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by Deborah Jacobson

The quote from Shakespeare “To Thine Own Self Be True” applies to finding the right “Survival Job” for you.    Be aware of your own personality and scheduling needs.  If you’re a people person, there are many jobs that will allow you to be social while working i.e. jobs in event planning, catering, trade shows and conventions, as opposed to someone who wants solitude and might be interested in being a proofreader or reviewer.

Often people don’t realize that talents and skills they already possess can be used to earn money.  Many people dog-sit for neighbors, paint houses, plan parties, build things, play a musical instrument, take excellent photographs, sing, have a flair for design, or are computer savvy.  All of these skills can be used to make money now!  If you are an idea person but lack marketing skills, you can always hire others to market your new business venture or give someone a “cut” of the profits as they come in.  Bartering is also a wonderful way to raise awareness of a new business venture.  I helped a woman launch her cake decorating business simply by encouraging her to offer to bake cakes for all the special occasions she was invited to instead of buying a gift.  Word traveled quickly, and soon she had a thriving business. Here are my 10 tips  from my book, 150 Jobs You Can Start Today: Creative Ways to Make Money Now.

1.    Pet Care Business:  Pet-Sitter, Dog Trainer, or Mobile Pet Groomer.
A pet-sitter can be self-employed or work at an established center.  If you are self-employed the hours are flexible and single dog walks, group walks, doggy play groups and boarding are typically offered.  Payment depends on whether you operate your own business or work for an established pet care service.  A typical visit is 20-40 minutes and $12-$24 is the going rate.  The more extras (trips to the vet or groomer, caring for more than one pet, administering medicine), the more chargeable time you have.  House-sitting or boarding generally runs from $25-$50 a night per dog.  To get a business license, call your city’s tax and permit division or county clerk’s office.  For additional information, contact the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

2.    Princeton Review or Kaplan Teacher: Teaching and monitoring practice tests for the Princeton Review or Kaplan is a terrific part-time job for anyone who has excelled and scored well on a standardized test.  These organizations prep for the SAT, LSAT, GRE, MCAT, and GMAT, and special courses are conducted around the country.  Pay varies depending on teaching experience.  Call the Princeton Review, 800-2-REVIEW, or Kaplan, 888-KAPLAN2,

3.    Proofreader: Many writers and English Teachers proofread as a side job.  Publishing houses and law firms are two major sources for employment.  Law firms employ proofreaders to check briefs, wills, trusts, arguments for court and brochures for legal seminars; publishers hire proofreaders to check manuscripts before they are sent off to the printer.  Most community colleges or adult education programs offer classes in editing or proofreading.  Your local bookstore or library will have a number of useful books, such as Copyediting; A Practical Guide by Karen Judd. Publishing houses will usually require  you to own a copy of the style manual they use.  The Chicago Manual of Style, published by the University of Chicago Press, is generally regarded as the definitive writing reference work.  For employment, call well established large law firms, or send your resume to editors at publishing companies.  The trade magazine Publishers Weekly lists publishing houses and has a classified section, as do many writer magazines. Corporate newsletters and professional trade journals are other sources to contact.  The book Writers Market, published by Writer’s Digest Books, is an invaluable resource as well.

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