If you think the side hustle was born to serve the millennial generation, that might be true. Everywhere you turn these days, it seems like millennials — ages 23 to 38 — have at least one additional way that they make money other than their main job.
But other age groups besides millennials are interested in side jobs as ways to make extra money, too. Baby boomers — or adults ages 55 to 73 — are also getting their hustle on when it comes to the side gig — whether it’s to earn a little extra money for fun or to supplement their main source of income.
Baby boomers are hustling harder than millennials, according to a study by Wonolo, a gig platform. One baby boomer out of every three is completing three or more gigs a week on its platform, compared to only one in five millennials.
Find out how much more money boomers make and which industries provide the best side hustle opportunities that can then help you reach your financial goals.
Baby Boomers Are Making More Money With Side Hustles Than Other Age Groups
Baby boomers are making more money from side hustles than any other age group, according to Wonolo’s data. Here are some other interesting findings:
- Baby boomers earn an average of $573.55, whereas Generation Xers earn $501.02 and millennials earn $454.35.
- The average baby boomer’s side hustle income equals almost 40% of the average retiree’s Social Security benefit for 2019.
- In Northern California, Southern California and New York/New Jersey — Wonolo’s three largest markets — baby boomers average even higher monthly side gig earnings: $1,003.45, $844.57 and $814.73, respectively.
- Baby boomers and Gen Xers are both earning an average of $14.63 per hour completing side gigs, which is 24 cents more per hour than the $14.39 per hour that millennials earn on average.
Industries Boomers Are Working In
There are two types of gig workers: those who only work side gigs and those who work a side gig in addition to their main job, according to the Gig Worker On-Demand Economy survey sponsored by Prudential.
Here are the top industries for gig-only workers, according to the survey:
- Construction, installation and repair
- Personal care and service
- Business and financial
- Arts and design
- Media and communications
And here are the top industries for gig-plus workers, according to the survey:
- Computer and IT
- Personal care and service
- Architecture and engineering
- Business and financial
- Construction, installation and repair
21 Lucrative Side Hustles for People Over 50
If you’re ready to join the ranks of other baby boomers who are finding additional ways to make money, read on to see 21 side hustle ideas that can help you pull in hundreds or more dollars in extra money per month.
- Pay: $32.42 per hour
People seek out life coaches to help them grow personally and professionally. As a baby boomer, you have decades of life experience under your belt.
Sometimes people know their sense of purpose and need accountability in reaching it. Other times, they may need help clarifying the goals they need to accomplish to achieve their life’s purpose.
As a life coach, you would be instrumental in helping others move toward the goals they have identified — or that you have helped them identify — thorough facilitating helpful exercises and holding the client accountable for completing the actions necessary to change their life.
- Pay: $17.53 per hour
You don’t have to have a teaching background to be an online tutor. As long as you’re well-versed in the subject you choose to tutor in, and you can break it down to help others learn, you’ll be good to go. The great thing about tutoring is that you can register with a service or you can strike out on your own.
Registering with a service can supply you with a ready-made client pool, but your earning potential will be limited to what the service allows you to earn. You might also be limited to a certain number of hours. If you choose to strike out on your own, however, you can set your own hours and fees.
- Pay: $13.31 per hour
Pet sitting can be a flexible side hustle because you’ll either host the pet at your home or go to the owner’s home. Essentially, once you’ve met Fido’s needs, you’ll have time to do other things for a while — but you’ll still be earning money. One of the best things about pet sitting is that you can control where and when you pet sit.
Various services exist where you can sign up as a pet sitter, including Rover, Fetch and Care.com. You’ll want to check out each service and compare the pay, plus the terms and conditions to find the one that works best for your lifestyle.
And if you want to earn even more money, consider registering to be a dog walker, too.
Make and Sell Crafts
- Pay: Varies
If you enjoy making things, why not get paid for doing it? Whether your craft is knitting colorful winter scarves, making unique party favors or baking wholesome keto treats, you can turn your passion into a lucrative side hustle.
To boost your earning power, take advantage of selling online in addition to in-person events. For online selling, check out Etsy. You can join and set up a shop for free. Note that you will have to pay small fees for listing, transactions and payment processing. You can also set up an online store on Shopify, which offers a free trial period. In-person events you can attend include craft fairs or other events that allow sellers with handcrafted items to participate.
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- Pay: $18.61 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a lesser demand for travel agents through 2028, due to more people using the internet to book their reservations, you could specialize in planning group trips as a side hustle.
