Craigslist: Cha-Ching!

Who couldn’t use a quick buck these days? Especially college students who can barely scrape together a couple of quarters for 50-cent beer night at the pub. Sure, we have financial aid, work study, and minimum-wage paying part-time jobs, but sometimes we just need a little extra cash, stat. Thanks to Craigslist, that cash isn’t so hard to come by.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Craigslist, there is an individual site for most major cities across the US (and around the world, for that matter), e.g. losangeles.craigslist.org, boston.craigslist.org, and so on. Craigslist is basically a bunch of classified ads, and there’s a huge section of both “jobs” and “gigs” just waiting for you to stumble upon. So whether you want to splurge on a shopping spree, get your grandmother a birthday present, or actually buy your books this semester, look on Craigslist. I recommend browsing the categories “ETC” and “Event,” though if you have a particular talent or skill, you may want to look under “Creative,” “Labor,” or “Writing.”
Here are some of my favorite past Craigslist gigs:
1. Mock Juror
Listed under: Event
Paid: $60 for less than 4 hours
Perks: A 15-minute break, free coffee, soft drinks, and snacks, and cash payment.
I had to fill out a couple of surveys to qualify, but this gig was open to all ages, races, genders, and occupations. I had to go to a hotel meeting room and listen to the facts of a real case that hadn’t gone to trial yet. Then, all the participants had to discuss what they thought of the case, such as whether the prosecutors should clarify any of their evidence, or if the defense had any decent, er, defense.
2. Market Research Participant
Listed under: ETC
Paid: $75-$125 for about 2 hours
Perks: Cash payment, free snacks and soft drinks, and opportunities to join a market research database for later studies
I’ve done market research studies for people with no health insurance, bargain shoppers, and soda drinkers. Usually, you sit in a room with some other people (again, from all walks of life), and share your thoughts regarding the subject. “Yes, I would get health insurance if it was cheaper.” “I don’t shop at that discount store because it’s trashy.” Then you get paid. The only study that was different was the soda study, in which I had to press a button when I saw a certain word appear on a screen, and then watch some advertisements for said soda product. But hey, that one paid well, and there’s no harm in pressing a button for a couple of hours.
3. Door Hanger Distributor
Listed under: Event
Paid: $200 for a day’s work
Perks: $25 gas stipend
I can’t really call this one of my “favorites,” but it was the most profitable. Basically, I had to walk around for several hours and hang door hanger advertisements for a local ice cream shop on peoples’ front doors. It sounds easy enough, and I got to burn calories while jamming out with my i-Pod, but at the end of the day, I thought my legs were going to fall off. A few hours into the gig, I was cursing myself for responding to the ad, but a week later, when I was up $225, I forgot about my aching knees and the weird sunburn I got after missing a patch of skin on my back.
4. Freelance Writer
Listed under: Writing
Paid: $10-$50 per piece
Perks: Can become a routine gig, and it’s a job that can be added to your resume
I’ve written for various C-list posters, from a telemarketing script to restaurant reviews. Some jobs pay via Paypal, which is cool, because instead of blowing the money right away, I let it accumulate, and then transfer a couple hundred bucks to my bank account and go on a shopping spree. The most profitable freelance gig I’ve done earned me $50 for a 100-word anecdote. Not too shabby. If you’re into writing, I suggest looking at multiple Craigslist sites, especially the larger hubs in America like New York or LA, because you can usually telecommute and work these gigs from home, at all hours of the night.
I’ve found that an avid Craigslist whore like myself can earn a pretty chunk of change by doing odd jobs. Sure, they aren’t the most glamorous tasks, but you can make your own schedule, and usually average over $10 an hour for your work. Plus, you don’t have to deal with a shitty boss, and once the job is done, you’re done with the company altogether. Be weary of what posts your respond to, however — I don’t recommend responding to “Will Pay a Hot Girl to Escort Me to a Company Party,” and if you find a market research post that requires you to fill out a survey, or follow a link to qualify, it’s probably a scam. The good news is, the more comfortable you get with Craigslist, the quicker you’ll be able to find a job that suits you, and you’ll be able to weed out the whack job posters from the legitimate opportunities.
[What’s the best job you ever landed off of Craigslist?]

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