How the Japanese Can Make Money Right Now

How the Japanese Can Make Money Right Now

by Nicholas Tart on March 18, 2011 · 33 comments

Late last night I got an email that boggled my mind, in a good way.

It came from a young man named Kazuki Kinoshita. Kazuki is currently living amidst the devastation in Japan after the earthquake last Friday. I’ve heard the stories and watched the videos, but one thing I didn’t consider was that many of the businesses were wiped out as well.

That means people don’t have jobs or any way to make money.

Kazuki mentioned in his email that all they have are their mobile phones and internet is limited. They need to make money quickly so they don’t have time to learn new skills. Then he asked, “How will you make money if you are in the same situation as them?”

So this morning I asked my Facebook friends what they would do, and I think we have some solid ideas for how the Japanese can make money today. Kazuki, I hope this at least gets your gears turning.

What you can’t do…

Whenever someone asks me how they can make quick cash, I tell them to provide a service for someone they know. But that’s not really an option for you or anyone else in Japan. I imagine the government and foreign aid programs are paying people for cleanup, but I’m sure those jobs are in high-demand.

So, a simple service isn’t the best idea for your situation.

You also asked about somehow documenting your experiences (photos, videos, eBook) and selling that, but that’s a fair amount of work and there’s no guarantee that you’d get paid. There are so many reporters and journalists there now that global media isn’t starved for content. Then taking the time to write an eBook without knowing exactly how to sell it is risky.

There’s a chance it could spread across the internet, but it’s a small chance.

What you should do…

Providing a service is still the best way to make guaranteed money quickly. With that said, my friends Kerwin McKenzie and Allen Duck both recommended offering Japanese translation services.

Really, any service that you can provide digitally to someone abroad is the way to go. That might be transcription, graphic design, web development, data entry, or even small tasks like clearing someone’s email for them (as King Sidharth suggested).

Here’s how to do it…

You’ll find plenty of freelance and odd-ball jobs on the best freelance sites.

  • Elance - It’s the biggest freelance job posting site in the world. When I searched, “Japanese Translation” I found 11 active jobs.
  • oDesk – oDesk is a growing site for outsourcing jobs. Here I found 50 active jobs for “Japanese Translation.”
  • Freelancer - I found 8 more active jobs here.
  • Fiverr and Cashcrate - Both of these sites pay you small amounts of money to do small things. But my friend Eddys Velasquez said it takes 3-4 weeks before you get paid.

In addition to the translation jobs, you’ll find over 50,000 other jobs that people have posted right now.

I’m not sure about how long it takes to get paid from those sites. If you find that it’s too long, find another service that you can provide to someone who has money to pay you today.

Let us know how we can help…

This may not be the answer you were looking for or even something that possible considering you’re situation. But I hope we at least opened some doors for you or inspired you to think about entrepreneurship in a new light.

Kazuki, thank you for reaching out to me and I hope this helps. I’m honored to have an opportunity to make a small impact on what’s going on in Japan.

If you guys have any other ideas for what they can do, leave them in the comments below. Kazuki is going to spread this post to other people in Japan who are desperate for your ideas. Thanks!

Photo by: Stuck in Customs


1 Samuel March 19, 2011 at 6:54 am

This is awesome Nick, It will definately help him out! Thanks for sharing.
P:S So sorry about the Japan crisis! Feel your pain man! Keep striving and you’ll get there!

2 Nick Tart March 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I appreciate it, Samuel. The severity of the situation didn’t hit me until I got Kazuki’s email. I’m happy there’s something we can do to help without going through the middlemen.

3 Pam Sheraton March 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I’m sorry to hear about Japan but I am happy to know that at least the youth there have not lost hope. The ideas that you suggested were great and I believe that they not only apply to Japan, but they can help anyone around the globe who is desperate for work and has got only his skills and internet to help him out!

4 Nick Tart March 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Hey Pam! That’s one of the reasons I decided to post this rather than just replying in an email. True entrepreneurs can learn from anyone’s situation. Because the good ones step in others’ shoes and think, “how can this be applied to what I’m doing?”

5 John Raleigh March 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Amazing ideas- let me share some of my experiences with the freelance site you mentioned. I will highly recommend oDesk. You have a lot of jobs there and it is quite easy for newbies to get a chance to offer their services. You can get paid through Paypal or even directly though your local banks and it takes only one hour for your money to get on your Paypal account which means that you won’t have to wait a lot of time to get the money, also there is no minimum threshold to be achieved to withdraw the money. So if you earn $5 and you still want to withdraw it, you are free to do so.

