pays you per click the ads get. It’s pretty simple. Check out Google’s intro video.

What does it cost me? (time and money) In terms of time, there is not much for the program itself. Google gives you the code to put on your website. (However, if you want to make money and get a quality blog, that is another story.) It’s completely free to use.

How much effort do I have to put into it? Not a whole lot, but Google offers a ten week master class for free where you can learn how optimize the revenue you can get from your blog.

How much money can I expect to earn? Well, it depends. According to the Next Impulse Media head honcho, our NIM sites earn anywhere between .o5 to .75 cpc (cost per click). So, not much and that is for websites that get between five hundred thousand and two million page views per month. Unless you want to add some of these keywords to your blog, don’t plan on quitting your day job. (Those checks you see people holding up aren’t the norm.)

What all the alternatives? Lots. (Just google ‘AdSense alternatives’, you know how this works.) I’m not sure if any of them will earn you a lot more money with less effort.

How can I get help with this? Like I mentioned before, the Google master class might be worthwhile if you have extra time on your hands. (It might look good on a resume as well.)

Anything else? Here is an interesting story on how Google did not allow AdSense on a site that they thought was porn, when it was actually a humorous essay.

Is it worth it?
Well, it doesn’t take much effort on the front end. It’s just putting some code in your boxes. Low risk, low reward (unless you have a fantastic blog dedicated to mesothelioma payouts.)

Twitter has Filed for an IPO

Twitter announced on Twitter today that it has confidentially filed an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO.

In 2010 Twitter began building business and making money through promoted tweets.  One of its investors,
GSV Capital Corp. owns 1.9 million shares of Twitter valued at $35.2 million, and they value Twitter at $10 billion.

Twitter recently bought the mobile advertising startup MoPub and also hired a new CFO. Both thought to be big moves towards this IPO.

Bloomberg News reported that Goldman Sachs is “said to be” Twitter’s IPO lead underwriter.


So: What IS Reddit?

I once tried to explain hashtags to my older sister, who has 2 kids and doesn’t spend much time on the internet…the challenge was steep. We ended the conversation with her asking about pound signs. The thought of describing the importance of Reddit to my sister pains my brain.


It’s everything….but it’s also a lot of nothing. But really, it’s super helpful…but be careful, it can be weird and super gross. Oh, and there’s a ton of stuff that is NSFW.

Welp, turns out I’m not the only one. The folks at CGPGrey describe what Reddit is, perfectly