Whether you’re a student with more time on your hands or someone who just needs to pick up more hours for some debt repayment, the summer is the optimal time to start or even resume a side hustle. This part-time job is different than others because, with a side hustle, you are the boss! Running your own business, even at just a few hours a week, is a commitment, but one that can really pay off.
These top picks for making extra cash, while not super flashy, are popular during the summer break for entrepreneurs of all ages. They aren’t dependent on trends or likely to be replaced by permanent workers anytime soon. They do require an incredible amount of good, old-fashioned hard work, however.
1. Farmer’s Market Stand
Gardening is hard labor, and if you want to sell the fruits for a significant profit, you’d better start now. Selling fruits, veggies, select baked goods, live plants, or even eggs is possible at local farmers markets, thanks to some of the relaxed laws governing them in most of the U.S. Unlike running another food-based business, most regions are business-friendly and will let you sell what you grow, along with other goods that don’t require refrigeration or special prep.
Shoppers like variety, so if you can’t make a good living selling the one or two things that you are really good at, consider partnering up with a small grower that is OK with sharing the seller’s fee. Markets are generally open during the weekends and select weekday morning hours, leaving your free to work in the garden – or lounge by the pool – in your off time.
Need more info on starting a small gardening enterprise? Get educated on your local laws by visiting the commerce site for your state. You can also inquire from the manager of the farmer’s market near you, who should have details on cost and requirements for getting started as an approved vendor.
2. Summer School Tutor
Is there anything worse than summer school? How about failing to perform and being held back a year. Summer school is a yucky notion for students forced to take it, and parents are likely to invest a bit in ensuring it’s not a repeatable experience. Your local PTA or parent group will have information on how summer school is managed at your school district and can provide you with the hours and contact info for advertising your services.
You’ll need to love working with students, have a clean record, and know a bit about all those subjects you took in school. Get extra points if you work in education or have teaching experience. If there’s no summer school near you, use the summer to help students brush up on any subject that you excel. This can be basic math, writing, or even prepping for those upcoming ACT and SAT tests. (Don’t forget that many homeschoolers educate year-round, and those parents might need a break!)
3. Garage Sale Consultant
It’s crazy to think that someone would need help managing a garage sale. If you ask anyone who’s drowning in stuff why they haven’t had one, however, they’ll give you a list of reasons why. They don’t have time; they can’t deal with the pricing; they don’t want to watch their stuff get sold. This is where you can come in and make their lives easier, and more profitable!
Your job as a consultant is to go through the items they have set aside to sell, sort, price, and display it in a way that helps showcase their offerings. You can be involved in planning the advertising with local online groups and newspapers. If requested, work the tables and handle the day of the sale independently. Your fee can be a flat fee, or (preferably) a percentage of the sales. Many people are happy to pay a commission, as this is money that’s only paid if you do well. Find jobs doing this by advertising places people post about their garage sales. Hold a sale or two, and use word of mouth to get more jobs.
4. Any Kind of Sitting
What’s holding many Americans back from using their summer to vacay? A lot, apparently. Whether it’s plants that need watering, dogs that need cuddles, or kids that need shuttling from swim lessons to sports, most of us can’t even take a weekend away without lots of planning and some relief of duties.
That’s why a reliable house/baby/dog sitter is worth their weight in gold. Most people would pay a handsome fee to walk away from their house and know that things will be handled well. Note that this is a job that they won’t hand to just anyone, and expect to have references, a background check, and experience to back up your business. Be prepared to do a little work before you get jobs. Taking pet or child CPR is a must. So is taking time to know and understand the unique needs of your client.
Once you get a few happy customers, however, expect the work to come to you. Having a trusted sitter on your phone contacts list is a huge relief for anyone who needs to travel for work, pleasure, or medical reasons. It’s a great job in that you can work as much, or as little, as you want.
Avoid Typical, Part-Time Employment
The key to making money during the summer is to look for opportunities that grow during the warmer months. Your goal is not to compete for jobs that college students, high schoolers, and teachers on break are clamoring for. You also aren’t looking to fill an employment position. Hiring companies are reluctant to give jobs to people who will abandon their post in a few months. By focusing on an independent contractor position, a true “side hustle,” you are working within the natural ebbs and flows of the summer months and ensuring that there is enough work to pay for your summer financial goals.
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