These days, there are countless ways to earn money outside of the traditional 9-5. Whether you have unique scheduling needs or are trying to pad your existing income, we make heads or tails of the Gig Economy and explore the best options for earning cash on the side.
Side hustles aren’t new, but up until a decade ago, they were limited to things like food and drink service or a weekend shift at the local big box store. What we now know as the Gig Economy kicked in in earnest during the Great Recession. “The Gig Economy was fueled by a number of different factors, from economic conditions, advancements in technology and consumer preference for more flexible work schedules,” said Jacob Shea, partner of Structure Capital, a firm that invests in companies that “fuel the zero waste economy.”
And it doesn’t look like the gig economy will be a flash in the pan. Recent research by GoDaddy, a tech provider dedicated to small businesses, found that over a third (37 percent) of adult Americans have side hustles. And Shea cited the Intuit 2020 Report, which predicts that by 2020, 45-50 percent of the market will contain independent contract workers.
Are you only interested in full-time work? Vicki Salemi, career expert at employment site, Monster.com points out that you shouldn’t overlook the Gig Economy. “If you’re only interested in full-time opportunities and let’s say you’re currently unemployed, searching for one or more part-time roles can keep your skills sharp and networking endeavors active,” she said. “It can be a stepping stone to learning new skills and even a foot in the door if you want to convert that temporary role at your client into a full-time.”
So what side hustle is right for you? The GoDaddy survey results revealed the 20 most common side hustles for Millennials and Baby Boomers, with Boomers more likely choose tutoring students or consulting work, while Millennials are more likely to do something involving clothing and accessories. Online selling is the leading hustle for both age groups.
Here is a list of some of the best options, organized by category:
You probably know about UBER and Lyft by now. These driving platforms are a good bet for those with a fairly new car who like to drive and enjoy meeting strangers. Ali Craig, branding expert and host of Fix My Brand With Ali Craig also likes it for networking. “Depending on where you pick up passengers, i.e. downtown business area vs. the suburbs, your passengers can be contacts for future professional ventures too,” she said. “I met an Uber driver who worked in the financial district of Boston because of the professional connections he made.”
There’s also HopSkipDrive or Kango, where drivers bring kids where they need to be if their parents are otherwise occupied. The vetting process is very stringent, as you would imagine, but if you would rather drive kids during waking hours than potentially drunk Gen Z-ers and Millennials in the wee hours, this might be a good option for you.
If you like to be mobile but don’t like carting people around, there are delivery services that you can drive, ride a bike or scooter or walk for, like Grubhub, Shipt, Instacart and DoorDash. With Grubhub and DoorDash, you deliver orders from restaurants, where with Shipt and Instacart, you deliver groceries.
Other delivery options are Saucy, where you sign up to deliver craft beer, wine and spirits. And Amazon Flex, which recently launched a pilot program in Seattle, where drivers deliver Amazon Prime Now orders within an hour.
Moving, assembly & cleaning
If lugging boxes and furniture is more your thing, Bellhops has opportunities for helping people move within your preferred service area. There’s also Dolly, which has hauling jobs, where your cargo van or box truck could come in handy. Takl, Handy and TaskRabbit offer a wider variety of projects, from handy person services to moving, to light plumbing and electrical.
There are lots of opportunities for animal – and people – lovers. Care.com has flexible jobs available for childcare, adult care and pet care. And then there’s
Wag!, Rover, and Barkly Pets, that are specific to pet care and pet walking.
There are several apps that have dozens of opportunities under one umbrella. So if you have a skill of some kind, whether you’re a website designer or an illustrator, check out Fiverr, Freelancer or SpareHire. Some of the projects will require higher skill levels than others, so it’s worth looking at a few platforms to see which one offers the best opportunities for your skillset.
Do what you love
Whether you’re a skilled jewelry maker, yoga instructor or entertainer, there’s a Gig Economy platform for you, too. For makers, Craig likes Etsy as a potential springboard to bigger business. “Etsy is a low-risk way to test your idea in the marketplace,” she said. “With no need for high inventory or even to have products waiting on the shelves – the Etsy buyer is ok if it takes a few weeks to receive their goods.”
Then there’s Patreon, which offers you a way to make money off of things you create online, from fitness videos to web comics. People become subscribers of your work, which is how you make money. Along those lines, Live.me is a live broadcasting app where you can engage with your followers in real time and earn “virtual gifts” – which eventually turn onto money – along the way. This platform is best suited for things can be done live, like singing, comedy playing video games, etc.
Rent your space
If you have room to spare in your home or a spare home in general, take a look at Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway.com. To help properly price your property, look at comparable homes on Tripping.com, which aggregates over a dozen home rental sites.
Have a spare parking space? You can earn money on that, too. Try Just Park or the SPOT app. Renting your parking space is illegal in some areas, so make sure you are following the rules that should be posted on these sites.
Rent your stuff
If you have things you don’t need all the time that might be of use to others, you can rent those too! Use Turo to rent your car or Rentah to rent out other goods, like sports and gaming equipment (you can offer services and rooms through Rentah as well).
There are many, many more, like VIPKID for tutors, Feastly for chefs and Fancy Hands for personal assistants, so shop around to find the right fit for what you have to offer. And when you find a platform that you want to sign up for, you will need to go through a thorough vetting process – some are more thorough than others – and possibly a background check. Most of the apps require a bank account so you can receive payment, so be prepared with that information as well.
If credit is on your mind, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To track your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades—plus you get two free credit scores updated each month.