Audiobook Narrator Jobs: How to Read Aloud and Make Money

Voice actors have been around for a long time, but audiobook narrator jobs have become a surprisingly big part of that industry in recent years.

If I had to venture a guess, I’d say it’s thanks to people’s long commute times and the boredom that comes along with that. Whatever the reason, being a narrator is great for anyone who’s been looking for ways to read and make money at the same time.

If eloquence and precise articulation get you excited, then maybe becoming an audiobook narrator is your calling.

It definitely sounds like an incredibly fun career track to pursue.

Before I start telling you all about this profession and how you can land your first gig, there’s something important you need to know first:

In voice acting, your voice is what’s going to get you hired.

It sounds obvious, I know, but think about that for a moment.

You need to have a pleasant voice.

Unfortunately, no amount of training or preparation can give you that. Like with other forms of acting, you either have it or you don’t.

That doesn’t mean audiobook narrating doesn’t require training or preparation, because it certainly does. But those things need to be fueled by natural talent.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a narrator, read on to find out what skills and equipment you need, the different types of audiobook narration, and where to look for audiobook narrator jobs

What skills do you need to apply for audiobook narrator jobs?

I’ve marveled at the unbelievable talent some people have for manipulating their own voices.

There’s something wonderfully entertaining about hearing someone tell a vivid story, or seeing a fictional character come to life thanks to the voice behind it.

People don’t always realize the amount of skill and talent that goes into audiobook recordings.

You have to consider the right pacing and tone but keep it entertaining, speak clearly, bring life to the story and the characters, and stay true to the original intent of the text.

All of these are necessary skills that you need to work on.

On top of that, very successful book narrators can modulate their voices to portray different characters (in what is known as solo narration), including ones of different genders and with different accents.

This isn’t a required skill, but it can open up a lot of doors for you.

Narration is a technical art form and requires dedication and stamina.

You have to coordinate with the publisher and other voice actors (if there are any), you have to deliver hours upon hours of reading work, and you have to be your own director.

Reading a book out loud is like directing a story that you’re telling; during every moment of the read-through, a narrator has to stay focused on the rhythm, characters, intonation, and enunciation.

Any mistake means doing it all over again.

Possibly one of the most important skills an audiobook narrator should have, however, is good organizational skills.

Books often have a lot of characters to keep track of and it’s important for continuity that the voices of each and the pronunciations of words stay the same throughout the book or sometimes a series of books.

What Equipment Do You Need to Do Audiobook Narrator Job?

1. Professional quality microphone

If you want to get and keep clients, don’t skimp on your microphone.

No matter how great your voice quality is, your recording can be ruined by a cheap mic that records poor quality audio or too much background noise.

It’s also recommended that the microphone you get connects to your computer via XLR, as opposed to USB or wireless microphones.

Also, a microphone stand is recommended, as you won’t want to hold the microphone for hours on end.

You’ll also want to invest in a pop filter, which is a mesh screen that you position between the mic and your mouth. It’s meant to reduce popping sounds from fast-moving air after saying sounds like p’s and b’s.

2. Professional quality headphones

Another piece of equipment that you can’t skimp on is your headphones.

To get and keep audiobook narrator jobs, you’ll need to hear your recording accurately to assess the quality of your voice and background noise while you’re editing.

3. Audio recording and editing software

You’ll need a stable program to record your audio as cleanly as possible without background noise and as little compression as possible.

It’s better if the program can also do editing, as in removing and stitching together splices, reducing background noise, and enhancing parts of the audio as needed.

4. Quality computer or laptop

Your computer needs to be able to handle all the equipment and software you need for narration.

Consider the ports available, sound card, processor, and memory.

5. Dedicated recording space

If you can’t afford a studio just yet, set up a space in a quiet corner in your house with minimal foot traffic, no outside sounds, and without ambient noises from fans, air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances and equipment that might be picked up by your microphone.

Egg crates work surprisingly well as a sound-absorbing material on your walls. You can also look for a desktop mic isolation shield that you can position around your microphone while you record.

5 Different Types of Audiobook Narration

There are three main types of audiobook narration:

1. Solo Narration

This involves just one person reading out all of the lines.

They could be acting out different voices for different characters, or use one tone of voice throughout.

It depends on the publisher’s needs and the type of book.

2. Duet Narration

This is where two people are reading different parts of the book.

It could involve one person as the narrator and another acting out the characters or both acting out different characters.

Sometimes, a book has two different points of view, of which each is then read separately by the two people.

3. Full-Cast Narration

A full cast is a whole production where a group of people is each assigned a different character role to read for.

Sometimes a person can still have more than one role.

As I mentioned earlier, there are also different methods of recording the audio:

4. Punch and Roll

This method of recording involves rolling back the audio a bit to before a mistake was made and then “punching” in a new recording that continues where that part left off.

C.C. Hogan does a great job of explaining this method if you’re interested.

5. Straight Record

The recording keeps rolling until you decide to stop.

This includes mistakes and rereadings to correct those mistakes. You then have to go back later and edit out the parts where mistakes were made.

How Does Audiobook Narration Typically Go?

The exact process varies depending on your employer or whether you work freelance, but in general, here’s how it goes.

You’ll be sent the text to read, often in advance, so that you can prepare.

Familiarize yourself with the book, the characters, any unfamiliar words, accents required, and other elements that can contribute to your narration.

Once you’re ready, start recording your narration with the appropriate cadence, lilt, voices, pronunciations, accents, and everything else required.

When you’re done recording, you can start reviewing and editing your recording to make sure that it’s clean and high-quality.

After editing and processing, you’re ready to deliver to your client and get paid.

How Much Do Audiobook Recording Jobs Pay?

According to established audiobook narrators like Krystal Wascher, someone who’s just starting out in this line of work (even those with no experience) can expect around $80 per recorded hour.

Experienced narrators can get paid up to $250 per finished hour, and sometimes even $500 for the best and most experienced narrators.

There are too many variables and branches of voice acting to get a solid number.

That said, audiobooks can be a great source of both active and passive income, depending on the deal.

Sometimes, a gig pays a flat rate (usually per hour), and other times the narrator will get a percentage of the royalties paid to the writer over a number of months or years.

A ‘finished hour’ does not refer to the number of hours you put in, but the length of the finished audio track.

Some narrators say it takes them about two hours of recording per one finished hour, depending on the number of mistakes, stops, and retakes involved.

Where to Find Audiobook Narrator Jobs

There are dedicated job boards for audiobook narrators, as well as voice actors and talents.

ACX is probably the most specialized and the most popular site to find audiobook narrator jobs.

It works as a marketplace where authors, agents, and publishers can connect with audiobook narrators, sound engineers, recording studios, and other producers of finished audiobooks.

Through ACX, you can find an unlimited number of potential gigs, and the audiobooks you produce will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

Being on ACX is also great for beginners. There are plenty of knowledge resources on their site. Also, it allows you to build your confidence and skills by auditioning to different jobs, plus you can use your recordings as samples to land clients outside of ACX.

Voices.com is a more general marketplace for voice actors, but you can specifically list your services under “Narrators.”

Other job boards for voice actors include Voice123 and Bunny Studio Voice.

Getting a job directly with an author or a publishing company allows you more flexibility in terms of your pay rate as well as a greater chance that you’re hired for future projects if you do a great job at first.

Your first stop should be FlexJobs. This job board vets companies that list jobs with them so you can rest assured you’re not going to get scammed.

The classic freelancer sites like Fiverr, Upwork, People Per Hour, and Freelancer are also great places to look for narrator gigs.

Tips to Be a Successful Audiobook Narrator

Read the book in advance. You’d think this shouldn’t even be said, but you’d be surprised at how many rookies waste time with imperfect recordings because they think they can wing it but get sidelined by unexpected words or accents from characters.

Develop a system to keep track of the characters and their voices. Some narrators color-code text spoken by different characters. Others list down pages and the lines themselves.

The physical descriptions of characters are also important when planning out voices for them. For instance, an active child may speak a little differently from a sick, frail child.

Learn to control your movements while narrating. Any movement you do creates extraneous noise: your clothes rustling, your desk or chair creaking, your foot tapping. If you’re working with a physical book, the sound of the pages turning can also make noise.

Watch your habits. Audiobook narration can strain your voice, so you’d be wise to change habits that will strain your voice even more.

This is a good time to stop smoking and drinking alcohol, especially before a recording session. It’s also a good idea to avoid eating food and drinking beverages that increase mucus output, such as dairy, eggs, soy products, soda, or coffee.

Another tip from the pros is to always have lip balm handy during a recording session. Otherwise, your lips could be cracked and bleeding at the end of a sessiomn.

The Bottom Line

Audiobook narration is only one branch of an over-arching voice actor industry.

There are plenty of other ways to earn a part-time or full-time gig with your voice, though you have to be dedicated and know where to get started.

This isn’t always an easy industry to get into, but it can be a very rewarding one with plenty of career satisfaction, especially if you love reading and like getting paid to read.

Does audiobook narration interest you? Where do you plan to look for jobs? Share your plans with us in the comments!

12 Best Weekend Jobs for Extra Cash

Those with time to spare and boundless motivation may choose to supplement their income with weekend jobs. Maybe you have debts to pay or you’re saving up for a big-ticket purchase, whatever your motivation may be, if you want to explore weekend job opportunities, you’ve come to the right place.

Finding a weekend job that pays well is easier than ever, and we’ll help you get started. We rounded up 12 weekend gigs that fit a variety of skillsets. As a bonus, many of these have the potential to turn into full-time jobs should choose to pursue it.

Let’s get started.

12 Weekend Jobs to Consider

People are willing to pay for convenience. That is a universal truth you can always count on. And if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves, you can make it work to your advantage.

1. Driving People

Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are an obvious choice for anyone with a decent car and extra time on their hands. If you have a good driving record and a good sense of direction, signing up with one of these companies can be a fantastic way to make a living. In fact, many people become ridesharing drivers full-time.

You can choose which days and how many hours you want to work. It’s precisely the flexibility of this job that makes it so perfect as a part-time job that you can do on weekends.

If you’re an extrovert who doesn’t mind small talk, you might even genuinely enjoy this job.

2. Delivering Food

If you have a reliable car but you’re not much of a conversationalist, that’s fine. You can sign up as a food delivery driver instead. Food doesn’t talk back!

Sign up with companies like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and the like. They allow their delivery drivers to choose their own hours and schedule. With Uber Eats, you can even cash out your earnings as often as five times a day. This is a great option if you need cash fast.

You don’t even actually need a car for this. If you have a motorcycle, a bike, or a scooter, or if you like walking, you can still sign up.

