Eyes on the Prize: 10 Side Hustles that Won’t Ruin Your WeekendBy Bryan in Advice
Remember the days when you could set up a table at the edge of your driveway, stir up some lemons, water, and sugar into a jug, then sell your concoction for $0.25 a cup? I don’t because I was far too invested in watching the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. Then again, I do remember buying lemonade from some neighborhood kids a decade or so down the road, and thinking: when did the cost of a cup of lemonade jump from $0.25 to $1.00?
That being said, it’s been a few years since I’ve seen any kids on my block selling lemonade, what with their faces being glued to their smartphones. What are they watching? Viral videos, which was and is one of the first big steps that Generations X and Y have used to pilot themselves into the future. In fact, it seems that a renewed sense of entrepreneurship and a desire for a bit of extra spending money has got a lot of people starting their own businesses, online or otherwise. While starting a new business and seeing it flourish are two different things, the idea is the same. Find something that appeals to people, learn a skill or market a product that relates to it, then use it turn a profit. From Youtube videos to selling items online, to a bit of good old-fashioned manual labor, I’ve seen all kinds of businesses flourish, and have listed a few of the notable, more conventional ones for your consideration. Here are 10 “side hustles” that you can do to make a bit of extra bank.
Want to know How to Live in the Present While Saving For the Future? Click here.
Landscaping and Other Seasonal Work
Oh, Canada. Our home and native land of fluctuating weather conditions. It rains, it snows, the ground gets dry, plants grow and die. Living in the Northern Hemisphere actually, affords us other opportunities besides swimming in the summer and skating in the winter. In recent news, spring has sprung, and with all the rain we’ve been getting, flowers are in bloom and lawns are ready for a good mowing. While I actually enjoy cutting the grass, my allergies sometimes get the better of me, and the pestering of ant hills is a constant annoyance. So, I often think about hiring a more “seasoned” professional to deal with these problems for me.
Whatever their reasoning might be, people all over Canada recruit landscaping companies to tend to their yards. In fact, I have two friends who started their own local landscaping business a few years ago with nothing but a pickup truck, a gas mower, manual hedge clippers and the will to succeed. A couple hundred lawns later, they’re now a team of four and have upgraded to a riding mower, electric clippers, and their very own trailer to cart their equipment around in. The same principle goes for winter work. Not everyone has the time or strength to shovel their walkways or the money to hire a plow company to clear their driveways. Get a couple of friends together, or just an electric snow blower, brave the cold morning air and help some of your neighbors. You’ll be surprised what people might pay to save themselves the frostbite and back pain.
Buying and Selling Vintage and Used Clothes
Girlboss’ founder, Sophia Amoruso isn’t the only style-savvy shopper turned entrepreneur to realize that selling vintage clothing online is a good way to make a profit. Vintage clothing stores are now popping up all over, catering to all manner of hipsters and millennials looking to deck themselves out in the fashions of yesteryear. However, the majority of people can’t afford to open their own shop, so selling clothes online has indeed become a convenient option for them.
While you might not be able to turn your little business into a multi-million dollar company, as Amoruso did, there are millions of potential customers every day who shop online. They do so because they’re trying to acquire items that they otherwise might not be able to find at a regular retailer. After all, vintage/used clothing stores don’t usually have huge neon signs to follow. Sites like eBay and VarageSale are making this process even easier, so you can not only sell clothes you’ve found at other places but sell the ones you don’t use that are in decent shape. I myself have been looking for an Indiana Jones fedora for the better part of a decade, and would jump at the chance to find a vintage one under $200… #nerdlife.
Want to know 8 Things Worth Breaking Your Budget For? Check this out.
