This edition of Make Money Monday (M$M) is written by Lyle Robinson, a self-employed guitar instructor, performer, web-designer, writer and blogger. For the past twenty years, he has adopted the tenets of voluntary simplicity to live a thrift shop life and has been blogging such things over at The Joy of Simple.
In these trying economic times, extra money can be hard to come by. After all the bill paying, rent or mortgage obligations, and essential survival items like food, clothing and transportation, if you have a few bucks left in your pocket to enjoy life, consider yourself lucky. And that’s if you already have a steady job! Imagine being stuck in a situation where you have little to no money coming in. What do you do then? It’s simple…you revisit your childhood!
Remember when you were a kid? Remember when there was something you really, really wanted to buy but didn’t have the money to do so? Unlike the majority of my friends, my mom was unable to give me a weekly allowance so I really had to fend for myself if I wanted something bad enough. And fend I did by simply asking my mom, parents of my friends and/or neighbors if there was anything I could do to earn some quick cash. Such requests would usually result in me doing a bunch of odd jobs for some decent – and more importantly – immediate cash.
Years later, as an adult, I found myself from time to time going back to those days and doing the same type of work, but for better pay. Here’s a list of most of the “kid” jobs I have done as a grown-up, with a few others thrown in thanks to people I have spoken with. I’ll give you the list first then break it down a little.
“Kid” jobs for adults:
- Dog Walker
- Baby Sitter
- Window Washer
- Newspaper Delivery Boy
- Music Instructor
- Laundry Washer
- Household Chores
- Elderly Assistant
Now, this is most definitely not an exhaustive list by any means, but hopefully you get the idea of where I’m coming from.
So, let’s take a look at these examples in greater detail.
What young boy or girl hasn’t thought of walking a dog for money making purposes at least once in their young lives? If this is a job that you feel is more for the young folk than the older guys and gals, think again! There’s good money to be made by walking dogs, looking after cats, feeding birds and so on. Every summer, when my working friends get to go on vacation, I become the “pet dude”, the guy who looks out for their pets when they are away. It’s a very easy job requiring a few hours or so out of my day and I get to help out my friends who would rather have their pets stay at home than boarding them at a kennel or other pet related away-from-home service. And while I would normally do this for free – since they are my friends – I end up being paid anyway and quite handsomely at that. Over a period of a month and a half, I can make more than a few hundred dollars, which might not seem like a lot, but when you’re desperate for cash, it can be a windfall.
Who hasn’t baby sat when they were in their early to late teens? Well, as an adult, you can provide a baby sitting or nanny service to friends and family for some extra coin. A couple of years ago, a good friend was in a bind as she was unable to pick up her daughter from pre-school for a couple of months due to work issues. If I wasn’t around to help out with some babysitting assistance, she would have been forced to quit her job, which she wasn’t in a position to do so. I ended up making a little bit of money each week, which really helped with my expenses at the time, and she didn’t have to worry about her daughter. A win/win all around!!
When I was in my late teen years, I taught guitar to younger kids for a brief period. Fast forward 25 years or so, and I’m now teaching kids of all ages guitar and making a full time living off of it. It’s a great way to earn a living or to make some decent extra cash on the side and since you are your own boss, the scheduling of lessons is as flexible as you want or need it to be. How cool is that!!??
You know the old expression “I’ll do anything but windows!”?Well…I do windows (and we’re not talking about the Microsoft OS). Or more truthfully, I DID windows when I was a kid. Not many thankfully, but beggars can’t be choosers. As an adult, you could hire yourself out as a window washer to residential customers as well as local small businesses. There’s a small strip-mall near my apartment that has a decent restaurant which I frequent a lot. Over the years I kept seeing a guy in his late fifties show up every morning that I was there, and with a bucket of water, some cleaning solutions and a window scraper/mop contraption, he would clean the outer windows of the establishment. He would then come in to the restaurant, get paid, and then make his way to the business next door. To be honest, I don’t know how much he got paid, but I’m sure it was enough to make him want to come back day in and day out. And seriously, who wouldn’t pay someone a decent amount to clean their windows!?
Newspaper Delivery Boy
Back in my early teens I made a ton of money – at least it was to me – working two paper routes, one in the morning and one after school. This gig lasted a couple of years and definitely took care of all my record buying, movie watching and eating out with friends needs at the time. Well, as an adult you can still deliver the news to happy home-owners, except instead of walking or riding your bike you’ll be delivering the papers from your car or van. I have yet to do this as an adult, but there is a friend of mine in my building who does exactly this for a living. Every morning he gets up around 4AM, drives to the nearest paper depot and loads up his car before heading off to the many neighborhoods around the area. This lasts for roughly four hours and then he returns home by about 9 or 10AM with a full day ahead of him to do as he pleases. To be honest, it is hard work, but it pays him well and he likes the freedom.
I remember when I was REALLY desperate for money as a kid I would let my mom know that I was willing to do laundry for some cash incentive. Usually she would oblige since I don’t think she particularly liked doing laundry either. Now, while I haven’t had to do laundry for cash since becoming an adult, there is a woman in my building who brings in some nice extra cash by doing just that. She simply places an ad on our community board, which is located in the laundry room, and then waits for the calls to come in…and apparently they do since she’s always in the laundry room when I’m doing my laundry. I’ve never been bold enough to ask her how much she makes but I’m sure she does ok.
Much like doing the laundry, when I needed some extra moolah, I would ask my mom for some cash in exchange for me tidying up the house (except for my room of course!). To be honest, I don’t know how good a job I did, but I always got paid so I guess I did ok! Well, as an adult, you could start an in-home cleaning service with just a few cleaning items and a bucket…and of course a willingness to clean other people’s dirty kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and whatever else they ask to be cleaned. This is not a job for everyone, but can bring in some decent cash relatively instantly. Just slap an ad up on Craigslist or Kijiji, and watch the responses come flooding into your inbox.
When I was a young lad, it seemed like I was forever helping out my mom’s older friends with their grocery shopping, dry cleaning pick-up and more. Of course, there was usually a nice tip involved so who was I to say “no thanks!” As an adult, you could offer these same services and more to the elderly community in your neck of the woods. Once again, a simple ad on Craigslist, Kijiji or a local online or offline community board and you’d probably have a few prospective – and very appreciative – clients within the day.
So there ya have it, some kid friendly job ideas that can work just as well in the adult world if need be. Keep in mind, that for the most part, these jobs would most likely be temporary until something better or more stable comes along. After all, when you’re in dire straits and in need of some immediate cash, you’re not thinking about doing these jobs or the rest of your working life.
That being said however, if you find that you truly have a knack for any or all of the above gigs, with a little hard work and persistence, you could turn each and every one of them into your own small business with the potential to scale up over time. And as your business grows, and you need a hand, I’m sure there’s some kid you know eager to make a few bucks for a Nintendo game or comic book.