Ways to Make Extra Income Without Much Work

Seth Porges is a major world traveler, with about a dozen countries visited in the last five years. He enjoys meeting new people and learning new cultures, but now with the demands of being a full-time magazine editor in New York, this travel enthusiast has found a way to bring the world directly to his apartment instead—and get paid all the while.

Using airbnb.com, a fast-growing peer-to-peer lodging website, Seth has been renting out the second floor of his two-story duplex apartment to travelers seeking short-term stays in the New York area. He’s been active on the site for about a year and earning great reviews from previous visitors on the site. “I’m booked solid through November,” he says, adding he charges about $90 per person, per night, sometimes more. The extra revenue is helping him pay his monthly bills and bulk up personal savings.

In this economy, with escalating food and gas prices and stagnant wages, who wouldn’t want to make extra money on the side? The trick, of course, is creating an additional revenue stream that requires little time or energy, as our lives are already jam-packed with work and responsibilities. For Seth, the solution is renting out his extra room. So popular is his listing, he has travelers asking to book his extra room in 2013. It’s easy money, Seth says, considering the task requires no heavy lifting or much time out of his day. It’s also a lot of fun, Seth says. He often hangs out with his guests, showing them around New York City and inviting them to outings with his friends.

But renting out a room in your home to a stranger isn’t for everyone. What about renting out your car? Car-sharing companies, such as RelayRides, JustShareIt and GetAround, help car owners rent their vehicles to neighbors and visitors by the hour, day or week. (Don’t worry: Insurance is included). Car owners can set their own rates, and the potential to make money is strong. Car owners at GetAround, for example, can earn about $2,000 per year, according to the company. At RelayRides, the company says average car owners earn between $200 and $300 a month.

Millions of people are also cashing in, while running everyday errands, such as shopping for food, getting a haircut or dining out. How? Mystery shopping. Some retailers will pay marketing companies to hire individuals to secretly review their products and services. Mystery shopping pays little, but the real incentive is in the perks, as shoppers usually get substantial freebies — free groceries, clothes, beauty treatments, etc.—for conducting undercover surveys.

Just make sure, like with any of these offers to make money, to watch out for frauds. The mystery shopping industry has its fair share of dishonest companies, according to career expert Tory Johnson, author of the New York Times best-seller “Will Work From Home”. She recommends only working with certified marketing firms and avoiding job postings that require you to pay any upfront fees. The Federal Trade Commission also suggests visiting the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) website for a database of mystery shopper assignments.

by: Farnoosh Torabi