Illustration: Naomi Wilkinson
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Student loans, credit card debt, and a high cost of living inspired 34-year-old Pheniece Jones, a public relations consultant in Seattle, to take on a side gig. She's now a "stylist" with accessories company Stella & Dot
. Jones paid $199 for marketing and training materials, as well as credits toward buying display products for in-person trunk shows. She also sells products online using a personalized site the company created. Products ship directly from the manufacturer, so she doesn't need to keep inventory on hand. Jones takes home 25 to 35 percent of sales. The $500 in monthly commissions—combined with her full-time income—has helped her pay off her $3,000 credit card balance, knock 40 percent off her student loan bill, and visit Paris. Her new goal: "Travel more!"
Earn, Baby Earn
"You can cut costs only so much, but you can always earn more. When you turn your skills into a side business, the cash you bring in will provide a richer life in so many ways," says Ramit Sethi, founder of Earn1K.com
Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert and author of When She Makes More
, hosts CNBC's Follow the Leader and the podcast So Money