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How to Earn Extra Money from Home

Nearly everyone would like to earn a few extra bucks from the comfort of their home, especially if it means doing something they love, but not everyone knows how to get started or even which ideas could be profitable. Making money from home is actually a lot easier than some people may think, all it takes is a little ingenuity, determination, and persistence for an idea to generate some funds.

Before a person gets started with making money from their home, they should understand the reasons behind why they are trying to make an extra buck or two. Realistic expectations should be made and then strived for, with the understanding that while some in-home projects can strike it rich, most are simply helpful for the supplemental income role.

Set Realistic Expectations

By understanding that one will need realistic expectations for their in-home money-maker, a person will be able to make a success out of their work from home and provide for themselves and for their families the supplemental income they are in need of. But how can a person make money from home and what are a few good ideas that have worked for others?

That is where one will need to get creative and truly think about what their marketable strengths are. Whatever the skills of a person may be, it is very likely that they can charge a small fee for the out of office use or semiprofessional implementation of those skills.

People Need Babysitters

As an example, consider the stay at home mother who takes care of her children. While some may not see this as a marketable skill, mothering and child care most certainly is a service that one can charge for.

For large scale child care services, one will need to get certified and cleared by state agencies in order to receive a license in child care before offering daycare or afterschool programs. However, for smaller goals such as watching one or two additional children to one’s own, such licenses are not needed and can bring in a regular supplemental income.

If watching more children is not the stay at home job that one is looking for, then perhaps a few other options may be more viable. From starting a blog to selling direct products like Avon, Mary Kay, Scentsy, and others, the options for making extra cash in-home are only as endless as one’s imagination.

Make Money Blogging

Starting one’s own blog can be both fun and financially rewarding. Starting a blog is incredibly easy as there are such popular blog services as BlogSpot and WordPress that one can jump on today to create their own blog and start blogging.

Making the blog successful enough to gain a following and receive money for is a little more complicated, but with time and persistence, along with a winning formula of ideas, any blog can have the success necessary to make supplemental income.

Other ideas for making money at home include such things as signing up for direct sale positions with boutique style companies like the few mentioned above, writing freelance articles for blogs, company websites, or content companies, and signing up with survey sites which pay individuals to fill out online surveys. In addition to all those ideas you can always make money with by referring friends to use popular products or services. For example, Check City has a referral program that will pay you $30 for each person that you refer that uses our services. With these few ideas a person can begin down the road to making a few extra bucks from home.

Surviving Unemployment

The Recession may be on its way out, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t finding themselves unemployed every day in America. With so many people in the country, it’s hard not for one or two people to be laid off every day. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it’s how the business world works.

For those that recently found themselves unemployed, the following are a few good tips to help you survive unemployment.

Check Your Budget

First, reevaluate your current budget. Take an assessment of all of your assets. This means checking into your savings accounts, security bonds, stocks, gold, etc. What assets do you have available to you right now?
Once you’ve counted up the assets currently available, figure out how long those assets could last you without the help of a steady income. With the amount you have available, how long could you survive? One month? Three? Maybe a whole year? This is your threshold of survival.
After you’ve figured out how long you could last, take a look at your expenses. What are you currently spending money on that isn’t absolutely necessary? Are you paying for cable? You eat out every day? Identify the expenses that are more for comfort and convenience rather than of necessity and commit to cut them. Watch normal TV and movies instead. Take lunch with you and cook all of your meals. Although these may not seem like “large” financial commitments, they are sufficient to make a difference over several months. You may even see your threshold of survival increase by a few months, buying you more time to job search if nothing has come up.
Make a new financial plan to get you through the coming months of difficulty.

Find Work

Second, find work. Even if you can no more than secure a job at McDonald’s flipping burgers, find some form of income to help you get through this difficult time. If it’s not your dream job, then consider just working part-time, that way you can continue to apply for jobs in the morning and work in the afternoons (or vice-versa). Just because it’s not a career job doesn’t mean it can’t help you supplement income until you can get your career job. Many of those part-time positions can be quit at a moment’s notice. You may burn a bridge with the company, but you’ll be back in a better career job again.

