Who doesn’t want to make a little extra cash? Many of us feel the strain as we try to pay the bills or save up for those big purchases. Tired of struggling? Looking for ways to make ends meet? How great it would be to earn extra money using your existing talents and doing things you love!

There are a lot of ways to turn your talents and abilities into income. The key is determining what your abilities are and how to use them to make a profit. You may even be able to do so from the comfort of your home. It could be something as simple as doing data entry for a few bucks a day, creating a successful website and/or blog, selling items that are lying around the house, or taking up a craft.

Uncovering your hidden talents can be tough. If you have an obvious gift for something such as art or writing you’re very fortunate and hopefully you’re not taking your gifts for granted. For some folks it’s harder to realize of just what they are capable, and then turn that into an opportunity to earn extra money.

Make a list and check it twice

The first step is to make a list. I'm a list-maker. My family has teased me about it, but that's what helps me to sort out things. It's my go-to exercise for when I need to get my thoughts together.

Write down everything you are good at, even mundane things like cooking, cleaning, reading, anything that comes to mind. Take your mind through your daily routine if you're having trouble thinking of something. At this point don't think about ways you could earn extra money with this talent; just write the basics.

Next, think more specifically about each ability you've listed. What is it that you do or make with that ability? Is it something about which people rave? Is it something you love doing? Write it down next to the first list.

Next to this list, come up with ideas on how to use that skill to earn extra money, even in a small way. It may seem small now, but as you work on your ideas, it could evolve into something more. Be creative. Mull over every aspect of what you can do with that ability and write it down.

Here is an example:




Cooking Crowd-pleasing lasagna, have an eye for beautiful place settings Catering, bake sales, food truck
Reading/Writing Always catch grammar/punctuation errors, write poetry or short stories Submit articles online, create a website/blog, proofreading, data entry
Creative Talented at DIY projects Make/upcycle items to sell

Make a plan to earn extra money

Now you can begin to make a plan. Research, research, research:

  • How are you going to market your services?-You can advertise on Craigslist, Facebook, and other social media to let your community know about your new business. Hanging fliers is another way to advertise. There are lots of online articles that will help you figure out your marketing strategy.
  • Do you want to deal with the public in person or would you rather work online? Which website(s) is best for the goods you want to sell or the services you wish to perform? - If you're going to sell online, e-bay and social media are great places to sell your wares. Etsy and Pinterest are great craft sites. If you're going to be doing crafts you can combine online sales with craft shows. Lots of churches and other organizations hold yearly craft shows or you can organize your own.
  • What licenses are required?-That will depend on what type of business you take up, but especially when dealing with food, you’ll need to contact your local government to get information about licenses and inspections.
  • How much is this new venture going to cost and from where will the money come?-Depending on your business, the cost could be quite minimal. See below for an idea for start-up money.

If you’re going to blog, write articles, or create a website you must learn about advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There's a lot to learn but there are tons of websites with helpful information. That's how I'm learning.

There are freelance websites that hire people for all sorts of jobs like proofreading, virtual assistants, data entry and more. I currently work with Mturk, The Smart Crowd, and Swagbucks. I earn extra money with these sites as well as crocheting and selling my wares online and at craft shows.

Declutter + Upcycle = Start-up Money

Another way to earn extra money is by selling items you don’t need anymore. This might be the way you can cover any start-up costs you may have. Who knows, it could even be the beginning of a great vintage store.

Look around your house, yard, and garage. If you find some things you’d like to get rid of, think about what you can do to improve each item to receive the most money. Does the item need to be cleaned up? Does the item work?

Is there something that can be upcycled? You can turn an old broken down item into a lamp, for instance. I've seen a few cool ones. People love quirky! There are also lots of things you can do with wood pallets and other items. Check out Pinterest for some great ideas.

You can then sell these items online, have a yard sale, or set up at flea markets. There are also consignment shops that will sell your stuff for a percentage. Or start a Facebook page for your vintage finds, like a good friend of mine did recently.

We all have special abilities. Make the most of yours and you may find you can be quite successful at something you really enjoy.

Just remember, as you do your research, be careful of get rich quick schemes. These are usually scams. Most endeavors that are worth it take a lot of work and do not happen overnight, so don’t get discouraged. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen.