Not everyone wants to quit their job, travel the world, or retire early. I get it.
When I quit my job, I enjoyed it. The commute wasn't great (I did client work and often had to brave the DC Beltway) but it gave me a sense of purpose, fulfillment, social interaction (my co-workers were awesome), and loads of other benefits.
If that describes you, maybe you don't want a side business but you do want to earn just a little extra income. Maybe to pay off your student loans or credit card debt, maybe to save for the future or save for a great vacation this year, or maybe a little extra could help you out.
Whatever the case, there are ways to bring in a little extra green without taking on a second job.
Become a Dog Walker & Sitter
Do you like dogs? If so, you can get paid to play with dogs. Seriously!
Rover is a site for pet owners to find people willing to watch, walk, and play with their dogs. You get to set your schedule, offer any variety of pet care services (don't walk if you don't want to!) and then set preferences on the types of dogs you'll sit. If you're smaller and are concerned about walking a 180 lb. dog – let the platform know and you won't get matched with one.
Rover offers insurance and even includes 24/7 support that includes vet assistance, just in case.
Drive for Lyft
Becoming a Lyft driver has become almost synonymous with “side hustle.” The advantage is that you can work this opportunity completely around your schedule. For example, if you have a full-time job, you can do your Lyft driving on nights and weekends, at least the ones that you want to make available.
This is possible because of the real-time nature of the Lyft system. You plug into it using your smartphone, and you can become active only at the times that you choose. This means that you can turn on and turn off your availability at will.
This is just one of several ways you can earn money with your car.
Become a Notary Public
A notary public is a public official that has the right to administer oaths and affirmations by the state. They are often used to be a witness when someone signs a document. A notary has to be present, confirm the identity of the individual, record the signature, and then emboss the document (press their stamp). It's extremely easy and notaries are essential. For each service, you can collect a small fee. I had to find a notary public when we bought our house.
Become a Freelance Social Media Manager
Social media has become an increasingly important advertising venue, if only because so many people participate in it. If you are adept at working the social media and have a decent size following on the various outlets, you could become a social media manager for certain businesses.
There are a lot of people who are good at what they do in their businesses but know close to nothing about social media. Some may just need someone available to monitor the various media for customer comments and complaints. Others may want you to perform a more aggressive marketing campaign. It’s a relatively new field, however, so there’s a real possibility to learn as you go.
Surveys are a popular way to earn a little bit of money in a short period. You won't get rich doing it but if you keep it up you can pocket a few bucks for your time.
- Ipsos i-Say (read our Ipsos iSay review)
- Pinecone Research
- MyPoints Surveys
- InboxDollars (read our review)
A full list is available on our post of 291+ websites to earn extra money.
Sell Products on Amazon
Ecommerce is one of the biggest and fastest-growing segments on the Internet today. You get to leverage the size and scale of Amazon while selling your own products, controlling much of the experience, and build a relationship with your customers.
But to succeed, you need to know what you're doing and most people don't (yet). Fortunately, my friend Steve has a post on his site explaining exactly how to sell a private label product on Amazon. Steve has a successful online store, has taught thousands how to build their own store, but this guide explains how to replicate that success using one of the largest marketplaces in the world – Amazon.
It's not easy but this guide demystifies much of the process.
Start Your Own Website
There are two ways that you can do this. The first is to create a blog. That’s a website where you create content in which you have a special interest or expertise. You interact with your readers through comments and build the site over time. As you do, you can earn income from the blog by advertising. You can do this by adding Google Adsense to your blog, as well as other advertising sources (if you need inspiration, check out this massive post on how to monetize a blog).
The other method is by creating a product based website. That’s a website where you sell a specific product or product line, that’s either created by you or provided by another vendor.
Whether you decide to create a blog or a website, you can do it easily through a web host such as GoDaddy.com, that can set up a site for you for as little as $100 or so. And if you plan to build a blog, you can create the format using WordPress, which is a free app.
Create YouTube Videos
If you have a bit of a creative streak in you, you can earn money by creating YouTube videos. The big advantage here is that once you create the videos, they can become a passive source of income. This happens when you add Google Adsense to your videos. As people click on the ads, you earn revenue. The more videos you create, the more income you can generate.
Creating videos isn’t as hard as you think. YouTube even offers a course in how to create YouTube videos.
Amateur Sports Referee
Every sports league in existence needs referees. If you are knowledgeable about certain sports, you can earn between $25 and $50 an hour acting as a referee for these leagues. There’s usually not a long line for these positions since so few people are aware of them. But there are positions available at local school systems, as well as recreational sports leagues for kids.
Don’t worry if you don’t know all of the rules. Every league or school system has published referee rulebooks for each sport. You can simply take your general knowledge of the sport, and then apply the specific rules. It’s also a gig that you can do on nights and weekends, which means that you should be able to work it around a full-time job.
Become a Virtual Assistant
There are small businesses and independently-owned websites that have all kinds of jobs that need to be done. Some of them are one time only jobs, while others are ongoing. They can include relatively simple tasks, such as proofreading or handling correspondence, to more involved work, such as marketing or filling orders. In almost all cases, this side hustle can be done from the comfort of your own home.
You can find these gigs on sites like Craigslist or ProBlogger Jobs, or you can contact individual web sites and blogs directly through email. Inventory your skills, then make up a resume and email cover letter offering those skills to potential clients.
If you don't know where to start, check out Gina Horkey's 30 Days to Virtual Assistant Success.
Create an E-book – or Two or Three
This is easier to do if you already have an active website or blog. But you can still make it work even if you don’t. And best of all, once you create the e-book, it can generate income on a completely passive basis.