Supplement Your Income

Third, another option to supplement income is to sell a hobby or skill. There’s a way to make money with almost anything you like to do on the side. The key is to find out how to do it. Avid bloggers can open up their blog to advertisements or by placing links to affiliate programs. Another great way to make some fast money is by joining referral programs where you can make money by simply referring your friends and families to services they already need. Garage junkies can often help with minor vehicle repairs. Math teachers can tutor. Marathoners can become personal trainers. There’s something you’re doing that could be a source of income for the time being. The trick is finding a creative way to sell it and spreading the news.

Stay Disciplined

Fourth, discipline your free time. It’s easy to get into a comfortable habit of getting up late and making a half-hearted effort to look for a job. Too many people have fallen into that kind of unemployment. Set a schedule for yourself. For example, from 8-12 every day, be dressed and applying to jobs. Take lunch between 12 and 1. From 1-5 make phone calls and personal visits to employers. Keep to a schedule. You’ll (1) find work faster, (2) keep up your work ethic, and (3) stave off depression that comes with unemployment.

Enjoy the Process

Fifth and finally, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Stay sane during this time. Find free ways to feel fulfilled and enjoy life. You could volunteer at a hospital, pursue a bucket-list item (like run a marathon), or get a library card. There are a ton of free activities to occupy your time. Find those opportunities and take advantage of them. You’ll save money and keep your mind clear. Not to mention that if you’re living a happier life, you’ll make a better impression on potential employers when applying for jobs.
Unemployment can affect anyone at any time. It’s not something that anyone but professors with tenure is truly safe from. Survival is possible. The key is just knowing what to do should the time every come for you. Be prepared to reevaluate what you spend your money on. Reevaluate and set a new budget. Pick up a side job so that you have at least a small portion of income coming in. You never know how many days this can buy you. In addition, sell a talent, stick to a schedule, and find ways to have fun. You’ll make it through.

A Guide to Investing in a New Business

In the Hollywood movie “Hitch,” Allegra Cole talks about her interest in investing money in her friend’s business. Although this is a fictional story, the idea strikes the hearts of many throughout the country. Hopping on board has the potential to have incredible payback rewards and can end up being a great way to make money fast. It also has the potential of failing and flushing your money down the drain. How do you know whether or not you should invest?

Conservative: Shark Tank

If you’ve ever watched the popular TV show “Shark Tank,” then you’ve seen that these high-income investors are worried about two things and two things only. First, they want to know how unique the product is. Can someone else make it, or is someone else making it. If the business just makes soap similar to Dove, than why care about it? This isn’t something that will necessarily take off (because it has no unique value). Second, they want to know how much success you’ve already had with the product. The ones scooped up and fought over are the ones that have already successfully moved product and seen drastic growth. They simply need a little money to truly kick start their idea into the clouds.

So from a conservative standpoint, you would want to ensure that the company has (1) a unique idea, and (2) has had success and is seeing growth. These “sharks” have seen unparalleled success in the business world and this is why. They don’t usually invest in something that doesn’t have an overwhelming chance of taking off.

Trusting: Believing in a Dream

These investing decisions are often made before the business gets off the ground. People that choose to take this side often believe in the person or the dream before it becomes a reality. They’re money is at the most risk, but they usually have designated that cash as disposable income. It is meant to help a dream, not necessarily turn a profit.

Consequently, many of these investments are burned off in the engine of entrepreneurship. Some never pay back. Some do. The people who make these investments are more interested in helping someone achieve a goal rather than turn a profit. Investors that decide to do this need to see it from the real possibility of losing an investment. If they don’t, they could regret the decision for the rest of their lives, or lose a real friend.

Somewhere Between: You?

Sometimes you find yourself unsure where you stand. Maybe you want to invest in a dream, but at the same time you don’t want your money to go to waste. If the money is going to go to waste, why don’t you just use it on something else (like the new 45” HD TV you’ve been looking at). You’re investing because you expect the project to work. Maybe you have one of the following worries though.

How’s the money going to be used?

The idea is good; you just don’t trust the person using the money. Perhaps you really believe in the product, but want to keep an eye on how finances are spent to make sure they’re going to good things.