6 Nick Tart March 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Hey John! Thanks for letting us know about oDesk. Like I said, I have never done jobs through any of those sites, so it’s great to hear about oDesk’s policy. Thank you for adding your insight.

7 Daniel Black March 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

The ideas that you gave were brilliant. May be the idea of writing an ebook is not so absurd. If you can really come up with videos and pictures that is not available elsewhere you can manage to make some money. If you look on freelance websites, there are so many employers willing to pay a lot of money to get creative writers and original content. The Japanese will know best what that have at hand right now and if it something they can commercialise!

8 Nick Tart March 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Hey Daniel! Yeah, I think the ebook idea could work, but it’s not guaranteed income like providing a service would be. Like you said, it’s just a matter of providing content that fills the void and that can be hard to do.

9 Arjun Narain March 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

Seriously, Japan is in a huge crisis right now and something needs to be done.
You have some productive solutions to Kazuki’s problem, However I would like to put one more solution— An Info. Product.
Not just any information product but one aimed at how to protect oneself from nuclear radiation, Sad as it is a nuclear crisis is sadly on the cards.
An information product aimed at such a niche will be of use to the general public since everyone is not well versed with how to safeguard oneself from radiation.

Other than that, as Nick suggested providing a service will be lesser effort and can be done more easily.
Other than the mentioned websites check out
It is a good website and frankly, I too have earned an extra buck from the website time again.
you could even guest write for blogs that deal with such events asa first hand witness.
I can just pray for you people in Japan.

May all deceased R.I.P.
Arjun Narain

10 connie@ Designer Mens Wear UK March 28, 2011 at 6:49 am

Hey al;l, I definitely agree thatthe e book would be a very good idea. I really think it would work well

11 Audrey Mora@totem poles March 29, 2011 at 12:42 am

@Arjun Well said Arjun! I believe too that’s what Japanese people have to know and I hope someone who is knowledgeable about radiation will do that.

12 Arjun Narain April 5, 2011 at 5:10 am

Thank you Audrey.
I actually based my opinion on the fact that what would I want to know about I was stuck in a catastrophe such as this.
And I do hope someone does that, Nobody wants a self induced Hiroshima And Nagasaki!

13 Kazuki Kinoshita March 29, 2011 at 9:47 am

Hi I’m Kazuki Kinoshita.
Thank you, Nicholas Tart and other people who gave me wonderful advice!
They are very useful ideas!

The Japanese translation’s idea is very nice!
It is very useful and appropriate job for the victims over there because they have internet and they don’t need to have high English skills.

And the idea that they write e-book about their experience of radiation is also great.
It can be useful information for many other countries and very helpful for people.
This is also a wonderful idea.

So, to begin with, I’m going to introduce your ideas on my Facebook page that I have.
I will spread your great ideas and they will make Japanese economy grow faster and faster!

We are so appreciate your supporting mind for Japan!
Thank you so much!

Kazuki Kinoshita

14 Jasmine March 30, 2011 at 8:40 am

What has happened to the mail services in those areas? If they are not running, maybe Kazuki can run mail for someone who isn’t able to get information to someone else. Like a correspondent. I don’t know, Kazuki! I wish I could be of more help. Good luck

15 Nicholas Tart March 30, 2011 at 9:57 am

Hmm… That’s a good idea, Jasmine. I’m sure a lot of jobs have been wiped away, but there mus be plenty of others that have been creative. Thanks for the idea, Jasmine!

16 Kazuki Kinoshita March 30, 2011 at 10:38 am

Hi, thank you Jasmine!

In those area, the mail service is fine!
Besides, they can only use internet service.
So, they need to have jobs using “internet”, of course including mail service!

thank you for thinking about Japan and gave your comment here!

17 Kazuki Kinoshita March 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

On weekdays, we have “Kz Cafe” using Ustream on Facebook where
we each give our ideas about a business topic of each days.

Kz Cafe

If you can have time, feel free to write your idea in there in real time.
Some of our members translate your comment to Japanese and vice versa.

The time is from 10pm to 11pm in Japanese time.
But you are in America, right?
How long do we have distance between us? And where are you in America?

Thank you!

18 Nicholas Tart March 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Hey Kazuki! Yeah, I’m in America (MST). I think you’re 13 hours ahead of me. Which means when it’s 10pm there, it’s 7am here. I’ll try to be up tomorrow morning, but I’m on a bit of a vacation right now.

