Trying to make money in today's economy can be very challenging. People often are looking for alternative ways to pay their bills and stay afloat. Making money on the street offers opportunities that are unique, legal and creative. With very little investment, people can make money to help them survive economically.
If you can play a musical instrument and are not shy about performing in front of others, than playing in public might be an easy way to make money on the road. If you do not own a musical instrument but are able to play one, consider going to a secondhand store to purchase a flute, guitar or whatever else you are able to play. Set up on a busy street with a coffee can for donated money. Check with your county to make sure that no permit is required to play your instrument in public.
If singing is your gift, you can set up a karaoke machine and let people request songs for you to sing for $2 each. If you do not have a karaoke machine, you can sing any song you know. Even if you are a bad singer, you will probably receive tips.
You also can try sketching people or their pets or do cartoons of people. You can set up a chair and easel, and sell your sketches for anywhere from $15 to $25 apiece.
Many people make a good living selling all types of food--from hot dogs and tacos to unique and specialty items. You can rent a vending cart and make special ethnic dishes or bake and sell desserts. People like to buy homemade ethnic food. Create foods you grew up with that you think might be a good seller. Such foods as blintzes, perigees, soups and Greek items are also popular street vending fare.
Vending is not just for food items. Try your hand at selling T-shirts, pencils, sports stickers, used books, vintage jewelry or small gift baskets.
There are generally two types of permits that are needed for operating a vending cart. You will need to obtain a permit from your local board of health, if the item is food, and obtain a business operating permit. These permits are relatively easy to obtain and will run you about $200 to $300 for both. The upside is that vending carts can make up to several hundred dollars per week.
Service jobs can make you some cash as well. You can shine shoes for $5 per pair. You will need a comfortable chair, a shoe-shining box, shoe polish in various colors, a shining brush and a cloth. This can be very lucrative if you are gifted and take your time. It is not very difficult to build a business of shoe shining and work toward getting repeat business.
Washing windows is a popular gig on the streets. The more creative and animated you are, the more business you are likely to get. You will need a spray bottle of window cleaner, several cleaning cloths and a small radio that attaches to your hip. You can add a dance or two to your window cleaning job to provide a little entertainment while you work.