I have a confession to make. I’m a total freelance nerd and have built a lifelong career as a writer, social media consultant, and marketing geek. In reality, that just means I hustle hard. I figured out a long time ago how much work I needed to do to make my expensive NYC rent and now freelance around my kid’s schedule while we run around Atlanta.
On the occasions I’ve needed to pick up the income slack, I’ve done everything from focus groups to cat sitting. But I’m going to assume even if you’re also a freelancer, work in an office, or are a stay-at-home Mom in Atlanta that you also like side money. What’s not to like?? Except for the estimated taxes. Not a fan.
There is plenty you can do to make extra money around Atlanta. Here are 5 ways to get started.
I get invited to more focus groups than I really have time for. Companies love Moms will test products or give feedback. I once got invited to join a focus group where I had to save my daughter’s dirty diapers and send them in to do a long diaper test. It paid a few hundred dollars, but I had to turn it down. She was in the throes of difficult potty training and it didn’t seem worth risking a regression. I’ve also been invited to give opinions on everything from mattresses to gadgets.
Atlanta is a great place to find focus groups, though it can take a little while to get up and running and gain some momentum. But they almost always pay in cash or with a VISA gift card, feed you a light lunch or snacks and it’s fun! While I lived in New York, focus groups were everywhere. I once sat in on Paris Hilton’s ill-fated reality TV Show and got paid with a crisp, cool $100 bill.
Once you sign-up for focus group companies, they will call you based on their needs and it can be sporadic. They will also call to pre-screen you to make sure you’re what they’re looking for. There are many times I get turned down during this stage, but you just move on. It’s not personal and they need certain criteria to meet their focus group requirements from the client. However, I also just say I’m a freelance writer. They don’t really want people with any kind of marketing or advertising background. While I would tell them if they asked me if I had this experience up front, I just don’t mention it.
However, they don’t really want people with any kind of marketing or advertising background. While I would tell them if they asked me if I had this experience up front, I just don’t mention it. Instead, I say I’m a freelance writer and work around my kids’ schedules.
Atlanta is crawling with film and TV crews setting-up shop to film in our city and surrounding area. Georgia gives the film industry tax credits and incentives to film here, and more productions are taking advantage of the financial breaks coupled with plenty of mountains, beaches, woods and decent weather.
It’s true that most films cast their films and TV shows in advance. In other words, you’re not likely to land a huge starring role on these productions directly from Atlanta. Principal casting is usually done in advance in markets like Los Angeles or with the help of talent scouts. However, extras and even smaller roles are often filled locally to further drive down the costs. Productions aren’t going to fly their favorite extras out from Los Angeles to film in Atlanta.
I’ve been an extra before as well as an intern for a casting agent (many, MANY years ago) and it was actually kind of boring. It was a lot of standing around and waiting, though we did get to eat. I wasn’t a Mom yet and just didn’t appreciate how glorious it can be to be bored. Now I relish in it. When my children are a little older, I plan to revisit being a film extra to pick-up more money. You know, if I’m not filthy rich by then.
I was aware that some of my Mom friends were consignment junkies, but I had no idea what a goldmine this could be. Unless you’re really motivated to find items at a good deal and resell at a better rate, the real benefit of a consignment sale is keeping what I call a “zero balance”. So instead of spending $200 on toys for all your kids this holiday season, you sell your old stuff, buy “new” things at a consignment sale and make it a goal to break even.
The deals you can find are amazing. I bought a red wagon my kids use all the time for $30 at the Glenn Sale that usually retails for $125. I plan to sell it when they’re doing for roughly the same price I bought it for. I’ve also bought $200 play houses for $35 and tons of play doh sets and Fisher Price toys for just a few bucks.
Don’t discount selling your own unwanted stuff around the house either at a sale or through Nextdoor. I’ve sold things like an extra mower that didn’t even work and was taking up space in my garage. I was fully transparent about it not working and someone still bought it for $30 to fix it up and resell it himself. I’ve also sold free coupons for restaurants and attractions that come to me in the mail for about $5 a pop, formula coupons and formula samples.
I find word-of-mouth is the best way to find consignment sales worth my while. If you need a hand, try this comprehensive list of consignment sales in Georgia. And one last tip – you can sell handmade bows and other items by signing up to be a vendor at consignment sales.
Pinterest Virtual Assistant
I do Pinterest work for a few clients and love it. I can see why it’s so addictive, and why so many Moms work as part-time social media and Pinterest consultants. The good news is there really isn’t a high barrier for entry, and smaller brands and businesses are still figuring out how Pinterest will work for them.
I was mostly self-taught, though I do recommend
- Narrowing down your niche to attract the right clients
- Using Board Booster to generate set it and nearly forget it campaigns (It’s only $5!)
- Taking a course
Although I was already working as a social media consultant while not freelance writing, I invested How to Become a Pinterest VA. Even though I was already pretty good at Pinterest, I wanted the bonuses and resources that came with the course, and a better idea of how to price my services. The course comes with tutorials and walks through exactly how to get up and running and create pins clients need – even if you’re not that great at technology. You can use a free tool like Pic Monkey or Canva to get up and running.
Okay. It would take a few dinners and a lot of blogging on this site to tell you about all the ins and outs of how I finally managed to become a freelance writer. But just know it was ugly. I was more or less trying to pitch Cosmo when I was like 21 years old and being devastated it wouldn’t work. I did it all wrong, but it eventually worked out. Now I have more work than I know what to do with and mostly write for travel and lifestyle websites, some magazines, and B2B ghost blogging agencies.
Scaling your writing into a nearly full-time endeavor is really tough work when you’re a Mom. I’ve essentially gotten to where I am by creating a career in the margins of my day whether in the rare moments my children are getting along and want to play with each other or when we do a little screen time or a play date. But it’s been very rewarding. I make a decent living I can take with me anywhere and hope to keep scaling up as my children grow.
If you’re crazy enough to want to pursue it to, I recommend you not do what I did and take a more strategic approach instead. It’s really not that hard to start landing work right away simply by re-purposing your knowledge and re-positioning your expertise. I recommend this resource from Gina Horkey. She’s super fun, easy to relate to and earns several hundred dollars per assignment. She also offers a writing course you can take at your own pace here.
What’s your favorite way to make extra money around Atlanta? Let me know by leaving a comment below!