Straight from your couch. Photo-Illustration: by Stevie Remsberg; Photo by Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images
According to a 2018 survey conducted by Bankrate, more than half of millennials are figuring out how to make money at home by embracing a side hustle — also known as a 5-to-9, also known as extra cash to help pay off debt, buy all the serums your skin can soak up, and otherwise enjoy your life.
“Side hustles are a great way to achieve virtually any financial goal that you have,” says Shannah Compton Game, MBA, a certified financial planner and host of the Millennial Money podcast. Whether you’re trying to pay off student loans, save for a house, or just make rent, she recommends determining exactly where your additional income will go before you start getting it.
If you’re not into the idea of working when you’re not at work, “it might just be a few months until you reach your goal,” Game says. “It’s really easy now to come in and out of these side hustles and make money when you need to and back off when you don’t want to [do the extra work].”
Just be sure you don’t sell yourself short. The Bankrate survey found that men are making nearly three times more than women from their side hustles. While men were found to have side jobs more frequently than women, Game says women also tend to be more conservative when setting a price point. “We tend to undervalue our talents, and men can be better at saying this is my value and this is the price.” To close the pay gap, she recommends women do plenty of research on the market value of a given service or product they’re interested in offering before jumping in. If Lyft and Taskrabbit don’t appeal to you, consider these 25 ways to make an extra buck right from your own couch.
2. Buy and sell used books. If you’re willing to do a little legwork — going to estate sales, thrift stores, library sales — you can find underpriced used books and resell them online. Use the Amazon Barcode Scanner app to determine whether a book is worth buying to take home and resell or not.
3. Sell your … hair. If you’re already prone to drastic hairstyle changes, why not grow your hair out and sell it when you’re ready for a bob? Sites like Hairsellon and Online Hair Affair are marketplaces that connect people with buyers looking for real human hair for extensions or wigs.
4. Participate in research studies. You’ve probably seen opportunities from universities looking for paid study participants, but it turns out you can make money that way from home too. Register with Respondent and the site will match you with research studies (according to the company, the average pay is $140 an hour).
6. Start a podcast — everyone else has! It can take time to acquire a following (and opportunities for sponsorship). But if you love to talk and have a niche you’re passionate about, try a free hosting plan on a site like BuzzSprout, SoundCloud, Podomatic, or Spreaker.
7. Create and sell art. Are you artistic or crafty? You can monetize your creativity. Sites like Etsy and Zazzle offer an online marketplace to sell unique, handmade goods without the hassle of having to set up a brick-and-mortar business or even your own website.
8. Design the next statement tee. Artists, graphic designers, comedians, and philosophers can take their skills to the apparel bank by designing T-shirts through sites like Cotton Bureau, Threadless, Teespring, CafePress, Printify, and Zazzle. They’ll print and ship your designs and pay you the royalties.
9. Rent out your spare room. Have a bed to spare? Consider renting it out on Airbnb. “I know people who are Airbnbing rooms in their house and making enough money every month to cover their mortgage, which is amazing because then they can use that money toward other goals,” Game says. Just make sure to check out the policies of your landlord or co-op.
10. Rent out your car by the day or hour. Do you take public transportation to work and only use your car to get out of the city on weekends? Or vice versa? Anytime your car is sitting parked, it could actually be generating passive revenue for you through companies like Turo and Getaround. Just like Airbnb for an apartment, renting out your car a few days a month could make enough money to cover your payments on it.
11. Cash in on Instagram (but please stay sane). All that time you’ve spent ’gramming could pay off if you have a sizable following. With 1,000 engaged followers or more, you may be able to start working with brands and make money on sponsored posts. Sign up on influencer marketplaces like Shoutcart, Fohr, Grapevine, and IndaHash to help them find you.
12. Start a blog. If you’ve considered it but felt unsure of the return on your time investment, Game may persuade you to dive in: “I know a lot of people who are making well over $100,000 from their blog.” How do you actually make that kind of money blogging? “It feels like this weird secret,” she admits. One strategy bloggers use is affiliate marketing, which is essentially recommending a product they like and earning a piece of the profit from each sale. You can learn all about it and much more by attending one of the many annual blogging conferences like BlogHer, Altitude Summit, and Snap Conference.
15. If you don’t like kids or pets, work with seniors. To make some extra money from home while also connecting with others, consider applying to make phone calls reminding seniors to take their medication through Pleio.
16. Teach an online class in any area from baking to coding. Do you have a skill or some kind of experience that people could benefit from? Game says teaching online courses can be surprisingly lucrative, often earning course creators more than $100K a year. Consider working with a platform like Teachable, Udemy, and Skillshare to develop a course.
17. Tutor online. College seniors or graduates can earn money by helping others achieve their academic goals from home. Eduboard is an online-tutoring site that hires tutors with expertise in everything from calculus to literature. Or you can teach English on VIPKid.
18. Freelance in special services. You can do so many jobs using skills you already have, working remotely — from research to HR to graphic design and writing. Looking for side gigs on sites like FlexJobs, Upwork, and Fiverr can really pay off.
19. Become a virtual assistant. Maybe you have a knack for making other people’s lives easier, having already logged some time as an administrative assistant. You could put those skills to use, part time, through sites like Belay, Fancy Hands, and Upwork to boost your bank account.
20. Take surveys for actual money, instead of mindless online quizzes. Yeah, you can make money by offering brands your opinion for their consumer research. Maybe not a lot of money, but it could add up. Sites like InboxDollars will pay you to fill out surveys.
21. Start a social-media-marketing business. If you’ve mastered the ins and outs of posting sponsored and targeted marketing posts, why not help other individuals or brands with their social-media strategy? Register as a social-media-marketing specialist on Upwork.
23. Make calls as a mystery shopper. Companies are looking for people to call their customer-service agents or industry competitors and report back on the experience or prices. You can get matched with this kind of gig through sites like Call Center QA, Yardi Matrix Rent Survey, Perception Strategies, and Arc.
24. Sell your stuff. Sure, we’ve all Craiglisted and eBayed, but consider how many things you own that you don’t actually use, wear, or need. You might start by taking inventory of your closet. Then Marie Kondo it with the help of a user-friendly resale app or site. There are a lot of them out there, and they help people clean out their closets. Check out Poshmark, The Real Real, Vestiaire, Tradesy, Rebag, and Depop. (Testimonial: I made more than $600 in my first month selling stuff from the back of my closet on Poshmark.)
25. Sell other people’s stuff. Maybe you’d rather peddle new products. Multilevel-marketing companies like Rodan + Fields and Beautycounter have the infrastructure and inventory in place to set you up selling skin-care and beauty products to your network. Just be mindful of your approach.
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