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10 Ways to Make Money Without a "Real Job"

I am an emerging writer from Vancouver who has published numerous children's books.


You Don’t Need a Real Job to Make Money

Do you like your job? That’s a stupid question. Of course you do, otherwise, you wouldn’t be doing it. Truth is most of us don’t enjoy what we do for a living. We just trade time for money. If it were up to us we’d live on a beach somewhere and eat and drink all day. Sound amazing? It can happen to you but it takes a lot of work. How about right now? Is there a way to make a decent income and still have a life?

I’m here to tell you YES! I can say that because I’m living it. I’m going to give you 10 different ways to earn money that you can combine to get those bills paid and maybe even make you a fortune!

10 Ways to Earn Money Without a "Real Job"

  1. Working as an Extra
  2. Acting
  3. Teaching Music
  4. YouTube
  5. Songwriting
  6. Musician
  7. Caretaker
  8. Teaching English
  9. Writing
  10. Surveys

1. Working as an Exra

I love movies and watch a lot of TV, and I bet you do too. Take a look behind the actors, and what do you see? There's a whole bunch of people walking, sitting, standing and dancing. These people fill in the background and give it realism. They are paid to be movie extras, and it’s a fun and lucrative way to spend a day. I have been doing extra work off and on for 20 years. It’s easy because they need all shapes and sizes. We all can do it. If you want to be an actor, it’s the perfect place to start. We’ll talk more about acting in a moment.

There are different levels of extras and, of course, different levels of pay. You have non-union; that’s where most of us start. It’s minimum wage, but it’s easy work, and you get fed. Once you get acting credits, you can apply to be a union member. Full members get paid $200+ a day, so it is real money.

There are also special ability extras, photo doubles and stand-ins. Your agent has to get paid as well, and the standard rate is 15%. You are in control of when you want to be available. Once you get established with an agency, they are more likely to keep booking you. There is also lots of downtime on set when you are sitting in extra’s holding. This gives you tons of time to make money doing other things!

2. Acting

If you have the acting bug and want to be in front of the camera, then you can become an actor. This is similar to extra work in that you are on set working. While getting there is much harder, the pay is awesome! In order to work as an actor on set, you have to be booked for a role. In order to be booked for a role, you have to audition. In order to audition, you need an agent.

There are lots of reputable agents in the big cities, and you can go to their websites to find out submission policies. They don’t charge you any money until you book a gig, then they take their 15% commission just like extra agents. They may suggest that you take acting classes, and that’s excellent advice. You will also need to get headshots at your own expense. There are some upfront costs to becoming an actor, so you need to be prepared for that. There will be lots of auditions and callbacks, so yes, a ton of driving. My son was a very successful child actor, and he's now successful as an adult, as well. Acting is very lucrative if you can book work, so go for it!

3. Teaching Music

This one takes a musical skillset. Not everyone can play music, and not every musician can teach. You can figure it out on your own or model yourself after your teachers. Either way, you can make some serious money.

My wife and I owned and operated a performing arts school. We taught music, acting, musical theatre and dance. How did we get to that level? My wife started as a private music teacher. Julie went to school and got her BA in music. Originally, she was going to become a teacher in the school system but decided that was not for her. After graduation, she started advertising and built up a full student load. With 35+ students per week, she was busy, but at $60 per hour, it was pretty lucrative.

There are several ways to do it. You can set up shop at a brick and mortar location or drive to student’s homes. There are even established companies where you can work at their location or even teach online. There is nothing more rewarding than sharing your talent with others. If you have the gift of music, share that gift and get paid to teach it.

4. YouTube

YouTube has exploded over the last several years. More and more people are watching online videos because it’s fast and entertaining. You can search for almost anything, and there will be a video of it. Three years ago, my son was watching a video, and I asked him about it. He told me people have YouTube channels and get paid real money. I decided to do some research and see if I could cash in. I searched for what the top earners were doing and discovered several ideas to make videos.

I now have three channels that are monetized, and it has become a great source of income. I make between $50–100 every day. You do have to make steady content, and I’ve posted over 1000 videos. I have become pretty proficient at it. I can film, edit and post a video in less than an hour. Just remember to do your research and see what people are watching. There is major money to be made, so find your popular niche and introduce yourself to the amazing world of YouTube!

5. Songwriting

We all love music, whether it’s country, rap, jazz or something in between. Catchy lyrics and powerful choruses resonate with our emotions. The recording artists make great money, but you know who else does? The songwriter. I have been a musician all my life and have written many songs. It’s an awesome creative outlet and yet another way to make some side income or huge income!

There are lots of music publishers that take unsolicited song submissions. Back when I was regularly submitting demos, it was with cassette tapes; then it turned to CDs. Now it’s MP3s. Whatever way you are asked to get your songs in the hands of the decision-makers, do it.

