Once I went to a conference where I listened to a bunch of “successful” people explain what, exactly, were the secrets to their success. One of the speakers talked about finances and he said that there are only two ways to make money: 1) You work for your money (in other words you get a job); or 2) Your money works for you (in other words, you invest). Of course, he conveniently avoided the obvious question: Where do the people who invest their money get the money to invest in the first place? It seems to me that at some point or another you have to work for it (unless you’re lucky enough to inherit a fortune — or spill hot coffee on your crotch and sue McDonald’s for millions).
The finance guru also overlooked another way of making money that is sort of in between the first two: Royalties. With royalties, you do some initial creative work (e.g., write a book or a song) and then you sit back and relax while that work is published (duplicated by printing or recording) and sold over and over again. Each time your creative work is sold, cha-ching! Royalties. Or, as they say in the business world, residual income.
But there are even more ways to make money without working, without investing and without having any creative talent whatsoever. And these are things that you, yes YOU, the average person right here in C-U, can do. I’ve even done some of them myself. Here are a few of them:
Participate in a Study. One way you can make a few extra bucks here and there is to participate in a psychological study. The psychology department at the University of Illinois is always doing interesting studies and constantly looking for a variety of subjects. Just go to their website and see what they have available. I’ve done this half a dozen times and it’s usually pretty interesting, especially when they hook electrodes to your scalp (yes, they seriously did that to me once!). Plus, you’re helping science (or at least some poor grad student get a degree).
Donate Plasma. OK, I’ve never actually done this one, but I know people who have. One guy I know lives in Danville and works in Champaign. He donates his plasma and it pays for his gas money to drive to work each week. Talecris Plasma Resources is the place to do this. It’s located at 24 E. Green Street, Suite 16. I actually called them once to see what it was all about and when they told me that they sucked all of the blood out of your body, I decided it wasn’t for me. But, hey, maybe you don’t have a problem with vampirism. Plus, it’s for a good cause. People need your plasma.
Recycle. Sure, you could do this the tedious way by saving all your aluminum cans and getting about 30 cents a pound for them. It’s noble and it helps the environment. But if you want to make some big bucks and you’ve got some heavy metal laying around (steel bed frames, chain link fences, old bicycle frames, etc.) then take your wares over to Marco Steel (302 S. Market Street in Champaign). If you’ve got a truckload of scrap metal, you could walk out of Marco Steel with a couple hundred bucks in your pocket.
So there are three ways to make money without working. Plus, all of these ways help people and/or make the world a better place. Now, let’s hear from you readers. Do you have any ways of making some extra cash without really doing anything? If so, post a comment here and share it with the rest of us.