Low on Cash?Most of us could do with a little extra cash in this economy, let’s be real.
Get a Side HustleFiguring out HOW to make that $$$ can be hard. We’ve got a few ideas.
But Make it FunFigure out how to monetize something you already do or WANT to do.
The cheapest metro in the country is Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas. According to the MIT living wage calculator, a single person must earn $10.47 an hour to afford to live there.
A single person. No family to care for or anything. Just one person.
And yet federal minimum wage still sits at $7.25 per hour.
If the national minimum wage isn’t a livable wage in the cheapest county in the country, it’s not a livable wage anywhere.
So it’s no wonder we’re all scrambling for side hustles. When no one is keeping employers accountable to pay their employees fairly, and when we live in a country so focused on profit and innovation rather than balance and wellbeing, we end up with an ever-increasing cost of living and a stagnant minimum wage.
Millennials and Gen Zers are putting the pedal to the medal and demanding change. But until our demands come to fruition, we need to survive, which means we need to know how to make money on the side.
Enter: side hustles.
How to Make Money on the Side
Until we can create a system that allows people to live comfortably without working their asses off at two jobs and three side hustles, many of us have no other choice than to learn how to make money on the side. So here are a few ideas to get you started.
Sell Your Sh*t
We all know selling our stuff is a way to make more money, but not many people realize just how much money they can make.
Here’s an example: when I was little, my family fell on hard times (hello 2008 crash). My parents had recently had to shut down their business and while we weren’t destitute, things were tight. So my mom started selling stuff on eBay. We started calling her the eBay Queen.
It’s a fond memory for me, but I wasn’t the one trying to make ends meet. I just thought it was cool that my mom was making money online. But for my parents? eBay was a lifesaver. The money my mom made even helped us afford a little vacation in the midst of a difficult time.
So if you’re wondering how to make money on the side, the most obvious answer may actually be the best answer, too. Gather up your unused clothes (or the clothes you only wear as a last resort but don’t really like), shoes, bags, old games or toys, books, etc. and get online.
Poshmark is great for selling women’s clothing at a higher price. GameStop and other second-hand game shops are great for that Animal Crossing New Horizons you haven’t played since the first week of quarantine (talking to myself, here). Places like Facebook Marketplace are great for selling bigger items like furniture to people in your area. And eBay is a good catchall for almost anything.
When I was in college, I got into hand-lettering. It was therapeutic for me and gave me a way to cope with the stress of college and find a creative outlet.
I started giving pieces to my friends as gifts, and then some people started commissioning pieces. Opening an Etsy shop was the next obvious step.
I want to be clear: I was not a professional. I had a background in art, but I was completely new to lettering. You don’t have to be a master to open an Etsy shop. And the extra cool thing is that opening a shop can give you a reason to pursue that new hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue!
Choose something you know you’ll enjoy or that you’ve been wanting to try forever — painting, weaving, macrame, jewelry making, sewing, etc. — and start practicing.
And if you start thinking “there are already so many people doing XYZ,” I want you to slap yourself (gently). Because the thing is, there will always be room for you. Really. It may feel like the market is oversaturated, and maybe it is, but the beauty of the internet is that it helps people find you and your work, from anywhere in the world.
Because people from all over the world do use Etsy, but only 2.5 million people sell on Etsy. Of those 2.5 million, how many people do exactly what you want to do? Maybe a few thousand? And yet there were over 327 million views on Etsy in May 2020? Uh huh, and tell me again why you think there’s no room for you?
Drive or Deliver
If we could take a guess, you’ve probably used Lyft or a food delivery service, but you’ve never done the driving or delivering.
Well, if you’ve got some time on your hands and don’t mind spending it in a car, why not try a ride share or food delivery service? Imagine how many audiobooks and podcasts you could listen to if you were delivering food a few hours a week!
Our one warning would be to find a company that pays their workers fairly. Instacart, UBER and GrubHub have all come under fire in the last year (especially during COVID) for offering unfair wages and poor protection for their drivers. You might find Lyft or Postmates to be better options.
