Are you looking for some extra cash to supplement your income? Do you have skills or talents you think might be marketable? If so, you should consider how to use your talents to make money.
Below you’ll find several options for turning your particular talents into a potential income stream.
How to use your talents to make money
Click on the talent that describes you best:
If you’re good with words… If you’re great with animals… If you’re a people person… If you have design skills… If you’re a social media expert… If you’re crafty… If you’re handy… If you’re a foodie… If you have photo skills… If you have musical or theatrical skills… If you’re good with kids and/or academics…
What you can do with your extra cash Where to find gigs If you’re good with words…
Are you a master word wrangler who enjoys writing for fun? You may be able to turn your love of words into cash by helping others carefully craft their communications, or by writing in a strong voice about a particular passion. Here are some ways you can earn extra income with your writing skills.
Write résumés. A killer résumé can mean the difference between having your job application ignored or getting that interview. Yet many people struggle to create a strong résumé that does a good job of highlighting their skills and getting a potential employer’s attention. You may be able to earn extra income by helping people craft a résumé that stands above the rest.
Write cover letters. Cover letters are often the first thing prospective employers look at when evaluating candidates, even before they read a résumé. Just as is the case with résumés, many people struggle to write strong cover letters. If you’re adept at writing, you can create a potentially lucrative side business by helping people write cover letters that get them noticed.
Work as a translator. Are you bilingual, or even multilingual? If so, you may be able to earn extra money by working as a translator — government agencies and community centers, for one, often need help with written document translation in order to serve diverse communities. You might even be able to help an individual who wants to translate their personal writings into another language.
Become a freelance writer in a specific niche. Are you passionate about travel? Cooking? Movies? Politics? It’s competitive out there, but you may be able to find work as a freelance writer for traditional or online publications. You might also consider starting a blog on a platform like Medium. While you shouldn’t expect it to be easy to make a lot of money through this platform, it’s possible that you could earn some extra spending cash if your blog really catches on. But understand that, in order for that to happen, you should be good at marketing yourself and your words.
Create an e-book and sell it on Amazon. Share your passion, expertise or stories by writing an e-book and selling it on Amazon. While it can be difficult to make real money this way (the competition is fierce), it is possible, especially if you have a keen understanding of reading audiences and specific markets. For example, if you have a flair for the language of love, you might consider writing a romance novel — some self-published romance writers on Amazon have found real success. But you must ensure that what you put out there is just as good as any professional writer with a traditional publisher, so you should strongly consider working with an editor.
Work as a ghostwriter. There are many people out there who aren’t gifted when it comes to writing, but still need to put out written communications. For example, many financial advisors have blogs, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually writing the posts. Often, they will hire someone to put their unique ideas into well-crafted blog entries. Some people are even looking for an outside writer to turn their musings into an entire book. This may not seem entirely satisfying to people who are concerned about getting a byline, but ghostwriting could be a good way to earn a nice amount of cash.
Write dating profiles. Side hustling often requires thinking outside the box — you don’t have to write in a traditional way to make money. And believe it or not, some people are willing to pay others to write dating profiles for them. Consider this option as a unique way to put your words to work.
If you’re great with animals…
Do you feel like you have a special talent for communicating with furry, feathered — or even fishy — friends? Consider the following:
Become a dog walker. Busy professionals who are gone all day need someone to let Fido out of the house for exercise. Depending on your availability, you could walk several dogs in a day and earn a good amount of extra money.
Be a pet sitter. Being a pet sitter can be the perfect side hustle for an animal lover. Consider working as a long-term pet sitter taking care of dogs and cats while their owners are away. If you adore animals, this won’t even feel like work.
Work at a cat cafe. Cats and coffee can be a great combination for cat lovers, and you may be able to find part-time work at a cat cafe. Your duties may include caring for the cats, managing customer visits and working to place the felines in new homes.
If you’re a people person…
Become a brand ambassador. Brand ambassadors are the high-energy people you see giving away free swag at stores, concerts and sporting events. If you can talk to the public and stand on your feet for a few hours at a time, this gig might be the right fit for you.
Coach/consult. Do you have a unique talent that others are always asking about? You can turn that into cash by coaching others on how to do what you do. For example, many people have a hard time letting their best selves shine during job interviews. As a people person with great interviewing skills, you might offer interview coaching sessions for a fee.
Become a tour guide. In nearly every major city — and many not-so-major cities — there are tour companies that help tourists experience the city like a local. This side hustle can be a great opportunity for interacting with others and enjoying your own city through a visitor’s eyes.
If you have design skills…
If you’re savvy with design and have tech skills, you have many options to potentially make extra money.
Design websites. Having a good design on a website is huge for first impressions — and many people or small businesses just don’t know where to start. Knowing how to design websites is a skill you can use to potentially make a nice amount of extra cash.
Create logos. Every website and business needs a logo. If you have design chops, you may be able to use that creativity to create logos for a wide variety of businesses and products.
Craft book covers. We already mentioned self-publishing books as a potential extra cash opportunity. But if your skills are more on the design side than the writing side, you might consider working with self-published authors to create eye-catching designs for their book covers.
Design presentations. Everyone knows how boring PowerPoint presentations can be, especially if they’re created by people who don’t have strong design skills. You may be able to use your skills to help businesses and brands by designing their presentations so they can actually engage audiences, instead of putting them to sleep.
