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5 side hustles to earn extra money

5 ideas for side hustles
July 19, 2017

By Pam Leibfried

Looking for a second, part-time gig to earn a few extra bucks? Check out these ideas for “side hustles” that can help you make ends meet, reduce your debt or meet savings goals sooner. And you might even have fun in the process!

Find jobs on gig economy websites

Earn cash performing everyday tasks through "gig economy" websites like TaskRabbit and Fiverr that pair you up with someone who needs help with things they either can’t do or don’t have the time to do themselves. Some of their task offerings require special skills or equipment (a truck or tools, for example), but many don’t.

Pet-sit for extra cash

My best friend used to dog-sit for one of her high school teachers who spent her Christmas and spring breaks with her mom in Arizona. My friend made good money, and all she had to do was feed and walk the dog every day before and after work.

It’s pretty easy to find pet-sitting gigs these days because social media makes spreading the word easy. It’s as simple as typing up a Facebook post letting your friends know you’re available to take care of their fur babies when they travel – and don’t forget to ask your friends to share the post with their pet-owner friends. And if you’re not fully booked at first, you can list your services via online pet sites like DogVacay. Or you could always go old school and post fliers at a local dog park, pet store or shelter.

Coach or ref your favorite sport

Your local park district or youth rec league may need coaches or refs/umps for their teams or tournaments. Most practices and tournaments are in the evening or on weekends, so you can easily work this side gig in addition to your 9-5 job. My sister-in-law’s dad refereed high school basketball games for years, and since all the games were on weeknights, it never conflicted with his regular job. Plus, depending on the sport, a coaching or refereeing gig can help you stay in shape too! Most of these positions are locally sourced and organized, so your best bet is to reach out to your local leagues or park districts.

Sell poetry or greeting card ideas

If you’ve got a great sense of humor and a history of coming up with pithy copy for notes to your friends and family, think about selling ideas for greeting cards. Greeting card companies like Shoebox, Oatmeal Studios and P.S. Greetings accept submissions of card ideas and content. If your style tends more toward the encouraging and inspirational, try Blue Mountain Arts or Chicken Soup for the Soul, both of which accept poems or prose about personal experiences.

Sublet your home while you travel

If you’re traveling, think about subletting your house or apartment when you’re away. There are dozens of services to facilitate the process, like Airbnb and Tripping.com. If your house is family-friendly, a service like Kid & Coe, which specializes in matching child-ready homes with traveling families, could earn you a premium rate.


Pam Leibfried is a marketing content specialist whose love of words led to a writing and editing career. After a brief stint teaching English, she transitioned to corporate communications and spent 20 years at The Nielsen Company before joining Alliant’s content development team. Early in her work life, Pam’s friend Matt explained the benefits of a 401(k) and her dad encouraged her to start a Roth IRA. Their good counsel prompted her to prioritize retirement savings, which just might enable her to retire early so she can read more and live out the slogan on her fave T-shirt:  “I have a retirement plan: I plan on quilting.”