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The Best Side Hustles to Earn Extra Cash

Smiling woman at home on her desktop computer searching for side hustles

Sick of living paycheck to paycheck? Thinking of leaving your job and want to see if the freelance world is for you? Or maybe you’d just like a little extra spending money? If any of these apply, you’re in luck, because it’s never been easier to turn your time and talent into cold, hard cash with a side hustle. 

Here are 15 of the best side hustles that can help you earn anywhere from a few extra bucks a month to a full-time income. To estimate how much you can make for each one, we’ve used a combination of company figures and reports from actual workers on blogs and forums like Reddit.

Top Profitable Side Hustles

1. Take online surveys

Companies and organizations use data to make decisions. To get that data, they need to gather input and opinions from real people. You can become one of those people–and get paid for sharing your thoughts–by taking online surveys. 

Survey Junkie is one of the most popular options with hundreds of thousands of members. It’s free to join. You earn points in exchange for taking surveys and/or sharing your online browsing behavior, and can redeem those points for cash and other rewards. 

Opinion Inn is another option that collects consumer feedback on brands and products. It’s also free to join and pays anywhere from $0.50 to $100 for survey participation. 

Note that most surveys are looking for participants that meet specific criteria (i.e. moms between the ages of 25 and 35 who live in the Pacific Northwest), so you’ll need to check in on a regular basis to find new surveys that fit your profile. 

While this side hustle probably won’t replace your whole paycheck, it’s a good way to earn money for time that you’d already be spending browsing the internet or scrolling on your phone. 

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2. Deliver food

The popularity of food delivery apps skyrocketed during the first few months of the pandemic and hasn’t let up since. That means delivery drivers for services like DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats are in high demand. 

DoorDash is the food delivery leader in the United States with 59% of the market share, making it a good choice if you’re just getting started. The average DoorDash driver earns between $15 and $25 an hour–not bad for time spent cruising in your own car listening to music, a podcast, or an audiobook. 

3. Shop for groceries

If you’re a pro at navigating the produce section, you could use your supermarket savvy to earn money by shopping for other people with an app like Instacart

The average Instacart shopper earns about $20 an hour, with top shoppers bringing in $45 an hour or more plus tips. The best part is you keep 100% of your tips, which usually range from 5% to 20% of a shopper’s total order. 

4. Give rides

From major cities to rural areas, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have become ubiquitous. Depending on your location, the amount of demand, and the hours you drive, you could earn anywhere from $15 to $50 an hour. There are even blogs devoted to helping drivers hack their way to higher earnings with tactics like driving during surge pricing and choosing neighborhoods strategically. 

Because riders are often in need of a driver during non-business hours–like early morning rides to the airport or late pickups after a night out–it’s a great option for folks looking for a side hustle that doesn’t interfere with their 9-to-5. 

5. Rent out your car

You don’t have to do the driving to make money using your car. You can rent it out for others to use with a car-sharing service like Turo. To list your vehicle on Turo it must be less than 12 years old and have fewer than 130,000 miles on it, in addition to meeting all the applicable insurance and inspection requirements.  

Most Turo hosts earn between a few hundred bucks to $1000 a month. 

6. Lend a hand

If you’re handy with home repairs and other household chores, you can hire out your services by the hour on TaskRabbit. TaskRabbit connects people with same-day help for everything from running errands to yard work. 

How much you’ll make depends on your hourly rate (which is set by you) and the type of tasks you complete. Most Taskers earn a few hundred dollars a month, but the highest earners report anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 a month. Some of the highest-paid tasks are cleaning, furniture assembly, and moving. 

7. Clear out your clutter

The average American household has 300,000 items in it, and 25% of people with a two-car garage don’t have room to park inside it. What does that tell us? We can get rid of some stuff, and depending on what’s inside your garage, attic or spare closet, you might be sitting on a gold mine. 

Spend a Saturday clearing out your clutter and list it on sites like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. Home decor, furniture, childrens’ toys and seasonal items like Christmas decorations are some of the biggest sellers.  

8. Resell clothing

Your closet is another piggy bank you can raid by listing items on resale marketplaces like Poshmark and ThredUp. You’ll earn a premium for items that are brand name or still have the tags on. 

If you have a knack for discovering amazing vintage finds at thrift stores, you can turn that into a lucrative and ongoing side hustle by scoring low prices and reselling at a markup. 

9. Sell handmade items

Kitschy coffee mugs, scented soaps, and knitted scarves are just a few of the items popular on makers’ markets like Etsy, where you can earn money selling things you’ve made by hand. Gifts, holiday-related items, and homewares tend to do well. 

Or, go old school and take your wares to a local farmers’ market, which can be a great way to gain exposure. 

10. Rent your space

Let’s be honest: you’re never actually going to turn that spare room into a home gym. Might as well put it to good use by listing it for rent on Airbnb

The platform has come a long way from the days of hosting random strangers to crash on your couch. Now, Airbnb users are required to verify their identity by uploading an official form of identification, which is checked against criminal records and sex offender databses for host safety. 

11. Tutor K-12 students

Were you a whiz in math class? Or maybe English was more your forte? Dust off those old textbooks and put your knowledge to good use helping young kids master arithmetic or high school students prepare for the SAT. 

While you may find more opportunities with a formal tutoring certification from an organization like the National Tutoring Association, private clients may be happy to hire you based only on your credentials, prior experience or degree. The average tutor earns about $25 an hour. 

12. Transcribe audio recordings

Professionals in fields like healthcare, law, and education rely on accurate audio transcriptions to do their jobs. If you have fast fingers, headphones and an internet connection, you can make money online completing those transcriptions–in other words, listening to a recording and typing what you hear. 

There are multiple online platforms that hire transcriptionists. Rev.com is a good one to start with. They have a huge user base and payout weekly. 

Transcription comes with a learning curve, so don’t expect to make bank when you first start out. If you stick with it and refine your accuracy and speed, you can expect to bring in as much as $1,000 a week. 

13. Care for kids and pets 

Not every side hustle requires a computer; some date back far beyond the advent of WiFi. Case in point: babysitting and pet sitting. Reliable, trustworthy sitters are always in demand. 

Though the internet isn’t required for this slide hustle, it can help you out by connecting you with clients. Check out Care.com, SitterCity, and Rover to get started. Rates vary widely by location, but the average for babysitters is around $20 an hour and $15 an hour for pets. 

14. Do the heavy lifting

Moving heavy boxes, shoveling snow, yard work–all those pesky labor-intensive tasks that people hate to do? They’re often more than happy to pay someone for (and you’ll get a great workout in the process!).

You can build up a solid customer base by telling your neighbors, hanging flyers around town and posting about your services on your town’s Facebook page or Nextdoor forum. What you charge is entirely up to you. 

15. Take your regular job freelance

Your best opportunity for a side hustle could be right under your nose, taking on extra hours or projects after you punch out of your full-time job for the day. Freelance marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork, and Toptal make it easy to connect with clients looking for your services.

Not only is this a lucrative option to make extra money; it’s a great way to test the waters if you’re thinking about freelancing full time. Just be sure your job doesn’t come with any non-compete policies that could get you into trouble for taking on your own clients independent of your company.