Baking for Cash: Start a Cake or Cupcake Business from Home

Baking for Cash
Bake cakes to make money Image courtesy of April

Starting a home-based bakery business is an easy way to turn your baking hobby into a reliable money-making venture. Obviously, you need to be a good baker to start this kind of gig- and you need to be able to provide consistency. Presentation is important as well, so you need to bake things that LOOK good as well as taste good.
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What is a Microtask?

Microtasks let you make money doing small jobs.
Microtasks let you make money doing small jobs.

If you’ve spent any time searching for at-home gigs online, you’ve likely come across the term “microtask.” Essentially, microtasks are small work tasks that combine together to form a larger result. Tasks suitable for microtask work are those that cannot be completed by a single person or small team but that require human workers (because they cannot be computerized completely.)
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What Entrepreneurs, Freelancers, and Aspiring Business Owners Can Learn from Bernie Sanders

While Clinton was once presumed to be the automatic Democratic nominee for the 2016 Presidential race, Bernie Sanders has spent the last few months creating a groundswell of support that’s put him solidly in the running for the nomination.
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Selling Other People’s Stuff on Craigslist

CLA few weeks ago, I talked about how to sell your stuff on Craigslist– so this week, I figured I’d talk about the other Craigslist opportunity- selling other people’s stuff. This is the plan you want to go with if you’ve already narrowed down your personal stash of items to things you really love or if you want to expand your personal Craigslist experience into an actual gig.

Basically, the mechanics work the same as when you sell your own stuff- you post an ad on the site and wait for someone to contact you about buying it. When you’re selling other people’s things, though, there’s less emotional investment and more straightforward profit.

There are two ways to leverage Craigslist if you want to sell other people’s things. The first is to act as a broker for people who don’t have the time or energy to sell their own stuff. If you’re a Craigslist expert (after selling a bunch of your own stuff, you just might be!), you can leverage your experience to promote yourself to people who want to declutter but don’t want to bother with the selling part. You’ll collect the items from the owner, assign prices, post the ad and make the cash-item trade with interested buyers. In exchange, you’ll get 10-20% of the value of the item as your commission for selling it.

The other way to sell on Craigslist without forfeiting your own stuff is to buy items at a low price and sell them for a higher price on Craigslist. This works well if you know a particular market really well and have a source for buying the items. One way to do this is to head to all of the local garage sales in your area and look for ultra-cheap items that would do well on Craigslist. Another way to do this is to buy in-demand items in bulk and sell them on Craigslist at a decent discount that still makes you a profit. If you use a buy low-sell high strategy on Craigslist, you might want to specialize in specific types of items, such as bicycles, household appliances or collectible dolls. Over time, you’ll get a feel for which items in your category are really popular in your locale.

Gig Idea: Use Your Creativity to Create Custom Shoes

Handpainted Shoes by
Handpainted Shoes by Kilgast
If you’re crafty and love shoes, you can use your creativity to make unique custom shoes to sell online or at local events. Depending on your artistic abilities and personal sense of style, you can opt to paint or decorate a wide range of shoe types in a variety of different styles.

Some custom shoe sellers hand paint images on new canvas sneakers or Toms shoes, providing customers with a classic familiar fit and a one-of-a-kind design. Other shoe decorators dress up secondhand shoes, appealing to the eco-friendly consumer base by promoting their shoes as an environmentally friendly recycle/reuse option. Dressing up heels with glittering crystals and lace can be lucrative if you aim your wares at the prom and bridal markets.

Many people who create custom shoes also go for a niche style, such as painting Native American designs on shoes or decorating pumps with images from comic books or television shows such as Dr. Who and The Walking Dead. Fans of these shows are often willing to spend lots of money on custom-designed shoes that show off their love of a good show. Local landmarks and images related to your hometown can be big sellers if you plan to make your shoes available at local stores.

To start out in this gig, you’ll need a supply of shoes and a general idea of what kind of designs you want to create. Depending on the design, you might need either fabric markers or acrylic paints.
Potential places you can sell your artistic painted shoes include local boutiques, art markets, and Ebay. You might also opt to take custom orders, where customers ask for specific images or designs. Custom orders can potentially bring in a higher rate than your standard designs.

Aside from placing your decorated shoes where customers can find them, you can also create your own free advertising by wearing some of your creations around town. Whenever someone asks where you got your eye-catching shoes, you can hand out a business card or your web address.

