It’s a scary moment when a financial emergency hits—whether it’s job loss or an unexpected medical bill—and your savings can’t cover it. I’ve felt that panic firsthand.
When I got laid off from my project management job in 2013, I had a grand total of $500 in savings—and I needed a way to make money fast. So when I found a medical research study paying $7,500, I was thrilled at the prospect of covering my bills for at least five months. But there was a catch: The researchers planned to put participants on a brand-new medication that had never been given to humans before, then monitor for side effects.
After thinking over the potential risks, I backed out. But the fact that I’d even considered such a dangerous thing was the wake-up call I needed to get serious about saving. I really buckled down—ultimately putting enough money aside over the following two and a half years to cover my expenses for 12 months. (That really came in handy when I was laid off again this past August.)
Yet I sometimes wonder how easy it’d be to earn extra money quickly if I was ever in a pinch again, which prompted an idea: to start a side hustle on Fiverr.com. “Today’s gig economy enables workers to be proactive in their quest for cash,” Kristen Euretig, a Certified Financial Planner and founder of Brooklyn Plans told me. “With services [like these], a quick buck has never been easier to come by than it is today.”
I put that theory to the test.
The Set Up
Fiverr is a website where you can sell your work to buyers all over the world. Services tend to skew creative—designing logos or illustrations, writing or making videos—and usually start at $5 per job. I decided to offer my editing services.
From there, I created a profile and several job postings, or gigs, as the site refers to them. In total, the initial setup took just 30 minutes, which is about as minimal a time investment you could ask for when starting a business.
Here’s what happened next.
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