Even if you’re making ends meet with your day job, wouldn’t you like to have a little extra cash for splurges—or better yet, to save for a rainy day? One of the best ways to give your budget a little wiggle room is to get a part-time gig. And that doesn’t have to mean a 15-hour-a-week restaurant job—your side hustle can be flexible, and it can even be fun!
Get creative and supplement your income with one of these great ideas.
1. Must Love Dogs
If you’re an animal lover , spend your mornings, nights, or weekends being a canine companion or a dog walker. (Built-in bonus: Free exercise!) Register on dogwalker.com , a site designed to match dog walkers with potential clients, post fliers at your local dog park or vet’s office, or just ask the canine parents in your building or neighborhood if they could use some extra hands.
2. Shop Girl
Love to shop? Why not help out the time-challenged (or style-challenged) by starting a personal shopping business? I know a marriage and family counselor who did just that: What started as her doing a favor for one friend turned into an ongoing service, which she now provides for several other friends and word of mouth clients.
Before you get going, figure out ahead of time how you will charge. Some people charge a percentage of what their client spends while others charge by the hour, but in either case, a minimum and a maximum are agreed upon ahead of time.
3. Now You’re Cooking
A lot of working professionals have no time to make healthy home-cooked meals and are willing to pay for someone who can either cook on site or deliver. Baking more your thing? Do like one empty nester I know, and start a specialty birthday cake business. She makes the most delicious custom cakes, perfect for themed parties. Word of mouth has her rolling in the dough (pun intended!). As another approach, you can also offer your services to event planners.
4. Be a Gal Friday
Are you a Jill-of-all-trades? Look into signing on with companies like TaskRabbit or My Gal Friday , which send qualified, reliable people like yourself to fulfill some of the everyday errands and chores that so many people need a hand with . Think post office runs, returning clothing, grocery shopping, filing, picking up dry cleaning, and even running a load or two of laundry.
Insider tip: Know your strengths and, more importantly, your weaknesses. If you don’t know the difference between a flat head and Phillips head screwdriver, don’t take on fix-it or furniture assembly jobs.
5. Child’s Play
Parents pay top dollar for responsible, knowledgeable tutors on all kinds of subjects, from geometry to German. You can sign up with a tutoring agency in your city or just let your friends with kids know you’re interested, and ask them to spread the word. Another great way to find clients is through counseling offices at schools. Just be prepared to prove you’re qualified: Bring test scores, transcripts, and a detailed resume including your educational background and any past experience.
6. The Write Stuff
Many businesses hire freelance newsletter writers , bloggers, and even ghost Tweeters . Check out sites like guru.com , textbroker.com , and problogger.net for listings, or advertise your services on Craigslist. Already published? Put together a portfolio that you can send to potential clients. Start with people you know who own small businesses and want to increase their marketing efforts but don’t have the resources to hire a full-time employee.
7. Be a Party Girl
Everyone loves a good party. And if your friends are still talking about your last soirée , chances are you could turn your party-hosting skills into a business. If you’re a regular at any particular bakery or restaurant, you can ask them to refer you to their customers. Or, start by throwing a party of your own. Invite your most social friends, show them a fantastic time, and send them home with a goodie bag, complete with a card advertising your new business.
When it comes to just how much extra income you can earn from these great side gigs, it’s all up to you. The more time you put in, the more money you’ll earn. But, if your plan is to keep it a side gig, don’t let the hours you spend affect your performance at your main job!
Once you’ve socked away some savings, treat yourself to something to celebrate your success. You’ll be able to afford it, and you’ll definitely have earned it.
Photo of dog walker courtesy of Shutterstock .
TopicsTools & Skills , Money , Freelancing , Career Paths , Negotiation & Money , Exploring Career Paths , Job Search , Syndication , Finding a Job
Susan Campbell Cross is a lifestyle expert, author, and on-air personality. She’s a contributing lifestyle editor of SHAPE, OK!, and Star Magazines and a regular lifestyle correspondent on San Diego Living and Autism Live, and she makes appearances on Daytime and KTLA. Her first book, The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life, spent many weeks as an Amazon Top Seller. For more, check out her “Cross Talk” column in SHAPE Magazine, her blog on SHAPE.com, and visit her websites, www.susancampbellcross.com and www.secretsofasuburbansoccermom.com.More from this Author