Natalie Frank, a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, is the Managing Editor for Novellas & Serials at LVP Publishers. She also publishes fiction.
No matter how carefully you plan and budget, unexpected expenses come up every so often. As Murphy’s Law would predict, unforeseen expenses occur not only when you least expect them but when you are in the worst position to cover them. Perhaps your car broke down and needs a new transmission, your computer breaks and can’t be fixed, or your pet gets sick resulting in huge vet bills. Even without unexpected expenses it’s good to have a little extra money that you can use for that item you want but just can’t rationalize buying or for a night out on the town. Next time you want to raise some extra cash to take care of one of those out-of-the-blue expenses, or just to have the capital to cover a shopping trip or night out consider these unusual but profitable money making hacks.
1. Sell Your Hair
While some people have made extra pocket money selling their blood, with the right hair you can make a lot more money. If you have long, healthy hair and need some extra money, selling your hair might be the answer to your problem. The highest quality wigs and hair extensions are designed from human hair. This means there is always a demand and it isn’t hard to sell online. The right buyer could pay you hundreds or even thousands of dollars for you lovely locks. High quality, “virgin” (unprocessed) hair can earn you as much as $5000 with sites averaging around $500 per sale.
Believe it or not, even grey hair and processed hair used for extensions is in demand. In order to get an idea of what your hair might be worth, use this price calculator at HairSalon.com.
What Buyers Are Looking For
Most buyers look for thick, healthy, hair that has not been permed or subjected to chemical treatment including bleach, relaxers or dye. They generally look for hair that is at least 10 inches long. Hair that is not washed every day is preferable as overly frequent washing will dull hair and increase split ends. They also don't want your hair from smokers as this negatively effects the health of your hair. That being said, there are places you can sell your hair even if it has been processed or isn’t in the absolute best of health. It’s difficult to sell directly to wig companies so individuals usually buy hair then use a company to make the wig or extension for them. Companies give them the standards and requirements for different quality wigs which they then use to select hair. Sometimes professional buyers will also use online sites buy hair which may result in higher prices.
Tips for Selling Your Hair
- Healthy hair is a reflection of a healthy body so make sure to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Stress will negatively impact your hair so try to decrease the stress in your life or if you can’t, make sure you are using strategies like Yoga, relaxation, or other de-stressing techniques.
- Don’t use high heat to dry and style your hair.
- Don’t treat your hair with any types of harsh chemicals
- Don’t get permanents
- Get regular trims to take off split ends.
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol.
- Wash with a purifying shampoo to get rid of buildup before cutting it to sell
- If you cut it before selling it, keep it in a tight braid secured with hairband (regular rubber band can damage hair when pulling them out).
- Consider growing your hair out for a while as longer hair is worth more.
- If you don't have any luck selling your hair, think about donating it instead. Locks for Love makes wigs for children who lose their hair due to medical illness, and Pantene Beautiful Lengths makes wigs for women with cancer.
Where Can You Sell Your Hair Online?
You can register and list your hair with an online ad for free. Their only charge is a one-time listing fee of $14.50 for 3 months. The site provides guidance for every step of the process and has customer service available for questions seven days a week. They do not charge a commission.
This listing site also walks you through every step and provides a calculator to help you determine how much you want to ask for your hair. While many sites require you to have ten inches or more of hair to sell this site only requires six inches. It is also an international listing site. They state you can list “any type of hair from dreadlocks to memorabilia and everything in between”. Accounts are free but advertisements cost $20 for a regular ad (90 days), $25 for a featured ad (until sold) and $50 for a wholesale ad (120 days). They do not charge a commission.
This site is quite similar to Buy and Sell Hair except for the payment structure. Instead of a one-time fee, ads cost $10 for 31 days ($25 featured) or $15 for 62 days ($30 featured). They take ads for both men and women’s hair which is unique and state you can list “virgin hair, braided hair, long hair, short hair, and even dyed or highlighted hair.”
Pros and Cons to Selling Your Hair
Pros: Hair grows back so it is not a permanent loss. It can be sold online. One sale can potentially make you a lot of money.
