More Unusual Ways to Make Money
By Steve Gillman - 2004
I am continually seeing unusual ways to make money. The more
I look, the more I find. Somebody in our town just started a
business cleaning up the dog poop in people's yards. Who would
have guessed? After this page, you may want to also check out;
Unusual Businesses. It
covers odd enterprises ranging from making palm leaves into scorpions
to collecting dead deer for local governments.
Selling Stuffed Animals
At a campfire in the desert last winter, my wife and I met
a man who sells stuffed animals on the side of the highway. When
we saw him again, in his van full of stuffed animals, I pressed
him for details. He buys used stuffed animals at thrift stores
in bulk and then sells them alongside the highway. Early on,
he even got the stores to give him the animals, with the agreement
that he would return with the money or the animals the next week.
In some small towns he can get a vendor's permit cheaply ($18/year,
for example). Otherwise he just sells until they chase him out
of the county. He says he hasn't been fined yet, and he claims
he sold $4,000 worth his first month. I think he was exaggerating,
but because of him we include used stuffed animals in our flea
market stands with some success.
Trade Payments for Cash?
One way to raise cash that many people overlook is to sell
a structured settlement for cash. Essentially you trade payments
you are receiving from a monthly annuity, settlement payments
from an injury, or even lottery payments, for a lump sum payment.
It can be a workable solution if you need a down payment for
a new home or want to start a new business, or for unexpected
Unusual Ways to Make Money on EBay
Last month we met a man who bought a pair of jeans for 25
cents at a yard sale and sold them for $400 on Ebay. I was skeptical
until I searched on Ebay that night and saw several pairs of
jeans with the bids over $100 and even $200. I also found an
old army pick for sale which was identical to the one I sold
that same day for $7. The bidding was up to $14. Live and learn.
Selling things on Ebay isn't an unusual way to make money
any longer, but you can sell such unusual things! A friend of
mine buys things on Ebay to resell for a profit on Ebay (by changing
categories to reach a better market, for example). Unfortunately
for the people that were making a living doing it, Ebay no longer
allows you to auction used unwashed women's underwear to fetishists.
Selling Celebrity Magnets
There is a guy who sell thousands of these on Ebay. Basically,
you use a Xyron laminating machine to attach photos of celebrities
to magnets. The photos are just clipped from magazines.
Selling Things in National Parks
In the Grand Canyon National Park we bought a beautiful necklace
for my wife. It was on a blanket with other beautiful jewelry,
for sale by a Native American woman. Her daughter stood watch
to warn of any officials coming, whereupon the blanket and its
contents would certainly disappear. Illegal, I'm sure, but the
several people we saw buying her jewelry were happy they were
If you live near camping areas you can cut firewood and sell
it in your front yard. It's not such an unusual way to make money
around here. However, I liked the way a man in Florida was doing
it. As campground host, he had free rent, power, water, and phone
service, and he was allowed to order firewood. He had
it delivered by the truckload, and he then sold it for $5 per
bundle to the campers there.
Selling Pop on the River
Halfway down a local river on inner tubes one day, we traded
a riverside resident our air pump for three beers. That got me
thinking. I've watched hundreds of thirsty people float by in
canoes and tubes on hot days. I haven't tried it yet, but I think
there is some money to be made sitting on a sunny sandbar someday
Several times I have picked apples in October to make some
extra cash. You can bring your radio, stop when you want to eat,
start early or late - it doesn't matter. The owners don't mind
because they typically pay by the box, not by the hour. I made
about $13 per hour when I was moving fast.
It's hard to find many people making a living selling things
at flea markets. Most are retired or just want some extra cash.
Flea market sales is a very low risk business, however. You can
buy 80 dollars worth of used toys and stuffed animals, gather
things from around the house, and for $10 or less rent a spot
for the day at a flea market. Re-invest any money you make into
new products and you'll probably sell more the second time around.
I buy walking canes at the dollar store ($1.06 with tax), put
a feather or two on them (4 cents and 4 minutes), and kids buy
them up for $3 to $4 each. It is difficult to make much money,
but it is also difficult to lose much.
It isn't unusual to buy a house, fix it up and sell it for
a profit. It is less common to find these opportunities in the
$10,000 price range though. We found that there are towns in
this country where you can still find houses as cheap as $6,000!
We bought a house in a beautiful little town in Montana for $17,500,
paid a plumber and a friend to fix a couple things ($2,000),
and after living in the house for a few months, sold it for $28,000.
For more of the story you can visit our website: www.HousesUnderFiftyThousand.com
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