Have you wanted to find a simple way to earn money from home, but just don’t know what to do? You see friends with successful side gigs or full-blown businesses that seem perfect for them, but you just don’t have an idea of what you could do.
The truth is that it’s easier than you think.
I’m going to share with you a couple of golden questions to ask yourself to help you discover a money-making idea that will be perfect for you. I’ll give you examples of how I have asked myself these questions and come up with a great array of side gigs over the past twenty years.
What do you do well that few people do? What special skills do you have?
One of my little-known skills is balloon twisting. I had the unique opportunity to learn from a professional in a four-week course while I was in high school. In an intimate class of just three students, I learned to twist special balloons into all sorts of creatures and creations, from monkeys to motorcycles.
I monetized this entertaining skill in several ways. I’ve thought of several more ways that I could turn this to profit, but just haven’t had the time to implement them!
My first monetization with this rare skill was twisting balloons at local restaurants. As a high school student, I would book gigs at family restaurants on Friday or Saturday nights. I would approach tables as the customers waited for their food and make complementary balloon animals for the children (or adults). I wore a “Tips? You bet!” button and a good portion of the people tipped me. On good nights I made nearly $100 per hour and on slow nights I still made $30 per hour. Not bad for a high school kid who couldn’t even drive yet!
Then I moved into parties and larger events, where the pay was just as good, but I didn’t have to ask for tips.
Even though I’m not earning a regular income from this side gig twenty years later, I’m still approached with opportunities to use and earn from this random talent every now and then (and yes, sometimes I even dress like Mary Poppins).
What do you love doing? What’s something that you really could never get tired of?
I’ve always loved a good challenge. I love problem solving, treasure hunts, and mysteries.
Two years ago, my kids brought head lice home from school. Initially I freaked out! Once I calmed down, I read up on the topic and learned the options for taking care of it. I didn’t want to go the special shampoo route (it’s like spraying Round-up on your head!), so I bought this comb and learned about finding lice in all of their stages.
Oddly enough, I found it a thrilling challenge!
To me, de-lousing is like a treasure hunt! It’s like a game of hide-and-seek on a near microscopic level. Chasing down those little buggers gets my adrenaline going! I quickly developed a system where I could easily check through each child’s entire scalp and catch lice and nits (baby lice) and eggs with accuracy and speed.
There’s a stigma that people with lice are dirty, so lice isn’t a topic that comes up in conversation much. A while back, a friend confided to me that her kids had lice. I could tell she was overwhelmed, so I volunteered to help her. I told her that catching lice was actually pretty fun. I had no intention of charging her, I just wanted to help her out, but she insisted that I take the money she offered me.
That’s when I realized that I could make money both helping people out and doing something I really enjoyed. I’m not a full-time nitpicker, but because the school now refers families to me when kids at school are found with lice, I have a great opportunity to earn some money on the side!
What are people always asking for your help with? What do people ask your advice on?
If someone needs X done, they always call you.
For me this was potty training. All of my four kids were potty trained (day and night) by age two, one as early as 19 months. Other moms are always asking me how I do it. They would joke about me teaching their child to toilet train.
After years of praise, awe, and jealousy of my potty training success, I finally decided that toilet training might be my calling. The entrepreneur in me knew I could turn my special talent into a money-making side gig.
And so I did!
That is when Kiddie Commode Camp was born.
The plan is simple. Parents sign their toddlers up for a week-long potty training camp. The children live at my house for a full 7 days and master the art of using the toilet. Parent’s aren’t allowed to attend—they just get in the way and make it harder for the kids. After a week of my unique training program, the toddlers graduate as a Potty Prodigy and return to their homes diaper-free.
I started with friends and people I knew, but word spread quickly. I didn’t have to do any of my own advertising because registration filled just through word of mouth. I’m currently running two week-long Kiddie Commode Camps a year, with between 6 and 8 kids per camp. Not only do I get to help other moms, each camp session provides a nice boost to our income.
You can do this!
As you can see, the sky is the limit! No matter what your special talents and unique gifts are, you can turn them into a way to earn some extra money to help you pay off debt and reach your financial goals.
How about you?
- What special talents and skills have you turned into money-making gigs?
If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know I love a good April Fools joke! The other 364 days, I’m an honest person and really do make our personal finances public, but on April 1st, I have some fun stretching the truth.
Did you really think I did all of those things? Well, I did one of them! The first one is all true. The last two are completely bogus.
When my kids have had lice, it’s my amazing husband that does the hours-long lice checks, not me. And no, he doesn’t enjoy it, but it’s a labor of love and he’s good at it.
I did successfully potty train our four kiddos young, so friends really have asked me to potty train their kids, but I’ve never taken anyone up on it!
Sorry to disappoint you if you were hoping that I could potty train your kiddo or pick the lice out of their hair! For now, I’ll stick to providing frugal and financial ideas and encouragement.
Note: This post contains affiliate links for products I love and recommend highly!