37 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021
We flag a wide variety of cool side hustles to earn bonus bucks to cover expenses expected and unexpected as we begin to emerge from the pandemic lockdown.
As some degree of normalcy returns during the pandemic, coming up with extra cash to pay the bills, cover unexpected expenses, boost savings, accelerate your 401(k) or perhaps even finance a dream vacation isn’t as hard as it seems. Plenty of legit, and many unique, moneymaking opportunities are out there for you to capitalize on at your convenience, with the perk of no long-term commitment and, in most cases, setting your own hours.
Updated for 2021, our diverse list of side hustles is packed with plenty of tactics to earn extra cash — 37 ideas for you to consider, along with resources and pointers to get you started. Some are good for a fast buck, while others could turn into consistent streams of income. Find out which cash-generating ideas could work best for you.
Become an Election Officer
You can cash in on our right to vote on Election Day. Many localities need election officers, especially those who are bilingual. And while the hours may be long, the pay isn’t bad for a day’s – in some cases 5 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. – work.
For example, in Fairfax County, Va., which needs thousands of poll workers, election officers are paid $175 for a full day (step up your game and get paid $225 as an assistant chief election officer and $250 as a chief election officer). In Monterey County, Calif., election officers are paid $135 (for clerks) and $185 (for inspectors).
Generally, to qualify, you must be at least 18 years of age and a registered voter in the state, be a U.S. citizen, read and write English, and have transportation to the polling place. You'll likely also have to devote time to attend a training class. Here’s a video about becoming an election officer.
Pro tip: Bring plenty of snacks. It's a very long day, and you cannot leave the polling place to grab a bite.
Coach a Youth Sports Team
As youth team sports return, you may consider coaching. This one may require some creative workarounds with your full-time job – but that’s the deal with most moonlighting work. In the case of coaching youth teams, it often means late-afternoon, evening and weekend availability, plus knowledge of the intricacies of a sport – soccer, hockey, softball, you name it -- and the patience and talent to teach it to others.
Many recreational youth sports clubs, especially travel teams, around the country pay their coaching staffs. The pay scale for youth soccer coaches on club teams, for example, tops out at around $2,000 per month at the highest level ($200-$400 per month at the lowest level, $500 to $2,000 per month for premier coaches), according to Job Monkey, a job-search website. But note: You must be certified at various levels to earn that kind of money and have safety certifications, which may or may not be paid by the organization.
Some high schools around the country also rely on outside individuals to coach teams if teachers aren’t interested in taking those positions. (I coached high-school soccer and a club youth soccer team for a few years while also working my full-time job as a journalist.) Pay varies. I received $2,500 per season for coaching high-school soccer. Of course, from pre-season to post-season and all the daily practices and games in between, that’s not a lot of money – but it helped, and it was a lot of fun.
If you’re a professional, colleges and universities are always on the lookout for adjunct professors or lecturers. Some may require a master’s degree; others just a college degree and professional experience to share with students. I taught visual and print journalism at two esteemed J-schools – one required a master’s degree, which I have – for 10 years while holding down a full-time job. The side hustles added several thousand dollars to my annual household income, and, more, it was richly fulfilling to work with students eager to learn. How do you get an adjunct teaching job? Reach out to community colleges, colleges or universities where you live. Depending on your specialty – say, accounting – contact the department head in that particular school and inquire about becoming an adjunct.
How about substitute teaching? The pandemic accelerated teacher retirements, and some schools are in desperate need of teachers. Grade schools and high schools nationwide are looking for people to substitute teach. Some districts hire directly (during a recent federal government shutdown, the Fairfax County Public School system in northern Virginia outside of Washington, D.C., actively encouraged furloughed government workers to substitute teach and held a series of workshops seeking substitute teachers). Some districts have outsourced the hiring process. ESS, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based K-12 educational staffing firm, works with more than 750 school systems in 28 states to fill substitute teacher and other staffing positions with its base of more than 60,000 substitutes and permanent employees.
The company says it fills many nonteaching roles that don’t require certification. These are filled by people who are maybe getting their feet wet, seeing if they want to pursue a teaching career. It varies by state and school district, but some don’t require substitutes to have teaching certification. Pennsylvania, for example, allows people with a bachelor’s degree to apply for a one-year emergency certification to substitute. Check the websites of school districts in your area to see if they are hiring substitutes. Many also offer training to teach remotely during the pandemic.
