15 clever ways to make more money

By Bryna Howes 26 November 2019 11 min read

There are numerous reasons why you might want to save money — ranging from buying a house to starting an emergency fund to planning for a holiday. Whatever savings goal you have in mind, one thing is certain: it’d feel pretty good to save that money faster, right?

Well, thanks to the wonders of the web, you might just be able to! Perhaps you have an underutilised skill, a spare room, a talent you may wish to explore or develop, or even some free time. If you do, you might be able to find a “side hustle” that will help you generate some extra cash for your savings account. Let’s check out some ideas.

  • Share your space.
  • Write an e-book.
  • Become a fitness or health coach.
  • Review resumes.
  • Start freelancing.
  • Start a blog.
  • Invest in real estate.
  • Become a peer-to-peer lender.
  • Invest in dividend-paying shares.
  • Open an ecommerce store.
  • Become a virtual assistant.
  • Become a teacher, coach or tutor.
  • Start sitting.
  • Sell your photographs.
  • Become a tasker.

Share your space

Have you heard of the sharing economy? This is a concept wherein consumers can rent or borrow space and goods from other consumers. Think: Uber and Airbnb, where you’re actually in a car or house owned by a private citizen (rather than a business).

So, what type of space might you be able to share? A spare room. A car. A storage cage. A parking space. An entire apartment or house. If you have any of these, and you’re not using them 24/7, you might be able to rent them out to consumers in need using platforms such as Spacer, Uber, Airbnb and so on. You’ll be in pretty good company.

In some cases, you might be able to rent the space in a one-and-done deal and make passive income. For instance, if you rent out your storage cage, in most cases you’ll just hand over the key and set up an ongoing payment system. In other cases, though, you might have to commit your time as well — if you’re looking to become an Uber driver, say.

Write an e-book

There are some who believe that everyone has a story in them. And if not a personal story, perhaps you have an imaginative mind and some non-fiction knowledge you’re willing to impart?

Either way, if you have a knack for the written word, you might want to consider putting pen to paper — or rather, fingers to keyboard — and writing an e-book. Thanks to Amazon and iTunes Books (among others), there are now more platforms on which you may be published.

While publishing an e-book has turned some people into success stories, you shouldn’t count on making a killing as profit margins can be quiet low. But even if it doesn't immediately generate profit, you are at least building a valuable skill. And who knows? If you can crack into a lucrative niche subject or you’re a brilliant writer, the sky might be the limit.

Become a fitness or health coach

There are some people who are down at the beach at sunrise every day, getting in a 5k run before work. There are others who find time to do a half-hour of yoga or turn the local park into their own personal military-style assault course.

Sound familiar? If working out is your jam and you enjoy motivating others, maybe it’s time to make it your bread-and-butter.

You could sync up your personal workouts with running local workout sessions. Not only will you be able to generate cash for your savings, but you’ll also be held accountable by your participants and thus more likely to stick with your own fitness routine. That’s a win-win.

Keep in mind that you might need to start by considering any professional requirements that could be necessary, such as training courses and basic training qualifications. You should also check out if your neighbourhood has any restrictions on using the parks, etc. And you might want to look into insurance, just in case someone gets injured on your watch. Once you’ve got that sorted, though, the world is your oyster. This is, after all, how Kayla Itsines got her start.

Review resumes

Let’s say you’re a resume whiz and whenever you send out a resume, you almost immediately get a call from the employer, even if you don’t always get the job. While writing a resume might come naturally to you, for others it’s a pain-in-the-you-know-what.

Enter: you and your wizard-like resume-writing skills.

Using sites such as Freelancer and Airtasker, you can build a profile which helps you find clients and helps clients find you. In some cases, you may just need to cast an eye over their resume. In other cases, they might require you to completely rewrite it or write it from scratch.

Naturally, you’ll need strong written communication and grammar skills and a persuasive tone. With those skills in the bag, you’re set to get started and find your first client.

Start freelancing

Imagine if you could utilise your current skills to generate cash and save more money. No, it’s not too good to be true. If you work in certain fields — for instance, advertising, graphic design, web development or media — there’s a good chance you can put your skills to use as a freelancer. Someone in advertising, for instance, could do freelance copywriting, while someone in web development could build websites or fine-tune user design and user experience on digital platforms.

