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It happens. People get in a bind and need solid ways to make money fast. It could be a few dollars or a few hundred dollars. Not the kind of money that will change your life but the kind that’ll help right now.

The best ways to make $500 fast are simple and don’t require an extraordinary amount of effort.

In this guide, you’ll learn some effective ways to get the ball rolling and they don’t require much, if any, capital. Refer to the list whenever you need a new way to make some cash quickly.

Table of Contents

Ways to make money fast

There are many ways to make quick cash but not all of them will be suitable for you. Focus on the ones that make the most sense for your current situation and leave the rest.

1.    Make money fast with freelancing

Upwork is one of the largest – if not the largest – freelance platforms in the world. There’s room for almost every service imaginable. It ranges from app development to design work.

As long as it’s an in-demand skill, there’s someone who needs it. The best part is that everything is remote and jobs are done asynchronously.

If you think you have a skill that people will pay for then go ahead and register. Upwork does have a strict application process and not everybody makes it through.

You have an advantage if you’re a developer or know a difficult-to-master skill. Even if you don’t, I suggest you apply anyway because you may be taken. If not, there are other platforms like Freelancer, Freeeup, People Per Hour, etc.

2.    Make $500 fast by teaching online

The online education space is projected to grow to $319 billion by 2025. The interesting part is that the industry isn’t concentrated in the hands of a few large players.

In fact, most people who learn online do so for practical training like Photoshop tutorial courses or marketing courses.

If you have a skill that can be taught to someone with step-by-step training, online courses are for you. Don’t think that you need to create 100 video lessons and cover every aspect of a topic.

No one would complete it.

Instead, they want bite-sized courses that cover specific things. For example, a course that teaches them how to set up their blog or a course that teaches them how to master the basics of landscape photography.

You may be thinking those topics are simple and can be found online for free. You’re right but there’s value in curation and organization.

They may have to sift through 100 pages to get a comprehensive overview of something you’d be able to explain in half a dozen videos.

You can self-host a course with a platform like Teachable or Thinkific or you can use a platform with a built-in audience such as Udemy or Skillshare.

3.    Fiverr Gigs

Fiverr is what I refer to as a micro gigs platform. As the name suggests, you can get a wide range of work done for $5. It’s as diverse as Upwork but everything is cheaper.

It tends to attract bargain hunters but they’re more willing to take a chance on someone without a reputation.

That means you can set up your gig in a high demand vertical and start earning money immediately. Just because gigs start at $5, doesn’t mean you can only charge $5.

There’s a program called Fiverr Pro that allows you to charge much more and get preferential placement in the Fiverr search results.

Fiverr gigs

It takes time to be approved so I suggest you put your first job or two at the minimum price to get positive reviews then increase the price.

4.    Babysitting

Babysitting probably isn’t the first thought that crosses your mind when you think about ways to make $500 fast. That doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a huge market.

There are many people who need part-time and even full-time caregivers for their children and elderly people.

Here, I’ll be discussing babysitting through Care.com but the platform also has different roles such as cleaners, movers, pet sitters, etc.

On average, you can expect to be paid about $13.50/hr for babysitting when hired through Care.com. Of course, this is dependent on many factors such as location, experience, and the nature of the work.

There are a few requirements that you’ll have to meet before you can apply such as being 18 or older, providing references related to your character, and a background check.

5.    Mystery Shopping to make money fast

When I was younger, I worked at Subway and encountered a mystery shopper. He came in, bought food, and checking if I said the phrases I was trained to mention. I got it right and he revealed that he was a mystery shopper.

I got a free $25 that day.

Many people don’t realize that mystery shoppers aren’t employed by the corporations that send them out.

Mystery shopper to make money fast

There are many services around the country that work to find, train, and send out mystery shoppers and the companies are clients of these services.

It’s straightforward to start working as a mystery shopper through a service like this but the larger the city, the more opportunities.

A few services include Bestmark, Secondtonone.com, and secretshopper.com.