Pay varies by district. The Fairfax County Public School system was recently paying substitute teachers $14.50 to $20.50 per hour.
Here’s a state-by-state guide to requirements, and in some cases, pay and benefits, for substitute teachers, courtesy of the National Education Association.
Be a Tour Guide
Many guided tours had been put on hold during the pandemic, but they’re starting to reopen. And you could cash in.
If you live near an historic site overseen by the National Park Service, you could become a licensed guide with the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides. For example, the Licensed Battlefield Guides of Gettysburg, the Pennsylvania site of one of the most epic battles of the American Civil War, are licensed and regulated by the National Park Service and are the only individuals legally allowed to conduct visitors around the national park for a fee. Rates for a two-hour basic battlefield tour range from $63 to $132 depending on group size, with prorated fees of $31.50 to $66 per hour for additional time. Tips are not required but often given. The guides and tours are currently following COVID-19 protocols.
Are you a runner? Consider earning extra bucks as a running tour guide. City Running Tours – “sweat and sightsee simultaneously” – is one company offering “sightrunning” (it’s a thing) services in 14 (and counting) U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., and Honolulu (and two cities in Canada). The company offers personalized or group tours. Tips aren’t required, but permitted.
"Our tour guides make on average about $20-$40 per tour plus incentives based on seniority, type of tour, distance, number of participants, referrals and positive reviews," Michael Gazaleh, president and CEO of City Running Tours, tells us.
Sell Unwanted Electronics
Don’t leave smart phones, tablets, computers or game consoles you’re no longer using in a desk drawer or the back of a closet. You can easily cash in on your unwanted electronics – even damaged items – by selling them online.
Sell used smart for instant cash at one of ecoATM’s thousands of kiosks and get instant cash. Use the site to find one near you. They’re located in Walmart stores, Kroger supermarkets, malls and other locations (I found two in the small Virginia city where I live). At uSell, you can sell smart phones, tablets, game consoles, and more. You get paid by check or through PayPal. Shipping with all of these sites is free. Or bring your video games, game consoles, smart phones and tablets, and accessories to GameStop -- ever heard of it? -- to earn cash or store credit without the shipping hassles.
Search for Unclaimed Property
Federal and state coffers hold billions of dollars’ worth of unclaimed property. Some of it could be yours, but it's up to you to track down the cash.
The feds hang on to tax refunds that are returned to the IRS because of mailing-address errors or that are never claimed by taxpayers because they didn’t file returns. The government also holds on to forgotten savings bonds, government-guaranteed mortgage-insurance refunds and government pensions that were never claimed. There's no central database, so you'll have to check with individual federal agencies about missing funds.
State governments hold onto uncashed dividend checks, returned utility deposits, unclaimed state-tax refunds, uncollected insurance benefits, and stock dividends, among other things. (If a bank or other payer doesn’t have your last known address on file, it will turn over your money to the state in which the institution is incorporated.) You can search for unclaimed property held by states at Unclaimed.org and Missingmoney.com.
Yes, I did this, in 2017. And yes, I found some unclaimed funds, in the coffers of New York state, where I once lived. I followed the procedure and sent a notarized letter to New York and heard back. I received three checks totaling $134.
If you have a special skill -- whether it’s the ability to play an instrument well, paint like Picasso or explain calculus in a way anyone (even me) can understand -- you may be able to make money sharing it with others. For example, you could earn $10 to $75 an hour tutoring individual kids or college students if you speak a second language or have great math, science or writing skills.
Advertise your services on school, campus and community bulletin boards, or tutoring web sites such as Wyzant (where you choose your own hourly rate) and Tutor.com. And take advantage of social media sites, such as Facebook, to let people know about the lessons you’re able to teach.
Model for Artists
Modeling is another great way to earn money. If you’re comfortable posing nude in front of artists and are capable of holding poses for as long as 30 minutes, consider life modeling. Artists want to draw bodies of all shapes and sizes in order to hone their skills. Typical sessions last three hours, and pay is about $18 to $25 per hour, according to job listings on Jobmonkey.com. During sessions, models start with short one-minute gesture poses, then transition to longer poses lasting from five to 30 minutes. If you’re interested in becoming a life model, contact art schools at local colleges, art organizations and community centers. You can also check Artmodeltips.com for a list of life drawing sessions in the U.S. and guidance on entering this field of work.
