Make money with a side gig and learn how long it will take to see the extra income, whether it’s freelancing online, driving passengers or selling your stuff.
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You need extra money, but you’re not sure where to start (or what’s legit). Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
NerdWallet rounded up 25 legitimate ways to earn some extra income — at home or out and about — and listed each option based on how fast you can get started and get paid. While most people prefer fast cash, don’t discount the “slow” gigs, as they may pay more in the long run.
[Due to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, some of these suggestions may not be currently viable, given measures in place to control spread of the virus.]
1. Sell your gently used clothes
Selling clothes you no longer wear is a quick way to make some money. Start with local consignment shops for faster cash or use sites like ThredUp and Postmark to find buyers. If you go the online route, be sure to take clear, well-lit photos of your pieces and research similar items to set competitive prices.
2. Trade in old phones, electronics for cash
Have an old phone, iPad or gaming system lying around? Sell it on a site like Swappa or Gazelle. Check out Amazon’s trade-in program, which pays participants in Amazon gift cards — and eBay, too. If you’re in a rush, try an ecoATM kiosk, which offers cash on the spot for your device. Learn more about selling used phones.Total time: Fast
3. Drive for Uber, Lyft
Join Uber or Lyft (or both) and earn money by driving passengers around. Just don’t forget to factor in gas and maintenance costs. You need an eligible car in good condition and must agree to a background check and a review of your driving history. Learn more about what it takes to drive for Uber and Lyft.Total time: Fast
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4. Make deliveries for Amazon, Uber Eats
5. Become a dog walker or dog sitter
Love dogs? Consider becoming a dog walker. Apps like Wag! and Rover offer on-demand dog walking, so you can pick up walks when your schedule allows. If you have space (and your landlord’s permission, if you rent), you could offer overnight dog boarding. Read the fine print if you sign up for these servicesTotal time: Fast
- For Rover or Wag!, you’ll need to live in an area where the service operates.
- If you want to pet-sit, you’ll need an apartment or house that allows pets.
- You’ll have to pass a background check.
6. Get a babysitting gig
Everyone from college students to recent retirees can make money by watching other people’s children. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are still a great way to get started, but you can also create a profile for free on Care.com or Sittercity to expand your reach. Note any specialized skills, such as CPR certifications or experience with special needs children, to make yourself more marketable.Total time: Fast
7. Find work as a housesitter
If you’re willing to watch someone’s home — and maybe feed the pets, water the plants and take out the garbage — become a housesitter. Tap your personal network for referrals or try out HouseSitter.com, which connects homeowners with housesitters. People often make $25 to $45 a day, according to the company’s website.Total time: Fast
8. Sell unused gift cards
Sell unused gift cards on a site like Cardpool, CardCash or Gift Card Granny. These websites say they will pay you up to 92% of the card’s value. On CardCash and Gift Card Granny, you can also trade in your card for one you’ll use. Cardpool and Gift Card Granny also have kiosks and cashier-assisted locations so you can get cash on the spot. Read more about what to do with unwanted gift cards.Total time: Fast
9. Pick up freelance work online
Websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com offer opportunities to do a variety of freelance jobs, such as writing, programming, design, marketing, data entry and being a virtual assistant. Fluent in a second language? Check sites such as Gengo or One Hour Translation, or drum up business through a site of your own. No matter what kind of freelancing you do, keep track of the going rate for the kind of work you provide so you know if you’re charging too much or too little. Learn how to get started on Upwork.Total time: Medium
10. Test websites and apps
Sites such as UserTesting.com will pay you for your thoughts on how well — or not so well — certain websites and apps worked. You’ll have to pass a short test to be accepted, then you’ll be paid $10 for each 20-minute test, which involves a recording and answering four follow-up written questions. Or you could earn up to $120 to participate in a video conversation with a customer after your test.Total time: Medium
11. Pick up tasks on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Even in the age of automation, some jobs still require a human touch. Companies often outsource those jobs via services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. As a “worker,” the tasks you’ll be assigned can be tedious — tagging images, transcribing videos, classifying receipts — and can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Temporary employers or “requesters” set the price for each task and get to approve the finished product before paying you. That can leave room for scams, so do your research, and join a community like the MTurk Crowd forum, or the MTurk and Turker Nation subreddits, which can steer you away from shifty dealers. These communities and fellow “workers” can answer questions and give a realistic idea of how much money you can expect to make. Read more about Mechanical Turk as a way to make quick money online.Total time: Medium
12. List your spare bedroom on Airbnb
Making your home or spare bedroom available on vacation rental sites can provide a lucrative side income. Be prepared to spend some money to clean and keep up the property, replace home goods and pay toward service fees. And scrutinize your rental agreement before you get started.
