I’m pretty well lying with that title. I don’t have sure fire ways to make money all that quickly, certainly not in an overnight sense, and even more certainly not in quantities that will get you that signed Barry Manilow Career Boxset CD/DVD combo you’ve been eying.
But moving around the country costs money and considering that everytime I’ve moved I’ve been unemployed from anywhere between 3 weeks and 4 1/2 months, I’ve had to learn some tricks to augment my bank account. Unfortunately, this is just not the right economy for being a gigolo.
In San Francisco, one of my roommates turned me onto the ‘Etc’ section of Craigslist (don’t ask me why it took me so long to learn about it). Every major city has one and they can offer a whole slew of random opportunities. I recently did a product research study for a sum total of $60 for an hours time (I sat and watched commercials and movie trailers – including the Zombieland trailer; go see that movie in theaters, it kicks ass.)
I also participated in a court trial study in which a focus group was looking to essentially create a mock jury to watch a real trial in order to provide insight into how a jury makes decisions. I didn’t ultimately get picked for the jury (which would have paid sweet bucks for a 6 month period), but I was still paid for my time (3 hours) a total of $100. Do the math, that’s hitman pay (you know, for those hitmen who work hourly).
Another find from Craigslist was a health study where I stayed in the hospital for nearly 2 weeks, taking 2 different drugs to find out how they would interact. Despite some concerned friends and such who didn’t like the idea of me doing a drug trial, I have to highly recommend it. I went a little stir crazy (I couldn’t even leave the floor I was on), and though one drug was an opiate (yay!), the other drug was meant to counteract the narcotic effect, and it worked (not yay!). Essentially, the only side effects I had were constipation and boredom. But for my time, I got nicely paid. In the area of $2000.
I’m doing another medical study now (Tomatoes!), not nearly as intensive and so it pays quite a bit less, but it means groceries for a month or more.
Most medical studies pay you incrementally, based on how much you complete, with perhaps a bonus if you last the whole length of the study (for obvious reasons, a medical study can’t be considered conclusive unless the participants complete the whole regimen).
Craigslist is a good place to find these, especially as only a minority of all medical studies are open to healthy participants. Most drug studies are meant to help with a specific condition or disease, and so they require participants with that condition. Of course, if you are inflicted with diabetes or herpes or the dreaded Rectal Departure, science may need you (finally, somebody does).
You can always look here or on other like sites to find medical trials near you (it helps if you live near a major university).
I’ve found other ways to make money, too, like writing college papers for med students who don’t fucking need to waste time reading Dostoevsky! (Seriously, med students, you don’t, it’s all epileptic Russians and pick axes; I’m open for business.) I could tell you my method for arranging contacts, but then you’d probably just try to steal my business away. Screw you, I’m in it for me!
It’s fairly easy to make a few extra bucks. I’m not saying any of these are consistent, reliable ways to pay the rent (though, while doing the in-hospital study, I did meet someone who said he knew of groups of guys who just traveled from state to state doing trials, paying their way through with the money they made in the trials). But if you need some extra money, or you find yourself in a new city and you’re not entirely certain when you’ll be able to find a job (damn you economy), consider research studies. They might just buy you some time before you have to hit the streets with a snide cardboard sign asking for people’s change (“Haha, that’s funny, he is going to spend the money on booze… that witty bugger!”)
And there’s a good chance you’ll meet some freaks in the process.