by Bethany Mooradian, author of “I Got Scammed So You Don’t Have To!: How to Find Legitimate Work at Home and Random Jobs in a Scamming Economy“
Most adults of a certain age believe they’ve had some colorful jobs. Chances are likely, however, that I have them beat.
I began finding random jobs after receiving my degree in puppetry because I realized that most puppeteers don’t make that much money. At one point, I was even Ronald McDonald’s bodyguard!
Beginning in 1999, in order to make ends meet while pursuing my artistic passions, I looked for odd jobs. It wasn’t long before the search for and execution of odd jobs became a lifestyle. I gave so much advice to friends on how not to be scammed, that I decided to write a book about it.
I came up with an acronym to help as a general outline to avoid scams: SCRAM. S = scrutinize the source; C = check for affiliate links and fees; R = research the heck out of every detail; A = ask for more information; M = mouse over images and links to see what website you end on before you click.
I was scammed in a work-at-home gig from a magazine ad when I was young and naïve. It was before the Internet was widely used, so it wasn’t as easy to check it out, and I hadn’t yet developed my SCRAM method.
While the odd, random job or source of supplemental income usually does not replace the income of a full-time job, there are several ways of making money people often overlook, or simply don’t know about. Anyone can find extra ways to earn income from what they already know how to do, “No one ever goes to college to learn how to ‘work at home.’ It’s simply a matter of taking your skill set and translating that into a home-office or flexible work environment instead of a 9-5 job.
Here are five income opportunities most people are not aware of:
Being a Virtual Assistant.
If you have computer and Internet skills, you can work as a VA doing general secretarial work, or processing orders for large-name corporations at home. Many companies are seeing the benefit of “homesourcing” instead of “outsourcing” because overhead is reduced, and customers get to speak to local operators who understand the language and culture.
Have you ever walked up to someone shelving products in a store to ask for help and they reply, “I’m sorry, I don’t work here?” Those are merchandisers. They’re hired to set up displays, check prices on items, and shelve products like magazines, food items, and greeting cards. Merchandisers have specific locations to service, but with fairly flexible hours.
Landlord (rent that extra space!).
Many people own property because they want their personal freedom. But for those who’ve fallen on hard financial times, like millions of Americans, finding a good, trustworthy person to rent your extra room, a storage space, garage, or a parking space is a great option.
I created a video and book training course on this topic titled “The Mystery Shopper Training Program Book” which can be found on my website, as well as through Amazon.com and local bookstores. Mystery shoppers are paid to surreptitiously check out the behavior of employees in retail shops, bars, restaurants, apartment buildings, car dealerships, banks, and even on cruise ships and travel resorts.
Use your talent.
You don’t have to have movie-star aspirations to get work as an extra in movies, television shows or industrial/training films. Many times you can call up your local film board to find casting directors in the area to get on their “extra” list. Voiceover work can also be done from the comfort of your home if you have a powerful enough microphone, and you can also be a “standardized patient” acting out diseases to help medical students with their board exams.
The Internet is full of information, but finding useful leads for jobs or making extra money can be like searching for a needle in the proverbial haystack, which is why I provide over 300 legitimate companies, ideas, and resources for money-seekers.
For 13 years Bethany Mooradian has lived the random-job lifestyle, including everything from being a puppeteer, dog walker and art gallery owner to actor, sexual health resource clinic advisor and parade float fabricator to elderly caregiver, phone book deliverer, mystery shopper, virtual assistant and more. The “Queen of the Random Job” has written books, created training programs, and teaches classes in both Seattle and online to assist others looking for ways to make ends meet.