If you’re uncomfortable with nekkid life modeling, you could take other routes. How about modeling just part of your bod? Fashion magazines, TV shows, commercials and movies are always in need of attractive hands, feet, legs, even beards, unique ears and that perfectly shaped bald pate. In-demand body-part models earn anywhere from $1,000 a day for TV work and $2,000-$5,000 for print work, according to Forbes. Contact local and national modeling agencies, including Los Angeles-based BodyPartsModels.com.
Get Paid for Your Opinions
Market-research firms are hired by big businesses to get inside the heads of consumers. Participation in an in-person focus group led by a moderator, such as those run by Focus Pointe Global, can earn you rewards points or Visa debit cards. Focus Pointe Global also has opportunities for telephone, app or online surveys as well as clinical trials.
In exchange for taking online and phone surveys, firms such as Harris Poll Online offer rewards points redeemable for gift cards and merchandise from the likes of Visa (debit cards), Amazon.com, Starbucks and iTunes. Beware scams, though. Legitimate firms won’t charge a fee or ask you to cash a check and wire back part of the money.
Lawyers are getting in on the act, too. “Online jurors” can earn cash for giving their opinions on legal cases. EJury.com pays $5 to $10 per case. You’ll need a PayPal account. At OnlineVerdict.com, where fees for “jurors” range from $20 to $60 (the case reviews take from 20 minutes to 60 minutes to complete), payment is made by check.
Sell Gold and Silver for Scrap
If you have gold jewelry that isn’t valuable as an antique or a designer piece, consider selling it for scrap. Keep in mind that most gold jewelry isn't pure, say 14-karat or 18-karat, so you’ll need to calculate the melt value to get a better sense of its worth as scrap. The melt value reflects the actual amount of gold in the jewelry; a dealer will offer you a percentage of that value. Quotes will vary widely, so get several.
The same goes for silver. Maybe you inherited a few sterling trays you never use. Assuming the trays hold no particular value to collectors, sell them for scrap rather than trying to sell them at a consignment store or online. Check with several metals dealers, both online and at storefront locations, to get quotes. Expect to receive about 85% to 90% of your silver’s melt value.
Sell Gently Worn Clothing
If you or your family members have brand-name clothing, accessories or shoes that are in good condition but no longer being used, turn them into quick cash by selling them on consignment. Research the consignment shops in your area to find the right match for the types and styles of clothing you have to sell. Most consignment stores will price items at one-third of their retail value, and you’ll likely get 50% of the price at which your items eventually sell.
You might be able to get more for your used clothes by selling them online. For example, you can earn up to 80% of the resale value of women’s and kids’ clothing, shoes and handbags at fashion resale site ThredUp.com, an online thrift and consignment shop. Shipping to ThredUp.com is free, and you can get cash or store credit. If you have high-end men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry, watches and accessories, try your luck with luxury consignment site The RealReal. You earn up to 85% of the resale value in cash (but it will more likely be 40%-50%). Another option for designer clothing and accessories: Tradesy, which pays a 19.8% commission of the resale value of items $50 or more. You receive earnings via PayPal, debit card or a bank account. (Note: Several of these sites require that you register before you can enter and explore.)
A newer player in this space, Poshmark, takes it all -- clothing for women, men and children, plus handbags, shoes, jewelry and makeup. All items you sell that are under $15, Poshmark takes a $2.95 flat commission. On sales over $15, you keep 80% of the sale, and Poshmark keeps 20%.
Or skip the middle-man and sell your used clothing on eBay, which will require more effort on your part but could result in a bigger return.
Babysitting can be a fun way to put money in your pocket if you like kids. If you advertise your availability via online services, hourly rates vary by city (and demands of services). In smaller towns and cities, such as Palatine, Ill., and Schaumburg, Ill., the going rate is $10 to $15 an hour; in big cities such as New York and Washington, expect to earn $10 to $40 an hour as a babysitter or nanny. Advertise your services on community bulletin boards, the public library or houses of worship. You can also place a listing or search for jobs on sites such as Care.com and Sittercity, which notes the average hourly rate for babysitters in the U.S. is just under $14.
Sell Excess Furniture
If you have an attic, garage or storage unit filled with furniture you’re not using, unload those items for cash by selling them on Craigslist. (You might even end up saving the monthly cost of your storage unit.) You can list large items (free) on your local Craigslist classifieds, and buyers will come to you — if you're comfortable with that (some people I know who sell on Craigslist meet the buyers at a neutral, very public location, including police stations, just to play it safe). Just be sure to insist on cash to avoid bounced checks. Take good photos, share key details and provide a concise description of what you’re selling.