3. Preparing Tax Returns and Bookkeeping

Most people don’t look forward to doing their taxes. If they can pay someone to do it for them, they gladly would. You don’t need an accounting degree or any certification to help people prepare their tax returns. As long as you know what you’re doing and you have a head for numbers, you’re good to go. Starting a part-time weekend job as a tax preparer requires only a few simple steps.

Work doesn’t necessarily need to stop once tax season is over. You can also get into bookkeeping. It’s one of the most popular jobs to outsource to part-timers.

4. Dog Walking, Pet Sitting, or House Sitting

Pet owners could always use some help with their pets, whether it’s taking their dogs to the park or having someone stay in to look after their precious furbabies while they’re away on vacation.

If not their pets, then their homes. House sitting is a pretty great gig. You won’t have to do much except probably some minimal housekeeping. It’s almost like going on a staycation, and getting paid for it!

The best way to find a pet sitting or house sitting job is through referrals. People will be entrusting their homes and their pets to you, they’ll feel better if someone they know can vouch for you. Aside from referrals, you should also check online job boards and social media groups.

5. Babysitting

Parents of young kids hardly have any free time, which is why reliable child care is in such high demand. Babysitting is not just for teenagers anymore. Some parents may even feel better about leaving their kids with someone more mature when they go on a date night or when they need to work on a weekend.

If you’re responsible and you’re good with kids, this could turn into a fairly regular gig. Just make sure you let your clients know that you’re not on-call and that you’re only available on weekends.

6. Tutoring

There’s an endless list of possible tutoring gigs out there, depending on your skills or talents.

You don’t need a teaching license for this. You just need a skill that people will pay for you to teach.

You can simply help kids with their homework, teach them how to swim, paint, play an instrument, or speak a foreign language. It’s not limited to kids either. Many adults are looking to learn new skills, too. The possibilities are endless.

7. Renting Your Stuff Out

There are many reasons why people would want to rent furniture or gadgets instead of buying. They could be tourists who prefer to travel light or someone looking to save on something they know they will only need for a short time.

In both cases, it makes more sense to rent. Some popular items to rent out are furniture, car seats, strollers, and various electronic equipment.

If you have anything in your home that is gathering dust and you think it could be useful to some people, list it on reputable renting platforms like Fat Llama.

8. Mobile Bartending

If you have some experience as a mixologist or a bartender, mobile bartending is a pretty good gig. Mobile bars are for parties and private events in locations that don’t have a full-service bar. This can include garden weddings, office parties, and the like.

9. Photographer

Photography is a full-time career for many people and an enjoyable hobby for others. Either way, it requires a considerable investment of both time and money.

If you’re a hobbyist photographer and you’re confident of your skills, you might as well make some money out of it.

You can start a weekend-only photography business. Start by offering photography services to family and friends and tell them to spread the word.

You can do family portraits, glamour and fashion photoshoots, maternity shoots, baby milestone photography, and event coverage for parties.

It all depends on which niche you want to get into. The amount of work you take on is also entirely up to you. This will help hone your skills and build your portfolio.

You won’t be able to command premium rates in the beginning and you might even have to take on pro-bono assignments, but in time, this can turn into a really lucrative venture. Many professional photographers had similar beginnings.

Here’s a giant list of 18 different ways you can make money with photography.

Remote Weekend Jobs

If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home for your weekend job, the internet is chock-full of remote money-making opportunities. These jobs below are only a few examples.

10. Social Media Management

Many small-to-medium businesses outsource digital marketing, content creation, and social media management. Small operations typically don’t have the in-house manpower for it and other related tasks like graphic design and SEO.

If you’re a digital marketing professional or if you have a track record of successfully managing social media accounts and running campaigns, this is the perfect weekend job for you. Because of publishing tools like Hootsuite, this can be a weekend job. All the posts for the rest of the week can easily be scheduled and automated.

You’ll find a lot of part-time social media marketing jobs on online job boards. Depending on the clients you land, you can earn decent money in social media marketing.

11. Search Engine Evaluator

Search engines like Google and Bing are constantly working to improve their accuracy. Search engine evaluators play an important role in this process and this job is usually outsourced to remote workers. To qualify, you’ll have to register on the relevant company’s website and go through an evaluation.

Once accepted, you’re going to start receiving assignments. Your work schedule and your workload are within your control. This is something you can do part-time and only on weekends.

A word of warning here though, be wary for scams and shady “job opportunities”. You should never have to pay to qualify for a job as an evaluator.

12. Answering Online Surveys

Filling out surveys is not exactly exciting work but it can be a reliable source of extra income and something you can easily do on weekends. You will probably not earn a living wage just by answering surveys but if you have time to kill, wouldn’t you want to earn from it?

Anybody can start filling in surveys as it doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge, and brands are continuously looking for opinions and feedback.

It’s really easy to get started, too. Just sign up on apps or websites like Survey Junkie, Toluna, or Swagbucks and start searching for open surveys. Some surveys are open for everyone while others have demographic requirements.

Aside from surveys, you could also look into signing up for research studies. These will typically require more time and commitment, but it also pays more.

The Bottom Line

If your weekends are sacred to you and you’d rather not work, that is perfectly valid. Rest is just as essential to a person’s well-being as work. On the other hand, if you could use the extra money, a weekend job is a godsend.

If you’re just starting out, be patient. Setting up a source of supplementary income or building your client list takes time and effort. If you keep at it, your time and effort will pay off eventually.

20 Good Luck Plants to Brighten Up Your Home Office

Working from home without coworkers or your own little space at the office can sometimes make you feel quite isolated and that’s where good luck plants can help.

Feelings of isolation and even depression are natural, especially if you’re still adjusting from a traditional office to your freedom-embracing, home-based office.

If you’re feeling a bit down, stressed with deadlines, or just downright lonely, how about decorating your home office with some lucky plants to brighten up the office?

What is a Good Luck Plant?

A good luck plant is any kind of plant that is believed to bring good luck, happiness, love and prosperity to those around it.

Good luck plants come in different forms, depending on which mythology you’re following.

In feng shui, there are guidelines to follow when choosing and decorating with indoor plants (or else your luck won’t be too good). For instance:

  • If you want ornamental plants, pick flowering plants with smooth-edged leaves, rounded leaves, or clustered leaves in a favorable number.
  • Go with plants that “purify” the air.
  • Plants with thorns or spiky shapes are bad for feng shui became they “break the positive flow” of wealth and success.
  • Keep indoor plants in pairs when decorating your home. This balances the yin and yang of your home office.
  • Be sure to “bring in” only the number of plants you can commit to. Taking care of plants is just as hard as caring for pets. Make sure you keep it clean to promote the “positive flow of chi” around you.
  • Never keep dead plants indoors – they will cause energy to stagnate.

8 Best Lucky Indoor Plants

For those who don’t have time to plant outdoors, or have no view of the garden, you can bring lucky plants indoors too!

More and more people have embraced the chicness of urban indoor jungles, and there’s no need of getting your hands too dirty – most of the lucky plants for home office can be bought by the pot, ready to bring you some positive vibes as they are.

1. Lucky bamboo

In Feng Shui, the bamboo plant is generally lucky, but how much luck it brings you would depend on your plant’s number of stalks. Interestingly, each number has a specific meaning:

  • 3 stalks – happiness, wealth and longevity
  • 5 stalks – wealth
  • 6 stalks – good luck
  • 7 stalks – health
  • 8 stalks – growth
  • 10 stalks – completions

4 is unlucky in Feng Shui, so don’t keep bamboo plants with 4 stalks.

The jackpot number is 21, wherein it is believed that you’ll be blessed with immense wealth and enduring health.

2. Moth Orchid

Orchids used for good luck

In Asia, business centers are decorated with moth orchid for good luck, mainly because the flowers look like moths (which are actually the ones that symbolizes good luck).

You’d have to place your pot in a shady area with just a bit of sunlight.

3. Palms

Ideal as room dividers or just to remove formaldehyde from carpeting, the Chinese believed that adding this plant to a room can become a Feng Shui element you didn’t know you needed.

4. Philodendron Plant

The leaves of the Philodendron plant mimics the movement of fire.

As such, people who follow Feng Shui believe that the plan could brighten up areas in your office with low energy.

5. Hawaiian Ti plant

Hawaiian Ti good luck plant

Early Polynesians believe that the indoor Ti plant had mystical powers, bringing good fortune to everyone at home.

Like bamboo, it’s believe that if the Ti plant has two stalks in one pot, you’ll be blessed with double the luck and love.

6. Money tree

In Feng Shui, the money tree is believed to bring the grower good luck.

Like bamboo plants wherein the number of stalks dictate your amount of luck, money trees braided into 3 or 5 plants are said to bring more luck.

Never bring in a group of 4 money trees braided together to avoid bad luck.

7. Peace Lily

Peace lilies are known as natural air purifiers perfect for indoors.

In Feng Shui, these lilies are considered a symbol of harmony and good luck.

8. Jade plant

Good luck jade plant

Jade’s rounded leaves are good luck in Feng Shui.

Many Chinese business owners receive Jade while launching a new store.

Placed near the entrance of a shop, Jade plants are believed to bring good fortune, prosperity and success.

If you consider your home office, your place of business, there’s no reason why Jade plants wouldn’t bring you the same fortune.

12 Best Outdoors Good Luck Plants

Does your home office have a view?

If you look out the window, what do you see?

For those who have their backyard within their view, it’s about time you make your sightseeing bring in some luck.

After all, you’re spending most of your day working at that spot. For outdoor plants known to attract positive vibes, check out this list:

1. Peony

It is believed to attract good fortune and prosperity, this flowering plant is named after Paeon (the Green physician of the gods) and used as medicine in the olden days.

2. Citrus and lime trees

Got space for trees? Not only are lime and citrus trees useful in the kitchen, they’re also considered bringers of good health, wealth and longevity.

If you’re bringing in a dwarf citrus indoors, the best time would be Chinese New Year for good fortune directed at your business.

3. Oak

Here’s another tree, but this one can withstand generations, so if you’re interested in passing down America’s national tree to your kids some day, it’s time to get planting.

In the Greek mythology, Zeus believed the oak trees are sacred.

So does Thor, the god of thunder, in Norse mythology.

4. Rubber plants

Rubber plants symbolizes wealth, good fortune and abundance.

Make sure to choose rubber plants with round leaves, since this is where the magic comes from.

5. Lotus

Add lotus to your garden – it brings positive energy, luck and purity.

But make sure to trim wilted flowers or any dead parts regularly to maintain the good vibes.

6. Spider Plant

Not only do spider plants absorb electromagnetic radiation (which come from your PC and gadgets), they’re also known to purify air.