While the upside is obvious — you’ll get paid (usually by the hour) for work you’re already proficient in and hopefully enjoy. However, before you get started you may need to check any contracts in place with your current employer and make sure you’re allowed to take on extra work, especially if there’s any chance it could create a conflict of interest.

Once you’re good to go, check out sites such as Upwork and Fiverr to score a client or reach out to the current and former contacts within your network.

Start a blog

If you have an itch to go big, it might be time to start a blog. It’s not for people who are easily intimidated. Starting a blog is hard work, you’ll need to commit to a consistent writing schedule, and to make money for your savings you’ll need to grow your audience. But if you can handle the pressure, it can be a really good way to nurture your creativity and add to your savings.

How do blogs make money exactly? There’s a few options to look into.

One such option is affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you recommend a product or service to your blog’s audience. When one of your readers clicks on that affiliate link and purchases a product (any product) from the site, usually within a certain timeframe, you’ll earn a small percentage of the product price for yourself. Amazon Affiliates is a popular program.

If your blog attracts a significant readership, you may be able to sell advertising space on your blog and/or associated social media channels. This option is usually only available once you have a reasonable audience — let’s say 10,000 visitors a month, minimum. But while you’re still growing your audience, you could begin by experimenting with automatic ad services such as Google AdSense.

Invest in real estate

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a huge amount of money to invest in real estate.

Thanks to the wonders of the web, we now have platforms such as BrickX, which allow you to bolster your savings by buying portions of properties called Bricks. Imagine that an apartment or house was divided brick by brick into portions. Then, instead of needing to buy the entire house, you could buy just one or two bricks. That’s essentially how BrickX works. You’ll buy a portion of an actual property and as the overall value of the house grows, so does your investment.

Eventually, you’ll need to sell your “bricks” to actually see the savings in your account, but by the time you sell them, who knows how much money your investment may have generated, and how much you might have been able to save?

If you’re after a more traditional option and you have some cash to spend upfront or an asset to leverage, you could consider buying an investment property. While it can be a lucrative way to put your money towards an asset that may help you build wealth, there are some things to consider before you head down this route.

For example, you’ll need to be somewhat savvy about where you buy. You may need to hire a property manager to assist you with the property rental. And most importantly, you need to figure out whether the rental income will cover your mortgage.

Become a peer-to-peer lender

If you’ve ever been in a financial jam, you know how hard it can be to borrow money. Not only do you have to find someone to lend you the cash, but you also have to deal with interest rates. Then, of course, you’ve got to find a way to pay it back.

These days, the act of borrowing money has been made slightly easier thanks to peer-to-peer lending (or marketplace lending). The concept behind peer-to-peer lending is pretty simple. Essentially, an online platform will match borrowers with investors (i.e. the lenders), and those investors can be everyday citizens such as yourself. Yes, that’s where you come in.

If you have some cash just sitting in your savings account, waiting to be put to good use, you should look into becoming a peer-to-peer lender.

One such platform, RateSetter, allows you to start earning with just $10. While RateSetter cannot guarantee interest rates, its indicative terms imply that the longer you can part with your money, the higher the interest you’ll earn on return.

This isn’t a risk-free way to add money to your savings, so make sure you do your due diligence before you sign up with any peer-to-peer lending platform.

Invest in dividend-paying shares

If you invest in dividend-paying shares, you will receive dividends — a portion of the company's profits, paid out to shareholders — throughout the year. In many cases, an ASX-listed company will pay dividends twice a year; an “interim” dividend, followed by a “final” dividend.

What you do with that dividend is important. If you “spend” it wisely, you may have the opportunity to strengthen your savings and potentially create further wealth.

One option is to reinvest the dividend back into the stock. This essentially means you are using the dividend payment to buy additionally fully paid shares. (So, if you receive a dividend payment of $10, and the current share price is $2.50, you can buy four more shares.)

Another option is to put your dividend payment into a high-interest savings account. However, unless you already have money in that savings account or you receive a particularly large dividend, this probably will not generate that much interest but would be less risky.

Either way, both these options will see you generate cash for your savings account.

Open an e-commerce store

One of the many things the web has given us is the ability to open our own stores on a digital platform which is accessible all over the world. In some cases, you don’t even have to stock a product to get started with e-commerce.

How is that possible? It’s called drop shipping.

