The average monthly student loan payment is $351, so a few hundred extra dollars could go a long way. But finding and starting a side hustle if you already have a full-time job can be tough.
Good news, though: There are plenty of side gigs you can start right now regardless of your schedule, your education, or where you live. Here are eight easy money-making ideas that could help you pay the bills.
1. Become an online ESL (English as a second language) teacher
Although there are many languages, English has become one of the most common, leading many people to want to learn it in addition to their native tongue. That’s where ESL teachers come in.
In the past, people who were interested in learning English had to go to an actual classroom. But thanks to the internet and software such as Skype, people can take English classes anywhere in the world. That means teachers can come from all over too.
You can create your own course and market it or sign up with an online program that already exists to get up and running ASAP. The application process varies by company, but you’ll likely have to create a profile, submit a resume, and create a sample video.
- Average pay: $9 to $40 per hour
- Skill requirements: Particular skills vary by company, but many will require you to have a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification. Fluency in another language isn’t always a requirement, but it can help you stand out from the crowd.
- Companies that provide the service: Open English, TutorABC, goFLUENT, and Cambly
2. Sign up as a dog walker
Like dogs? Enjoy being outside? You can become a dog walker. Although you could go the old-fashioned route and put up flyers for your services, many apps will connect you with people who are looking for a dog walker.
“I signed up for Rover and DogVacay when I was looking to make some extra money,” says Nicole F. “I figured out that people always wanted their dogs walked during lunch and could average about eight 30-minute walks a day, with 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. being jam-packed. At $15 a walk, five days a week, that’s $2,400 a month. I was making so much doing that, I started offering overnight sitting services for $55 a night. All of my expenses, such as rent and food, were taken care of.”
The general application process for Rover is simple. You set up a profile, which the company reviews within five business days. Once you’re approved, you’ll appear in searches and clients can contact you.
Note that it’s important to check local laws regarding paid pet-sitting in homes, as it’s illegal in some states.
- Average pay: You can set your rates, but many dog walkers charge about $15 to $25 per walk.
- Skill requirements: No particular skills are required, but if you can administer medication and have previous experience with animals, you could get more clients.
- Companies that provide the service: Rover and Wag
3. Edit college essays
As the competition for college entry increases, writing a stellar essay is becoming more important than ever. That means students and parents are on the hunt for people who can help make these writing samples stand out.
To tackle this side hustle, you need to have editing skills and feel comfortable fixing details such as grammar and sentence structure. You can advertise your services on Craigslist or post a flyer in a local coffee shop. Or you can set up a profile on a website that allows people to search for essay editors like you.
- Average pay: Rates vary depending on the company and your experience, but you can make $22 to $60 or more per hour.
- Skill requirements: If you work for a company, it might require a certain educational background or level of expertise. Having a degree from a top university also can help you get clients and charge higher rates.
- Companies that provide the service: Top Admit, Kibin, and Hello Essay
4. Drive for a ride-sharing service
Want to make more money while dictating your own hours? If you have a car, you can do both by working as a driver.
Ride-sharing services allow you to use your own vehicle and act as a taxi service whenever you want. That means you can work in the mornings, during lunch, at night, or on weekends. No matter what, it’s extra money in your pocket.
One Connecticut driver, Althea Green, revealed to us that she can make $400 in one weekend and up to $3,000 per month when she drives a lot.
Requirements vary depending on which company you drive for. To drive for Uber, for example, you need a four-door car, truck, or minivan, and the model of the vehicle must be 2000 or newer (the year varies by city). You also must be at least 21 years old (23 in some cities), have a clean driving record, and pass a background check.
The application can be completed online. Head to our side hustle marketplace for easy-to-follow instructions.
- Average pay: $15 to $20 per hour
- Skill requirements: Requirements vary depending on the company. In most cases, you’ll need a few years of driving experience under your belt, a clean driving record, and the ability to pass a background check.
- Companies that provide the service: Uber, Lyft, and Via
5. Make deliveries for Postmates
Like Uber, Postmates allows you to make your own hours, but no car is required. You can sign up to become a local courier who delivers everything from laundry to takeout to customers using the app. You can deliver on foot, by bike, or via scooter.