Cons: While hair does grow back, it grows too slowly to be able use as a regular or frequent source of extra income. Also, even those with long hair may have to grow it out further to obtain the minimum length required as hair is usually not the same length. Cutting off your hair may not be a desirable option due to how it affects your appearance and the fact that it does take time to grow back. Additionally, some unreputable sites won’t provide buyer/seller security against scams or the site itself may be a fly-by-night operation taking money for registration and ads then shutting the site down and re-opening under another name. Make sure to carry out your due diligence, researching the site or company which you plan to use and look at reviews. Make sure the company did not just open even if it says this means they offer more than other sites.
2. Complete Microtasks on Figure Eight
This platform allows you to earn money or rewards such as Amazon gift cards by completing micro tasks on different types of projects. The company, a crowd sourcing agency founded in 2007 under the name CrowdFlower, changed it's name to Figure Eight in April, 2018. Similar to MTurk, Figure Eight works with online corporations to help them handle random tasks that make up a complete project. The platform combines artificial intelligence technology with human oversight, making use of the strengths and weaknesses of machines and humans. While computers may be more accurate sometimes, human judgement is called for at a level of subtlety that machines can't reproduce. At the same time human judgement on a grand scale may be faulty, or may shift over time when rating numerous tasks. Combining both allows each to compensate for the other's flaws.
Many sites that permit user-generated content use FigureEight to help them generate a system which provides for the most reliable and valid ratings of product components or functions or which ensures or prevents certain elements are uploaded from the Internet when the product is used. For example, a number of companies use FigureEight to make sure pornographic images and content aren’t uploaded and hidden in their programs or product descriptions.
Tasks on FigureEight pay from mere cents to $50, depending on how complex they are and how quickly they are needed, which determines their level. As multiple identical tasks must be completed for each job taken, higher level tasks can result in significant income. Level badges are awarded to contributors for accuracy, completing tasks taken, and number of task completed.
The dashboard provides information about each job you are interested in working on. The first number is the level of the job. Pay/task is the amount paid for each individual task completed with a job. Tasks are the number of total tasks in that project. Tasks tend to be the same within a project with a number of the same types of items that can be completed. The number of tasks rarely remains the same since more than one contributor can take the job and work on the tasks. The recommendation is an evaluation filled out by the contributor based on their satisfaction completing the job.
Contributors must qualify before being able to complete any work. This means they must show they understand the task they would like to work on by passing Quiz Mode, a set of test questions that are like those they will need to complete for the task. "Minimum accuracy acceptable" is defined by the client and is a requirement for the project; those who do not pass quiz mode will not be able to work on the project. Test questions are included on each page of the task and the average is used to calculate a Trust Score. If the trust score falls below the required accuracy score the contributor is stopped from further work on the task and all their previous work is thrown out and the task reassigned.
Each wrong test answer is showed to the contributor at the end of a page with an explanation of the correct answer so the individual can learn how the questions should be answered to meet the clients needs. This decreases the chance that a contributor will be dropped from a job due to low accuracy. Additionally, wrong answers can be objected to and contributors can enter their own reason for contesting the answer or upvote a previously given reason. This allows for correction of answers coded one way by the individual who wrote them but perceived differently by a number of contributors.
Tips for Earning on Figure Eight
- Be patient in the beginning and don’t focus on earnings or the time you spend on tasks. Your first goal is to get your level badges which require effort and patience. Many people become discouraged since you begin on Level Zero and it takes time and work to move to Level 1. But even at Level 1 you have a good deal of work that you can complete, and by Level 2 the amount available to you increases to the point that if you want to work on a task you can find one to complete. At Level 3 there is a large amount of work available which pays much more than the tasks on lower levels. This is in part due to the number of people that stop working on the platform before achieving this level. If you stick with it you have the ability to make good money.
- Make sure to read the Instructions carefully before working on each task. This is particularly important for quiz mode, since completing this accurately is the way you become eligible for the task. The instructions will repeat themselves for each task, so once you are clear on them they can be skipped saving you time.
- When completing the quiz, make sure you are careful and review your answers before submitting them. While you may feel you are wasting a lot of time on a task you won’t be paid for, once you begin the task itself you will be familiar with the requirements and can complete tasks quickly.
