Top 10 ways to survive and thrive without a job

My last article on why it is counterproductive to extend unemployment benefits got comments that questioned my parentage and whether I had a heart — both of which I took as compliments.

But people indicated I didn’t offer solutions. One of my commenters suggested I write a column with “17 Million Ways To Make a High Income Without a Job.” Unfortunately, I only get about 750 words per article. But I can make a few suggestions.

1). Look at your hobbies and see if any can produce money. One executive’s wife started a very simple business making custom bracelets from beads. Within a year, the executive had to quit his job to help her $300,000 business. Hobbies can often be turned into money-making ventures, and often at low start-up overhead.

2). Do something that nobody else wants to do. We’ve all heard the success story of the guy who started a service to clean up where your dog left off. People who are willing to do the true dirty jobs often can be the best paid. It just depends on whether or not you are willing to do that which others will not.

3). Freelance your work. If you’re a decent writer, you can make a great deal of money writing for people who need it. If you’re a photographer, you can sell your photos to stock photo companies. If you are a woodworker — do you know what custom furniture sells for these days? And so on.

4). Volunteer at a company. Here is a fact. You have a skill that a company wants but can’t currently pay for. While continuing to look for a job, volunteer to help out a start-up or small business in an area you love. If you help the business be successful, it is likely that they will hire you. And this can occur more rapidly than anyone thinks.

5). Do something counter-recessionary. One time I was standing looking at the Denver sky which had turned green, and spoke out loud that I fervently hoped we didn’t get another hail storm. A woman next to me said she hoped we did because then her roofer husband would have work.

A recession means opportunity for those with counter-recessionary businesses. Do you have a way that people can do things they need to do cheaper and just as well? The fact is that people, even unemployed people, don’t stop needing and buying things and services. You only need figure out which of your skills are applied better in a recession and go for it.

6). Offer yourself to companies for project, not full-time, work. Rather than searching for a job, search for a project. This is the way that companies are moving, anyway. Take advantage of it. By working project work, you can keep looking for a full-time job. Or you might decide you enjoy working on a project and moving on.

7). Save people time. Offer yourself through fliers, emails, websites, etc. as someone who will run errands, take care of the pets and the house, and so on. You’ll need a reliable car, but you will soon be deluged with requests. At least 80 percent of Americans are still employed. And they are being asked to do more with less every day at work. By taking some things off of them, you are performing a valuable service, as well as getting paid. Concierge services charge $40 per hour and up. Charge reasonably and people will be battering down your door for your help.

8). Find something stupid and creative to sell on the internet. Is anyone old enough to remember the Pet Rock? One of my clients, some years ago, started a very successful internet business by selling a stone-like plant label on a stick so people would remember what they planted in their gardens. He made the labels in his kitchen at home.

9). Sell some things. De-clutter your house (and, therefore, your mind) by selling everything in your house that you don’t actually use on Craigslist or EBay. I don’t know about you, but my house is full of stuff I haven’t used in years that someone else would not only use but love. You may find you like this so much that you start to buy and sell stuff for a living.

10). Trade a Forex Account. This one requires a bit of money to start up…but less than you’d think. Small traders can “ride” on the big folks and do currency trading. You can open a mini-account for $300. You can also get a free practice account to hone your skills before risking real money. One successful trade a day can easily put a skilled trader in a six-figure income. Make sure that you know what you’re doing, however.

I could name dozens more ways to make money without a job. But the first step is getting an entitlement attitude out of your head, and getting rid of the belief that you need someone to pay you a salary to make a living. Once you start to get creative, you’ll be telling me ideas!
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