Most of us have a love-hate relationship with money. We love having it but hate finding ways to get more of it. Maybe you enjoy your steady 9-to-5 job but know working it won’t necessarily bring in the big bucks. Or maybe you feel trapped in a dead-end job without any financial freedom to search for something better. If only there were a way to make extra money fast in a way that also works with your unforgiving daily schedule. Enter: the side hustle.
Today, 20% to 30% of workers in Europe and the United States work in the gig economy (side hustle business), awarding them freedom to work when they want, where they want, and to what extent they need. What’s even more interesting is an increasing number of seniors are choosing to explore this option as supplemental retirement income.
Whether you want to save for an upcoming vacation, ditch the full-time responsibilities for a part-time gig, or use this side income as an extra retirement plan, there are many paths you can take. Let’s take a look at 24 side hustles that will start earning you extra money today.
1. Be an online dating consultant
Yes, that’s right. This is now a thing. The online dating world is cutthroat. Whether you’re on Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Match, or OkCupid, standing out among other users can be difficult. But that’s where online dating consultants come in. You can put your social media skills to good use by helping others choose flattering profile pictures and create engaging “about me” posts. For example, The Heartographer charges $349 for online video chats that help you create an enticing profile worthy of quality matches and first dates.
You don’t have to be a professional chef to make money from cooking …
2. Start a meal-prep business
Some of us find solace in the kitchen preparing a hot, home-cooked meal after a long day’s work. But for most of us, coming up with something edible for dinner is a horrid chore. A blogging couple actually make $100 a week preparing five frozen meals for a family that doesn’t have time to cook dinner every night. If meal prep isn’t your thing, many others are generating extra monthly income baking for local events or parties in their area. Who can turn down a good cupcake with the perfect icing-to-cake ratio?
3. Sell old gift cards
It’s December 26, and you’ve got yet another stack of gift cards tied to stores you’ve never heard of — and wouldn’t be caught dead shopping in. Rather than letting them eat space in your wallet, sell them for money. You have two options here: First, you can sell your cards to various sites that will make you an offer. Or you can exchange them on sites that allow you to set a price for purchase. Sites, such as Raise, will only take 15% of the card’s selling price for processing fees.
Become your own boss by watching people sign papers …
4. Become a notary
A notary is someone with legal training who is licensed by the government for legal affairs. Notaries can witness signatures on documents, administer and take oaths, or notarize important real estate documents. Once you receive your notary certification from the state, you can charge your own fee to notarize documents. The cost for certification is usually less than $100.
5. Raise bees
Beekeepers who raise bees and sell honey can make a pretty substantial side income at local farmers markets and road-side stands. Obviously, beekeeping can take time to learn and maintain each season, but this side hustle is perfect for semi-retired or retired people looking for a profitable hobby.
6. Drive your car
Got a car that gets great gas mileage? You can sign up to drive for ride-sharing companies, such as Uber or Lyft, in your spare time. Park yourself by the airport or near local bars downtown to make extra cash as a shuttle service. Similar to driving services, apps, such as PostMates, allow you to make up to $25 an hour delivering food to local customers in your area. The difference with this service is it hires walkers, bikers, and drivers alike.
Sell your knowledge …
7. Create and sell online courses
One of the most effective and efficient side hustles are the ones that generate passive income. By creating and selling online courses, you are able to spend a few hours creating a course and then sit back and watch the money come to you as people enroll. Figure out an area you have experience with, and go from there. If you spent 20 years as a financial adviser, you could easily create a course about investing in stocks. Other course ideas include teaching yoga for beginners, how to negotiate higher salaries, and cake decorating.
8. Teach on Udemy
If the time it takes to market an online course is unappealing, consider promoting and teaching your course on Udemy. This site allows you to monetize your niche skill set and get paid to teach the course anyway you like. Courses on listed on Udemy right now are “Body Language for Entrepreneurs,” “Microsoft Excel 2010: Advanced Training,” and “Java Tutorial for Complete Beginners.”
9. Design websites
E-commerce and online marketing have skyrocketed to the point where no business can be successful without an attractive website. Even today’s job seekers are turning to personal websites to replace outdated resumes. The only problem is no one knows how to do it. People will gladly pay a pretty penny for someone to handle back-end installations and codes that allow a website to run smoothly. You can make money on a per-project basis by creating websites for clients through builder sites, such as Squarespace, GoDaddy, and Wix.
Don’t be afraid to use social media to make a buck …
10. Tweet and post for cash
Tweeting for money isn’t just for Kim Kardashian and her friends any more (though she reportedly brings in about $200,000 for her Instagram posts). If you have enough followers, you can make money tweeting and posting about products you like. Sites, such as MyLikes and LikeItToKnowIt, are popular but will only entertain accounts with at least a few thousand followers.
Be like Tyler Durden and sell soap, or any other household good you can make …
11. Get on Etsy
Turn your hobby into a profitable e-commerce business by setting up shop on Etsy. The wife of the popular blogger, Mr. Money Mustache, now supports her entire family with profits she makes selling handmade soaps. In fact, she once sold $10,000 worth of product in just two months. In addition to soaps, many people sell items, such as handmade jewelry, clothes, and furniture, through this online retailer.
