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Side Hustles

A side hustle may not be synonymous with the old-fashioned “side job,” like slinging burgers at Applebee’s on the weekends. A side hustle typically means pursuing a particular passion outside of the regular nine to five.

The three words are seemingly synonymous, given that a whopping 44 million Americans have taken up at least one extra moneymaking enterprise besides their day job.

A Bankrate survey found that younger baby boomers pull in the most extra money, at $1,000 per month or more. Younger Millennials typically earn less; just 19 percent of Millennials earn more than $500 per month.

What is a side hustle, anyway? A great example: Someone who works nine to five at an insurance company, then goes home, photographs birds for three hours every night and sells them to Shutterstock or Fotolia. Or, someone who sneaks in a couple of sales on Decluttr during his lunch hour at his regular job.

Check out some hot tips and trends for hustling extra cash:

Eyeball Stuff You Already Own

Most Americans can unequivocally say they have a lot of junk. Clothes, old movies, lamps, stamps, ramps, whatever… Why not make some money off the stuff you never use (or only use sometimes)? 

1. Rent Your RV

Thousands of American families have RVs that just plain sit. You might use your RV for a few weeks or weekends out of the year, and the rest of the time, it’s stuck in a giant shed or taking up room on your driveway. RVshare.com might be your answer to getting that behemoth off your driveway every once in a while. You can list your RV for free, earn $120-$365 a day, and it’s super safe, with free 24/7 roadside assistance, rental insurance coverage, and rental verification checks.

2. Rent Out Your Extra Room

It’s the way college students have lived for years. Even if you’re not a college student or a Millennial, renting out your room is a great way to pad your bank account. There are a couple of things you’ll want to investigate or do before you jump on Airbnb:

  • Check out your state’s landlord-tenant laws
  • Draft a rental agreement, including house rules along with the agreement. (Pets, no pets? You get the picture.)
  • Get in touch with a lawyer if you think you need help.
  • Look for a trustworthy tenant: Check your college/university paper, church bulletin board, Craigslist, Roommates.com, etc. and definitely screen thoroughly.

3. Sell Your Stuff

If you need cash quick, look into selling your things. After all, isn’t the summer garage sale a great American tradition? If you’re not interested in the kind of time it’ll take to haul all your stuff to the garage (it’s a lot of work) here are some other options:

  • Use Decluttr. You can sell CDs, DVDs, games, books, and other tech. All you do is scan the barcodes of the items you’d like to sell. You’ll get an instant price for all the items you’d like to sell. Then you’ll pack your items into a box, ship your items for free (they’ll send you a free shipping label) and they’ll pay your bank account fairly soon after receiving the materials.
  • Sell clothes. This one’s a no-brainer if you have clothes lying on the floor of your closet. Here are a few avenues for selling clothes:
    • Thredup, an online consignment shop that accepts women’s and kids’ clothing. You can receive an account credit or PayPal cash for the items they accept.
    • Facebook yard sales are a great way to get rid of your items quickly.
    • Traditional consignment shops in your area are also a great possibility. Be sure to check what season of clothing they’re accepting before you load up your car.
  • Get rid of furniture. Facebook yard sales, again, are a great way to post photos of your grandma’s lovely floral hand-me-down. Craigslist is another great place to sell furniture.
  • Get rid of gift cards you’re never gonna use. Go to CardPool to enter in your card and its value and you’ll instantly be able to see how much you can bank.

4. Sell Other Things You Already Own

Rather odd, but donating plasma is a great way to earn money just by sitting in a chair. Blood plasma is the clear liquid part of the blood which contains water, some enzymes, antibodies and proteins. Hospitals use it to treat individuals with clotting disorders and other diseases. You can expect anywhere from $20 to $50 per donation, and happily, you can go often to donate. Though it’s not a recommended side hustle if you’re squeamish, you can learn more at DonatingPlasma.org.

Another idea is to be a human guinea pig by joining a clinical trial. There are various trials you can participate in, including medical, clinical and drug trials. Check out Guinea Pigs Get Paid for more information.

Sell Your Services

While selling your services might sound just like your day job, what if they’re services you actually like to do (never mind number-crunching at your accounting firm)? Walking people’s dogs after hours might just be the most therapeutic (and adorable!) thing you’ll do all day. Here are some ideas:

5. Do Simple Tasks for Others

TaskRabbit allows you to find tasks you’ll love to do (like being a handyman, cleaner, delivery person, furniture assembler, personal assistant and more!) You’ll set your rates and clients will come to you through TaskRabbit’s website.

