A “side hustle” is a flexible job or activity that you can do in your spare time to earn some extra cash. It can be a great way to explore something you’re passionate about, whilst making a profit on the side.
No matter what your situation – whether you’re looking for a job, working full or part-time, or planning to retire – a side hustle can take the strain off your bank balance, and help you to achieve your financial goals faster. If you dream about becoming your own boss, then it can also be a great way to test your own business idea, without having to leave the financial security of your day job.
We asked our thriving Facebook community – Over 50s Job Seekers and Career Changers – for their favourite side hustles and got a great response! So without further ado, here are 10 of the most popular side hustles that you can start today, without quitting your full or part-time job…
1. Publish your own books
Writing and publishing short stories in your spare time can be a great way to earn some extra cash, whilst fulfilling your passion for writing. Using Kindle Direct Publishing, you can publish eBook and paperback versions of your stories on Amazon in a matter of minutes – for free! Your books could reach millions of readers worldwide and give you the chance to build credibility as an author through reviews and sales. It’ll be up to you to write your own sales copy and choose your own prices.
2. Set up an online shop
These days you can pretty much sell anything online – it’s just a question of choosing your product. Whether you’ve got a load of unwanted stuff that you can sell on eBay, or you want to sell your handmade crafts on Etsy, chances are there’s at least one way you can make some extra cash by becoming an online seller.
Here are a few popular options…
Great for selling a range of second-hand items, but particularly electronics
Best for selling unique handcrafted items or upcycled furniture
Great for selling beauty products
Best for selling books and DVDs
3. Rent out your car
If you don’t need to drive your car often, then you could earn some extra money by renting it out to others. Websites like Getaround (formerly drivy) and Hiyacar allow you to let your car work for you! All drivers who use your car will be vetted, verified and reviewed before they’re allowed to get behind the wheel. And your car will also be fitted with an installation device which contains GPS and remote locking – so you’ll always be in full control of your vehicle! Pricing is usually up to you but the rental services provider that you choose will take a cut of your earnings, so it’s important to make sure you know exactly how much they will take before you sign up.
It’s also worth noting that the ability to rent your car privately is a relatively new idea, so make sure you are fully comfortable with how it works before signing up to anything.
4. Become a mystery shopper
Mystery shopping is the perfect opportunity to get paid to shop, and you’ll also get to scoop up lots of freebies in the process. As a Mystery Shopper you’ll get given assignments, which will require you to pose as a normal customer and complete tasks such as making retail transactions, eating at restaurants, making inquiries and/or returning items. Later, you’ll be asked to provide a detailed record of your experience, and will be reimbursed for your transactions, plus a bit extra.
The idea behind mystery shopping is that companies will get an independent look into their customer experience, so that they can get a better measure of customer satisfaction and find out where to make improvements.
Where can I get started?
5. Teach a unique skill
Do you have a skill that you would love to teach others? Whether you’re an experienced piano player, you’re skilled at shorthand or you’re fluent in French, it’s likely that there are plenty of people out there who would be willing to pay you to teach them your skill.
The best way to advertise lessons in your unique skill, is to set yourself up with a Facebook page, where you can provide details about your services. It can also be helpful to advertise your services on local notice boards e.g. in coffee shops, supermarkets and leisure centres. Above all, prospective students will want to know what qualifies you to teach them e.g. what experience and/or qualifications you have, so you’ll need to provide details about these if you want to enhance your credibility and build a solid client base.
6. Get paid to clean
For some people cleaning is a satisfying and therapeutic activity – and the good news is that it also has the potential to earn you some extra cash. Research from the British Cleaning Council estimates that the cleaning industry contributes nearly £24 billion to the UK economy and provides work for over 700,000 people.
The best way to use cleaning as your side hustle is to set yourself up as self-employed so you can have greater control over your prices and working hours. The start-up costs for this are relatively low – as you’ll usually only need insurance, cleaning supplies and your own vehicle to get started. As is the case with starting any business – often the hardest part is finding your first few clients. Try creating a Facebook page to advertise your services and/or getting business cards or flyers printed to post through people’s doors and advertise on public notice boards locally. Over time, it’s likely that you will build up a regular base of clients who will refer you to people they know.
7. Offer your skills as a handyperson
A handyperson is someone who is skilled in a wide range of repairs and “odd jobs” – usually around the home. These tasks could include anything from painting and decorating, tiling, flooring, putting up fences, and the list goes on. Sometimes they may already be working in a particular trade and will take on work as a handyperson in their spare time. Other times, they may be self-taught – having picked up skills from working on their own homes and the homes of friends and family.
If you’re interested in getting paid to become a handyperson, then the first and most important thing is to make sure that you have insurance – so you’ll be protected against any accidents that could cause damage to you, someone else or their property. You’ll also need to make sure you have a wide range of tools – so you’ll be equipped to provide a wide range of services – and your own vehicle to get yourself to and from jobs. And as with some of the other self-employed entries in this list, a good way to start building clients is to advertise your services on social media and by handing out flyers/business cards and placing them on local notice boards. Over time, it’s likely that you will build up a regular client base and will benefit from word of mouth recommendations in your local area.
8. Take on casual work
If you’re looking to top up your income, then it can help to have a few casual opportunities that you can get involved with as and when you need to (which may involve signing one or more zero hours contracts). The idea is that you are under no obligation to attend work unless you sign up to a specific shift. Some casual opportunities are seasonal e.g. invigilating exams at universities (often during the summer months) or working at specific events, whilst others may be available year-round, such as retail, bar/restaurant or healthcare opportunities.
The type of casual work you choose to do is really up to you – it will depend on where your interests lie and what sort of skills/experience you have. For this type of work, it can often be helpful to contact the company or organisation that you want to work for directly, to see whether they ever take on casual staff.
9. Offer your photography skills
Are you an active photographer in your spare time? If so, then why not turn it into a side hustle that could make you some extra money. The best way to start getting paid for your hobby is to find a specific niche that you’d be willing to work with. For example, could you offer to photography people’s pets, or snap family portraits? Or perhaps you could offer your skills on the weekend as a wedding photographer?
If this sounds like a route you’d like to go down, then make sure that you have an online and print portfolio of your work that you can show to potential clients, as well as at least one social media account where you can advertise your services and show off your work, as this is a great place to find clients. You could start by taking pictures for friends and family, and asking them to recommend you to other people that they know as well as by handing out flyers/business cards and placing them on local notice boards. It’s also worth signing up to some freelance sites like Upwork or PeoplePerHour, as they regularly have one-off photography jobs up for grabs.
Ready to get snapping?
10. Set up an AirBnB
Have you ever thought about becoming an Airbnb host? Airbnb is an online marketplace which allows people to rent out anything from their whole property to a spare room for short periods of time.
Listing your property is free and you’ll be in complete control of your availability, prices, house rules and how you choose to interact with those who come to stay. So the flexibility is great for those who don’t want a full-time lodger, but would be happy to open up their spare room for a few days here or there. People have also been known to rent out their whole home whilst they themselves are on holiday, to help towards the costs of the trip!
Whilst renting a room in this way is becoming increasingly popular, and it can offer some great earning potential, it’s not without risks – so make sure you know what you’re signing up to before using the service.
The Airbnb website will tell you what you need to get started and will also be able to tell you how much you could earn each month – depending on which area you live in.