Design communications for events. Consider how many printed materials are required for events, special occasions and even everyday business interactions. You could ask your friends and acquaintances if they or anyone they know need a designer for their wedding invitations, event marketing materials or even their business cards.
If you’re a social media expert…
Become an influencer. Sure, pretty much everyone is on social media these days. But some people are particularly good at creating and managing their online profiles. You may even be good enough that brands will want to pay you to promote their products. You should start by creating a strong profile with an original voice, posting very consistent content and attracting an audience that’s sizable enough to pique a relevant brand’s interest, then let it know you’re open to collaboration. This is another area that can be quite competitive, but if you have the right skills, you might be able to earn a nice income.
If you’re crafty…
Do you like making things with your hands? Are you good at knitting and sewing? Making furniture or jewelry? Consider using your crafting skills to earn a little cash.
Sell your wares online. If you make anything from quilts and baby clothes to jewelry and colorful bowls and mugs, you may be able to find a market for your wares using sites like Etsy, ebay, ArtFire and iCraft.
Sell your wares at a craft fair. If you prefer person-to-person contact, you may be able to reserve a booth at a craft fair to sell your handmade goods.
If you’re handy…
Paint homes, install cabinets, hang pictures and more. It’s easier than ever to make extra cash by being a part-time handy person. Sites like Taskrabbit and Handy allow people to market their skills in this realm — plus, you can set your own hours and only work when you’re able.
If you’re a foodie…
Sell your gastronomic creations. The food business can be tough. However, if you’re particularly talented in the kitchen — perhaps you make a mean cookie, or a particularly tasty pasta sauce — you might consider selling your culinary creations at local farmers’ markets, or through an online marketplace.
If you have photo skills…
Do you know your way around a camera? While many people consider themselves Instagram photographers these days, there’s still a need for people with a truly talented photographic eye. Here’s how you can use your skills to make extra money.
Take headshots. It’s not only actors or models who need headshots these days — anyone looking to improve their LinkedIn profile or social media game, for example, needs a great picture of themselves. You can start out by working with friends to build a strong online portfolio. Then you might consider advertising yourself through a Facebook business page or in a photographer’s directory to get more work.
Become an event photographer. Consider marketing yourself to take photos at live events such as panels, conferences, weddings and parties.
If you have musical or theatrical skills…
If you majored in music or theater, you can leverage your skills to make money.
Sing telegrams. Yes, people do still hire telegram singers for events like birthdays and bachelor parties. If you can belt out a good tune, you may be able to brighten someone’s day and earn extra income for a small amount of work. Start by Googling telegram opportunities in your area.
Work as an actor for corporate or medical videos. It’s notoriously difficult to get acting work in Hollywood or on Broadway — but not all acting work has to be glamorous. Medical students often practice with “standardized patients” or actors who portray real patients. Corporate training and trade show video directors may also be on the hunt for actors. You can look online for casting opportunities.
Work as an extra. Television shows and movies are always in need of extras, and they’ll often pay a day rate. Being an extra isn’t the same thing as starring in a movie, of course, but it can be your start on the road to greater success. And even if it’s not, it can be a decent way to make spending money on the side.
Work as a DJ. Turn your love of music into cash by becoming a DJ for live events like weddings, parties, corporate events and more.
If you’re good with kids and/or academics…
Some people have a natural affinity for communicating with children. If that’s you, consider these side hustles.
Be a babysitter. This is a side hustle that will always be in demand, and you don’t have to be a teenager to do it. Many families are looking for adults who are responsible and have lots of experience working with kids.
Work as a tutor. Do you love kids and have a specialized academic skill? You might consider becoming a tutor. Lots of parents are looking for people to help their kids with subjects like math and English, or college test prep and essay writing, for example. You can set your own rates and build your side business by getting testimonials from your clients. Keep in mind that tutoring work doesn’t have to mean only working with kids; there are adults, for example, who may speak English as a second language and need tutoring to perfect their skills.
Become a part-time instructor. After-school programs and community centers may be in need of people to teach classes to kids. You also might consider teaching adult education classes at community centers.
What you can do with your extra cash
These are just some examples of how you can use your talents and interests to generate extra cash, or even move toward a full-time career path. And you can put this money to use by paying off your student loans or other debts, or letting yourself have a luxury or two, like that dream vacation you’ve wanted to take for years.
One important thing to note, however, is that many of these gigs may be independent contractor positions, not employee positions — that means you’re likely going to be responsible for paying your own taxes, so be sure to set aside a percentage of your income every time you’re paid.
Where to find gigs
You can find gigs using a variety of resources.
Start by telling your network of friends and family about your new side hustle. Look on social media networks for opportunities. Join relevant groups on Facebook. Learn from others who are already making extra money through side hustles.
Here is a list of some resources you can use to find potential money-making opportunities:
Craigslist TaskRabbit Fiverr Cloud Peeps Thumbtack EventSpeak Guru Upwork Your local newspaper Alternative local weekly magazines LinkedIn Toptal 99Designs Tutor
You can also make your own flyers and business cards and post your services libraries, coffee shops and community centers. Once you get your first client and start building word of mouth, it should only get easier.
Looking for even more ideas for making extra cash? Here are some online gigs that can earn you more than $15 an hour.
Rebecca Stropoli contributed to this report.
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