Ten Gigs for People Who Love Kids

Top 10 Gigs for People Who Love KidsIf you’re looking to combine your love of kids with your love of moneymaking ventures- you’re in luck. There are plenty of ways you can blend the two- and most of these gigs are fairly easy and low-cost to begin.

Here are 10 of the most popular gigs for people who love kids:

1- Babysitting. Go it alone via recommendations from parents you know personally or sign up to be a sitter through an agency such as Sittercity.

2- Entertainer. If you’re a whiz at magic tricks or can sing silly songs that keep kids happy- channel your energies into entertaining at birthday parties, daycare centers or summer camps.

3- Tutor. Help kids reach their full potential by tutoring children in subjects you’re good at. Math, science and foreign language tutors (including English as a Second Language) are always in demand.

4-Teach a Skill. Set up cooking classes for kids, give piano lessons, or teach sewing to youngsters. Whatever skill you already have, you can earn extra cash teaching it to kids whose parents want them to learn.

5-Party Planner. If you can set up a party and keep it going smoothly, you’ll be in big demand as a party planner for children’s parties.

6-Childproofing Homes. Set your focus on keeping kids safe by serving as a childproofing consultant for new parents who need help making sure their home is safe for a new arrival.

7-Baby Spa. Open a baby spa where moms can come learn how to give a baby massage and infants with skin problems can get soothing treatments.

8-Home-based Child Care. Licensing and regulations vary by state and city, but if you have what it takes, taking care of other people’s kids in your home can be a fulfilling and lucrative business.

9-Child Photography. Parents love pictures of their kids, and if you can produce professional portrait or outdoor shots you can make money making kids smile

10- Youth Sports Coach. Use your love of kids and your sports knowledge to teach children the basics of your favorite sport.

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?

Uber, Lyft, and Driving People Around for Money

You might have seen the commercials- or read articles about the controversies that driving services bring to many communities when they enter into a new local market. Ride sharing recently got approved by my local city council and there have definitely been some heated debates about the service around here. But have you considered actually driving people around for money yourself?
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How to Make Money Writing Magazine Articles

Writing magazine articles was one of my first gigs, and it remains one of my favorites. Like most gigs, it isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, and it isn’t really suited to people who don’t enjoy writing. If you’re an avid writer who can turn fascinating facts into a coherent article, though, it’s a fairly fun and lucrative side gig.

The key to making money writing magazine articles is persistence. You’ll send out a lot of queries before you get an actual assignment- and your first assignments will all be “on spec”- which means you only get paid if the magazine decides to actually use your article.

Choosing a Market

Let’s be honest- you aren’t going to get a cush assignment from a major newsstand magazine right off the bat. My first publication was in a small magazine aimed at employees of a corporation (I wrote about taming your inner critic.) No one I knew had ever heard of the magazine- but that didn’t really matter when I cashed the $20 check and took myself out for ice cream. After developing a portfolio of work- which shows both your writing skills AND your ability to work with editors- I started getting more lucrative magazine writing gigs. After a while, I built up a stable of regular gigs- magazines that would accept a pitch or even assign me articles every month or two. I made sure to also query markets I had some familiarity with- editors are often more impressed by real-world experiences than any specific credentials you have, and there are magazines focused on almost every interest and hobby under the sun. Trade magazines- aimed at business owners in a specific field instead of the general public-are a really good place to start and tend to pay well.

Query Before Writing

When you’ve got an idea you think would be perfect for a particular market- send a pitch query first before writing the whole thing. A pitch is simply a letter to the editor of the department you’re aiming for, and it should describe the who, what, and why of your idea. There are plenty of good books about writing queries- The Writers Digest Guide to Query Letters is a good place to start – and if you’re serious about writing for magazines, you should aim to perfect your query letter before trying a full article.

The Downside to Writing Magazine Articles

There are a few disadvantages to using magazine writing as a gig. There isn’t a great response rate to queries. Many writers- even great writers who do it for a living- only get a go-ahead on 10% or fewer of their queries. If you can build up to a hit rate of 1 go-ahead per 7 pitches, then you’re doing pretty much everything right.

Another disadvantage is the long wait between turning in the article and getting paid. Many magazines don’t pay until after the article appears in the magazine- and you’ll sometimes wait months after that point. This isn’t a quick-money gig…but if you can cover bills and necessities with your regular job, getting an occasional check for a few hundred dollars makes for a nice chunk of “fun money.”

 

What Qualifies as a Gig?

So, you’re convinced that you need to get a gig to make some extra cash, but you aren’t sure exactly what qualifies as a gig. Everyone seems to have different answers- you’ll likely hear things like “The IRS considers it a hobby if you make less than $600 a year” or “Gigs are typically unpaid.” You might even hear things like “Gigs are scams” and “It’s impossible to make money online” and “If you don’t have a job, you’re a screwup.”

But we don’t like that kind of talk around here…that’s PESSIMIST talk… and frankly, the people who sit around pooh-poohing all of your ideas about making a little extra money are likely the same ones who are sitting around making nothing more than what their boss at their job decides to let them make.