If you don’t want the hassle of selling items yourself, take furniture and home accessories you no longer want to an upscale consignment store that gets a lot of traffic so that you can get top dollar for your items. Expect to split the profit 50/50 with the store.
For online furniture consignment, try sites such as Chairish, which lets you sell your used or vintage furniture and home decor and earn up to 80% of the resale value, or AptDeco, which helps you sell used home furnishings. AptDeco retains between 25% and 38% of the sale price. Listings for both sites are free.
Sell Collectibles Online
Perhaps you collected baseball cards (or stamps, coins or Beanie Babies) when you were young, and now they’re just collecting dust. But they might be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. One place to get top dollar for your collectibles and small items of value is eBay. Click on the “register” link in the top left corner of the homepage to create an account. Then visit the site’s “Seller Center” to learn how to sell. (Or check out our slide show with 9 Secrets to Making More Money on Your eBay Auction.) You can list 50 items every month for free, and you’ll pay a 10% fee (lower in some cases) on each item when it sells. Research prices for merchandise similar to what you plan to sell, so that you can price your wares competitively.For more tips on how and where to sell valuable items, see 6 Things You Should Know About Collectibles.
Redeem Rewards Points
You could be sitting on an untapped source of cash if you haven’t bothered to redeem your credit card rewards points lately. One-third of all rewards -- everything from airline miles to cash back -- worth a total of $16 billion go unredeemed each year, according to a study by marketing research firm Colloquy. Per household, that averages out to $205 worth of rewards a year that aren’t redeemed.
The next-best thing to getting cash for points is a general-purpose gift card, something I stumbled on recently as I was looking at my NASA Federal Credit Union credit card statement online. I’d actually racked up enough rewards points to land a $50 Costco gift card. At American Express, for example, 10,000 Membership Rewards on a Blue from American Express card points earn $70 retailer-specific -- Amazon and Best Buy, for example -- gift cards from AmEx.
Sell Used Books
Stop letting your used books collect dust on a book shelf, and start selling them online. BookScouter.com makes it easy for you to get the best price for your books. Simply type in the ISBN, which you can find on Amazon.com, from your book, and BookScouter.com scans prices from more than 30 book-buying sites to show you which ones are offering the most. For example, the highest price offered recently for a copy of American Dirt (bought new for about $16.79 at Amazon), was $5.27 from sellbackyourbook.com.
BookScouter.com is also a good place to find out who’s doling out the best prices for used college textbooks. For example, we plugged in the ISBN for the textbook International Environmental Law and Policy ($241 new at Amazon) and found sellbackyyourbook.com would buy it for $105.28.
Walk or Pet-Sit Dogs
Why not get a little exercise while you earn anywhere from $10 to $30 for about an hour’s work? Working folks will pay plenty for you to take mutts W.C. or Moonshadow on a daily stroll while they’re (the owners, not the pets) at the office. Or consider pet-sitting for people while they’re on vacation for a daily fee of $50 or more. Advertise your services in veterinarians’ offices, on Craigslist or on sites such as Care.com.
You can also team up with an existing dog-walking operation that handles client recruitment and scheduling. To find one, ask other dog walkers you encounter whether they're part of a group or check Craigslist.
Marking similar territory is Rover.com, a website for those of you looking to be pet caregivers (and, as well, a site for pet owners to find you). Rover offers dog boarding services, pet- and/or house-sitting services, doggy day care and even drop-in services where caregivers stop by your crib for quick potty services (for the dog) and a mini-playdate. Rover has some stringent guidelines for the folks it hires (only taking on less than 20 percent of potential sitters, the company says). The Seattle, Wash.-based firm has services in more than 34,000 communities in North America. Rover says sitters it backs via its website can earn up to $1,000 a month (sitters set their own rates; Rover takes a 20% bite per booking).
Get Freelance Work
Plenty of media, corporate and nonprofit websites are looking for freelancers to write, edit or design content for an average of $30 to $70 per hour, according to the web site Freelancewriting.com. Freelancewriting.com and Freelance Writing Jobs provide a long list of freelance writing opportunities culled from several top sites, along with advice and tips for freelance writers. Freelancer.com offers a wide variety of freelancing jobs in categories such as design, media and architecture or writing and content. For $14.99 a month, you can join Mediabistro’s MB Unlimited to post your qualifications and get support for your endeavors. Krop is a useful site for developers and designers, but it, too, posts jobs for copywriters and copy editors.
