How to Make an Extra $1K/Month

  • Become a money machine

    Sure, you already work a grueling 60-hour week, but you want to earn more. You have a Daniel Plainview level of interest in building wealth, and that’s OK, which is why MainStreet has put together these tips for generating income on the side. We reached out to readers and asked how they make dough on the side. Some may demand more time and effort than others, but be warned: once you start down this road, the likelihood is that you won’t be able to stop. You’ll really start to rely on that cash. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    The guru speaks
  • The guru speaks

    Personal finance guru Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich is the one who got us thinking about this, initially. “It's funny — so many ‘experts’ try to convince us to stop spending on the things we love (lattés, clothes, shoes) instead of turning our existing skills into side income! Instead of worrying about taxes and the economy, 90% of Americans could easily earn $500/month more using what they already know, whether it's project management, graphic design, or even dog walking,” he told us. Sethi believes the most motivated among you could make $1,000 per month — or more — from such a side gig. Let’s see what the best options are. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Promotional model
  • Promotional model

    Fun and lucrative, if you’ve got the look. Eileen told us: “My side job is working as a promotional model at various nightclubs and restaurants to help promote various alcohol brands. I talk about the brand with various customers and hand out free samples of product, give away branded promo items, etc. It's a great way to earn extra money in my free time. I am an independent contractor so I choose my own schedule.” She considers it a great way to network as well. By day, she markets documentary films for an independent film company in Los Angeles. Promotional models can make up to $40 per hour or more. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Writer

    There are so many perks of being a writer. When you offer to buy a girl’s drink, she says, “Are you sure? I can buy this round if you’d prefer. Really.” When you tell former classmates what you do, they ask, “Have you written anything I might have read?” (Never ask a writer this. If they’re not famous, they will be offended. If they are famous, they will be offended. You can't win.) Anyway. It does work out as a great side job for some people, such as Todd: “I work for an investment management company, but also love to write in my spare time.  So, I became a freelance writer commenting on current events — both political and investment related — for a publisher located in Baltimore. They took me on as a contributor and it's a nice side job with decent side pay.” Having worked as a freelance writer myself, I can tell you that it’s absolutely possible to make an extra $1,000 per month on this. The trick is finding the right recurring gigs. Sites like MainStreet, for example, pay freelancers every month to write stories. Rates will vary and are often commensurate with experience. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    New Age guru
  • New Age guru

    By day, Linda is a visual merchandising consultant, with nearly 40 years of experience. By night, she is a “psychic counselor” and a “Feng Shui practitioner.” Hey, if it pays the bills, I’ll Feng Shui your living room or office. I’ll Feng Shui the hell out of it. Consultants will either bill out hourly or per project. They can bill as much as $1,000 for one home. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Jewelry designer
  • Jewelry designer

    An attorney by day, Denise owns a jewelry design firm and runs it in her spare time. “It is very rewarding to be involved in two endeavors that are both rewarding and important in their unique way,” she told MainStreet. Unlike being a lawyer, jewelry design doesn’t require any special certification or exams. If you have an artist’s eye, go for it. Depending on the type of jewelry you are creating, it may be more difficult to make it to $1,000 per month, though it is certainly possible. Many designers are commissioned by individuals to create specific types of pieces. Others simply create pieces and sell them online calculating prices based on their time. $20 per hour plus materials isn’t an uncommon rate. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Photographer

    Mark has a good one: “I am an ophthalmic photographer (photography of the eye) for a large Cleveland, Ohio hospital by day and photograph high school seniors and families on-location in the evenings and weekends.” I like this one because he is using the same skill set, photography, in a totally different way to maximize his income. Many event photographers charge as much as $600 per event, and more if they are supplying photo prints. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Launch a major cultural festival
  • Launch a major cultural festival

    OK, we admit this one requires a bit more work — and good contacts — for it to succeed. Hilary Reiter is PR director at an ad agency. In her spare time? “I have a great side job doing public relations for a new independent music festival which will be an annual event in Park City, UT (home to the Sundance Film Festival). The festival kicked off yesterday and features 50 independent music acts from five countries performing in live music venues in Park City, Salt Lake, and Ogden during the week leading up to Sundance. The goal is to provide them music industry as well as audience exposure.” Both of those jobs sound pretty impressive, actually, but it’s another good example of using your existing skill set in a brand new way. Rates for these kinds of PR consulting gigs can vary (big companies pay more than smaller ones), but it’s not uncommon for a two-month project to yield $10,000 or more. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Work for an Internet company
  • Work for an Internet company

