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The Art Of The [Lucrative] Side Hustle.

October 27, 2008

I am going to take a giant step off my normal fashion/shoe obsessed binge and enlighten you, my faithful readers, in the art of the “side hustle”. Recently brought to my attention here, a side hustle is this:

Side hustles are a little different from traditional part time jobs in that they generally involve you starting up something on your own.  They can range in complexity from selling yard sale finds on eBay to starting your own small business. – Frugal Dad

I am always on the lookout on how to make extra dough either to increase my various savings accounts, or to pay off the last of my debt. Dad [not to be confused with Joe, my actual Dad] gave me a few note worthy ideas for raking in the extra fundage without it compromising my full-time job/full-time student/part-time awesome-softball-player schedule [you will see my comments in green].

  • 1. Dog walker.  On the way to work each morning I pass a lady walking five or six dogs, usually three leashes in each hand.  She carries a small shovel like a sword strapped to her waist, and has quite a few plastic grocery bags stuffed in each pocket.  I’ve never seen them in action, but I assume these tools are for performing the neighborly deed of removing dog poop from lawns along the way.

          Pros:  You are getting exercise; your own dog can tag along and get exercise
          Cons:  Clean up (need I say more); untangling twisted leashes

Dog walking is something I considered doing in the past. I would think getting your name out there would be the most difficult and time consuming part. I live in a very suburban area, so there are lots of places to walk dogs, but it might take a while to get there is you have your clients in different neighborhoods then you.

  • 2. “Date-night” sitting service.  This is an idea we kicked around a few months ago when we were looking for ways to boost our income, without being away from the kids.  A date-night sitting service is basically a Friday and/or Saturday night in-home service where neighbors and friends drop off their kids for a few hours while the parents enjoy a “date night.”  Hosts charge a little less than a single babysitter would, but make a little more because they have more than one child to watch.  Kids can play games, watch movies, and hosts usually order up some cheap pizza, or grill hotdogs and hamburgers (always a crowd favorite).

         Pros:  Your kids can participate in the fun; hourly earnings typically higher than retail job
         Cons:  Liability issues; five extra kids running around the house; no date night of your own

I am all about this – however, the friends/acquaintances that I have with kids are either across country or have kids the same age as me. HAHA. So, spreading the word might be a little difficult.

  • 3. Survey participant.  Anyone who has been on the web any length of time knows opportunities abound for participants to earn money completing surveys.  What is less known is that there are only a small handful of reputable companies offering this service, in a space crowded by many scams.  I have personal experience working with CashCrate, where I used to net $40-$60 a month working surveys a few minutes each day.  Over time, I’ve managed to take advantage of their lucrative referral system and I now make a couple hundred dollars a month.  It won’t make me rich, but it does add a little to the grocery budget.

          Pros:  No costs to participate; can be done from home
         Cons:  Email box full of offers (use a separate email account if you sign up)

Okay, I signed up. It is super easy, super fast, and can be very, very worth the time you put into it. For me, I have a lot of down time at work, so spending 30 minutes a day can add up pretty quickly (like to the tune of $100.00 plus in extra scratch a month). It is super important though that you create a secondary email account for all the spam you are going to rack up. I strongly suggest that everyone try this.

  • 4. Blogger.  I’ve been writing for nearly a year now, but if I read this myself this time last year I wouldn’t have believed being a blogger could actually become an income-earning opportunity.  The money comes very slowly, but for those with patience it can actually add up to become a nice supplemental income.  It is not completely passive income though, as there is a lot of writing, editing and behind-the-scenes administration that goes along with being a blogger.  Still, if there is a subject you are passionate about it is worth a try.

          Pros:  Work at your own pace; minimal startup costs; interacting with readers and other bloggers
          Cons:  Time consuming; requires mental effort tough to conjure up at the end of a long day

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ah. This made my laugh a little. Making money from a blog would be wonderful. Blogs take time, energy, and patience. Being a WordPresser, it is almost impossible to make money from your blog, and with good reason. I feel WordPressers write for content and pleasure rather than hits or money – but adding the feature of hosting your own ads should be available. I started a Blogger blog to try the ad thing out. It worked – a whole $.23 cents so far. But updating it, keeping it interesting, and dividing my attention equally between this and that blog is proving difficult. I just love this one so much more. Hee Hee.

