These 4 Online Side Hustles Will Make You Real Money

 

How do people make “real” money online?

Before I got my online hustle off the ground, I asked myself this question almost daily.

In the beginning it was a struggle y’all…

I put Google ads up on my blog for nearly 2 years and only made $36. I signed up for survey sites and I never made a cent. I even made an ELance writer profile and nobody hired me.

It took tons of trial and error to find legitimate ways make good money online. So I’m going to save you some time (and frustration) by letting you in on my online income secrets.

Virtual Assisting

Virtual assisting is the first online hustle I tried that made major coin. It’s pretty easy to start. Seriously, I had my first client within a few weeks of promoting myself. So, let’s talk about the basics.

A virtual assistant acts as a personal assistant to someone remotely. You can charge anywhere from $10 to $50 per hour depending on your experience and expertise. You can also charge a rate per project if someone hires you to complete a single task.

How did I get started? First, I did some research. I picked up The Bootstrap VA ebook by Lisa Morosky. It gives awesome information on ways to market yourself, develop a contract and manage your workload.

The major lesson I learned from the book is that choosing a niche is vital. The more specialized your service is the more you can make. For instance, if you love personal finance you could market yourself to financial planners. If you love sports you could market yourself to coaches. You get the picture.

Once I chose my niche, I started cold-tweeting. A lot. I reached out to every person I thought seemed like an interesting candidate to work for and the rest is history.

The Drawback: Generally, virtual assistants are required to work during regular business hours, 9 – 5. Still, you may be able to come up with a schedule that suits you and your client even if you have a full-time job.

Designing Websites

Before you start thinking, “I don’t know how to design websites,” hear me out.

You don’t need to be a web design extraordinaire to make money. You just need to know more than someone else. Designers can charge anywhere from $200 to $500 for a basic website. Got your attention now? Good.

The bottom line is every business owner and entrepreneur needs a site, but not everyone can hire an expert (especially people just starting out). That’s where you come in.

If you have a decent understanding of platforms like WordPress or SquareSpace let people in your network know you will design for a fee. I fell into designing websites by accident. People liked my personal site and asked me to help them with their own. If you want to perfect your design and coding skills before starting this hustle use Codecademy, it’s free.

The Drawback: You do need some skill to make money. However, if you make the effort to learn basic graphic design skills and website platforms it’s totally doable.

Freelance Writing

Writing. It’s probably the most popular way to earn side income online these days, but it requires some hustle. You’ll need to find sites or online publications that hire writers. Then you have to apply for jobs available or pitch article topics. Once hired, you must consistently provide quality writing to maintain your clientele. Depending on experience, you can make anywhere from $10 to $200 per online writing assignment.

So where can you find writing jobs?

Don’t go to Elance, clearly :P . Even if you do get hired, the pay is horrible. The resource that helped me tremendously when I first started freelancing is the Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs by Sophie Lizard. It’s a roundup of places that pay $50 or more per piece. In fact, here’s one of the first jobs I ever landed. I read about the opportunity in her sweet free report.

The Drawback: Writing high quality stuff takes time, so how much money you make dependents on how much time you have. But don’t worry, your writing quality and speed will improve with practice.

Selling On Etsy

Are you crafty? Do you have vintage clothes to sell? Do you have an idea for a product you can make that people will love? Sign up for Etsy!

The benefit of selling a product rather than a service is that it takes up less of your time. Once your products are up on Etsy, you just need to provide customer service and manage orders.

Pay close attention to your photos and product descriptions when you’re ready to open a store. While researching for my own Etsy store (coming soon), I found these factors are what separate successful stores from stores that get no hits. Find out more about that here.

The Drawback: Getting your store up and running will take some effort. Etsy experts say you need several pages full of products to seem credible to shoppers, so you have to commit to the process. Also, Etsy charges $0.20 per listing. But if your store takes off you can create your own e-commerce site where you can list for free.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER ONLINE SIDE HUSTLES THAT ARE MAKING YOU DECENT MONEY? SHARE WITH US!

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5 Fun and Cheap Family Weekend Trips on the East Coast

Spring is here in full force y’all. Isn’t that a relief?

You’re probably just as excited as I am to enjoy family time in beautiful weather. And the best way to spend spring weekends with family is on new adventures. Don’t you think?

Planning a family weekend away with the entire bunch can be an expensive undertaking, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t affordable places that you can visit on a budget. Here’s a list of some of my favorite inexpensive destinations, plus a few others that I’ve found offer a relatively cheap experience on the East Coast. Happy travelling!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Philly area has plenty of things for families to do on a budget.

