Creative Ways to Earn Decent Money Without Going Back to School

Something I hear too often that makes me cringe is “I haven’t been able to find a job doing X, so I’m going back to school (or going to grad school) for Y”. Going back to school is a super expensive proposition! Not only is there an opportunity cost (time used for money you could be making elsewhere) but the degree itself also costs a bunch. It’s unlikely in most cases that you’ll come out on top.

I’m here to tell you that degrees are overrated and often unnecessary when it comes to making money, especially if you already have an undergraduate degree in something. I’m not just making things up here, I have a degree in Geography. I’ve never done anything involving Geography for money. More Money

So I’ve decided to compile a list of things you can do to make money (in some cases considerable amounts) without going back to school or having much training. You’ll notice many of these are entrepreneurial in nature. While you can certainly go work for someone using almost any of these, why not maximize income and do it yourself? Also there is no excuses when you’re the boss. I’m going to keep adding to this over time, so please check back!

  1. Web Developer – With a few free online courses, pretty much anyone can start at least crafting WordPress blogs. This is a great one for the more design inclined. Don’t be intimidated by the “code”, pretty much anyone can get the hang of the basics here, and it’s still in relatively high demand.
  2. Professional Headshots – Everyone has a LinkedIn profile these days. Almost no one has a professional picture. I bet if you got a used camera and a portrait lens you could probably go door to door and charge people $50 a pop for better pictures for their LinkedIn profile or website.
  3. Content Creator – Websites like this one are always in need for people to create content. Blog posts, tweets, about pages, etc… Someone needs to write them and most companies are not doing it. See who is doing an especially bad job and help them out.
  4. Real Estate Agent – While the market is suffering, this is a fairly easy licensing to attain, and it’s “easy money” in the sense that the amount you get paid is not directly related to the amount of work you do (no offense to real estate agents, all I’m saying here is that you don’t do tens times more work to sell a $500,000 house than a $50,000 house, yet the pay is ten times higher)
  5. Painter – Everyone has some walls that need painting, why don’t you be the one to do it? You probably already know how and the startup costs are very low.
  6. Pet Walker/Sitter – Did you know people pay $20-30 for a single dog walking? You string 5 dogs together and do it a couple of times per day and you’re making some decent money. You can also do dog sitting, which is essentially having some dogs that you play with occasionally. The best part of this is you can probably combine it with some other type of income that you can do while the dogs are there.
  7. Housesitter – Similar to above, people need people to feed their plants, bring in the mail, etc… This usually takes 20 minutes per house and pays $10-20 per day. If you can get a decent clientele, this is yet another profession you can stack on top of others to bring in easy money.
  8. Car Repair – This one is usually more experience than anything, but once you learn the basics, almost anyone can do it given the right tools. Imagine being the guy on the other side of that $1,000 repair instead of being the one paying it.
  9. Tour Guide – Do you love your city? Know how to make it interesting? Why not start giving guided tours? Maybe you can do a tour of the city’s Mansions, or it’s birds, or it’s garbage dump, people love all sorts of stuff. The more unique, the better.
  10. Artist – Can’t draw anything better than stick figures? No worries, why not find things in the public domain and make them art? For example, I bet you could dig up an old Deed map of your city from 1850. Scan it, blow it up to 15 feet, and suddenly you have a piece of art people want to hang in their living room for $500.
  11. Historian – Using your knowledge from the above, why not create house histories for people? Everyone is curious about the history of their house, so for a few hundred dollars you can tell them about the people that built it, lived there, and maybe dig up some old photos, put it in a nice book and sell it for a couple of hundred dollars
  12. Blogger – There are countless bloggers that make enough money to do it full-time. You probably have something that interests you. Collect micro-machines? Know all the secret restaurants in your town? Why not start writing about them? If you gain an audience there is almost always money to be made (some people make millions of dollars doing this, but it does take some marketing and work).
  13. Handyman – People always need stuff fix, and rarely have time or know someone they can trust. If you’re pretty good at working on stuff, this is a job that is always in demand.
  14. Usability Expert – It will take a little research to understand the fundamentals of usability, but once you get the gist, it’s pretty easy to run usability sessions, where you record someone using a product, and survey their pain points.
  15. Event Planner – This requires organizational and interpersonal skills, but if you have both there is quite a lot of money to be made in planning all sorts of events from weddings to conferences.
  16. Security Researcher – Sites like BudgetSimple pay people to try to hack it and find vulnerabilities. It’s a pretty easy set of skills and knowledge to pick up, you can do it from anywhere, and when you get a name for yourself this can pay quite well.
  17. Recruiter – If you’ve got a huge network of contacts, you might want to consider putting them to use. Recruiters can make tens of thousands of dollars on a single hire.
  18. Crafter – All it takes is one look at to see millions of people making money doing something they enjoy. This is another job that you can start part time and build on.
  19. Buyer/Seller – The principal of most markets is that someone buys something at a low rate and sells it at a higher rate. If you are good at seeing a deal, why not go around to your local yard sales, craigslist, the dump, etc… and find items that people consider worthless and sell them for more. A simple example: people throw out old, working cell phones all the time. I’ve sold BROKEN cell phones (the buyer knew they were broken) for $50. There are huge markets at scale for taking items people consider worthless and selling them.
  20. Tutor – Are you particularly good at Math? Did you ace the SATs? Kids are always in need of tutors.
  21. Childcare – Babysitters often make $100 per night, daytime childcare can make over $20k per child.
  22. Lyft/Uber Driver – These are new services that essentially work like taxi cabs without all of the overhead. All you need is a valid drivers license, a car and a decent driving record.