8 savvy side hustles you can start for free

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The best side hustles are easy to start and pay enough to offset your costs and time. But not everyone seeking extra income has the cash to invest in a side business. Plus, your return on investment will be higher if you spend less to get your side gig up and running.

If you’re interested in generating a new income stream, you don’t have to spend money to do so. Take an inventory of the resources, skills and equipment you have on hand and consider how you can use them. Then try any of these eight side hustle ideas that don’t cost anything to start.

1. Part-time worker

One of the most obvious ways to earn extra income without investing your own funds is to get a second job. An ideal side gig will be a part-time position with high pay and flexible hours.

When choosing a second job, consider one that’s different from your day job to avoid getting burned out. If you want something that provides more than an hourly wage, find a job with the opportunity to earn tips such as waiting tables, bartending or valet parking.

2. Tutor

Tutors are in high demand among parents and students alike. If you’re knowledgeable in certain subjects, turn your know-how into a side gig by offering to tutor students.

You can seek out your own clients or kick-start your tutoring by partnering with a local tutoring agency. Online tutoring platforms also can be an option, such as Tutor.com or Varsity Tutors.

3. Class instructor

You could earn more by teaching multiple people at the same time. Instead of charging one person for an hour of tutoring, you could charge several people to teach an hourlong class.

Consider the skills you have that you’d love to teach and share with others. Options include teaching a fitness class, offering an introductory course for a musical instrument or leading a webinar on valuable career skills.

You also can offer virtual classes through websites such as Udemy or Skillshare.

4. Pet walker or sitter

If you’re an animal lover who’s comfortable caring for various pets, consider pet walking or pet sitting. Many pet owners would be willing to pay well to make sure their cat or dog is being looked after by someone reliable.

Often, you can take care of a pet at the owner’s home. Most pet owners will provide all food, gear and other items needed to care for their pets.

You also can find clients in your area through websites such Rover or Sittercity.

5. Personal coach

If you’re an expert in a practical or life skill, consider coaching. Options include being a career coach, fitness coach or life coach.

To start coaching, figure out your area of expertise and how you can use this knowledge to help others. Then, start building a clientele base to work one on one to help people achieve their goals.

6. Resume writer

Looking for a job can be a high-stakes, high-stress situation, and many people will pay for help in getting a leg up on their competition. If you have a background in recruiting, hiring or writing, consider a side gig in writing resumes for others.

Resume writers often charge about $100 to $150 for basic resumes. You can earn more as you prove yourself and build your clientele. You can easily offer other services, too, including writing cover letters or helping people prepare for job interviews.

7. Home maintenance worker

Is there a home care or maintenance task you excel at or love doing? Maybe you find lawn mowing to be relaxing and meditative, or you love the thrill of overhauling and organizing a closet.

Consider offering to do these tasks for other people as a way to earn extra cash. Some busy homeowners will hire others to do yard care, home cleaning, window washing, repairs, organization and more. Try finding work through local listing sites such as Craigslist or offer your services online with Handy, which helps users find workers. Make sure you or the person hiring you has the tools necessary to complete the job.

8. Rent your stuff

Lending your stuff for a fee is an easy way to earn more using something you already own. You can use Turo to let people rent your car, for example. Or you can rent out your unused parking spot through websites such as Pavemint.

“People with parking near an airport, college campus, popular venue, or in any hard-to-park area can list their space on our platform and start making money from their unused bit of concrete,” said Maggie Boles, the communications lead for Pavemint. “All a person needs to become a Pavemint host is a computer or smartphone and about 15 minutes to set up their listing.”

As you consider different side hustles, it’s important to compare your options and find one that’s a good match for your resources. You’ll want to choose an opportunity for which you have some knowledge, skills, and the proper equipment to get going.