Make money

These side gigs will help you pay for beer, chips-and maybe even rent.


TRAFFIC IN SIN. Anthony Mikrut wants to fulfill your desires, even if it’s 4am and negative 17 degrees outside. For the past two years, 33-year-old Mikrut has run The Kinky Llama (312-738-0406), an online sex-product delivery service. “The general idea is to offer something you couldn’t get anywhere else, a one-hour delivery service 24 hours a day,” he explains. Mikrut, who works a day job at a bike shop, has cultivated 400 kinky clients through word of mouth and flyers posted at clubs. When the mood is right, mostly at night, he delivers his products—everything from condoms to BDSM accessories to porn DVDs—charging an additional $5 per drop off. Mikrut bikes as much as 100 miles in a day of delivery, averaging $1,500 per week. “Two out of about 300 deliveries I’ve been late,” he says, “so that’s better than Pizza Hut.” —Garin Pirnia

Prerequisites: A bike, a niche product, endurance

PERSONALLY ASSIST. Keep someone from cracking under the stress of his or her own life and you could bank big. A World Class Concierge Service Inc. and Chicago Anytime Assistants accept applications year-round from people willing to run errands for others. Pay ranges from $8 to $20 an hour for part-time work, depending on experience.
Prerequisites: Gopher mentality

SIT IT OUT. Professional dog-, cat- and house-sitters bring in $9.72 per hour on average, according to PayScale.com, but rates can run as high as $20 or $30 an hour for those who land their own clients. Heaven Sent Pet Care is hiring pet- and house-sitters to the tune of $6 per half hour, or you can scrounge your own gigs through sitters.com, sittercity.com and, of course, Craigslist.
Prerequisites: Patience, animal magnetism

TREND SPOT. Thanks to trendhunter.com, making money is as easy (or as hard) as being on the cutting edge of culture. Just create a profile (it’s free), then start blogging (with pics and videos, of course) about any trend you come across. Blog posts range from roundups on sexy bike helmets to photo-essays on morbid secondhand-smoke billboards. Frequent posters can earn up to $200 monthly.
Prerequisites: Peeled eyes, passion for blogging

BE A ’SCRIPT WRITER. For writers, researchers, doctors and anyone else who records interviews, getting information from recorder to page can be costly (don’t tell our sore-fingered interns). All you need to score some sweet transcriptionist dough are “good typing skills and about $70 in software and computer equipment,” says Paula Kamen, owner of Transcription Professionals (773-334-8006, transprofs@aol.com). “If you find clients through a service, you can earn about $16 to $20 an hour.” Those who find customers on their own can raise those rates substantially: Transcription Professionals charges $110 to $165 per hour of recorded material transcribed; you could majorly underbid that rate and still make mad cash.
Prerequisites: Fast fingers, attention to detail

WRITE LIKE A GHOST. Elaine North is the author of six books under her own name and several more under someone else’s. Ghostwriting books and journal articles, North charges $40 a page ($8,000 to $12,000 per project) to craft someone else’s manuscript. “Most of the time people don’t really know what they want to say, so I have to develop ideas for them,” North says. To get started, you could just search Craigslist, but North recommends getting some of your own articles published, setting up a website of work and networking in the local writing community.
Prerequisites: Humility, writing skillz

CHANGE A LIFE. Helping people get their shit together can earn you a tidy sum on the side. PayScale.com reports that the average newbie life coach earns up to $20 an hour (veterans can score $42.50 to $100 per hour). Coaches looking to break into the field can get a free first taste of the job in Niquenya Fulbright’s mentor coaching class.
Prerequisites: Can-do attitude, a will to be certified

STIR IT UP. Those who think the food world is limited to restaurants should talk to Diedra Johnson-Miller. The owner of 350 Degrees Chef Service, chef Diedra earns her living cooking in clients’ homes and bringing them the occasional boxed meal. Charging $180 to $400 for a week’s worth of meals, Johnson-Miller recommends contacting the local chapter of the United States Personal Chef Association (815-758-1343) for info on getting a part-time business off the ground.
Prerequisites: Kitchen skills, personality

MARRY FOR MONEY. It’s not just something you see in seedy newspapers and kooky romcoms. The market for green-card marriages is ripe and can land morally questionable spouses a flat fee ranging from $5,000 to more than $50,000, (according to a search of predominantly Malaysian blogs), or a one-time wedding fee (usually around $1,000), plus a monthly retainer.
Prerequisites: Familiarity with green-card process, readiness to sell soul