The Art of the Side Hustle: 5 Ways to Earn Extra Money

Advice & Stories, Earning Power, Featured Article
on April 23, 2015
5 Ways to Earn Extra Money

Deia B is a personal finance and travel blogger at

Do you have a vacation or a home renovation project planned? Pricey stuff. Consider doing some work on the side so you can reach your goal more quickly or even afford upgrades.

Side hustles may not earn you much money right away, but that income can help support your expensive hobbies—like travel or home DIY–and you may earn more money over time. Besides, there are plenty of business owners out there who started now-successful ventures as side hustles.

Writing and Transcription

If you like writing, you can do it on a freelance basis for various types of publications. Alternatively, transcription work is perfect for people who have a sharp hearing and can type quickly, but don’t want to spend too much time thinking up things to write. All you have to do is listen to a recording or watch a video and write down what people say.

You can find freelance work—for both transcribing and content production—on Odesk or Elance. Be aware that you may be competing with established freelancers who are willing to do the work cheaply.

If you know which publication you want to write for, find out if they accept articles from freelancers and spend some time studying its tone and style, then send the editor a letter or an email.

You can also go the independent route by creating your own blog or publishing e-books on Amazon. You can write anything you want, but to actually make money, you’ll need to research whether there’s a viable audience for your work and how to reach them.

You may come across clients who want you to write “for exposure,” which means they won’t pay you. It’s up to you to decide whether these projects are worth your time.

Photography and Videography

You need a good portfolio to make real money from taking photographs and shooting videos, so you may need to do some pro bono work in the beginning.

Offer free photo or video sessions to friends and family members. Once you’re ready to start charging money for your work, tell everyone you know you’re available for hire—you may get some referrals from those who enjoyed your freebie sessions. Besides taking photos or videos of people during organized sessions, you can also work at events like weddings or business conferences.

Online, you can sell the images that don’t belong to your clients to stock image sites like Shutterstock. Alternatively, you can print your images on T-shirts on Zazzle or turn them into books on Blurb and sell them.


Buying and Reselling

Bargain hunters have a hobby that’s easy to turn into a side hustle. There are many things you can buy and resell, such as pieces of furniture, old coins, stamps, cars and even houses. But it’s best to stick to items you know really well.

For example, if you’re a stamp collector and you regularly come across valuable stamps that you already have in your collection, you can buy them up next time you see them and sell them to collectors like yourself. Or if you’re into vintage fashion, you can sort through the clothes at the thrift store and sell the good ones.

You should already know where to find bargains so good that you can sell them and make a profit. If you know nothing about the items you want to sell, the learning curve may make this a bad side hustle option.

Depending on the items you sell, you can find buyers on Craigslist, Etsy or eBay.


You know how they say you learn many things in school that you don’t use in real life? Well, tutoring is one way to use all that knowledge.

To find your first students, paste some flyers on school or college bulletin boards, as well as random places in your neighborhood. Place ads on Craigslist or WyzAnt. Tell your friends—especially if you have friends who are students or teachers—to contact you if they know someone who’s looking for a tutor. Call local schools and children’s libraries that may keep a running list of tutors.

To determine how much you should charge, check the rates on other tutors’ ads. The rates may vary depending on your subject, field, level of education or expertise, and geographical area.

You may get requests for home tutoring. Only do this if you’re completely comfortable with it. For safety reasons, you can choose to only meet your students in public places, such as busy cafes or libraries.


Do you get questions and compliments on your homemade wares? Try making more for friends and family—it’s an easy way to find out if there’s a market for it.

Online, the main marketplace to sell handmade items is Etsy, which reaches 30 million buyers worldwide. You can browse the site and sign up for free. But to actually list an item for sale, you have to pay a fee of 20 cents. Etsy also takes a 3.5% cut out of every sale.

And Etsy’s not just for crafts. You can sell vintage, antique or collectibles. Ya just gotta know the market.

Look around on Etsy to see how similar items are priced before you jump in, and be sure to avoid building this side business on handmade items that cost too much to make a profit. Don’t forget to calculate your time investment, too. If your estimated profit is $5 for something you spend four hours making, maybe you should go back to the drawing board.