“Thanks to the economic crisis, bartending got upgraded from a job to a career.”
– Goldman Sachs Elevator Gossip
[Disclaimer: For this post, please place the word “allegedly” in front of any legally questionable content that you see.]
It was Spring Break and I needed money. One hundred and twenty-eight dollars to be exact. I had to pay for the copy editing of Brains & Brawn, renew my quarterly gym membership, finance my going out expenses, purchase some juicing carrots, and buy a new tub of protein powder. Since no business is willing to hire an employee for only one week, I had to get creative with my revenue streams. What follows are the actual three jobs that I did to cover my expenditures:
Recycling metal is one of the easiest ways to make money. There are no start up costs and it takes no skill. I’ve been scrapping cans and wire since before I hit puberty.
When I was thirteen my family moved into a house whose former owner was an alcoholic. Our property was littered with thousands of beer cans. Rather than hiring someone to clean up the property, my parents told my brother and I that we could keep the profits from any cans that we collected. By midsummer, I’d made over three hundred dollars. Not bad for a kid who wasn’t even old enough to work at McDonald’s.
Last weekend I decided to retry my hand at scrapping metal.
I ended up spending about two hours stripping the plastic coating off of old copper wiring (it’s worth more that way), and earned about fifteen dollars from the ordeal. While it works out to being sightly less than minimum wage, I had zero investment and got paid the same day. When the weather clears up, I plan on doing some larger scale scrapping and will probably earn a couple hundred for an afternoon’s worth hard work.
Earnings: $15 for two hours (not horrible, it covered my weekend expenses).
I want to issue another disclaimer: If you’re planning on doing this side hustle, please use some common sense when locating an employer. While most people are pretty decent, there is still a chance that you could end up working for some psychopath. Or a really cheap old dude, who’ll refuse to pay you (it’s happened to me before).
Even in a recession physically exerting work never goes out of style. People will always need someone with raw strength to move furniture, dig holes, and do a variety of other strenuous tasks. While this type of work is usually unpleasant, it does have one major benefit: cash payments. When I actually had a job I’d make about $10 an hour (before taxes). Doing day labor I make slightly less, but the money goes straight to my pocket.
Earnings: $120 for a weekend (between this and scrapping metal, I’d financed my whole week in just two days).
The amount of money I make from my online ventures is pathetically low. Per hour, I probably earn as much as a sweatshop worker. On average I earn about $40 a month from blogging and running another small site. Despite this, I am, technically, getting paid to do something I love. How cool is that? Plus, the money I do earn online is usually enough to cover my month’s juicing supplies.
Earnings: Not much… Yet
When I had a regular job, I made about $500 a week. After taxes, transportation fees, and miscellaneous expenditures; I probably walked away with 40% of what I had earned. Nowadays I might make considerably less, but the money is mine and I actually have free time. According to my hasty math, I actually make more now and am more productive than when I worked for someone else. To quote Alec Baldwin’s character from Glengarry Glen Ross: “The money’s out there, you pick it up, it’s yours.”