Need fast cash? Gig your way through the tight spots

I've always been a bit of a hustler. No, no. I don't spam strangers attempting to convince them that I'ma Nigerian zillionaire.

(And if they'll just wire me $54K, my mom will stay out of jail and we'll all share in riches beyond our wildest dreams).  

Nor do I spend my off days counting cards in Vegas.

(Those who know me personally will get a real laugh out of this one.)

Of course not.

But I do have a deeply ingrained survival instinct, and have been known to find highly creative ways to make quick cash during tight economic times.

(Whatever just popped into your head, stop it. Stop. Legal, ethical things. Shame on you.)

My new favorite idea is gigging. I love the idea, and I love the word.

I know, this is not a new concept, but here are a couple of awesome fast-moolah ideas that you may not have considered. You need to make some bucks quickly? Read on.

The New Kid: Gigwalk

I just learned about Gigwalk last week, and fell in love instantly. Now, if it would just come to Portland, I will try it and report back personally on how well it works.

But it's already in a ton of U.S. cities, so I'll share what I know here.

Gigwalk is an iPhone app that pays users to take pictures of things and then submit them to companies.

Say a restaurant reviewing website needs information about menu items in Miami, or the corporate HQ of a hotel chain needs a quick, current image inside one of their properties in Seattle. They can post their "gig" on Gigwalk and invite people to mosey in to that location and snap a quick picture. It's brilliant. And in major cities? There could be 20-50 gigs in a half-mile radius. So if you live in that 'hood? You can just stroll down the street and snap, snap, snap... submit, submit, submit.

Each gig pays between $3 and $90, which can add up quickly if you're willing to put in a bit of legwork. And, yes, you need to have an iPhone and load Gigwalk's (free) app.

It's a brand new company. So far, there are gigs in the more populous regions of California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Please, someone. Try this and report back. I'm dying to hear how it goes.

The Standby That People Forget About: Craigslist

You probably know that Craiglist is a great place to sell unwanted stuff locally, look for apartments and check out job opportunities, right? But do you look at the Gigs section? It's a separate section underneath the JOBS section. See it?

On any given day, you can find writing, labor, domestic services and other highly interesting gigs advertised here. For instance, today on the Portland edition of Craiglist, I'm seeing the following gigs:

  • Build me a chicken coop
  • Take pictures of my furniture, please
  • Need an art festival wine bar greeter
  • Need long haired men for styling event (this one, btw, pays up to $400!)
  • Looking for part-time dog runners
  • Need a very-part-time babysitter
  • Make announcements at our wedding

As you can see, there is something for everyone. I'm, in fact, considering the chicken coop one, so don't even think about stealing it.

And so. If you are in a sitch where you could use (or absolutely must get your hands on) some extra cash?

Don't just sit there. Gig it.