Real experiences from real people
Looking for a side hustle but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we interviewed several individuals and have some interesting tidbits to share. Let’s explore some of the best side hustles and figure out what’s best for you.
How can I make an extra $1,000/$2,000 a month?
For a while now, side hustles have been popular with many people in the country. Having a second job in addition to your primary one isn’t uncommon anymore. We all know that having more than one source of income offers an extra layer of financial security. Some of us take up part-time gigs while others run small businesses on the side.
When the pandemic hit and a lot of people were laid off, more and more Americans started relying on temporary gigs to make ends meet. A lot of people started driving for Uber and Lyft or ventured out into the world of freelancing. Regardless of why they got started, the hustle culture has followed us all the way to the upcoming year.
With so many people starting side gigs, and even more looking to start somewhere, we decided to ask around. Here’s our team’s advice on the best side hustles this year.
Ways to make money on the side with a full-time job
We all love to make extra money along with our regular income. Instead of touching on a few generic know-hows, we decided to speak with people who have legit side hustles. Their experiences and recommendations could potentially help you pick up a side gig. So, without further ado, let’s explore some of the best side hustles and see what our sources have to say.
If you like animals and enjoy being around them, this could be the side hustle for you. You need to be comfortable with most pet animals and not have any major allergies. It is a great gig for people who love animals and like to take care of them. Digital Marketing Manager at Net Pay Advance, Renee McBride, is an avid pet sitter and was happy to share some insights.
McBride says, “A family friend asked me to watch their pets for a week when I was in high school, and I’ve taken on a few similar jobs since then. All from referrals and/or people that know me. I love pets, so I accept pet and home sitting jobs.”
She adds, “I do have three conditions before accepting a job. First, I need to personally know the pet owners. Second, they must be conveniently located. Third, the pay should be adequate.”
McBride shares that she does a run down with the owners before they leave and confirms the following:
- The daily schedule of when she plans to arrive and leave their house each day to ensure it is adequate time with the pets. It’s hard to know if the owners have a camera or some type of home security notification system – don’t want to scare them by showing up at their house at an unusual time!
- Ask if there’s any security alarms that she should be aware of or set when she leaves.
- Ask where toys/food/treats/litter box is located and how frequently to replace these items.
- Ask for a vet number and emergency contact number.
- Confirm recommended length and frequency of walks and/or play time if applicable.
- Check if there are any set preferences or concerns regarding their pets – perhaps their dog is used to getting a treat before bedtime, is in the process of being taught commands, or has a fear of thunderstorms. It’s good to know this information to keep the routine the same for the pet each day.
We asked if she had any recommendations for people who want to take up pet sitting and she responded,
“Purchase a medium-sized adjustable harness for walks – a lot of times dogs may walk differently with a sitter than with an owner. There’s a risk they could be walking ahead, really pulling on the leash, which could hurt them. A harness works great for peace of mind that you’re never pulling too hard on the dog to hurt them. They’re rather affordable. You can put the income from one day’s pet sitting work into making this purchase.”
Now that’s what we call professional advice!
We all need transportation from time to time and that’s we have car services. Lyft is one such company that allows drivers to become independent contractors that can set their own schedules.
Jaime Watkins, Change Control Manager at Net Pay Advance has been working for Lyft for a while now. We asked her to share her experiences, and she replied, “There are times I have thought about getting a 2nd job just so I could make some extra cash or maybe I was trying to pay something off quicker.”
She adds, “Driving for Lyft is fun! I like meeting new people, talking with different riders, and being able to get them where they need to go.”
We believe this could be a great side hustle for someone that wants to choose their hours, enjoys working in a customer-facing role, and is a decent driver.
Want to know more about driving for Lyft or Uber, including how much you can expect to make?
Probably the most flexible of all side gigs, freelancing offers oodles of convenience. You can work from the comfort of your home, and you can choose as many or as few projects. There are people who freelance as a side hustle while some have gone on to replace their full-time incomes.
If you have a skill set that makes you valuable in the freelance market, this might be your sign to get started. There are scores of websites that you can try, like:
You could offer services like:
- Online tutoring
- Resume writing
- Digital marketing
- Social media management
We consulted Shayla Nguyen, Sr. Graphic Designer, to share her experiences of working as a freelancer on the side. Nguyen said,
“I started freelancing in high school and it honestly happened by accident. My passion then (and now), is graphic design and since I was new at it, I offered to help others with their projects for free to gain experience. That in turn gave me a reputation as being a graphic designer and more people would learn about it and come to me for help. After my reputation was established, I decided to charge a small fee.”
Sounds like she started pursuing her passion and monetized it over time. We probed further to find out if she really enjoys freelancing, and Nguyen replied, “Love it! Design is my passion, and I could not imagine being in any other profession. There’s no other job that allows me as much creativity, flexibility, and freedom while being supported by a more than livable wage with room to grow in the industry.”