  • 5. House sitter.  I have family member that recently graduated high school.  He is headed into one of the military services, but his enlistment was delayed.  Instead of hunting down a place to rent, he got the opportunity to house-sit for a couple that would be away from their home for a few months.  While this job doesn’t pay an income, money saved is money earned.  Rather than shelling out several hundred dollars for a half-year lease, now he gets to live rent free and pocket earnings from his job.

         Pros:  Free rent; take advantage of amenities (pool, home gyms, etc.)
        Cons:  No place for your own things; wondering when you’ll be asked to move out

Done it. Still do it on occasion. It is a great way to take a mini vacation when you house sit for someone. For me though, I find it hard to ask for money. Most people say “make yourself at home – eat whatever” and then generally give me wine or tickets to an Angel game – not that either of those are bad.

  • 6. Lawn painter.  No, that’s not a typo.  Painting houses has always been a nice way to make a few extra bucks, but in times of dry climate and numerous foreclosures, greening up lawns with paint is in high demand.  Realtors would much rather show a “green” home than one with a brown yard.  But the benefits of a green lawn don’t stop with curb appeal.  A green lawn makes the house looked lived in, lessening the chances of the home being vandalized, or squatters taking up residence.

          Pros:  High demand (especially in winter months)
         Cons:  Product costs; green legs and shoes

This one confused me. I have never even heard of this. People in my area (sunny Southern California) don’t have problems with dead lawns… and if they do, they will buy a new one. So, I might skip this one – but definitely check in out in your area… maybe you will start a booming business!

  • 7.  Holiday Decorations Installer.  This one is seasonal, obviously, but with the holiday season approaching I’ve heard of many enterprising people advertising their services to install decorations.  Many homeowners enjoy adding icicle lights and yard decorations, but don’t have the time, energy, or know-how to set them up themselves.  That’s where you come in.  Charge a flat fee based on the amount of decorations the owner wants displayed, and offer a discounted fee to come back after the holidays and take down the decorations and pack them away for next year.  Who knows…you might earn a little extra Christmas shopping money by helping out your neighbors!

          Pros:  Minimal equipment needed (maybe just a ladder, scaffold, etc.); set your own schedule
          Cons:  A lot of patience needed (ever try to unwind a 100ft strand of tangled Christmas lights?)

I am definitely going to suggest this one to the boyfriend – who is determined to win our apartment complex’s Holiday balcony/patio decorating contest. I know, especially where my parents live, that the elderly need help decorating for the holidays. My dad decorates for their neighbor (she is almost 90 and living on her own) every year and has done it for 25 years. I would, again, have problems charging people for this. Helping your neighbor(s) comes off like a charity/community scenario. And yes, untangling lights can get ridiculous!

Having extra money is always good – and can be a real handy safety net if you loose your job, an emergency comes up, or you are feeling charitable when at the local hangout!

Money, Money, MOOOney! Money!

Money, Money, MOOOney! Money!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jade permalink
    October 27, 2008 2:21 pm

    Rad, I’ve always heard about making money doing surveys but could never find the right sites to go too. Extra money here I come. I’m gonna tell Kenny about this too.

  2. Jade permalink
    October 27, 2008 2:58 pm

    Heck yeah, I’ll put you as a referral.

  3. Jade permalink
    November 3, 2008 9:40 am

    Have you actually received any money yet? I’ve had 10.25 sitting in the “pending” thing for like a week, and it never moves to my earnings, do I have to get to $20 before it moves over?

  4. Jacob Safranski permalink
    November 17, 2008 2:54 pm

    Hey Jade:

    The pending balance usually moves into the earnings within a couple hours if not sooner. If it does not move for a while, then it usually means that you either did not complete the survey fully before you submitted it or that cashcrate is having troubles getting the mooney from the advertiser who posted the survey.

    Make your life easier though, check out http://www.cash-automatic.com I found it last week, their program works like a charm and fills out the surveys automatically!

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