Spending less than you earn is the No. 1 rule of personal finance, so increasing your earnings can immediately improve your financial picture. But depending on your job, it can be difficult to boost your weekly or monthly income. If you’re paid hourly, for example, you might be able to secure some overtime. But if you’re paid a salary, there are often few ways to grow your paycheck.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to bring in more money. In fact, many people have given up on earning more at their jobs and focused on cultivating a side job instead. Often called side hustles, these jobs can include any activity that helps you earn extra money on top of what you already bring in. But how do you get started?
Anyone Can Do It
The good news about side hustles is this: Almost anyone can earn extra money doing something. On the flip side, though, some side hustles take a considerable amount of effort and skill, and not everyone can pull them off. That’s why we created this list of side hustles that anyone can try — even your grandma. If you want to earn more cash but can’t quite figure out how, check these out:
Side Hustle No. 1: Conduct Searches for Cash
Although most online survey and search sites seem a little fishy, most are absolutely legit. Take the paid search behemoth Swagbucks, for example. With Swagbucks, you earn virtual currency in exchange for your participation in a variety of online activities. These “jobs” can include regular searching, taking surveys, playing games, and other easy tasks.
As your account grows, you can redeem your points for retail gift cards, PayPal cash, or other rewards. According to the website, Swagbucks has paid out $75 million in rewards as of October 2014. If you’re looking for another paid search site for comparisn, try Qmee.
Side Hustle No. 2: Take Paid Surveys
Sites like UserTesting.com, iPoll.com, and OpinionOutpost.com will pay you to take part in surveys you can complete at home. Payouts vary, of course, but sites like UserTesting.com have been known to pay out as much as $10 per survey. Even better, the answers you provide help companies decide how to market their products, come up with new ideas, and design mobile apps. So you’re not only raking in cash, but you’re also providing data that will shape the products of the future.
Side Hustle No. 3: Work as an Online Freelancer
You don’t have to have a broad range of skills to work as an online freelancer. With sites like TaskRabbit.com and Handybook.com, you can pick up work doing all sorts of tasks that require very few skills. Errands like picking up dry cleaning, picking weeds, and making dinner are common jobs available on TaskRabbit, whereas Handybook jobs are mostly centered around cleaning and repair jobs. To get started, just sign up for an online account and look for jobs you know you can pull off. Then start raking in the dough!
Who says grandma can’t work as a rideshare driver? According to requirements for Uber and Lyft, almost anyone can. All you need is a clean, reliable car, an excellent driving record, and a smartphone capable of downloading either of the rideshare apps.
We’ve written about how much money you can make driving for Uber, but the money isn’t the only benefit of being a rideshare driver. Since it’s a true side hustle, you only have to make yourself available when you want to work. When you’re ready, simply turn on your rideshare app. And when you’re ready to head home, simply turn it off and you’re done.
Side Hustle No. 5: Become a Virtual Assistant
The term “virtual assistant” might conjure up images of a highly skilled computer expert who writes code and builds websites all day. But many virtual assistants perform only basic tasks for their clients, and some of the most common tasks are ones that almost anyone can do. Some examples include responding to or composing emails, posting on Facebook or Twitter, or creating basic Word documents. Although there are many ways to score a virtual assistant job, a good place to start your search would be Upwork.com.
With so many ways to earn extra money, there is almost no excuse not to try. So figure out what jobs you would be comfortable doing and formulate a plan to attract new clients and market yourself as a side-hustle specialist. It might not lead to your dream job, but most people could benefit from a little extra pocket change. And you never know, with the right attitude, you might even be able to turn your side hustle into a full-time gig.
If grandma can do it, so can you.