What to do, what to do ...
As you may recall, I noted a few reviews back that I'd gotten a box of recently released books from the good folks at Wiley, and Steve Gillman's 101 Weird Ways to Make Money: Cricket Farming, Repossessing Cars, and Other Jobs With Big Upside and Not Much Competition
was among those. I don't know what specifically made me bump this up to the top of the to-be-read pile, but I suspect that it might be some angst that I've been feeling with my own job situation … as regular readers are probably aware, I'm about to be in my 28th month “between jobs”, and, while I've had some situations which looked very promising for my being hired (and periods when I've had nearly full-time work doing freelance and consulting), I'm pretty much back to “square one” again, and I think on one level I was hoping that Gillman's book would prod me into some “out of the box” thinking.
There's a wonderful bon mot
from the late Johnny Carson that I've found very useful to keep in mind over the years: “It takes all types to fill the freeway!”
, and this certainly is the case when looking at this book, as its author has held dozens
of jobs in widely divergent settings, which makes the premise here a bit more reality-based than it might be. I, on the other hand, have pretty much always been in some form of “communications” work, so making a jump into most of the things in 101 Weird Ways to Make Money
would likely be some sort of desperation move (much like when I attempted bartending after my publishing company failed).
Frankly, there aren't that many “weird” ways to make money here, but I'm sure that's a catchier title than something referring to “niche” jobs, which would likely be a more accurate descriptor. The 101 jobs discussed are spread out over 12 sections, in which they're thematically grouped. These are:
- Fun Ways to Make Money
- Making Money Outdoors
- Dirty and Ugly Jobs
- Internet Opportunities
- Green Jobs and Businesses
- Home-Based Money Makers
- Working with People
- Working with Animals
- Creative and Artistic Work
- Buying and Selling Things
- Cleaning Jobs and Businesses
- Still More Unusual Ways to Make Money
Each of these starts with an introductory piece with an interview with somebody involved in one of the jobs, and contains five to fifteen Chapters, each dealing with a particular type of job. Each job is given only 2 pages, so this hardly provides an in-depth look at any, but each short “chapter” is structured with a couple of paragraphs of description, a couple of paragraphs on “Money”, a couple of paragraphs on “How To Get Started”, and a “Resources” section with a list of suggested books and web sites.
Many of the “jobs” here are presented as “foot in the door” entrees to moving into small business ownership, with a lot of the information being on how much it would cost to get set up and trained in these. The “Money” section does give estimates on how much these would pay, but the general thrust is towards opening up one's own operation (after all, how many staff openings are there in Worm Grunting or Cricket Farming?). The author likely approaches the subject in this manner as, frankly, most of the jobs discussed don't pay very much “unless you're the boss” (and, in which case, one can
make six figures with most of these).
That being said, the writing is engaging and informative, and the jobs do
tend to be things that one might not have considered (Rodeo Clown, Mattress Recycler, Garbage Truck Washer, etc., etc., etc.) … although I must admit, most of the things in the “Internet Opportunities” section I have
looked into at one point or another. 101 Weird Ways to Make Money
is brand new (it just came out last month), so it should be available at the bigger “brick & mortar” book stores, but both of the on-line guys have it at around a 45% discount, so that's likely to be your best bet for picking it up. Again, while very few of the 101 things in here “struck my fancy”, it's an interesting look at a lot of work possibilities!