7. Clover

In Ireland, the three- and four-leaf clover is known as a symbol of good luck (It’s why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with white clover everywhere).

8. Sage

It is believed that if you burn sage, it could shoo away evil spirits and bad energy.

So why buy every time you feel disrupted by bad juju?

You can have sage in your own backyard 24/7.

9. Morning glory

Need peace and happiness in your workplace?

The morning glory is worth the wait when it blooms early morning in the summer, brightening up your work day.

10. English Ivy

These aren’t trees or flowery plants, but English Ivy are vines that soften “poison arrows” and keep your place of work or sleep peaceful.

11. Jasmine

Jasmine is said to attract money and love when grown as part of your home’s garden.

Do note that Jasmine has its unique fragrance that could bring your allergies out.

12. Rowan Tree

According to Welsh, Norse and Greek mythologies, the Rowan tree was used in warding off evil. It’s the reason many churches are surrounded by this tree for protection.

The Bottom Line

There’s no harm in surrounding your home office with lucky plants indoors and outdoors.

If you don’t believe mythologies, you should at least believe in science.

According to numerous studies, going green in the office reduces depress, stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Not only does bringing plants into your home office make air to breathe cleaner, it also increases your productivity and creativity.

Plus, if noise has been a constant problem with your home office setup, you’d be please to know that plants absorb sounds, which help reduce noise levels significantly.

Decoration-wise, lucky plants for home are quick and easy ways to spice up your workspace.

5 Best Places to Sell Your Hair Online

Have long, healthy hair and looking to make some pocket money? Consider selling your hair for hundreds to even thousands of dollars!

It’s not as strange as it sounds.

In fact, a lot of people prefer to use real hair in wigs and hair extensions instead of synthetic ones and will pay a pretty penny to get it.

And since hair grows back again, you can sell your hair multiple times throughout your life.

Plus, anyone who can grow hair can do it! It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, how old you are, or what your race is. As long as you have high-quality hair to grow, you have the potential to make money.

Here’s information on what hair buyers are looking for and how to go about selling your hair.

How to Start Selling Hair

Before we dive into how to sell hair, take note that we’re talking about human hair that grows from your head. Nowhere else.

1. Start growing and grooming your hair.

Before you list your hair for sale, you first have to think about what hair buyers are looking for.

First, buyers are looking for virgin hair; that is, they want untreated hair free of hair dye (not even highlights) and chemical treatments, such as relaxants or perms.

You’ll also have to have healthy habits. Evidence of cigarette smoking, drinking, and drugs show up in your hair even after it’s been washed.

You might not think it matters, but hair that is not washed daily is more sellable. Too much washing strips hair of its natural oils and makes it look dull and prone to split ends, making it undesirable.

Also, hair that is not heat-treated or sun-damaged is definitely more desirable, so stop using blowdryers, curling irons, straightening irons, or any other heating tool to style your hair. Start wearing hats when going out in the sun.

Another thing you need to do while you’re growing your hair is to trim it evenly; no layers or asymmetrical cuts.

Lastly, hair buyers want at least 10 inches to work with. Some buyers even require 16 inches.

2. Find the best online marketplace.

You wouldn’t want to be negotiating your hair sale in a dark alley.

Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Legitimate, hair-specific buy and sell marketplaces are online, which means you can make the sale at the comfort of your own home.

Just make sure you pick a site that would work best for you.

I list down the 4 best online marketplaces for selling hair below.

3. Work on your listing.

Each hair marketplace would have different forms and information that you’d have to provide, but here are general guidelines when working on your listing:

  • Measure your hair. You’ll need the length and thickness (in inches) because this is one of the biggest factors for buying hair.
  • Complete details about your hair. Is it blonde with a tinge of red? Is it thick or thin? curly or straight? Make sure you describe your hair as accurately as possible.
  • Haircare habits. This is where buyers will have an idea about the quality of your hair. Indicate if you drink, smoke, or take any kind of drugs. Open up about the shampoos, conditioners, and other treatments you use for your hair. How do you style your hair and what equipment do you regularly use?
  • Hair photos. Deep condition the day before and then ask a friend to help you take high-quality pictures of your hair. Go out in the sunlight, so you can showcase the color of your hair. Take photos of your hair spread out, in a ponytail, in a braid.
  • Price it right. Compare pricing from other sellers on the sites, so you’d be able to price your hair fairly.

4. Close the deal

Almost all the sites below allow you to communicate with potential buyers first before deciding if you want to sell or not.

Sometimes, buyers will ask for discounts.

Other times, they’ll just double-check details about your hair.

Important: Don’t cut your hair before you’ve found a buyer and received payment!

If you cut your hair and the deal falls through, the already-cut hair will lose its luster and you’ll have difficulty finding a buyer for it.

Once you’ve sold your hair, you need to go to the salon to have it professionally cut.

Your clients would specify how exactly they want hair removed from your head.

Secure the hair with bands afterward, and then pack and ship it properly. Purchase insurance or delivery confirmation for your protection.

I’ve also seen quite a few ads that offer the buyer the chance to cut the hair themselves. You may want to decide if this is something you’d be comfortable offering before you make a listing.

How much can you make selling hair?

The price of human hair varies significantly. For example, a 20-inch long, 3-inch thick lock of hair can pull in somewhere between $100 to $1000. This will depend on various factors like your location, ethnicity, color and quality of your hair, and so on.

The average length of hair being sold is around 20 inches, but hair measuring 28 inches and above can bag higher prices.

If you have long locks of hair that you’ve cut in the past and want to sell, this won’t be accepted anymore because buyers prefer hair to be freshly cut.

If a buyer decides to pay for your old hair, it’s likely to be priced lower.

Can you get paid to donate hair?

If you’ve been trying to sell your hair for months and you don’t want to pay a listing fee anymore, you can consider donating your hair to charity instead.

Unlike “donating plasma” but still receiving cash, donating hair means you’re giving it away completely without any monetary compensation.

You’d probably get teary-eyed doing it too, as most of the recipients are kids and adults who suffer from medical hair loss.

If this is something you’re interested in, check out Locks of Love, Wigs For Kids, Children With Hair Loss, and Little Princess Trust – all of which cater to patients who’ll use your hair for wigs.

5 Best Places to Sell Hair

If you’re committed to selling your hair and have taken all of the above preparations, here are the 4 best online marketplaces to get started.

Be sure to check them all out as every site can make an offer different from the next.

1. HairSellon

Most people who want to sell their hair go straight to Hair Sellon.

What I like best about this site is their hair price calculator.

Hair price calculator results

It gives you an estimate of how much your hair is worth based on the length, thickness, and color. You control the price of your hair here, and potential buyers can negotiate with you directly.

2. BuyAndSellHair

Next up is BuyAndSellHair.com which touts itself as the #1 Human Hair Marketplace.

BuyAndSellHair

I’ll be honest. Their inclusion of the word “human” in their headline does creep me out a bit.

Either way, there’s a fee to list your hair here of $14.50 per 3 months. The platform looks more modern than HairSellOn, and there’s a chance you’d get featured at the home page.

There are a number of success stories here and you can browse recently sold hair.

3. Online Hair Affair

Launched in 2008, this website lets you post hair-for-sale ads for $12 for one month, $15 for six months, or $20 for 1 year. Your ad will be active until your hair is sold or the time runs out, whichever comes first.

It isn’t as active as the first two sites, but you do have a bigger space to advertise your hair and an international audience.

There’s also a category for gray hair here, which isn’t available on other sites.

4. World of Wigs

You can sell your hair directly to wigmakers.

They price hair differently here, going by weight instead (about $3 to $5 per oz. of hair).

You’d have to send your hair to World of Wigs, and only once the company receives your hair and assessed it will you be paid.

5. Selling apps

It may seem a little creepy to sell hair locally through different selling apps, such as OfferUp or LetGo. You may even be able to list your hair on Craigslist.

But hear me out.

Wigmakers aren’t the only ones looking for human hair.

Your local hairdresser may be on the market for hair to make into hair extensions.

Or a college student studying to be a hairdresser might need some human hair.

Or a neighbor might need hair to make into high-quality hairbrushes.

If you do go the local route, take measures to avoid being scammed.

Don’t sell hair to the first buyer you get.

Take time to vet your buyer and negotiate the price.

And always choose to be paid via secure methods such as PayPal or Venmo.

Make Money Selling Your Hair!

Selling your hair may seem odd to some people, but if you’re in need of extra cash, it could definitely help out.

$500 to $1000 for 20-inch long hair isn’t small change; it could pay off a bill or take care of groceries for a week or two.

Just make sure you’re mentally and emotionally prepared for the sudden and drastic physical change that cutting off your hair involves.

Other things you can sell that your body generates for free include plasma, eggs, and breastmilk.

Have you ever tried selling your hair? Or planning to grow your hair to sell? Share your stories with us in the comments!

How to Become a Dog Walker & Get Paid

Are you looking for a side gig, career, or even a business that allows you to hang out with dogs as long as you want and as often as you want? If so, you might have wondered how to become a dog walker.

Dog walking has always been around as a side cash opportunity for students, part-timers, and anybody who loves dogs and has some free time.

With the advent of new websites and applications, more and more opportunities to walk dogs are becoming available.

Today, we’ll explore the different websites and apps you can use to find dog-walking gigs and go through the steps of setting up your own dog walking business if that’s the route you want to take.

How to Become a Dog Walker

A dog walker picks up dogs at the clients’ respective homes, leads them through pre-planned walking routes, feeds the dogs, and makes sure the dogs are healthy under their care.

You may not need traditional educational attainment like a college degree, but there are still specific requirements to become a professional dog walker:

  • High school diploma, GED, or any equivalent – Most clients don’t care about your educational attainment, but if you’re planning to work for a dog walking company, know that they prefer high school graduates. It’s a plus if you took high school courses in animal science. If you haven’t finished high school or taken a GED, you could check complete training programs for animal caretakers and become certified.
  • Driver’s license – You may need to drive the dogs to the vet during emergencies, or picking up dogs far from your home.
  • Business license – Check with local laws if you’d need to obtain permits to walk dogs as a profession. (This is a must if you’re opening up a dog walking business though).
  • Experience – Being a dog lover isn’t enough. You need to have experience and knowledge when it comes to controlling their behavior, transporting them on cages, handling restraints, giving first aid treatments, animal nutrition, and so on.
  • Physical fitness – Because the job entails literal walking, you need to be physically fit enough to walk extended periods and be ready to run when needed.
  • A phone – Most dog walking companies work much like Uber, so you’d have to log on to an app and check for active gigs near you.

What skills and characteristics do you need to have as a dog walker?