The draw of mystery shopping is the fact that it’s flexible. You can accept or deny as many jobs as you want and can also batch them. If you work during the week, you can hit all the places you’re supposed to visit on Saturday and Sunday.

6.    Sell your old Jewelry

This isn’t a sustainable way to continue making money and you won’t get good returns because precious stones like diamonds are notoriously difficult to sell. That notwithstanding, it works if you’re in a bind.

There are multiple ways to go about it. First, you can visit a local pawn shop. The problem is that they happily underbid any jewelry you bring because you’re a motivated seller.

Or, you can use a platform that connects you with buyers who are just as motivated as you. One of those platforms is known as Worthy.com.

It allows you to sell diamond rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc. Once you’re registered, you send it off via insured FedEx package and it’s appraised. After assessment, it’s put up for auction and you get paid 2 -5 days after the conclusion.

It’s straightforward and they’ve made the process as stress free as possible.

7.    Sell your old stuff

In this case, “another man’s trash is another man’s treasure” holds true. There are many things you may not find valuable anymore such as an old game console or a record player but others will pay a lot for.

It’s often difficult to find the people who will pay a premium for what you have. Most people end up going to consignment shops and take whatever is being offered.

There’s a better option. Newer platforms like Decluttr make it possible to get a great price for your old stuff. It focuses on technology and will pay you a fair price for it. Things like phones, music, computers, games, books, and even Legos are accepted.

All you have to do is search for your device to see the price, accept the terms, and send it in. Within a day of receiving it, you’ll get your money.  

You may get an even better price if you list it on platforms like Craigslist.

8.    Join a focus group

Companies try to get as much information as possible before launching a new product. This process of market research goes through many stages such as reviewing publicly accessible literature, sending out surveys, and holding in-person interviews.

Focus groups are a part of this process and help brands understand if they’re on the right path or not. It’s a small group of people that fit a certain demographic. The brand will get everyone in a room and ask about their products.

You answer honestly and get paid for it.

Focus groups

Focus Groups brings together brands and people within the target demographic group in different cities. At any given time, you can find dozens of sessions being held and you’re able to earn up to $200 per session.

9.    Make deliveries to earn cash quick

The gig economy is booming and an easy way to tap into that is by using a platform like DoorDash or Uber Eats. If you have a car or a means of transportation then registering is simple.

Once you’re set up, you’ll be able to work as much or as little as you want. The hourly wage ranges based on location and volume but you can expect anywhere from $5 – $20 an hour. The median salary is $25k/year, $2k/m, and $500/week.

10.                       Become a taxi driver

Uber and Lyft are some of the most popular on-demand driver services in the world.

There’s no denying the fact that they’re a great side hustle to take advantage of in your downtime. Like other on-demand services, your earning potential is determined by where you live.

Denser cities have the ability to provide more opportunities and, as a result, increase your pay. After all expenses are factored in, your take-home will be around $11/hour.

11.                       Pet sitting

Pets are no longer considered simply animals. Many pet owners take them as part of the family and will spare no expense for them.

This includes medical as well as making arrangements for the pets when the owners are gone. Traditionally, this fell to neighbors or dedicated centers.

Now, there’s an app for that. Rover has a huge network of qualified pet sitters that perform a wide range of services which include:

  • Boarding
  • House sitting
  • Pet check-ins
  • Pet walking

After you register, you can set your own prices but it’s a good idea to put them slightly lower when you’re first starting. This will allow you to accumulate good reviews. After you’ve built a reputation, you can increase prices.

12.                       Automatically get refunds

I admit this may not get you $500 in a week alone unless you spend a lot of money shopping. If that’s the case you don’t need to earn $500, you need to save it.

I digress.

Paribus is an online application that you connect to the email you use for online shopping (you may want to set up a new one for this). It’ll monitor messages for purchase confirmation receipts and then watch for price changes.

If the price does change, it’ll work to get you the difference between what you paid and the current price. It also helps you get compensated for late deliveries and tracks return policies.