19 Kazuki Kinoshita April 1, 2011 at 5:58 am

Hi Nicholas and other members!

Thank you for your comment for the cafe which starts soon in 5 mins!

I’m so glad if you join here “Kz Cafe”

But you are on vacation, so it’s ok you won’t come.

Enjoy your vacation!!

Thank you .

Kazuki Kinoshita

20 Nicholas Tart April 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Hey Kazuki! I missed it. Are you hosting the cafe on Monday night?

21 Kazuki Kinoshita April 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

hi Nicholas!

The cafe is from Monday to Friday!
Weekdays at 10pm-11pm!

Tomorrow is Sat, so there is no cafe.

So I’m glad you join the next cafe on Monday, if you are ok!

Thank you!

22 Anne @ double curtain rods April 4, 2011 at 4:14 am

Hi Nick! What happened to Japan was really an eye opener. My sympathy and prayers goes to all Japanese out there. Kazuki, pray and trust God with all your heart and everything will be alright soon. The list of options given by Nick is good and with that you can choose one and start earning. Good luck, Kazuki! I’m with you in prayers.

23 Kazuki Kinoshita April 4, 2011 at 5:23 am

hi Anne and everyone!

thank you for your message for us!
Yes, I posted Nick’s ideas on our facebook page and some of them started the Japanese translation jobs, which is great!

We are discussing about our business of our future online here in Kz cafe!/BusinessSeeds?sk=app_10531514314

and there are some victims who join this. So we could hear about their situation now.

If you guys can join us in that time at 10pm(your time is at 7am) please join us!

we are looking forward to it!

Of course some of my members can speak English so it’s ok you join in English. Actually you only do writing on the wall online!

We would love YOU guys to come here!/BusinessSeeds?sk=app_10531514314

Thank you.


It will start the cafe in 35mins sooon!
Kazuki Kinoshita

24 steven papas April 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm

hi Nicholas, very interesting post. Well done! I had also thought of translation as well as video and audio transcription. I live in a country where unemployment has gone crazy and I try to open the eyes of graduate students to use the internet to make money. For literature graduates I suggest writing jobs and for computer techies web design, html and coding, video processing and software engineering etc. I think something similar could be used by Japanese. Good luck Kazuki! Also for japaneses with good cameras, photo selling could prove a good option.

25 Kazuki Kinoshita April 10, 2011 at 10:48 pm

hi Steven!
Thank you for your comment!
yes, it’s good idea to translate video and audio and make transcription.
I shared translation and transcription idea on my webpage and they saied it’s great.

Now we are focusing on how to rebult their economy in that area.
Actally they are a kind of rural area. So there are mostly eldery people. But because of that, we try to teach them how to use internet and then we want to show there are lots of jobs using internet and your idea.

Acturally young people there told them jobs using internet. And young people also see our website so they definetly see your idea.

We want to help their economy through young entrepreneurs, like you guy and us!

Thank you!

26 Julia P. Somerville April 12, 2011 at 9:38 am

Very nice article. My heart goes out to the Japanese and what good way to help them succeed is by giving hope.

27 waterpearls April 19, 2011 at 6:43 am

hi Nicholas,
I feel very sorry for Japanese and may they get out of bad situation soon.
Idea to translate video and audio and make transcription is very good. I hope they will cope up with their situation soon.

28 kev@ aerial installation Birmingham April 21, 2011 at 7:59 am

Great blog, but just such a shame about whats happened to Japan now after the tsunami such an unexpected and terrible disaster

29 Andrew Walker May 26, 2011 at 11:24 pm

It’s a bit late now, but it’s not really late right? For me, I’ll suggest for them to be translators. There are many people who’re volunteering themselves to be there and help the victims. But not all of them can speak well Japan. So why don’t you offer some help to translate the conversation? You can’t ask much money from that of course. But if you do well, there’s still a chance that you’d get more than what’s already promised as their gratitude to you. Worth to try I guess.

30 Daniel Hoang January 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm

日本のガールフレンドを探して HAHA! I found that on a t shirt.

31 Martin Jackson June 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Well, guys disasters are really bad and Japanese people good about getting rid of disasters fast! Because they are patient people!

32 Celine Raymond June 2, 2012 at 7:41 pm

So, be it! Life is fast and business is no good nowadays! I’m expecting an improvement in 5 years!

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