12. Take online surveys
Brain power often nears empty after a long day’s work. For those with stressful jobs, completing online surveys for extra money might be your best bet. Choose which clients you like and the hours you want to work, all from the comfort of your couch. Yes, this mindless work can be done while simultaneously watching NCIS reruns. We recommended signing up for multiple survey sites at once, so you can capitalize on income potential. Sites, such as InboxDollars, SwagBucks, and PaidSurveys, are all popular options for this side hustle.
13. Rent out your home
Do you live near a thriving metropolis, vacation destination, or popular tourist attraction? Try renting out your cabin in the mountains or the extra room in your home to travelers from across the globe. Apps, such as Airbnb, have a massive following and simplify the process of renting and booking accommodations. Through Airbrb, hosts can set their own prices, as well. Many put this extra income toward home expenses by simply renting their space for a few nights a month.
14. Write content for others
Content marketing is a huge source of income for businesses, and they’re hungry for people who have a way with words. Writers can satisfy this craving by joining freelance-writing sites or content mills that pay per post. It’s not hard to find clients that need content created daily, but the pricing will vary. Some make $30 per post, while more established freelancers are charging $100 per post or more.
15. Become a tutor
Chances are you have something you can teach. Maybe you’re able to comprehend difficult math problems in your sleep or are fluent in German. You can easily establish a side hustle by offering your expertise to those in need for an hourly fee. Parents are always looking for a piano teacher who can fit into their busy schedule. Simply post an ad about your services, and let new students find you.
16. Sell your photos for stock
Although this would require you to occasionally leave the house, freelance photographers can make a generous side income by taking family portraits, engagement photos, or baby pictures. In addition, bloggers continuously hunt for click-worthy stock photos to accompany their posts. If you have the talent, microstock sites, such as istockphoto.com and shutterstock.com, make it easy to get started selling attractive photos online. However, this is not the time or place for artsy iPhone photos. Those looking to make money off this hustle will need to purchase a high-quality digital camera.
17. Become a calligrapher
We’ve all seen posts on Facebook from our friends showcasing their new calligraphy skills. Widely popular calligraphy pens allow users to create unique, hand-written fonts that can be used for special occasions, such as wedding invitations, home decor, and various other Pinterest-inspired ideas. Anyone with a need for a creative hobby can learn and monetize this skill. All you need are a few special pens and a boat load of blank paper to get started. Launch a calligraphy business, and you can make cash per envelope addressing wedding invitations.
18. Sell your trees
Believe it or not, there are websites that will pay you for your unwanted trees. Although this is not a steady source of income — unless you want to be solely responsible for ruining photosynthesis for all humankind — lumber yards are willing to pay for trees on your property. Maybe you just bought a piece of land that needs clearing before you can construct your dream home. Why not make some extra cash selling that lumber to others? Hardwood trees, such as maple, birch, and oak, are most valuable.
You can also make money by getting rid of your stuff …
19. Sell household items
You’d be surprised by how much money is lying around your home right now. DIY flippers are always searching online for old furniture they can repurpose and sell for cash. Secondhand stores, such as Clothes Mentor and Plato’s Closet, will pay you for sweaters, pants, purses, and jewelry you don’t wear. Cash in on your spring cleaning by selling unwanted items on Craigslist, eBay, and other consignment stores.
20. Be a handyman
If you’re willing to get down and dirty, you can make lots of money as a local handyman doing things most others are unwilling to deal with. In the Financial Samurai’s case, he handles all “dirty” tasks required to maintain his rental property and saves hundreds each month by avoiding expensive fix-it fees. For example, he watched YouTube tutorial videos to learn how to fix an overflowing dishwasher air valve and saved $300 in plumbing fees. If you want to really advertise your services, you can get on Takl or TaskRabbit to market yourself.
21. Edit college admissions essays
Most colleges require an essay to accompany your application. But for most teens, crafting a compelling personal statement worthy of an acceptance letter is easier said than done. Admissions are getting increasingly competitive, and parents today are more than willing to pay for editing services or constructive feedback for their children’s essays. All you need are editing skills to launch this side hustle.
22. Buy and sell domain names
Domain trading has been around for decades, but with the rise of online business and entrepreneurship, the opportunity to make money buying and selling domain names is huge. Purchase them on GoDaddy, and use sites, such as Flippa, to find perspective buyers. The more common the domain name, the pricier it becomes.
23. Work as a brand ambassador
Big brands and startups are always looking for brand ambassadors to support their grass-roots marketing efforts. These people get paid to advertise services. This is a popular source of part-time income for college students with access to a large population, as well as weekend warriors who don’t mind promoting services at local events. Some companies even offer commission packages for every sale you bring in.
24. Be a mystery shopper
You can use sites, such as Bestmark, to start making money as a mystery shopper. If you don’t mind leaving your home, you can get paid to shop at stores or eat at restaurants. The most commonly known mystery shoppers are for Subway, making sure their “sandwich artists” are following franchise guidelines. Getting paid to go somewhere you probably frequent anyway? Sounds like a win-win.
Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.