When pet owners choose dog walkers, they normally look for a few skills or attributes to assure them that their dogs are in good, capable hands.

Here are some of the skills that the best dog walkers have.

Organizational and time management skills. As a dog walker, you’ll need to have a file on each and every dog you handle and dog owner you deal with.

It should have their preferences, medical issues, special needs, and schedules. It’s also good to have contact numbers and payment records for the dog owners.

Interpersonal skills. You need to gain your clients’ trust, and that involves building a rapport with them. Aside from empathy for dogs, you need to have empathy for their owners.

Problem-solving skills. Dogs are unpredictable beings, and you’re likely to experience a few unpleasant situations when you’re with dogs. You’ll need to be able to deal with these situations calmly and with a problem-solving mindset.

Reliability and punctuality. When you confirm an appointment, dog owners need to know that you’re going to keep it. Flaky dog walkers rarely last in this business long.

Genuine love for dogs. It’s going to be a burden to take care of dogs and have their best interests at heart if you don’t love dogs in the first place. If you don’t care about dogs or animals in general, maybe you shouldn’t be a dog walker.

Do you need insurance to become a dog walker?

Professional dog walking involve structured activities, but anything can happen from picking up the dogs, to the actual walk, to dropping off the dogs to your client’s home.

Fortunately, there is insurance available customized for this specific profession to protect pet sitters and dog walkers like you from possible legal action if a dog causes damage while under your watch. A good example of a company you can talk to is Pet Sitter Insurance.

Do you need a license or permit to walk dogs?

In some states, yes. In others, not anymore.

You need to be up-to-date about licensing requirements from the city where you’re offering your services. Determine if your city has limits on the number of dogs you can walk at a time. Learn all about leash requirements and procedures for animal transportation (especially for public transportation), dog waste disposal, or reporting of lost pets.

When it comes to permits, most cities would require you to obtain one if you’re walking dogs within public parks.

Those who are certified dog walkers would have to renew their certifications every so often by taking an exam, paying a renewal fee, or completing continuing education.

Self-employed professional dog walkers may need to record dog license numbers and vaccination histories.

7 Sites to Find Dog Walking Jobs

Aside from online boards and traditional community centers, you can also check these sites/apps out:

1. Rover

Rover benefits

Rover doesn’t just offer dog walking services. It also allows experienced dog sitters to provide house-sitting, doggy daycare, and dog boarding.

Rover is available in over 50 cities, so you’ll have a better chance of becoming a dog sitter here. Plus, you can choose what kinds of services you’d like to offer, based on what you can accommodate or commit to.

To join Rover, simply create a profile, accept requests, and get paid two days after an assignment. Rover boasts that dog sitters can earn $1000/month just by playing with dogs.

Most dog walkers earn around $25/hour, but dog boarding pays the most.

2. Wag!

Benefits of working for Wag

This company only accepts experienced dog walkers who will pass two kinds of tests – one is to gauge dog knowledge, and the other is for situational assessment showcasing how well you can handle unpredictable situations.

Wagwalking is available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Washington DC, Dallas, Miami, and Philadelphia so far, so if you reside in these cities, this company may be a perfect fit for you.

Wag! pays its walkers around $15 to 17 an hour, but your location, competition and reputation can make your personal rates go higher or lower.

3. Barkly Pets

Barkly dog walkers

Barkly Pets is a digital marketplace app designed for independent local dog walkers across the country to customize and grow their businesses. As the only commission-free dog walking app, Barkly Dog walkers set their own rates for services and keep 100% of their earnings—ensuring the quality of service by attracting the industry’s most elite dog walkers.

When customers use Barkly to discover an independent, professional dog walker in their neighborhood, they book directly with the walker of their choice each and every time.

To become a dog walker for Barkly Pets, there’s some extensive vetting (criminal background check, etc.) involved. You’d also need to attend one of the company’s “walker onboarding,” a kind of meet-and-greet with fellow dog walkers.

All Barkly Pets walkers are bonded and insured. As a dog walker, you have to create detailed reports after every assignment.

4. PetBacker

Petbacker
PetBacker is similar to Rover in that it offers services beyond dog walking.

If you’re willing to become a dog sitter, groomer, or a temporary home, PetBacker will match you to dog owners who need your services. You can access PetBacker via its website, Android app, or iOS app.

What makes PetBacker different from the rest is that its rating and review system is more comprehensive.

Clients can chat with a potential dog walker first and get a feel of their personality before making a decision. Plus, PetBacker is available in over 50 countries.

5. Care.com

Care.com

Care is probably the oldest one on this list. The site began as a classified ads website for childcarers and senior carers. They’ve since expanded to advertising housekeeping services and pet care. It is available as an app, and via website.

If you’re an animal lover, you can begin your dog walking business here. You’ll need to fill up an extensive form, detailing your location, experience, services and rates, availability, number of employees, license, certifications and so on.

Rates range from $10 to $30 an hour, depending on your location and type of service you provide. City-based dog walkers usually price their services higher.

What’s great about Care.com is that everything is transparent – you can see address, reviews from past clients, business information, and other important details that other dog-walking apps lack.

6. PetSitter.com

PetSitter.com connects pet owners looking for pet sitters. They offer a variety of services, including pet sitting, pet boarding, pet grooming, dog training, and dog walking.

As a dog walker, you get to view all the dog owners looking for a dog walkers in a particular area and look at their requirements, your responsibilities, and even hourly rates before you even meet them.

Also, you can create your own profile in their website to have pet owners come to you instead.

7. Swifto

If you’re based in New York City or Miami, Swifto is a good option to become a dog walker as a W2 employee; that is, you’re eligible for benefits and insurance.

Most of their dog walkers do between 25 to 40 walks a week, though 15 walks a week is their minimum requirement.

You would also need to commit to them for 6 months.

Which Do You Choose?

Unfortunately, if you’re a professional dog walker choosing between these companies, your choice would probably go down to which company allows you to work near where you reside.

Rover has the most locations in the United States, but it also has the most number of negative reviews.

PetBacker is more beloved by dog owners and is available in 50+ countries, but the company’s vetting system is strict (Only 30% of applicants make the cut to be a sitter on PetBacker).

Now that Barkly has opened up nationwide and completely revamped their business model, their offerings are looking more attractive than ever.

If you’re planning to scale up your dog walking gig into a business in the future, but just want to dip your toes into the industry first, Care.com would be your best fit.

As you can see, I can’t pick for you. Try one, try them all. Just find one that feels right to you.

How Much do Dog Walkers Make?

Dog walkers who join sites like Wag and Rover can earn about $17.50 per walk for the $20 to $30 fee paid by the dog owner. Wag or Rover takes a cut from the fee.

If you build your own dog walking business and do it freelance, you can make from $20 to $40 per walk and be control discounts and other pricing details, the number of dogs you can bring per walk, and the services you wish to offer.

Dog walkers who are doing this part-time can earn legitimately for extra cash (but not as main income). If this is where your passion takes you and you want to bring it up to the next level, start your own, private dog walking business.

How to Start a Dog Walking Business

If you came from Rover or any other dog-walking company, you already know the strengths and weaknesses of each one. You can start by listing these things down and making a business plan based on what you’ve experienced.

Dog walker

However, if you’re coming into the business as a dog walker who wants to scale up his/her services, follow the guidelines below:

1. Acquire an LLC

Get a lawyer, or check out LegalZoom.com if you’re setting up an LLC for your dog walking business.

While there are other types of business structures you can choose, an LLC fits because it separates your liability with your company’s liabilities.

This will prevent clients running after you if ever something bad happens while their dogs are under your company’s supervision.

If you don’t have enough funds for an LLC, visit your city hall or state and see your options for filing a DBA, a.k.a. “Doing Business As.”

2. Build a website and online presence

Websites are so easy to create these days. You just need a domain name, a hosting provider where your domain will call home, and a pre-built theme.

Fill-up the content, add pictures, place your company’s information, and leave a form or contact details…and it’s ready!

You do have to spread the word about your website, since visitors won’t just come popping by once you build the company website.

Here’s where your online presence (Facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media and Web 2.0 platforms come in.

3. Secure permits, licenses and insurance

Park permits, business license, permit to walk more than 5 dogs at a time, and other legal requirements should all be in place before you open shop.

Note that permits and license requirements vary between states.

Insurance is also a must, since it will protect you against future liabilities.

It’s wise to talk to an insurance provider, since general insurance won’t cover everything your business provides. For example, if you’re planning to add dog grooming to your services, you’d need a specific type of insurance as well.

4. Find the right software or build an app

Even if you only have a handful of clients (at the top of your head), you should think big and plan ahead by choosing a scheduling software to keep things organized.

Some freelance dog walkers only use Google Calendar and Google Sheets for this, but you can choose a provider like Time to Pet (a dog-walking scheduler that costs $35/month) if you’re planning to scale up quickly.

If you have extra funds, you can invest in your own custom software or app, where your contractor dog walkers can log in, find assignments, and check their accounts. Consider a platform with invoicing feature for your customers as well.

5. Know legalities (employment laws, regulations, etc.)

Be up-to-date with local and state laws that could affect your business.

If you’re hiring people, check out employment laws. If you plan to groom dogs on top of animal boarding, see what limitations and rules you need to follow.

Learning the legalities and following rules as they chance will prevent any future problems you may face as a business owner.

6. Be Realistic

Compare pricing across your competition in the area you plan to serve.

This is important, since rates vary between cities and states.

Crunch the numbers and determine how much your business needs to earn. While you’re at it, you can also think about prices of your services.

It’s important that you don’t go overboard.

You may get excited and include dog training with your services, but your finances cannot handle hiring a certified dog trainer.

7. Market Your Business

Promote your business everywhere. Print flyers, fill-up online ads (go for free first, then check out paid ads later).

Ask your favorite vet if you can place a poster or leave calling cards there. Stick posters at community centers, your church and other commercial areas nearby.

At the end of the day, word of mouth still is the most effective way of promoting your business, so once you get a client, provide the best service you can give.

Referrals will work to your advantage.

Is Becoming a Dog Walker For You?

Dog-walking gives you plenty of exercise, a chance to go outdoors for at least a few minutes a day, and is simply a fun activity to do!

For others, being a dog walker may even be therapeutic.

I hope this post helped you make an informed decision on whether to be a dog walker and which approach to make.

See our other posts to learn other ways to get paid to walk.

Or, if you eventually plan to open a business that lets you spend more time with dogs, see our article on how to open a doggy daycare business from home.

Does becoming a dog walker sound appealing to you? Did we miss any other dog walking apps? Sound out in the comments!

