Safe to say we all want to find ways to make extra money. We’d be crazy not to, right?!
Which is why I talk a lot about how to grow your business and make the right decisions so you’re profitable at the end of the day. We know that growing your business (no matter how small today) is the ultimate goal and can change your life.
So I think it’s important to ask ourselves “why”.
Why do you want to grow your business? What keeps you going when things get tough?
And often the answer comes back as “to support my family” or “spend more time with my kids”… which then is followed with “so I need to make some extra money in order to… [insert: pay some bills, quit my job, take some pressure off of my husband’s hours]”.
Making extra money can change our lives in so many ways, you can:
- pay off debt
- say yes to new opportunities, like a different job with better hours or flexibility (but maybe less pay)
- save for college funds (I’ve heard kids are expensive, is that still true? lol)
- take your family on an awesome vacation
- save for retirement
- pay off home loans faster
- and my favorite one… invest in your business so you can grow and reach your dreams
I realize this post may seem a little out of place in a site focusing on marketing your shop; but the purpose of creating additional income outside of your shop is to provide breathing space for your business.
When we’re fearful of spending money, worried about pinching pennies, and making cautious moves because we don’t feel we have the funds or like we “deserve it” – it causes so much harm to our potential growth. And not just for our business, but emotionally too.
I share this because I recently met with a friend who went full-time with her business and she attributed one thing as the reason for 90% of her success: financial freedom to make choices.
Financial freedom to:
- only say yes to the projects she absolutely wanted to work on and was excited about
- more importantly, say no so she could take time off to be with her son
- charge what she was worth, even if that meant walking away from paid opportunities
- feel confident in her rates, knowing she wasn’t desperate for money this month
The simplicity of her answer really struck me and has left me thinking ever since, “How can I create financial space in my business?”
For you it might mean:
- saving up money as you build your business, so you can go full-time
- working on the projects you most enjoy
- having more free time to experiment with new creative ideas and creating ‘just to create’
- feeling confident with your pricing, knowing it’s okay if a customer passes because they can’t afford its value
So often I see small business owners say things like:
I’d love to invest in a better email system as I know it will help my business, but I need to earn a little more from my shop first.
This course would be so helpful in getting me to that next step, but I need to save up for it first.
While I wholeheartedly agree and want you to feel comfortable spending money on your business, when you read those statements it’s also obvious how self-limiting they are.
You know doing ‘xyz’ will grow or improve your business (and therefore, increase sales + profit); yet you’re not financially comfortable enough to make that first step (and therefore limiting or slowing down the process of reaching that next milestone).
I believe that’s what we call a hamster wheel my friends.
So let’s step off it.
I wanted to give you some simple ideas on how you can earn extra money to fund your creative business, take that online course (shameless plug), plan a vacation, pay some bills, whatever your heart desires. While there’s a lot of advice already out there on ways to make extra money, I created this short list with YOU in mind — they’re achievable, things you’ll actually do, and don’t add a ton of scheduled hours to your already busy day.
(I mean seriously, some lists suggest “start an Etsy shop” – like duuuude, if it were that easy, right?!.)
With that, let’s get started!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you sign up or purchase through my link. Thank you for your trust + support of The Shop Files! I only recommend what I use + love myself.
This is part 2 of 3 of the Make Mo’ Money Passive Income Series.
Part 1: Take the (free) Passive Income for Creative Shop Owners 3-day course
Part 2: How to Make Extra Money to Fund Your Creative Business
Part 3: How to Sell Printful Products on Etsy (aka how to sell physical products passively)
1 | Ebates
IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE – AT LEAST DO THIS. STUPID EASY.
The dream = getting paid to shop, amiright?
Ebates is so dead simple that if you’re not signed up yet, you will be in 5 seconds. Ebates pays you cash back when you shop the stores you’re already buying from online.
That’s it. No gimmicky runaround. No earning coupons or ‘unlocking’ special offers. It’s really as simple as it sounds. You can even still use coupon codes, promotional codes and discounts when you shop through them.
Create an account > start any shopping trip through ebates first (or download their really easy browser plug in) > shop as usual > earn cash back.
Plus, you’ll receive a $10 cash welcome bonus when you spend $25 online through Ebates, click here to sign up.
Do you shop at Kohl’s, Ulta, Loft, Walmart, Macy’s, Amazon, American Eagle, J.Crew AND THE LIST GOES ON…. then you need to sign up, like today!
2 | Clean out your closet
Go all KonMari on your ass, rummage through your closet and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”
(Not sure what the heck I’m talking about? Check out this life-changing book. Really.)
If it doesn’t “spark joy” – decide whether to toss, donate, or sell at a resale shop. I’ve earned several hundred dollars throughout the past years by dropping off clothes at different resale shops. Depending on the brand + clothing style, each shop will accept different items; but I usually gave it 2-3 rounds of shops until whatever was remaining I’m forced to admit was better suited for donations.
Don’t have time to drive around to shops? Try ThredUp!
They send you a clean out kit, you fill it up with your gently used clothing – they handle the rest! They’ll assess each item, determine a price, and either decide to buy it on the spot or sell it on consignment. You can then take your payout as a credit to shop, donate to charity, or receive cash through PayPal. Seriously easy.
AND they have a kid’s section! Because while your kids are cute, growing like a weed and throwing money away is not.
Join ThredUp with my link and get $10 to shop!
3 | Open a new account with a bank that gives sign up bonuses
This is easily a favorite. While some banks have made the criteria a little more stringent than in the past (and it’s not exactly a recurring income idea), you can easily make $100-$300 just for moving some money around and opening a new account.
I mean, you need a separate business account anyway, why not earn money from it? (Just be sure to read the fine print for requirements.)
