Side Work and Freelancing: Ideas for Your Next Hustle
Career Tips

Side Work and Freelancing: Ideas for Your Next Hustle

If you’ve been searching for ideas on how to make additional cash through a side hustle, you’ve likely noticed that there are hundreds of ideas to choose from! Unfortunately, some freelancing and side work ideas aren’t incredibly lucrative, take more time than they’re worth, or are outright scams. 

To save you some time, we’ve gathered a handful of ideas to get you started on your next side gig. Our list is by no means exhaustive, but we’ve covered a range of interests and skill sets that can be used to help you earn extra money.

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Tutoring

If you’ve worked as a teacher in the past or have a natural gift for helping others learn, consider putting those skills to use as a tutor. In addition to tutoring franchises like Kumon, Sylvan Learning and Mathnasium, you can find tutoring opportunities at regional learning centers, universities and K-12 school districts.

There are also many virtual tutoring opportunities available, including the following:

  • VIPKid offers one-on-one full English immersion tutoring to Chinese students. Teachers can earn between $14 and $22 an hour. Tutors must have a bachelor’s degree, a strong internet connection, a headset and a high-quality webcam. To learn more about your eligibility, check out their FAQ.
  • Chegg used to be best known for their textbook rental services, but they also offer tutoring services to middle and high school students, college students and professionals. Tutors can make $20 an hour, but Chegg requires that applicants either have a four year degree, are in the process of completing a four year degree, or have previous teaching experience.
  • Studypool focuses on “microtutoring,” allowing students to seek help for specific questions rather than signing up for a general tutoring time slot. While this on-demand setup is appealing for both tutors and students, don’t fall into a trap! Some students have taken advantage of Studypool tutors, tricking them into doing all of the work for them.

Writing and Editing

If you have a gift for the written word, try making side cash as a copywriter or a copyeditor. Many freelance writers and editors find opportunities through smaller marketing agencies or with businesses directly. Others have found success with taking on freelance projects through on-demand sites like Upwork and Fiverr.

If you’re less interested in consistent opportunities and open to earning a small amount of “fun money” every once in a while, Wynter might be for you. This company pays “testers” to review and provide feedback on websites, emails, ads and brand messaging. You don’t need a background in editing or copywriting to qualify, and the application process takes less than five minutes. Testers can make $10 to $25 for each five to 15 minute test, but testing opportunities may be few and far between. 

Performing

Do you shine on stage or have a talent to share? Cash in on your act or skill and sell your services as an entertainer or a speaker!

GigSalad is a platform that connects those planning events with various vendors and entertainers. Musical acts, comedians, magicians, public speakers, emcees and dancers can set up a PromoKit and list their rates, setup requirements, set lists and more. From there, those looking for services can send you gig leads. 

Many performers are putting a pause on their in-person services due to COVID-19. If you’re a GigSalad user, that’s not a problem; you can always inactivate your PromoKit and reactivate it in the future.

Coaching, Refereeing, Teaching or Leading Extracurricular Activities

School districts, parks and recreation departments, health clubs and community centers often hire part-time workers. Consider the activities you participated in growing up or currently enjoy. Are there any sports or hobbies that you could lead a class in? Do you have the skills to be a judge or a referee? Could you teach a private student one-on-one?

Here are three great places to look for these kinds of side jobs:

  • Parks and Recreation Departments: Coach a little league team, supervise an after school program, work at a concession stand, direct a community play and more. Parks and rec opportunities vary based on your location and tend to be seasonal. Still, you can make a decent side income while working with your community.
  • School Districts: Many school districts hire playground supervisors, night custodians, coaches, substitutes and extra curricular assistants. Positions vary by location, and some require that you have a four year degree or relevant experience working with students.
  • YMCAs, YWCAs and Health Clubs: Teach a fitness class, work in a nursery, lead an after school program or work as a lifeguard. Check your local health club, YMCA or YWCA for more information and job openings.

Join an On-Demand Service

Driving, Food and Grocery Delivery

If you have a vehicle and don’t mind driving regularly, you can make money as a rideshare driver or through on-demand food and grocery delivery. Don’t worry if you don’t have four wheels – some on-demand services also employ bikers for delivery. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below:

  • Uber and Lyft: Help people in your city get where they need to go as a rideshare driver. You’ll need to pass a background check, provide insurance documentation and your driver’s license, and meet specific 4-door vehicle requirements before you get started. 
  • UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates and Grubhub: Get paid to deliver food, alcohol, convenience store essentials and more with these on-demand delivery services. Depending on your location, you may be able to make deliveries on your bike as well. 
  • Shipt: If you have a reliable 1997 or newer vehicle, can lift 40 pounds and can navigate the produce section, Shipt might be right for you. Check here to see if Shipt is available in your area.
  • Instacart: There are two ways to work for Instacart: shop and deliver or shop only. Shop and deliver shoppers require a car. Shop only shoppers don’t need a car, as they only prepare and bag orders so that they’re ready for customers to pick up.