Refurbishing and Selling Used Furniture
Antiques and old-school furniture are also in demand because of the recent boom in the popularity of vintage everything. More and more people are flocking to flea markets and antique stores, looking for a good conversation piece for their apartment or house. I’ve had friends who’ve paid over $100 for a mirror because it had an ornate wooden frame. An old ship’s wheel here, a faded wine cabinet there, it can be not only profitable, but fun to travel around buying antique items and touching them up with some stain and plaster. If you want, you can also pay to open a booth of your own at the local flea market and start selling those items. People might even want to trade trinkets with you, which in turn opens the door for future friends, clients, and potential business partners. Just remember not to restore your items too much. People prefer that vintage look!
Lifting, Moving, Cleaning, Junking
When I was short on cash last summer, my good friend’s family actually hired me for a few weekends to sort, clean, and otherwise rearrange their entire property. I started in the shed, then worked my way across the yard, into the garage, and out the front door. Among my tasks? Junking any old items that they never used. Then, if I found any unused things that I liked, and they didn’t feel like selling, I was allowed to keep them. While I myself don’t have much talent for refurbishing antiques, I was happy to find a pair of vintage wooden speakers that would have looked great in my living room… had they not been chewed up by mice after being stored in a shed for years on end. They also paid me to do the yard work they had trouble with, which included lugging bags of soil and clearing a spot in their backyard where they later installed a new porch.
It was a lot of heavy lifting, but worth it to help out a generous family and make a few bucks in the process. So, if you have a strong back and pickup truck, minivan or a car with a big trunk, you can help out your neighbors and cart home what you don’t throw out, enhancing your bank account a bit in the process.
If you’ve got a house, apartment or an extra room in a happening part of town that you don’t mind renting out, why not help a paying traveller? It’s fairly easy now to sign up for Airbnb and take in those who either can’t afford hostels/hotels or who just want to rent a space for a brief period of time. If you want, you can also host “experiences,” meaning you can play tour-guide for your renters. People will pay to not only rent your space but to lead them on a sightseeing tour of your city or showcase local activities. If you happen to live near the ocean and have the means, take them out on the water for an afternoon on your boat or teach them to surf.
Many travellers prefer to take the Airbnb route because they’ll not only have a place to stay but will also have access to amenities they normally wouldn’t at a hotel, like a kitchen and beds that haven’t necessarily been slept in by countless others. If you’re worried about who the renter might be, the site has a messaging tool so you can talk to them, review their profile, confirm who they are, and vice versa. With Airbnb, you’ll also have a secured payment system, so that you can both request a security deposit and verify that you’re getting the money from a legitimate source.
Fabricating Costumes, Armor, Jewelry, etc.
If you’re an artist of any kind and are passionate enough to put forth the effort, somewhere there will be someone who will take a shine to your work. I mentioned flea markets earlier for the sale of used and antique goods. The same idea goes for art, which can be anything from paintings to hand-forged decorative weapons, armor, jewelry, costumes, and other kinds of garb. If you like metalwork, hammer out some medieval shields and watch the Game of Thrones fanatics line up. Many people frequent places like this in search of wall-hangers and cosplay ideas. I have friends who would and have paid well over $200 for a functioning model Lightsaber, closer to $500 if it makes the iconic whooshing sounds.
Speaking of lightsabers, read this for 6 Things Star Wars Taught Me About Money.
Then, for one glorious weekend in July, ComicCon is the perfect stomping ground for those looking to buy, trade and sell all manner of memorabilia. There you can find swords, helmets, latex stage props and of course, artwork based on comic books, movies, and television. While you’ll need to pay a few hundred bucks to rent a booth, if your art is good enough, you can make a very decent return. Not to mention, seeing the cosplay and panel celebrities is always a fun time. So, if you’re an artist or an inventor, take your talents to the streets.
Teaching or Tutoring
Teaching English as a second language has become a popular choice for many university graduates out there. Not only can they get paid well for it, but with teaching English comes the possibility of working abroad in places like Asia, Africa, and South America.