Essentially, you’ll set up an ecommerce store that sells products and your store will look and feel the same as any other to your customers. But when a customer submits an order, they are technically purchase the item from a third party. The product will be shipped directly from that third party (the drop shipper) to your customer. So, you act as a middleman, in many ways, and your main responsibilities are marketing your store, building a brand and building a loyal customer base.

If you have an artistic side, there’s another option you might want to explore. You can use sites such as Zazzle to apply your design to products such as t-shirts and mugs. You can then sell those products in your own e-commerce store, provided you choose e-commerce software, such as Shopify, that is compatible with Zazzle. So, you’re completely in charge of the design and the artistic vibe of the products, but Zazzle will print and ship the final product for you.

Another option, if you’re a maker or artist, is to sell your goods on Etsy.

By the way, you don’t need to sell or ship physical products to get into e-commerce. You can create digital products — think web templates, downloadable and printable posters, web themes, e-books, courses, and so on — on sites such as Envato, Etsy and more.

The final choice is to go for the whole hog: stock and ship physical products. It won’t be easy to get started, but it is a way to make some extra cash. And who knows? You might just find yourself following in the footsteps of Jane Lu, the founder of ShowPo, a multimillion-dollar company.  If you’re considering this, Shopify and WooCommerce can help you create your store.

Become a virtual assistant

Do people often use the words organised, productive and diligent to describe you? If so, you could get paid to help people with their administrative tasks — all from the comfort of your own home. A virtual assistant is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll work for one or more clients as an admin assistant and help on anything from digital filing to transcribing to accounting.

To get started, you’ll need a computer, a fast Wi-Fi connection and the time to manage and meet your client's expectations. You may also potentially need video chat software to take virtual meetings, depending on your client/s.

Check out sites such as Freelancer and Upwork for job openings.

Become a teacher, coach or tutor

If you’re someone who loves sharing your knowledge and skills, it’s time to make some coin and bolster your savings with that extra cash — by utilising said know-how.

There are many ways you can do this.

For example, you could create a digital course (or two) on a specialised subject and upload that course to an e-learning platform such as Udemy. Every time someone takes your course, you’ll get paid. To make this project worth your while, you should try to think of niche subject matter — the more unique the better — and just make sure there is a market for it. After all, you want to be the go-to teacher on this subject.

Another possibility is coaching. Do you find that people often come to you for advice on their personal life or professional development? Perhaps people always ask you what you think about their relationships? If so, you could become a dating coach. If you’re the go-to person on money matters, you could look into becoming a financial coach (after considering any professional requirements that may apply, such as getting an Australian financial services licence or Australian credit licence). Everything is on the table. If you’re not feeling so sure about this path, take a look at the story of Marie Forleo for inspiration. Forleo was a life coach long before she was an online entrepreneur.

Lastly, if you excel at school subjects — think English, maths, science or art — you may be able to become a tutor. While this can be done online, you can also take this up in real life.

Start sitting

Three things that need sitting, from time to time: babies, pets, houses. If you can look after any of these three, a sitting job might be your ticket to generating extra money.

However, it may not be easy to get started. Because all these items are precious to their parents/owners, you’ll likely need a reference to get started. So, to get in your foot in the door, try asking around with friends and family for quick jobs and recommendations. Once you have a few different references under your belt, you could look into signing up for a sitting website (in your chosen category) and hopefully watch the jobs roll in.

Sell your photographs

If you have a good eye and an even-better camera, it might be time to get into the stock photography game. You can sell your snaps to websites such as Stocksy and Shutterstock, and make a quick buck any time someone licenses your photo.

If you want to venture down this path, check out your current catalogue of photos. If you’ve been travelling, you could already have some photos that are raring to be sold.

Become a tasker

So, none of the above ideas suit you, but you know you’re an all-round handy person.

This is where sites such as Airtasker and Gumtree come in.

Every day, hundreds of people post tasks on these sites and trust us when we say: no task is too weird. From ironing to moving furniture to window-washing to lining up in a concert line or even having a pie thrown in your face. Yes, you read that correctly. Everything is on the table.

If you find a task that suits you, you can apply to help. In some cases, you can negotiate the rate. If the task-giver likes the sound of you, you’ll be allocated the job and you can get started. This is a particularly good option for those occasions when you have a few spare hours.

Words by
Bryna Howes Right Chevron

Bryna Howes is the Head of Content at Spaceship. She's equally obsessive about cinnamon donuts and scouring the web for great reads.

15 clever ways to make more money