At Sweetgigs, we know better. Gigs are moneymakers that fit your needs and lifestyle. If that includes making a few extra dollars a week to support your music download addiction or a few hundred dollars a day to support your family- then you’re doing it right. As simple as that. As long as it works for you.

Gigs often skirt the realm of self-employment, although they don’t have to. Seasonal part-time work at your local bookstore can be a gig. So can regular web design work for a local firm that you do in your off hours. See, that’s the thing about a gig… it can be what you want. The important thing is that you are in control. You can decide to start or stop when you want to. You can decide whether you want to pursue one gig and turn it into your primary source of income or flit from gig to gig figuring out what things you like to do best. When it comes right down to it- gigs are about freedom. That’s what’s so great about them.

Tell us about any gigs you’ve had – especially the more unusual ones- in the comments!

Five of The Best Survey Money Making Sites

Following up on our last post about completing surveys for money– If you’re interested in paid surveys, here are five of the best survey money making sites to get you started.

1- Harris Polls

Earn points that you can trade in for gift cards and prizes. You also get a sweepstakes entry for each survey you complete. (The sweepstakes prize is cash) Gift card options include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Groupon, Chilis, Applebees, Starbucks, and others. The surveys are in-depth but fun- as an example, you might need to read an ad about an upcoming product or service and answer questions about whether you’d buy it and what you think of the ad. Harris Poll Online typically sends 3-4 survey invites a month.

2- Survey Savvy

Earn points, which you turn in for cash paid directly into your Paypal account or for gift cards and prizes. Survey Savvy also has a sweepstakes component, giving you another way to score some extra cash. The surveys are easy to fill out, but there isn’t always one available. This is a good one to have in your stable of survey opps, but don’t rely on it for regular income.

3- Opinion Outpost

This paid survey company will inundate your inbox with survey offers, which makes it easy to cash out quickly as long as you grab the surveys as soon as they appear. Surveys fill up fast, so if you notice an offer dated a few hours ago, you probably don’t want to waste time because it’s likely to be over already. Check every few hours or once a day and complete the most recent survey offers to build up your points and get a Paypal payout or reward as soon as possible.

4- Paid Viewpoint

This survey company pays cash via Paypal. The amount you’ve earned is displayed on the site and you can cash out after you’ve made $15- so it’s easy to keep track. You’ll get notified about new surveys via email. Paid Viewpoint has a “Trait System” that tracks your reliability (consistently reporting the same demographic information, for example) and the higher your trait score, the more you can make.

Cash Crate

Cash Crate features surveys as well as other offers- such as accepting free product samples or watching videos- in exchange for cash. You get the money via Paypal and there is a $20 payout threshold. Lots of surveys are listed on the site itself- so you can get started right away without having to wait for an email alert.

Can You Really Make Money Filling Out Surveys?

You’ve probably seen the email pitches or ads, but are all those “Come make cash filling out surveys” come-ons worth real money? Well, the answer is a qualified yes. Money making surveys definitely are not a scam- marketing departments and agencies use them to get quick data about how real people feel about products and services so they can improve their ads or alter their products in ways that would make more people buy them.

If you’re looking to supplement your income with a little extra cash, then yes, they are worth it. They aren’t likely to become your primary income stream, but you can definitely make enough for an occasional splurge or some stress relief at bill-paying time.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Completing Surveys for Money

One of the big benefits of using surveys as a moneymaker is that you can do it just about anywhere- including while you’re doing something else like watching TV or listening to the radio. The extra infusion of cash into your bank account – and your ability to control how much extra cash you want to make- is another substantial benefit. One disadvantage is that the time you spend doing surveys could possibly be put to better use on more lucrative money-making ventures, especially if you have an in-demand skill that you could convert into a paying gig. Online survey work can also be frustrating at times because you sometimes don’t qualify for surveys you want to take, and finding surveys that interest you could take time if you’re picky. Some survey sites don’t offer cash, but instead offer gift certificates or points you save up to trade in for cash, sweepstakes entries, gift certificates, or specific products. If you plan to spend your money on these things anyway or would be likely to use the gift certificate, these can help you buy the things you need so you can spend your actual cash on other stuff.

 

How Survey Companies Work

Once you sign up for a survey company, they’ll send you emails when they have available surveys. You can also check the company website for current surveys. You can only take surveys you are qualified for (in the right demographics for), so fill out your profile on each site as completely as you can to qualify for the maximum number of survey opportunities. On the site or in the email you’ll see time estimates and the pay rate for each survey. Once you get good at them, you’ll likely be able to complete surveys much more quickly than the typical 5 to 30 minutes estimated time they suggest.

Tips for Making Money with Surveys

Sign up for a bunch of survey companies, not just one or two. Different companies offer different surveys and some have limits as to how many you can do a day. Maximize your time by completing the maximum on one site, then switching to another site to continue earning without excess downtime. I’d recommend signing up for at least 10 survey sites if you want regular work. with 15-20 sites in your paid survey portfolio, you’ll likely have a regular stream of surveys available and won’t have to worry about unexpected dry spells.

