- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
If you’re looking to make a little extra cash on the side while you’ve got the safety net of steady employment, then starting a side hustle can help you achieve your objectives. There are many different ways for a person to make money online, and some of them are easier than others.
So when looking for a way to make some extra money, you have options. Even if you don’t realize it, you’ve got skills and resources that you can monetize in today’s market. Sometimes all it takes is a little awareness of what’s possible. To get you started down the path to launching your side hustle, here are five ways to make money without quitting your day job.
1. DAY TRADING ONLINE
Trading stocks online is a path to big money, but it can also lead to huge losses. The key to day-trading is to start small. Along the way, take the time to educate yourself on how the stock market works. Figure out what buying on margin is and what benefits it can provide. Learn the difference between a short sell and taking a long position on a stock.
Persistence is a key factor here. You’re putting up capital and risking it all in an endeavour where you’re initially not quite sure what you’re doing. Making money through day-trading is not easy and it’s definitely not a guarantee. You have to be willing to pay attention, do your research, know when to make your moves, and be smart about the moves you do make.
Over time, you’ll become more adept at trading. You’ll make some stumbles along the way, all traders do. But if you keep at it and approach day-trading with the right mindset, you can succeed.
You can get started day-trading by opening an account at an online broker like E-Trade, Robinhood, or TD Ameritrade. Just remember to start small. Don’t take big risks when you’re starting out or your day-trading side hustle will be over almost before it started.
2. MYSTERY SHOPPING
If you think being paid to shop and getting stuff for free sounds like a sweet deal, then becoming a mystery shopper might be for you. But what is a mystery shopper?
Companies pay people to shop their stores and provide feedback about the level of service they’ve received. Even though it’s called mystery shopping, the job covers more than just a shopping environment. You could be asked to review how you were treated at a hotel, your experience shopping at a grocery store, or even rating the service of a restaurant.
If this sounds like a side-gig you want to pursue, start by looking into any mystery shopping providers set up in your area. Once you find one, do a quick check to make sure they’re approved by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. Most of the time, applying to be a mystery shopper is free, but you will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement and submit to a background check.
Some of the qualifications companies look for in mystery shoppers are being observant and detail-oriented, having good writing and communication skills, and being able to differentiate good service from mediocre. Mystery shoppers can make around $10 for easy assignments and as much as $100 or even more for longer, more detailed jobs.
3. THE GIG ECONOMY
In recent years, the gig economy — freelance workers powered through apps — has grown dramatically. These jobs offer a flexible schedule and can be a great way to pick up extra cash while holding down a day job. A lot of different industries have started to be powered by this flexible workforce, but here are a few of the more prominent options to start as a gig worker.
Ride-sharing. This simply means driving people from one place to the other, a job that used to be exclusive to taxis. Uber and Lyft are the two largest ride-sharing providers out there. If you like driving and like interacting with people, becoming a ride-share driver may be a great avenue for you to pick up some extra cash.
Drivers can make on average around $16 to $17 per hour. One drawback though is the wear and tear on your car — and you have to cover the cost of gasoline. But it can be lucrative if you lof enough hours behind the wheel. If you don’t have a car, both companies offer leasing programs.
Delivery services. Food delivery apps are incredibly popular, especially in the era of Covid-19. Door Dash and Postmates (owned by Uber) both offer the opportunity to pick up food from a participating restaurant and deliver it to the person who ordered it. These jobs offer an experience very similar to ride-sharing, but you’re transporting food instead of people.
Odd jobs. TaskRabbit (owned by Ikea) is a great platform if you’re handy or like doing odd jobs. You can perform almost any job with TaskRabbit from building furniture, hanging pictures, hauling heavy equipment, cleaning homes, or even troubleshooting computer problems.
And if you own a truck, people — especially in cities — are always on the lookout for someone who can haul things for them. You may even find a job picking up furniture, then assembling it after it’s delivered. For TaskRabbit, you can choose to be paid by hour or by task, and the prices charged can vary significantly.
4. SELL SOMETHING
Chances are you’ve got something sitting around your house that someone else would pay good money for. You might have some old gadgets in a drawer that you can sell to Decluttr or Gazelle. In the back of your closet you’ve probably got some old clothes you don’t wear anymore that you can list on Poshmark or ThredUP. Even those unwanted gift cards can find someone who’ll use them on Raise or CardCash.
For almost anything else you want to sell, eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist all offer broad marketplaces where you can list your potential treasures. Even Facebook and the neighborhood app Nextdoor have regional sales platforms, which can be good solutions for larger items like furniture and appliances.
5. START A BUSINESS
If you’ve got an entrepreneurial mind, the next step on the sales ladder is starting an online business. Today technological innovations make it easy to start a drop-shipping business without keeping inventory or even touching the products that you sell. You can open a shop on Amazon with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), sell T-shirts online through Teespring, or use Shopify to create a unique online store.
Those are just some of the options available. These days, it’s possible to create your own online shop selling pretty much anything you can think of. And best of all, you can run a drop-shipping business from your home with a very small (if any) initial capital investment and very little effort.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Starting a side hustle can be a great way to pay down your debt, save for a vacation, or just make a little extra money without quitting your day job. But, with a little effort, it can turn into a profitable enterprise all on its own.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell