Whether you're paying down student loan debt, saving up to buy a home, or just need a little extra cash flow, having a side hustle is a great way to make extra money. Here are 10 side hustle ideas that can help you make easy money using the skills and resources you already have in 2021.
1. Become an Uber/Lyft driver
Ride-sharing services are the rage right now. Uber and Lyft are two of the most popular, and they don’t seem to be going out of business any time soon. If you have a car, some spare time, and love working with people, this is how you can become an uber driver.
Getting started with Uber
After installing the Uber app, you must meet the following minimum requirements:
- Be of legal driving age
- Have one year of driving experience unless you are under 23 years of age – then you need 3 years of driving experience.
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Pass a background check by submitting your Social Security Number. This background check is done in 21 days, and you will be disqualified if you have a history of drug-related offenses, DUI charges, or automobile accidents that caused death.
Your car must meet these requirements based on the service you intend to provide:
- UberX – must have four doors and five seats. It must have been manufactured not more than 10 years ago.
- UberXL – must have a minimum capacity of six passengers.
- UberSELECT/UberPlus – must have a minimum capacity of four passangers, with leather or vinyl interiors.
- UberBLACK – must be an SUV with black interiors
- UberLUX – must be a luxury brand such as Porshe, Tesla or Rolls Royce
- Uber Eats – must have at least two doors. Can be manufactured as early as 1999.
- All vehicles must pass the inspection, regardless of the category you intend to drive for.
The upside of Uber
- A flexible schedule that lets you work when and as much as you want
- Since the job categorizes you as an independent contractor, you can carry out deductions on your income and pay less taxes
- Uber provides insurance for drivers and their vehicles
- Offers higher prices during surges
The downside of Uber
- Unless you are familiar with your locality, rush hour, and how to navigate the app your earnings might not be as high as expected
- Your car will wear and tear faster than it would if it were only for personal use
- By letting strangers into your car, you are risking your safety. However, Uber screens its riders to reduce this risk.
Getting started with Lyft
For your application as a Lyft Driver to be accepted you must meet these minimum requirements:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have a valid driver’s license for one year
- Pass the background checks as well as the phone and in-person interviews.
- Have car insurance under your name
Your car must also meet these requirements:
- Must be manufactured within the last 10 years
- Must have at least four doors
- If accepted, must display the company emblem on the windshield on the passenger’s side
The upside of Lyft
- Flexible work hours
- Offers better driver commissions
- Makes you eligible for tax deductions
The downside of Lyft
- Being familiar with your locality is essential to make high earnings
- Wear and tear of the car is your expense
- Your safety might be compromised if you pick up a violent passenger
Breeze helps rideshare drivers find affordable disability insurance. Get a free quote in seconds.
2. Become a delivery driver
If you have a car, some spare time, and would rather not transport people – being a delivery driver is one of the best side hustle ideas for you. You can deliver food using services like GrubHub and Doordash, or packages using Amazon Flex. Here's how it typically works.
Generally, delivery drivers have to meet these minimum requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Have a social security number
- Have auto insurance
- Pass a background check
Which particular delivery service you choose to work for will depend on your locality and work schedule. Being a delivery driver is better than being a rideshare driver due to the consistent pay and workflow. Minimal interaction with people can be advantageous.
On the other hand, there are challenges that come with making deliveries. You might have a hard time locating certain addresses or getting a safe place to leave the package. Like any other job, you have to provide good customer service to keep a high rating.
[ Related read: Why portable benefits will strengthen the gig economy ]
3. Become a virtual assistant
Did you know that companies and individuals can hire you to perform various tasks remotely? Such work does not usually require you to report to the office; you will use your computer or phone to get them done.
As a virtual assistant (VA), you will be paid for providing a range of services such as:
- Customer service
- Managing finances
- Administrative support
- Social media management
- Content creation
- Blog management
- Online marketing
- Email marketing and management
- Brand outreach
To become a VA, you should be clear about your abilities and goals.
- Decide on which service you will offer, based on your skills
- Decide on how much you will charge per hour – the amount you can earn as a VA ranges from $10 - $50 per hour. You should consider your expenses as well.
- Take a course to understand the VA basics
- Build an online presence that gets you clients – or signup with a company that links Vas to potential clients
- No working experience needed
- Minimal startup cost
- Work remotely
- Less expenses related to commuting to and from work
- Flexible schedule
- You may not be very productive while working from home due to distractions
- You will be responsible for your taxes, as an independent contractor
4. Sell your stuff online
Online shopping is more popular than ever. You can use this opportunity to sell items, such as clothes or tech, through social media pages or by building your own website. This is one of the best side hustle ideas that does not have an age limit.
- Choose a product – it is best to deal with products you are familiar with. You can opt to sell your own merchandise, or resell stuff you have bought at higher prices.
- Have a marketing plan – you have to get the word out so that people know what you are selling. Social media offers many marketing options such as paid ads. You can also blog about your stuff while using SEO to rank your website and get traffic.