Music lawyers are also valuable contacts to have in your network. I have signed several songs to a music publisher, but unfortunately, they weren’t picked up by an artist. I do know that songwriting royalties are pretty amazing. My songwriting is on the back burner for now, but I hope to get back into it as there is money in them there tunes!

6. Musician

Most of us took music in school. Maybe it was a recorder, a ukulele or even a band instrument. It’s challenging and fun, and some of us really excel at it. I played trombone. I started in grade 5 and found it pretty easy. By age 13, I joined a community marching band and toured Canada, USA and Europe. We performed in parades, played concerts during the day and swing music at night. Why am I telling you my music story? Because I turned it into a paying gig. At 17, I was playing in two pro swing bands and getting paid for weekend gigs. This was in the early ’80s, and $50 for a night of playing was pretty awesome. That style of music isn’t too big now, and there’s not much call for the t-bone. If I could give any aspiring musician some advice, it is: Play the guitar or piano.

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These two instruments will give you the best chance to get paid to play. You can perform solo at coffee shops and restaurants for a few bucks. If you are really good, you can get a cruise ship gig. My daughter was a piano bar entertainer on ships for five years. She played and sang, so you’d have to be a vocalist as well. There are lots of resort hotel gigs too for solo piano and guitar acts. There are combos as well, and you can even join a rock/country/blues band and play the circuits.

Bottom line: If you love to play music, you may as well get paid for it.

7. Caretaker

How about a part-time job that doesn’t feel like one? Be a caretaker. It could be in a building or on a big property. It could even be a park. These types of jobs come up here and there. Anyone who gets one keeps it because once you do your duties, you’re on call for the rest of the day. That’s awesome, but it can be inconvenient. It does give you lots of downtime to do other things you really love.

You get pretty handy at fixing things and problem-solving, so that means you have to deal with people’s issues. Just make sure you are a people person because if you aren’t, it’s gonna be a deal-breaker. It also comes with perks. Of course, you are going to get paid, but usually, you get a free place to live. Sometimes you even get staff to work with you. You will have to deal with trades or city workers too so again, there is human contact. It’s an interesting job to do if you get the chance. I have done it, and it worked very well for me.

8. Teaching English

Can you speak more than one language? People who do are amazing. There are many people in countries around the world that want to learn English, and they will pay to learn. You can work locally at ESL centres, but I think the best jobs are online. There are many reputable companies that have everything set up. You can become an English teacher, and they supply all the training needed. They also bring you the students.

As a minimum, you have to have a bachelor's degree, and past teaching is an asset. They pay pretty well too. Unfortunately, because most of the students are in Asia, you have to work in their time zone. Late nights and early mornings are when you will work. All and all, there’s nothing better than working from home in your pj's. Well, maybe just the bottoms and a dress shirt on top!

9. Writing

Everyone has a story to tell. Most of us can tell a joke, and some of us are good public speakers. Storytelling is as old as time. You can make real money as a writer. Go it alone, and you can have your own website or Amazon Kindle page to sell your original material. I do this, and it’s residual income; money that keeps coming in after the work is done. Write it once, and hopefully, it will keep selling. I also send my novels to publishers that take unsolicited submissions.

There are many websites and online magazines that take submissions for different creative writing works of all sizes, from full novels to flash fiction to poetry. They may connect you with people looking for writing works or pay you and take over all rights to it. You can even get ghostwriting gigs that pay pretty well. Go put pen to paper and make some dough.

10. Surveys

There are a handful of survey sites where you can make a few bucks. Maybe you’ve heard something about them and think they are a scam. I can attest that they are real, and they pay you. What do you make? Some will accumulate and send you a cheque after you meet a threshold, but most don’t pay in real money. In this internet era, you can be paid online and spend online. Most survey sites pay in the form of online venders. The best way to use that income is by selecting Amazon. You get real Amazon money into your account, and then you can buy just about anything the web has to offer. It may not be a giant windfall, but it is a small piece of your overall income puzzle.

Use These 10 Unusual "Jobs" to Make Money

Well, there we have it—10 ways to make money from home. My wife and I have done all of these to earn income, and it has allowed us to be creative, be together and follow our passions. There are many more, so look for what works for you. I encourage all of you to try out some of these revenue streams. Why be part of the rat race when you can skip the trap and go right to the cheese? Leave the 9–5 behind, and start earning money in your own home and in your pj’s. There’s no better feeling, and it’s just so darn comfortable!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2018 WH Thomas


WH Thomas (author) from Vancouver on November 17, 2018:

Hey Abhishek,

My main channel is Toy Tester Tom.

Abhishek suman from New Delhi on November 17, 2018:

Can you teĺl your youtube channel name

Venkat from Chennai on November 14, 2018:

very good information. Thanks for sharing.

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