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Monday, September 30, 2019

How can someone earn $500 a month?

All right, dear readers, time to put on your collective thinking caps.

I have a cyber-friend who lives in a fairly remote part of the country. She and her husband are partially retired. She works three days a week in an administrative position, and has kept her job because of the health insurance. Her husband is 40 percent disabled and on Social Security.

Her employer may offer her a more full-time position, something she doesn't want at her age. In fact, she would like to quit altogether and work from home, and we started emailing back and forth about the subject.

One of her questions was the cost of health insurance. I told her about Christian Healthcare Ministries, which isn't insurance but is a very affordable healthcare sharing program.

If she quits her three-day-a-week job, she said she needs to bring in about $500/month. "I need to think way outside the box for a source of income," she wrote.

I asked about the skills she and her husband possess. "My husband already gives handgun shooting lessons," she replied. "He is also an excellent writer. I can preserve food, cook, I'm great with animals and gardening. I have just started painting stones to make garden plant markers. Rich is great at painting interiors, and we can both do basic handy man stuff."

So here's my request to all readers: Let's chime in and give my friend some ideas on how she and her husband can earn an extra $500/month. This is a topic of interest to anyone wanting to live a more remote lifestyle unconnected to any city employment, so let's hear 'em!

27 comments:

  1. I will be curious to read what others think on this one. My first thought is to think even a little farther out of the box - $6000 per year rather than a steady flow of $500/mo. Spring cleaning, house/pet sitting, fall garden clean up etc. Seasonal might be more lucrative than steady. Just a thought.

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  2. I know where they are coming from, money is tight. But I must ask the question nobody wants to be asked. Do they really think it wise to quit that job in such uncertain times? Gigs dry up when the economy does. Right now we are on the cusp of a huge climate change, and I don't mean global warming, but global cooling from the sun cycle. I believe this is when we start working on a measure of wheat for a penny, two measures of barley for a penny, and see that you hurt not the oil nor the wine. Meaning a days food for a days wages. Might be wise to keep that job, and as many irons in the fire as they can.

    Just my two cents, about what it's worth

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    1. Good to know others are aware of the solar minimum. Expect chicken little to squawk all the louder.

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  3. Being that your friend is involved in administration she has computer skills. If she has internet service she could do transcription from home. My daughter in law used to do that. She could choose how much she wants to do.

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  4. In order to give ideas, one has to know what skills are available. I concur with the transcriptionist gig as a possibility. We pay a fair penny for that, and the company we use contracts almost exclusively with independents who work from home. With transcription gigs, however, be careful about how you are paid -- by the page, by the word, by the hour of tape, etc.

    If she has craft skills, then there are the Etsy things, but there's a fair risk for it, and it takes time to build a business. I knew someone who made a couple hundred a month from doing custom cross stitch, for instance. If the person lives near a resort area, there's the possibility of consignment work at local tourist traps.

    If the administrative position is associated with some particular domain knowledge (e.g. manager of a blood bank, whatever) then there's always the possibiity of consultation -- though that's often not exclusively work from home.

    Finally, there's the dream of local food production. There are always people who say they make a profit at it, selling to local restaurants and groceries. Nobody I know has ever pulled it off, though my wife once dated a truck farmer who made a go of it. It's a lot of work, though, and I wouldn't want to do it at my age.

    The problem with almost all of these, except the transcription (and similar technical work) is that in order to be successful after retirement you almost have to have built up your business and have it running to some extent before your retirement.

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  5. Short youtube videos. Start watching them and then develop one of your own. Your income increases with number of subscribers. Another idea: be an Amazon shopper/seller. Partner with Amazon to buy good cheap stuff to sell on Amazon. Amazon will provide all the shipping stuff you need. Look into it!

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  6. this site has LOTS of ideas: https://www.theworkathomewoman.com/

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  7. I got sick of sewing for ingrates and people who wanted it done for nothing. I drafted a pattern, made a few sizes and took the results to a local shop. I promised to measure and draft patterns for people who wanted the same outfit. I did not make $500/ per week, but I had other things going on to earn money!

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  8. I work full-time while my husband is getting his gunsmithing business off the ground. I also crochet and design original patterns to sell on Etsy. I am participating in my first craft fair in a few weeks, and if that goes well, I will spend the year making items to sell as well as designing. I am also on Amazon Mechanical Turk, which isn't much, but the first year I did it I spent six weeks of evenings filling out surveys and earned enough to buy my husband a Carhartt coat for Christmas. If I ever lose my job I will increase my efforts in all these areas and look into something like VIPKID, which hires people to teach English to children in China. --Maria

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  9. I make that easily on rev.com. It could be a start for her until she can get a better paying transcription job.

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  10. I make that easily on Rev.com doing transcribing. It could hold them until they find other sources. But no insurance. It is completely freelance.

