Gosh, it seems like the cost of living is getting more expensive by the day. You could definitely use extra money, but how do you squeeze that in with a full-time job working 40+ hours a week (not counting the commute) or full-time duty with your kids (or a mix of both!)?
Pick up a side hustle.
Before you laugh off this nonsense thinking that you can't possibly squeeze in another thing on top of all your other obligations, hear me out because I'm sharing easy side hustles for busy people that will actually work for your schedule.
Who knows, maybe these side job ideas will become small business ideas from home that will finally allow you to quit your day job.
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Why you should consider a side hustle
You could use the extra money. Side hustles are ways to bring in additional income while still keeping your day job. If those weren't reason enough to try out a side hustle, here are other key reasons to convince you.
They provide flexibility with your schedule
The beauty of a side hustle is that you don't have pressure to make it work. If you have time to focus on it, great, it can bring in money. If you need the time for something else, then it's okay to leave your side hustle aside. Keeping your day job means that you don't have the pressure to make it work since it's not the main source of income that your family is riding on.
You can pursue something of interest to you
You can turn a hobby that might not have necessarily panned out as a job that brings in the money as a side hustle. That music band you and your friends have always wanted to for? By all means go at it as a side hustle.
You can fit other spend categories on your budget with more income
Some people use a side hustle as a general boost to their overall income, and others use it specifically to afford them things that weren't necessarily built into their basic budgets, like travel or attending that once-in-a-lifetime sporting event.
If it's very successful, you can turn it into a full-time stint
Especially if you're like me and feel safer with job security, some of these ideas can be started off as a side hustle and built up to replace your day job.
Side hustles I AVOID
I also think it warrants a section for me to tell you what kinds of side hustles to NOT do. I mean, you're already pressed for time, so don't waste those precious minutes on things with a really, really low return on your investment.
1. Online surveys
You've probably come across sites left and right that are recommending survey sites. I've tried a whole lot of them. They don't work. Sure, there may be surveys that will offer you $50 for 30 minutes of your time, but the likelihood that you qualify for them is close to none, unless you're a middle-aged man who's got rheumatoid arthritis (if you did get this reference, I'm sorry for the hours you've wasted on these surveys).
FYI: when others say they make $100s off this, they're not making the bulk of their money by actually DOING the surveys; they're making the money by getting other people to sign up so they get referral bonuses.
2. Selling schemes where you need to pay money to join
Here's looking at you, major MLMs. My thought is I should not be paying the company to help sell things for it. They should be paying ME.
3. Ventures that would costs $1000s to invest upfront
Okay, this is more of me being a paranoid, risk-adverse person, but I'm not confident enough to invest thousands of hard-earned dollars into something that I am not sure I will gain back. Unless you have a way to prove your business idea before you put the money into it, then I'd say you might want to think long and hard about those thousands before you drop them on a new business.
Now, let's get to the good stuff: easy side hustles to start today.
Side hustles for busy people that actually make sense
1. Drive for Lyft
You may think driving around town is not your thing, but both of these rideshare programs have the option for you to pick up riders along your commute. Lyft has a feature to select trips that are along your commute so you're basically getting paid to drive home. You can set your destination in Lyft up to six times a day.
This can be in-person tutoring. You could offer special lessons, like in music.
This can also be done online. You can do real-time teaching sessions with a reputable company like VIPKID or iTalki, which don't offer as much flexibility. Or you can create a course and offer it on marketplaces like Udemy or Fiverr.
You can also create your own digital products to sell, like ebooks and sell through SendOwl or Amazon. You could write about almost anything. If you want to check out what's on the digital market of Amazon, sign up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Kindle Unlimited.
If you're at home with a little one and genuinely like being around children, you could watch over another kid or two. You can also sign up to be a petsitter through a company like Rover.
You're going to spend the money anyway, so why not recoup part of it? My favorite ways to earn some cash back or save on my spending:
- Rakuten for cash back on a whole bunch of websites. We ALWAYS check here first before we make online purchases. (Sign up for a $10 welcome bonus)
- Raise.com for discounted gift cards. This is a great way to save money before any store coupons are applied. (Sign up for a $5 discount on your first purchase)
- Ibotta for rebates on groceries. There are store- or brand-specific purchases, but we also love that they have free-for-alls (rebates on any purchase from any store). Get a $10 welcome bonus
There's also mystery shopping. This is not a huge moneymaker, but if you are headed to the store anyway, you could earn some extra cash. You can do it through apps like Gigwalk or Field Agent or companies like Best Mark.
6. Sell services
If you've got specific skills, you can become an entrepreneur, be a freelancer, or become a virtual assistant and get paid for your services. This could be anything, from writing to social media, to graphic and web design. Upwork is a great place to find work. Fiverr is a popular option for advertising your services.
7. Design products to sell
If you have a knack with your hands, you can sell crafts on Etsy. If you're worried about putting in money for product but still want to exercise your creative side, you have can create designs for on-demand print services sites like Zazzle or CafePress where they handle the inventory and shipping.
8. Sell, rent, or flip stuff
Have stuff lying around the house unused? Sell it for some cash. You can also scout for items at a low price and sell it at a higher price through apps like Decluttr and Letgo or sites like Craigslist, Ebay, and Amazon.
People have seen success flipping things for profit. My husband and I dabble in this every once in a while and have earned about $100 a month from this. If you're considering this, here's a free email course on how to sell on Amazon. The family who teaches this course makes 6-figures easily from doing this.
Or if it's something you use every once in a while or have outgrown, like a bike or pack 'n play, then you may want to consider lending it out through platforms like Fat Llama to earn some profit from your underused possessions.
9. Property management
This has been by far the best side hustle for our family. Not only do you earn money from renting your place, the property itself has value so it contributes to your assets in two ways.
As a landlord (long-term rental), we receive $1350-$2100 per property per month. Over the lifetime of our renting history, the average time per month we've spent on it has been no more than 3 hours (and that's a very conservative estimate).
Zoning laws don't allow us to serve as Air BNB hosts, but if it were legal where we are, we would totally consider becoming an Air BNB host (by the way, if you sign up at the link, you'll get a $40 travel credit for booking your next Air BNB stay).
10. Bank and credit card bonuses
This is actually my favorite type of bonus. Of all of them, I consider this to be the most passive (aka little work to make the money). For bank bonuses, check your local banks and credit unions for special promotions since I tend to see these as having the highest returns. There are also national banks that you can open online and earn as well. One I've done recently is Capital One 360, which offers a $50 bonus after opening checking and savings accounts.
For credit card bonuses, I wrote a whole post on the best credit card rewards programs for beginners with my top picks for those who are getting their feet wet in this lucrative side hustle and show you how my family earned $1,000 easily from this.
There's the list of the top 10. Whether you want to earn a few extra $100s or enough to pay for that special getaway, or even generate enough of an income to replace your day job or retire early, consider any of these best easy side hustles for busy people.