Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
There are plenty of long-term and lucrative opportunities to make money in this economic climate. Here are just a few of the ways you can do it:
In a downturn, secondhand and generally cheap goods tend to do very well. In fact, they often do better than they do when times were good. eBay and other auction sites such as eBid are still doing a roaring trade so now is an even better time to sell everything you don’t need or want.
Most of us have far more stuff than we need (or really want) so make it a regular exercise to go through cupboards, drawers, shelves and so on and see what you could possibly get rid of for ready cash.
If you are a major eBay enthusiast you could make money by selling other people’s things for them on the site. Many people would happily pay a percentage to someone who is willing to photograph their stuff, put it on the site, write a good description then send the things off for them. Charge about 30% of the sale price and you’ll make it worthwhile for yourself and the people you’re selling for.
Continuing the secondhand theme, good old car boot sales and the like also do well during economic hard times. More people try to
make money by selling at them and others are keen to buy there because they can get stuff cheaply. Obviously you could make some quick cash by selling your stuff at a local car boot sale, but you could make more regular money by setting up your own car boot sale.
Anyone can do it. You just have to find a space that you can rent (you could do a profit-share deal with the owners to start off with) and then do what it takes to advertise it. Quite often school playgrounds are used as car boot sale venues or car parks that are not used at the weekends, fields or even a simple patch of wasteland that’s not too hard to get to by car. Many town venues are already set up for sale but, if you hunt around, you could find a great spot that has not been nabbed yet.
Take a look at Car Boot Junction for information about local sales. If you set one of your own up you should add it to their list, as well as advertising it in the local press and through leafleting the neighbouring area.
Many businesses go bankrupt during a downturn. It’s a tragedy for those who owned the businesses, but it can create an opportunity for you. The stock, furniture, machinery and equipment that these businesses had need to be sold and usually they need to be sold fast. That means they can go very cheaply and there are two ways you can profit from this. First, you could get friendly with local receivers and insolvency practitioners (you can find out about local ones through the organisation R3 which covers all bankruptcy professionals). You could be the one to bid directly for what is left of the business’ goods. It’s then up to you to sell them, either through auction or through direct contacts, to make a profit. Alternatively, you could attend the auctions of bankrupt stock and buy up the goods cheaply for your own use or for selling on at a profit.
We all know that people are now more into renting than buying property, but there are also many other things that can, and should, be rented rather than bought when times are hard. This is another area where you can cash-in.
For a start, do you have a driveway or garage you could rent out? There are a few websites now that will advertise your parking space to commuters. Parklet and JustPark offer this service as we explain in our article on making money out of your driveway.
It’s so obvious that we hesitate to say it again, but if you have a spare room then now is a good time to rent it out and make some tax-free money from it. Under the government’s Rent-a-Room scheme you can make up to £4,250 a year tax-free from renting out your spare room. If you can’t bear the idea of having someone else in your home 24/7, go for the short-term option of renting to foreign students. We have all the details here in our article on hosting students for cash.
Then there are other things you could rent out like your car, your power tools, your clothes, your accessories and even your toys. A few rental websites have sprung up recently that aim to match owners with potential renters – Zilok offer this service. It’s a new concept so you may find it slow to start, but put your items on and you’ll soon start making some money.
Everyone is looking for cheap ways to get things done. Of course, for most people price has always been an issue, but it’s even more critical now. If you can offer services locally at a much cheaper rate than proper businesses, you could get even more work than before.
For example, find out how much window-cleaning companies in your area charge and offer your services for 20% less. Or if you’re at home looking after your children, register as a child-minder. Many families who used to employ nannies or a private nursery will be looking for cheaper options now and there should be more of a demand for childminding (see our article about childminding here).
If you’re a cleaner and you’re worried about being dropped because of cost cutting, offer extra services such as cooking and filling the freezer for your clients. If you have secretarial skills, offer your services to businesses around the world as a Virtual Assistant (we show you how to be a Virtual Assistant here). Learn bookkeeping as well and you will have many more work opportunities as you undercut the market.
Are you good with computers? Offer your services as a computer trouble-shooter at a knock-down rate in your local area. Whereas people used to simply throw away their computers when they went wrong, as times get harder they are starting to get things mended.
Computer mending can be expensive, so if you can offer a cut-price service there you will be increasingly in demand.
Think about what people need to have done – or would like to have done – but don’t have the money to pay. Mending and repair services will be in greater demand, but people will be looking for the best price they can get. If you’re good at altering clothes, DIY or repairs to household goods, your services will be needed more and more if your price is right. Don’t think for a moment that an economic downturn needs to be bad news for you and your family. There are always opportunities if you look. In fact, for some, it can mean more business and a greater income, not less.