Dog Walking

Cash in on your love for animals by becoming a part-time dog walker or sitter. While most private dog walking services prefer their walkers to have consistent walk schedules, on-demand app services also allow walkers to pick up one-off walk requests and dog-sitting gigs. 

You can also apply to be a walker for an online booking service like Wag and Rover. Applicants are required to have previous dog care experience, pass a background check and successfully complete dog safety tests.

Handiwork and Chores

There are plenty of tasks that others would rather pay someone else to do, such as cleaning, making deliveries, waiting in a long line and fixing household appliances. TaskRabbit can be a great source of side cash if you don’t mind tackling someone else’s to-do list. 

This unique platform lets “taskers” set their own rates and select what tasks that they’re willing to do. TaskRabbit has also partnered with IKEA to offer furniture assembly services; if a store is in your area, your “put it together” skills might be particularly valuable. 

Be sure to check the list of cities that TaskRabbit is currently available in before you get too far. Depending on where you live, there may also be a $25 registration fee for new “taskers.”

Sell Your Items

Whether you’re working with used goods or creating new ones, you can make extra cash by selling items to others. While the current health crisis has put a damper on garage sales and craft fairs, there are still plenty of opportunities to sell safely.

Things You Already Own

Clothes: In addition to local consignment and resale stores, sellers can make money through online resellers and major resale chains. Read more about our favorite secondhand opportunities here.

Home Goods, Electronics and Furniture: One man’s basement, garage and attic clutter is another man’s treasure! Turn like-new and gently used items you no longer need into cash using OfferUp, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Take care when interacting with others online and scheduling a meet up, and consider arranging a no-contact pickup to avoid the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Things You Make

  • Etsy: If you’re known as a crafter among your friends, it’s likely that someone has told you to sell on Etsy. This online marketplace allows sellers to offer their homemade and vintage items to eager buyers, as well as DIY craft kits and tools. There are various fees associated with listings, shipping, advertising and transactions, but dedicated sellers can turn their Etsy stores into a profitable side hustle. Check out their extensive Seller Handbook to learn more about getting started,.
  • Shopify: If you prefer to cut out the middleman and have more control over your sales platform, consider selling your goods on a Shopify website. 

Share Your Opinions and Participate in Studies

While focus groups, surveys and studies can help you make a modest amount of extra cash, this type of work is definitely the least consistent. Additionally, there are some shady websites that charge “membership” fees to access their surveys or send you to third-party websites. Offers that sound too good to be true usually are; it’s best to avoid any site that claims you can make a living by only taking surveys, asks for personally identifiable information or sends you to third-party websites. 

Below are a few sites that our team has personally tried and earned a little extra spending money from:

  • UserTesting: Get paid to test website and app prototypes and share your opinions. Rather than following the traditional survey format, UserTesting asks testers to “think out loud” and records their audio and screen movements while they explore pages and answer questions. This company offers $3 to $60 per test, but most tests are worth $10 each. UserTesting hopefuls will need to sign up, take a practice test and either download the UserTesting app on their mobile device or UserTesting’s screen recording software on their computer. Additionally, you’ll need to pass a screener for each test to see if you qualify.
  • Focus Group: Focus Group by Schlesinger conducts group testing online, over the phone and in person. Available studies may be limited due to the current health crisis, but participants can earn $70 to $250 if they qualify for and participate in a study. 
  • The New Normal: TNN Match is a database of health research studies that helps match eligible participants with research teams. Most participating hospitals are based in Chicago, but many studies can be done from home. Research topics include mental health, COVID-19 testing and vaccine trials, cancer, diabetes, allergies and more. Some of the studies don’t pay, but many offer monetary and gift card incentives. Fill out a profile and keep an eye on your inbox for study matches to get started.

Side Hustle Strategy – Use Your Time Wisely

It’s easy to get sidetracked with side hustles and try to pursue everything at once. If you’re already working a primary job, too much side hustle can lead to more burnout than what your work is worth. We recommend starting by focusing on one side hustle at a time and re-evaluating your time and commitments before taking on additional money-making activities. 

Additionally, if your side hustle isn’t turning a profit, or if it’s leaving you too drained to enjoy your down time (or if it leaves you with NO down time), stop! Side hustles should add value to your life. If it’s not paying off emotionally or financially, reevaluate and pursue a different opportunity.

Track Your Side Hustle Income

We’ve created a free side hustle tracker to help our readers stay on top of their side income. Check it out here!

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Learn more about freelancing and read advice from seasoned side hustlers in our first piece on side jobs.
Check out our budgeting blog for more general information on budgeting and to access our broader budgeting worksheet.

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