Some are easier than others, but nearly all require very little to no capital. They are meant to get you through the difficult times.
Some of these strategies will require you to be in certain locales, while others are location-independent, but it all boils down to being resourceful. We’ve all found ourselves in a tight spot at one point in our lives or another, but to the person who’s committed, anything is possible.
Much of this has to do with mindset. When you lack money, scarcity thinking sets in. The scarcity mindset is negative and thinks that there’s never enough of whatever it is to go around. When you find yourself thinking like that, do everything in your power to move into an abundant mindset.
1. Become a market research participant.
In college I participated in loads of market research. It’s fairly quick money for not a lot of work. Companies looking for consumers’ opinions on a variety of products and services put you in a room to garner your opinion. That’s it.
This often involves writing or stating your opinion, answering polls or surveys, or breaking off in a discussion group. The mechanics don’t matter much. The point is that you can rely on it from time to time.
2. Do tasks with Paid Surveys.
Paid SURVEYS lets you tap into an existing marketplace of people looking for help locally with chores. The tasks aren’t always small. This platform (along with others) offers bigger tasks, such as home renovations, as well.
Amazon is getting into the task business with Amazon Home Services. The services listed there range from very small repairs to larger and more involved tasks that would take considerably more effort.
3. Flip real estate contracts.
Ir you’re thinking this is cost prohibitive, it’s not. You can flip real estate contracts without ever taking possession of the property. This isn’t a fixer-upper endeavor, just securing a contract and selling it to an interested party. That’s it.
You can do this with just a few hundred dollars in most cases to open up escrow. There are companies dedicated to teaching how to do this like REWW. It’s good for making a little bit of money, but is also potentially something more long term as well.
4. Deliver for PostMates.
You can earn some cash when you’re in dire straits by using PostMates, and you don’t even need a car, just a bike for deliveries in busier cities and downtown centers. I’ve used it often to get food from specialty places that don’t deliver themselves, but it can be used for many things.
PostMates states on their website that you could earn up to $25/hour doing deliveries. You could also earn some tips in the process so it’s a great option for people that are looking to do something in their spare time, similar to the big ride-sharing apps that are hogging up app stores everywhere.
5. Drive for Uber or Lyft.
Companies like Uber and Lyft offer a great opportunity to make some quick cash. You’ll need a clean driving record, a fairly new car and the authorization to work wherever it is that you live. If you have all of those things, you can work when it’s feasible for you, whether that’s in the middle of the day during rush hour, or in the wee hours of the night on a weekend. The choice is yours.
6. Lead walking tours on Viator
If you live in a tourist locale, consider doing walking tours on Viator, which is one of the largest platforms for tour operators in the world. You’ll really need to work hard to get a good reputation. To find clients quickly offer free tours and ask for tips at the end.
This is leveraging the principle of reciprocity with the power of free. People love to get things for free, but they feel obligated at the end to give something in return. That’s why supermarkets are always giving away food. They know if you like it, you’ll buy it.
7. Wash or detail cars.
People are always looking to have their cars washed and detailed. You could be a mobile car washer and detailer with a permanent location. Reach out to people you know or make some flyers and put it in your neighbors’ mailboxes. If you want to get serious about it, prop up a one-page website or give out business cards. You can make money quickly doing this.
8. Get a small micro-loan on Fundera.
You can get a small business loan (very small) on Fundera, or Prosper if you’re looking for a very small personal loan. Depending on your credit and your financial and employment situations, you can secure up to a few thousand dollars like this.
There are loads of platforms that offer these small micro loans. You have to pay them back but it can help if you’re in a bind.
9. Do micro gigs on Mechanical Turk.
Mechanical Turk is a platform by Amazon that allows you to do small jobs and get paid for it. But don’t expect too much money out of this. These gigs truly are “micro” and range from a few cents to a few dollars at the most. But if you string several of these together, it might be in your benefit.
You don’t need any serious qualification to do this. Usually this involves clicking on links, taking surveys, giving an opinion, doing some light categorizing or other human-intelligence tasks (HITs as they like to call it).
10. Medical studies participant.
If you don’t mind throwing caution to the wind, consider becoming a participant in medical studies or drug trials. Companies pay a significant amount of money to participants.
You’ll need to find the companies conducting medial studies and expect side effects. If you can live with that, then you can definitely make some money fast without too much effort.
11. Decorate homes for the holidays.
Whether it’s New Year’s, Christmas lighting, Easter, Fourth of July or any other holiday, you can get paid to help decorate homes. This might involve putting up lights inside or outside, decorating trees, setting up games and other decor.
Use the internet and social media to find clients, or simply advertise to your local network. There are loads of options when it comes to doing specialty jobs like this.
There’s a variety of platforms online that you could tap into for doing this, or you could simply scour your neighborhood or post on social media. You could use Amazon’s Home Services for this as well, or you could create your own simple, one-page website to advertise.
Either way, this is a terrific way to make upwards of $20 per hour or more doing a job that’s often in high demand. You could easily make this a long-term gig if you perform well and don’t cut corners.
Have an eye for photography? Of course, you need to be good at this to earn any money but it you are, you can sell photos on ShutterStock or iStockPhoto (along with many others) to generate a passive income from something you might be very passionate about.
For a quicker way to earn by taking photos, solicit people looking for photographers to cover their wedding, engagement, child’s birthday or any other life event. You’ll need a good camera and some experience, but you can definitely earn some must-needed income this way no matter where you live.
14. Walk dogs.
There are networks devoted connecting dog owners with dog walkers. Rover is one of the largest networks of dog walkers out there. Of course, you could also use social media or just knock on neighbors doors to advertise your services, but you can easily use one of these services.
Do a great job if you’re serious about building a track record of solid reviews. That will help you make money in the future when you’re in desperate need of it.
15. Answer questions on JustAnswer.
People looking for expertise online. JustAnswer (and several sites like it) allow doctors, lawyers, engineers and others with enhanced knowledge to earn a small income merely answering questions from people who would otherwise have to pay a hefty sum for those answers.
This platform is a great resource for people. It’s also lucrative (for the time spent) if you’re looking to earn a bit of cash in a hurry. Don’t expect to get rich answering questions, but you can generate a few bucks here or there if you’re in a bind.