- Don’t skip your corrected quiz questions; learn the answers well. Sometimes companies may add tasks after their initial set has been completed so it’s a good practice to take screen shots of the answers you got wrong on the quiz. The test questions that are included in the actual task are taken from the original quiz, so making sure you know the answers to each question ensures you will not be dropped from a job due to low accuracy. If the job reopens you will also be able to become eligible and ensure you retain a great Trust Score by reviewing the questions you got wrong the first time.
- Check the "satisfaction" of a task before selecting a task to complete. You can sort tasks by satisfaction ratings simply by clicking above the satisfaction column. Don’t accept any tasks with satisfaction scores below 2.5 and preferably not below 3.0. Scores lower than this indicate that the task likely contains faulty questions, or inaccurate or vague correct answers, increasing the likelihood you could be dropped due to your Trust Score. Authors of tasks scored low on satisfaction often use the feedback obtained on the first administration to improve the questions and make the answers clearer and more accurate. This means that when the task reappears it will earn a higher satisfaction score. It can even be worthwhile to take a task you recognize that previously had a low satisfaction rating early while there is little feedback related to it. Tasks that reappear often do so because of previously poor scores given by those who completed them and new data needs to be compiled on an improved version.
- Also sort the tasks by reward by clicking above the reward areas. This will order the tasks by what they pay. This will allow you to select those tasks which offer the highest pay for your level. While the highest paying tasks are also those that require the most work, once you get the hang of completing the items you will be able complete a number of tasks on the same job maximizing your income. There can also be less competition for the highest paying jobs since many people prefer to do more easy tasks to earn the same as competing a few more difficult tasks. Remember however, each new task means learning new instructions, taking a new quiz and qualifying and maintaining your Trust Score for a different set of criteria.
- That being said, it is good to alternate hard, high-paying tasks with simple tasks that don’t take as much work, aren’t as complex and don’t require complete concentration and attention. This will prevent you from burning out and enable you to work longer and earn more without feeling exhausted.
- Be sure to check the forum daily in which people discuss tasks. You will get a heads up on tasks that have faulty or inaccurate test questions.
Pros and Cons
Pros: You work as much or as little as you like and your time is flexible. The tasks tend to be relatively quick and easy to perform and once you pass to the second and ultimately the third level the number of jobs grows considerably as does the pay. You select which projects you choose to work. While there is a chance you will be dropped from a job for low accuracy this is unlikely due to teaching answers provided from wrong answers given on test questions. Those who work quickly and put in several hours a day on tasks can earn a decent income.
Cons: Tasks at the first level don’t pay much and this can lead to burnout as contributors feel they are putting in a lot of work for a little money. Additionally, in the beginning, when you can't work exceptionally quickly due to the learning curve, it can become frustrating and tedious performing the same task over and over. If you are dropped from a job due to low accuracy you are not paid for the work you completed to that point. You also must complete a qualifying quiz testing your accuracy on the tasks you will need to perform for each job you wish to complete which takes time, can prevent you from being eligible to work on a project and for which you receive no pay. Additionally, while tasks at the highest level are paid at a level that allows you to make more than cents on each task, you must first pass the requirements to achieve levels 1 and 2 (you begin on level 0) before you are eligible for tasks that can amount to decent pay.
3. Become an eJuror
eJury.com and other similar sites construct regional pools of people to review cases that range in length from a couple of pages to over a dozen. eJurors are then asked to give their opinions on a small number of questions related to how they would vote in a similar case and their reasoning for their decisions. This feedback provides lawyers with information about how different types of real jury members might respond to their arguments when the case actually goes to trial. This enables them to develop arguments with the best chances of convincing a jury to vote in favor of their position. Sometimes Law Schools also use eJuror as a method of providing feedback to their students as they learn how to develop oral arguments.
eJury does not cost anything for registering and there are no costs associated with the site. There are also no guarantees that there will be cases available from one minute to the next but checking the site regularly will increase the chances of joining a jury when one is available. Cases are available and assigned based upon their availability, the geographical region where you live, and other demographic details about you such as gender, age and ethnicity.