6. Drive for Uber or Lyft

f you have a car, like to drive and enjoy chatting with different people, why not be your own taxi service? You’ll need to be at least 21 years old with three years of driving experience or 23 years old with at least one year of driving experience. You’ll also need to pass a background check and a review of your criminal history. You must provide your own vehicle but if you’re listed on the insurance policy of someone else, you may drive their car.

Quick tip: You’ll get paid the same whether you drive a gas guzzler or not, so if you have a Prius or other type of fuel sipper, that might work in your favor.

7. House or Pet Sitting

Use your connections for house-sitting and/or your love of all things furry (or scaly!) for pet-sitting. You know people in the community who need these services (ask around) or a couple of websites could also help you out: TrustedHouseSitters.comMindMyHouse.comHouseCarers.com, and Caretaker.org

8. Become a Focus Group Participant

There are lots of places you can do this, and they usually pay well. If you’re interested in making a nice chunk of change, look into the following:

Use Your Talents

If you have a specific talent, it’s likely that someone will pay you for it. Whether it be writing, tutoring or even making things out of paper-mâché, someone out there needs what you can do, because it’s very possible that your future client doesn’t know how to do it for him or herself.

9. Teach

If you have an education degree and are looking into options beyond the classroom, there are hundreds of options out there for you. Check out Chegg Tutors to do online tutoring, for example, or find a youngster in your community who’s struggling in math. Chances are, if you’re already an educator, you’ll already know the grateful parents you can offer your services to. 

You can also check your local staffing agency to find substitute teaching roles. Normally, you’ll need a certain number of college credits to qualify.

10. Coach Kids Getting into College

If you’re in the college admission game, Polish your brand and offer parents and students the inside scoop on getting into the best colleges. Offer SAT/ACT prep services, insider knowledge, etc. People will pay big bucks if you have insider knowledge and can hone your connections.

11. Be a Voice Coach

Or, thank your parents for those 12 years of piano lessons and teach piano. You’ll, of course, need to be decently talented in each for parents to want to send their son or daughter to you, but if you can make up to $50 an hour doing either of these things, that’s excellent. A lot of music shops need teachers to sign on with them. Ask around.

12. Create a Blog

Now, this will take a bit of work, but if you can cultivate a following in a niche market, advertisers may follow. Mr. Money Moustache is one example of a successful blog, featured nationally: The Economist, Business Insider, Forbes, etc. have all showcased Mr. Money Moustache at one time or another. 

13. Sell Photos

Believe it or not, you can even sell photos from your iPhone. If you’re a talented photographer, do yourself a favor and check out Shutterstock, iStock, Fotolia, SmugMug, Alamy, etc.

There are so many out there! Even better, they take care of all of your marketing, facilitate transactions and make it so easy, that all you have to do is take pictures (which is really what you wanted to do, right?)

14. Freelance

These days, you can freelance anything. If you’re a talented writer, marketer, web designer, sales expert, accountant, or consultant of any trade imaginable, it’s likely you can freelance it. Sites like Fiverr or Upwork can get you started in the right direction.

15. Sell Your Craft.

If you’re a graphic designer, potter, painter, sculptor, you name it, you can sell it. Etsy is a popular location to sell your wares, but if you are a good marketer to boot and can create your own brand, develop your blog, website, etc. and tie it all together.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Most of what we’ve listed here has to do with accessing technology. It can be exhausting to research all that’s out there, but it’s worth it for a little bit more in your pocket at the end of the month. It’s why Millennials have been so successful at the side hustle – they use technology to their advantage. Here are a few more ideas:

16. Use Apps to Make Money

There might be no possible way to go into detail on all the apps that can pay you money. This could include doing any number of things, including grocery receipt scanning, rating products, watching movies, etc. iPoll, Swagbucks, Ebates, Ibotta, Shopkick, and on and on and on.

All you need to do is literally Google “apps to make money” and there’s a slew of information out there. All you need is an app-supporting device and you’re in business.

17. Sell a Product

Though in the 21st century you have tons more options your mamas did with her Tupperware or Mary Kay business, don’t rule it out. There are tons of products you can sell out of the comfort of your own home that have turned out some super-successful side-hustlers, including CABi, Rodan and Fields, Avon, Pampered Chef, and more. 

Final Thoughts

Side hustlers, think carefully about what services you can offer the world, and then get moving. And get creative. The more creative you are, the more success you could have. There are thousands of people the world over whose side hustles became their main job.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?