13.                       Got parking? Rent it out

A big challenge in dense cities is the ability to find regular parking spaces. Either it’s owned by someone or it just isn’t available.

This is a problem neighbor.com seeks to solve by allowing you to rent out your parking space to other people. It may seem like that wouldn’t work because you need the parking space.

Parking rental platform neighbor.com homepage as a way to make money fast

You don’t have to rent it out 24/7. If you drive to work in the morning then you can negotiate with the renter to only use the space during the day.

In addition to renting out parking space, you can also rent out space in your home. It depends on where you live and how much space is being offered but you can easily earn a few hundred dollars a month from storing other people’s belongings.

An obvious concern is who’s liable if something gets damaged? Neighbor.com offers personal liability protection of up to $1m for hosts.

14.                       Rent your car

Car rentals have been popular since cars were a thing. Traditionally, you’d need to book with a rental agency and work with the stock they have available. Today, there’s an app for that.

As a car owner, you can place your car for rent on a platform like GetAround or Turo and earn a decent income as a result.

After listing your car on the platform, you can set your rates, rules, and availability. There are also multiple vehicle inspection plans available.

With Turo, you receive 60% – 85% of the amount paid for the trip and the variability is dependent on the protection plan you choose. Irrespective of that plan, you have $750,000 in liability insurance. You can expect to earn a little over $700/m.

15.                       Put ads on your car

You may have seen company cars painted or wrapped with promotional material in the past. It’s a simple way to get thousands of eyeballs on a promotional message.

If you can couple that with proximity advertising then things start to get interesting.

I digress.

There are services cropping up that allow you to wrap your car advertising. You can choose to cover your entire car with ads or just a small section. Of course, this will affect your earning potential.

The other factor that affects how much you earn is the distance you travel every day and where you go. The more you travel through densely populated areas, the more you can earn.

The money you generate ranges from $200 – $1,000+ a month. Register for Wrapify or Carvertise to get started.

16.                       Online Arbitrage using Amazon

Arbitrage is the process of buying a product cheaper in one place and selling it for a higher price in another place. It’s economics 101.

The internet has made it even easier to do this. While anyone can do something similar, not everyone knows where and how to go about it. For example, you may know of a craft shop that sells quality goods for cheap.

On Amazon, that same product is going for more than 2X the price. You can buy it from your local retailer and sell it on Amazon. Conversely, you can go to a platform like eBay or Etsy and buy goods online then resell them on Amazon for a profit.

There’s no real limit to how much you can make with this method. The challenge comes with fulfillment. Shipping can eat into your margins if you’re not careful.

17.                       Answer questions

If you’re a professional in law, the medical field, computers, cars, and many others then there’s a large number of people who need your help. Usually, it’s expensive for individuals to get a consultation with experts.

JustAnswer helps bridge that gap by allowing people to get help from verified experts at a fraction of the cost. There are two categories of users on the site (excluding the experts).

The first group pays for questions on an as-needed basis. The second group has an unlimited monthly membership and can ask as many questions as they want.

Pricing per question ranges from $5 – $90 and if you’re just starting out, you get 20% of that. As you gain a reputation on the platform, you can earn up to 50% of the amount paid per question.

I think it takes a cut that’s too large. JustAnswer wouldn’t exist without your participation so for them to hold 80% of the fee is unreasonable. If that doesn’t bother you then you can earn a few hundred dollars a month from the platform.

18.                       Sell your pictures

The stock photo industry is alive and well. Though there are professional photographers that sell images, you can as well.

Most phone cameras are good enough to take images that people will pay for. This means you can learn how to use your camera and start earning money on the side.

You’ll need a larger collection of images to make a considerable amount of money but it’s more or less passive once you get started. A few platforms to try out include:

  • Foap
  • Shutterstock
  • iStock
FOAP

19.                       Social media management

Businesses these days understand the power of social media but often don’t have the expertise or time to do it themselves. Another hurdle is that they can’t afford to hire a full-time employee to do it for them.

Instead of that, they outsource the management of their social media accounts to other organizations and freelancers. This is a great way to make $500 fast because each client will pay you $700/m or more.

