29 Creative Ways to Make Money on the Side Easily

29 Creative Ways to Make Money on the Side Easily

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So you’re wondering how to make money — more money, that is.

Whether you want to be more aggressive about paying off student loans, dig yourself out of credit card debt or save for a down payment, making extra money on the side is a smart strategy for working toward your goals.

While you could simply get a part-time job, many Americans are getting side gigs, which allow you to set your own schedule and rates. You’ll be your own boss, deciding what you do, when you do it and how much you make. Hey, you could even make money from home.

Whether you’re thinking about starting a side business that could eventually become your full-time job or just want to earn a little extra cash online during your free time, we’ve got some money-making ideas to get you started.

If you just love weddings (I mean, are we talkin’ an open bar?), consider turning them into your weekend gig.

If you love public speaking and being the center of attention, one option is to become a wedding officiant. You can get ordained online — and it’s free! If the idea of standing in front of a crowd makes your knees tremble, opt to hang on the sidelines as a professional bridesmaid.

How much can you make?

We talked to Yvonne Doerre, who had officiated about 20 weddings in the Washington D.C. area. She charged between $300 and $500 per wedding.

Jen Glant, a bridesmaid for hire, gets paid up to $4,000 per wedding to play bridesmaid. That includes personal coaching and planning services, as well.

Want to try real-estate investing without playing landlord? We found a company that helps you do just that.

Oh, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. A company called Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).

(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since 2014, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

How much can you make?

Fundrise is an investment, so there’s always risk involved, but the company has paid positive dividends every quarter since 2014. In 2017, the average annual return on investment, net of fees, was 11.44%.

Making yourself save is no easy feat, but it’s easier to tuck that money away with micro-investing apps, which do it for you automatically.

Plus, they don’t simply save your money; they invest it. That means your money isn’t just sitting in a savings account collecting next to no interest — it’s creating a stock market portfolio for you that could help grow your money for the future.

With Acorns, you can set the app to simply round up your debit- or credit-card purchases to the nearest dollar. The pocket change is then squirreled away into your Acorns account. For a balance less than $1 million, you’ll pay a $1 monthly fee.

With Stash, you can start investing with as little as $5 and for just a $1 monthly fee for balances under $5,000. Bonus: The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to give you an extra $5 after your first investment.

Moral of the story? Investing is only as difficult as you make it, so automate it. You’ll be surprised how fast it can add up.

How much can you make?

This 27-year-old saved more than $2,000 in one year without breaking a sweat using Acorns. Most of that is his own money, but the app helped him earn an extra $66 from investments.

You need to buy groceries anyway — why not make some money back?

We know it sounds strange, but Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Here’s how it works: Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt, scan the items’ barcodes and earn cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work from home while helping others succeed?

Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and founder of Bookkeeper Business Launch, an online course that teaches you how to start a virtual bookkeeping business.

And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.

It’s a great opportunity for parents who want to work part time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.

We talked to Robinson about what it takes to become a virtual bookkeeper, as well as tips and advice for making this career track work for you. You can read the full interview here, or check out his website for more information.

How much can you make?

You could put as much as $60 per hour in the books… so to speak.

If you love hanging out with dogs, Rover might be your perfect gig.

The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town.

Rover dog-sitter requirements vary by location. In general, you must:

Here’s how it works: You’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience with puppers and your schedule availability.

You can choose to offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service, so offering it can get you more gigs. You set your own rates. (Rover keeps a small percentage as a service fee.)

Dog owners will reach out to you. Accept which gigs you want, then start snugglin’ pups. As soon as you complete a service, you’ll be paid within two days.

If you have a knack for organization and communication, people will pay you to keep them on track.

You don’t have to be the busy corporate assistant you see in old movies or TV. You can be a virtual assistant right from your couch.

Type in “virtual assistant,” and peruse the listings to find information about the company, pay and type of employment. ZipRecruiter will even let you know if you qualify for a position based on your credentials. (But we always recommend applying anyway!)

How much can you make?

The average salary for a work-from-home virtual assistant in the U.S. is $57,373 a year, according to January 2019 ZipRecruiter data.

You work hard, right? Who has time to clean out the closet? You should… if it’ll make you some extra moola.

Here are a few simple ways to make money from your clutter:

How much can you make?

This one is hard to predict. It all depends on how much you have to sell. Oh, it might also make a difference whether you’re posting Gucci bags or old bowling T-shirts. You get the picture.

Swagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys.

It’s also famous for handing out free rewards points (they’re called SBs) at random just for being a member.

Pro tip: Get a 500 SB (or $5) bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.

You’ll get SBs for each survey you qualify for and complete that you can redeem for cash via PayPal or gift cards to a number of popular retailers, including Amazon.

Have you been wanting to drop a few inches lately? Why not team up with HealthyWage and add some weight to your bank account while you’re at it?

Bottom line: HealthyWage will literally pay you for losing weight.