How to Make Money with a Print on Demand Store

Print on demand, as its name suggest, is a process wherein you work with a supplier to “print” your own designs on white-label products and sell them under your own brand.

Your product could be anything from t-shirts, mugs, artwork on canvas, pillows, and so on, as long as they are sold on a per-order basis.

Print on demand was made popular within the publishing industry in the 1960s.

It was common practice for authors to complete a book, make a deal with a publishing house to print x number of books, and authors only receive a commission for books sold.

When print-on-demand became an option, publishing houses no longer have to pay authors at the beginning of a contract.

Instead, authors were paid after the book has been sold.

This resulted in authors no longer on the mercy of publishers, since they can sell books per-order basis and keep bulk of the profits.

What this meant for other industries is that sellers no longer have to buy in bulk, or stock a huge inventory of their products all the time.

It also meant new businesses can open up shop without big investments, since you don’t pay the supplier for any product until you’ve actually sold it.

What is a Print on Demand?

Print on demand is the process of adding your own designs to white labeled products as they are ordered. For example, instead of ordering hundreds t-shirts that may or may not sell, you take the order first, and then you have to the t-shirt printed.

If you’re a cartoonist, graphic designer, painter, or any kind of artist or business-minded entrepreneur, a print on demand store can be the platform you need if you don’t have much money for inventory, or lease money for a brick-and-mortar store.

Setting up a print on demand store has several benefits:

  • Earn passive income – Create a design once, and wait for sales to pour in. You have total control about marketing your work, so you can either go big or take it easy.
  • 100% manageable from anywhere – Because you won’t be doing any t-shirt screen-printing, or any other “production” process, you can manage your business from anywhere in the world.
  • No after-sales – You own the designs from your store, but even if a customer orders from you, the supplier will handle everything from printing to shipping and even after-sales support. Meaning, you don’t even have to have a lot of time to manage your store.

If you join print on demand sites instead of building your own website, you don’t have to think about hosting and domain name fees, back-end maintenance, and other tasks involved in keeping a website live.

Can you make money with print on demand?

Print on demand sites encourage artists and entrepreneurs to join their websites for free.

Yes, you don’t need to pay upfront to join any PoD site. However, they do get a cut for every item sold from your store.

With this in mind, you may be wondering: “can you make money with print on demand?”

The answer is a huge YES.

Here are 3 solid reasons why I say there’s a huge potential for earning big money with print on demand products:

1. You don’t need to worry about equipment

As a merchandise store, the first thing you’d probably worry about is printing equipment.

And sometimes, you’ll need more than one piece of equipment. Equipment used for making phone cases can’t be used in printing clothes, while canvas printing cannot use the same equipment as laser printing.

When you open up shop with a print on demand site, all you have to invest in are you designs.

No thousands of dollars wasted buying equipment you’re not sure how much you’re going to use.

2. Talk to just a single third-party company

Regular online stores talk to multiple companies, from suppliers to shipping companies, outsourced support, marketing agencies, and so much more.

Negotiating and communicating with these third-party companies just to ensure your store operations go on smoothly day in, day out can be quite exhausting. On top of this, you also have to make sure customer experience remains high, so you need to answer inquiries, follow-ups, complaints, returns, etc.

Print on demand sites take care of everything for you, so you can focus on what matters most: the designs.

If problems arise with your earnings, you only have to talk to the support team of your chosen PoD site.

3. Print on demand sites have fair fees

All Print on Demand sites do not have membership fees, but they do get a huge chunk of the item’s price.

This is absolutely understandable, since they’re the ones investing in equipment, handling daily operations, shipping products and marketing your designs. Plus, your designs are all hosted within their main site.

The advantage here is that you have control over the pricing of your products, which means you can place discounts during popular sale seasons (Thanksgiving, New Year’s, etc.), and then bring it up during peak seasons for your niche.

BUT WAIT…there’s a catch:

There is one major problem you might encounter as a designer at PoD sites.

You have to be willing to market your own “store” because there will be hundreds of artists to compete with.

If you’re lucky to be featured regularly on the Print on demand frontpage, then this might not be such an issue anymore.

But the reality is that even though you can earn big money in print on demand sites, it won’t come overnight. PoD sites do not guarantee that you will have a sale once you set-up your business and upload your designs.

Like other passive income generating businesses, you have to work at it as well to succeed.

What is the best print on demand site?

If you’re ready to begin your adventure selling print on demand merchandise, remember these factors to consider when picking the best print on demand site for your niche:

  • Where you can sell you design – Some Print on Demand sites allow you to sell within their marketplace exclusively, while others allow you to manage your own website and still benefit from their production services.
  • Traffic – The main advantage of PoD sites is the traffic they already have. You’re joining an already-existing, successful website upon launch of your store, so there’s a bigger possibility that your target market is already there.
  • Different products – If you’re just after t-shirt production and sale, you’d have plenty of options. However, if you want to sell various print on demand products at the same time, check what kinds of products are available before signing on to a POD site.
  • Quality of products – Of course, the quantity shouldn’t just be your deciding factor. Even if a particular print on demand site offers over 100 types of products, if the quality of these products are below-standard, then repeat customers may be less likely.
  • Payment and shipping methods – The more options you give customers when it comes to paying and shipping, the more customers you’ll be able to bag. Yes, many customers just go to the next store if you don’t offer their payment method of choice, or if the only shipping company you have charges high fees.
  • Low base cost – This amount refers to the amount your supplier spent to produce your product. If the base cost is low, it means you get to take home higher profits.

Last time, I wrote about 5 of the most popular Print on Demand Sites (Read more about Zazzle, Design by Humans, DeviantArt, RedBubble, CafePress, and Threadless here).

Here are 5 more print on demand sites that are worthy of checking out:

1. Society6

Leaf Group (formerly Demand Media Inc.) acquired Society6.com in June 2013.

This POD offers gadget cases, t-shirts, art prints, wall clocks, shower curtains, mugs, blankets, throw pillows, and more.

What makes Society6 Stand Out: Target features hundreds of artists from Society6 and sells artists’ designs as part of its home decor department.

Imagine how much more people will be able to see those designs (both online and offline), simply just by joining Society6.

Earning Potential: The biggest problem with Society6 is that the POD site has pre-determined base price.

You only receive 10% from the retail price.

You do have control over the price of art canvas, art prints and framed art.

2. Sunfrog

Launched by computer programmer Josh Kent in 2013, Sunfrog quickly became a force in the print on demand space that it sold over $60 million t-shirts, hoodies, shirts, mugs, hats, leggings, etc. by 2015.

Products are printed in the USA and shipped internationally.

What makes Sunfrog Stand Out: Probably the most striking thing about Sunfrog is that they know how to market the site.

The traffic grows each year because Sunfrog works on its social media and search engine optimization.

Earning Potential: Sunfrog pay artists 45% commission for each item sold, which is considerably higher than all other print on demand sites.

3. GearBubble

It’s only been around since September 2015, but this POD site definitely caught up with the rest.

By March 2018, it has shipped over 2 million products across its 150,000+ sellers.

What makes GearBubble Stand Out: Unlike other print on demand sites, GearBubble allows you to sell on Etsy, Shopify, eBay, or Amazon through seamless integration.

This is rare for POD sites, since they prefer to be in control with the sale and day-to-day operations.

Earning Potential: GearBubble is more than just a POD site – it’s a dropshipping/fulfillment provider as well.

As a vendor for GearBubble, you can sell t-shirts, hoodies, necklaces, pendants, hats, mugs, pants, etc. and receive payment via PayPal at the end of each month.

4. Fine Art America

Choose another POD site if you’re looking to sell print on demand shirts alone.

Here you can also sell curtains, cushions, pillowcases and so much more.

What makes Fine Art America Stand Out: This print on demand site boasts hundreds of high-end designs from artists and turn them into house decor items.

Earning Potential: Fine Art America has both free and paid ($30/year) plans.

5. Printify

This print-on-demand service provider allows you to customize over 200 white label products, and then dropship the products directly to your customers.

What makes Printify Stand Out: Printify has unique white label products you can’t find on other POD sites, such as jewelry, water bottles, clocks, and so on.

It can also integrate with Shopify, Etsy and Woocommerce.

Earning Potential: Available as both a free or premium plan ($29/month).

The Bottom Line

Many people have been designing and selling t-shirts since the internet paved the way for people to earn money from the comforts of their own homes.

With print-on-demand products, you can build a small store or scale it up into a massive store, without having inventory on hand, without investing in expensive equipment, and without having to set up your own website.

This is definitely a legitimate way to start an online business, especially if you have limited resources.

Drone Pilot Jobs: How to Make Money Flying Drones

From military to recreational to commercial use, drones have plenty of applications. Thus, drone pilot jobs are increasingly becoming in demand.

Before 2006, the use of drones or UAVs (for unmanned aerial vehicles) was mainly for military applications, such as surveillance, decoy, and weapon.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its first commercial drone permit, and both the government and private companies used drone technology for various applications.

Later on, personal and recreational drones became big, as cheaper versions of drones without the sophisticated software and sensors required by commercial drones became available for amateurs.

Today, both consumer and commercial drones are increasingly used for several applications in multiple industries.

Along with that increase in demand is a growing need for pilots to operate them. Just because they’re unmanned doesn’t mean they don’t need humans to operate them (unless they’re automated drones, but that’s for another article).

In this article, I’ll discuss how to be a drone pilot and what drone pilot jobs are out there.

How to Become a Professional Drone Pilot

Flying a drone requires very specific skills, training, and certification, which all costs money. If you’re determined to succeed, though, your earnings should exceed your investment.

Education

Even if you know how to fly a drone recreationally, it’s still wise to take drone courses, especially if you find courses that are specific to the industry that you’re interested in working.

Some of the schools or learning institutions can even assist you with getting your FAA certification.

A simple Google search will pull up many results, but here are some of the recommended ones:

Equipment

Freelancers must provide their own drones for their services. This is not a simple purchase; a quality commercial drone can cost at least $2,000. If you’re looking for a trusted brand, there’s nothing better than DJI, hands down.

You’ll also have to download drone apps to your smartphone as well as software on your computer.

Some drone accessories that are useful in commercial applications include an extra controller, shade, extra batteries, GPS tracker, emergency tool kit, extra data storage, and bags or backpacks to house your drone.

Certification and Registration

Around 99% of the time, drone pilot jobs require you to have a commercial drone license; that is, if you stand to profit from flying your drone, the FAA has to sign off on it.

For first-time pilots applying for what’s called a Part 107 License, you would need to be at least 16 years old, able to read, write, speak, and understand English, and physically and mentally fit to safely fly a drone.