You can solve this concern by only giving money when he comes asking for it. Tell him you want to invest X-amount of dollars, but you need him to create a proposal for the expenditures he needs. You would then approve, or reject proposals accordingly.

You can help determine if it’s worthwhile by asking the following questions

  1. Does it add value to the business? If it doesn’t, is it worth buying?
  2. Does it make processes more efficient? Purchasing a program that reduces the time you spend working on mundane tasks can save you time and money. These can be well worth the buy.
  3. Does the expense pay itself off? Purchasing your own equipment to do things in house could very well pay itself off in years to come.

These are helpful criteria to begin with, but do not have to be hard rules to follow. Adjust them according to special circumstances.

A word of warning to those that pursue this route though: entrepreneurship reaches its ultimate potential when the entrepreneur is allowed to make some of the decisions that everyone thinks is crazy. Often, those “crazy” ideas have translated into massive success before. If you limit your investee’s ability to pay for these crazy ideas, than you could limit the businesses’ ability to actually succeed. Agreeing to pay for certain things is a great way to make sure your money isn’t being wasted, but the best way to do it is with an open mind.

What if it’s a scam?

You’ve heard too many horror stories about financial scams that come from people asking you to take a chance on them. They happen enough to be scared. Recent articles have warned against “Help hurricane Sandy” fundraising scams. Not everyone is honestly trying to help the people there. Some would rather steal. There are two things you can do to help you determine if you should invest or not.

First, invest only in people you trust. How likely is a family member going to scam you and get away with it? How often is your best friend going to risk your friendship for a couple thousand dollars? If you can’t answer that question with an affirmative, are they the best friend for you? When people you really trust come knocking for money, you can consider investing in them.

Second, do real research into their product and see the processes happening. Ask them to see their business license and qualifications. Watch their business and see what you can find in public records to confirm the company’s existence. Make sure you know beyond a doubt that they are (1) a legitimate business, and (2) doing what they say they are doing.

Once you’ve inspected the business, determined how you would want to invest your money, and decided to actually invest, there are a number of things you’ll want to set up.

Keep a record of every penny you invest

If money is leaving your pocket and going to another business, keep a record of who it went to, when, and for how much. The government will not recognize your contribution otherwise and you will be taxed for it.

When you itemize your taxes, you can report the amount of money you invested. The IRS will then be able to make a fair assessment of your actual financial situation. A fair assessment will help ensure that you aren’t paying too much in taxes.

Keeping a careful record will also help you follow up with your investee and prove that money was given.

Create a flow of communication

Now that you’re investing in the business, you’ll want to upkeep a healthy chain of communication with the owner. A periodic flow of communication will help you understand what’s going on. It will reduce the number of anxious nights when you wonder what’s going on. You will always know about what’s going on.

Create a schedule of times you plan on following up. Call her on those days and ask how things are going. The best approach is to be friendly, encouraging, and interested. Then let her begin to tell you how things are going. Write down plans that she intends to pursue and follow up on them in the weeks to come. Ask what’s working and what’s not.

Be interested in her ideas, progress, and work. Support and encourage her. Be excited about the things she is excited about—even if you don’t always understand them. Find out what she’s doing and ask how you can help. A helpful investor is one that she doesn’t fear being completely honest with.

Communicate your plan to follow up to your investee so there are no surprises. She’ll appreciate knowing when she can expect your call. She’ll also be able to plan progress around your calls. Planning to report progress makes her set and work toward goals. They don’t want to disappoint so they’ll push themselves to work better.

A flow of conversation will help build the business and keep you at ease throughout the process.

Believe in your investee

If you’ve decided to entrust money to your investee, it’s time to start believing in them. You’ve evaluated their need, how much you’re willing to spend, and believe in their product. Now it’s time to go forward with your plans and trust your investee to go about this the right way.

A true entrepreneur believes in this dream much more than you do. It would crush him to fail more than you. That’s enough pressure to help them make smart decisions. They could use someone’s faith, and there is no one whose faith they can trust more than the person helping pay a portion of the bills. Once the decision has been made, believe in the person you invested in.

Investing is a great way to give support to an entrepreneur. Your money and encouragement could be the one thing that person needs to really take off. The task can be terrifying though. Go about it the right way and you will be best set to give them the support they need.


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