Depending on how much you have to lose, how long you give yourself to do it and how much money you put on the table, you could earn up to $10,000!

If you’re good with kids, pick up a tutoring gig. But you’re not limited to your local community; video tools like Skype allow you to connect across the globe.

Take notes from Joanne Kaminski, who started her own online tutoring business after teaching 10 years in the public school system.

When we chatted with Kaminski, she was making $5,000 to $6,000 a month. Others have had success with VIPKID and Qkids and report making up to $20 an hour.

RV owners: When’s the last time you hit the open road?

If you’re not living in your rig full time, rent it out through an online peer-to-peer rental marketplace, like RVshare. Think of it like Airbnb… but for RVs.

We chatted with one California couple who rented out their 2008 Thor Sonoma. Just last year, they banked an extra $7,338, allowing them to pay it off — with some to spare.

If you’re a subject-matter expert or have an intriguing life experience, you could write a book. But there’s no need to send it off to all the major publishing houses in New York City.

You can self-publish ebooks through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Writer Steve Gillman wrote a book in a week. Note: Ebooks don’t have be hundreds of pages long. Gillman found many books as short as 6,000 words.

After publishing on Amazon, he started making $350 a month. The best part? He continued to make money, even months and years later.

How much you can you make?

How much you make hinges on a number of variables, including how much you list your book for and how many copies sell. For reference, Amazon pays writers up to 70% royalties on ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99.

Are you a savvy photographer but don’t want a serious career? You can use an an app called Foap to list and sell your iPhone photos online.

Foap splits the profit 50-50. So if you list your photo for $10, and the photo sells 20 times, you make $5 each time and end up with $100 in your pocket — all for about five minutes of work. Not bad, right?

Have you got skills? Can you shoot photos, edit videos or design websites? Can you write blog posts or code? Can you draw?

If you’ve got game, list your services on Fiverr, an online marketplace for creative freelance services.

Gigs on Fiverr range from standard data entry and research tasks to the truly out-there. On any given day, sellers in the “Fun & Lifestyle” section are offering thousands of unique services — from polishing a Tinder profile to creating a family tree.

How much can you make?

Pay starts as low as $5. However, we chatted with Charmaine Pocek, who broke $1 million in earnings through the online service.

Have a spare room? Might as well try to earn some money by listing it on Airbnb.

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.

Pretty good change, depending on where you live. We found at least 15 cities where you can make $1,000 or more each month as an Airbnb host.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

Are you good with little ones? Knowing how to wrangle children is certainly a skill that’s appreciated! Parents, oldest siblings and former camp counselors: This one’s for you.

Whether you want to look after school-aged kids on Saturday nights or help tired parents as a night nanny, you’ll find lots of opportunities to use your childcare experience to earn cash.

Look within your circle of friends and acquaintances first, as parents are more likely to trust someone they know. Ask friends if they know anyone else who could use a few hours to themselves, whether it’s to grocery shop or simply to head to the gym.

Rates will vary by city, but the average rate for babysitters in 2017 was $16.20 an hour, according to Care.com’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey.

Pro tip: Take advantage of high-demand periods, like around the holidays.

Your car could be doing a lot more than just sitting in your driveway. It could be driving your new mode of income.

Try driving with Lyft. Demand for ride-sharing is growing like crazy and shows no signs of slowing down.

To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

Because it’s simple to switch between apps, many Lyft drivers also sign up as a driver partner with Uber.

As a partner driver with Uber, you’re an independent contractor. You set your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.

If you want to give it a try, here are a few things to keep in mind: You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (three years if you’re under 23 years old), have a valid U.S. driver’s license and pass a background check.

Finally, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state and be covered by in-state insurance.

Ever thought about joining a research panel or focus group for some extra cash? The idea is to help brands figure out what’s working and what needs improving. Many times, you don’t even have to leave your couch to participate — you can find opportunities online.

Here’s one option to get you started: 20|20 Research. It has been around since 1986, and has offices in Nashville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Miami, Florida.

If you live in those cities, great — you can get paid to participate in in-person studies. But even if you don’t, you can still get in on paid opportunities with 20|20 online, as long as you’re at least 18 years old and live in the U.S. or Canada.

How much can you make?

You can participate in both surveys and studies, though you’ll typically earn more through the studies. A live chat study, for example, could last 30 minutes to an hour and pay $15 to $30 an hour, reported panel manager Amanda Brown back in 2017.

You might also find extended three-day studies, which would pay even more.

Want to make money with your car… but not keen on playing taxi? Let folks rent your car when you’re not using it.

OK, that sounds a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be. With the Getaround app, you can safely rent out your car to people in your community and neighborhood. The company insures your car for each trip, offers 24/7 roadside assistance and screens drivers for a safe driving record.

That’s more assurance than you get when your teenager gets behind the wheel…

There are a number of rental platforms out there that’ll do all the heavy lifting for you, including Turo. There, you can list your car and its availability then connect with users looking for short-term rentals.

