Everyone needs to make money whether you’re a trust-fund baby or just lost your job, money makes the world go ’round. Living in small towns presents a challenge unique to the economy as well as the job market.
Below are ten ideas to create an income from any location but work especially well in smaller towns. Check with your city hall, but most rural towns don’t require a business license or have a very small fee to start.
1. Start a dog grooming business. Go to your local library, check out a book on dog grooming. If your library doesn’t have anything, they probably do a book exchange with other libraries in the area. Gather your supplies. Buy supplies online at eBay or through sites like Ryan’s Pet Supplies – http://www.ryanspet.com/. Make fliers or use your community bulletin boards to advertise. Limit the amount of dogs groomed in a day or at a time. Most people have their dogs bathed and trimmed. If you need dogs to practice on, the local animal shelter is always in need of grooming services. You’ll invest around $200 or less. Consider starting out with dogs to bath and trim rather than full-blown styling services at your salon. Use Craigslist and eBay to find used kennels, tables, tools, etc.
2. Babysit. Children of working parents need care during the day either before and after school are for the entire day. My mother used to babysit a couple of children while we were growing up. She provided good meals and playtime, nap-time, etc. while we were doing the same activities. Some restrictions apply depending on where you are. Most areas allow 4 children or under without having a day care license. Babysitting in the evenings for a Parent’s Night Out is also a great occasional service for those who do not use a regular sitter. Children can be dropped off at your house and picked up when the parents return home. A Guide to Babysitting
3. Lawn Care Services/Snow Removal is a much needed service for everyone. You’ll need a mower at the minimum for the summer and a shovel for the winter. For those who want to get a little more detailed, add an edge trimmer, hedge clippers or a weed whacker. During the snow season, people need walks and drives shoveled especially after the snow plows go by. 100 Tips for the Lawn Care Business
4. Delivery Services are a great way for restaurants to sell products to those who are either shut-in or too lazy to drive over and pick up their own meal. Make contact with the local eating establishments as well as any other businesses who might want products delivered – pharmacies, convenience stores, etc. and see if they will add a small fee, or work for the tips. Most drivers for delivery food make $5 a trip. Limit the hours of delivery service to evening hours only or weekends. Check with the local motels and put fliers in the rooms for delivery services.
5. Make something! Many local retail stores pride themselves in locally made products from jams and jellies, breads and cakes to wooden items made from area scraps. There are cookbooks about the local crop ( raspberries, chokecherries, crab apples., etc.) If your town is crowded in a certain season compared to another season, you might consider making souvenirs from Christmas balls with the town and the date on them. Many people collect items from the places they visit regardless of how remote. Remember the yard stick that tells you the weather? It’s a stick that comes with a little paper telling you how to read it. (Put it in the yard or on the porch. If it’s wet, it’s raining. If it’s white, it’s snowing. If it’s cold, put on a sweater. Etc. – Make up your own sayings) The more unique and the cuter the better so make it count!
6. Buy delinquent storage units for little to nothing and sell the goods. In rural areas, usually no one comes to buy the storage units abandoned by people and the owner ends up with a bill and a bunch of stuff they can’t use. One time I was able to clean out a storage unit containing $30,000 worth of artwork I didn’t have to pay for. I sold the items on eBay and made good money. I didn’t have to pay for it because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to sell the art. Most of my clients didn’t even know what a COA was and didn’t appreciate the quality of the work. eBay was a great outlet for this. You can also sell on Craigslist. There’s usually a washer or a dryer or both which can be sold for $100 each.
7. Online selling is a great way to make a living. Use eBay and Craiglist as primary sources for listing items as well as Amazon.com. These are the top three online buying and selling communities on the web. Use the eBay’s Pulse to find out what’s hot and what’s not.
8. Avon is a great money maker for those who don’t have a locally dedicated representative. Many women love the products, they order from catalogs placed in high traffic areas (beauty shops, grocery stores, convenience stores, etc.) Once you are reliable with the delivery of the products, you’ll find very loyal customers. With Avon it’s about customer service and great products. If you don’t mind going door-to-door which I did as a teenager, it’s really good. Chances are you already know people in your town you’ll be able to work with. Avon
9. Computer repair and appliance repair services are so limited in small towns usually it’s difficult to find a competent person who can fix things. Put out a flyer, contact local businesses and within a few days, you’ll be having a word of mouth business you can charge $35 an hour or more just for looking at the machine. If you’re really ambitious, try charging $75 just for a service call to diagnose the problem.
10. Writing is global. With an Internet connection, working from home is a great way to make perpetual money. For example, this particular article will generate revenue for years to come. Use places like Associated Content and Helium to get paid to write. eLance is a web community where people hire freelancers in all kinds of fields to work by the job. Look online for reviews. Offering services in editing and copywriting locally can be done either in the community or online as well. If you’re also a photographer, you can add photos to your writing making more money.