How to Make Money Sitting on the Can


I just made $100 while I was sitting on the can.  I wanted to make this time more productive, so I brought my tablet computer with me to stay up on the latest Craigslist postings.  A minute hadn’t passed before a nice, two year old front-loading washing machine was put in the free section.  It needed to be repaired.  I quickly shot off an email that beat everyone else out.

Once I heard back from the guy giving it away, I contacted an appliance repair guy located much closer to the washing machine to pick it up.  When I called him on the phone, he was just leaving the hospital after visiting someone and was more than happy to pick it up and compensate me $40 for helping him get the washer.  He didn’t have to sit on the computer all day.  He was out doing what he needed to do.  When the right item came up, we both won.

It gets better though!  Instead of giving me the $40, he offered to pickup and deliver, to my house, a free refrigerator I had found.  I promptly sold it for $100.  I had sat down with nothing but a little free time and ended up with a refrigerator in my garage.

A few things had to take place before this situation worked out.  First, you need to have a little table that you can use in your bathroom to set your tablet or laptop on. I use a djembe drum, which does get people asking us why we have a djembe drum sitting in front of our toilet. We like music. Anyway, this will encourage extra productivity.   Harry Truman once said “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”  This is communicating that not only do leaders read a lot, but they also make the most of their time.  Have a 20 minute subway ride?  Read or work.  Sitting on the can?  Read or work.

Second, you need to find people that have needs and figure out a way to meet those needs.  Find a way to help people do what they want to.  Add value to someone else’s life.  I’ve found that most people don’t want to sit on the computer all day looking for one particular item where there is only a small chance they will get it.  I free them up to do what they do best and give them a call, text or email the moment the item they are looking for pops up. They get their item, and I get paid for helping them.  And the seller/ or person giving the item away, gets rid of their item immediately.  All three of us end up happy.

Third, repeat this process as many times as you need to until you are working from your bathroom full time, or in Hawaii, either one.  If you find enough people that need help or could use your finding services, soon you will no longer be driving around picking the items up yourself.  What do you want things to look like in a few years?  Set some goals and work as hard as you can to reach them.

Make the most of your time. It’s the most valuable resource you have and you don’t get it back.  Stop allowing things like bathroom visits to steal bits of your time.  Fight back and figure out ways to become more productive.  You might just end up with a refrigerator in your garage.

This post was written by Ryan Finlay. Follow him on Twitter here.  



  1. Ryan, what kind of tablet do you use? I know I saw it posted somewhere on this site but can’t seem to find it now. You mentioned using one in this article so I figured I would ask here. Thanks


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