How much can you make?

Turo will dynamically set your car’s rental price based on market value, location, time of year and other data. For a car with a market value of $10,000, Turo suggests you could earn about $1,800 a year renting it just five days a month.

You’ll earn 65% to 85% of the trip price, depending on the vehicle protection package you choose. If you provide your own commercial rental insurance, you’ll earn 90%.

Do you have expertise you can share? Try creating an online course. You could work through a platform like Udemy or Pathwright, or create your own website.

Create a course around any skill — or element of a skill — you can teach. Whether it’s mastering a piano concerto, planting a cost-effective vegetable garden or leading a killer workout, pick something you’re great at.

How much can you make?

On Udemy, the instructor salaries can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the price of your courses, the number of courses you create, your following and your expertise on the topic. While you can find million-dollar success stories out there, those are rare.

Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, crazy contraptions that wrap around your face — jewelry designers make all kinds of amazing products.

Whether you work with metal, felt, old Scrabble tiles, origami cranes or even deer antlers, you’ll likely find a market for your work.

How much can you make?

It depends on what and where you sell. For example, if you list your items online through a marketplace like Etsy, you’ll face some fees, including a 5% transaction charge. However, Etsy also sees millions and millions of shoppers, so it could be worth the exposure.

Whatever you do, just remember not to price your pieces too low. Cover the costs of materials, time, shipping, listing fees and other expenses.

Want to offer your neighbors a hand? It’ll cost them, of course.

Rather than going door to door, connect with people in your area who need help getting things done through TaskRabbit — anything from picking up dry cleaning to calling customer service and tolerating the hold music.

Keep an eye out for virtual tasks, which are mostly centered around personal assistance, administrative work or research help. You can do those and earn money without even walking out your door.

How much can you make?

Pay varies, but rest assured you won’t be paid pennies to put together Ikea furniture. Check out these tips from Taskers who have made more than $2,000 a week through the platform.

We all know Amazon’s taking over the world… but do you realize how many ways you can make money from the monster marketplace?

Your income through Amazon will vary depending on the platform(s) you choose to work on. Explore our guide to making money on Amazon for all the details.

Have you heard of mystery shopping? A company will pay you to go undercover and pose as a normal customer, and you’ll report back with your experience. It’s a way for these companies to gauge their products and services behind the scenes.

For you — you can get paid as a mystery shopper and even snag some free products and services.

Pay will vary by company and task, but, as an example, Penny Hoarder contributor made $45 by attending a Sunday church service as a mystery worshipper.

Upwork is a great freelancing platform if you’re just wading into the freelance world.

Once you create a profile, search through thousands of gigs based on your skills and interests. If you find one you’re interested in, apply.

One of the perks of Upwork is that it handles all money transactions, eliminating any unease or questions of, “Will they really pay me?!” Upwork just takes a 20% fee for the first $500 you bill with each client.

How much can you make?

Pay will vary on project, but carefully consider the pay rates that are listed.

Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler has used the platform to find freelance writing gigs, and she reports low rates — like $3 for 500 written words. That project probably isn’t worth it. (And, yes, you’ll have to scroll through a whole lot of these low-paying listings to find the good ones.)

Hey, you’re already spending hours scrolling through Instagram… why not?

Consider becoming an Instagram influencer. You can make money from sponsored posts and affiliate marketing. Then branch out and make money through YouTube advertising.

Take note from Shelcy Joseph, an Instagram influencer. She manages an account with her sister, and, with more than 10,000 followers, they make money from sponsored posts and affiliate marketing. They even offer private consultations to help others start up.

How much can you make?

It’ll depend, but Joseph makes about $1,600 a month through Instagram (that’s after splitting the income with her sister).

Have you ever considered selling your body? Not like that. You can make money selling your plasma. It’s a way to get paid, and it also helps others in need.

The process takes about two hours and, yes, it involves a needle, but it’sthe process is simple. You’re free to read or watch TV while a machine draws your blood and separates the plasma.

Interested? Search “plasma center + [your city]” for options, and ask your friends for referrals — many centers offer referral sign-up bonuses.

How much can you make?

It’s common for plasma donation centers to pay between $20 and $30 per visit, up to twice a week.

If you love hunting down treasures at local garage sales, antique shops or flea markets, consider turning your hobby into a side hustle.

Follow Rob Stephenson’s lead. He calls himself the Flea Market Flipper and has made up to $30,000 a year finding and selling flea market gems on eBay.

He doesn’t even have to put a ton of elbow grease into flipping items. Once, the Orlando, Florida, man found a $30 prosthetic leg and turned around and sold it for $1,000 on eBay, his go-to selling site.

How much can you make?

All right, don’t expect to launch into this and immediately bank $30,000. However, depending on what you can find, you might get lucky and make a pretty penny.

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