Creative Ways to Make Money: The Niche

We all have it - that random expertise in some obscure niche field that we think will only pay off when we appear on Jeopardy.  But ... well ... you never know.  Just a little bit of knowledge can sometimes pay off!

I happen to know just about everything there is to know about ink cartridges.  Maybe that was a little prideful of me to say.  I'll rephrase: I know a lot about ink cartridges.  I know what they're worth, how to use them, how to talk about them, and how to tell other people about them.  I know brands, types, problems, troubleshooting, and durability.  I can clean, refurbish, refill, and recycle like it's my job.

Maybe you don't know much about ink (I mean, who does?  Oh, yeah.  Me.)  But maybe my ink cartridges are your power tools, or textbooks, or hand-woven ancient Incan baskets.  Whatever it is, there's something you know a lot about.

You can look for these things on super-duper sale.  You can talk to your friends who are getting rid of them.  You can look at ads on craigslist, shop garage sales and thrift stores, and pick things up off the side of the road.  Don't forget: you know about these things.  You're an expert.  Clean them up.  Make a good assessment of them.  Then list them on ebay or craigslist, find a local shop that will pay you or swap your items for store credit, or network with folks you know to find a market.

If you do this once a month and make $20 off of your expertise, that's $240 you'll make in a year that you weren't planning on.  Wait ... that's almost enough to get this!


  1. Katherine, you are amazing :)

  2. Oh, the ink store days!! Happy memories of visiting you for lunch and/or frozen yogurt.

  3. So what exactly do you do with the ink cartridges these days, oh Wise Inky One??

  4. I'm with M, what do you do with them? I just take mine to office max or staples- is there a better option?

  5. Meredith and Greta - honestly, it depends on what kind of ink cartridges you have, and how many you have. You can take them to office stores for store credit or (occasionally) cash, depending on what deal they're running at the time. You can also try eBay ... there's a surprising market for empty cartridges. They usually sell best in "lots" though ... so it may not be worth your time or energy to sell just one empty one. You can always check what you have against what's selling and see what prices have been bid up to on recent sales. Also, there are some companies that have buy-back programs for ink cartridges, but again it really depends on what you have and how many.
    If you want to get really charitable, schools sometimes do cartridge drives, where they collect empty ones and sell them as a whole package to a company.
    But, the truth is that ANY of these options is way better than throwing it away!