If you fancy yourself a skilled photographer, you can also earn extra cash by selling photos to stock art sites such as Getty Images/iStock and Shutterstock. At both sites, you must apply to be a contributor by submitting samples of your photos, illustrations, videos or audio. If approved, you’ll earn royalties when your files are downloaded by paying clients. Getty Images royalty rates are 20% for still images and 25% for video clips. iStock royalty rates start at 15% for photos and 20% for videos and illustrations (if you sign as an exclusive contributor to iStock, you can earn between 25% and $45%). Shutterstock’s royalty payouts are between 15% and 40%.
Sell Your Creations
If you have a knack for creating anything from baked goods to intricate art designs, you can profit from your talent.
It happened to Stacy Brown, founder of the Auburn, Ala.-based Chicken Salad Chick restaurant chain. Brown’s personal quest to create the perfect chicken salad morphed into a small side business where she was selling her creation from her house – until the health department informed her she couldn’t sell food from her home kitchen. Voila. A restaurant was born from whence a chain sprung (sprung chicken?). For more about Brown’s story, see Small-Business Success Story: Chicken Salad Chick.
So you’re an excellent baker (according to all your friends). You can find clients for your baked goods by volunteering to provide treats for your children’s school functions or for church or other religious gatherings, or by selling them at a farmer’s market, flea market or local festivals.
If art and design are more your speed, consider selling your creations online (or at local craft shows, when they return post-pandemic). Online sites include Etsy, DeviantArt or Zazzle. Etsy and Zazzle feature products such as jewelry, quote posters, vintage clothing and even pet supplies. DeviantArt mainly sells art prints.
Participate in Clinical Trials
If you're willing to be a human guinea pig, you can pad your pockets by participating in clinical research trials. Compensation depends on the nature of the trial and the amount of time involved, but payment can range from a few hundred dollars to $4,000 per study.
Legitimate studies are sponsored by medical institutions and pharmaceutical companies. You’ll be required to undergo a health screening to determine if you’re eligible to participate. Come-ons for clinical trials litter the Internet. Many are scams. The safe play is to peruse studies that are actively recruiting participants at ClinicalTrials.gov, a database run by the National Institutes of Health. Search by location to identify local trials.
Cash in on Unused Gift Cards
The amount of sold-but-unredeemed -- or “closed loop,” to use retail industry parlance -- gift cards in the U.S. each year totals $1 billion, according to CEB Global. So grab the unwanted cards you have lying around your house, open the loop and turn them into cash by selling them online at sites such as Gift Card Granny. You won't get the full value of your card (up to 92% at best). But if you have no intention of using the card, it's like getting free money.
Amend Your Tax Return
Consider amending recent years’ tax returns to claim missed deductions. For example, you can qualify for a tax credit worth between 20% and 35% for what you pay for childcare while working. See The 20 Most-Overlooked Tax Breaks and Deductions for more breaks that might be worth amending your return to claim in hindsight.
You generally have three years from the date you filed your original return or two years from the date you paid any tax due, whichever is later, to file an amended return if you missed a tax break or need to make other changes. The deadline for amending your 2016 return expires April 15.
Rent Out Your Home
Get cash in hand on the first of every month: Recruit a roommate to share living costs and/or rent. Just be sure to first consider 8 Reasons Roommates Fight About Money.
Not interested in a long-term houseguest? Websites including Airbnb make it easy to rent out a spare room, a wing of your house or a backyard cottage.
Beth Everett and her husband, Glenn, built a cottage in their backyard in 2014 for their son Jordan to live in when he’s home from college. But while the studio sat empty, visitors to Portland, Ore., began renting the cozy space through Airbnb for $99 a night.
Fox Lair, as it’s known, offers heated floors, a small sitting area decked out with guitars and bongos, and plenty of eclectic artwork. Everett estimated that in 2015 they earned about $9,000 from a steady stream of visitors, money she used to help pay for editing and cover designs for her self-published books, the Lee Harding mystery series. “It was the easiest money I ever made,” she says. “And it was fun.”
You can list your space free on Airbnb, then pay 3% to the site when you receive a successful booking.