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  11. If you look at yearly income of $6000 instead of monthly (because of your climate) a backyard nursery might work. Taking cuttings and rooting plants to sell at several plant sales throughout the year. Think spring and fall. Backyard Growers.com (freeplants.com) is a great resource. Look at Mike's Backyard Nursery videos on You Tube. I joined for $500 (lifetime membership) and it is well worth it. Lots of free information without joining the Board (where you can sell plants online). Watch his You Tube videos and you will have plenty of information to set up your nursery. These cuttings can be done as hardwood cuttings and they overwinter outside.

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  12. I'm assuming that her husband is a disabled veteran?

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  13. Can she write and edit? There are many foreign nations that our own country has (sadly) outsourced such work to. One that comes to mind is correcting the English skills tests that foreigners take to earn degrees in their own lands. An internet search should reveal some possibilities.

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  14. It really depends on how remote she is. My neighbor is a fabulous gardener. He sets up a small stand at the end of his driveway that he stocks with produce as it comes out of his garden. There is a small moneybox and people pay cash on the honor system. I know he makes at least $500/month during the summer and fall. People drive for miles to get his sweet corn, he can't keep it stocked in the stand! If she has enough traffic and a enough extra produce this may be an option for money for part of the year!

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  15. For several years, I hosted students who came to learn English. I worked through the English language school. My monthly payment per student varied depending on whether the student was on the 2 or 3 meals per day plan. The school screened the students, collected their money and then paid me directly. I did not have to collect money from the students. I cleared about $500/month per student and I fed them very well. One of my students went on to what was called a "farm stay" program. He lived and worked at a farm and paid them to do so.

    Both the high schools and colleges here offer the same kind of programs and pay.

    Another program I have not participated in but have kept in mind is visiting professors at the local University. Often, professors will come in for just a semester or two and need housing.

    So, if your friends have an extra room to rent, they may easily be able to make $500/month.We gave up a bit of privacy but it was worth it.
    SJ in Vancouver BC Canada.

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  16. The problem is self initiative. The individual best knows their skill set and willingness to do what it takes to succeed. The simple act of looking to others for answers tends to imply that the individual is not suited to some kind of self employment that of course requires dedication and hard work in the face of likely failing. This is a tough world. My advice is keep your job, it is the only sure option AND if you really had what it takes to succeed THEN take the extra hours offered by your employer. This option is easier then trying to break into self employment with no skills and no ideas. Tough advice but honest and necessary.

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  17. My advice is for her to keep her job while she seeks the best self-employ option. If she has adm skills and is good at organizing, she might consider paralegal work, which requires organizing and analyzing skills, and possibly medical records analysis if she has nursing or medical background (degree not required). This would allow her to bill by the hour, but work when she wants, for as long as she wants, at home without worry that she might "age out" of the business. Her husband might consider acquiring CAD design or computer programming (C++) skills, which are used in CNC machining, 3D printing, etc. Again, these skills are not location dependent, nor age restricted, and would probably carry them far into a working retirement. But, as others have said, keep your current jobs and consider branching out only as add-ons.

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  18. I just came across this recently.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/306578

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  19. Cut firewood and sell it. $200 a cord for fir/pine split and stacked. A friend of mine has done this for years part time after his regular job. He buys the junk wood from logging companies, they truck it and dump it in his yard. He cuts, splits and stacks and advertises on Craigslist. He gets $200 a cord for customer pickup and $250 a cord for delivery.

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  20. Is this an Anonymous post? the syntax and word usage and cadence suggest a single commentator.

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    1. It's an amalgamation of emails back and forth between this cyber-friend and myself.

      - Patrice

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  21. I apologize if I was out of line, I do not give much credence with "anonymous" commentators. I find them synonymous with evasiveness. Unless it is of a sensitive nature. A handle or non-De-plume lends some credibility. The use of anonymous has been far too abused. Again Miss Patrice it is your blog and I surely do not want to step on toes or abuse your hospitality.

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    1. No worries. This friend and I have been "cyber-pals" for years now. We've never met in person but we've followed each others' lives for a long time.

      - Patrice

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  22. Like the saying goes, 'A penny saved is a penny earned'. For example, many families could save a bundle every month by stopping meals at restaurants and dumping their smart phones and cable tv.
    Montana Guy

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  23. My sister is working from home in some sort of contracted call-center type job. She started this during tax-season and it led into other opportunities taking calls for Michael's and A Home for Mom. She works a lot of hours each day but is making around $1000 per week.

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  24. She should definitely keep her job for as long as possible while she builds up her alternate income stream.

    If she and her husband can host an air bnb retreat, they can promote a quiet country retreat for x number of dollars per weekend.

    Online only jobs are very easily outsourced to the 3rd world. For example chat agents are paid approx $1 per hour to answer our website questions.

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