Easy Side Hustles That Don’t Cost a Lot Upfront

making a food delivery

The gig economy isn’t going anywhere soon. According to a recent Gallup Poll, about 36 percent of workers in the United States do at least some amount of freelance work. It’s easy to see why - trends in technology have made it easier and easier to trade skills, resources, and manpower for cash.

If you’re looking for an easy side hustle to start earning extra money, the first question you may ask yourself is, “What kind of side hustle can I afford to start?” After all, most freelance work is going to require some form of investment on your part.

Fortunately, there are quite a few side gigs out there that don’t require a lot of money, materials, or equipment upfront. Here are a handful of side hustles that require very little investment to start:

Dog Walking

If you love pups, why not consider taking up being a professional dog walker? All you need is some experience with dogs, dog leashes, doggy poop bags, and a sturdy pair of sneakers. Since you’ll be walking (it’s right there in the name), you’ll also want to be in relatively good shape. Dog walking platforms such as Wag! and Rover make it easy to open an account and set up a profile.

Once you land your first few reviews, you’ll have an easier time landing more gigs. You can get a dog walking certification if you’d like to boost your cred, but it’s not necessary to get started. According to Glassdoor, the average hourly wage for a dog walker on Wag! Is $16 and $17 if you’re a dog walker for Rover.

House Sitting

Want a change of scenery and get paid for it? Sites such as Nomador and Trusted Housesitters have listings of homeowners that are looking for a solid, reliable people to watch over their homes while they’re away on vacation or business trips. All you need is a clean record, strong communication skills, and a pleasant demeanor. Of course, any prior experience house sitting or watching over pets is a bonus.

Focus Group Participant

Want to get paid for voicing your political views, or for test-tasting a new brand of chewing gum? The eligibility requirements depend on the study, but if you fall within a certain age, gender, or ethnicity, you could make some easy money for being part of a focus group.

Depending on the type and length of the study, you could be raking in anywhere between $50 to $200 a study. Check out opportunities to participate either online or in person on Focus Group or 20|20 Panel.

Online Paid Survey

Similar to being part of a focus group, you can side hustle by taking paid surveys. You can earn either cash or gift cards, and can rake in anywhere from $5.00 to $30.00 a survey. Fair warning: They can get tedious pretty fast. And you can either sit for a stretch of time or break up surveys into smaller chunks.

Earning a decent chunk of change is definitely a matter of volume — the more you do, the more you earn. The best part of online surveys is that you can do them in the comfort of your home, relaxing in a pair of sweats, and on your own time. Popular online survey sites include Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, and CashKarma.

Food Delivery

You don’t need a car to deliver food from restaurants to businesses and people’s homes. While having your own set of wheels could certainly come in handy, many popular food delivery services, such as DoorDash, Postmates, and Grubhub, allow you to deliver food via scooter or bike. You’ll just need a method of carrying the food around.

What’s nice about food delivery is that if you like staying busy, you can also stagger with other “easy” side hustles, such as being a rideshare driver.

Babysit

Do you go “ga-ga” for babies? Then consider taking up babysitting. You can scour local listings on sites such as Care.com or Urbansitter. You’ll need to be reliable, responsible, and have a way with children. If you have a certification in CPR or disaster training, it could make you a more attractive kid-sitter. But besides having some experience caring for children under your belt, you probably don’t need a lot of equipment or supplies to get started.

Taking up a side hustle with relatively little investment upfront makes it easier to get the ball rolling. What’s more, you can test out the waters. If you don’t want to continue pursuing a particular side hustle, you won’t have to worry about having put in a lot of resources and time upfront. You can try out a bunch of side hustles to see which ones are most profitable or jive best with you.

If you would like help with managing your money so you can repay your debt, reach out to one of the many financial coaches at Money Management International (MMI). Our team of financial counselors can find ways to either earn more cash or free up money in your budget so you have more breathing room to work toward your money goals.

Tagged in Earning extra income

Jackie Lam is an L.A.-based personal finance writer who is passionate about helping creatives with their finances. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Mental Floss, Business Insider, and GOOD. She blogs at heyfreelancer.com.

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