Another option: Do you live in a resort town or busy metropolitan area? You can rent out your home on Vrbo (formerly Vacation Rental By Owner). You set your rates and also charge the renters a $50 cleaning fee. Vrbo charges renter-members 5% of the booking fee.
My wife and I rented out a single-family home via Vrbo in Asheville, N.C., in October 2018 to attend a family wedding. We pitched in with other relatives to cover the cost of the week-long stay. An upside (next to the stunning views and low cost): The owners were nearby when we had a slight plumbing problem and promptly responded.
Join a Direct Sales Team
These days, Avon isn’t the only direct-sales opportunity. You can start a side business selling anything from cookware to clothing to home decor to, yes, Tupperware. Popular possibilities include Mary Kay and the Pampered Chef.
With direct sales, start-up costs are usually low (figure $200 or less), your work schedule is flexible and earnings are commission-based (typically 25% to 30% of sales). Generally, you can increase your take by recruiting others to the sales team – if that makes you comfortable. When I lived and worked in Michigan, I was constantly hounded by friends and co-workers who were selling Amway, which is based in Grand Rapids. They were making good side money.
Be a Blogger or YouTube Star
If you like to write, or think it would be fun to share your knowledge about a particular subject, start a blog. WordPress.org and Blogger.com offer free blogging platforms. Want to go bigger? Try GoDaddy.com for domain name registration, as well as website building, hosting and security. Turn to Google for Publishers for a free way to display ads on your site to earn money.
If you have a camera and something unique to share, you can cash in on YouTube. A reasonable goal for amateur filmmakers is to score viral fame with a YouTube channel. That means making a series of videos, each of which can run a little longer than three minutes. Highlight a specific skill or theme -- say, cooking, standup comedy, fixing plumbing (which I tap often) or repairing older cars (ditto). Your videos will drive traffic to one another while you perfect your skill and earn “subscribers.” To generate views, reach out to media outlets and bloggers with a link to your videos.
Drive Other People
If you’ve ever found yourself in need of a quick ride, you may have turned to Uber, the anytime, anywhere ride-hailing service that has gained enormous popularity over the last several years. But have you ever considered becoming an Uber driver? Requirements for being an Uber driver in most cities are: You must be legally able to drive and have at least one year of driving experience (three if you’re under 23), own a car that , and pass background and driving checks. If you meet the requirements, you could earn cash by driving people around in your free time.
Uber at one time said drivers’ average earnings per hour are about $19; some observers have estimated it’s far less than that. And don’t forget to factor in the costs associated with using your own car, such as gas, maintenance, insurance and cleaning. Also, your earnings depend upon how much you work and how many rides you give, among other factors.
Uber’s biggest ride-share competitor is Lyft. Like Uber, Lyft has age, vehicle and background-check requirements for drivers.
Rent Out Your Car
We just told you about making extra dough by driving for the ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft. What about just renting out your car and leaving the driving to Gus? Or any other stranger. It’s possible on Getaround. From the renter’s end, they get a reliable car to rent – fees start at $5 an hour, and they can be rented hourly or daily – with no monthly dues or tons of paperwork. Insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance is included in the rental, which the renter finds, rents and unlocks via an app.
From your end, when you sign on with Getaround – you will be screened – you decide when your vehicle is available for rental, and you unlock your car and rent it out using Getaround’s smart-car technology. Getaround pays for a $1 million insurance policy on your rental, and drivers are screened.
If you buy into this ride-share plan to make money while your car is idle, Getaround says car-owners can make up to $1,000 a month renting out their mostly idle vehicle.
Perform Odd Jobs and Small Tasks
Surf over to Fiverr, an online community of freelancers of all stripes. There, you can advertise your proficiency in skills including writing and translation, video and animation, voice-over world and advertising. As Fiverr’s name indicates, your services sell starting at $5 a pop, and you have the option of adding ancillary services to make more money. Fiverr keeps 20% of customer payments, meaning you earn $4 from every $5 in services you sell.
For more intensive jobs, try joining TaskRabbit, which is owned by Ikea. If you live in or near one of 62 regions served by the site in 2021, you can perform tasks such as waiting in line for someone, running errands, building shelves, assembling Ikea furniture or lifting heavy items. Set your own fees with TaskRabbit, and you keep 100% of what you charge plus tips (for example, a "tasker" in Albany, N.Y., was making $28 per hour for help moving). The company says it has an intensive vetting process.