Most notably, Philly is an important landmark in U.S. history as it was the first capital and where the U.S. Constitution was drafted. Immerse yourself in the rich historical attractions of the Old City District. You’ll find that some places even offer free admission including Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was drafted), Elfreth’s Alley (America’s oldest inhabited street), The Liberty Bell and The U.S. Mint.

Not to mention, Philadelphia is home to the very first U.S. zoo which has a highly impressive assortment of animals that kids will love. And if water animals are your thing, you can take a short trip over to Camden, New Jersey to explore the remarkable Adventure Aquarium. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, the Please Touch Museum is a must-see for kids because they can do just that – touch everything in sight!

Rehoboth & Dewey Beaches, Delaware

Looking for an inexpensive day or weekend on the beach? Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches are my hands down favorite places to go for a quick retreat.

The beaches are some of the cleanest ones you’ll find on the Northeast coast, plus there are absolutely no entrance fees. The Rehoboth boardwalk runs an entire mile with shops, eateries and activities for adults and kids alike. And when you’ve soaked in enough rays, Rehoboth has an expansive outlet shopping scene. Do some bargain hunting for the summer or even stock up on back to school clothes for later in the year.

Washington, D.C.

Sure, I’m a D.C. transplant, but I’m not biased. Tell me, do you like the word free?

Well, there’s a whole lot of free when you visit D.C. Take pictures in front of the White House, marvel at the George Washington Monument, walk The Mall or climb the Lincoln Memorial steps without spending a dime. Then select a few of the 19 Smithsonian Museums where admission is free to take self-guided tours. Not bad right?

Still, I must be honest. You won’t find affordable accommodation in Downtown D.C. since the hotels there cost a pretty penny. But there’s convenient Metro access from the center of the city to more affordable locations just minutes away like Silver Spring, M.D. and Arlington, V.A. The Metro is also a benefit in terms of parking, because parking near the attractions is limited and expensive.

If you have older kids that can watch themselves, D.C. has a vibrant nightlife where you can have some adult fun.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is the ultimate beach spot for families who live in the southern half of the East Coast. It’s an easy drive from many cities and it offers beachfront budget hotel options. There are a ton of activities your kids will love like amusement parks, mini golf centers and water parks.

For the adventurous daredevil kids out there, the Soar + Explore park offers a pirate-themed zip line and rope course. Plus you can teach your kids to fish at the 2nd Avenue Pier which has affordable fishing passes and rod rentals with no fishing license required. How that’s for a photo op?

Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

The Pocono Mountains aren’t just for skiing my friends.

It has some pretty neat outdoor and adventure activities year round. It’s centrally located in the Northeast making it an easy drive for many. Enjoy horse-back riding, tubing, rafting, canoeing and water parks among other adventure sports. You can also hike or take walking tours. One great landmark you should make a point to see is the Bushkill Falls known as the “Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania”. Grab your hiking boots and set out for an affordable forest adventure!

DO YOU HAVE ANY AFFORDABLE EAST COAST DESTINATIONS THAT DIDN’T MAKE THIS LIST? SHARE YOUR INEXPENSIVE TRIP IDEAS WITH US!

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5 Ways to Score Trendy Clothes For Cheap

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Having a closet full of the latest trends sounds expensive and it surely is. Keeping up with the latest styles may be the last thing on your mind if your budget is tight.
While designer clothes are an option, decent, wearable items in your closet are not. The truth is, whether you’re a style maven or not, clothes are essential and your wardrobe doesn’t have to be last on the necessity list. What if I told you that you could have your cake and eat it to? By getting your clothes for free or cheap, you can still maintain your budget for the month without overspending.
Here are 5 easy ways to make it happen and score trendy clothes for cheap.

1015 Store

The 1015 Store is a trendy online boutique dedicated to fashionistas on a budget. The California based brand showcases all the latest trends first from pantsuits and rompers to maxi dresses, chiffon tops, denim bottoms and more.
The best thing about the 1015 store other than their fashion forward collections is their prices. I’m assuming they got their name based on the fact that at least half of the clothes they offer are $10 or $15. The $15 & Under section of the online store is not just some rip off clearance section filled with unattractive items that nobody wants to buy. It’s a hidden gem with tons of unique dresses, tops and an array of other items to choose from. No matter what your style or budget is, everyone can find something fashion-forward and affordable at 1015store.com.

