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Ho, ho, holy crap the holidays can be expensive! With all the gift giving and get-togethers, you might wonder if it’s possible to survive this season without spending all your paychecks.

Well, let me tell you, it is! All you have to do is commit to taking on some side hustles. Oh, and commit to doing it in such a way that you won’t infuriate your boss or upset your co-workers.

Here are the golden rules of making extra coin while staying off your company’s naughty list.


1. Keep it Kosher

One word of caution: Before you dive head first into a side gig, make sure that everything is on the up and up. Check that your company doesn’t have a non-compete clause. Or, if there is one that you signed when you came on board, make sure you’re clear on the terms so you can know exactly what other work you’re permitted to do.

This will give you the peace of mind that should your boss get wise to your extracurricular work, what you’re doing is well within your rights.


2. Keep it on the DL From Your Co-workers

Obviously, you can’t use company time to make some extra cash. Even so, offices are often full of gossip. And if your team members know you’re working on the side, misinformation about your split focus could spread. So, don’t feed the office gossips by telling anyone—even your best work friends—that you’re moonlighting.

With that said, if you think there’s a chance it could get back to your boss, say something now and ensure him or her that it will in no way interfere with your responsibilities. Better him finding out from you than him finding out on his own and then assuming that’s why your recent presentation arrived so late.

Oh, and if your side gig is something you’re open about—say you’re a graphic designer or a copywriter, which is obvious from your website and you’d want contacts to spread the word—just be religious about keeping those activities outside the workplace.


3. Make Sure It’s Flexible

Now, the key to keeping your side gig a secret (unlike the fact that you totally re-gifted that soap set in the office’s Secret Santa) from others, is that it has to be flexible enough to work during your free time.

Consider these options:


Upwork or Fiverr

Have some skills that you can offer as a freelancer, like personal assisting or web development? Find clients and projects easily on sites like Upwork or Fiverr.


Uber or Lyft

If you have a car with insurance, a clean driving record, and the patience and skill to navigate city streets like Rudolph, working with a ride-sharing service just might be the ticket for you.


TaskRabbit or AskForTask

If helping someone move on the weekend sounds like your idea of a good time (or doesn’t, but you’re willing to do it to make some extra money), becoming a tasker with TaskRabbit or AskForTask (in Canada) could be perfect for you. But you don’t have to love lifting heavy stuff. These companies are always looking for cleaners, errand runners, and general help.


4. Find Something Noncommittal

When it comes to holiday side hustles, being noncommittal is key. Year-end can be chaotic for some employers, so if your day job requires some unexpected, extra hours, you want to make sure that you are ready to give your all—without feeling the urgency to dash through the snow to work your side gig.

And what’s more noncommittal than working from your couch in your PJs? There are many online jobs available that you can do from the comfort of your own home. For example, take a break from happy hour this Friday and try to break a new website or find bugs in some software all from your living room. Sites like UserTesting.com—where you narrate and record your experience navigating a website—pay around $10 for 20 minutes of work, a great option for making extra bank.

Or, believe it or not, some companies will pay you to be opinionated. Try a site like SwagBucks, and earn gift cards that you can re-gift without the guilt. It has an app, so you can take this work on the go, too.

And, if you want cold hard cash, search for market research companies that pay you for filling out surveys or being part of a focus group. Or, if you’re particularly qualified and have significant expertise on a topic, consider signing up to offer advice on a site such as JustAnswer. Cha-ching!

Last, but not least, if you want to elevate your expert status, consider creating and selling a course on a site like Udemy. You’ll make some money and add a line to your resume.



While making a little extra dough around the holidays can be helpful, it’s never worth jeopardizing your actual bread and butter. Always make sure to be completely present and engaged at work. You’ll have a much easier time paying that credit card bill in January if you keep your day job.