Teachers Pay Teachers
So you teach, maybe full time, maybe part time. You’ve created some dynamic lesson plans and units, task cards, activities, Common Core resources, games, classroom décor and so much more that goes into teaching. How about selling it (or, if you’re looking for a classroom boost, buying classroom material others have created)? Welcome to Teachers Pay Teachers, a website dedicated to the craft. Since its inception in 2006 by a New York City school teacher, TpT says it has paid out more than $330 million to teachers willing to share. Note there are a host of guidelines, topmost which is you cannot sell on TpT material that is copyrighted to someone else. Original material sold on the site includes learning games teaching reading and math skills, writing tools, flash cards, books and more.
California first grade teacher Chery Akaba-McCumber told the Sacramento Bee newspaper she made $1,500 selling an educational game she created and sold on TpT for $2.25 – that’s 1,781 sales. “As you can see, it really adds up, even for such a relatively inexpensive item,” Akaba-McCumber said.
There are three types of memberships: TpT Membership and Basic Seller accounts, both free to join, and Premium Seller, which costs $60 a year. TpT retains between 20% and 45% of the sale price, plus transaction fees.
Become a Taste Tester
In the old comic strip Li’l Abner, the title character had the dream job of testing mattresses for the Stunned Ox mattress company by actually sleeping on them. How about you and I become taste-testers for giant food manufacturers such as Perdue or a market-research firm hired by the food and beverage industry to gauge consumer tastes, get free food and other perks?
Delmarva Sensory in Salisbury, Md., is one such company that hires taste-testers for Perdue, which has a major presence in Maryland. Delmarva requires potential testers to fill out an online application. If you’re accepted, there are four forms of testing: (1) Visiting a central location and tasting food and providing your feedback; (2) working in focus groups with a moderator; (3) testing products at home (and they give you enough for two people, I’m told); and (4) web surveys.
Testers evaluate everything from taste and packaging to how the product was prepared. You may even be testing product concepts still in development.
Once accepted by Delmarva Sensory, you log in to your account to choose dates and time slots for tests that you qualify for. Compensation is in the form of $20 e-giftcards (a more complex test can mean more compensation) or manufacturer coupons. The company also seeks children, dogs and cats (but no guinea pigs) for taste-testing.
Spice manufacturer McCormick Corp. also hires taste-testers for events in Hunt Valley, Md., near its corporate headquarters. McCormick is a little more stringent on frequency: Tastings of food, beverages, and snacks are done weekdays during day and evening hours, and participants can attend and evaluate up to four times a year. You must register at McCormick. Compensation depends upon the size and duration of the test, McCormick notes.
Market-research firm Focus & Testing of Los Angeles chooses taste-testers from its database for events in L.A., Columbus, Ohio, and other markets. Compensation ranges from $40 for a 20-minute test or as much as $100 for longer research projects.
Wrap Advertising on Your Ride
Why the blank look on your car? It could be advertising stuff, other than the make and model and dealer of your ride. We’re talking legit ads you have applied to your vehicle that get you paid. Hit up Carvertise, a Wilmington, Del.-based company that finds the advertisers and puts you in the driver’s seat, your car wrapped in ads unique to the market where you roam the streets.
The standard payment rate, says Carvertise, is $100 per month. Depending on where you wander, you could make a little more just by parking your car “in certain places at certain times,” to get eyeballs on your rolling billboard, no doubt. That’s another $30 per hour.
Another player in this space is Stickr, which pays you to wrap advertising made of high-end perforated vinyl material on your vehicle much as city buses do. Stickr will charge you an upfront fee of $10, but you get that back when you prove you have the sticker on your ride.
Stickr claims drivers can earn cash plus $50-$175 in local restaurant gift cards monthly.
If you live in a community governed by a homeowners association, make sure there aren't rules about parking vehicles with advertising on them in your 'hood.
And beware of scams, Carvertise cautions. Some companies pitching putting ads on your car will ask you, the driver, for money or to write a check to someone. Those companies aren’t legit, Carvertise says.
Sponsor a Spot for Pet Relief
Who's a good boy? You are, when you turn your extra space into a dog park. Sniffspot, “the Airbnb for dog off-leash areas,” gives pet owners a place to let their charges run free. Essentially, you’re creating a dog park on your property — and earning yourself some walking-around money in the process (Sniffspot says some of its hosts make as much as $1,000 per month).