 

Use a separate email address for your survey emails. Otherwise, they’ll get overwhelming. If you set up a separate account using a free email service such as Gmail or Yahoo mail, you can just dip into that email stream whenever you feel like filling out surveys and earning some extra cash. The rest of the time, you can ignore that email account- and because those emails are separate, you don’t have to worry about important emails getting lost in the flood of survey company ones.

Watch out for scams. Fortunately, scams are usually easy to spot because they ask for upfront money to access the paid surveys. Honestly, it’s easy to find surveys that cost you nothing to access and complete- so paying to make money is a complete waste of both money and time. Follow my general rule for avoiding scams and you’ll be fine: The money always flows TO the worker. (So- if you find money flowing away from you to do ANY kind of gig, then it’s not a real gig)

Summing Up Surveys

Basically, surveys are an easy way to make money while watching TV, but they aren’t a big enough moneymaker to live on full time. Like all gigs, the amount you can earn is dependent on how much you put into it- although you can easily set up a fairly efficient system to keep a steady flow of survey offers coming into your email inbox without exerting too much effort on a day to day basis.

 

How I Got Started with a Sweetgig Lifestyle

Once upon a time, I wasn’t a Sweetie, living off the money I earned through gigs. In the past, I have held jobs- sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes for years at a time, but they were never truly satisfying… and I always wondered if I was missing out on something by being stuck in an office for 40 hours a week.

I came upon this lifestyle slowly, but it began in college when a friend casually mentioned that he was paying his way through university with money he earned writing for a small magazine aimed at tabletop gamers. A lightbulb went off and I started to notice that there were other paths in life than the typical 9-to-5 one that everyone else seemed to be on. I made it my goal to one day work in a way that let me set my own schedule- and gigs seemed the way to do that.

Over the years, I honed my skills and abilities with little gigs, including mystery shopping, writing, selling handmade items, voice acting, and a variety of other little temporary cash-generators. As I got better at some, I shifted my schedule to dedicate more time to those things (and I let others slip to the wayside as I lost interest). By the time I was ready to take some time off for maternity leave in 2010, I was also ready to tell my employer that I wouldn’t be coming back after having the baby. I was living the gig lifestyle – so I didn’t need to leave my baby and go back to the workplace unless I wanted to. Even better,  I’ve got enough different gigs that I can weather the inevitable changes in the economy without having to worry about being able to survive if my company goes under. (a common worry many of my friends have whenever a new round of layoffs or business closures comes along) Because I do a bunch of different things and am not tied to a single company I rely on for all of my income, I can simply shift my focus to one skill set or another if something drastic happens.

Obviously, not everyone wants to follow the full-time gig path, but I figured I’d share my story to show that it is, indeed, possible to do so. I know a lot of people think that you can’t survive without a full-time job and an official employer, but these days, that’s just not true anymore.

PS- Here at Sweetgigs, we’re going to start profiling a different moneymaking opportunity every Friday, so make sure you bookmark us to get the latest posts and keep updated on the latest gig ideas.

 

Seven Hobbies You Can Turn Into Gigs

The easiest gig to start is one you are already doing. If you’ve got a hobby, you’re way ahead of the game. Most spare-time activities can be turned into gigs, although it might take some creative thinking to figure out how. To get you started, here are a few specific hobbies that others have successfully used to generate extra cash.
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Gigs Are the New Work Lifestyle

In the modern world a 9 to 5 job just doesn’t cut it anymore. In fact you might have noticed that two or three 9-to-5 jobs aren’t enough to get by nowadays, especially if you have a family to support, debt to pay off, or a hope of someday retiring. That’s where gigs come in.

Gigs are little things you do to make extra cash between paychecks or sometimes instead of paychecks. Traditionally, the term came from music gigs, a one-time booking a band got to play for a crowd, but it’s expanded into being any kind of part-time, temp, or one-off work outside of a traditional job. A gig can be as simple as a hobby that you’ve turned into a money maker, or it can be an elaborate second career that you do in your off hours. Some people turn their gig into a full time pursuit, while others pursue multiple side gigs simultaneously. You might opt to work your gig for a few hours each month, or a few hours everyday. Simply put, a gig is what you make it.

So if a gig is a side venture you do during your down time, what exactly is a sweetgig lifestyle? Ideally, a sweetgig lifestyle is a way to maximize your potential for making money without having to rely on your employer for your entire existence. You don’t have to quit your job to have gigs, although it’s perfectly fine if you choose to go that route. The real point of having a side gig or two is that you know you’ll be OK if a sudden loss of income or unexpected expense throws your budget for a loop. That’s not the only benefit of course. You’ll also gain confidence and a healthy sense of accomplishment as you turn your skills and hobbies into gigs does that help you lead the kind of life you’ve always wanted to.