Have you ever wondered what you might do if your income suddenly disappeared? Maybe it’s happened to you. Our economy is volatile, folks, and hard times could very well be just around the corner. When it comes to making a living, hard times do present opportunities, and you don’t have to have a lot of money to start making money right now.
After twenty-eight years in the newspaper business, my livelihood was taken away from me not long ago. Newspapers were dying everywhere, and the profession I gave my life to was no longer needed. Below are three ways I generated income quickly in my hard times.
1. Lawn Care
Everyone owns a rake, shovel, and broom. Most everyone owns a lawn mower and a weed whipper. With these few tools, you can make cold, hard cash every day. My son had a small paper route in town, and he got to know many of his customers well enough that when he approached them about lawn maintenance opportunities, he quickly had several mowing, weeding, and shoveling jobs. Every day after his route, he mowed two lawns. He charged $20 for small lawns, up to $40 for larger yards. He did this five days a week, averaging $60 each day—$300 per week. His little $25 a week paper route reaped huge profits, simply by him being prompt and friendly.
I own a small truck. We live right down the road from a mulch supplier. I can fill my little truck overflowing with mulch for $20. In early spring, I called myself “The Mulchman.” I put out flyers and advertised on Facebook, offering mulch delivered to your home and spread where you want it for starting at $99 per truckload. It rarely ever took me over thirty minutes to wheelbarrow and spread a load of mulch, and after taking money out for mulch and fuel, I made $70 an hour. After three years, my clients call me with more work than one person can do in a summer. This spawned many lawn care jobs, too.
2. Buying and Selling Fixer-Uppers
When the economy tanks, two things always happen. First, people scale back. Second, they sell things they don’t need. Unemployed people can’t make car payments, so they look for cheap transportation. That could mean a cheaper car, a motorcycle, or even a bicycle. Our family scoured the area for yard sales, auctions, and private sellers with these items that needed fixing up, took them home, and with not much money at all, we had a thriving part time business. My oldest son, at the age of thirteen, bought a car for $200, cleaned it up, fixed a flat tire, changed a heater fan, and sold it for $800 one month later. These deals are around every corner, just waiting for a little TLC.
3. Work on Repossessed Homes
When economic disaster strikes, banks end up with a whole lot of homes in various states of disrepair. Banks want these homes fixed up quickly so they can get them back on the market. Much of the work is general cleaning and small maintenance— a job any handy person can do. For me, this job paid the bills every week. After offering our hometown bank my services, they gladly paid me $25 per hour to paint, sweep, and vacuum. As soon as I finished one home, there was another home waiting. Word spread, and soon we were working for several banks, with all the weekly income we ever needed to live a decent life.
These are just three ways I found to make a living during hard times. All it takes is a little American ingenuity, a friendly attitude, and some old fashioned sweat. It’s out there waiting for you, so what are you waiting for?