Whether you’re a high school student or an elder Millennial with kids of your own, there are plenty of opportunities to start tutoring or teaching both in person and online.
Websites like Tutors.com help match tutors and learners all over the country in subjects like math, English, test prep, biology and more. Other companies like VIPKid are looking for English teachers to teach students across the world. And sites like takelessons are great if you want to teach piano, violin, art and other creative endeavors.
In short, if you’re good at something, teach it! Depending on the site you use and what subject you teach, you can earn anywhere from around $15–$50 an hour — a pretty lucrative way to make money on the side if you’re able to fit even a few hours in.
Next up on our How to Make Money on the Side list: babysitting! But babysitting isn’t just for high schoolers … or babies.
You could also try pet sitting.
Not into taking responsibility for living things?
We don’t blame you. How about house sitting? You get a (probably) comfy bed and maybe even a stocked fridge and wifi.
And if you’re really hustling, you could even do a second side hustle (teaching or transcribing or Etsy-ing) while getting paid to house sit! What a way to maximize your time!
Use Your Current Expertise
Wondering how to make money on the side? Use what you already got!
Let’s say you work in accounting for your day job. You’re good with numbers (congrats) so why not use those same skills in a side hustle?
You’ll have to be careful that you’re not competing with the company you work for, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide the same services. You just can’t serve the same clients. So if your company works with other companies but you provide accounting for freelancers, then you’re in the clear. You already know you’re good at it, so why not keep going?
Sometimes we use so much of our creative energy in our day job that we’d really just like to figure out how to make money on the side without too much effort (or movement).
Transcribing is exactly that. You can sit at home with your coffee, listen to some recordings and write what you hear. No walking dogs, talking to people, driving or creativity involved. Just listen and type.
It does take some getting used to, of course. Learning how to use the transcribing system, implement timestamps and mark inaudible parts in the recording can be a little confusing at first. Luckily, sites like Rev.com give the guidance you need to get started and start earning a few hundred bucks a month.
Sometimes, when you’re wondering how to make money on the side, you may realize that you don’t necessarily need to make extra money all the time. Maybe there’s a trip you’re trying to fund or a down payment you’re saving up for.
Whatever the case, getting a seasonal job can be a great way to make some extra income until you meet that goal. Summers and holidays are particularly big for seasonal jobs in both retail and food service. Other jobs may not be quite so obvious: a job at a Christmas tree farm, for example. Or you could be a local tour guide during peak tourist season (post-COVID, of course). Get creative, and keep an eye out for different signs that pop up for seasonal services and shops. The best part-time seasonal gig for you may be right down the street.
What Do You Already Do?
Side hustlers like us are better off than ever before purely because of the internet. One quick look at YouTube or another social media platform, and you’ll find that people are learning how to monetize everything — even things they were doing without pay before.
Take Twitch, for example. People have been gaming for decades, but only more recently have they been able to monetize it en masse. Twitch allows people to do what they already do — i.e. play video games — and get paid for it through ads, donations or “tips” from viewers.
If there’s something you do all the time anyway, do a Google search and see if there are others making money doing the same thing. And even if you can’t find anyone, who says you can’t be the first?
This method of making money on the side might take a little longer, so if you need fast cash it may not be for you. But if you’re dedicated and hoping to build a side hustle that lasts even as you cycle through day jobs, monetizing your hobbies and passions may be the best route for you.
Get Started Making Money on the Side
So now you know how to make money on the side. Now the question is what do you do with that money.
If you’re making a substantial amount, you’ll need to learn how to file freelance taxes. It may also be a good idea to open a second checking account so you can keep your day job paycheck separate from your side hustle paycheck.
Whatever the case, be smart about where you store your extra money and how you spend it. Whether you’re saving up for a house or a vacation or an emergency fund, the last thing you want is for someone to drain that hard-earned money through fees and interest.