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For extra money, get a side hustle that fills a need

By Donna Freedman, Next avenue Donor

“Have a scramble” is common advice for people who want to ensure their financial survival in case their full-time job disappears, survive unemployment, or help boost their retirement savings. About 28% of workers have one, according to the new Gallup Great Jobs Survey. A way to start a side hustle: Find one that fills a need.

It could correspond to something you do anyway. For example, I once interviewed a woman with a school-aged child who took her neighbors’ children to school with hers. At $5 per child per day, she earned $125 per week.

7 secondary agitations that fill a need

These types of side hustle require serious commitment. But some part-time gigs that meet a need can be picked up and dropped, when you have the time and the inclination. Here are seven:

Personal concierge. Maybe your neighbors don’t have time to pick up their dry cleaners, run a few errands, or take the dog to the groomer. But you do. Get paid for it.

Also on Forbes:

Be a “server”. Not in a restaurant, but more as someone who earns money by waiting for things for people who can’t or would rather not – sign for Amazon deliveries, for example, or wait in line to send packages. . You could charge money to be the person to let the plumber, electrician, or wireman in, so other landlords or tenants don’t have to miss work. Spread the word via social media, your networks of friends, the condominium newsletter or a notice in your building.

Low maintenance house sitting or pet walking. With that secondary hustle, you might be picking up someone’s mail, watering the plants, or feeding the cat. A woman in my writing group paid me $75 to take her dog for three 15-minute walks over a long weekend. Dog walkers can often earn between $8 and $30 a day.

Occasional delivery driver. Apps like Roadie and Dolly let you get paid to drive and deliver packages. Suppose you regularly visit a relative in a nearby town and someone from your town wants to bring something there. You save money and the other person saves a few bucks by not paying the US Postal Service or a private carrier. Plus, some things — like Grandma’s special coconut cake — deserve loving home delivery.

Pension for dog (or cat, ferret or parrot). Sites like Rover and Care allow you to portray yourself as someone who is willing to let a pet stay with you, rather than being taken on the prowl. Before you start, however, talk to your insurance agent to see if this type of work fits under your landlord’s or renter’s policy; some insurers do not reimburse damage caused by certain breeds of dogs.

Snow Day Angel. Be the person who rushes to rescue parents who can’t afford to miss work when winter storms shut down schools. Ditto for the days of improvement, the half-days of meeting parents-teachers and the days “my child is sick and cannot go to school”. About the latter: only do this if you are healthy yourself; wash your hands often and get flu and DTP shots.

Obviously, you have to be good with children and have a few toys or games that children like. Check online for current rates in your area, so you don’t underpay.

Offer rides. You have to go to the supermarket anyway, so why not offer to drive an older or disabled relative or acquaintance and help with the shopping? Or you could make yourself available to take people to places like the doctor, physical therapist, or hairdresser.

Just be sure to set a fair price up front. You might say something like, “For thirty dollars a week, I’ll drive your mom to the grocery store and help her unload groceries when you get home.”

This type of side hustle works best for people who know how to entertain themselves while waiting or who are organized enough to do their own shopping for the time needed for the appointment. (Bonus frugal points if you can use the other person’s car, saving you gas and depreciation.)

5 tips before starting a Side Hustle

And now, five tips before starting a side business:

1. You may need to obtain a business license. Check with your state’s department of commerce.

2. If your business takes off, consider forming an LLC or limited liability company to protect your personal assets from lawsuits. The “What is an LLC?” article on the Nolo site has good background information.

3. Make sure you know your limits. If you find that small children only have small doses of fun, don’t subject yourself (or them!) to an eight or ten hour snow day. A large dog on a leash could make your bursitis worse; If so, stick to smaller breeds or only keep pets for location-bound creatures like reptiles, hamsters, or birds.

4. Protect against gig drift. When you’re just starting out, it can be tempting to grab every opportunity that comes your way. But taking on too many gigs could be almost a full-time job and lead to burnout.

5. A gig-creep corollary: If you have a spouse or partner, make sure that person is okay with how much you’ll be working. You both may want to look for side jobs that you both can do to share the burden and reduce the risk of burnout.

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