How I Turned My Passion and Skills Into Making Extra Money


how i turned my skills into extra money (1)



My friends always ask me how I make extra money and I tell them I took what I do best and turned it into cash!

Up until 4 years ago, working a full-time job was as easy as getting up, going to work, coming home and collecting my pay-check. Then I had my son, which made things a little more difficult, 19 months later my daughter joined our family, followed 4 months later by a divorce. Not so easy anymore……Many nights I laid awake thinking “how can I do this all on my own?” How can I make extra money so that the kids can do things like swimming lessons and soccer?

I could not wrap my head around how I could go back to work full-time. I have over ten years experience in the landscaping industry, but now I have a life that makes that job impossible. I have always enjoyed working so I decided I would look for a part-time job instead.


Part-Time Job


I found the perfect part-time job while viewing an online posting board. No experience needed!! I got that job and for two years now I have worked as a merchandising representative for multiple companies, travelling to different stores on a weekly basis. I also have some flexibility with my hours which are perfect for a single mom! My next step was to figure out child care.

Where did I look for child care?

  • Family members– Grandparents love to spend time with their grand-kids, ask if they could help out a few hours a week. Brothers and sisters, cousins, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
  • Friends–Any of your friend’s home on maternity leave or a stay at home mom? Who doesn’t want to earn a little extra money? I have a couple of friends I can ask even at short notice. Friends can give pretty good rates!
  • Kijiji-Many University and high school students also advertise to babysit at reasonable rates.
Landscaping Project After Thinning Out- extra money
Landscaping Project After Thinning Out


Turning My Passion and Skills into Money- What Can I Do To Make Extra Money?


My love for gardening is something I will never let go of; to me it is therapeutic, rewarding and most of all quiet! I quickly started to miss it and the serenity of nature surrounding me. One day I decided to post an ad on Kijiji offering to help people with their gardening. When posting the ad I was hoping for a few extra hours of work every week. All I wanted to earn was enough extra money so I no longer had to live pay-check to pay-check.

Digging dirt or soil- extra money

Here’s the Kijiji “wanted” ad that started it all……


Do you need some help with your spring clean-up?


I am an experienced landscaper looking for some part-time hours within a company or a private residence. I have 10+ years experience; as well I have earned a diploma in Horticulture. I am offering my services at a rate of $XX.XX/hour. 

My skills include:

  • Pruning and Hedge Trimming
  • Total Lawn Maintenance
  • Sodding, Planting, Mulching
  • Fertilizing and Over-seeding
  • Edging, Flower Bed Installation

If you want someone who is skilled in landscaping, dedicated and a hard worker, I’m the girl you’re looking for! Please contact me by email or phone. It can be a one time job just to help you get on top of things, or on an ongoing basis.

I honestly should have taken more time writing the ad, although my results were great!

My Clients

April 2011

I received 2 replies within the first week the ad was up.  I was able to work out an arrangement with one of my now clients. I have now been their private gardener for almost two years; working 3 hours every other weekend just helping them stay on top of everything simply giving them a helping hand to what they have already completed. Between grandparents and the kids dad, 3 hours on a weekend isn’t too hard to find to make some extra money.

Last summer my Kijiji Ad attracted a young couple who had recently purchased a property, planning to flip it. Again in my ad I listed all the services I offered which lucky for me, they needed! Mentioning my education in the ad certainly helped my credibility; I wasn’t just looking to pull some weeds.

This couple hired me, after an interview of sorts explaining to them my situation. I was honest stating that being a single mom and it was difficult for me to work 8 hours days 5 days a week. I assured them of my commitment to meeting their deadline and they understood. I promised to put the hours in each chance I could to get the job done with pride of quality and workmanship. I met their deadline and they sold the house and I had $2000 extra money  in my pocket!!

I wasn’t expecting to find a job like this when I posted the Kijiji ad. Not only did the extra money help me catch up my bills each month but I was able to purchase the new tires I desperately needed for my car. I have since obtained multiple clients through word of mouth from this job alone.

Before Landscaping Project- extra money
Before Landscaping Project
After Landscaping Project- extra money- extra money
After Landscaping Project

As 2012 rolled along I still had the first clients from the Kijiji ad, as well as another private residence with ongoing occasional hours throughout the spring, summer and fall. I was fortunate to have multiple small jobs lined up in 2012, as well hired to remove an existing lawn and replace it.


Moving Forward


I have plans with my two ongoing clients to continue with them, as well hoping to secure one more property. I will continue to advertise and hope again for multiple, small, one-time jobs to pull in some extra cash and build my portfolio.

