Sometimes your work schedule or events like COVID result in you having a decent amount of free time. While spending time off is a must most people often find themselves bored if they don’t have anything to do for a long time. A side hustle is a way to fill that time and help you advance your financial goals. We at MoneyGouge have created a list of simple and easy ways to earn extra cash that can make a big difference in your bottom line.
One thing that has become extremely prevalent in the last decade is the emergence of “side hustles”. A side hustle is anything that you can do outside of your normal, everyday job to earn extra money. Yahoo Finance announced in 2019 that nearly half of Americans have a side hustle boosting their income. Now, with COVID in full force, more Americans are turning to their side hustles to make up their income deficits. Chances are you have a skill that you can monetize. Fortunately, its simpler than you may think.
First let’s start with the biggest side hustle there is, delivery driving. Uber, DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart, and many more services run their entire business model on independent drivers. You can either deliver people or food (I recommend food from past experience). Realistically, you’re not going to make insane amounts of money and your fuel efficiency is a big factor in that. However, with a decently fuel efficient car you can make anywhere from 10-20 dollars an hour depending on your area. It is super easy to sign up and you decide when you work. Plus you can make tips.
I worked for about 16 hours over a period and made about 150 bucks after gas expenses. This side hustle works best in suburbs, areas that have a good combination of chain restaurants and not too dense where everyone walks from place to place. You could always do traditional driving services, taking people from place to place, but people can be messy, cause delays, and especially during COVID, food is just safer. When I first started I didn’t get many rides (something about the algorithm that rewards consistent drivers) but once you do it for a few hours you will get requests as you finish others so you can go almost non-stop. Again, fuel efficiency is everything. If your car is getting less than 20-25 MPG or is expensive to maintain than you may want to avoid this side hustle.
Coaching sports, tutoring, or any form of mentorship can be lucrative. As a military member you have a wide breadth of experience that others will pay to learn about. Tutoring for the ASVAB, teaching someone your AFSC, working with younger people to learn about your degree specialization, anything you are competent in and can teach others. When I was deciding how to enter the military I remember learning about a swathe of ASVAB tutors that were mostly veterans or high-school teachers that really just taught out of a practice book. It was a simple side hustle but they help many people improve their future.
Coaching is also an option. This can be tough with scheduling but especially if you have a younger child this can be a win win. You will spend more time with your child and get paid to coach a youth sport. Being a personal trainer is also an awesome side gig.
TaskRabbit and craigslist has tons of openings for day laborers. Landscaping is another business that many people do on the side. For basic landscaping all you need is the equipment, manpower and some basic knowledge in order to have a successful small business. I know of one service member who owns a mold removal company that makes a killing. All it is is two guys in a van that remove mold from peoples houses. A lot of universities also have email registries that send out weekly emails with odd jobs and labor requests.
You will find the more you look the more you can find people who are willing to pay others to do relatively simple work. Whether it is cleaning out a garage, moving someone’s furniture or even just day labor in a small business, there are plenty of people who could use an extra pair of hands. I also know of some peers who do power washing on the weekends, this could be expensive if you need to invest in a good power washer. It alsod epends where you live. In humid climates like Florida power washing is a necessity.
Build a Business
There is a major disconnect between the perception and reality of entrepreneurship in this country. No, you do not have to be the next Jeff Bezo’s or be a software engineer. Here is a quick (true) story about a family friend of mine who embodies what entrepreneurship actually looks like.
Our friend is a teacher in New York. He is a big outdoors guy and loved to spend time at the beach during his summers off. One of his favorite activities was paddle boarding at a beach in the Hamptons. He has always been interested in business and investing as well. He quickly realized that there was no current paddle board rental company at this beach which his favorite spot. Pair that with the summer traffic for the Hamptons and it was a no brainer.
He did some research and after a few phone calls and emails was able to secure a license to operate a paddle board rental at Meschutt Beach. Just like that, he had a monopoly on paddle board rentals.
The next problem was to get paddle boards. He went online and acquired a few lightly used paddle boards from Craiglist and Facebook market. He had a pickup and also bought a used trailer for holding the boards. Total out of pocket cost: around $5,000.
Here’s the best part. Now that everything was set up he got to spend his Summer chilling on the beach. He would take people out for lessons if it was there first time but basically got paid to do what he was already doing. By the end of his first season he had made tens of thousands in profit and most of it was cash. He reinvested it to get more boards for the next season and was off to the races.
The business has since grown: he has expanded to other locations in the Hamptons, branched out into delivery and full day rentals and hired employees. None of that is rocket science. The key to success is recognizing an opportunity and then actually doing the research to see if it might just work. This is where most business ideas end and it’s a shame. There are tons of opportunities out there to start a small business that can bring in side income.
There are plenty of other ways to make side cash. Some people play poker, flip houses or cars, or even build websites. The most important part of a side hustle is to make sure it is profitable and to make sure you are able to maintain your normal job without sacrificing too much personal time. Most side hustles will correlate to your passions. Odds are, whatever you do for fun, you can be paid to do. I know multiple people who get paid serious money for streaming their gaming via Twitch.
What To Do With The Money You Make
So what can all of this side money lead to? Well as a finance guy I can simplify some basic financial principles to put into perspective how impactful side hustles can be. Let’s say you are able to make 500 bucks a month, some businesses can earn much more than this but we can use this as a baseline.
500 dollars invested monthly, with a return of 12% (fairly average), will result in a 1 million dollar balance if you put it into a Roth IRA (we have other articles on what this is) after 25 years and 6 months. Compound interest is your friend, and socking away 500 bucks a month can change your life when retirement rolls around. You don’t have to take it from us though, Warren Buffett said it best.
Whether you’re investing, paying off debt, or saving for a large purchase a side hustle is a serious way to take years off your financial goals. If you have questions or another current side hustle that we didn’t mention feel free to contact us!
Written by Greg Besser