Cobble together odd jobs. People with access to a computer can get paid to do a variety of unique activities on their own timetable, says Christine Durst, a home-based career expert and co-founder of RatRaceRebellion.com. Each assignment pays from $5 to $50. Some examples:
• Put your high-speed Internet access to use securing tickets for popular concerts and other events. Ticketpuller.com pays an average of $10 to $20 for successful "pulls," which usually consist of more than one ticket—and you use their money for the purchase, not yours. Because tickets are sold to the buyers at face value, this is perfectly legal, the site says. Your commissions are drawn from a percentage the client pays as a "convenience charge."
• Individuals who need someone to physically check something far from where they are—whether it's a pricey item they are considering buying on eBay or the status of their rental home after a storm—describe their request on WeGoLook.com, which pays $25 and up for each completed task.
• Act as a juror and render a nonbinding verdict for legal cases online, at eJury.com and JuryTest.com, as a way to help lawyers test the strength of their case. Pay is from $5 to $50, depending on the complexity.
• Provide candid feedback via audio and video of your gut reaction as you visit and navigate a designated website at Userlytics.com, which charges companies for this valuable information. You get $10 and up per completed review.
Ask for a raise. Wages are stagnant in many sectors, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to get a raise. Especially if you are a top performer, you may be able to make a successful case, Hansen says. According to a study by Towers Watson, a professional services consulting firm, companies are planning to give pay increases averaging 4.7 percent in 2013 to exempt employees receiving high performance ratings. The key to getting a raise is documenting everything so you can make your case with specifics. Keep a log detailing all your accomplishments both at and away from your job, including new degrees or certifications and ways you've saved the company money or have enhanced revenues.
In addition, it's smart to carefully research, through industry associations and sites such as Salary.com and SalaryExpert.com, the going salary for someone with your education, skills, and experience. When you meet with your boss, don't say you are asking for extra money because you need it; instead, make the case for how you've strengthened the company's bottom line. If the type of job you have doesn't directly lead to profits, you'll likely have a tougher time, but it still may be worth trying.
Whether you think you can get extra money or not, be sure to get your annual review. This is the best way to identify the skills your boss believes you need to develop to earn a raise or a promotion, if not now, when the economy eventually improves.