Jobs

Turning Hobbies into Cash

College is full of shuffling between classes, writing papers, working, spending time with friends, and trying to find time to breath amongst the hustle and bustle. Trying to get in a decent amount of hours at work during the week while still trying to get in enough time to study can drive even the sanest person to the brink of insanity. And usually, the job really is not even something you like very much. If you are not stuck behind a greasy grill all day, you could be stuck stocking shelves at some big block store. Have you ever thought, “I wish there was a way I could do something I actually like?” Or maybe, “I wish I could do something that would make me more money, but take less time?” Well, I have good news for you! Every college kid has at least one hobby that can be made into a money maker with a little work. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

1) Write

Writing can be a huge money maker for students, especially students who are studying journalism or English. Newspaper, magazines, online blogs, and more all offer freelance writing jobs. Freelance means you are not on contract with the group, company, or organization and can write about whatever you want. You can also, however, take on a writing position in a company where you will be given assignments to write. Begin a successful blog! Once you have a loyal fan base, you can begin putting advertisements up. Every time a reader clicks the blog, you make money. Often times student newspapers on college campuses also pay for writers. Making money writing is all about how much you put into it. Plus, writing experience looks great on a resume. Writers can make anywhere from $5 to $15 dollars an article.

2) Babysitting

Do you like kids? Maybe want to own a daycare someday? Then babysitting is a great fit for you. Not only will you be gaining experience to build your resume, you will be making money. Babysitting allows you to set your own hours and your own hourly wage. Also, babysitting allows a lot of downtime, which means extra time to study or just relax. If you want to look like a real professional, take a babysitting course at your local Red Cross. This course will certify you in CPR, the use of an AED, or automatic external defibrillator, rescue breathing, and other lifesaving maneuvers that will make you look that much more appealing to any parent.

3) Crafts

Do you feel content with a needle and thread in your hand? Do you spend your free time picking out the best colors and designs for necklaces? If your passion is handmade crafts, then your passion has money value. Etsy.com is the perfect place to begin posting your crafting skills to sell to the public. EBay would also be an excellent source as well. If you are confident in your abilities as a crafter, put them to the test on Etsy or ebay. You can set your own prices and work up from there!

4) Tutor

Are you proficient in business calculus? Is sitting through Spanish class a walk in the park? Do you offer your helpful services to friends all the time? Then you may be just the help that someone needs. Better yet, you are help they are willing to pay for. Start advertising your skills and tutoring services and watch the academically in need flock to you. Schools often times will pay you to tutor for them as well. With tutoring, you are able to set your own prices either per hour, per session, or per day. Schools will usually pay minimum wage or slightly more. If you are good at what you do, your students will advertise for you by boasting about the A’s you helped them get!

5) Cooking or Catering

If you are a culinary or bakery student, or just someone who has proficient knowledge in the kitchen, cooking and catering would not only be a fun way to make some extra cash, but build your resume as well. Hold a taste testing party, offer free samples to local businesses, and send letters with your business card, price sheets, and menus. If they like what you do, you can expect calls as soon as a week later. Who knows? This could even become a future business venture. The opportunities are endless!

Hobbies can become opportunities with just a little time and effort. Opportunities that can make you money and can even make you a future career. Build your resume, build your bank account, and build onto your future goals. The opportunities are there, now go get them!

An Introduction to Internships

Some view internships as resume builders, and others view them as free labor. So should you accept an internship? Better yet, should you accept an unpaid internship? No matter how you view this real world experience, there is no question that by having an experience as an intern under your belt you become a valuable asset to any perspective employer. Finding, accepting, and excelling at an internship can be what puts you over the top in a competitive career field. Here are the steps you should take in order to find the perfect internship match for you.

Internships

Stage 1: The Search

This is the stage where you search out an internship in the field you are interested in. First, search for internships in your area and areas within a 15-20 mile radius. Look online, call local businesses, check with friends of the family; do anything you can to find an internship opportunity. If you are interested in leaving the state or even the country, there are internships that will take you there as well.

Stage 2: Application Process

Applying for internships can take a while, but if it is something that you really want it is worth the time. Answer the questions honestly. Make sure you do a little research into the company of which you are applying so that you know exactly what they are looking for. By doing this, you can boast the skills you have that would best benefit the company. The application is the first impression the company will have of you, so make it good!

Stage 3: Interviews

Though the application is the first impression the employers will have of you, the interview is what will make or break you. Review your application and the questions that were asked. This will help you prepare for what kind of things the company may ask. You should also review the information that you discovered about the company. Employers want to hire people who know about them. It not only tells them that you know about their company, but it also flatters them. Speak slowly, stay calm, smile, and look the interviewer in the eyes. Do not fidget, play with your hands, or look around the room. Show the interviewer that you mean business. Another good, and rather obvious, tip is to practice interviewing. Many college campuses have counselors hired for the specific purpose of helping students perfect their skills before an interview. Take advantage of these options and it will pay off in an internship offer.

Stage 4: The Wait

This is the stage in which your patience will be put to the test. It can take weeks to hear back from perspective internship offers. However, do not be afraid to call, email, or stop in to ask about the selection process and if there has been a decision made yet. This will make you look ambitious and determined. Employers want to see these qualities in an intern and it will excite them to see you taking initiative.