Take the aeronautical knowledge test (“Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)”) in one of the FAA’s approved testing centers. Once you pass that, apply for a remote pilot certificate, which will be sent both digitally and physically to you.

Afterward, if you’re going to fly your own drones, you’ll need to register them with the FAA, and you need to mark the drones with the registration numbers.

For more details, read the complete information on the FAA website.

How much can a Drone Pilot make?

Full-time drone pilots can make anywhere from $58,000 to $96,000 a year.

The money you can make as a drone pilot depends on several things, including what industry you’re in, how much time you spend marketing your services, the quality of your work, your reputation, and many more.

Freelancers have more flexibility when charging clients.

If you were contracted to take drone photos, you can get paid from $70 to $250 per picture. Mapping, inspection, deliveries, or search and rescue fees are usually set on a case-to-case basis.

But this can still depend on your client.

For example, real estate agencies getting a drone shot of a million-dollar property can bank higher than other gigs. In most cases, you’ll be able to charge higher from corporate clients than from the government or from individuals.

Industries That Offer Drone Pilot Jobs

1. Filmmaking

This is probably the most familiar way that drones are used.

If you’ve ever watched a film in the last five years that starts with an aerial view of a town or scenery, that shot was probably made by a drone.

It’s a bit hard to break into the film industry if you’re not connected or if you don’t live in LA or New York, but send in your resume to production companies, both the big ones and the smaller indie ones, include a demo reel of aerial shots you’ve done, and you may just have an in.

Alternatively, you can go into amateur filmmaking, especially for events such as weddings. You’d be surprised at how many couples would like an aerial shot of the wedding venue (the church, garden, or beach) and the reception in their video.

2. Real Estate

UAVs have been providing realtors with a new perspective that hasn’t been possible before. With aerial videos, still photos, and 3D maps created from data captured by drones, potential buyers can now get a comprehensive view of the property they’re considering buying.

3. Journalism

News helicopters used to be the norm when covering news from an aerial perspective, such as traffic situations, disasters, or wide-scale attacks.

Nowadays, news organizations are using drones to lessen the human risk, the cost, and interference to the scene.

Depending on FAA regulations and what your license allows you to do, you may even be able to cover demonstrations, sports events, and events that have crowds

4. Building and Infrastructure Inspection

Drones are also great as tools for inspection of hard-to-reach areas, such as communication towers, bridges, wells, rooftops, and chimneys of everything from houses to skyscrapers, cables, remote stations and so much more.

Safety inspections, ironically, can be dangerous for the people who normally do this job, so having a drone do the inspection of structures that are on precarious heights.

5. Construction and Mining

Surveying potential and ongoing construction sites used to cost a lot, in terms of both money and time.

UAVs are now used to conduct aerial surveys over a large area to collect photographic and GPS data, which are then processed in specialized computer software to create a digital 3D map of the area.

Once this information is available, those in charge can now decide where they can or can’t start construction.

Mines and quarries do the same thing where they survey a digging site and decide where to dig and where to stockpile materials. They can also determine the volume of a stockpile from the information they gathered.

6. Insurance

Insurance companies are using drones more and more to assess insurance claims for property damage, whether it’s because of fire, weather, or water damage.

Not only does it take longer for manual inspections, but the site can also be a dangerous place to be due to structural damage and the aftermath of what caused the damage.

7. Energy

Wind farms, pipelines, and solar panels are massive and can cost a lot to inspect and troubleshoot. The trans-Alaska pipeline, for example, runs 800 miles. A single leak along those 800 miles can result in environmental damage and financial loss.

Drones with thermal cameras can go along the pipeline and detect leaks and weak spots along the pipeline much cheaper than using a helicopter.

Wind farms, on the other hand, have plenty of turbines, which can rise up hundreds of feet off the ground. Inspecting by helicopter can be impractical here, and drones can do a much better job.

8. Agriculture

You can work with farmers to improve their crop yields by flying a UAV to take photos of their crops and identify which areas need attention.

You can also set up pest-control, irrigation, and crop-planting strategies using mapping and imaging technologies in drones.

9. Search and Rescue

As far as drone pilot jobs go, this may be one of the high-stakes ones but also one of the most rewarding.

At the scenes of accidents or natural disasters, some areas may not be easily accessible by humans and makes search and rescue highly difficult.

Police and fire departments can use drones to survey an inaccessible area to locate people in need of help and divert resources much more efficiently.

While often a voluntary position, you can find search and rescue employment with the government, Red Cross, and other organizations.

10. Package Delivery

Drone delivery is being developed as the next big thing in ecommerce, but the sheer volume of orders would likely crowd residential airspaces, which is not an ideal situation.

Amazon first announced Prime Air in 2013 but hasn’t rolled it out completely.

Some of the companies currently doing this in a limited capacity include DHL, Wing, and Zipline.

Non-profit organizations, hospitals, institutions, and other private companies have been incorporating drone deliveries to clients located in areas hard to reach by vehicles.

However, handling delivery drones is a bit different, since the equipment is more heavy-duty than regular photography drones to be able to carry loads seamlessly.

11. Security

Professional security agencies have explored drones as a surveillance tool, especially in wide areas.

While drones cannot shoo trespassers on the spot, video capture can help in monitoring or documenting multiple areas at a time.

Drones are also being used in private investigations, making it safer for people in the security and surveillance industries to do their jobs. And because drones today can have thermal imaging, HD videos, and other advanced features, drones can survey an area even at a distance and still reach the intended target.

12. Law Enforcement

Drones are useful for tactical operations when stealth is needed, such as pursuing an active shooter in a wooded area or in a crowded building.

Border protection agents can also use drones to monitor a wide area of land, sea, and airspace to detect and track unauthorized vehicles, ships, aircraft, and persons.

These are high-risk operations and thus require great skills from the drone pilot.

The mapping capabilities of some drones also help in crime scene mapping, when evidence is spread over a wide area and criminologists want to study how evidence was dispersed.

You can find drone pilot jobs in both local and federal police bureaus, as well as through the US Customs and Border Protection website.

Other Places To Find Drone Pilot Jobs

There are networks and job boards that are specific to drone pilots of varying skills, experience, and expertise. Here are some of the websites you can check out.

  • DroneBase — Sign up as a pilot and get tons of opportunities to fly drone missions for clients near you.
  • Droners.IO — Network of commercial pilots, probably the world’s largest. Allows those who need drone pilots to post jobs on their website where pilots can bid on them.
  • DroneHive — To sign up to be a drone pilot with them, you need to be able to fly a DJI rotocopter with 20mp sensor. Works with many large corporations.
  • Hire UAV Pro — Connects companies to professional pilots worldwide.

Alternatively, you can go into Google or general job boards and search for “drone pilot jobs,” “UAV operator jobs,” or “UAV pilot jobs.”

The Future of Drone Pilot Jobs: Your Own Business

The drone pilot jobs you can get hired for are mostly on a freelance basis.

However, if you branch out on your own and start growing a fleet of drones, you open up more earning possibilities and maybe even hire a team of your own drone pilots to operate your drones.

You can choose from the industries I’ve listed above or you can find your own niche. Either way, the potential business opportunities are extensive. In fact, a recent report by Research Dive found that the global UAV drone market is expected to grow to around $55.65 million by 2027.

The Bottom Line

Drones do work with a sophisticated remote control, but it doesn’t mean everyone who has had video game practice can do this.

Flying drones is still a unique skill and the drones themselves aren’t cheap, so you’d have to be careful with your equipment while mastering how to fly.

Now that you know how to make money with a drone, you’d have to practice religiously and learn everything you can about the local and state laws of flying drones. Generally, the FAA is the authority of all things flying over the skies, but this agency also won’t save you if your drone flying ways break local or state laws.

Whether you’re going to do this as a freelancer or set up a business around drones, make sure you give leeway for maintenance (or replacement). Track the drone’s mileage and prepare money for emergencies (missing/damaged drones).

If you’re really interested in flying drones as a way of income, you have to understand that this isn’t an easy way to make money. You do have control over how far you want to scale this business and since the market isn’t saturated yet, there’s a chance you can break into a niche industry that nobody hasn’t thought of yet.

Do you know how to fly drones? Do any of these drone pilot jobs sound interesting to you? Tell us in the comments!

15 Best Free Gift Card Apps To Install Now

I love using free gift card apps and finding new ones because I hate paying full price when I don’t have to, especially on items I don’t really need.

(Is there an Amazon Prime Anonymous?)

I’ve always been a bit of a frugal person and love trying out new ways to save (this blog stands as a testament to that) but I wouldn’t call myself a master at saving.

I don’t normally put in the effort and go to thrifty extremes to save as much money as possible.

Instead, I just turn to easy ways to spend less or get more out of my money—like getting free gift cards on mobile apps.

Here’s what makes them so great:

They offer one of the best ways to shop for what I want without all the guilt of spending more than I should. Plus it appeals to my greener side too—no paper!

It’s surprising how many apps out there give out free gift cards. And it’s just as surprising to learn how few people actually know about it. Which lead me to create this list of the best free gift card reward apps.

If you’re looking for an app that will suit your pocket and your lifestyle, then scroll on.

I’ve divided the apps into several categories so you can find what you’re looking for to start earning gift cards straight away.

Don’t have time to try out all the apps I’ve listed below? Then simply have a look at my top 4 picks for the best gift card apps and try those few out instead.

4 Best Apps for Free Gift Cards

Quickly find the app that best fits your needs and lifestyle:

For the best money > time spent ratio: Ebates

For the simplest gift card system: Ibotta

For the best assortment of gift cards: instaGC

For the easiest way to earn gift cards: Swagbucks

My absolute favorite app for free gift cards is Swagbucks. It’s super simple to use, offers a good points rewards system, and is still one of the most legitimate ways to earn free gift cards.

How do you earn free gift cards?

It’s never been easier to get free gift cards than now thanks to the many apps and websites out there that offer them.

Do keep in mind that while the gift cards are technically “free” you do have to exchange something for them.

Most of the time it is access to your personal information, whether it is shopping habits, location history, browsing history, or other similar information. Research companies use this data to better refine their algorithms to get consumers to buy more. They are willing to pay in exchange for this information.

Apps and websites will normally have you perform a task or complete surveys.

By far the easiest way to earn free gift cards is to join a program that pays you a percentage back on your purchases. You don’t have to do anything differently and you get paid. It’s a win-win-win.

15 Free Gift Card Apps to Install Today

I’ve broken down my recommended apps into three different categories.

Apps That Pay You to Do Various Tasks

1. Swagbucks

Swagbucks is one of the most well-known get paid to (GPT) apps on the web.

