Most of us do not have our financial ducks all in a row. We may yearn to buy a home but still have nowhere near enough money for a down payment. We may be hoping to be comfortable and financially secure in our old age yet have very little saved for retirement.
Earning some money on the side via a side hustle or two -- for a short while or a long while -- can do wonders for your finances. I've written before about lots of ways to make money on the side, and there's seemingly no end to the kinds of ways that you can boost your income. Here, then are nine more ideas -- most of which you may not have thought of before. See if any of them are appealing and might work for you.
1. Become a home cook
If you're a good cook, you might start a business providing meals for others. You could work in your clients' kitchens, perhaps spending one day a week there and preparing three or four days' worth of meals, or you could build a list of subscribers to whom you deliver meals regularly -- or you might arrange the work in a different way that suits you better. You'll need to research what laws govern such work where you live, and you'll need to build up a clientele over time, but you may be able to earn hundreds of dollars per week with this gig. Another angle to this gig is that you might record yourself cooking and try to build an audience on YouTube.com.
2. Inspect homes
If you've ever bought a home, you've probably encountered a home inspector, or have at least reviewed his or her work. Home inspectors can earn several hundred dollars for an hour or two of work, and if you enjoy poking around buildings, you may have fun making money this way. You'll probably need to earn a home inspector license, by taking whatever training or coursework is required, and it might be best if you already are familiar with homes and their workings. But once you're set, you can take on as much work as you want or can get.
3. Work a drone
This is a relatively new kind of money-making strategy, but it can be a great one. If you are (or can become) skilled at operating a drone with an attached camera, you might get good work taking photos or videos for real estate ads, or for roof inspections, or even for weddings. You may also be able to take lots of stock photos that you sell on sites such as Getty Images, Shutterstock, or iStock -- among many other possibilities. Some freelance drone pilots are earning thousands of dollars a month.
4. Referee sports
If you love sports, or at least one particular sport, you may be able to earn money on the side officiating games. The rules governing how one becomes a referee differ by sport, region, and level of play (such as high school game versus minor-league game), but some digging online can help you learn what you need to know. Officiating doesn't always pay big bucks, but if you can earn $30 or $50 for officiating a game, and you do so for four games per week, you might pull in around $160 per week -- or more than $600 over a month -- and you might get a good workout with each game, too.
5. Be a handyperson
If you're generally handy and able to fix or replace leaky faucets, repair broken gates, fix holes in walls, install ceiling fans, and so on, you may be able to make a lot of money on the side. Many, if not most, households would welcome a skilled and dependable handyperson to have among their contacts, to call whenever they need something. It could take a little while to build up a clientele, but you might drop off flyers going door to door in your neighborhood to start.
6. Refurbish furniture
Many people put potentially valuable furniture out on the curb, to get rid of it, while others sell them online for a pittance. If you're good at tracking down attractive pieces and securing them, you might bring them home, clean them up, make any needed repairs or enhancements, and sell them for a hefty profit. A $25 chair, for example, might need to have its upholstery shampooed or its wood polished, before someone buys it for $150. An old table with a classy design that you collect for free might need to be sanded and refinished before you can sell it for $200.
7. Become a notary
Serving as a notary public is an easy way to make potentially hundreds of dollars per week or month. The requirements very by location, and you may need to take some coursework and apply for a license, but once you're all set, you can make money notarizing real estate transactions, witnessing signatures, certifying copies, and so on.
8. Translate or interpret
If you're fluent in a foreign language, you may be able to put that skill to work to earn extra money. If you work as a translator, you'll translate written words, while as an interpreter, you'll translate someone's spoken word, often in person but sometimes over a phone or video call. Translations and interpreting is needed in many realms, such as legal, business, and healthcare settings. (Note that certain kinds of language are more lucrative than others, such as Arabic, Mandarin, and German -- it might even be worth becoming fluent in a particular language or two.)
9. Transcribe things
Finally, there's transcription. If you're good at listening to and typing what you hear, you might be able to make decent money on the side transcribing medical, legal, or business audio files. If this interests you, do a little online research into it. There are many sites where transcribers can find work or hang their digital shingle. Transcribers can make around $15 to $25 per hour, and sometimes more.
These are just some of the myriad ways you might bring in extra money -- to save for that down payment or for your kids' college educations or to help build a war chest for your retirement. Look into any of the ideas above that interest you -- or do more digging into other ideas.