When you need extra income to save for a vacation or pay down your debt, your best option might be a second job. You could work any number of part-time jobs for an hourly wage, but if there’s something else you’re passionate about that you’d rather be doing, think about how to earn money doing it. Your passion and natural talent might just be the ingredients that can blossom into a lucrative side hustle. Check out some of these job ideas that will use your natural talent to generate income in a short amount of time — and start making money without leaving the house.
Like Gardening? Sell Produce or Flowers at a Farmer’s Market
Growing your finances can really be simple if you have a green thumb. Gardeners can sell produce, plants or seeds at local farmers’ markets — some of which run year-round, even in cold climates like Maine. Some, like a market in Rimrock, Ariz., provide selling space at no charge. Selling home-canned products, chutneys, sauces and other homemade products made from garden ingredients offer more ways to rake in cold hard cash from your garden. Look into all food safety and selling requirements before you start preparing your goods.
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Enjoy Cooking? Host Dinners in Your Home
Sign up as a home chef on websites like Feastly or EatWith, and your natural talent for cooking could serve up $700 per meal. You plan the meal and set the time, which is advertised on the company’s website. People sign up to attend and pay a predetermined price online. The websites attract foodies, travelers wanting to meet locals or people just wanting a new experience. The result is a fun dinner party that brings together a mélange of company to enjoy your fare.
Apply on each company’s website and answer questions about your experience and cooking specialties. Then create sample menus to get started. Make sure you are in compliance with all necessary health codes.
Do You Have an Eye for Photography? Sell Stock Photos
If you’re a shutterbug, there are a myriad of ways to make money, but stock photos can provide a passive income where you get paid without having to work a second job. This side hustle lets you photograph what you love, whether you enjoy photographing pets, food, architecture, landscapes or even old cars.
Sign up by reading the submission guidelines and submitting your best work for approval, giving you access to the site. Tag and upload high-quality photos to Bigstock, Shutterstock, iStock or other sites, while promoting your stock portfolio on social media to get more business. Added bonus: The exposure might also get you local photography gigs.
Are You a Sports Buff? Become a School Sports Referee
Can’t get enough of the gridiron? Begging for more baseball? You don’t need to be a former superstar athlete to officiate at school sporting events, but you should have a love of the sport, enjoy working with kids and work well in high-pressure situations. After all, the heat of the game is palpable for the athletes, coaches and parents involved.
Head to a game open to the public and ask the officials for contact information for the local sports officials association they belong to or call your local recreation center or other sport organizers for information. The association will connect you with any needed background checks and training.
Crafty? Sell Your Art
If you’re always making cute jewelry or trinkets to give away to your friends, chances are that you can turn your talent into part-time work that can score you some dough. Rent a booth on a monthly basis at an artist’s market where store staff will sell your creations or set up a booth at art and craft fairs as your weekend job.
If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home, stay in and binge-watch Netflix while you upload listings of your items to Etsy — you’ll pay just a 20 cent fee to list your item. Once your item sells, the low, additional transaction and payment processing fees are deducted from your proceeds. Such fees for Etsy, Ebay and similar sites range from 3.5 percent to 7.5 percent plus 20 cents to 30 cents per transaction.
Enamored With Math? Share the Love Through Tutoring
If doing a derivative makes you smile, you could become a kid’s favorite math tutor. Your energy and enthusiasm have the potential to transform what might seem to be a dry, boring and difficult subject for students who struggle with numbers.
Advertise your services through your local college, university or high school or sign up online with a tutoring website. Check out Tutor.com, Chegg Tutors, Varsity Tutors or others — the sites pay weekly and make ideal part-time jobs for students.
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Are You a One-Man Band? Become a Session Musician
If your talents are of the musical variety, put yourself to work as a session musician. This side hustle involves backing up singers and other musicians in studio sessions or serving as a fill-in during a live gig.
You can find local openings on Craigslist under “Musicians.” Better yet, get to know musicians in your local music scene. They might let you sit in for a few songs here and there to help showcase your talents and, once familiar with your work, can recommend you when one of their connections is looking for backup instrumentals for a recording session.
Obsessed With Social Media? Be a Social Media Manager
If you love living life on the web, there’s money to be made with online part-time jobs. Capitalize on your natural talent by helping a few businesses with their social media presence — it will keep you connected as well as put a few extra dollars in your wallet.
The skills required go far beyond posting duck-face selfies, though: Writing engaging — and grammatically correct — posts, creating attractive visual content that include photos and videos, and evaluating community participation are three basics you’ll need. Some organizations even allow you to brush up on your skills by volunteering on a social media team and providing social media manager training.
Are You a Voracious Reader? Become a Copy Editor
If you read books, magazines, websites or any other written material on a regular basis, chances are that you’re pretty fast at it. You probably also notice those little typos and misspellings that make you wonder how they made it into print in the first place. Use those natural talents to make money copy editing. Find your first clients by looking under Craigslist “gigs” or registering with sites like Fiverr and Freelancer.com.
Can’t Get Enough Garage Sales? Open a Resale Booth
If Saturday morning finds you up with the sun on the hunt for great deals at local garage sales, you might be able to turn your passion into cash by reselling the items. Open a booth at a local resale mall and resell antiques, furniture, jewelry, glassware and other treasures. Stores like The Brass Armadillo Antique Mall, for example, keep track of your sales, deduct your rent and commissions, and issues you a check every other Friday.
Enjoy Hosting? Airbnb a Room in Your Home
Turn your guest bedroom into a moneymaker when you list your space with Airbnb. Walk through the website’s verification process to prove you’re legitimate and you’re ready to begin.
Upload high-quality pictures showcasing your accommodations and set the schedule when you’re guest room is available. For example, if your child is away at college, you can convert his digs into Airbnb space during the school year.
Don’t have a spare room? Don’t let that stop you if you have another type of space you could legally rent out. You’ll find Airbnb rentals in trailers, vans and even a tiny container-house on wheels.
Do It Right From the Start
Check with your state’s department of commerce to see what business licenses — if any — you might need. In Arizona, for example, there is no state business license needed, but you might be required to get one through your city or town. Be sure to check whether you need any special licensing or permits such as childcare or pet kennel licensing through your state or other special certifications.
If you’re doing business where sales tax or bed tax is charged, you’ll probably need a transaction privilege tax license also. Come tax time, be sure to declare your income from your side jobs and check whether you need to pay quarterly taxes on your earnings so you don’t get hit hard.
About the Author
Jodi O’Connell is a freelance wordsmith based in Sedona, Arizona, who writes about everything from vacation vagary and adventure sports to real estate and pets. She spent more than a decade in Arizona’s real estate industry advising first-time homebuyers and commercial investors before indulging her passion for the written word on a full-time basis. Her articles appear on websites as diverse as U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, Hipmunk, Roots Rated, and Travelocity.