Stage 5: Accepting an Internship

Just about the time you think you are about to burst from the wait, if you followed these tips and stages, at least one of the internships you applied for will call or email you with an offer to join their team. Accept or decline graciously and then go celebrate! A good way to celebrate would be to go on a shopping spree for work appropriate clothes! Not the most exciting thing in the world, but it is necessary. Make sure to ask the company if there is anything you need to do or bring with you on the first day, so that you are fully prepared. Show up at least 10 minutes early with a smile and a positive attitude, and show this company just how good of a choice they made in picking you.

If you do exceptionally well, there is a chance that the company may offer you a job after the internship is complete. You will also be able to use your boss as a reference for future endeavors. Just remember, an internship can be one of the best investments you make in your future. Whether it is paid or not, an internship is more than worth your time.

What is a Cafeteria Plan?

A cafeteria plan is an employee benefit plan that allows an employee to choose where he wants his money to be invested. Also sometimes known as or a business plan, it is called a cafeteria plan because it allows the employs to have certain budget to spend in line with the facilities available or that the company has options in.

The benefits can vary; different forms include cash, health insurance, adoption assistance, paid leave and other benefits. The employee gets to choose between different types of benefits and to create a mix and match sort of plan that can include cash and/or a qualified benefit plan.

Most cafeteria plans today are operated through a salary reduction agreement. This enables the plan to be able to include a tax saving opportunity that can be enjoyed by both employer and employee.

The cafeteria plan is easy to set up; all that is needed to start a formal cafeteria plan is a document summary and a plan description.

This starts by reviewing a company’s cafeteria plan policy and helps to outline the expenses that are eligible for reimbursements. For instance if an employee is considering child daycare to cater for their child while they are at work, they can work out or estimate the daily out of pocket expenses which would usually help to cover up the daycare expenses. These are then multiplied by the weekly charge and by the number of weeks the child is the system, inclusive of holidays and vacations.

It is important to note that all the deductibles are exhausted during the year. After this, include the respected annual expenditure you believe you will claim and divide the final figure by the number of disbursement intervals that the company has planned for it’s financial year. This final figure will be taken out of your paycheck every period.

As long as you are in an eligible year, you then get to send the eligible expenses you incurred. These are filled in against a reimbursement claim form, after which a copy is made and then it can be sent either by fax or mail to the cafeteria plan provider for reimbursements.

While the cafeteria plan reduces on income tax payments for employees and employers, it is not a benefit that you will find typically with every firm. This is because it is not a federally enforced requirement for employers. As a result, not all companies offer a cafeteria plan or have a cafeteria plan policy but it is suitable for a wide range of businesses; even small business enterprises are eligible for this kind of policy.

However, it does pay to have one, apart from the usual tax savings advantages it offers; a job prospect certainly appears more competitive when a cafeteria plan is an option.

Should I Participate in My Companies Employee Stock Purchase Plan?

Employee Stock Purchase Plans, ESPP are frequently offered as a perk by many large-scale, publicly traded companies. With employee stock purchase plans, companies offer employees the chance to own a part of their future, as well as their place of employment through stocks. An employer will usually offer a discounted price for shares in the company. Often, companies will also allow the payment on the cost of the stock to be deducted directly from a paycheck, eliminating the hassle of paperwork, as well as spreading the cost over a span of time.

Stock purchase plans benefit everyone involved. The employer gets the boost in revenue shares through the employees buying stocks. This allows the company more assets to innovate and expand. The employer also gets to tout the fact that the company is employee owned thus attracting the best and brightest talent who are enticed by the possibility of owning a portfolio. The price of the employer’s stock may also rise if enough of the employees buy enough shares to force a price hike. The employee gets a discounted share in the company, a vote in the share-holders’ meeting, and the pride of owning a portfolio. There is also the distinct possibility that the stock may mature and grow which would net the employee a tidy little profit.

Of course, there are downsides to this form of employee compensation. As a stock can rise dramatically leading to exponential profit, it can also decline sharply eliminating your stock purchase or at the very least rendering them almost worthless. This is a continuing source of anxiety for investors. If your company’s CEO resigns and the stock that you just purchased drops, there is a real potential that you may instantly lose money. If that hypothetical were to happen your company could also lose much money in the blink of an eye as the price of their shares also drops.

This demonstrates the need to be conservative when playing the market, even when it comes to employee stock purchase programs. Only invest in the employee stock program if you truly believe in the company that you work for. If you really believe that they will not only be around in five years but also will be posting a profit, then by all means, invest in your workplace. If you think that management is incompetent and the products are shoddy, then don’t waste your time or money. Other red flag warnings to decline on an ESPP include recent scandals, deficits, and reduction of other benefits. These can be indicators that the company is not on stable financial ground and needs to raise funds.

A good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to the employee plans is this; Would I invest in this company even if I didn’t work for it? If the answer is yes, then go see Human Resources and fill out the paperwork. If the answer is no, then ignore the discount being offered and leave your money in your wallet.