Qualifications for Becoming an eJuror
Although you will not be functioning as a real juror on a case currently being adjudicated, qualifications are similar to those associated with actual jury service in the United States. However, while in the actual jury selection process, it can be difficult to predict what characteristics certain jurors will be selected or ruled out for, on eJury the requirements are much more straight forward. In order to qualify as an eJuror, you must
- be at least 18 years of age;
- be a U.S. citizen ;
- be of sound mind and good moral character;
- be capable of reading and writing;
- not have ever been convicted of a felony; and
- not be under indictment or have other legal charges made against you including misdemeanor theft or any felony charge.
Along with this, as the result of the confidentiality of the cases in question, it is required that you not be actively practicing as an attorney, paralegal, or legal assistant and not work for or be professionally associated with a currently practicing attorney or law firm. Additionally you cannot be married to or the second decree relative of a practicing attorney. You cannot become an eJuror if you work for an insurance adjuster or are associated with the adjusting of liability insurance claims.
How Does eJury Work?
Once you register you will be on the list as a possible eJuror. When a new mock trial becomes available you will receive an email about the trial opportunity and the deadline for participating. You then log on, go to the secure room where the write up for the case is located, and read it. Afterward, you answer the questions and submit your completed information. Participation is allowed until they reach the predesignated target number is reached which is usually 50. At this time the trial is closed. This means that if you want the best chance for participating you should log in as soon as you see the email notification. Once you are familiar with the process, it is possible to complete a six-page brief in about half an hour which will earn you $6. Cases pay between $5 and $10 so you won’t get rich being an eJuror but it can be a nice addition to the other online jobs you can work from home. Once you submit your work you are paid immediately.
Pros and Cons
Pros: While the cases are not currently being litigated, in almost all cases they are actual disputes that have been filed with the court system. Most people find participating in these cases to be interesting and fulfilling. The work is not difficult and can be completed relatively quickly. Being an eJuror adds variety to other more common ways of virtual money earning. Your earnings are transferred to your PayPal account as soon as you submit your verdict, so there is no waiting until the end of the month or for someone to review your work during the business work week. If you fall within a highly desired demographic such as being Hispanic, you receive emails that have prequalified you based on your profile information. Often there are specific criteria in terms of demographics that jurors are being selected for, which limits the number of people who are notified by email. This means that while you may not receive emails regularly when you do receive one, chances are good that you will not be ruled out based on required characteristics.
Cons: While eJury does everything possible to insure that your name and information are not revealed to any attorneys, it is possible that unauthorized access to the site could occur. Should this happen you must agree not to hold the site at fault and release them from any potential liability for damages that could result. The number of trials you can participate in is limited and the number of eJurors used for each trial are also limited so you are not likely to earn a lot of money with this opportunity. A background check is required to participate.
Participate in a Focus Group
Business often used potential customers to obtain feedback about products they sell or about a new idea, invention or startup business and are willing to pay for it. Frequently, this is done with focus groups which compensate based on the time spent on average providing this information as well as how quickly they need the information. Sometimes, companies that are in trouble and who need to re-envision their brand will use focus groups to try to save the business by creating a new image.
While it was once the case that these types of groups were only done in person, many companies are now using online discussions that can include consumers in larger geographical areas, nationwide or even sometimes word wide. While some may be conducted in real time such that everyone needs to be available to be online at the same time, others provide a time period when you need to submit your feedback but can do it anytime as long as it's in by the deadline. Some of these groups can pay $30-$100 per session. You can find these opportunities through marketing companies that specialize in finding participants for such focus groups.
Some examples of sites that pay for online focus groups include:
- 20/20 Research .
- Plaza Research
- Chasen Research
- Probe Market Research
- Global Test Market
- SpringBoard America
- American Consumer Opinion
- Product Report Card
- Mindfield Online
- Inspired Opinions (Schlesinger Associates)
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Natalie Frank on March 18, 2017:
Thanks for the comment, Glen. Glad to know you found the information useful. The Jury site may not pay much but it is fun to do when other work isn't available.
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on March 18, 2017:
Great information Natalie. I use MTurk once in a while when I find something that pays well for a few minutes work. I didn't know about CrowdFlower however. The eJury idea looks intriguing to me. Not for the money (because as you said — it's not much money), but for the enjoyment of participating.
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on February 08, 2017:
Thanks. I had a friend who joined eJury and made some money with them. Hope it helps.
Audrey Howitt from California on February 08, 2017:
Good information--I had not heard of ejuror before!