We have some great ideas to share from a guest blogger, Brian Thomas, to help you put a little extra cash in your pocket to help acquire items on your wish list, reach New Year’s financial goals, or to save in your rainy day fund.

It seems like everyone has a “side gig” these days. According to Startups Anonymous, around 57 million people worked as a freelancer in 2019.

The terms “side hustle” and “gig economy” may seem like newly coined ideas, but independent contractors have been working for themselves on a job-by-job basis for decades. The recent surge in popularity, however, could be attributed to the growth of modern technology and the
ability to work with companies remotely from anywhere in the world.

A side gig might be for you if you have the room in your schedule to take on extra work in your spare time. This could be challenging for those who already work full time and have families at home that deserve quality time and attention. The great thing about dabbling in the gig economy is that it provides the ability to only take the opportunities that align with your schedule.

Pursuing a side gig for extra income is a great idea — but only if you can be sure it won’t cause burnout. At that point, the mental and physical toll is not worth the added income. If you have the time and capacity for it, taking on a side gig is a great way to speed up the process towards your current short and long-term financial goals.

Be sure to do extensive research before picking up a freelance or contractor opportunity. Landing one of these gigs can be particularly competitive, depending on the role. The good news is that there are freelance opportunities out there for all ages, skill sets, and experience levels.

Not sure where to start? Consider the following popular side gigs:

Become a freelancer

Do you have experience in a creative trade like graphic design, photography, or video production? Perhaps you have a background in public relations or marketing?

Many small businesses and budding brands don’t have the capacity to take on these areas themselves or the deep pockets to bring someone on in a full-time capacity. This is where you could step in as a freelancer!

Services like Fiverr or UpWork are made to connect freelancers with businesses and brands looking for help with creative services. Start by downloading the app and creating a profile.

From there, you can browse through an array of opportunities posted by organizations looking for assistance in your area of expertise. Or, you can always go the old school route and cold call or email!

PROS: Freelancing can be done from virtually anywhere. The pay can be great too — skilled freelance workers are currently making an average of $28 an hour.

CONS: This is a competitive space to be in. You might need to put in extra work to land an opportunity. But it’s easy to build momentum once you do!

Become a ridesharing or delivery driver

Becoming an independently contracted driver for a delivery or rideshare company is a great option for those with a valid driver’s license, reliable vehicle, working smartphone, and flexible schedule. If this sounds interesting to you, narrow down your options by choosing to become either a delivery driver or a rideshare driver. Delivery drivers usually deliver food and groceries from the supplier to the customer through companies like InstaCart and GrubHub, while rideshare drivers use companies like Uber and Lyft to transport people from the current location to their desired destination.

Do some extensive research before signing up to drive for a company. While many people have found great success in their driving side gig, some services have been called out recently for cutting corners and taking advantage of their drivers. Proceed with caution towards driving companies like DoorDash that have negative reviews from both customers and employees. Check review platforms like Glassdoor and Google Reviews to see what current and former employees have to say about their experience as a driver.

PROS: Many people that already have full or part-time jobs love the flexibility of being a driver for a delivery or rideshare service. With Uber and Lyft, for example, you can start and stop working whenever you want throughout the day.

CONS: To be a driver, you must have reliable transportation and be willing to take on the wear and tear that comes with excessive driving.

Open an Online Shop

Building an online shop is another great side gig that you can do from the comfort of your own home! There are many ways to go about doing this.

If you are a crafty person and have a product you’d like to sell, consider opening up a shop on Etsy. Are you an artist, graphic designer, or photographer whose work would look good on clothing and decor? Look into online shops like Society6 that will print your visual art on items like totes, towels, t-shirts, pillows, and so much more. They provide the item, printing, and logistics for shipping — all you have to do is upload your artwork and drive people to your profile. You will make a cut from each product sold with your design.

If you don’t have your own product to sell, there are still ways you can become an online shop owner. Many people find success with operating an Amazon shop, opening an online boutique, or becoming an independent contractor for a multi-level marketing company. However, just like ridesharing and delivery driving, be sure to do extensive research before going this route to make sure you won’t be scammed. For example, Lularoe has concerning reviews across the internet— so you may want to steer clear from that company and others with similar reviews.

PROS: Opening an online shop of sorts will give you a sense of entrepreneurship and a taste of what it’s like to be a business owner without as much risk. If you find success in running your online business on a part-time basis, you have the option to take it to a full-time basis and work for yourself.

CONS: Some of these “side gigs” may require more work than others. If you decide to open up a shop, come up with a detailed plan to start small before biting off more than you can chew.

Side gigs are a popular way to get some extra income and build your savings. If you are currently in a position where your full-time job is just enough to make ends meet, it may be a good idea to see where the gig economy can help you start putting more money into savings and debt. Just be careful to avoid burnout and scams! What side gigs have you found success in?

Author bio

Brian Thomas is a tech and business blogger, avid cyclist, and Philadelphia sports enthusiast. When he’s not keeping up on industry news or writing for Enlightened Digital, he can be found on this long-distance cycle route or trying out local Philly brewpubs.