On a smaller scale, I have also planned to try and do the same with my other passion, playing the piano. I have played for 26 years and would love to play for others. My goal is posting an ad offering to play at weddings and other small functions to make extra money or maybe offer to teach a piano lesson.


Tips for Making Extra Money


  • Find something that you are good at and turn it into cash!
  • Talk about what you do, talk about it a lot!  Word of mouth can do amazing things for your   business.
  • Even though working for yourself, remember to maintain a professional image.
  • Don’t take on more work than you can fit into your already busy life, you don’t want to commit to work then not be able to follow through.

What Ways Do You Make Extra Money?

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  1. You picked an excellent hobby to turn into cash. I also love landscaping. Not only is it quiet, the results look great and it keeps you healthy.

  2. I found this story so inspiring. I am currently in a similar situation. I am a landscaping mom, and with the way the industry is going I am finding it hard to keep it as a full time job and finding it very hard to find another well paying job that fits my hours and utilizes my skills, this post gave me some more hope as I feel pretty down sometimes not knowing how we are going to get out of this debt and pay our bills, while providing for our family. Thank you

    1. That’s awesome, there are lots of people out there who would appreciate your helping hands! Good luck to you 🙂

  3. Good for you Katrina! Not only do you like gardening and landscaping, you found a way to make money at it by meeting a need a lot of us have. I like gardening, I have no expertise in it, so it is trial and error, but my biggest challenge is time! I would like to find someone like you in my area.

    1. Thanks Leslie! I’m constantly learning as I go! Every job presents a new challenge. Thanks for taking the time to read it 🙂

  4. Some passions are easier to turn into money than others. I’ve been trying to build an ebook formatting business, but there isn’t as much business and my competitors aren’t limited by location!

    1. Maybe time to look for something else that you enjoy and/or good at? Good luck, I hope things can pick up for you 🙂 Thanks for stopping in to read it 🙂

  5. Kudos to you.. I would love to see more of your work, the before/after is very telling.. Personally, I can’t stand the actual “doing” of home improvement projects, but I still love them.. Just for the “after” 🙂 I just wish that I would remember to take a good “before” picture.. I seem to always forget to do this!


    1. Thank you! I have forgotten a few times as well! I am planning to share some more pictures in the next couple months. Keep an eye out on Canadian Budget Binder:)

  6. Very cool how active you are at taking initiative. A lot of people think finding a part time job is hard, but like you’ve found out there are lots of part time positions out there that require no special skills or previous work experience. It’s often through taking on these extra jobs that doors will open for better opportunities. I work part time at school which is great because that’s how I’ve met a lot of my current friends :0)

    1. For sure, you have to keep looking!! Having the stable,guaranteed income is key to how I am able to do what I do, I’ve met many friends through mine as well! A nice social environment 🙂

  7. Wow…. this explains how you knew exactly what I was talking about with the seeds!!!!! Lol!! My gardening is the self taught kind…..and I have the pile of books to prove that one!! What you are doing is awesome!!!!!!! Other than the fact I have a small yard the biggest problem I have at times is a hubby that wants to have things look full yesterday when you just planted….I have raised beds here and he wants to fill them up….. give the plants a couple of months and they fill out just fine but he doesn’t want to wait… I need to dig up along the driveway where we made the mistake of planting one chameleon plant!!! It’s going to take a few years to clean that sucker out!!! If I can get in there to dig I want to plant some nice big annuals to crowd it out. I’m thinking Picotee Cosmos, white Nicotaina and rose Cleome… and nice pink and white look, don’t you think??And big enough to shade the chameleon….I hope!!!!

    1. Thanks Christine, I really do enjoy digging away in the dirt! The cosmo, nicotiana and cleome combination sounds beautiful. Not sure exactly how your layout would be, but I would recommend planting the cleome in clusters of 2 or 3, the cosmos will get pretty big and you may not see the cleome. Good luck with the chameleon plant, if it’s contained to a raised bed you may be able to dig it out completely, you will likely lose some soil trying to get all the roots out so you may have to replace some soil afterwards . If you ever need to borrow a gardening book I have a large collection as well! I really admire self-taught gardeners!

      1. If you husband likes the ‘full’ look right away, have you considered planting some evergreen shrubs then just adding some annuals every year to add some colour? Again I guess that depends on what kind of area you are working with.

  8. Great initiative in order to be able to meet your needs! I like to see people who are determined to improve their situation actually go out and do it 🙂

    1. You are very welcome! Thank you for reading it! My hope was to inspire at least one or two people, best of luck to you 🙂

  9. Wow you are an inspiration and you are very dedicated. I think the key to part time work is you have to enjoy it, otherwise if it’s taking up your precious spare time from your regular job it can be draining and stressful. Glad you found passions you enjoy and that can make you money.

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