As I sat on the floor staring at my depleted bank account on my phone, I felt a swell of emotions creep up my throat like a bubbling volcano. This unemployment season sucked.
I tried to keep the faith and hold things together for as long as I could but the bills were piling and the stress of it all was killing my pride and definitely my edges. I never planned to go through this. I thought I had life planned out with a job before my college graduation, but little did I know that they would fire me a week before I walked the stage.
Talk about a Britney 2007 breakdown. As I sat deep in this reality check, this moment brought me face to face with my reality.
I was broke.
Broker than broke. And it frustrated me because this wasn't where I was supposed to be. I saw everyone thriving around me. I even praised their accomplishments but deep down I felt shame that I was struggling through a season I never planned for.
This is the story of many of us. Stats show that millennials have the highest unemployment rate out of all age groups. But I realized that this season did NOT define me. I was determined to stay faithful to the process and do what I needed in the meantime.
A lot of times unemployment is a humbling season.
For me, it revealed that I was wrapped in validation and status. How "embarrassing" to tell people that I didn't have a plan with my career moves. And because I couldn't feel valued by others, I didn't feel like a value at all. But it's not true. Through the up and down seasons of unemployment, I've learned that there are some super simple ways to bring in a little cash while you're in the place of uncertainty:
Calling all thrifters! Selling your things online has got to be one of the simplest ways to make some quick money. When I started on Ebay, I first sold things I had around the house like nice clothes (homecoming dresses are really popular), purses, and even an old camera. After I got the hang of how Ebay works, I started going to local garage sales and thrift stores to flip items.
The keys to Ebay are simple but require some consistency. Always have clear pictures taken in good lighting. Ask for a reasonable price, go for popular items (this takes a little research), and always use honest and detailed descriptions. When trying to decide if an item is worth selling, I usually type it in the search bar and scroll down to the sold items. This will show you how much people usually paid for the item and what you should list it as.
2. Temporary Agencies
When I had no clue where to look during my unemployment season, temp agencies came through with great job opportunities. I first looked on Indeed.com for temporary jobs but you can also research temp agencies in your city and request an appointment to meet with them.
The meeting usually consists of going over your resume and areas of expertise. From that information, they will search for job openings that match your qualifications. During my unemployment, I got a great job at a health company that paid way more than I predicted. They are great resources, even for just a short period of time!
Babysitting can be a great way to earn decent cash during your extra time. It was a very humbling experience because I did NOT want to do this at first. But try going through sites like care.com or sittercity.com to find work.
What's great about this gig is that it still offers time to work on a skill or apply for job opportunities online. The summer is the perfect season because many kids will be home from school.
Photography is great because there will always be a need for dope pictures. For my website, I bought my first DSLR camera from Craigslist (which is GREAT for items like that). A friend knew that I had a nicer camera and asked if I could take pictures for her sister's college graduation.
That ended up being my first "client." Her sister referred me to another friend and it just grew from there. If you have a nicer camera, I recommend offering to take photos for people for a fee. This may require some Facebook recruiting but people are always looking for pictures around their birthday, pregnancies, graduations, and even headshots.
In my down time, I heavily watched YouTube photography tutorials to help me learn my camera and get better at angles and ideas. When you feel confident, you can even reach out to local organizations like churches or schools to offer your services.
Do you have an extra room or guest house in your backyard? Airbnb can make you some serious cash without much work. If you live in a frequently visited city, try renting the extra space, especially during big weekends that host festivals, conferences, concerts, and even sports events. Most Airbnb renters are able to upcharge their guests because of such high demand during these times.
Some of my best Airbnb experiences have included a flexible renter and also a well-stocked room. Make sure to provide helpful things like toiletries and suggestions of places to visit in the city. This always leaves a great impression and a higher chance for positive feedback.
6. Freelance Writing
If you love to write or have ideas for a topic you are passionate, try freelance writing. There are so many publications that are constantly looking for new content, especially from writers of color. So many times, I see media websites try to connect with diverse audiences but fail because of a lack of insight or knowledge.
Look for trending topics and pitch your point of view by emailing an editor. Other ways of finding jobs are checking Craiglist, Indeed.com, or following certain accounts on Twitter like @writersofcolor that frequently post jobs. And even if you don't see a current opportunity available, create one by sending a draft of a post to outlets that you love.
Some of these ideas may not totally replace an income, but they can help bring in financial help and also confidence that this situation will be temporary. So hustle, stack the dollars, and stay focused your goals. Your time is coming.
Featured image by Getty Images