- Figure out the logistics – how will your deliveries be made?
- Minimal expenses associated with having a physical store such as rent and utility bills
- Opportunity to leverage your social media following for sales
- Flexible schedule
- Potential for high earnings
- May not pay well initially
- Requires lots of research and marketing
5. Take surveys online
Getting paid for expressing your opinion is a simple, hassle-free way of making extra money. The key to making money from surveys is to set aside some time each day for it. Consistency is a very important factor if you intend to make money from surveys.
- Create a separate email account for survey taking. This will keep your private email from being filled with promotional content and other types of emails that come from survey sites.
- Pick more than one survey site to work with to ensure a consistent flow of surveys
- Ensure you have a daily schedule for surveys
- Provide honest feedback
- Keep your private information private. Do not answer questions that require you to divulge sensitive information
- No experience needed
- Minimal startup costs
- Minimal effort required
- Individual surveys pay very little – as little as $1 per survey
- Some shady survey companies may be out to collect your personal information for other purposes
6. Walk dogs
People who love dogs, enjoy being outdoors, and can network well can make a good amount of money from dog walking. This side hustle idea requires you to go to client’s houses, pick the dogs up and take them out for a walk.
You can register as a dog walker online via a website or app. You can also approach a company that hires dog walkers, such as Wag. To get started, you must:
- Get experience and referees – most companies will require proof of your experience as a dog walker
- Identify the company or app you would like to work for – research user reviews to identify the best fit
- Pass the interview – whether it is an in-person or phone interview, you will have to prove that you have what it takes to be a dog walker
- Pass the background check
- Opportunity to exercise
- Having fun outdoors
- Flexible daily schedule
- Picking up after them
- Braving bad weather to take the dogs out
7. Become an Airbnb host
Being an Airbnb host requires that you have extra room, and are willing to accommodate short-term guests.
There are charges associated with being a host; the company charges 3% hosting fees for each booking, you will have to pay Transient Occupancy Tax to the city and get host protection insurance. There are also cleaning and maintenance costs associated with the business.
As a host, Airbnb requires that you:
- Check the legal requirements for renting out in your locality
- Are able to provide your guests with the necessities such as soap, toilet paper, and towels
- Are able to respond to booking inquiries within 24 hours
- Avoid cancellations
- Maintain a high rating
To become a host, you must sign up on the platform following this process:
- Create a listing
- Set up a calendar for when your apartment is available
- Set your price, taking into account taxes and other expenses
- Wait for inquiries
- Flexible schedule
- Interaction with diverse groups of people
- Free host insurance from Airbnb
- Cheap advertising on the website
- Responding to queries and attending to guests can be time-consuming
- You might encounter people with uncouth behavior
- Income can be erratic
8. Share your car
Is your car sitting idle? Sharing it with travelers using Turo is one of the best side hustle ideas. Signing up as a host on this service is quite straightforward; simply create a Turo profile and upload pictures of your driver’s license.
Once the reservation has been made, Turo holds payment until the user gets the car. You can take the car keys in person, or unlock the car remotely.
- Saving on insurance costs for car rental insurance
- Allows people between 21-25 years to rent out their cars, unlike most car rental services. However, you have to have a valid license that has been in use for two years.
- Convenient car pick up/drop off process
- Communication hitches between you and the client might result in missed pickup/drop-offs
- Car wear and tear happens faster than it would if it was for personal use only.
9. Charge scooters
Electric scooter companies like Lime, Spin, and Bird are changing the way people commute in a number of cities. They are also providing one of the most competitive side hustle ideas – charging scooters overnight. To become a scooter charger, you have to collect low battery scooters in the evening, charge them and return them to the street by morning for riders to use.
- Download the app and fill out your information
- Get approval
- Create space for charging in your home
- Get charging supplies from the company
- Easy signup process
- Get paid the same day
- Flexible schedule
- Minimal expense in terms of gas and electricity
- Tracking down the scooters can be a hassle as there is stiff competition
- You might not have enough space in your car to carry many scooters
10. Help people move
If you have previous experience working as a mover, you should consider related side hustle ideas. You can advertise your moving services on platforms such as Craiglist, or rely on referrals from friends and family. You should be okay with lifting heavy boxes and furniture. This is not the easiest side hustle but has great earning potential if done right.
- Start out small through referrals and incur minimal costs
- Flexible schedule
- Getting gigs may not be easy at first
- Can be physically exhausting
There are many ways of making extra cash aside from your day job. You can put your skills to use in VA and driving jobs, or opt for simple tasks such as filling out surveys and charging scooters. Provided you do the necessary research while considering one of these side hustle ideas, you are bound to have a steady stream of income.
Jack Wolstenholm is the head of content at Breeze.
The information and content provided herein is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. Breeze does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, reliability or usefulness of any testimonials, opinions, advice, product or service offers, or other information provided here by third parties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.