The pandemic did not give birth to the gig economy, but it certainly accelerated its development. Because COVID-19 left them unemployed or furloughed and reliant on government benefits, side hustlers scrambled to find alternative income streams in 2020.
However, the landscape shifted last year. According to DollarSprout’s 2021 Side Hustle Report — a widely cited annual study from one of the top sites dedicated to the gig economy — people who started a side hustle out of necessity were making it a full-time thing in much greater numbers. As gigs evolved into businesses, more people were spending more time and earning more money from their side hustles than ever before.
Three out of every four people who responded to the DollarSprout survey believed that 2021 was just the beginning, and that side hustles would become even more popular in 2022.
If you’re thinking about joining the movement, you’ve probably been told to start an Etsy shop, drive for Uber, or start a blog. Fine ideas, but there are several less travelled roads that are just as good or better, but not nearly as well known — and thus not nearly as crowded or competitive.
6 Lesser-Known Side Hustles To Earn Some Extra Cash
Become a Medical Investigator
Medical detective is a strange but true side gig, similar to the show “House,” but in real life and starring you. Consider joining CrowdMed if you have a passion and talent for determining the root cause of medical ailments and symptoms.
To get your detective’s badge and magnifying glass, you don’t have to be a doctor or even a medical professional, though 90 percent of the site’s health care private eyes work in or study medicine. It doesn’t take long to sign up, and once you do, you can begin collaborating with other medical detectives who have chosen the same case — there are hundreds of active cases at any given time.
The more helpful you are in solving the case, the better your reputation and the more money you will earn. CrowdMed stated during one of its fundraising campaigns that the average detective earns $400 per solved case.
Online English Instruction
You don’t have to be a doctor to solve medical cases, and you don’t have to be a teacher to make money teaching English to students in other countries. You don’t even need to be bilingual.
Signing up with sites like VIPKid requires a four-year bachelor’s degree, but it can be in any major or field. While being a professional educator is not required, the site recommends that you have two years of experience in coaching, mentoring, tutoring, or teaching.
You can teach online from anywhere, and the service will provide you with the necessary curriculum, lesson plans, and materials. One of the reasons it’s such a good side hustle is that you can set your own schedule and work as many or as few hours as you want with no minimum. That is pure side hustle gold. VIPKid teachers can expect to earn between $14 and $18 per hour.
Capture Errant Scooters
Ridership on scooters is increasing in areas where services like Lime and Bird rent their two-wheeled vehicles, but when riders arrive at their destination, the electric scooters they rode in on are frequently out of place or out of batteries.
“Lime Juicers” and “Bird Flyers” come into play here. If you choose this as a side hustle, you will locate, charge, relocate, and return far-flung scooters to the next customer. You take the jobs you want, decline the ones you don’t, and get paid the same day you do the work.
You’ll start at the bottom with lower-level tasks and work your way up to the top with better gigs and higher pay. According to Gridwise, Lime pays between $5 and $12 per scooter for an average of $8, and Lime Juicers can expect to earn between $20 and $30 per hour.
Shop and Deliver or Simply Shop
Every side hustler knows about delivering food for Uber Eats, DoorDash, or GrubHub, but you might be better off delivering unprepared and uncooked food — or not delivering at all.
If you join Shipt, you can expect to make good money — up to $27 per hour — shopping and delivering grocery orders in your neighbourhood. You can work as much or as little as you want, full-time or part-time, and set your own schedule, as with all great side hustles.
You must own a car to work for Shipt, but not for Instacart, which has options for both in-store shoppers and shoppers/drivers. Drivers keep all tips, and store shoppers can work up to 29 hours per week.
Start a Car Rental Company
The best side hustle is one that allows someone else — or something else — to do all of the hustling while you collect the payoff. Put your idle wheels to work and collect on the payout if you’re a reformed commuter who joined the remote workforce revolution, if you have a second car, or if you just don’t drive that much.
Turo and other peer-to-peer car-rental services allow travellers in need of a ride to avoid expensive and inconvenient rental car companies by renting directly from people like you. There is incredible demand with 14 million prescreened users, especially now that the chip shortage has made new cars, used cars, and rentals so expensive and limited in selection.
You don’t need to worry about insurance because every Turo-approved car is covered by a $750,000 Travelers policy. The average side hustler with one car to rent out earns $10,516 per year — their vehicle earns it for them.
Sell the Photos from Your Smartphone
If you’re like most people, you’ve got thousands or tens of thousands of photos on your phone or in the Cloud. Why not make your artistic streak pay if you can dazzle your Instagram followers with your photographic prowess?
Over the last 15 years, Shutterstock has paid out more than $1 billion to its contributors, and it’s far from the only service that rewards good images and videos. Newspapers, websites, magazines, TV productions, billboards, advertisements, and other forms of media rely on stock image sites such as Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Getty Images, iStock, and others.
In general, you can expect to earn between 15% and 40% of the selling price each time someone buys one of your photos, which they can do multiple times. A good photographer can earn royalties from a single image or video indefinitely.