5 Creative Ways to Make Money. Turning Your Imagination into Dollars.
There are thousands of ways to make money, but how many involve true creativity? Here’s our 5 recommendations that will require you to use your imagination:
- Write and Self-Publish an eBook
- Create an Unusual Blog
- Perform an Act
- Become a Concierge
- Become a Production Assistant
1. Write and Self-Publish an eBook
There was a time when publishing a book was a near herculean task. You had to write something really well, then hope to find a publisher that would actually read it (and buy it). Then of course there was the process of your work being edited, and then maybe a year after that it would actually be published. Maybe, if you were lucky, you might get a residual check somewhere down the line.
Times have changed.
Today digital technology has made books a billion-dollar industry, and at the same time simplified the publishing process. Self-publishing can be done online and quickly. Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks have led the way with these services, and also offer marketing tools to get your book’s title seen.
So, you’ve decided you want to self-publish. Now here’s the part that involves the creativity. What exactly do you write about? Ideally it will be a subject you know well or have researched extensively. Something that will appeal to a wide audience.
If you think this sounds too difficult, consider the author Lee Child, who wrote over two dozen Jack Reacher novels. Two of his novels were made into films starring Tom Cruise, and Reacher’s adventures are about to be rebooted into a TV series. Child published the first Jack Reacher novel when he was 44 years old. Child never planned to be an author but he was let go from his job, and figured now was the time to make the plunge.
First, Lee sat down and decided what a modern-day hero would look and act like, including listing out his strengths and weaknesses. Then he figured out a plausible way to put him in danger time and time again, which was to have him do odds jobs while travelling throughout the United States. As a result, a series of successful books was born.
Take some time to develop a unique character, somebody that will really stand out. Is your hero a normal human being, vulnerable and flawed? Or is he wise beyond his years, with the ability to read any situation? Don’t just write, successful authors say you should plan the story out first. Decide a story arc and take it from there. The good news is that once you’re done, you’re not sending it in for a publisher’s consideration and approval. Now you can just skip that step altogether.
2. Create an Unusual Blog
There are an estimated 150 million blogs out there in the world, that’s a lot. Often successful blogs are ones that find a solution to a web searcher’s problem, like “how do I cook great meals in 30 minutes?” or “which wines go with which foods”, that sort of thing. The key to creating and monetizing a blog is to go with a subject you love writing about, or finding a niche that nobody is exploiting, and then putting your own spin on it, which will attract advertisers.
Here’s an example. Michelle Gardner created a blog called MakingSenseOfCents.com. She created the blog because she had problems with her own finances, and she was upfront with her readers about this, right from the start. Her story came off as authentic and attractive to advertisers. So, as the blog grew, so did the amount of affiliate marketers who wanted to be associated with her. She never thought she’d make any real money from it, but now that blog is her passion and full-time business.
Affiliate marketing is a process whereby links on your site click through to an advertiser’s product. If a sale happens because of a click through from your site, you get a commission. Affiliate marketing is a popular way for bloggers to make money, but consider that marketers are only interested if you have a lot of traffic coming to your blog.
There is another way to get advertisers, you could use Google AdSense or a similar service where you allow text or display ads to appear on your site. Advertisers will pay you based on “impressions” (how many times the ads are seen) or through “pay-per-click” (every time someone clicks through from your site, you get paid). This is quite a bit different from affiliate marketing, because you set your site up for this yourself. But again, advertisers are only going to be interested if your site has some real traffic behind it. So, you need to drive that traffic through original and creative content.
So, find that niche.
3. Perform an Act
Were you always fond of magic? Maybe you were always the star of the party, and have a knack for telling (or writing) a good joke? Maybe you’ve always loved working with children and wanted to be a clown? Maybe you should consider pursuing this passion. Although the hours may not be regular, there’s a lot of creativity involved and these types of gigs can pay well.
Yes, you’re performing in front of a crowd but when your audience is cheering you on, there can be no high that equals it. You are relying solely on you for success. The jokes you tell or the tricks you perform, your timing, your expressions, everything is controlled by you.
If you’ve always wanted to do it, ask yourself what’s holding you back. Then give it a try. There are two things you need to do. The first is, practice. Practice by yourself (record yourself too and watch it back) and perform in front of your friends. Be open to some constructive criticism. Go over your act again and again until you’ve got it down pat. If you want to do a comedy act, make sure you’ve been watching the news so you can include what’s current in your routine. If you’re a magician, you’ll want to create that one trick that your whole act is building up to. And of course, a clown needs to be able to do some special tricks too, like balloon animals or juggling.
The second thing you need to do is get on stage. You’ll need to figure out a creative way to do that too. If you want to do comedy, sign up for amateur night and ask the theatre manager what it would take for you to perform on a regular night (maybe you offer to do an act for free). The travel and schedules of a club’s regular performers are always subject to change, so maybe the manager will have a last minute opening and his business problem could become your opportunity.
Magicians and clowns are very popular for birthdays or other parties, you should contact the resorts in your area to see if they have a kids’ club and need performers. You can also associate yourself with businesses that cater to parties for kids.
For all of these types of acts, you’ll want to market yourself. Best ways are through friends, social media and a website.
If it takes off, maybe you’ll have a little side hustle going here. Something that you get real satisfaction out of, while earning a little coin too.
4. Become a Concierge
No, we don’t mean of the hotel kind. There are a lot of companies out there that specialize in concierge services for people who live in town, have money, but have no time. One thing you’ll notice about these types of companies in their help ads is that they are looking for “creative problem solvers”. Why is that? It’s because a lot of the requests are not typical, to solve them they need people with out of the box thinking.
Sometimes the requests are simple, like a family requires help moving their stuff. Or a surprise dinner party needs to be arranged at an exclusive restaurant. But sometimes they may be a little more complex, and we’re not talking about strange requests like providing a bowl of M&Ms, red ones only. We’re talking about what to do and who to call when a client says they need someone to bid at an auction for them in New York City tomorrow. Or plan a trip to Italy for this coming weekend, even though everything is booked solid. People in these situations have to really use their imaginations to come up with some unorthodox solutions.
If you can thrive in a climate of change, have a can-do attitude, and the ability to think quickly and creatively under stress, then maybe this is the job for you. Concierges can get paid well, when you consider tipping is not frowned upon.
5. Become a Production Assistant
Seem like a strange suggestion? Not really. Chances are you know somebody or know somebody who knows somebody, who has done this but didn’t work in the television or film industry. There is so much production going on today that there is a real demand for production assistants to help out on location.
Production managers or directors are looking for people not just to bring in bottled water and snacks, but who can also make recommendations on shot composition or set dressing or even a performance. Why? Because often a director just needs a second opinion or some input from someone who can look at what they are trying to do with fresh eyes.
The catch? It’s long hours. The benefits? Well, besides very reasonable pay, you can work on some really interesting productions, and perhaps meet a star or two.