The basic idea is to create an e-book based on a subject in which you are particularly knowledgeable. You can then sell the e-book on the web or elsewhere to create an income. Even if you don’t have a website or blog, you can often sell it on websites and blogs that are related to your e-book topic. This is referred to as affiliate marketing, which is where you offer your e-book for sale on other sites, and split the price paid for the e-book with the hosting site.
You can publish an e-book with Kindle Direct Publishing. You can even market your e-book on Amazon.com through Kindle and earn royalties of up to 70%. E-books typically sell for between $10 and $20 per copy.
Create an Online Course
This is very similar to creating an e-book, except that it’s a bigger project. An online course can include videos, or a combination of videos, audio CDs/podcasts, and written text. You will also charge a higher fee for your online course, generally $100-$500, depending upon how popular the program topic is.
And as you might expect, some websites make it easy for you to do this. You can create an online course through a site like Udemy, that enables you to create the course, and then sell it through the site for an even split of the profits (otherwise you can market it yourself, and pay Udemy a 3% processing fee).
The course subject matter is completely up to you. But you should naturally want to focus on your areas of expertise. For example, if you have been particularly successful as an investor, you might want to create an investment-related online course.
Rent Out Rooms with AirBnB
If you have extra rooms in your home that you don’t mind renting out to strangers, you can do it through AirBnB. You can market your home through the service and split the revenue with them.
This is a way to make several hundred dollars per month just by renting out some space in your home. As you might expect, you can earn more money doing this if your property is located in an in-demand area, such as a beach resort, a major downtown area, or an important cultural and tourist center.
Here are more tips on how to maximize how much you make renting your room on Airbnb.
Become a Career Coach
It might seem as if you need to be some kind of superstar in your career to do this, but that’s not necessarily the case. People are at different levels in their careers, and you will be in a position to act as a coach for anyone who has not come as far as you have.
For example, if you’ve been working in your career for five years, you might be able to coach new college graduates into the field. If you’ve been at it for 10 years or more, people who have five or fewer years of experience might be a natural market for you.
You can get clients by advertising on Craigslist, or even making your services available to employment search firms. They may welcome the opportunity to have someone available who can coach others up into higher positions. You may have to pay a referral fee for these clients, but if you get in with a couple of active search firms, you’ll have plenty of business.
Sell Your Technical Skills on the Internet
If you have higher-level skills, like web design, search engine optimization or graphic design, you can offer them out on the Internet to various websites and blogs. Nearly any technical skill that you have could have market value on the web. Many websites and blogs are run by people who have little or no technical knowledge. If you can offer your services, and charge at least a little bit less than the going rate, you can create a lucrative side business.
Look for gigs that are posted on ProBlogger Jobs, or even Craigslist. Otherwise, contact websites and blogs offering your services. It’s always best if you have samples of your work to demonstrate what you can do.
Start a Resume Writing Service
Sooner or later, everyone has to look for a job. But not nearly everyone knows how to write a compelling resume. If you have any skill at all in resume writing – and resume cover letters – there’s a big market out there for the service.
What makes it even better is that you can easily find resume and cover letter templates on the web just by searching. You can take the raw information that job seekers have in their existing resumes, and apply it to a relevant template to build a convincing resume.
You can find potential customers by advertising on Craigslist, but also by contacting college employment offices and job-search agencies. While some search firms might offer to improve resumes, they likely use outside sources for the more challenging cases, such as where resume has to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Sell Used Items on Craigslist
One of the big advantages of Craigslist is that you can sell just about anything you can think of through the site. And unlike eBay and other selling platforms, there are no advertising fees or transaction costs involved. And since your sales will happen in your local area, you don’t have to get tied up with shipping or with shipping fees.
You can start by selling used items that you have around your home that you no longer need. This is literally about turning your “junk” into cash. But you don’t have to stop there. If you like to go to garage sales, estate sales or swap meets, you can often find plenty of merchandise that you can resell on Craigslist at a substantial markup. This isn’t really a passive venture, but it’s pretty easy money that you can earn in your spare time.
Become a Handyperson
In a college-educated world with jobs that are only becoming more demanding, people are losing the time and the ability to perform relatively simple tasks. And for that reason, contractors are charging more money than ever to do those jobs for people. If you have basic repair skills, you can get steady business by offering out your services for less than the going rate charged by contractors.
There are all types of potential repair jobs, including changing out doorknobs and locks, repairing woodwork, minor painting, and patching holes in drywall. There also any number of housework chores that people don’t have time for, and are willing to pay others. This can include house cleaning, doing laundry, organizing paperwork, or even doing grocery shopping. Still another possibility is light hauling, including moving individual pieces of furniture. People often need such services, but they fall short of calling a moving company. If you have a pickup truck or a van, a hand truck, and a strong back, this could be a niche for you.
You can advertise your services on Craigslist, or you can put together a brochure outline of your services, and send it out to large employers in your area, for their employees. This is another one of those ventures that have the potential to turn into a full-time business.
Sell Your Photos Online
Is there a photographer somewhere inside of you just itching to get out?
If so, you might be able to monetize that skill and create a passive income source along the way.
If you look at both the web and the print media, you can’t help but notice that there are photos all over the place. Here’s a little secret: very few of those media outlets produce their own photographs. Most turn instead to online photo sources, such as Shutterstock.com.
You can make money by putting your photo portfolio on just such an online source. You will earn royalties every time a customer downloads and uses one of your photos. The larger your photo portfolio, the more money that you can potentially make. In this way, you can create a robust portfolio, put it on a site like Shutterstock, and earn a revenue stream for years to come.
Once you start earning income, it's time to think about income-producing investments! Unless you want to work forever, you'll need to think about investments that will pay you some cash flow so you can spend it on your expenses.
Until then, keep grinding!