Update: I’ve decided to go with PNC bank, they offer three different bonus tiers which will help you choose one where you can comfortably meet their criteria.
4 | Sign up for Ibotta
This one is new to me, but if you do a lot of grocery shopping (I’m kidding – we all do) then it could be an easy way to save some cash every time you go to the store. It’s a free app you can download on your phone to unlock savings + rebates on items you already purchase. Plus it’s so easy to use you can task your kids with a little game while they sit in the cart or trudge alongside you.
It’s essentially a rebate app, so you’ll earn anywhere from 50 cents to $5 off eligible items you buy. For example right now at Target, I can save $3 on Stella Artois beer (like you even have to ask Target?!)
If you want to grab the Ibotta app and start making money off your grocery receipts, click here to get started today. Plus, you’ll receive a $10 cash bonus when you scan your first item!
5 | Walk dogs and/or pet sit
With the world of apps, even dog walking or sitting can be extremely easy to add to your day (you need a 30 minute walk for yourself anyway, right?). Especially if you live in a larger city, this can be an easy way to earn some extra cash, burn calories, and take a little ‘me time’ away from the computer.
We’ve used both Wag and Rover for different dogs we’ve fostered (and signed up to walk a few when we were testing the whole “getting a dog” thing) and it’s both easy + fun! It’s like Uber for dog walking! You decide when and if you want to accept the walk!
(Or hey, if you need a break from your pup – use my promo code: KATE3717 and get $20 in credits for your first walk.)
6 | Become an Uber driver
What I love most about both the dog walking and Uber is that the time you spend is totally up to you. You decide when and if you’re available and want to log in, there’s no schedules to maintain or time off to request. Have a free 2 hours? Log in and see what’s available!
7 | Cut out convenience purchases
Seriously. Go cold turkey.
I was spending up to $1.50 a day on Diet Coke. Harmless, right?
Except that I could bring my own if I got my life together for less than $0.40 a can. Small change, sure. But it adds up to over $1.00 a day x 20 work days = $20+ a month!!
8 | Earn passive income through your creative talents
If you were not already aware… you’re pretty damn talented. And I bet you could apply those to one (…or two) more income streams. Yes, really.
- The two markets you can create passive income for
- 4 recommended programs for selling passive products
- Tips for creating scalable physical products
- 3 effective ways to promote your new products on autopilot
9 | Earn passive income through Affiliate Marketing
This really deserves it’s own post as I want to gear the information specifically towards shop owners and how you can make this work for you. But to get started, we’ll go over the basics.
You may not have heard the term ‘affiliate marketing’ before, but it’s likely you’ve come across or even used it unknowingly. Affiliate marketing is when you have the opportunity to earn money by directing people to a product or service where you earn a small commission for referring them if a purchase is made.
It works by placing an affiliate link on your website, social media account, etc. and when people purchase a product through your link, you earn a small kickback (at no additional cost to them, yay!). For businesses, it’s a form of advertising where they’re paying you for making referrals; and the best part for them is that they don’t pay you for the “advertising” unless a sale is made.
An affiliate is a person or business who promotes a product or service offered by other businesses, and you become an affiliate when you promote an affiliate product. It’s pretty similar to how some companies offer a small bonus for referring a friend; just on a larger scale.
When I started this site, I knew I wanted affiliate marketing to play a role in my monetization strategy; but I wasn’t confident I was best communicating my value while sharing helpful services. I never would want to jeopardize trust in my audience, which was why participating in affiliate marketing correctly (being of value, only sharing resources you’d care about + that I trust) became such a huge focus. Which is why I decided to take Michelle’s course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Michelle is the popular blogger behind Making Sense of Cents, a popular personal finance blog and she makes…. wait for it… over $50,000 a month in JUST affiliate sales. When you want to learn from the best, you learn from her.
10 | Sign up and Save with Amazon Prime
You know the phrase “it takes money to make money”, well let’s change it slightly to be “it takes money to save money”. Seriously.
If you buy a lot of things from Amazon, consider signing up for Amazon Prime. The benefits are seriously worth it. I fought my husband on it for a long time and now we use it for evvverything.
My favorite feature is their subscribe + save program, where you guessed it – you save by buying in bulk on repeat! Set up recurring purchases for those regular household items (like toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, dog food.) You know, basic things you hate buying at the store. Plus, anyone else buy those Neutrogena face wipes? They’re like $5-7 for the 25ct at a Walgreens/CVS; yet with Amazon you can buy them for $19 for a SIX PACK. Dirt cheap.)
Plus, the seriously fast + free shipping is a total game changer.
I get it, seems odd to suggest spending $99 on a yearly membership to save money. But we did a full cost comparison before signing up (I hated the idea of spending money on a membership); and we’ve more than made up the difference with the savings on shipping, overall pricing, and their subscribe + save items.
There’s a 30 day trial if you’re not ready to commit quite yet! Try it here.
(ps. if you sign up for the trial, it will charge your credit card. I totally panicked when I did it, but the first 30 days are free — so if you decide to cancel within that time frame, they refund the full amount. And you can always cancel at anytime.)
Those are a few of my favorite ways to make extra money. Sure, sometimes $20 here and $32 there sounds small, but it all adds up.
Let’s look at what that could mean for your business:
- Invest in Tailwind to grow your Pinterest account (to drive crazy traffic back to your site)
- Upgrade your email system so you can send more emails and focus on growing your list
- Join Iconosquare so you can really see your Instagram analytics and understand where to focus in order to grow
- Finally get found on Instagram by people who want to buy from you
- Put together an amazing giveaway to thank your customers!
- Save up to take a course on how to take amazing photos, with just your iPhone!
- … What would you do?
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