Two Income Generating Ideas

I know I’ve been on a “making money” roll the last two weeks or so. After running a few eBay auctions and doing a small bit of consulting on the side, I believe even more now that earning a few extra bucks can dramatically alter your financial position.

So, I took Friday off last week and fired up the brain cells to come up with two more, maybe a little unusual, money making ideas. These are based off my own interests—one food based and one art based. But hear me out. These two ideas are interests I’ve had but, for one reason or another, I didn’t feel they were ready to bear fruit. Until now.

I’ve had these ideas tucked into the back of my mind for years. But now the technological platforms are available for someone to take them and run. In case you’ve been living in your basement that last few years, commerce is no longer bound by city limit signs. Old ideas once thought dead are making a resurgence. Like this first idea.

Idea #1 – Be a Food Grower. After reading Square Foot Gardening I was super pumped about growing more of my own food. Years ago, I helped my grandmother with her garden. I enjoyed it but dreaded all the work. Weeding. Watering. Weeding. Weeding some more.

Square foot gardening takes away much of the pain involved with gardening and yields the same amount of produce on 1/10th the size of land. Perfect for us city slickers with small yards or maybe only a few windowsills.

But who likes getting up early on Saturday and Sunday morning to trudge down to the local farmer’s market hoping to sell enough food to cover the booth cost? After working during the week, I’ve always been very reluctant to give up my weekends. But then I read about a food website.

Foodzie, a new platform that allows growers to sell their food creations, could become a major force in the independent food selling business. No longer bound by local farmer’s market stands, independent growers can reach the world by creating their very own online food store.

You might think selling, packing, and shipping vegetables from your backyard would make a cute, little part-time gig. That is until you read about Rick’s Picks. Started as a hobby, Rick Fields built a nice little “side” business selling pickled vegetables to the tune of over $500,000 per year.

Because of his successes, Rick has been featured in Business Week, CNBC, and NPR.

If you’ve ever thought about selling food, now’s the time to do it. Foodzie is young, and definitely up and coming, and I still see a lot of potential for foodies to create a nice following. This combined with square foot gardening techniques opens the door for most of us to be in the food business.

Can you think of something to gorw? I’d like to try jalapeno peppers. I put jalapenos on everything. Eggs, hamburgers, hot dogs. You name it.

Idea # 2 – Design and Sell Art. One way that I’ve been able to pick up on trends is to watch the bookshelves and magazine racks at my local bookstore. If you grab the latest Inc magazine issue, there’s a story about a couple that creates and sells digital art prints.

As with the food growing idea above, the stars have aligned in recent years giving artists an outlet to sell their creations worldwide. According to the Inc magazine article, Ashley Goldberg and Drew Bell discovered blogging and the website Etsy. These would play crucial roles in starting Ashley G and Drew.

This is an inspiring story because it’s about real people making a living doing something they love. Even more inspiring is that this idea was made possible because of today’s web based technologies. Ashely Goldberg even admitted that St. Louis, where she grew up, was not the ideal market where she could make a living as a full-time artist. Going the traditional route, yes. Going the web route, absolutely not.

Even though it’s now bursting with artists, Etsy isn’t the only game in town. Etsy is an online gallery much like eBay. You still have to outsource your printing and do your own packaging and shipping. Wouldn’t it be great if someone else could fulfill the order? Freeing you up to create more art and connect with more customers? There is such a service. Several actually. It’s called print-on-demand and it’s becoming more and more popular.

The following are a few of the more popular print-on-demand services:

One of the drawbacks to print-on-demand services is that you don’t have the final say in quality control. If you’re outsourcing, you can always find another printer more than willing to take your business.

I not only wanted to share these ideas, I also wanted to show you how today’s technological advancements are making it possible to do just about anything. Think about it. Who would have thought less than 10 years ago that someone could make half-a-million dollars selling pickled vegetables from a small building in downtown New York City? Or that a couple could make six figures selling digital art prints from St. Louis?

So what’s the idea you’ve been putting off because you don’t think it’s viable? Be inspired and take action!

3 Responses to “Two Income Generating Ideas”

  1. James Fowlkes October 18, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    I have three friends who are into creating art. Thanks for sharing the links to those websites. I’m going to pass them on to those friends. Actually, I just thought of another old friend of mine who lives in Germany and uses Etsy to sell her art. It’s great!

  2. Jerret October 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    Thanks for the comments, James.

    You can also recommend by Chris Guillebeau. It has many more resources and information.


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