Learn how to cash in on short-term rentals.Total time: Medium
13. Rent out your car
City-dwellers often don’t use their cars for days or weeks at a time. That idle time can translate to money with services like Getaround and Turo, which let you rent out your car by the hour or day. You take home the majority of those earnings, while Getaround or Turo takes a cut for protecting your car while it’s being rented.Total time: Medium
14. Take surveys for money
You can generate a small side income taking online surveys, but don’t expect to be rolling in the dough. Survey sites don’t typically offer a big payoff, and many sites are more useful for earning gift cards than cash. Some of the more popular survey sites include Swagbucks and Survey Junkie. Read our analysis of a dozen survey sites to find out which one is best suited for you.Total time: Medium
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15. Sign up for TaskRabbit
If you actually enjoy putting together Ikea furniture or standing in long lines, you may be cut out for doing tasks for others. Websites like TaskRabbit can connect you with people who need help with a variety of things, such as moving, cleaning, delivery and handyman services. Read about how to get started on TaskRabbit.Total time: Medium
16. Sell your photography
Turn your photographs into cash via sites like Fine Art America, which lets you upload your images to sell as prints, T-shirts, phone cases and more. Other marketplaces for photographers include SmugMug, 500px and PhotoShelter. Some sites require a subscription but may provide features ranging from cloud storage to password-protected galleries and a customized website.Total time: Medium
17. Become a private tutor
Parlay your math, science, foreign-language or test-prep expertise into a lucrative side gig by becoming a private tutor. You can tutor people online or in-person. What you charge can depend on your experience, expertise and what’s in demand. To get started, see what types of tutors are needed on Craigslist or create a profile on sites like Tutor.com or Care.com. You can also advertise your services at local schools and community centers.Total time: Medium
18. Make money from your blog as an affiliate
If you’re a blogger who gets decent traffic, you could make money by joining an affiliate network. Affiliates (that’s you) get paid when someone clicks through from the website to the partner site and buys something there. Some bloggers make a lot of money this way. Read more about affiliate marketing and other ways bloggers can make money.Total time: Slow
19. Sell your wares on Etsy
Have a penchant for woodworking, jewelry-making, embroidery or pottery? Sell your goods on Etsy, the go-to site for artisans selling home goods, art and knickknacks. Etsy boasts almost 48 million active buyers and grossed $5 billion in merchandise sales in 2019, according to the website. Learn more about how to make money on Etsy.Total time: Slow
20. Get advertising revenue from your blog or YouTube channel
Turn your cat videos into cash videos. If your YouTube videos or blog posts draw a big audience, you may be able to make money from advertising. With Google AdSense, businesses pay to advertise around your content. The service is free, but there are requirements you must meet. Read more about how to make money on YouTube and Google AdSense.Total time: Slow
21. Become an Instagram influencer
Companies are using Instagram influencers — people with large, dedicated followings on the platform — to rep their products. You can get in on the action by applying for opportunities via a marketing platform like Open Influence or FameBit, or by contacting the brands you want to work with. Read more about how to make money on Instagram.Total time: Slow
22. Monetize your Twitch channel
Gaming can be a lucrative side gig once you build a steady following on Twitch, the go-to site for gamers. Broadcasters can receive donations from viewers and even get a share of subscription and ad revenue if they reach Affiliate or Partner status. Learn more about how to make money on Twitch.Total time: Slow
23. Sign up to be a mystery shopper
Businesses often want to know how they’re performing from a customer’s perspective. Sign up to be their eyes and ears. You can apply online via sites like IntelliShop, BestMark and Sinclair Customer Metrics. Just beware of scams and do thorough research before signing on.Total time: Slow
24. Find seasonal work
Need a gig for a few months? Try something seasonal, like being a lifeguard, shoveling snow or working at a retailer during the holidays. Employers typically staff up a month or two ahead of their busy season, so plan ahead to get on their payroll. Check storefront windows, Craigslist and local classifieds for seasonal opportunities.Total time: Slow
25. Put your drone to work
The market for drones is expanding. Companies hire out work like aerial inspection, photography and land mapping. So if you’re already a drone enthusiast, why not put your aircraft to work? You first need to register it with the Federal Aviation Administration and obtain certification from them for commercial use. Then, you can apply for gigs as a drone pilot. Learn how to make money with drones.Total time: Slow
Watch out for scams
The internet is full of opportunities to make a quick buck online or from home, but many are questionable, if not outright scams. Be wary of any “opportunity” that asks for an upfront fee, wants you to pay for certification, or requests your Social Security number or any financial information, such as your credit card number.
Still unsure if an opportunity is legit? Look for community forums, like those on Reddit, for unfiltered reviews and complaints. (Workers on TaskRabbit, Uber and Lyft, for example, each have their own subreddit.) Also, check if the company has a Better Business Bureau profile. The BBB assigns ratings based on reported complaints, business transparency and other factors.