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There are plenty of reasons you might need an extra $50 or $100 in your pocket immediately.
After all, tires don’t warn you before they go flat and kids have no regard for how much their stunts cost in urgent care bills. You might also need money fast if you’re trying to pay off debt or build an emergency fund quickly.
Luckily, there are plenty of legitimate ways to make money fast; you just have to know what to do. The more you know about the dos and don’ts of making money online, the less time you’ll waste on dud jobs and the faster you’ll reach your financial goals.
How NOT to Make Fast Money Online: The Don’ts
Getting paid fast for online side gigs isn’t a myth. You do have to be aware of some important facts if you want to avoid scams and find jobs that pay.
Don’t Expect It to Be Effortless
Unlike building a large-scale online business, fast money has a low barrier to entry. There are no job interviews, specialized degrees, or big marketing campaigns required before you can start working and cashing your checks. Sounds like it’d be easy, right?
The most successful side hustlers are the ones who treat their side gig as a business. And like a business, you’ll need to spend time upfront finding things to sell, building a customer base, and getting reviews. After that, you’ll work to maintain your reputation and expand.
You can make money fast but don’t expect an immediate return. Your paycheck will be proportionate to the effort you put in.
Don’t Fall for Online Scams
When searching for online jobs, you’ll likely encounter at least one online scam. Here are some of the most common scams you need to know about:
If something doesn’t look right, do an online search for associated names or businesses to find complaints and reviews. And never send money to someone who’s supposed to be paying you.
Don’t Waste Time on Small Potatoes
You’ll need to invest some time into making fast money online, but you shouldn’t have to devote all your days, nights, and weekends to it. These “small potatoes” opportunities aren’t scams but rather hobbies. They generally don’t offer enough earnings for the time you invest in them. The opportunities you’ll see commonly are:
Don’t get distracted by opportunities that seem too good to be true. Focus on the ones that require a little more work and have a consistent history of payments.
Don’t Make Large Upfront Investments
If you need money now, you probably can’t afford to purchase a bunch of products to start a new business or make risky online investments. If you want to make money fast, invest your time.
Don’t buy bulk inventory, rent office space, or have a custom website designed for your side gig. Use the products and interfaces already available to make money. Sign up for sites that you can offer services through like Fiverr, Upwork, and Care.com. You can also dropship and use print-on-demand services for selling products without carrying inventory or buying it all upfront.
Making a large investment in a business isn’t bad, but it’s not necessary to make money fast online.
Don’t Ignore Long-Term Strategies
Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. Driving people around is a great way to make money when you’re in a bind, but you’ll never make six figures doing it. Don’t become committed to any short-term profit strategy.
Think about what you want to be doing in 10, 20, and 30 years. Balance quick-cash side hustles with building lasting wealth through investing for retirement and starting a business that can scale and grow long-term.
Use the fast money you’ll make to break the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle by expanding your expertise in your field, raising your hourly rates, and figuring out what’s holding you back from bigger money-making opportunities.
How to Make Fast Money Online: The Dos
Now that you know what to watch out for, what are the best ways to increase income? Here are the “dos” for making fast money online.
Set a Goal
Know how much you want to make, what you’ll use it for, and when you want to have it by. Having goals will not only help you reach them faster, but you’ll also know when to stop so you can get back to investing in your long-term wealth.
Paying off a credit card, getting current on bills, or saving $1,000 are good examples of goals you can reach quickly. Saving for the kids’ college tuition or paying off your house are goals you should consider using longer-term methods to achieve.
Choose the Right Methods
There are methods for making money that have the capacity for high earnings but typically won’t produce that level of income until months or years in the future. Alternatively, you can find survey sites that’ll pay you within a few days, but the earning potential is low.
When choosing the right methods to make money fast, you’re ideally looking for something in the middle — moderate levels of income that can be achieved within a few weeks. Here are a few examples of fast money opportunities that hit that sweet spot.
Find Something to Sell
You might literally be sitting on the extra cash you need right now. To make money fast, find something, or some things, to sell.