Probably because it’s so incredibly easy to use and offers gift cards for Amazon. I also have a great list of ways to earn Amazon gift cards if you’re looking specifically for those.

With this app, you get paid to do a variety of simple tasks that won’t take longer than a couple of minutes a day.

They’ll have you do things like watching videos, answering polls, taking surveys, and playing games.

When you complete a task, you earn SB points and one SB point comes down to about $0.01. So 300 points will equate to $3.

2. InboxDollars

InboxDollars is another popular app that lets you earn by completing different tasks.

You can earn cash back and gift cards for activities like searching the web, watching videos, shopping online, and answering surveys.

I really like this free gift card app because you can earn cashback by doing things that you might want to do anyway, such as downloading an app or shopping online.

If you’re really keen on that idea, then check out my article on super easy ways to earn money with your phone.

3. MyPoints

Swagbucks and MyPoints are owned by different companies, but they differ in tasks as well as the values you can redeem for gift cards.

You can shop on MyPoints.com and find various promos, coupon codes, and deals at thousands of stores. Earn points while you shop and exchange these points for gift cards or PayPal credits.

MyPoints.com also gives you rewards for answering surveys, watching videos, and other small tasks.

It makes sense to join both Swagbucks and MyPoints to maximize your rewards.

4. instaGC

instaGC works pretty much just like the other apps listed above. You have to complete different tasks like watching videos, completing surveys, and surfing the web.

They have a huge selection of gift cards too, with over 350 options to choose from.

5. CheckPoints

When you sign up for CheckPoints, you’re shown a variety of tasks, such as watching videos, taking quizzes, signing up for mailing lists, shopping, and many more.

Completing each task earns you a certain number of points that you can exchange for gift cards from Amazon, Target, Walmart, and other major stores and retailers.

They also host a Sweepstakes where you can win gas money, shopping sprees, and many more.

Apps That Pay You to Do Specific Tasks

6. iPoll

This survey app is unique in the sense that it uses your location to provide location-specific polls and surveys.

You can earn gift cards for Amazon, iTunes, and PayPal, as well as entries into the quarterly draw.

7. Toluna

Earn gift cards by voicing your opinion with Toluna.

All you have to do is answer a few simple surveys about various subjects and earn points for your answers (there’s no right or wrong answer of course).

You can then use these points for gift cards at popular places like Banana Republic and Groupon.

8. Poll Pay

Poll Pay is a paid survey app where you can get free gift cards from Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, and many more.

It’s simple to sign up and you can even get additional rewards for inviting your friends to sign up, too.

9. AppNana

AppNana allows you to get rewards (i.e., earn Nanas) when you download free apps and games from Nana Offers.

In case you get any funny ideas, note that you need to actually open the free apps after installing them, or else you won’t get the rewards.

Other ways you can earn Nanas include watching videos, playing games, and inviting friends to sign up. You even earn 400 points just for opening AppNana.

Your Nanas can be exchanged for free gift cards, such as Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Xbox, and many more.

Alternatively, you can exchange your Nanas for paid apps and games.

10. Rewarded Play

As its name implies, Rewarded Play is a free gift card app that lets you play free games in exchange for gift cards to over 20 retailers, including Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and Walmart.

The free games are a mix of classic ones, such as Solitaire, Yahtzee, and Mahjongg, as well as more modern ones, such as Words with Friends and various slot machine games.

Unfortunately for iPhone users, this app is only available for Android users.

Apps That Pay You Back for Your Purchases

11. Mobee

Ever heard of mystery shopping?

Well, with this free gift card app, you don’t necessarily have to buy anything to earn. You’ll have to apply for “missions” where you evaluate the shops and restaurants close to you.

According to the app, each trip will only take a couple of minutes and you’ll have to answer 10 questions or less to complete the mission.

You’ll earn points with every mission which you can then spend on gift cards for popular places like Dunkin’ Donuts and Walmart.

12. Drop

If you want to get rewarded for shopping then Drop is your best friend.

While using this app, you’ll get to peruse their exclusive deals with various stores like Target.

If you see a deal you like, then you can head to the store to make a purchase and earn Drop Points.

You can then use those points to redeem gift cards when you have built up enough points.

13. Ibotta

Ibotta is great because it lets you earn gift cards for something you’re already doing: buying groceries.

By scanning your receipts, you earn cash back for buying everyday products like bread or toothpaste.

Sometimes you have to buy specific brands and other times you just have to buy the type of product.

14. Ebates

Ebates is a really awesome free gift card app to use because they’re supported by thousands of online stores and you can earn up to 40% back.

You can shop through their site, but they offer additional discounts for mobile users via their gift card reward app.

You can redeem your gift cards at major retailers like Amazon, Starbucks, and Home Depot.

Or, you can get a big fat check if you prefer cash!

15. Receipt Hog

Just like the other shopping apps in this category, Receipt Hog makes it simple to earn reward coins and redeem these coins for gift cards.

All you have to do is take a photo of your receipt from any store, gas station, restaurant, or coffee shop and upload the image.

You can also earn bonus coins when you get free spins on the Hog Slots. You also get entered in monthly sweepstakes with a chance to win huge coin prizes.

Once you’ve reached enough coins, you can exchange the coins for Amazon gift cards or PayPal cash redemption.

Final Thoughts on Free Gift Card Apps

The great thing about gift card reward apps is that they’re pretty much instant in terms of gratification.

They’re conveniently right there on your phone and you can usually redeem them whenever you want.

That said, there are a few other options out there to get free items for those who are a little bit more patient, like getting free samples by mail.

It’s not exactly gift cards and it’s not as instantaneous, but come on, getting free stuff you want is just as fantastic!

Have you tried any of these apps? Did you indeed get free gift cards when you used these apps? Did I miss any apps that actually pay? Let us know in the comments!

How to Extreme Coupon and Save Buckets of Money

Not everyone has the time or means to set up a side-hustle. Sometimes our work and lives just take over, and at the end of the day, it’s impossible to add another thing onto our plates. Learning how to extreme coupon, however, is an easy way to save money in a way that keeps those plates full (but in a good way).

Here’s the secret:

Living well isn’t about earning the big bucks (though that certainly helps), it’s about using what you have to your advantage and doing it in a smart way. Extreme couponing isn’t for poor people, it isn’t hard to do, and it certainly isn’t “gaming the system”.

All of us have to buy groceries anyway, and coupons are freely available to anyone. Everyone who’s genuinely interested in being smart with their money will take advantage of that opportunity.

Extreme coupon clipping might seem a tad eccentric, but there’s a reason why this “hobby” was popular enough to get its own television show – it works and anyone can do it.

Well, maybe not with the intensity that they take it to on television.

Still, couponing has helped plenty of people stretch their money as far as it can go.

And the trend is catching.

Are you ready to start saving? I’ve gathered everything you need to know about how extreme couponing works below, along with some extreme couponing tips to help get you on your way.

What is extreme couponing?

Extreme couponing is a much more involved process than simply using a few coupons every now and then. People who use coupons on a regular basis save a bit here and there, while extreme couponers go shopping with the specific purpose of spending as little as possible thanks to sales, offers, and extreme couponing techniques.

Planning and diligence are definitely required to become an extreme couponer, especially in the beginning when you start learning the “tricks of the trade” as it were.

Luckily, as with most hobbies, the process becomes easier with time as you learn the skills necessary to complete your goals and find what works for you.

After a while, you’ll be a true coupon connoisseur and it will feel as natural as regular shopping feels now.

How to Start Extreme Couponing

To start off with, you’ll need to get the right supplies, and set aside some time to find and sort through your coupons.

You will then have to find the coupons – there are plenty of ways to do this.

The most popular ways to find coupons include newspapers, magazines, coupon websites, physical and digital store sales fliers, forums, and via machines at the store.

I go into much more detail about how to start basic couponing in this article, in which I outline where you can find coupons and how they work. That article contains all the information you’ll need to get started as an extreme couponer.

Like I’ve said, extreme couponing won’t take up as much of your time as taking on a side-cash opportunity will, but it will still take up a couple of hours a week.

The amount of time you put in really depends on how dedicated you are to finding and organizing the coupons.

Also, just remember that the key to making this worthwhile lies in keeping up the habit of collecting, sorting, and using coupons.

There’s no such thing as “I’ve saved enough” – that’s not the extreme couponer’s way. Instead, make this part of your lifestyle, and eventually, it will become a natural part of how you shop, helping you save thousands.

How do I get coupons for free?

There are plenty of ways to find free coupons.

These are the main ways extreme couponers gather coupons for free:

  • Find printable coupons online. There are plenty of websites that list them and forums where people give away coupons they don’t use.
  • Look for coupons at the store. They can come from fliers located at the front of the store, next to the products in the aisles, or by the cashiers.
  • Sign up for online newsletters from stores and coupon websites. They often send digital coupons in their emails.
  • Get a loyalty card. Stores like to offer special discounts and deals to the people that have loyalty cards. They sometimes also have special coupons that can only be redeemed by using this card.

Sometimes it’s worth it to spend a little money to get great coupons, like subscribing to a newspaper or buying them at a discounted price from people online.

Just make sure these are coupons for products that you will actually use, and that you can redeem them at a store near you.

Which stores offer double coupons?

It’s very hard to get a comprehensive list of stores that offer double coupons because this differs from one state (and sometimes even county) to another.

Store policies change regularly too, meaning that any list I put here could be outdated in a month or two.

That said, there are a few coupon websites that try to keep up to date.

For a list of stores that accept double coupons in the US, for instance, check out the Grocery Coupon Network.

In the end, though, you might want to contact your favorite local stores directly to find out about their policies, even if they’re on the list.

Which stores let you stack coupons?

The following stores, to name a few, do allow coupon stacking for certain coupons at the time of publishing this article:

  • Target
  • Kohl’s
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
  • Dollar Store
  • Family Dollar
  • Petco

A Few Extreme Couponing Tips

1. Sign up for store emails.

They will send you electronic copies of their sales fliers, saving you the extra time it would take to get those fliers from the store.

It also means you can plan ahead, which is a big part of extreme couponing.

2. Poke around on couponing forums.

As well as comments sections on coupon sites. The extreme couponing community like to give tips and updates on current coupons that you might have otherwise missed. This helped me out a lot back in 2009 when I first started looking for bulk coupons online.

3. Make money with extra coupons.

You can even make a bit of money off of couponing by sharing any online coupons that you know about.

Some sites will pay you for the (valid) coupon codes you submit.

4. Don’t buy what you don’t need.

Not every coupon will be valuable to you.

It isn’t worth it to purchase something just because you have a coupon if you won’t end up using it.

So instead, organize a coupon swap with a fellow extreme couponer so you can find coupons you want while getting rid of those that you won’t use.