For example, you could run your own booking agency that plans and books group trips for people over 50, such as river cruises or other popular destinations.
You aren’t required to obtain a license or certification to be a travel agent, but doing so could make you appear more credible. If you do decide to open an agency, you will need the approval of different travel and transportation agencies. But, you’ll have the flexibility of setting the hours and prices for your services.
- Pay: $29.29 per hour
Turn your talent for playing a musical instrument into income. Advertise music lessons for children, adults or both. You can choose to do one-on-one instruction or you can facilitate group sessions and make more money per hour.
To be a successful music teacher, you’ll need to be able to plan appropriate lessons, give constructive feedback and hold music recitals. You can choose to either host lessons at your home, rent a studio or travel to each student’s home to teach. You’ll also be able to set your hours and fees.
Rent Out a Room or Your Entire Home
- Pay: Varies
Perhaps you have a private room in your home you don’t mind sharing with random strangers in exchange for income. Or maybe you travel enough that your home is frequently vacant. So why not capitalize on your available space by renting it to others?
Renting out a room or your entire home to different people for a week or a weekend can be a lucrative side hustle with recurring income every month. To estimate the monthly earning potential for your private room or an entire home, check out these calculators from online home rental marketplaces Airbnb or VBRO.
- Pay: $25.10 per hour
If you enjoy taking photos and have been told you’re good at it, you might want to consider making extra money with photography. You can specialize by doing pet or children’s photography. Or you can be an all-around photog — even traveling to events like weddings and milestone birthdays. Pay, hours and photo gigs are at your discretion.
Local Tour Guide
- Pay: $12.82 per hour
If you live in or near a popular city or other tourist destination, you could drum up a lucrative side hustle as a tour guide. As long as you know what the area has to offer and you’re willing to spend time showing tourists around, this might be your golden opportunity.
To get a feel for what the business is like, consider signing up as a guide with tour-booking platforms, like Vayable or TourByLocal — or host experience on Airbnb. If you don’t want to share your earnings, try starting up a tour service on your own.
Differentiate yourself from the pack by researching what other tour guides offer and make your tour sound more enticing. For example, if another tour guide offers a generic-sounding walking ghost tour, offer a walking ghost tour of the 10 most haunted places in the area. You could also dress in costume to make things more entertaining.
Notary Signing Agent
- Pay: $32.48 per hour
A notary signing agent helps facilitate loan closings for mortgage finance companies. To become a notary signing agent, you must first become a notary.
Familiarity with loan documents can give you a leg up in this side gig. But there are also training courses available to help you learn about a notary signing agent’s duties and loan documents.
The best way to get jobs is to join various signing agent databases, where you can list your services. Note that not all states allow notary signing agents to help close loans and may have other restrictions.
- Pay: Varies
The sky is the limit if you choose retail arbitrage as your side hustle. There’s a learning curve — you’ll have to learn how to find things you can make a tidy profit on that will sell relatively quickly. But if you have some money to invest upfront, you can get this business off the ground in no time.
Retail arbitrage involves going to stores — like Big Lots, Burlington, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Marshalls, Ross and TJ Maxx — and buying discounted items that you can resell online for a profit.
You can try your hand at reselling the items on Craigslist, eBay or Facebook marketplace, or you can try Fulfillment by Amazon. You send the products to Amazon, and it stores, picks, packages and sends the merchandise to people who order it. You’ll have to pay a fee for storage and the orders fulfilled, though, so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it.
- Pay: $13.48 per hour
If one of your talents is making alterations, and you own a sewing machine, this is a side hustle with low overhead. You can work out of your home, and your clients can come to you. Or, if you want to be more competitive, you can offer free pickup and delivery.
Print up business cards and ask the owners or managers of bridal shops, drapery studios, dry cleaners and clothing boutiques in your area to refer you to their customers if possible. As you work with different clients, you might even gain additional business, such as making garments.
Computer Repair Service
- Pay: $14.52 per hour
Put your skills to work by offering your services as a computer repair expert. It’s no secret that technology often fails us at the most crucial moments, making potential clients desperate to get their precious computer up and running again.
In addition to repair services, you can also offer prescheduled preventive maintenance or setup of new home networks.
Check with your city about licensing requirements to run this type of business. You might need both a storefront and a business license. In some places, however, you can run a mobile business or one out of your home.