We couldn’t agree more! Now a lot of you readers might be thinking that freelancing could be the way to go. We encourage you to check out your options.
“I would advise others not to spread themselves too thin. That was a big mistake I made at the beginning of my freelance journey. Since it is such a passion for me, I took on any and EVERY project that came my way. It was good for experience, but when you’re getting started, it’s hard to gauge how much time a project will take. You will underestimate deadlines and have to work overtime in order to finish projects. At some point, you might overwork yourself and get burnt out so it’s important to take care of your mental health in order to prevent that.”
We hope Nguyen’s insights offer guidance and assurance a budding freelancer seeks.
Small Business Owner
In the broad realm of side gigs, owning a small business deserves a special mention. There are some who go on to follow their dreams and build a business. Small businesses aren’t for everyone, especially if you’re considering it in addition to your full-time job. There are factors like licenses and permits that come into play. Most importantly, it should be something you love and enjoy doing.
Jatziry Vasquez-Ortiz is an employee at Net Pay Advance and a small business owner. She is the person behind a local business named Yuyu’s Treats.
We asked Vasquez-Ortiz to share her thoughts and she said,
“I started working on my Dulces Enchilados (spicy candy) last year, during COVID, I wanted to pick up a new hobby, something I can work on while being stuck at home! I started making treats around April 2021. I received a lot of good feedback and decided to start making it a side hustle of mine.”
She further explains, “I have a two-year-old kid, and what I like about making dulces enchiladas is that I can work on them when he’s down for bed and doesn’t take away from me spending time with him after my full-time job.”
We asked about her plans with her small business, and she responded, “I am planning to focus more on advertising and promotions to hopefully get Yuyu’s Treats out there for everyone to know.” From there, she wants to create other treats for the holidays. This includes chocolate-covered strawberries, treat boxes with roses for Mother’s Day, and breakable Easter Eggs for the little ones.
“It just depends on what’s suitable for the holiday!” she explains.
Just for fun, we decided to include a pure passion project in this list. It is a very specific area and requires a burning passion for performing, the enthusiasm to keep doing it, and a healthy dose of realism when it comes to compensation.
Our resident rockstar, Mike Smith from Customer Service, plays at local events and gigs. So, we asked him to share his experience. He said,
“I’ve been a lover of music and performing most of my life. None of the bands I first started playing in are still around. I’m in one currently, we’re playing our first show, since I joined last October, this Saturday, and they only managed to play one show before the pandemic.”
Mike continues to explain that his best advice for people looking to become a part-time performing artist, is to only do it for the enjoyment. If you’re looking to make money, this isn’t the side-gig for you.
Sometimes the best side hustles may not always be the most financially rewarding, but they sure offer an outlet for your creativity.
An Amazon seller account is one of the best side hustles there is and continues to grow. It has gained popularity in recent times and Amazon now has a booming 9.7 million sellers worldwide. It offers you the opportunity to reach over 300 million customers globally.
You can sign up to become an amazon seller and follow a few simple steps to start selling. The best part is that Amazon handles shipping and returns.
You can choose to register as an “individual” if you plan to sell less than 40 items a month. A “professional” plan allows you to sell more items each month and gain access to selling reports.
To get started, you’ll need bank account, a chargeable credit card, a government issues ID, tax information, and a phone number.
You are required to pay a monthly fee of $39.99. In addition, there are selling fees and shipping fees, which depend on product category, shipping service, referral fees etc.
As a registered seller, you need to familiarize yourself with Seller Central. It is a portal that allows you to manage your account, make updates, handle payments, add product listings etc.
We spoke with a registered amazon seller, Sam J., who is based out of Wichita, KS and this is what she shared:
“The first thing you need to know is that research is a huge part of becoming an amazon seller. You need to identify the highest selling products and items with the greatest profit margin. After thorough research you might be able to pick a niche.”
She goes on to clarify that her specialty is stationery, but she occasionally dabbles in other items.
Samantha goes on to provide advice to those looking to join Amazon sellers,
“Bear in mind that you’ll need space dedicated to storing inventory. I recommend purchasing a pallet to make pick-ups easy. Other expenses include a label maker, packaging materials, and weighing scales. Be prepared to spend evenings and some weekends tracking sales, packaging items, and taking trips to your nearest shipping place.”
Get started with a side gig
We hope our list of suggestions has been of help. It is impressive that you’re considering an additional source of income. We provided a list of side gigs that have been pursued by people who were happy to share their stories. Venturing out into uncharted territories can be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. It is fortunate that you have stories and experiences of fellow navigators to guide you.
For more side hustle ideas, watch our video below.