Tired of turning over the couch cushions looking for loose change? These days it can be tough to find a 9-to-5 job, much less
a convenient part-time opening with flexible hours. But opportunities do exist. Search through these suggestions for a part-time
position that will work for you—and bring in some money:
Give market researchers your opinion on cell phones, magazines, groceries, jewelry and more.
- What it pays: Anywhere between $10 and $200 per session; participants also can be compensated in gift cards.
- Time commitment: Again, a wide range. Focus panels that send out surveys to e-mail subscribers can take you just 10 minutes, whereas high-paying
sessions can last up to several hours over a few days at an off-site location.
- What you need to know: You must meet certain demographic and interest-related guidelines to qualify for some studies. When attending a focus group,
remember to dress professionally and bring an open mind. An objective opinion could lead to future opportunities.
- Get started: Visit findfocusgroups.com to locate groups in your area, or go to greenbook.org to uncover marketing research companies near you. Ask to be added to
their database for upcoming assignments.
Look for a temporary or part-time job—as a poll worker, a mail carrier or even a federal airport screener.
- What it pays: It depends on the position. Poll workers can make up to $100 a day; other jobs are hourly. See the websites at right for
- Time commitment: Varies from one day to a weekly commitment.
- What you need to know: Because temp agencies and contractors frequently hire faster than federal agencies, such employers are particularly good
options for unemployed job hunters who are looking to start working quickly.
- Get started: Visit usajobs.gov to search for openings, or head to your state government website for regional positions. Also try govcentral.monster.com, which offers an event calendar of government career fairs. Check the schedule for your area, then attend an event to talk
with recruiters about any opportunities that could fit your needs.
Start a business watching children while their parents work.
- What it pays: You set the rate based on how many days a child will attend, from $100 to $300 per week per child, depending on the location,
your credentials and the amenities you can provide.
- Time commitment: You determine the schedule, but you will gain more clients if you are available at least Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.
to 6 p.m.—even more if you can be flexible and work around your clients’ hours.
- What you need to know: You must obtain a license and make sure that your home meets your state’s minimum requirements.
- Get started: Go to daycare.com to view your state’s guidelines and training-center contact information.
Expand your social circle and earn a few bucks promoting and selling items in your community.
- What it pays: Differs from company to company but is generally commission-based.
- Time commitment: Flexible; you can work as little or as much as you like, but results are often equivalent to the time you invest.
- What you need to know: It might take time to build up a clientele in your area. Choose a product you believe in and that’s likely to appeal to
potential customers. An outgoing personality and sales skills will help you get the word out. For tips on succeeding in this
business, visit allyou.com/homeparties.
- Get started: Decide what type of products you would like to sell, then search online for marketing companies that offer the items and
information on how to join their team. Popular vendors include Jewels by Park Lane (jewelsbyparklane.com) and Avon skin care (avon.com), but you can sell just about anything. If you already have a blog, visit opensky.com, which connects bloggers with relevant
products to sell on their sites.
Pose as a consumer at retail stores and restaurants to observe and evaluate customer service, atmosphere and product quality.
- What it pays: Varies; generally $4 or more per visit based on contracts with individual businesses. The perks are worth more than the
cash, though: You keep what you buy while working, including clothes and hotel stays.
- Time commitment: Flexible, based on the number of opportunities you receive. Allow 15 minutes to an hour for store visits—more for some services.
- What you need to know: Like most professions, you start at the bottom. Once you prove yourself with observant, detailed and descriptive reports
that follow the rules to the letter (such as shopping at a precise hour and buying exactly what is expected of you), you become
eligible for jobs with better perks (those hotel stays don’t come easily!).
- Get started: Check the online database of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (mspa-na.org) to find a wide range of opportunities, searchable by location. Complete a $15 online course (it takes about an hour) to
become silver level–certified in the field—which might lead to more opportunities and better pay. It is not necessary to take
the course to land jobs, however.
Pass out food samples and possibly do in-store cooking demonstrations at local supermarkets.
- What it pays: An hourly wage based on the store’s rate.
- Time commitment: Part-time shifts depending on store schedules; usually afternoons, nights and weekends.
- What you need to know: Be friendly and professional to get asked back.
- Get started: Visit a local market to inquire about opportunities, or check the grocer’s website. Sam’s Club, the king of in-store product
sampling, hires its ambassadors through Advantage Sales and Marketing (asmnet.com) and Crossmark (crossmark.jobs).
Trade show, concert or event staffer
Take tickets, usher, sell merchandise or food items, work on a cleaning crew or advertise events.
- What it pays: Generally $8 to $12 per hour—plus you might see the show for free! If you sell for a specific vendor, some offer a commission
based on the amount of sales.
- Time commitment: Varies; usually nights and weekends.
- What you need to know: Flexibility is key. The more hours you are available to work, the more jobs you can receive, so be sure to tell the hiring
manager that you’re open to any and all opportunities.
- Get started: Contact a local stadium, event center or theater to say you are interested in working events on an as-needed basis.
- Good at selling? Check with independent vendors who sell merchandise and food at the venue to see if they have any opportunities.