- The cost of living in the United States is higher than ever before.
- A side hustle is a great solution if you need extra cash or want to develop a business without giving up your full-time gig.
- There are all kinds of side-hustle jobs – such as rideshare driver, freelancer, and tutor – that can provide additional income.
- This article is for aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals looking for a secondary stream of income.
The reality of today is that it costs more money than ever to live in the United States. According to the Cost of Living Index, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,192 a month, although this figure varies.
Even in Mississippi, the state with the lowest cost of living, the median salary after taxes would still mean putting 25% of your take-home pay toward rent. This, coupled with income and earning decreases of 2.9% and 1.2% respectively as reported by the U.S. Census, and the recent increase in inflation, it’s a challenge to earn enough to survive.
These factors mean that side hustles have become a necessity for many. We’ve pulled together 10 options for getting that extra income you require.
Living in an area with lots of bars, restaurants and nightlife might earn you a few extra bucks if you own a vehicle. All you need to become a driver for a service like Uber or Lyft – aside from an eligible four-door vehicle – is a valid U.S. driver’s license, proof of registration and insurance, and a smartphone. After you sign up, an online screening will review your driving record and criminal history.
You might want to research additional rideshare services local to you, as some start off in smaller markets before expanding. For more information, visit our guide to becoming a rideshare driver.
COVID-19 lockdowns highlighted the need for people to bring us what we want (and sometimes what we need). This has opened up the delivery business, whether that involves transporting food from restaurants or working with a traditional courier service.
Uber has provided its own service, Uber Eats, since 2014, and other ordering apps, such as DoorDash and Grubhub, have followed. These apps function as freelance jobs, where drivers are paid per delivery, whereas other services like Gopuff offer part-time and full-time shifts, as well as benefits. Combine these gigs with part-time jobs at chain businesses like Domino’s to fit a second income around whatever restrictions your first job presents. For more examples in this area, check out our list of unique delivery businesses.
Freelance content creator
In the marketing world, content is king. Businesses of all stripes need talented writers to create blog posts, whitepapers, press releases, social media copy and more. If you have a way with words, you can advertise your freelance writing services on a personal website and your social profiles, or look for gigs on sites like Upwork and Freelancer.com.
Include a portfolio of past writing samples to share with your clients. Don’t have any? Create a blog and publish articles on topics you’re passionate about. If you feel freelance is the way to go, here is our guide to how freelancing works.
Did you know?: Working as a freelancer gives you the freedom to choose your projects and schedule, but that comes at the price of figuring out your own taxes. Here’s what you need to know when handling taxes as a freelancer.
Think about your everyday life and what you interact with: your phone, social media, even this article; none of that content would be there without coding.
There are many resources for learning how to code, including certificate programs and intensive boot camps as well as traditional degrees. If you have the time and patience, there are also online learning resources.
If you’re proficient in a skill – whether it’s something academic or based in the professional world – you can capitalize on those talents. There is always a high demand for teaching SAT skills to aspiring college students, which you can build on to teach other standardized tests like the GRE or MCATs. Do you speak another language? You might be the right person to teach someone who wants to learn.
Whether you work through a company or as a freelancer, teaching can be your way to a steady secondary income. If you plan well, you can even translate this into a better-paying primary profession. Dedicating the time and resources to learning programs, like QuickBooks and Adobe Photoshop, which have a multitude of free tutorials, can give you a leg up on others who want to learn such software but aren’t able to teach themselves.
Build up to larger clients by starting small. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour. Patience and a great personality are critical to making your business successful.
To piggyback off of tutoring, teaching music is a discipline that can net you a substantial profit. For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn how to play an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you’re teaching piano, students can bring their own instruments to your home for hour-long lessons.
Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in various genres, and aimed at various skill levels, so your potential clients have a wide selection to choose from. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.
Today, many people turn to handmade crafts for invitations, greeting cards, wall art and more. Build a website or a social media account that displays your work so you can show credibility and attract customers. Whether you’re selling your products in an online Etsy shop or hand-painting wedding invitations and greeting cards for a friend, leverage your skills and make a profit.
FYI: While Etsy is a popular choice, there are alternatives to Etsy that you can use to sell your handmade products.
Home repair service
A home repair business is a great way to work with your hands, help people in your community, and make some extra cash. Put up flyers, advertise in local publications, and recruit friends and family for an online social media blitz.
Then, get to work repairing everything from leaky pipes to faulty electrical wiring – just be sure you understand the proper techniques and procedures, and check with your local government to make sure you have the necessary permits for any projects you might take on. If you want to continue to grow your business, look into lead-generation services like Angi for more potential big-money jobs.
While the term “disc jockey” might be a little outdated in the age of streaming music, there’s no question that event entertainment is still in high demand. With your music collection, some mixing software and your laptop, you can get people out on the dance floor at weddings and birthday parties, or simply provide background music at more casual events.
DJ equipment is a big investment, but plenty of companies offer daily rentals of speakers and other accessories that you can use until you can save up enough to buy your own. The best part? DJ gigs are often during the weekend and can earn you high payouts.
If the term “artist’s palette” brings eyeshadow and lipstick to mind, and you’re constantly watching the latest YouTube beauty tutorials, you may want to become a freelance makeup artist. Though it’s wise to take a cosmetology course before you open up shop, the foundation of this side business is your makeup skills, a good reputation and client trust.
Since beauty professionals often build their business through client referrals, work on friends and family for free or at a discounted rate at first. Once you have a solid customer base, offer competitive rates to do makeup for weddings, proms and other special events.
Bassam Kaado and Nicole Fallon contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.