I think nearly everyone should have a side hustle. If you’ve dreamed of owning your own business, a side hustle is a great way to start. If you have student debt (and who doesn’t!) a side hustle can help you pay it down. Working a few hours a week can be a gateway into unimaginable opportunity.
Unfortunately, right now for many Americans, a side hustle may be their only hustle. During the COVID-19 recession, some 2.3 million women left the labor force. Unlike other recent recessions, women lost their jobs at a higher rate than men (around 1.8 million of them left the labor force during the same time period.) Millions of women remain out of work, coping with childcare and disproportionately represented in industries like hospitality that were more affected by the pandemic. That’s why although there’s no reason men can’t pursue any of these gigs, I’m focused on side hustles for women here.
1.Join the Fashion Police
If you love fashion, there’s a great gig for you. Although high-end retailers (and high-end people) have long had personal shoppers, joining an online service like Thumbtack lets you connect with clients all over the world. You’ll offer advice on everything from color and fit to the latest trends. So if you can’t afford to restock your own closet, get paid to restock someone else’s.
2. Be a Friend
I know, I know but Rent a Friend comes highly recommended. Plus, when you think about it, if you’ve ever felt lost and lonely in a new city this service could totally help. For $20 to $50 an hour you’ll meet up with a potential chum who needs a wing woman for a bar or a second for doubles. Who knows, you might even meet a new bestie. Of course the usual caveats about meeting in public places and keeping in touch with an actual longtime friend throughout apply.
3. Guide the Lost
Speaking of lost in a city, if you’re a longtime resident of a popular destination, think about being a tour guide. The job offers flexible hours. With tips many guides make $50 to $100 an hour for a two-to-three hour gig. If you’re outgoing and like meeting new people, this could be the perfect side hustle. Most communities have several walking tours that may need help or you can register with a service like ToursByLocals to get started.
4. See the Stars
As a background performer (or extra) you’ll get paid to stand behind famous people and pretend to talk. If you live in NYC, LA, Atlanta, or a number of cities with film productions it’s very easy to sign up. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Straight out of Central Casting,” well there really is a Central Casting. Joining is free although there’s usually a line during signup days. It’s one of the great side hustles for women, because TV shows and movies often have a harder time finding female talent. The days are long, you’ll likely start at minimum wage, and some people find the work very boring. However, it’s how Brad Pitt, Renée Zellweger, and dozens of other well-known stars got their start.
One warning. Ads on Craigslist and other platforms promising over $200 a day to be an extra are generally scams that charge a fee for their “service.” However, low-budget movies and student films offering fifty dollars to be a background performer are generally legit. If it sounds too good to be true, it definitely is.
5. Make Your Movie
If your dream is more behind the camera, well what are you waiting for? Maybe you studied film in school, got a job to pay your bills, and now you’re one of thousands of former restaurant employees who doesn’t want to go back. Well Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have provided a funding source for low-budget films for years. If you have a short script (or a long one), craft some art and a compelling statement. You may soon find the funds to make your passion project a reality.
6. Judge People or Things
This is most assuredly not a reliable form of income. However, law firms and market research companies regularly pay people to weigh in on trial strategies as part of a mock jury or products as part of a focus group. You’ll likely be screened online or over the phone several times before you qualify for one, but the gig is fairly easy and pays upwards of $100 in cash.
7. Write A Book
Maybe everyone doesn’t have a book in them, but if you are someone who does, online publishing could produce a nice side income. Some of the most successful writers are nonfiction authors who write about everything from business strategies to running an AirBnB. Whether your work is fiction or non, if you’re willing to put in the time and produce a polished piece of prose, you could generate a passive income. However, you can’t be completely passive –– the writers making the most money are the ones who spend at least as much time marketing their work as they do creating it.
8. Create Content
Speaking of writing, if you understand Search Engine Optimization (or are willing to learn) blogging is one of the popular side hustles for women. There are sites like HubPages that will connect you to clients or you can seek them out. The key is to create compelling copy regularly –– this is definitely not about waiting until inspiration hits you. You can also create your own, personal blog and with a bit of promo generate income through ad sales and clicks.
The bottom line is there’s no reason to sit on your bottom and worry about money. Start a side hustle today!
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