The holidays are right around the corner. And while you may associate this time of year with spending a lot of money, did you know that it's also a great time to earn more money?
The holidays are a prime time for side hustling and can help you earn a few hundred dollars or more, with some extra work. Are you looking to earn some extra income during the holidays? Here are some options:
Side Hustle No. 1: Uber or Lyft Driver
Becoming an Uber or Lyft driver could be a lucrative side hustle during this time. According to Paige Thelen, communications manager at Lyft, "The holidays are some of the busiest times of the year for Lyft. New Year's Eve is one of our biggest nights of the year, and the days leading up to it are full of countless holiday parties and a spike in airport travel."
Millions of people travel during the holidays each year. In 2014, AAA projected that 5.7 million people would fly between Dec. 23 and Jan. 4. While the airport is almost always crowded and may be a pain for travelers, it means business for ridesharing services in the cities that permit Lyft and Uber drivers to do airport pickups and drop-offs.
If you're at least 21 and have a valid driver's license, personal auto insurance and a smartphone -- and also pass a driving record and background check -- you could make up to $35 per hour driving for Lyft, according to the company.
Drivers for Uber need to have a valid driver's license, personal auto insurance and a clean driving record - they'll also be subject to a background check. How much an Uber driver makes may vary by city. For example, according to data analysis by SherpaShare, the median wage for an Uber driver working 40 hours per week in New York City is $29 per trip but the same driver would earn $15 per trip in San Francisco.
"Driving with Uber, even just for a few weeks around the holidays, is a great way to earn extra money while maintaining control over your busy holiday schedule. Uber driver partners can drive as little or as much as they want, whenever they want," says Abram Smith, spokesperson at Uber.
One of the biggest perks of being an Uber or Lyft driver is that you can set your own hours and work when you want. If you don't want to drive today, you don't have to. The downside? You're typically considered an independent contractor, which may affect your taxes, and your car may experience additional wear and tear.
Side Hustle No. 2: Pet Sitter
Do you love playing with four-legged furry friends? If so, being a pet sitter may be the perfect holiday side hustle for you.
Many people leave town during the holidays and need someone to care for their pets while they are away. A few years ago, I worked as a pet sitter during the holidays in New York and was able to make $50 a day walking a dog a few times a day. The best part? I got the place to myself, which was a nice break from my apartment with four roommates.
I've heard of pet sitters making $10 to $75 per day, depending on the length of time required. I think of pet sitting as an opportunity to spend time in someone else's home and a time to make some extra money spending time with adorable animals.
If you want to make money pet sitting this holiday season, look on Craigslist, Rover or DogVacay.
Side Hustle No. 3: Brand Ambassador
During the holiday season, many companies promote their products to ensure that they're top of mind as consumers do their shopping. One way brands get their name out there is through brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors are typically hired to give away free stuff like samples and coupons at malls, sporting events, concerts and other high-traffic locations.
I've worked as a brand ambassador for the past few years, promoting brands such as Starbucks, Keurig, Ghirardelli and more during the holidays. If you're comfortable talking to people and handing out free stuff, this may be a good way to earn some extra money. These gigs could last anywhere from several hours to several weeks and typically pay between $15 and $20 per hour or more.
To get started, you can use sites like EventSpeak, Craigslist and Facebook to find gigs. Facebook has many groups under 'Brand Ambassadors of [Your City]', where you can find up-to-date listings. Many of these jobs require little to no experience.
Side Hustle No. 4: Holiday Helper
Busy moms, tired dads and those in between often need a helping hand during the holidays. Many look for some extra help for their holiday parties, holiday shopping and gift wrapping.
For the past few holiday seasons, I've worked holiday parties as a coat checker, making $13 per hour just putting away people's coats. You can find a variety of holiday-related gigs -- from working parties, shopping, pet sitting, gift wrapping and more -- on Craigslist and TaskRabbit.
According to Rob Willey, vice president of marketing at TaskRabbit, "The holidays are an extremely busy time for TaskRabbit, as people seek additional help to manage both their everyday tasks as well as their holiday-related tasks. We see a substantial increase in the number of the following tasks in particular: party help, party planning, pet sitting, decorating, line waiting (Black Friday) and gift wrapping. This gives our Taskers the opportunity to make additional money."
In my experience, these holiday-related tasks can net you between $10 and $25 per hour. Typically, these are one-off gigs that last for a few hours.
Side Hustle No. 5: Server
If you have a food handler's card and/or a liquor-serving license, now is the time to use it. Holiday parties typically happen weekly throughout November and December and many people need help but don't want to go through an official caterer.
I've helped serve food and pour wine at informal holiday parties at people's homes and also at organizations. I typically find gigs through Craigslist and TaskRabbit and have made $15 to $22 per hour in past years. In my experience, these gigs can last four to six hours. Bonus: There are usually leftovers, so you might get a free meal out of it.
The holiday season could be an opportune time to earn some extra cash that could help you avoid additional debt during the holidays, save for an emergency fund or pay down your student loans. These gigs offer flexibility and a chance to meet other people in a fun, festive environment.
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