Even if you have no hustle-worthy skills
Every time you turn around, it seems there’s a new side hustle in town. None of which you can do. Why is it that all these ideas require you to be a prolific writer or be able to teach English to students in other countries?
Well, I’m a firm believer that hundreds of hustles exist, if you just look hard enough. Sure, not all of them will be worth the effort or time, but the idea is to get into a mindset where you spot opportunities everywhere you look — only if you can manufacture these opportunities, can you then decide if it is something you want to try or not. And having a choice is always good, right?
So, here are some good sources to manufacture additional earning opportunities (not in the manner of MLMs though, because we want to actually earn and not lose money):
Think about what you do
There are so many things we do in our daily routine. The mundane and the not so mundane. Each one of these activities could earn you some extra cash — if you so desired.
‘But Priyanka,’ you’re thinking, ‘I only do the exact same things everyone else does. I work, I manage my household, I take care of my kids, and if some time is remaining after all of this, I may work out or indulge in a hobby.’
Excellent! Let us run through these and see what we can come up with.
- You get up and pack your kids’ lunches and bags, as well as your own brown bag for the office. You notice that there is a single mom in the kid’s daycare who struggles with her kid’s lunch. You offer to pack theirs too for a small fee. You only have to double whatever you’re making and drop the lunch off when you’re dropping off your own kids.
- Speaking of dropping the kids, you drop off and pick up three other kids in the neighborhood. It’s a journey you make in any case, and your kids enjoy the company.
- You drive to work — with a colleague who lives on the way.
- On the way home, you go grocery shopping. Not just for your own household, but also for the old couple living all alone in the house next door. They text you their grocery list every Sunday and you drop it off during the week whenever you find the time to go to the store.
- You like to read to your kids to help them pick up words. Once a week, you hold a book reading for the neighborhood kids in the same age group.
- On Saturdays, you babysit for your kids’ friends for a few hours. It makes your job of watching your own kids simpler since the kids keep themselves engaged instead of constantly complaining about how bored they are.
Do most of these ideas seem ridiculous to you? Great. But did it at least get you thinking?
Your schedule is a goldmine for smaller side hustles because you can maximize the work that you are already doing for some extra dollars. You are helping someone out, getting a little cushion in your budget, while at the same time, also making your own job easier and more fun.
And the best part of these tiny hustles? They don’t always have to be exchanged for money, you can also exchange them for time. If you and your friend can alternate Saturdays of babysitting, all at once, you have two Saturdays a month free — to work out, to spend with your significant other, or even do nothing at all. And that — is priceless.
Think about what you own
We all own so many things. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to sell anything — but of course, that is always an option to generate some cash. Instead, think of it this way — you already own the thing, which is a sunk cost, but there are certainly people who would love to use it for some time without buying it if you can spare it. In other words, you can rent out your stuff.
- The first and most obvious one is your house/room. If there is any space you can spare, its rent can help subsidize your own living space. Whether it is through renting out units in a multi-family house or providing one single room on Airbnb, no space should be wasted.
- You don’t have any space that you can spare. However, what you do instead is let your house out for a month each year, when you’re on the other side of the country visiting family.
- You also have a garage that’s in disuse. You rent it out to a group of teenagers every Sunday for band practice. It is noisy but your kids get some free entertainment.
- You have a few exercise machines and free weights in your basement. You let your neighbors use it as a convenient gym instead of buying everything on their own.
- You own hundreds of books — some of them going back to your own childhood. You inventorize them and circulate the list to your neighborhood group. You offer a monthly membership, with unlimited book swaps.
- You only use your car during the week, preferring to stay home with your family on the weekends. You rent it out on Turo a few weekends of the year.
The great thing about monetizing your dead assets is that apart from the initial setup, there isn’t much to do — being one of the perfect examples of passive income.
Think about what your skills are
Yes, you have skills. Everyone does. You may not think they are worth much, but they are still skills!
- You drive well — safely and within rules. You offer to take extra classes for the neighborhood teens (who also rent out your garage for band practice), before they appear for their driving test.
- You have a green thumb. You hold a weekly ‘life update’ session for the kids, getting them away from their screens for an hour, and teaching them how nature works.
- You have the knack of managing your household, your family finances, schedules — you’ve learned to juggle a thousand things at once because there’s no choice. For a change, you spend a couple of hours a week as a virtual assistant, using those shiny problem-solving skills for other hassled people.
- You have niche skills due to your job — finance, coding, golfing, whatever it may be. You write an article a week on Medium. It doesn’t take you much time, because you know the topic like the back of your hand. You earn those sweet Partner Program dollars, but also open doors of affiliate marketing and freelancing for yourself.
- You read books quickly. You write small 400 word reviews for websites that pay for it.
It is up to you to monetize your skills — even though it may seem like no one would ever pay for it. What’s the harm in asking?
Like I warned you, most ideas will seem ridiculous, not worth the effort, and not worth your time. I agree.
But if it gets your mind running, gets you trying to maximize your earnings through your existing efforts, and gives you even an extra $100 a month — my job here is done.
After all, if you only saved that much for 10 years, you would have an extra $20,000 (invest it in this manner), which is a down payment on a house. Not bad for an absurd idea, right?
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