These days it seems like just about everyone is talking about the need for a side hustle. As a result, you may be pondering what extra earning opportunities are out there for you. Unfortunately, when looking for options, you may run into some major road blocks such as the need for college degrees, large upfront investments, and skills you simply don’t possess. Similarly, while ride-sharing services are usually near the top of most people’s suggestion lists, the fact is that the life of a cab driver isn’t quite for everyone.
With all that in mind, I thought I’d highlight a few side hustles options that require only a few basic skills, little or no financial investment, and (in most cases) some form of third-party backing to help point you in the right direction. Additionally, each of these options are true side hustles in that can be done in your spare time should you choose.
Help people move
Moving is a pain — but you may be able to make some extra money by making it suck less for some strangers. While helping a friend pack boxes, carry furniture, and load up a truck will likely only earn you some free pizza and beer, there are now services that will reward you for such tasks using some strange currency called “money.”
While you may be able to find moving help gigs on sites like Craigslist, another potential option is U-Haul’s MovingHelper.com platform. By signing up, you’ll be eligible to be listed on U-Haul’s site and have people book your help for a set number of hours. Moreover, there are numerous different services you can offer, including packing, unpacking, U-Box delivery, and driving. You can even offer cleaning services to help customers leave their old homes in good shape. Given the variety of jobs, low barrier to entry, and built-in market that U-Haul commands, this could be a smart weekend side hustle gig for you.
On a similar note, how many times have you purchased a piece of furniture and proceeded to spend multiple frustrating hours attempting to assemble it? If you’ve mastered the art of Ikea furniture building, turning those bragging rights into cash is now an option.
TaskRabbit is a site where customers can hire people to perform a number of different odd jobs (including moving help, incidentally). However, last year the Swedish furniture retailer Ikea actually purchased the platform and now also uses it to offer its official assembly service. Like with U-Haul offering, one of the cool things about this service is that it’s advertised on Ikea’s website. The downside is that Ikea has set pricing based on merchandise value — something that a few assemblers working under the old Ikea system have complained about. Still, if you know your way around those little hex wrenches and can decode Ikea’s helpful/not-so-helpful direction guides, this could be a great way to make a little extra money.
Become a secret shopper
In my lifetime, I’ve actually been on both sides of something called “secret shopping.” Simply put, secret shoppers are sent to various establishments undercover in order to help the business’s corporate office ensure that each location is performing to par. Not only was I very familiar with the idea of secret shoppers from my time managing a movie theatre but, for a spell, I also did some mystery shopping myself.
Many moons ago, I signed up for a secret shopper service called GAPbuster — now GBW, apparently. I remember that, after completing some simple online training, I was able to sign up for secret shopper gigs at retailers like Radio Shack and restaurants like McDonald’s. Each of these jobs had a timeframe in which you needed to complete your shop, instructions about what to ask or what to purchase, and a listing with the amount of compensation each gig was offering. While I never got rich off of assessing McDonald’s locations, I did manage to score some free food (they’d reimburse you along with your payment when you submitted your receipts and report) and pocket a extra few dollars.
While I can’t speak to how GBW operates now, it looks like they do still offer mystery shopper services. Additionally, companies like MarketForce, Best Mark, Second to None, and Intelli-shop seem to be accepting applications. To bring it full circle, MarketForce even offers Movie Industry Field Associate certification that will allow you to perform trailer checks, promotional checks, and more at cinemas around the country.
Like I mentioned, when most people think about side hustles that require little skill or investment, Uber and Lyft are often among the first services that come to mind. Although both ride-sharing services do offer significant opportunities to drivers, the idea of transporting drunk strangers probably doesn’t appeal to everyone — myself very much included. That said, you may still be able to earn money with Uber without having to deal with airport runs and late-night clubbers.
Uber has continued to roll out their UberEats program, which enables customers to order take out from a number of restaurants and have it delivered right to their door. This is a win for local businesses as it allows them to offer delivery without hiring employees of their own and its convenient for hungry patrons who can track your progress just like they would a regular Uber car. Of course, UberEats is also great for side hustlers like yourself who are capable of picking up an order from one location and bringing it to another.
In addition to UberEats, there are other third-party food delivery services you can sign up for as well. These include Postmates, GrubHub, Caviar, and others. Overall, this could be a good option for those who who are interested in a driving-based (or cycling-based, in some cases) side hustle that doesn’t involve having other humans ride along with you.
Speaking of people, if humans just really aren’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer pets instead. Just as Uber and Lyft have been successful in linking up drivers and riders, a couple of growing services are aiming to ensure that man’s best friends are well cared for as well. One such service is Wag, which is currently looking for dog walkers in various cities across the country.
With Wag and similar services, you can view one-time dog walking gigs in your area, apply for them, get accepted, and (most importantly) get paid to take people’s pets for a stroll while they’re away. Something to note is that you will need to have some prior experience with animals and some basic commands in order to have your Wag application approved. Additionally, Wag isn’t the only pet service site out there as Rover also offers on-demand dog walking as well as pet sitting, dog boarding, and more. Needless to say, if you love dogs and extra pocket cash, this path could be a winner.
Before you skip over this one, let me assure you of a few things. First, ebooks aren’t the same as printed books and they don’t need to be any specific length. Secondly, contrary to what you may assume, you don’t need any kind of publisher in order to release an ebook. In fact, you can upload and sell your work on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform and others without even spending a penny.
Now that I’ve presumably convinced you that selling ebooks isn’t such a far-fetched side hustle idea after all, the question becomes, “What are you going to write about?” Once again, you may be surprised at just how many options there are for what you can write about. From non-fiction titles sharing your knowledge on a topic your passionate about to creating fantasy worlds and novels, there really are few limits. In fact, did you know that the best-selling book series 50 Shades of Grey originally started out as Twilight fan fiction? Obviously you’ll want to avoid infringing on other people’s intellectual property when publishing your own ebooks but, other than that, there are plenty of ways for your to write to a niche, find an audience, and maybe even make a little extra money.
Sell your creative services
So perhaps you’re not a writer after all — that’s ok! But how do you feel about editing instead? Copyediting is just one of thousands of creative services you can offer on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and others.
To be fair, for this specific example, you will need to have some prior skills. That said, some of the other gigs you can sell have less to do with your technical abilities and more to do with just who you. For example, with the ever-growing popularity of podcasts, there’s been a demand for smooth-voiced intros that can be customized to meet the podcaster’s needs. Meanwhile, in some cases, the fact that you have time on your hands could lead you to create a successful gig. Heck, just look at this list of Fiverr gigs involving pranks and challenges (just don’t do anything too dumb #PSA). My point is that it’s worth at least looking to see if there’s any creative service you can offer in order to turn your hobbies and skills into an actual side hustle.
Choosing a side hustle isn’t always as easy as others make it seem. Between time constraints, skill requirements, and monetary investments, some would-be options just won’t cut it for most folks. That said, hopefully the ideas above are more in your league and utilizing one of the various services here can help you monetize your hobby, make use of spare time, and help you earn a little extra cash.
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