Five Ways to Sneak in More Time for Gigs

When you have an actual life to balance- you know: relationships, kids, school, a real job, household chores, etc.- it can be hard to find time to fit in some moneymaking gigs. If you prioritize making extra cash, though, there are ways to sneak in some gig time and maximize your overall productivity. Here are five ways that other successful freelancers sneak in time to work on gigs.
1- Get up early. Setting your alarm just 30 minutes earlier nets you a full 2.5 hours of extra time to get stuff done during a typical workweek. Waking up before everyone else in the household also makes it easier to work because no one is bugging you about making breakfast or helping them do things around the house.
2- Take advantage of lines and waiting rooms. Bring your laptop, notebook or tablet along with you when you’re headed to the doctor’s office with the kids, to the bank, or to school to pick up the kids. When you’re waiting in line or in the waiting room, you can work on a few tasks for an online crowdsourcing company, look for upcoming in-person gigs on job boards, sketch out crafting ideas, or compose an email to schedule or confirm a live gig. This also works if you’re waiting in the stands during your child’s soccer game or waiting at the airport in the car when picking up a relative. Pretty much anywhere you would otherwise be sitting bored with nothing to do, use that situation to your advantage.
3- Give up an hour of TV time. If you watch more than an hour of TV a day, narrow down your viewing to eliminate an hour of shows and use that time for working on gigs. This goes for Internet browsing and listening to music, too. If you’ve got a passive hobby taking up most of your free time, shift your priorities to spend more of your time improving your income situation. You don’t have to give it up entirely- just cut back enough to add a little extra gig time in.
4- Get a Crockpot. I’m not kidding. With a crockpot, you just toss in the ingredients in the morning and let it cook all day instead of spending an hour at night in the kitchen making dinner or 30 minutes driving to the local fast food place to get something because you don’t have time to cook. Instead of cooking or driving, spend 30-60 minutes before dinner working on gigs. You can even hide in the kitchen while you work so your family thinks you’re slaving over a hot stove and won’t bug you. If you can master microwave cooking, that works too.
5- Stock up on chores. Instead of multitasking and trying to switch gears between doing a chore, then working for 10 minutes, then doing another chore…switch to a plan where you do all of your chores on one day and spend the next day working on gigs instead. Weekends are a good time to implement a plan like this. For example, you could dedicate 4 hours on Saturday to cleaning the house and doing backyard chores, then spend those same hours Sunday working on your gigs.

Review of Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang

When it comes to finding gigs, rejections are part of the process. Rejections can be painful, and they can make you think you’re on the wrong path when you might actually be doing exactly what you should. The book Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jang faces this problem head-on and helps you get a handle on rejection so you can make more money and live a better life.

This book is part memoir, part social experiment and part practical tips. The author, Jia Jiang, set a goal for himself to get rejected 100 times to help get over a fear of rejection. On this journey, he learned a lot about why rejections happen and how to recover from them and move forward, which is a useful skill for any aspiring entrepreneur.

Some specific tips- such as giving a reason why when making a request and choosing your audience wisely- may seem naturally intuitive, but the anecdotes in the book drive the concepts home and make you really think about the reasons these tips work. Other tips seem counterintuitive at first – like the idea that you should discuss the target’s doubts with them- but after seeing the concepts in action, they make much more sense.

While there’s no surefire way to make people not reject you, the book does give practical tips for increasing your chances of a yes. A handy appendix in the back of the book encapsulates all of the lessons learned throughout the book so you can remember them easily.

For even more inspiration and rejection therapy, the author runs a rejection blog and video series- so you can go watch the actual interactions described in the book exactly how they occurred and make your own assessments about how things like body language or tone affected the rejection attempts.

Overall, this is a worthwhile read, and an interesting one. Learning how to handle rejections and get fewer of them is a great skill for anyone living the Gig lifestyle.

Why Gigs are Extremely Important for Millennials

If you’re a Millennial (also known as Generation Y), you’re probably already familiar with the bad news. Jobs for your age group aren’t what they used to be- and millenials’ prospects for the future aren’t good.

As some examples, Millennials:

  • Are the first generation not to make more money than their parents
  • Have almost double the unemployment rate of the general population (It’s somewhere between 14 and 18% for under 25s compared to about 7% for the whole population)
  • Are often underemployed (have part time work or low-wage jobs instead of full-time positions with benefits)
  • Often can’t find jobs that match their degrees and work experience (and have to take low-skill boring jobs instead)

 

While this all may sound like *really* bad news…it doesn’t have to be on a person-by-person basis. The key, of course, is to take charge of your own career options and build an income that isn’t dependent on someone else’s largess.

One of the big benefits of focusing on gigs instead of chasing low-wage jobs in the pursuit of paying your bills (or paying off your school loans) is that with gigs, you can actually do something you find meaningful. One of the great strengths of the Millennial generation is that these up-and-coming workers put a priority on having lives with meaning. Whether that turns into making documentary films that introduce others to a cause that is dear to your heart or turning your eye for floral arranging into a career that lets you spread heart-touching romance across your city, it’s never been easier to make your mark in your own individual way.

To be honest- I’m not a Millennial myself (I fall a few years earlier in the Gen X group)- but a lot of my friends and cousins are. I feel like as a generation, the Millennials have tons of promise- and more challenges than maybe ever before. I’m interested in how this generation feels about employment and how different it is from the Gen X and Baby Boomer views… and I’m eager to see how this huge group of Millennials (one of the largest generations ever!) transform the whole concept of work.

If you’re a Millennial, have you found it easier to go the gig route instead of taking a full-time job or are you considering making the switch from regular employment to meaningful gigs?