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Wash-and-Fold Laundry Service
- Pay: $20 per bag of processed laundry
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, some people look to outsource routine tasks, such as laundry, to save time. If you happen to live in an area that’s convenient for potential clients to drop off and pick up their laundry from your home, you might want to launch this side hustle on your own.
If you live out of the way or you want some help getting started, however, you could sign up with a service, such as Laundry Care, which will net you $20 per bag of processed laundry. If you choose to launch a wash-and-fold laundry service on your own, it’s up to you what to charge. For best results, however, stay competitive with other similar services in your area.
Personal Chef Service
- Pay: $20.56 per hour
Hiring yourself out as a personal chef is a great side hustle to earn extra cash — especially if you fancy yourself as an excellent cook. Plus, you might earn bonus points if you’ve had culinary training and can handle a variety of cooking skills and needs.
Whether you specialize in cooking for people who follow a certain lifestyle diet — such as paleo or keto — or you want to cook for private or even corporate special events and occasions, there’s a market for personal chefs.
To get your first clients, leave your business cards at service businesses in your area, such as hair salons. You can also build an online presence with social media pages and a personal website. As you build your clientele, word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business are ways to get and keep clients.
Amazon Delivery Driver
- Pay: $18 to $25 per hour, according to Amazon
Becoming a delivery driver for Amazon could yield you some pretty serious cash. Just go to the Amazon Flex website, select a delivery area and answer a few preliminary questions. If you qualify, you can download the app to get started.
In the app, you can choose your hours and days to work, scan packages and even get direction suggestions for deliveries. You can also check your earnings.
According to the Amazon Flex website, delivery opportunities are only available in some locations for limited time frames.
- Pay: $10 per hour, according to RentAFriend.com
It might sound kind of weird but, yes, being a professional friend can help you earn some extra green. Although $10 an hour may not sound too lucrative, consider this: You’ll be hanging out doing friend activities — and getting paid for it.
Activities vary: You might attend a concert or theater performance with someone so they won’t have to go alone, accompany someone to a special work or social event, have coffee and chat or tag along with someone for their workout at the gym. You can sign up with RentAFriend.com to get started.
- Pay: $50 to $150 per hour, according to Thumbtack
If you enjoy planning and organizing, you may enjoy a side hustle planning events or parties for people. Duties can include selecting a theme, booking vendors, decorating and cleanup. You could be hired out for birthday parties, graduation parties, corporate events, fundraisers, holiday parties and more.
Ways to get clients are networking with different vendors, including florists, hotel managers, photographers, DJs and caterers. Always have business cards with your contact information handy. You can also create social media pages related to your side hustle.
Costumed Character Service
- Pay: $175 to $225 per hour, according to Thumbtack
Running a costumed character service for children’s birthday parties can bring in megabucks by the hour — especially if you offer services in addition to showing up in costume and taking photos. Face painting, playing an instrument and singing, facilitating games, making balloon animals or reading a story are just some of the additional services you can offer.
You can charge your service fees plus transportation expenses, such as fuel and toll charges.
Bounce House Rentals
- Pay: $85 to $250 per bounce house rental, according to The Outdoor Play Store
Although there might not be much demand for bounce houses during winter months, the rest of the year — especially during spring and summer — are prime rental times.
A bounce house rental side hustle requires an upfront investment because you’ll need to buy a bounce house to get started. Plan to spend around $1,500 for a commercial-grade bounce house, which will be much more durable than a $500 to $700 residential product.
Once rental bookings start rolling in, you’ll pay off the bounce house in no time. Then, if the market in your area allows, you can buy more bounce houses to expand your business.
Greeting Card Writers
- Pay: $100-$300 per accepted submission
If you have a witty writing style that can make people laugh or the ability to express sentimental thoughts in words, you might find being a greeting card writer a lucrative side hustle.
For example, Snafu Designs pays $100 for each accepted laugh-out-loud idea that’s clever, concisely delivered and targeted at “smart” adults.
Blue Mountain Arts, a greeting card, gifts and books retailer, pays $300 for each piece of accepted contemporary prose that it uses on a greeting card or a product. The prose should relate to personal experiences and focus on thoughts and feelings that most people find hard to put into words.
Just don’t expect this to be regular or guaranteed income because your idea has to be accepted first — and the payment can take months.
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All pay is sourced from Payscale unless otherwise noted.
About the Author
Cynthia Measom is a Texas-based writer specializing in finance, business, parenting and education. With almost a decade of online writing experience, her work has appeared on websites such as Chron.com, The Bump and The Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.