Plato’s Closet and Their Franchises

Plato’s Closet is a trendy boutique franchise with locations all over the country. Visiting this store is a must if you’re looking to find name brand clothes for cheap. It’s the queen of all consignment shops since you’re allowed to bring in your gently used clothing and sell it back to the store for cash.
They mainly accept designer label clothes but if you don’t own any major brands I’d still give them a try. I’ve sold Nike gym shoes, a Candie’s skirt (was actually $6 on clearance at Kohl’s), an Ann Taylor dress and more all for cash at my local Plato’s closet. The trick is to keep your clothes in good condition so they will be suitable for someone else to wear if Plato’s Closet chooses to buy them from you.
When the store examines your clothes and gives you cash for them, you can use that money to purchase different items. That’s a technique I use often and it’s basically like you’re shopping for free since you can get rid of some old clothes and bring home new items without spending any of your money.
While Plato’s Closet is popular among teens and young adults, Style Encore – a newer brand and big sister to Plato’s Closet – provides suitable clothes for career women and young professionals. Just like Plato’s Closet, customers can sell their gently used clothes to Style Encore and receive cash right on the spot along with access to purchase new items in the store for up to 50-70% off regular retail prices.

Use Swagbucks to Earn Gift Cards

Swagbucks is an easy way to earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, watching videos, signing up for offers, and just searching for things on the web. When you complete various different tasks, you receive ‘swagbucks’ that you can cash in for gift cards to restaurants, major retail outlets, online shopping destinations line Amazon and more.
I sign up for lots of trials for new products and services in order to earn Swagbucks. I’m generally curious about new products and online services and it’s nice that Swagbucks will reward you for something as simple as signing up to receive free samples in the mail or registering for a 30-day trial to check and track your credit score. Of course, you will earn even more Swagbucks if you remain signed up with a service even after the trial period, but if you’re not interested in signing up for things there are plenty of other ways to earn Swagbucks.
Watching a few videos per day of your choice or searching online through Swagbucks will help you earn points as well. The most carefree way to earn more is to install their search bar on your internet browser so you can earn swagbucks simply by searching the Internet like you normally do. Once you rack up a certain amount of Swagbucks, you’ll be able to pick out a gift card of your choice. Using your earned Swagbucks is a perfect way to get free giftcards for Target, Walmart, J C Penny, Sear, Foot Locker, Old Navy, American Eaglle Outfitters and tons of other retailers so you won’t have to spend actual money from your debit or credit card to purchase clothes.

Goodwill

Everyone should have a Goodwill located somewhere near them. It’s the most popular thrift shop throughout the nation and never fails to offer dirt cheap prices for clothing. With Goodwill, I tend to notice that I may not find what I’m looking for initially. But as I look through racks of clothing I tend to find a hidden treasure or two and I’ve been able to rack up on some really nice items.
Once a month, the Goodwill by my house has a 123 sale meaning that all clothing items in the store are priced at $1.23. Check to see if your Goodwill has special discount days to maximize your savings even more.

Host a Clothing Swap

If you have clothes that just sit in your closet month after month, it’s time to get rid of them. What better way to get rid of old clothes and receive new styles for free than to host a clothing swap? Clothing swaps are super fun and require no cost at all to set up. It’s a prime example that someone’s trash can be someone else’s treasure. Get together with a group of friends, neighbors, or some ladies from your church and exchange clothing items as you see fit. Being able to add more wearable pieces to your closet (that you got for free) is the greatest benefit.
What techniques do you use to round up cheap or free clothing? What are your favorite discount shops?

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One skirt, 2 ways to wear it. Outfit Remix

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As many of you who follow me on instagram may know, I know a thing or two about personal style, but what you may not realize is I am also the queen of the outfit remix.

One of my favorite places to shop is none other than my own closet, and that is where the outfit remix comes to life. Pairing a blouse with a skirt that I’ve never worn together and watching it work bring me the warm and fuzzies, and keep the coins in my purse a clinking! In fact I get as excited discovering a new outfit combination in my own closet as I do buying something new! Thus keeping me out of the stores even longer, thank the lord.

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So this outfit remix starts with my 7 of all Mankind skirt as the base. I bought this many years back at an intermix sample. I want to say maybe as far back as 2007 at the Altman Building?? It’s takes the classic jean skirt up a total or at least 10 notches!

In the first outfit my hair is pulled back in a bun, my accesories are long and gold, long earrings and extra long necklace. Here I paired the skirt with a

Crop top from Charlotte Russ,

Ballet Flats from Forever 21

and a denim clutch purse from Paris

In the second outfit my hair is out and pressed straight, my jeweled is more understanded, I have on studs, no necklace, just a sea themed Lily Pulitzer bracelet from Target and here I paired the skirt with a

Polka Dot Blouse from Talbots

Polka Dot sandals from Aldo

BONUS! Here is the complete remixed look with jacket & purse

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Bonus Bonus! Here’s what happens when you take the same blouse and shoes but swap out the skirt!