Sniffspot’s stringent procedures and safeguards include verification of pet vaccinations and flea prevention, screenings for aggressive dogs (they’ll be banned) and insurance against damage to your property (Sniffspot says it’s never had a claim filed).
All types of properties are welcome to be listed. Property owners set their own per-hour per-dog rate. Sniffspot collects the funds and keeps 12%, plus a 10% marketing surcharge for hosts who joined the site after July 26, 2018.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, pet owners are responsible for cleaning up dog waste.
Who knows, with your talent for teaching voice, your student may end up on “The Voice” – thanking you.
Seriously, if you have a vocal talent (more than singing in the shower), and the creativity and gumption to teach it to others, you can turn it into some Dough-Re-Me via a highly flexible side hustle.
Many voice coaches typically have a college degree in music, but it’s not a requirement. What is required is for you to find a place to teach and a way to scour for aspiring talent – your students. For solid cred on your voice-coach resume, you could become a licensed Institute for Vocal Advancement teacher (and post your skills on the IVA website to find students).
A key is finding a place to teach. Some possibilities: rent private studio space, or rent space at colleges (schools that specialize in music are best), high schools or homes. The better bet: A music studio built to teach voice that comes equipped with musical instruments, microphones, and the ability to record sessions.
Voice coaches charge upward of $30 an hour, according to Jobmonkey.com. And if you don’t want to freelance, see if schools or private music studios will onboard you.
Drive a School Bus
If you’re retired, have some early morning and late afternoon time on your hands, you could make some cash driving a school bus.
You may even have the opportunity to make a little more money at it if you sign on to drive school sports teams to and from events in the evening or weekends.
For most school districts, you must have a commercial driver’s license, a clean driving record and a clean criminal record. Bonus: You like to drive and you’re friendly.
It’s not big money. Most drivers are paid between $11 and $16 per hour, according to Jobmonkey.com. Plan on working 20 hours or so a week, often starting in the early morning before getting back behind the wheel in mid-afternoon for a couple hours. You’ll have an established route. And depending on where you live, you could be working for the school district or a private bus company hired by the school district.
Grocery Shop for Others
How about going grocery shopping and making money instead of spending money? You can do it as an Instacart shopper. You know the drill, because you likely have run into armies of Instacart shoppers while shopping for your own groceries: Instacart employees are shopping for, and delivering to, folks shopping from home or work.
You have two options when you wear the Instacart green: Just do the shopping as an in-store shopper and have someone else deliver. Or do the shopping and the delivering as a full-service shopper. As a full-service shopper, you’re an independent contractor who must have access to a car. You choose your own hours and will shop and deliver orders. Instacart does not post salary levels, but Indeed.com says personal shoppers make around $17 per hour.
Rent Out Your RV
Maybe you needed (or thought you needed) to buy an RV during the pandemic if, say, you were a healthcare worker who needed to isolate from the rest of the family. Or maybe you bought one to vacation with the family at a safe distance from others. Either way, you could rent out your RV to others for a little side cash.
If you’re uncomfortable putting that expensive ride in the hands of Craigslist, you could put the task of renting out your rolling home in the hands of professionals. One site is RVesy, which dubs itself "the Airbnb for RVs," meaning it rents out your RVs from people like you around the country. It features towables, motorhomes, pet-friendly RVs, deliverable RVs and stationary RVs.
Popular RVesy rentals included a microtrailer ($120 per night), a Dodge Ram Promaster 2500 Class B Campervan -- named Van Halen, by the way -- ($175 per night), and a 40-foot Georgetown by Forest River Class A RV ($325 per night).
Be a Good Neighbor
Do you have unused space in your garage, attic, shed or other property. Store the belongings of others, from cars and RVs to … whatever. Need someone to help you rent out that space? Turn to Neighbor, a website that brokers your unused space with people looking for storage.
“We allow anyone with extra storage space to list the availability of their garage, parking spot, warehouse, shed, or empty closet as available for storage,” says Colton Gardner of Neighbor. “This way, people can generate a passive income by just storing their neighbors' stuff.”
Like a good neighbor, Neighbor gets paid -- on the renting end (listings are free). Neighbor absorbs 4.9% of the reservation.
We randomly searched spaces in the Bridgewater, N.J., area. A 12-by-12 basement in Bridgewater Township was renting for $38 for the first month. A 20-by-16 garage was renting for $200 a month.