Bullish: How to Make an Extra $100 a Month, Part I

I once considered writing a book entitled “How to Make $30,000 a Year and Sleep as Late as You Want.” Small, quantified claims are so much more credible than “Make a Million Dollars While You Sleep!”, “The Ten- Minute Workweek,” “7-Minute Abs,” etc.

(Now, I’m thinking about “How to Make Six Figures While Loitering in Foreign Coffee Shops.”)

So, while it would certainly be fun to make an extra $10,000 per month, that’s pretty difficult to do, even with a sex tape. But $100 a month? Here are some ideas.

Thinking Beyond EtsyEtsy is preternaturally hip, but it’s probably going to make you less than $5 an hour for your efforts, so we’ll cover this first and move on. Brokelyn has some good coverage of the topic in “How to Make Money on Etsy“, including practical tips (“choosing a username is the single most important decision you can make—it becomes your shop name when you open a seller account.”) Beware, though — one Etsy seller who works more than full-time, employs three staff, and has made over 30,000 sales, only makes about $35,000 a year for herself.

So, if you love making stuff so much that you don’t mind working 20+ hours per month for that extra $100, go for it. A caveat: I think a lot of people who shop on Etsy are the kind of people who know how to make a lot of the stuff on Etsy. I am a big fan of selling expensive things to rich people, rather than small adorable things to non-rich people. (If you have Etsy success stories, please do share in the comments).

Cafepress in a Non-Lame Way — Anyone can create a storefront on Cafepress, which is why you can’t look lazy about it. If you have an idea, hire a professional designer on Craigslist or Elance or somewhere. No one wants to buy something she feels like she could easily make herself by signing up for a free Cafepress account.

I started a Cafepress store in 2001 that initially made $50-70 a month, and now surprises me with a $70 check once or twice a year. In my hometown of Virginia Beach, there was a controversy over the jet noise coming from the Navy base (it was lowering property values, scaring children, and possibly damaging people’s hearing; on the other hand, we need jets, and certainly it’s well-known that this is where they’ll be practicing). Some people started the catchphrase “I Love Jet Noise,” so I purchased ILoveJetNoise.com, hooked it up to a Cafepress store, and sat back. (Later I made some Christmas-themed items.)

It’s best if you can do this for a group of people who aren’t meme- followers — while there were a million competing Obama shirts in 2008, you might have done better financially making stuff for people who don’t have the wherewithal to use Photoshop on their own.

Affiliate Programs in a Non-Lame Way — At various points, I’ve put Amazon affiliate links on my websites, but I’ve never made enough to reach the minimum payout amount. I once made $100 from Google AdWords — after pennies accumulated for five years. But there’s more money to be had in accepting ads from online casinos, pharmacies focusing in erectile medication, and the sex industry. The Sarcastic Sex Toy Blog, in which I made fun of all the sex toys in the online store I set up. I just made fun of them on the internet (I certainly didn’t try them, nor would that have been physically possible in the case of the many disembodied plasticized ladyparts that were the subject of my lampooning). Because I was creating unique content (not keyword-spamming the search engines), I did pretty well (without any search engine marketing at all), and started receiving $50-$150 a month right away.

I stopped maintaining the site some time ago, but there’s no reason I couldn’t get it started again anytime. People apparently like to read about how things are stupid, and then buy those things to stimulate their sex organs.

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