    Andrea has a good side job: “I have a side job writing for The side gig not only has enabled me to earn extra income, it has transformed my entire career. Because of the website I’ve created for (which is owned by The New York Times Co. (Stock Quote: NYT)), I’m now in an entirely different role at the physician recruiting firm, and I love it!” By day, she is a health industry recruiter. The side gig makes her about $1,000 per month. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Deal cards
  • Deal cards

    Nicole has a fun — and profitable — side gig: “I card deal on the side for company parties, fundraisers, etc. I do blackjack mostly and people earn raffle tickets. I make between $50 and $70 for 3 to 4 hours.” Hey, I normally lose money when I play Blackjack, so it sounds like Nicole has a pretty good thing going on. Michelle might not hit $1,000 a month, unless of course she’s running a nightly card game at her place. Which, naturally, we don't exactly recommend you do. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Shine shoes
  • Shine shoes

    Vee has an interesting side gig in Las Vegas: She is a “freelance publicist during the day and a shoe shine girl in between gigs.” Her Web site has more information and booking instructions. Considering all of the events and conventions she and her group of shoe shine attendants could attend in Vegas, $1,000 per month or more definitely sounds possible. Photo Credit: skinnydiver
    Become a hotelier
  • Become a hotelier

    According to Sherpa Travel Exchange, “with respect to side jobs, there are at least 3 million people who are monetizing their unused living space by competing with hotels for paying short-term guests. There is a grassroots B&B movement throughout the country where people are earning a supplemental income by entering the hospitality industry, on a part-time basis.” Everyone seems to be jumping on the bed & breakfast bandwagon — even Jim Cramer, Mad Money host and founder of our parent company,, Inc., has set one up. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Dog walker
  • Dog walker

    Dog walking can be a hassle — all that dog poop — but if you can batch together five or more dogs (make sure they are all small and manageable), that can be some serious side income. Lots of people do this one. Dog walkers make upwards of $10 per walk. If you’ve got five dogs, and take them for just one walk per weekday, then you’ve hit $1,000 per month. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Yoga instructor
  • Yoga instructor

    You need to be certified, or else you’re not really an instructor, are you? But once you get the proper certifications from a master, you can launch your own yoga business — if you give lessons in clients' homes, apartments or offices there is virtually no overhead for you. You can also hold classes at your place. If you charge each student $50 per class, then just one class a week, with five students, gets you an extra grand a month. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    House sitter
  • House sitter

    My personal favorite. You get paid to sit on someone else’s couch, “look after” their 52-inch HDTV with 400 channels, and write freelance articles — your other side gig. Just make sure they don’t have any bizarre animals that require regular attention (vicious parrots, feisty Chihuahuas and the like). You’re a house sitter, not a zookeeper. House sitters can make up to $50 per day if they are staying overnight. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Flyer person
  • Flyer person

    New restaurant in your area? Or hair salon? Chances are, they plan to flyer the whole area with over-the-top brochures announcing their “premiere weekend” discounts. Be the person who makes the magic happen. Offer to flyer everyone in your building or development... for the right price. Some companies pay as much as $10 per hour for this service. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Fake bouncer
  • Fake bouncer

    Bouncers, albeit the more informal ones, charge $25 to $50 per hour to stand guard at parties and events. And remember to look the part: aviator sunglasses, no smile, a dark suit.  Professional bouncers at serious clubs, on the other hand, can make many hundreds, even more than $1,000 a night. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Maybe even more than side income
  • Maybe even more than side income

    If your side business eventually takes off, it could become your primary source of income — and might even generate far more than $1,000 per month. As Keith, who used to be in farming, told us, “I have a home business today that does about one million dollars per month.” A million a month — is that something you might be interested in? Anyway, we asked Keith for details and he explained it is a “Web business.” That crazy Internet! Photo Credit: Getty Images
    What’s your unusual side job?
  • What’s your unusual side job?

    Have side income trickling in from somewhere? Tell us about it here in the comments, or on our enterprising Facebook page. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Tweet alongside us
  • Tweet alongside us

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