Blog, Freelancing, Get Hired

7 Ways to Turn Your Tech Skills into Holiday Cash

Do you remember what you promised yourself last year — That you would save a bit of money each month so that you could afford great gifts for your friends and relatives this holiday season? Oops…

If you’re a mere mortal (like most of us!) or even if you have managed to squirrel something away, you could probably use some more cash for your end of year shopping. Never fear! If you have some fundamental tech skills, you can get some serious pocket change without having to beg your boss for a bonus!

All you need to do is talk to your friends or neighbors, stop by some local businesses, jump onto Craigslist or check out some freelance sites like 99designs, Elance, or oDesk. That’s how you can find some tech projects that you can do in the next few weeks. And, before you know it, you’ll be knocking your loved ones’ socks off with the presents you give them or maybe even buying yourself an end-of-the-year treat!

With your design talents, HTML/CSS knowledge or WordPress expertise, you can provide plenty of different tech services at a range of rates. To get you started, here are 7 projects plus the prices to charge for them and the presents you can get with the cash you earn.

You need: $10-$20
For: stocking stuffers for your kids or holiday cookies for your colleagues
Get it by: using Photoshop to edit pictures
This is the perfect chance for you to make yourself a holiday hero. You probably have plenty of friends or neighbors who want to send out greeting cards with photos of their family soon. If you’re good with Photoshop, you can save them from “disasters” like red-eyed babies or photo-bombing cats. And they’re sure to be happy to compensate you for your help with a few Lincolns that you can use for some fun toys for your toddlers or yummy treats for your co-workers.

You need: $25-$50
For: wine and cheese for holiday parties
Get it by: re-doing a site’s typography or color palette
You love getting together with your pals to celebrate this time of year, but you hate not having the cash to thank the hosts of the happenings properly. This year you can send yourself to the top of everyone’s guest lists by bringing host gifts that they’ll really enjoy. And you can get the funds for them by offering to help a local business – like maybe your local wine shop or gourmet boutique! – have a website as delicious-looking as their delicacies taste. It won’t break their budget, but it can make a difference to their sales and the number of party invites you get next year!

You need: $100
For: a lovely surprise for your mom or dad
Get it by: designing a moodboard, wireframe or site map
Your parents have done so much for you, and you’d like to thank them with something extra special. How about AppleCare for your Dad’s beloved iPad or a Fitbit Flex for your health-conscious mom? Sounds like a luxury they deserve, right? Well, you can afford it by helping that developer from your tech meet-up group or your favorite golf instructor give their site with some real web design.

You need: $250
For: a gorgeous cashmere sweater for your partner
Get it by: making an HTML email or newsletter template
That’s it! No more last-minute gift cards or soap-on-a-rope! (Is that still a thing? Let’s hope not!) This season you’re determined to buy the person you spend your life with a gift worth spending on. To make sure you can, hop on to Craigslist and look for the chance to design an HTML email or newsletter template for a small company or maybe even a non-profit org. Your work will help them get the word out about theirs and get your significant other a gift they’ll love for years!

You need: $500
For: a precious pendant for each of your besties
Get it by: creating a website with HTML/CSS
You wouldn’t trade your three closest friends for the world so don’t make trade-offs with their gifts. Put your coding skills to work making a landing page or one-page site, and you’ll be able to afford to get them all that special piece of sparkle that will remind them of you every time they wear it.

You need: $750
For: holiday travel
Get it by: customizing a WordPress theme
Whether you’re off to grandma’s for a huge family get-together or escaping the hustle and bustle with an island getaway, travel isn’t cheap. But you don’t have to go into debt for it if you can whip up some WordPress magic to tailor a site to a freelance client’s needs. In fact, you might even find yourself in first class this trip!

You need: $1000
For: taking your skills to the next level next year
Get it by: building a simple WordPress site
January is still a few weeks away, but you already have big plans for 2015. Want to finally wrap your head around JavaScript or get into backend programming with Ruby? Need to upgrade your computer? Dying to go to that awesome tech conference? Then get to work now on a WordPress site, and you’ll soon have the finances you need to keep your New Year’s resolutions in the coming year!

Okay, let me guess. You are IN LOVE with these ideas for earning cash for the holiday season, but you’re wondering where to FIND these jobs? Download our Ultimate Starter Pack for Web Designers. It includes a list of all the best sites for finding paying web design jobs, from $5 photo edits to $5,000 app projects.

Do projects like this demand more than you know now? Then start with our free Skillcrush 10-Day Bootcamp.

And then take a look at our Skillcrush Career Blueprints. In just a few weeks next year, you can get the web design, web development, and WordPress skills you need for fabulous gifts and maybe even a fabulous new career in 2015!

Kelli Smith

Kelli handles customer support here at Skillcrush – plus she's an early alum of Skillcrush 101! She's also taken advanced web development classes and has been an organizer in the Helsinki Rails Girls chapter.

In addition to helping the Skillcrush team and students, Kelli loves tech podcasts, cute Corgi photos and, most of all, catalan-style line dancing – as a true Texan living in Finland would!