By. Ally Burdett
Dog-walking, modeling and feet pictures are just a few ways college students in Bellingham get creative for fast cash.
Due to living costs such as rent, groceries and other expenses, students look for “odd jobs” to make ends meet, even sometimes with pictures of feet.
For months, 19-year-old Whatcom Community College student Kinsey Lariviere applied to numerous job openings without hearing back from potential employers. She needed the money and recalled seeing a trend of people making hundreds of dollars from selling pictures of their feet online.
“I thought I could easily do that. I went online and discovered a massive community,” Lariviere said. “There are now thousands of people exchanging pictures of their feet for money.”
The reason people buy pictures varies —according to Lariviere some are needed as stock photos for websites, advertising, magazine articles or for individual people who have a preference for feet.
On average Lariviere would make up to $200 every week depending on her online activity. The value of each picture or video varied from client to client.
She also said the longer the duration of a video, the more money she would acquire from it. According to Lariviere, a minute long video could be valued at about $25.
She warned however, that anonymity with clients should be imperative. With this growing trend for fast money, it’s important to understand how to stay safe.
Lariviere said one should never share personal information online or respond to material that makes them uncomfortable to ensure safety and avoid scamming.
Although Lariviere admits that selling feet pictures online isn’t always the most sustainable source of income, she likes how accessible it is from home.
“As a student I don’t have that much time to keep looking for a job. I would do this just in my room. It’s really fast money,” she said.
James Goede, a third-year at Western, also had trouble acquiring a job in Bellingham.
“I’ve looked for jobs around here, mostly like [grocery] clerk and fast food…but I haven’t really been successful,” he said. “living in Bellingham is definitely stressful for college students.”
Goede soon discovered the dog-walking app “Rover.” It’s online and allows users to choose what services they want to offer. Payments are received securely through the site. According to Goede, an average day on the job consists of going to the client’s house and caring for their dog, with an occasional overnight stay —depending on the service.
Bronte Sullivan is a traveler living in the tiny home that she built with her boyfriend inside a van. She said the nomadic lifestyle can cause financial stress.
“If you need cash, finding a job in Bellingham can be really difficult, especially if you have any standards on the company you work for,” Sullivan said.
She noted that going through the process of finding a job isn’t always ideal when money is needed fast. The website Craigslist was a solution.
“There’s this wonderful little tab on Craigslist called ‘gigs.’ Gigs have kept me going in my nomadic lifestyle and saved me,” Sullivan said.
One job she found was promoting products at a convention in Seattle. She made the same amount of money doing temporary Craigslist gigs in just a few days that’d she make from a two week pay period for a temporary job, she said.
“This helped me get out of tight spots and kept me moving in my life,” Sullivan said.
Western regularly updates career opportunities on their website for both on campus and off campus jobs.
Students looking for a job on campus could inquire about becoming a temporary artist model offered as a continuous position through Western’s “College of Fine and Performing Arts.” This position gives students the opportunity to model for other art students. They are sometimes expected to maintain a still pose for up to 30 minutes at a time.
Students at Western can also utilize the Student Employee Center located in Old Main 245 that, according to the student employee center website, supplies jobs to about 2,500 students each year.