How to Make Money: 25 Legitimate Side Hustles

How to Make Money: 25 Legitimate Side Hustles

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So you’re trying to figure out how to make money outside of your day job, but you’re not sure what to do. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

NerdWallet rounded up 25 legitimate ways to earn some extra cash, ranging from selling old electronics to picking up odd jobs on TaskRabbit to participating in focus groups. Keep reading to find a side hustle that fits your situation.

Sell your things

Let’s be honest: You probably have too much stuff. If you’re willing to part with the excess, you can create a cleaner, simpler living space and make money in the process.

How you sell your stuff — via a garage sale, websites, even pawnshops — will depend  on your items, how much effort you want to put into this and how quickly you need the cash, among other things.

Before selling your stuff, it’s also worth double-checking with eBay and similar websites to see if you have a collectible, antique or valuable heirloom on your hands. You don’t want to sell rare items below market rate.

Here are some options to consider:

1. Spring-clean your wardrobe

Selling clothes you no longer wear (or items that never made it out of the closet and still have the tags on) can be both profitable and cathartic. Start with local consignment shops for faster cash or use sites like ThredUp and Poshmark to find buyers. If you go the online route, be sure to take clear, well-lit photos of your pieces and research similar items to set competitive prices. Get tips on how to sell your clothing.

2. Clear out your garage

If you have stuff covered with dust, it might be time for a garage sale. Whether it’s sporting equipment, furniture or toys the kids haven’t touched in years, wipe away the grime and put some effort into the presentation. Items lovingly arrayed will sell better than those chucked into a cardboard box. If you don’t have enough clutter to warrant a garage sale on your own, join forces with a few neighbors for a group sale. Another option is selling through sites such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Read about the best sites to sell your stuff online.

3. Recycle old phones and electronics

Given the rate at which we churn through electronics these days, you probably have some old tech lying around. You can sell your phone and other electronics on sites like Swappa and NextWorth. Check out Amazon’s trade-in program, which pays participants in Amazon gift cards, and eBay, too. If you’re in a rush for cash, try an ecoATM.

4. Sell those gift cards you’ll never use

If you have unused gift cards you don’t want, some sites like Cardpool (which also has kiosks and cashier-assisted locations) and Giftcard Zen will buy them, usually for a percentage of the balance. Read more about what to do with unwanted gift cards.

Rent out your things

If you have something that’s not being fully utilized, consider renting it out. As the sharing economy grows, so does your opportunity to cash in. Here are a few ideas.

Airbnb hosts earn an average of $924 per month, according to data from Earnest, an online lender

5. Utilize the spare bedroom

If that guest bedroom in your Manhattan walk-up is left unused, making it available on vacation rental sites can provide a lucrative side income. For example, Airbnb hosts earn an average of $924 per month, according to data from Earnest, an online lender. If you’re a renter, just make sure that everything is kosher with your rental agreement beforehand.

6. Let someone use your car

Don’t need your car on the weekend or during the day? Services like Getaround and Turo let you rent out your car by the hour and may come with their own insurance policies. But renting out your car can still be risky — it’s possible for an insurer to cancel your policy for doing so. That’s why it’s important to talk to your insurance provider before signing up.

7. Get paid for your parking spot

Parking spots can be a hot commodity, particularly in crowded areas. If you have a driveway or some other spot that you don’t use all the time, consider putting it up for rent on Craigslist or a service that specializes in this. In some situations, you may need to check if this is allowed, like if you’re a renter or belong to a homeowners association.

Make Money Online

The internet is full of opportunities to make a quick buck online. The site you’ll use will depend on the type of work you want — or are qualified — to do. Regardless of the site, beware of scams and search for online reviews. Be wary of any “opportunity” that asks for an upfront fee, wants you to pay for certification, or requests your Social Security number or any financial information, such as your credit card number. With that in mind, here are several options to ponder:

8. Use your skills to freelance

Websites such as Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork offer opportunities to do a variety of freelance jobs, such as writing, programming, design, marketing, data entry and being a virtual assistant. (Some of these sites are also open to teens looking for ways to make money.) In addition, you can check Craigslist to see what freelancing gigs are in demand in your area. If you’re fluent in a second language, check sites such as Gengo or One Hour Translation, or drum up business through a site of your own. No matter what kind of freelancing you do, keep track of the going rate for the kind of work you provide so you know if you’re charging too much or too little. If you become a freelancer, read these tips on how to manage your money.

9. Join an affiliate marketing network

If you’re a blogger who gets decent traffic, you might be able to make some money by joining an affiliate network. Affiliates (that’s you) get paid when someone clicks through from their website to the partner site and buys something there. Some bloggers make a lot of money this way. Read more about affiliate marketing and other ways bloggers can make money.

10. Be a website or app tester  

Businesses need their websites and apps to be functional and easy to use if they hope to attract an audience. Sites such as UserTesting.com will pay you for your thoughts on how well — or not so well — these websites and apps worked. You’ll have to pass a short test to be accepted, then will be paid $10 for each 20-minute test, which involves a recording and answering four follow-up written questions.

