Have you been wanting to get your business off the ground, but don’t quite have the cash to advance your idea?
Or maybe you’ve started a business and want some extra income to take the pressure off or invest in faster growth.
Don’t fret! With a bit of bootstrapping and creativity, you can get the funds you need to get started — even if it means starting small.
Here are three ways to earn extra income for your business:
- Sell stuff you don’t need
- Complete quick jobs (online and offline) in your spare time
- Rent out your home, car, or parking spot
Below, you’ll find a list of resources to help you quickly employ the above tactics. And once you start earning, we’ve provided a few ideas of how you can put your newfound cash to work.
Tactic #1: Sell stuff you don’t need
Unless you’re an ultra-minimalist, you probably have stuff you aren’t using — clothes you no longer wear, equipment from an abandoned hobby, or technology you haven’t bothered to get rid of.
Combing your home for possible things to sell is a great way to both declutter and make extra cash. Here are a few places to sell your stuff:
Bonanza is an online marketplace that lets you sell clothes, books, DVDs, and much more without paying a monthly store or listing fee.
BookScouter is a great place to sell used textbooks through 30+ vendors (including Amazon and BookByte) to get the best price.
Facebook Marketplace connects you to people in your area looking to buy anything from old wedding supplies to concert tickets and furniture. (You can also find yard sale groups.)
Gazelle buys and sells pre-owned consumer electronics — phones, tablets, iPods, and Apple laptops — to help you cash in on your old equipment.
Mercari is an online marketplace that lets you sell just about anything, from clothing to tech to sports equipment.
NextWorth is another website where you can sell used phones and tablets, as well as wearable devices.
Reverb is a place to sell musical equipment and instruments for a low fee (plus it has an easy-to-publish listing page).
Tradesy is a destination for used women’s clothing — sell bags, shoes, clothes, and wedding dresses.
VarageSale is a virtual garage sale website that lets you sell new and used items locally.
Worthy is a place to sell used (mostly diamond) jewelry, including rings, watches, necklaces, earrings, and more.
Tactic #2: Complete quick jobs in your spare time
Taking on quick jobs (either online or offline) that won’t eat into your business-building time can be a great way to create some breathing room in your finances.
Find jobs you actually like doing — walking dogs, for example — so you don’t have to dread the added time commitment. Here are a few places to find work:
EasyShift is an app where you can find quick jobs at local stores and shops — for example, completing surveys or price checks, or taking pictures of product displays.
Fancy Hands is a place to find work as an assistant and complete tasks like making phone calls, scheduling appointments, finding hotels, entering data, and more.
Fiverr – You’ve likely heard of this online marketplace for freelance services starting at $5 — you can do anything from writing and web development to voice-over work or administrative tasks.
FlexJobs lets you find telecommuting, part-time, freelance, and contract work in more than 50 categories, from project management to sales.
Gigwalk is an app that connects you to jobs in your area, from taking photos to handing out flyers, mystery shopping, and running other errands.
Mechanical Turk is another Amazon website where you can find “human intelligence tasks” that can be completed from home.
PeoplePerHour connects freelancers (writers, designers, translators, and more) to businesses, with jobs posted as “hourlies,” design contests, and more.
Swagbucks lets you earn gift cards by shopping online, watching videos, and taking surveys.
TaskRabbit connects people who need home-related jobs done to “Taskers” in the area: moving and packing, furniture assembly, yard work, and more.
Testbirds lets you earn money in your spare time by testing and trying out new software and giving your honest opinion.
Trusted Housesitters lets you find house-sitting and pet-sitting jobs in cities around the world.
User Testing lets you earn money by testing websites or apps, and completing a list of tasks and giving feedback.
Wag has been called the “Uber of dog-walking” and is a simple way to find jobs in your area (though a heftier time commitment may be needed).
Tactic #3: Rent out your home, car, or parking space
Not everyone has the luxury of a vehicle, an apartment they can vacate, or an extra room in their house.
But if you do — and you’re comfortable with the sharing economy — renting your home, car, or a parking spot can bring in cash to help cover your payments (maybe even a little extra).
Here are a few places to list your space:
Airbnb is now the now-ubiquitous, short-term rental website where you can rent your house, apartment, cottage — even rooms — based on your availability.
AirGarage lets individuals and businesses earn extra income by listing unused parking spots, including driveways, carports, and garages.
Getaround is a peer-to-peer car sharing service that lets you make money off your car when you’re not using it.
HomeAway and VRBO are two alternatives to Airbnb, owned by the same company. You have to pay a $499 annual subscription fee to list on these sites, but they don’t charge a booking fee — depending on how often you’ll be renting out your place, see which option makes more earning sense.
Turo lets you rent out your car, and includes liability insurance. It’s available in 4,700 cities and 300+ airports.
6 ideas of what to do with your newfound cash
- Start (or improve) your website. If you’ve been holding back from buying a website builder or hosting subscription, now’s the time to get started! You may even want to splurge on a couple of plugins that’ll help your business or a premium theme to boost your image.
- Create a logo and business cards. Want to tell more people about your business? Make a logo and get business cards printed! Then think of everyday interactions that could warrant a business card exchange.
- Outsource tasks. To spend your time on the priorities that matter most, consider outsourcing tasks like bookkeeping or product photography on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr — it’ll free you up to deliver your products and services to more people. Or, pay for a service that’ll help you run your business run more smoothly (like accounting or design software).
- Take an online course or buy a book. Learn about a topic area that will help you start or grow your business, like SEO or social media marketing. Browse sites like Udemy, Coursera, and General Assembly for ideas. Or, if it applies, look at getting certified or upgrading your skills in the industry you’re working in!
- Invest in supplies. While it may seem frivolous, the right supplies can help spark a can-do attitude. Need a new day planner? An office chair to keep you from hunching over? A French press to fuel your work sessions? See what makes the most sense to keep you productive and motivated.
- Throw it in your emergency account. Every entrepreneur should have one, whether you’re running a full-time gig or side hustle. Having some don’t-touch-until-absolutely-necessary money is comforting, particularly if you’re planning to leave a job to start or grow a business.
Want more tips on starting a business? Don’t miss our “you can do it” guide!