To sign up, head to the Postmates website and create an account with information such as your name, age, location, and vehicle type. You’ll have to complete the “Fleet Agreement” and pass a background check before a welcome kit is sent to your home address. Then, you can activate your account and start delivering.
The best news of all? If you deliver for Postmates, you receive 80 percent of the delivery fee and 100 percent of any tips you make.
- Average pay: up to $25 per hour
- Skill requirements: You need to pass the background check, which reviews your criminal history. If you intend to use a car, Postmates also will look at your driving record.
- Companies that provide the service: In addition to Postmates, you could sign up with similar delivery companies such as UberRUSH and Amazon.
6. Pick up groceries as a Shipt Shopper
If you’ve ever dreamed of getting paid to shop, your dream could come true as a Shipt Shopper. Although you’re shopping for someone else, you get paid to wander through the aisles of a grocery store. The company lets customers place orders online. You head to the grocery store, pick up the items, and deliver them to the customer.
You must be at least 18 years old, have reliable transportation (and a current driver’s license), pass the background check, and be able to lift at least 25 pounds. Knowledge of produce, such as the difference between red kale and dinosaur kale, is also key.
The application process can be completed online. Once you’re approved (which takes a few days), Shipt will send you a T-shirt, and you’re ready to shop.
- Average pay: $15 to $25 per hour plus tips
- Skill requirements: You must have knowledge of produce and pass the background check.
- Companies that provide the service: Instacart offers a similar service.
7. Rent out your home with Airbnb
Making money while doing almost nothing? Yes, that opportunity exists. It’s called being an Airbnb host. Whenever you aren’t home, you can put your home or apartment up as a short-term rental and earn some extra cash.
“When I go on vacation or know I won’t be in my apartment, I’ll put it up on Airbnb,” says Andrew N. of New York. “I can make a few hundred dollars over just a couple of days, and all I have to do is keep my apartment clean, make sure those spending the night get a key, and I’m off!”
To list your place on Airbnb, you must:
- Head to the Airbnb website and click “become a host.”
- Input details about your space, including the home/room type and its amenities, how many guests it can accommodate, and the location.
- Add photos of your space.
- Set your per-night rate. It’s entirely up to you, but it’s a good idea to search for similar properties in your area to get a sense of how much to charge.
- Average pay: $924 per month, according to Priceonomics
- Skill requirements: No skills required — just a clean home and the ability to make sure renters have easy access to it. Airbnb performs a background check and reviews public databases of criminal records and national sex offender registries.
- Companies that provide the service: Similar services include HomeAway and FlipKey.
8. Babysit or nanny
If you enjoy spending time with kids more than adults, you might want to consider babysitting or becoming a nanny on the side. You can work as little or as much as you want, and it’s easy to find regular gigs because many parents prefer to have a familiar face return.
“Nannying is a great side hustle because so many parents are in need of flexible child care,” says Kristin W. of Illinois. “People who would be great for this role should love kids, can quickly and intuitively understand relationship dynamics, and are both outgoing and patient. I made $15 an hour but had a regular number of hours each week, so I knew how much I’d be getting.”
You can rely on word of mouth or post on Craigslist to advertise your services, or you can use websites such as Care.com. There, you can set up a profile that includes your background, availability, and rates. The site even offers a calculator to help you determine how much you should be charging per hour.
Then, people can search for you and reach out. They might request a background check. If you or a member of your household has been accused of, arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime, you could be kicked off the site.
- Average pay: Rates vary depending on location, age, experience, and the number of children being watched, but according to the 2017 Care.com Babysitter Survey, the average babysitting rate in 2016 was $13.97 per hour.
- Skill requirements: If you’re looking to babysit or nanny as a side hustle, a love of children is all you need. But previous experience and a CPR certification are helpful and can make parents more likely to choose your services.
- Companies that provide the service: Care.com and Sittercity.
Whether you love kids, dogs, writing, shopping, or driving, there are plenty of money-making ideas that can help you earn extra cash.
You can start any one of these side hustles right now and be well on your way to adding a few hundred bucks to your monthly income. Even better, Student Loan Hero has a side hustle marketplace, where you can easily sign up for a number of gigs.
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