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10 side hustles you can launch yourself
Side view of a young woman riding her bike in a city.
Looking for ways to make a little extra cash? Whether you’re saving for a particular goal or just trying to combat inflation, taking on a side hustle alongside your day job can help put a little more money in the bank.
Vending Mavericks highlighted 10 side hustles people could start on their own at a relatively low cost, including those involving skill or mastery and others that can be done without.
Hustle culture is prevalent throughout American culture—showing up in our TV, movies, social media, and everyday lives. If you’re ready to hit the grind, remember that not all side jobs are created equal. Some require more upfront investment than others.
While the jobs on this list cost little to start, you may need various skills, tools, and resources—access to reliable transportation, for instance. Be sure to do an audit of the resources at your disposal before deciding which side hustle is best for you.
This kind of work is on the rise: 2022 Census Bureau data showed about 27.1 million nonemployer business establishments nationwide in 2019. Following a period of record business applications, that number is likely higher now. Check out these options if you’re ready to jump on the trend.
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Open an Etsy shop
Etsy website on laptop screen.
Are you crafty? Do you crochet in your spare time or dabble with digital design? Try turning your hobby into cash by opening an Etsy shop.
It only takes a few minutes to start selling on Etsy. Listings cost $0.20, and you’ll also be charged a 6.5% transaction fee and payment processing fee of 3% plus $0.25. If you want to advertise your listing beyond Etsy, you’ll also need to pay a 15% fee for offsite ads.
These fees can add up quickly, so consider this in tandem with labor time and the cost of materials when setting prices.
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Sell goods at markets, fairs, and festivals
Girl looking at the colourful handmade jewelry on the local fair outside.
Another option for making some cash off your creativity is to sell your products at markets, fairs, or festivals.
Start by doing a search for markets and fairs in your area. Most major sites will have an application page with a list of the kinds of businesses they feature and the requirements to score a spot. For instance, the Texas Farmers Market currently warns that the wait list is long for those selling sweet confections.
You might still be subject to fees with this option, but it’s possible they’ll be less than an online vendor like Etsy. Additionally, ensure you don’t need any specific license to qualify—especially if you’re selling food. Requirements vary by state.
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Sign up for rideshare and delivery
Male driver on a ride-share app.
If you have access to reliable transportation, you could also consider signing up for a ride-share or delivery service. Both Uber and Lyft have specific vehicle requirements you must meet to be eligible to carry passengers.
The major benefit of this side hustle is that you can make as much out of it as you are willing to put in. Services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, Gopuff, and more allow drivers to set their schedules. You’ll typically earn money in the form of a base fare, tips, and special promotions during peak delivery times.
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Group of dogs being walked by a person in the background on city sidewalk.
Did you know animal lovers can earn cash just by hanging out with pets? Services like Rover and Wag! allow you to sign up to walk dogs, cat-sit, or provide other pet-related services on your own time and at your own rate.
To set yourself up for success on these platforms, be sure to do your research on the going rate for other sitters in your area. If you set prices too high, you might not get as many hits on your listing; too low, and you aren’t making as much as you’re worth.
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Woman cleaning table using rag and diffuser at home.
Cleaning homes is another great option for bringing in extra income. Hourly rates for maid services range between $9 and $16 on average, but you could bring in more in the right area.
There are a couple of ways to get started cleaning homes. You could work independently, marketing and finding clients via social media, neighborhood groups, or friends and family. Or you could sign up to work with a national service to get access to extra benefits, including transportation and cleaning supplies.
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Perform errands, maintenance, and repairs
Cropped shot of a maintenance man.
Are you a whiz at assembling Ikea furniture? Looking for a way to combine earning extra money with getting a workout? Advertising services like assisting with moves, running errands, or helping with repairs on a site like TaskRabbit could be for you.
When you sign up to become a Tasker, the site will give you the going rate for someone providing that particular service in your area. For instance, help moving in Austin, Texas, is currently worth about $51 per hour. You have the power to adjust these rates as you get more experience and feel more confident with your ability to score work.
The best part? After a $25 registration fee, you’ll keep 100% of your service fees and tips. There’s no listing or transaction fee for Taskers.
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Man looking on screen of laptop computer in a coffee shop.
Nearly 2 in 5 Americans provided freelance work in 2022. Those skilled in writing, editing, photography, and other in-demand work can take on additional jobs at almost no cost. Most of the time, you’ll just need a computer, internet connection, and whatever software and equipment you already use for these purposes—like cameras and lighting.
Freelance opportunities abound if you do the work to find them. Tap your network on LinkedIn, check out job boards on Indeed or Glassdoor, or sign up for an aggregator site like Fiverr or Upwork. Each of these options has pros and cons: Tapping your own network requires a bit of extra searching on your part, but you won’t have to pay the service fees associated with aggregator sites, and vice versa.
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Operate a vending machine
Hand pushing button on vending machine operation panel.
Ever bought a candy bar at the laundromat and wondered where the money went? In many cases, people own and operate their own vending machines at a steep profit.
Operating a vending machine requires more upfront investment than other side hustles on this list. You’ll have to invest in the machine itself, which could be anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a used machine to a few thousand for a new one. You’ll also need to cover the cost of stock to fill it up.
Then, find the right place for your machine, and contact that business owner. This might be a school, shopping mall, laundromat, or other local business. Some owners will charge you a percentage of the profits for the space, while others might charge fixed fees or apply no fees. You also might have to secure a vending license.
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Teach a class in something you’re good at
Woman instructor with headset in exercise class with group.
Though typically reserved for specialists in a given field, teaching a class is another great way to use your knowledge to earn extra income. For those with in-demand certifications and expertise, you might be able to teach via online learning platforms like Udemy or Coursera.
If you have an advanced degree, you also might be qualified to teach a course at your local community college. Adjunct professor salaries vary significantly by state and metro area but average more than $26 an hour.
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Male freelancer working on movie production with computer software.
Digital content creation is a booming industry. From independent blogs to YouTube channels or TikTok accounts, content creators leverage brand partnerships, advertising, and more to bring in thousands annually.
Growing a following on a major social platform can take time and investment, however. You’ll need to make sure you have all the best editing software, filming equipment, and other tools needed to create your particular brand of media. You’ll also need to be well-versed in selling yourself when it comes to landing partnerships and setting rates. But the biggest factor is time. The more your audience grows, the more brands will be interested in partnering with you.
Data reporting by Paxtyn Merten. Story editing by Jeff Inglis. Copy editing by Paris Close. Photo selection by Clarese Moller.
This story originally appeared on Vending Mavericks and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.