It only takes a few hours a week to manage each client’s social media presence. You can start it from your house and pitch clients via email. You don’t even have to do anything manually, there are a number of free social media management tools you can take advantage of.

The earning potential is, at a minimum $500. But with two clients you can earn anywhere from $1,000 – $3,000. It depends on how well you can sell yourself.

20.                       Article writing

I’ve written extensively on how to make money writing in a different post so I won’t spend too much time on it here. The most important thing to note is that writing rules the internet.

Yes, they say video content will account for most internet traffic in a few years but those videos still have descriptions. Those descriptions are written.

I digress.

You don’t need to be a great writer, you just need to be functional. That means as long as your grammar is sound and you writing is coherent, you’ll be able to get clients.

The earning potential here can be large but varies wildly depending on the type of writing you’re doing and how you sell yourself. $500 is an easy goal.

21.                       Consulting and coaching

This strategy to make $500 quickly is similar to social media management. The difference is that you give advice and the person you’re sharing that advice with has to implement it on their own.

Of course, you guide them and can be a bit more hands-on but it’s still up to them to get results. Consulting is something you do for businesses while coaching is for individuals.

Think about what skills you have and what you can offer others.

  • Are you an experienced developer? Startups may appreciate your consultation services
  • Do you have success with relationships? Many men and women may appreciate your coaching
  • Are you able to get things done in a timely manner? Others also want to improve their productivity and will pay for the right advice

The list goes on and there’s really no limit on what areas you can consult or coach. Keep in mind that businesses will pay considerably more for consulting than an individual will pay for coaching.

Because of this, the income potential ranges wildly from a few hundred dollars a month to thousands of dollars a month.  

22.                       House Sitting

House sitting isn’t as popular for obvious reasons but it’ll eventually pick back up. It’s a service in which you take care of the home of strangers that are away for long periods of time. This may be due to work obligations or because it’s a vacation home.

It entails cleaning the house regularly (the same way you’d clean your own home) and deterring thieves with your presence.

You’ll be paid a few dollars a day for the job (around $20) but also get the run of the house. Oftentimes, these are impressive structures in prime locations.

Depending on the deal, you can house sit for multiple properties in your city all at once because the commitment is roughly a few hours a day.

23.                       Transcription service

There’s a lot of content being made in different formats across the web and even offline like podcasts, videos, and call recordings. In many cases, this content needs to be transcribed into text so it’s easier to interact with.

Instead of having someone at the organization do it which they may not be good at, it’s outsourced to freelancers and established services.

The only real prerequisite is that you speak the language the content is recorded in. The fees range widely depending on whether you join a service or freelance on your own. You can charge much more if you’re able to translate.

Services like Rev.com pay you anywhere from $0.30 – $1.10 per transcribed minute. It takes roughly four minutes to transcribe one minute of audio. In one hour, you can transcribe about 15 minutes of audio.

24.                       Landscaping

This is a fancy name for getting out there and cutting a bit of grass. We did it when I needed a bit of cash as a teenager and it’s still a great way to drum up cash.

Of course, this won’t work during the colder months but it’s a viable option for most of the year. The trick is to knock out most of the work early in the morning – before the sun comes up – and have the rest of the day to yourself.

Longer term side hustles that have Greater ROI and money making potential

The previous strategies to make money fast are short term. They’ll allow you to make ends meet and relieve immediate pressure.

The following strategies aren’t usually get rich quick schemes but they have the potential to earn you tens of thousands a month. The best part is that they’re divorced from your time.

25.                       Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of my favorite ways to make a sizeable income without having to exchange your time for it. I’ve written an entire guide about how to get started with affiliate marketing which you can check out here.

There are two overarching forms of affiliate marketing:

  • Authority site affiliate marketing
  • Paid ads affiliate marketing

With authority sites, you build a website (similar to Growth Boost) and create helpful articles for your visitors (like this one). Within those helpful pieces of content, you add links to relevant affiliate offers.