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and since everyone was lovingggggg that coral skirt yesterday… Here are the deets!

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This skirt came from Coast – a store in the United Kingdom, definitely check them out if you are ever in Londontown, however I’ve been to their website and it does look like they ship to the United States for $25 extra! www.coast-stores.com

Do you closet shop?? Tell me more about your favorite outfit remix in the comments below!

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4 Frugal Ways to Pamper Yourself (For the Ladies)

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Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to neglect yourself.

When you have major financial goals to pay off debt, increase your savings rate, or invest in retirement, it can be obvious that something has to give and you’ll need to make a few sacrifices. When I started actively putting extra money toward my debt payments last year, I certainly stopped doing things like getting manicures every two weeks and going to pricey salons to get my hair done regularly. I stopped buying new shoes every season and tried to stretch the boots and sandals I wore in 2013 for another year.

Some expenses I cut out of my life were for the best and I honestly didn’t miss them. But on the other hand, I started to feel a little bitter about putting my personal wants and needs aside even though I was making progress with my debt payments.

That’s When I Discovered What It Meant To Be Frugal

I started noticing that while I was busting my butt at work and exhausting myself every day in order to take care of my family, other women and moms were making way less money than me and still seemed more happy and put together than I was. This was because they were living a frugal lifestyle by making do with that they had and being resourceful in order to spend less and save more.

Frugality has helped me prioritize my needs over my wants but it’s also enabled me to establish a healthy balance between the two and free up a little money to spend how I please.

By adopting a frugal lifestyle, I’m still able to meet my financial goals but I’m also able to reward and pamper myself in small ways so I can enjoy the present too. Here are 4 frugal things that you can do to pamper yourself as well.

1. At Home Spa-Grade Bubble Bath

After a long intense day, a relaxing bubble bath can be just what you need to eliminate stress and rejuvenate yourself. You can turn your bathroom into a spa by lighting some candles and playing some relaxing music.

Use essential oils with scents for your water like lavender, rose, or jasmine. You can also use other additives like Epsom Salt, bath salts, and scented bath fizzers. Then, all you need to do is put on your facial mask (don’t forget the cucumber slices for your eyes) and relax.

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2. Do Your Own Nails

On the low end it usually cost around $40 to get your nails done at a salon. While I’ll admit the professionals do a great job, your polished new look is usually short lived and you’ll most likely need to come back in 2 weeks later for a touch up.

If you have nail polish at home why not paint your own nails? Basic manicure kits cost around $10 and when you buy a few different polish colors they will last for several months. If you usually rely on the professionals for a flawless job, you can still capture that same look by purchasing a few nail strips.

Sally Hansen has the most versatile collection and they’re all super easy to apply. Nail polish strips come in hundreds of colors and designs to accommodate anyone’s style. You can purchase a pack of 16 for about $8 at popular retail and drug stores.

3. Hit Up The Beauty School

If you’re on a budget but still want or prefer to get your hair done by a stylist, making an appointment at your local beauty school is a great option. You can always DIY when it comes to taking care of your hair but personally, it’s difficult for me to get my hair sleek and bouncy on my own.

Hair is certainly not my thing and while I wish it was, I only spend about $12 on a nice shampoo and style service at my local beauty school. I love going to the beauty school to get my hair done for several reasons:

  • It’s affordable.
  • I love the products they use on my hair
  • It’s effective. My hair looks and feels healthier after I use their treatments

The prices are so low because there are students working on your hair and not licensed stylists. The students train for several weeks though before they get on the floor and start taking clients so they generally know how to do basic and intermediate level styles very well like coloring hair, relaxing hair, etc.

If you still feel a little apprehensive about getting your hair done at a beauty school, I’d encourage you to give it a try with a very basic shampoo and style service. All the beauty schools I’ve gone to have been very nice and professional making it my go-to frugal way to get pampered.

4. Recruit Your Hunny For a Complimentary Massage

Getting a massage is a perfect way to get pampered and relaxed but unfortunately, professional massages cost an arm and a leg these days. Most massages are charged by the hour ranging from $60-80 depending on the type of massage.

The frugal solution to a costly massage would be to get your spouse or significant other to give you one for free. It may not be a professional massage, but it will get better over time. That’s what YouTube how-to videos are for. If you don’t have a hunny to offer up a free massage, you can leave it to the professions but still save money by trying out the mall to see if any massage shops are offering free 5-10 minute massages specials.

What frugal ways do you like to pamper yourself? Where of these are you willing to adopt so you can save more? 

 

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