It's tough to find work in this recession. In my area the unemployment rate is still in double digits. The average person has been looking for work for over 8 months, this being an average means many people, including me, have been looking for much longer. So what can you do? There is a phrase called "the reluctant entrepreneur" coined for just such times. It means you go into business for yourself for lack of other options. One could say I have a couple of side business, none of them separately replaces my last remaining part time job, yet altogether they help keep me afloat.
Let's start with the ones you can do with absolutely nothing but yourself:
1) Pet sitting. Offer to watch people's dog's or cats or turtles or lizards while they are out of town. Don't worry about how exotic the animal is, just agree to do it and take notes when you come by for the interview. The person will be impressed by your taking notes, even if, like most pet owners, they plan on leaving written instructions for you. Taking notes is a good idea in any event because what seems obvious to them, may not be obvious to you. If you have a question, ASK IT to ensure you do a good job. Don't worry about seeming uninformed. No one who keeps a cobra for a pet will be put off by you asking questions. Generally the more exotic the pet the more they like to chat about it.
2) A subset of this kind of job is dog walking. Here you don't have to stay at their house or anything. If you like to jog or walk away it's a nice way to get some side money without changing your routine. If you become expert you can make good bucks walking a bunch of dogs all at once.
3) House sitting. Some people even without pets prefer their house not appear vacant while they are on extended vacations. You can stay in some really swank neighborhoods in houses you may not be able to afford on your own with this gig. If you are trustworthy, word of mouth will give you all the advertising you need. To ensure you get call backs, spend the last day giving the house a thorough cleaning. They will be impressed.
4) Baby sitting. An ongoing gig or an occasional one. If you get the chance take a Red Cross Certified emergency class which will impress the parents. It's a good idea for anyone to know CPR. In Honolulu there was an organization called PATCH, which stood for People Attentive to Children. They offered nominal training and afterwards listed you out as a sitter for up to five children in your home. You often get paid under the table for this kind of work.
Now some ideas that you need a few things for:
5) Housecleaning. You may need some supplies, or you may start out by telling people you want to use theirs. Truthfully, until you are expert in knowing which products work best â€“ you probably should use the products already in the home. After a while though, you can invest in a really good vacuum cleaner or a steam cleaner and do your business more effectively. It's probably up to you to buy your own gloves. I didn't like to wear them when I cleaned houses because they made my hands sweaty and I was sorry later. My hands got pretty roughed up by some of the abrasive cleaning chemicals I used. The best thing to clean a ring around the toilet or bathtub is a three or four dollar tool called a pumice stone. Bring that with you to impress them with your abilities! The best thing to get a spot off the carpet is "Spot Shot."
6) Ebay, or internet selling. You can list on Craigslist for free, but it requires (usually) having something to sell. Look around your house for old junk and go to town. All of the sites have their own instructions on how to list. None of them are complicated. On Amazon and Half.com you get to the top of the list by being the cheapest, so pay attention to what other people are listing at. On Ebay it's a little more tricky. Investigate "closed" auctions to get a bead on what sold and for how much. Anyone can list anything on Ebay, that doesn't mean someone else bought it. The successful auctions are green and the ones which closed without buyers are red. An hour of research is worth a pound of grief. I had a friend who wanted to sell her kids homemade Christmas ornaments on Ebay. Can you imagine? I mean they were worth something to HER because they were a fun family memory, but don't be so narcissistic that you think anyone else is going to buy a three year old's macaroni noodle picture!
7) Writing on the Internet. There are sites on the internet, Infobarrel included that allow you to collect money. They are structured in different ways. This requires a certain talent for writing, a computer and internet connection. I suppose you could do it at the library, writing the stuff first, saving it to a disc and uploading it publically, but it would be a real hassle. IF you are serious about writing it's much easier to do it with your own stuff.
So there are my first seven ideas of how you can make money by yourself. I have done all of them myself. The most labor intensive is house keeping, and yet in some ways it's the easiest. You get to set your own hours. You can take as many or few jobs as you would like. Often you have the house to yourself and you can crank the tunes (try doing that at any office job.) And there is the personal satisfaction of knowing when the job is done. You look back and see a sparkling clean house!