With paid ads, you use your money to take out ads on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Google search, etc. People click on those ads and potentially buy the products you’re promoting.

Each method has merits and demerits. For example, authority sites take longer to produce a sizeable income but require less capital and are more sustainable. Paid affiliate marketing allows you to start seeing income faster but has a higher upfront investment and isn’t as sustainable.

I prefer authority websites because they can be sold for around 30x (often more) monthly revenue.

26.                       Blogging

Blogging is also a long term strategy because you often don’t expect to see tangible results for the first year or so. That’s a long time for most people and it’s understandable if you’re not interested because of the time it’ll take to get returns.

But, if you’re able to stick with it then you can make a significant amount of money through various means. You can monetize your website in multiple ways so you’re not overly affected if one income stream dries up. 

A few monetization strategies include:

  • Consulting
  • Coaching
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Selling digital products
  • Virtual events
  • Workshops
  • Course sales
  • Sponsored posts
  • Software sales
  • Etc.

There’s really no end to the way you can earn income from your blog. The most important thing is to choose the right niche and stay consistent over time. Good things will happen.

27.                       Book writing

I don’t call it a long term project because of the amount of time it takes to write a book. That can actually be done in a relatively short amount of time (less than a month).

I call it long term because you need to build a portfolio of self-published books. Each one may earn $100 – $500/m. It can take 20 – 100 books to earn $10,000/m. It takes time or resources to build up a library of that size but they’ll make sales for years.

Example of self-published book cover

It involves publishing nonfiction books on Amazon that teach a specific lesson to the readers. That could be the Keto diet or how to balance a checkbook. They don’t have to be long but they do have to be useful.

28.                       Micro software developer

There are many software companies that are worth billions of dollars. There are many more that produce a few thousand dollars a month for their owners and are almost passive. The second type is the target.

They solve a small but specific problem for a certain group of people. For example, creating countdown timers on your website and integrating them with your email marketing service. It’s a niche problem that most people don’t have.

People that do have the problem are ready to pay every month to solve it. That business may be worth a few million dollars and requires little maintenance.

Another example is email outreach software. It makes it possible to send personalized emails in bulk to people who may want to buy your products. This is a larger market and is targeted at salespeople. It can pull in a few million dollars a year.

Even if each micro software you create only brings in $5,000/m, that’s a great side income that can provide security many jobs can’t.

29.                       YouTube Creator

You may be familiar with some of the larger YouTube creators like Graham Stephan or PewdiePie. Those are the outliers but many more YouTubers are making a considerable income by promoting affiliate products, their own products, getting sponsorships, and other methods.

The best part is that you don’t even have to appear on camera. Many successful channels aggregate content from other sources or use a character to represent themselves.

With that being said, you do need to carefully select a niche and put out content consistently to see results.

30.                       eCommerce Brand

If nothing else, Amazon has shown us that eCommerce is big business. The market size is currently a few trillion dollars and it’s expected to keep growing for the next few decades.

The average consumer is more comfortable shopping online and will take a chance on a new brand if you get your branding and products right.

There’s a lot of variability in eCommerce so I can’t begin to give you specific advice. My recommendation?

Do your own research and find out what areas are showing growth and which areas have stable demand. Those are your best options for lasting success.

31.                       Rental properties

I know, many people will say that owning property is a rich person’s game. Traditionally, it may have been but there are so many different ways to get into the game these days that you have no excuse.

You can get creative with financing by finding investors, offering services, negotiating on fees, going to auctions, etc. You can buy and hold passively or you can develop land that is getting major infrastructure projects.

The possibilities are endless. You don’t even have to manage it yourself. Property managers will take a cut of revenue and handle almost everything regarding the property.

It’s worth looking into – especially creative ways to own investment properties.  

Conclusion

There are many ways to make money fast. Some will appeal to you and others will be out of your reach. Mix and match a few to hit your income goals.

After that, look at the long term side hustles. You may be pleasantly surprised that you can make a full-time career out of them. Let me know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to share.