Last year, the pandemic put the importance of saving money into perspective. Layoffs and furloughs due to the lockdown launched many people into new careers or left them thinking what's next. This year, though we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it's important to carry that mindset with us forward.
If you're working towards a goal like reducing debt or saving more money, or even getting back on your feet, you'll likely need to focus on making more money. Saving and reducing debt are important goals, yet they're difficult to realize when times are tough, or you're living paycheck to paycheck. Having some extra cash can help you move the needle towards your financial goals, without sacrificing other expenses or giving up some costs that may bring you comfort.
A side gig is one of the best ways to make extra cash, without making too many sacrifices.
Find the right side gig.
What works for one person might not work for you, so it's important to find something that you'll enjoy and feel comfortable doing. This list will give you an idea of gigs that you could start today to earn extra income each month.
1. Sell secondhand clothing.
If you're an avid thrifter, flipping clothes or furniture might be for you. Apps like Mercari, Depop and Poshmark are popular for selling brand name or designer clothing. With many retail stores still closed or operating at limited capacity, online shopping has become more popular than ever. More importantly, people are looking for good deals. This article from CNN estimates that the online market for secondhand clothing sales could reach $23 billion by 2023.
CNN also states that the average selling price on resale apps is about $20 for clothing, $35 for accessories, and $40 for shoes. However, luxury brands can have higher price points and still be successful.
If you're a thrifter and frequently come across good deals or happen to have a closet in need of downsizing, listing brand-name clothes at a reasonable price can be a lucrative business. In some cases, you can even operate your own boutique out of these apps, which allows you to buy items at wholesale prices.
2. Find and flip furniture.
If you're crafty, flipping furniture might be a good side gig for you. All it takes is a trained eye and some know-how. Facebook Marketplace, thrift stores, flea markets, and even the side of the road can house significant finds. Some flips may require woodworking or upholstery experience, while other pieces may only need fresh paint and new hardware. Fortunately, there are many blogs and YouTube channels with tutorials and ideas.
According to HGTV, it can take time to break into the market, so think before investing in materials: Is this something you'll enjoy doing? It also requires practice—you may have to try things and fail a few times before you get results that are market-ready. The upside is, you can often charge many times what you invest into the piece, since you're selling one-of-a-kind art.
3. Become a driver.
With indoor dining closures, delivery has been in high demand. As many restaurants were not equipped for delivery pre-pandemic, they've outsourced delivery to apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates. If you have a reliable car, and enjoy driving, delivery might be the ideal side gig for you.
While hard to estimate exact earnings, studies show that the hourly wage for delivery drivers is anywhere from $10-$20 an hour. Even a commitment of five hours a week could translate to an extra $50-$100 a week. To sign up, you'll need to provide proof of a reliable car, insurance, and a driver's license. Be aware that some areas may have lower demand for delivery drivers, and the average person uses more than one delivery app. For best results, consider signing up to drive for a range of apps so that you can get as much work as possible.
4. Find a part-time job.
If you're working a full-time job already, adding a part-time job on top of that might be demanding. However, it's not impossible; and for self-employed people or part-time workers, an additional job might be the perfect side-gig. Before searching for a job, it's important to get your hours squared away. When are you already working, and how will a new job fit into that schedule? Map out your time, and be sure to include time for meals, rest, and commute. Then you can look for work that fills the gaps.
If you have evenings free, bartending or waiting tables makes sense (if restaurants are open where you live). If you have weekends free, applying to businesses with a heavy weekend crowd is the way to go. The retail and entertainment industries have high weekend appeal. If you have time during the week, consider places that are normally staffed by college or high-school students—they may be looking for extra help during the school year.
You may be looking at minimum wage, however hours are often much more consistent than delivery driving. Indeed, GlassDoor, and (surprisingly) Facebook are all great places to search for job opportunities in your area.
Finally, if you have skills in writing, video-editing, graphic design or even songwriting, consider becoming a freelancer. Sites like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer are marketplaces where creatives can bid for jobs that fit their skill sets. Businesses large and small are often seeking help with their websites, books, or marketing—and use these platforms to outsource the work.
Breaking into the freelancing world can take some time, as higher paying customers often require a portfolio. However, smaller-budget start-ups can be great exposure as you build your platform. If you're willing to put the work in, you can climb the ladder quickly. Business News Daily cites a source that says the average freelancer makes $21 an hour. When starting out, you may be making less, though the more experience you gain, the more you can charge. Freelancing on the weekend could translate to a couple hundred dollars a month with any luck.
What's your side gig?
No matter your reasons for making extra cash this year, know that you have lots of options. When settling on what to do, it's important that if possible, it is both lucrative and enjoyable. A side gig can often be a great way to explore your interest outside of work and still make money. Who knows? Your side gig could even turn into a full-time business.