Choose items that will sell for more than just a few dollars such as furniture, electronics, and collectibles. Facebook Marketplace and eBay are great places to list items, but you might need to wait days or even weeks for the right offer and payment.
If you have old phones, CDs, DVDs, games, books, or LEGO® to get rid of, try selling them to Decluttr. You can easily scan or enter the item’s barcode and instantly see what Decluttr will pay you for it. Shipping to them is free and once they receive your items, you’ll get paid the next day.
Offer Your Services
Everyone has something to offer, and chances are you can find a place to offer it online. There are a variety of websites that make finding service-based jobs like babysitting, housesitting, and house or office cleaning jobs much easier than it used to be.
One example for dog walkers is Rover. Rover connects pet owners with dog walkers and pet sitters on its website and app. This is a great way for animal lovers to make money fast. If you’re interested in making money by walking dogs, you can sign up to dog walk for Rover. You’ll start getting paid as soon as two days after your first walk.
Rent Your Space
When my husband and I purchased our home, we had three bedrooms and two bathrooms but only two of us. Since our room was in the back of the house, we decided to supplement our income by renting out the front room on Airbnb.
Airbnb is a convenient side hustle because the main time commitment is cleaning your house. And if you live in a travel destination or near a university, there’s usually a big need for short-term rentals.
If you’re not sure you could handle strangers in and out of your house so frequently, consider renting a room long-term. You’ll have more control over who’s there, how long they stay, and you can skip furnishing the room yourself.
Use Skills You Already Have
What are the skills in your arsenal that make you unique? Take a minute to think about your degrees, past work experience, hobbies, etc. and try to find a job that incorporates them. Here are a few options:
For more ideas on monetizing the skills you already have, search the internet for online jobs. You might find sites already hiring for jobs you didn’t know existed.
Ask Your Boss
Want to know how to make money fast without finding a new side gig? Start with the place you already work. Volunteer or ask your boss if you can work overtime. Federal law regulates that nonexempt employees make time and a half for any hours worked over 40 in a week.
Also, negotiate for a raise. If you’ve exceeded the scope of the job you were hired for or it’s been more than a year since your last raise, start the conversation with your boss. Ask what you need to do to get a raise, and explain why you think you deserve one.
Remember that W-2 employees pay fewer taxes on their earnings than independent contractors, so making more money at your full-time job is always a smart move.
Narrow Your Focus
At first, you’ll probably try a lot of methods to make fast money online. You may be tempted to keep all of your side hustles because they’re all profitable. But once you figure out which gig is best suited for you, drop the ones that aren’t.
If you focus on the one or two most profitable side hustles, or the ones you most enjoy, your potential to make money from those will be higher than if you worked 10 online jobs.
Track Your Time
Still trying to figure out what to stick with? Track your time to see which jobs are making you the most money for the effort you put in.
If side hustle A brings in $100 for 6 hours of work and side hustle B brings in $75 for 2 hours of work, don’t look at the $100 payout and assume you should stick with A. When you track your time, you can see side hustle A brings in $16.67 per hour while B brings in $37.50 per hour.
Since you want to get as much value for your time as possible, this is a good exercise to determine which side hustle to keep. Download a free desktop or mobile app like Clockify to start tracking your time and see which of your side hustles is most profitable.
Treat your side hustle like a business and you have the opportunity for quick cash whenever you need it. That means even in months you don’t necessarily need extra cash, you should still maintain a minimum level of effort to show potential clients you’re still around.
Staying consistent with your side hustle doesn’t mean sacrificing your long-term wealth-building. There are situations where having a quick way to make money online can help your long-term goals like in the event of job loss.
Fast Money Isn’t the Same as Easy Money
There are plenty of real ways to make money fast. Avoid scams and time consuming low-paying gigs. Be willing to put in the work and you won’t need to stress about any unexpected expenses. If you follow this list of dos and don’ts, you should be bringing in extra money in no time.
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