If languages aren’t your thing, any talent, knowledge or passion can be put to good use. Math, whether it’s trigonometry or something more basic, is a real-world skill that a lot of people will definitely need for the sake of their educations, or even just to learn how to do their taxes with. Not only academics will be in demand either. Another friend of mine teaches an archery class at a community center on weekends, where his students can learn to use medieval longbows. If his students so desire, they can also take courses for sword-fighting techniques and even creating their own chainmail armor. A fun way to spend an evening and a fun way to make some extra money on the side.
You can even use that extra money to help you afford a Caribbean Vacation.
Busking or Street Performance
If one of your skill sets happens to be music, this side hustle goes hand-in-hand with the number above. Not only can you give private music lessons to clients trying to learn an instrument, you can certainly make some coin if you get a permit to busk in a public area, such as a train station or park. Pick up your acoustic guitar or round up a couple of band-mates, and hit the street corners. Make sure to learn a variety of different tunes, like covers of classic and modern day songs, stuff people really want to hear.
Not only music will get people to cheer and fork over their change. Magic, juggling or contact juggling (typically by manipulating crystal orbs), and any other kinds of street performance styles will draw crowds if the gimmick is unique enough. It might take hours of both learning and performing, but if you’re good at it, the loonies will start flowing eventually.
Writing Articles and Producing Videos Online
This is one that I’m becoming more and more familiar with as I take the baby-steps towards building my career as a writer. Almost everything can be found online nowadays and there is no shortage of people trying to find what they need. Be forewarned, however, that with this side hustle, patience is a definite virtue. A lot of people are currently trying to make money writing for various websites, starting their own blogs and making viral videos. However, given the subject matter, you’re trying to peddle, with some effort and creativity on your part, little by little, you can start to make money.
The key is finding a niche that will draw readers, watchers, and listeners to your voice. True, there’s no shortage of movie/television reviews (my specialty) and makeup tutorials, but if you’ve got an entertaining personality or style of writing, people will follow you. The same goes for travel blogs. I consider myself a traveller. So, when I’m considering taking a trip somewhere, I do as much research as possible beforehand. A lot of that research is through travel blogs and sites like HostelWorld because what I often want to read about are first-hand experiences, rather than basic facts. Just remember, learning to distinguish true critics, versus people who just like to complain is a skill of its own, so if you’re going to try your hand at being a travel writer, make sure your opinion is more relevant than bias.
That brings us full circle, right back to one of the oldest, truest forms of making money. A few years ago, my cousin was working part-time for a real and licensed lemonade stand. She would tour all over British Columbia, catering to various outdoor concerts, racetracks, and other events, selling her company’s refreshing beverage. The ingredients? Water, ice, lemons and flavored syrup. Then, once my cousin was a lemonade veteran, she saved up enough, bought a stake in the company and now has her own truck. She invests in a few simple ingredients and uses them to make a very respectable profit in the summer months. Since sunny days equal thirsty fans, ice-cold lemonade is the drink to buy, especially at music festivals. So, if you happen to be free on weekends, why not apply for a job at a food/beverage stand? Not only will you get to see some cool shows, but you’ll make a bit of money on the side.
For another example, I happen to live near a town called Montebello, Quebec, where the yearly music festival, Rockfest is held. Over four days in late June, the normally quiet country town is overrun by around 50,000 music lovers, and the locals profit from it. Since the festival is four days long and the area is in short supply of affordable hotels, most fans will camp on site. The official Rockfest camping fills up quick, so many locals actually rent out their lawns for camping and parking. Once their property is full, they set up a table on the sidewalk and sell anything from homemade lemonade to food, handmade jewelry, and bottles of water. Buy a case of 24 water bottles for $3.99, then sell them for $1.00 each, and you can do the math.
Check out our article about Shameless, the show where Side Hustles are a way of life.
Of course, I realize that this isn’t the case for everyone. Not everybody can afford to make such large investments or rent out their property. My point is, if you have a skill or hobby that you think you can turn into a side hustle, why not give it a try? You may find that there are others out there who are just as willing to invest in your skills as you are.