11. Take surveys for money

Although you’re unlikely to make much money by simply answering surveys online, generating a small side income from online surveys is possible. Often, these sites are more useful for earning gift cards than cash. Some of the more popular survey sites include Swagbucks and Global Test Market. Read our analysis of a dozen survey sites to find out which one is best suited for you.

12. Get advertising revenue from your blog or YouTube

Turn your cat videos into cash videos. If your YouTube videos or blog posts draw a big audience, you may be able to make money from advertising. With Google AdSense, businesses pay to advertise around your content. The service is free but there are requirements you must meet. Read more about making money with YouTube and Google AdSense.

Find an (offline) side gig

A side hustle doesn’t have to tether you to a computer. There are many gigs that involve interacting with the real world, though you may use a website or app to facilitate your jobs. As with online opportunities, do your research to avoid getting scammed.

13. Take on some tasks

If you actually enjoy putting together Ikea furniture or standing in long lines, you may be cut out for doing tasks for others. Websites like TaskRabbit can connect you with people who need help with a variety of things. Moving, cleaning, delivery and being a handyman have the “highest earning potential,” according to the company. Read about how to get started on TaskRabbit.

14. Start an Etsy shop

Have a penchant for woodworking, jewelry-making, embroidery or pottery? Sell your goods on Etsy, the go-to site for artisans selling home goods, art and knickknacks. Last year, almost 30 million shoppers spent more than $2.8 billion on Etsy, according to the website.

15. Sell your photos

Turn your photographs into cash via sites like Fine Art America, which lets you upload your images to sell as prints, t-shirts, phone cases and more. Other marketplaces for photographers include SmugMug, 500px and PhotoShelter. Some sites require a subscription but may provide features ranging from cloud storage to password-protected galleries and a customized website.

16. Bartend or wait tables

Sling drinks at your neighborhood watering hole, serve food at a nearby restaurant or pick up shifts with a local catering company to earn fast cash (read: tips) and a part-time paycheck. Look for help wanted signs or contact businesses in your area to see if they need an extra set of hands. Craigslist and job boards like Indeed.com will also list opportunities.

17. Tutor

Parlay your math, science, foreign language or test prep expertise into a lucrative side gig by becoming a private tutor. You can tutor people online or in person. What you charge can depend on your experience, expertise and what’s in demand. To get started, see what types of tutors are needed on Craigslist or create a profile on sites like Tutor.com or Care.com. You can also advertise your services at local schools and community centers.

18. Start baby-sitting

Baby-sitting isn’t just for teens. Everyone from college students to recent retirees can make money watching other people’s children. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are still a great way to get started, but you can also create a profile on Care.com or Sittercity to expand your reach. Note any specialized skills, such as CPR certifications or experience with special needs children, to make you yourself more marketable.

19. Get paid to pet-sit

Love dogs, but not ready to get one of your own? Get paid to watch other people’s pooches. If your time is limited, consider becoming a dog walker. If time isn’t an issue — and you really love dogs — offer overnight dog boarding. Dog-sitters on Rover.com, the go-to site for pet-sitting, generally command $25 to $35 per night, according to the company.

20. Find a house-sitting gig

If you’re willing to watch someone’s home — and maybe feed the pets, water the plants and take out the garbage — become a house-sitter. Tap your personal network for referrals or try out HouseSitter.com, which connects homeowners with house-sitters. People often make between $25 to $45 per day, according to the company’s website.

21. Join a focus group

Businesses use focus groups to get feedback on products, services and strategies. Get paid to give your opinion by signing on with a market research firm. A few worth checking out: Fieldwork, Adler Weiner Research, 20 | 20 Research and MindSwarms.

22. Find seasonal work

Need a gig for a few months? Try something seasonal, like being a lifeguard, doing snow removal or working at a retailer during the holidays. Employers typically staff up a month or two ahead of their busy season, so plan ahead to get on their payroll. Check storefront windows, Craigslist and local classifieds for seasonal opportunities.

23. Become a mystery shopper

Businesses often want to know how they’re performing from a customer’s perspective. Sign up to be their eyes and ears. You can apply online via sites like IntelliShop, BestMark and Sinclair Customer Metrics. Just beware of scams and do thorough research before signing on.

24. Drive for a ride-sharing service

If you have a clean driving record, you can join Uber or Lyft (or both) and earn money by driving passengers around. Just don’t forget to factor in gas and maintenance costs. If you don’t have a car, there are alternatives.

25. Restore flea market finds

Buy interesting items both online and at your local flea market and restore them for resale. The key is knowing what you want to make and the value of your finished product, then sticking to a budget for materials and negotiating prices whenever possible.  Check out the television show “Flea Market Flip” to get some great  ideas for trash-to-treasure projects.

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