It’s a win-win!

5. Know when to wait.

One of the core pillars of extreme couponing is to only buy items that are on sale and to then combine that with coupons and other discounts.

This means that you won’t necessarily get brands or food items that you would normally buy.

But it does lead to some creative thinking when it comes to meal preparation.

6. Research store polices.

Make sure you know the store policies ahead of time and choose an off-peak time to shop.

Unlike on the “Extreme Couponers” show, cashiers won’t be all too thrilled to see you plop down your stack of coupons.

Neither will those people in the line behind you.

It will take some time to go through everything, so try to make the process as smooth as possible.

The Bottom Line

If time is a big issue and extreme couponing isn’t enough for you, then you could consider looking at some fast ways to make money online.

But saving up and using coupons is a really great way to stretch your income as far as you can.

Plus you can save a bit even if you only put in minimal effort.

Have any extreme coupon clipping tips of your own? Make sure to share them below so we can help each other out!

How to Make a Million Dollars: 7 Realistic, Actionable Ways

I’m sure each one of us at some point has dreamed of becoming a millionaire. But how does one make a million dollars?

It’s been searched millions of times in search engines, and the search results direct you to books, seminars, tutorials, and many more instructional materials.

But how about asking those who weren’t born millionaires and had to claw their way to their first million and beyond?

In this article, I’ll share some insights from self-made millionaires to inspire you to earn your first million dollars and continue building your savings while you’re in the prime of your life.

How to Make a Million Dollars, According to Modern-day Millionaires

There is no single blueprint to reaching your first million dollars, but these guidelines have been used by many self-made millionaires, so they’re a good starting point.

Depending on your financial standing or unique situation, you can skip some steps, or mix-and-match to reach your goals.

1. Get out of debt.

Ask any financial advisor how you can begin your journey to your first million dollars and this step is always a must.

Why?

You can’t save, invest, or grow your money through any means if you’re deep in debt.

Doing so will be discouraging since every time you go forward, you need to go backward to pay off some debt.

That said, you need to know the difference between good debt and bad debt.

Good debt is borrowing money to buy a home or getting a student loan to get a degree in a lucrative field. It’s essentially an investment to get a property or an asset that increases in value over time.

On top of that, the interest rates for these debts are relatively low.

Bad debt is borrowing money off your credit cards for shopping sprees for stuff you don’t need or getting an expensive student loan to get a degree in a dead-end, low-paying field.

These are the ones that you want to pay off first, and quickly.

But good or bad, know that whenever you get a paycheck or a windfall, the first item on your list to pay is your debt.

2. Own your home.

Speaking of good debt, owning your home is a good way to get on track to making a million dollars.

Over the long term, even when housing prices fluctuate and even if you have to borrow to own it, you’re more likely to reach your financial goals when you buy your own home instead of renting.

This is especially true if you buy a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, allowing you to lock in your monthly housing payment. When your wages increase, the percentage of it that goes to your housing payment decreases, leaving you more money to save, invest, and grow.

3. Create an emergency fund.

One of the easiest and most common ways of going into debt is being unprepared for accidents, hospitalizations, and other unplanned expenses you didn’t account for.

Having an emergency fund gives you a buffer for unemployment, car repair, appliance replacement, or other unexpected expenses.

Experts recommend building an emergency fund starting with at least three times your monthly expense amount. So if you need about $2,000/month for bills, food, and other day-to-day expenses, then you should try to have at least $6,000 in your emergency fund.

This is aside from your long-term savings account.

To make it simpler for you to build your emergency fund, automate transfers from your payroll account. This way, you’ll forget about your savings as part of your spending budget and you’ll train yourself to spend only what’s left.

Speaking of automating transfers, it’s better if you apply this to all your necessary spending: payments to your debt, bills, savings, and investment accounts if you have them.

4. Develop multiple streams of income.

Having a regular job that pays you more than minimum wage and lets you afford your day-to-day expenses with a little towards your savings may seem like enough.

Unfortunately, relying solely on your salary won’t get you any inch closer to becoming a millionaire (unless, of course, your job is the CEO of a multinational company).

Becoming an entrepreneur and creating multiple streams of income will get you closer to making a million dollars.

In fact, most of the world’s millionaires and billionaires are business owners and self-made millionaires (as opposed to heirs of already-wealthy families).

Business doesn’t have to mean a brick-and-mortar business. You can start an online business.

Your time is valuable, so set up a business (or multiple businesses) once, perform minimal upkeep, and basically wait for them to earn while you sleep. The revenue you collect from these sources is considered passive income.

When choosing among many money-generating businesses, pick the business(es) that can bring in passive income. For example:

There are plenty of other passive income-generating business ideas out there. Find which ones would fit your personality, commitment level, and fund availability.

5. Become an expert in your craft.

Aim to be one of the best in your industry, whether you’re a doctor, graphic designer, copywriter, lawyer, or any other profession.

When you’re at the top of your game, you can command higher salaries and land promotions to higher positions.

CEOs earn somewhere between $10 to $20 million annually depending on how big the company is.

Investing in your skills also doubles your salary, so earn an MBA, learn new technology, take up another specialization, and so on.

Your hard work will pay off in the long run.

Here are several things you can do to master your craft:

  • Polish your communication and negotiation skills (no matter your profession). Comedian Melissa McCarthy talks about how these skills can help you reach your million-dollar goal)
  • Completing an MBA or Ph. D. degrees automatically increases your value as an employee
  • Outsource administrative or repetitive tasks. Know the value of your time by only using it for tasks no one else can perform but you. Hire an assistant for general tasks like email correspondence, phone calls, bookkeeping, etc.

As an expert in your field, you can even turn your career into a business and get closer to making a million dollars.

For example, you can offer consultation services, build a blog, write a book about everything you know, become an influencer, and so on.

Filmmaker Spike Lee has made a name for himself in the film industry and knows his value. He told Wealthsimple in 2017 that he has “no problem asking people for money” because he “believes in my talents, my storytelling abilities, and also the people I surround myself with on the projects that I make.”

6. Invest your money.

When it comes to investing your money, self-made millionaire and best-selling author (of Personal-finance blog Grow from Acorns) David Bach recommends “diversifying investment, but keeping it boring.”

You invest the money you already have so it could work for you. You don’t need to dig deep into trading stocks or investing in startups, you just have to stick to a solid strategy.

Examples of this include:

  • Investing in real estate. If you have extensive knowledge about real estate and construction, you can even flip it for profit.
  • Rent out unused homes, apartments, condo units, or rooms via Airbnb
  • Invest in the stock market (learn about index funds and how it could bring in passive income)
  • Build a portfolio of high-dividend stocks and real estate investment trusts (REITs)
  • Buy an established blog and resell it 24 times its monthly income.

7. Protect the wealth you do earn.

Insuring yourself won’t add to your earnings, but will protect it from being wiped out if you get in an accident and need medical care or you’re found liable for something.

Liability insurance should protect your assets as well as your future income in case you get sued and required to pay damages.

Another way to protect your wealth is to get long-term care insurance. There’s no sense in building your wealth only to lose it all when you retire to a nursing home.

3 Tips from Millionaires

Earning a million dollars won’t come overnight. It will involve a lot of hard work, so you better buckle up.

To increase your chances of reaching your goal, I cherry-picked three of the most common advice given by millionaires:

1. Build a daily routine

Millionaires value their time and make sure that every minute counts. Sticking to a routine allows rich people from living their lives as balanced as possible.

Key routines millionaires follow include:

  • Waking up early to meditate, exercise, walk, stretch, and do other stress-relief activities
  • Reading (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and other highly successful people read every day)
  • Working smart (delegate, outsource, and focus only on priority work)
  • Leaving work at the office
  • Sleeping at least 7 hours a day

Building a routine takes practice and some trial and error. When you find a routine that works for you and lets you become the most productive, then stick to it.

2. Find a mentor

There’s a reason why millionaires spare time for reading. Advice from other people who have done it better than you is probably the most valuable resource you can find.

You don’t need to hire a mentor during your journey to earn your first million dollars (but if you can afford it, there’s no reason not to hire one).

Just make sure the mentor you choose is the best resource person in the industry you’re trying to climb up to.

For example:

How about the smaller guys? TubofCash.com owner Timothy Kim (who earned his first million only in 2017) invested about $70k within a span of six months for a mentorship under several people, including Instagram influencer Jason Stone’s Millionaire Mentor program, real estate mogul Grant Cardone’s 10X Growth Conference, and internet sensation Tai Lopez.

If you don’t have the funds for world-class mentors like these, you can try the next best thing: check out their books, videos, seminars, online courses, and other resources.

3. Spend well

It wouldn’t matter if you’re halfway through your million-dollar goal if you don’t know how to spend your money properly.

Unfortunately, spending is easier than earning, which is why you should follow these personal finance tips:

  • Automate savings, bill payments, investments, and debt payments — If you automate paying for monthly expenses and transferring savings between your accounts, you’ll be able to get out of debt and only spend the necessary cash.
  • Buy in bulk. — Heck, even billionaire Mark Cuban reportedly buys 2 years’ worth of toothpaste if he encounters 50% off promos.
  • Audit expenses and track spending. — These things can change over time, so if you’re not using your Hulu or HBO subscription, you can strip it from your expenses and allocate that cash for other more important things.
  • Use coupons. — Make couponing into a habit. It’s like free cash! Most coupons are available for items we use every day, from shampoo to laundry detergent, pet food to clothes, and a whole lot more.
  • Follow a meal plan. — Eating out is one of the most common drains on your budget. Prep your week’s meals during weekends, so you can avoid eating out and spending extra on a whim.
  • Be vigilant with your energy consumption. — Consume less energy so your gas and electric bills go down.

Most importantly, don’t fall for the lifestyle creep.

Earning thousands of dollars doesn’t mean you have to start wearing luxury clothing or drive a sports car.

Remember how Steve Jobs only wore his trademark black long-sleeved shirts and jeans for most of his career?

Keep your spending simple.

Ready to make your first million dollars?

Making a million dollars seems like an impossible dream, but hopefully, this article has convinced you that it’s an attainable goal.

Not only is it a goal, it’s now a necessity.

If you want to retire comfortably by the time you’re 60 or even younger, you’ll need to save a million dollars by then.

But even before you retire, you can aim to make your first million dollars so you can make that money work for you, make you even more money, and get a taste of financial freedom.

As you’ve seen, there isn’t one single path to making that first million; there are many different ways that require mental and financial discipline.

Which one of these methods seems like a good fit for you and your lifestyle? Or have you already made a million dollars? Tell your stories in the comments!