Guest Author - Reshma Vyas
Finding ways to earn extra income for the holiday season is always a challenging and highly competitive endeavor, even more acutely so during tight, recessionary times. Nearly everyone is chasing after the same thing: extra holiday cash! Yet, with some persistence and lots of personal creativity, there are still lucrative opportunities to generate extra money for the holidays.
Help Yourself By Helping Others
The holiday season presents an inopportune time to forge new beginnings; build new personal and professional networks, seek out hidden strengths, refine lifelong skills and talent.
The excitement and frenetic pace of holiday preparations can easily overwhelm even the most organized and efficient individual. There is simply too much to do and time is a precious resource. Everyone is looking for ways to reduce stress, save personal energy, time and money.
Make a list of all your credentials, hobbies, skills and specialized knowledge. A service business with a holiday or seasonal theme will obviously be in strong demand. Try to look for an underserved or neglected niche or audience. Consider creative and useful methods to fill that gap. Use the entire array of resources at your disposal (e.g., community bulletin boards, your personal network, local organizations and print publications) to advertise and promote your service. The following are just a few ideas:
Desktop publishing, logo artwork and web design. Many independent contractors, beginning entrepreneurs and small businesses have extremely limited monetary resources to spend on advertising and promotional materials. They may not even have a website. Self-employed individuals, independent contractors such as sales and marketing representatives and local small businesses may need to publish seasonal brochures, print or online newsletters for their clients. If you can successfully deliver professional and polished work at competitively discount prices, you may be able to secure more long-term, year-round assignments (possibly even a permanent part-time position as a webmaster or promotional coordinator) as well as reap the benefit of positive referrals.
Freelance holiday decorating service and/or consulting business.
Music lessons. Professional music lessons can be expensive. If you know how to play the piano or some other musical instrument, consider providing lessons at affordable rates to children and adults in your neighborhood.
Outdoor work (e.g., decorating, raking leaves, trimming bushes and shoveling snow).
Party and events planning.
Write cover letters and resumes for a small fee. Help unemployed or underemployed individuals market themselves to prospective employers and transition to a new job or career.
Additional Service Businesses Or Freelance Opportunities
Crafts Assistant. Selling homemade crafts may not be a feasible option for everyone as it is a strenuous, time-consuming business. Crafts businesses are extremely competitive and for those just starting out, particularly during the holiday season, the heightened competitive pressures and strain can be exhausting and may yield little or nothing in terms of net profit. During this time of year, many well established crafts businesses are inundated with orders and projects. You can still put your creative skills to good use and work on exciting, varied projects (e.g., crocheting, knitting, making stuffed toys or handmade ornaments and more elaborate needlepoint products). Look for employment ads that feature available positions for freelance part-time crafts assistant or crafts instructor. You may be able to share your love for crafts through teaching at a senior center, hospital or other nonprofit organization.
Freelance Speaker Or Instructor. Teach a class on a subject that reflects a seasonal or holiday theme. Your audience could consist of members of a professional organization or students at a community college. Specialized educational content that touches on timely relevant topics generally has mass appeal. Noncredit classes encompass a wide range of subjects such as beginning jewelry design, cake decorating, care of indoor plants, care of poinsettias, decorative painting, etiquette, everything about apple cider, GPS navigation, gourd crafts, green crafts, holiday floral design, how to make cheese, popular Christmas toys of the past, winter poetry and winter automotive maintenance. Share your hobby with others. Do you collect Barbie dolls and fancy yourself as an expert? Do you know everything there is to possibly know about Barbie dolls? You might be fortunate enough to land an opportunity to teach a noncredit class on Barbie Dolls at a community college or speak before a local hobby organization.
Photography. Do you love to take photos of animals, nature and landscapes? Photographs that evoke the various reflective moods of the somber beauty of the winter season are extremely popular as are holiday-infused images. You may be able to earn extra money by selling your work to local publishers, graphic design firms or large, online stock photography companies. (Before submitting photos to any stock photography company, do thorough research and work with only reputable vendors, be certain that you understand the submission guidelines, methods and condition of payment, observe all precautions pertaining to issues of watermarks and copyright in order to protect your material and carefully review the agreement including the terms and conditions.).
Other ideas include catering, designing and making dog sweaters, freelancing as a fashion consultant and making personalized gift baskets.
For informational purposes only and not intended as advice