If you are looking to make some extra cash but don’t want to spend your leisure time chauffeuring strangers around the city, you are not alone. The “gig economy” is fueled primarily by people looking to either earn a supplementary income or pursue a passion. Technology has come along to make finding a gig as easy as using your cellphone. While ridesharing apps are the most well-known examples of side hustle apps, ridesharing is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making money on your phone.
Increasingly, the gig economy is dominated by task-oriented or knowledge intensive gigs that require some level of expertise. There are also a number of consumer research companies that have invested in apps that help them gather information about shopping habits and interests of people across all demographics, and they pay you to use them. The amount of money you can earn ranges from a hundred dollars a month to a full-time income, depending on your gig and how much energy you are willing to put into it.
Don’t think that using apps to make money is a slacker’s dream. A side hustle still requires you to put in some effort to get the most out of it. Most app users enjoy the ability to be mobile, responsive and productive regardless of where they are or what they are doing. Since we are already heavily invested in our phones, using money making apps is one way to get a serious return on the investment. It allows us to access and offer goods and services as well as generate multiple streams of income. And who doesn’t need that?
Money making apps generally fall into one of three categories. The first are platforms where clients and service providers can find each other. The second is platforms dedicated to those who have a talent for teaching. These include tutoring and online course apps. Finally, there are consumer information apps. These typically require you to shop at a certain retailer, fill out surveys, or redeem online rebates.
If you are a task-oriented person, these apps would be perfect for you. They create a platform where users can offer services, such as dog walking, or find somebody to help them wash windows. If you are a busy-body in general, then these apps might help you turn your extra time and energy into money.
Postmates has been compared to Uber, only instead of passengers, you’ll be delivering goods, and sometimes food. There are two kinds of customers you’ll be handling. The first is consumers who are willing to pay a few extra dollars to avoid having to leave the house/office. The second is merchants who need to have items delivered in a hurry. You function as a courier, getting things where they need to go in a timely manner. You’ll need a car and you’ll have to pass a background check, you’ll be paid weekly via direct deposit.
Doordash is another delivery service that connects hungry clients with restaurants that don’t have a takeaway service. You will need access to a reliable vehicle, or course and provide proof of insurance and valid driver’s license. Dashers, as the delivery service people are called, are paid weekly. However, they do offer a service that allows you to be paid daily. It’s important to note that, as with all delivery jobs, the more people working in your locality, the less money you will be making. People who live in more densely populated areas may have an advantage over those who live in more sparsely populated areas.†
If shopping is your thing, Instacart allows you to make some cash pretty quickly. The payout is weekly, so you won’t have to wait all month for your paycheck. The orders come through the app and your job is to bag up the items listed and (for full-service shoppers) deliver them. Instacart currently hires two types of shoppers. An in-store shopper doesn’t need to have access to a vehicle since you won’t be doing any deliveries. In-store shoppers are considered part-time employees of Insta-cart and have access to all of the protections and programs that any part-time employees, including a fixed hourly wage. Full-service shoppers must have access to a reliable vehicle and are considered independent contractors. The pay is according to the order and number of orders filled.†
Amazon says that it’s Flex drivers earn between $18 USD and $25 USD per hour. The hours are flexible, with preset blocks available seven days a week. Flex drivers deliver for Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Now and Amazon Restaurants, so you will be asked to deliver everything from birthday gifts to hot food. Drivers are responsible for a number of deliveries while they are working, so be prepared to hustle from stop to stop. The down-side is that Flex isn’t available everywhere, so you will have to check back with Amazon to make sure that there is a Flex program in your area.
If you donít like the idea of spending hours in your car, TaskRabbit may be your best bet. The platform allows you to offer your help on a variety of chores including cleaning, moving, small home repairs and furniture assembly. Many others also make money as personal assistants and social media managers. You set your own rates and negotiate the details with your clients. At the end of the job, you submit your invoice via the app. TaskRabbit takes thirty percent of your earnings in fees, but if you factor that thirty percent into your price, that doesnít have to affect you. Most gigs are short notice, and you have thirty minutes after receiving a notification about a gig to accept or reject. If you need more information you can ask the client directly before proceeding. Taskers are paid via direct deposit, you will need to pass a background check and have a valid driverís license.
This is a great app if you live in an urban area and can literally walk or bike from one gig to another. If you have to drive to gigs, your profits are eaten up by fuel costs and travel time. The idea is simple, there are a bunch of small tasks you can complete for a few extra dollars. Some of them are as simple as helping an elderly couple take out their heavy trash bins every Wednesday night, and others require you to take photos of store displays for companies to review. Average gigs pay between $3 USD and $50 USD and you are paid via Paypal within five days of completion (usually less than that).†
If you’re an animal lover, Rover might be a great fit for you. Rover connects you to a nationwide network of pet owners who need somebody to walk, board, or provide care for their pets while they’re away. Set your own rates and choose your own schedule. Decide how many dogs you can handle and what kind of services you can provide. If you can’t handle boarding a dog with a strict diet or medical needs, then you don’t have to. The most important qualification is that you love animals and provide quality care. Pet sitters are required to go through an application process to weed out bad eggs and all sitters are reviewed by their clients.†
Wag! connects you to dogs in your area in need of walks. On average, walkers take home about $17.50 per walk. You can make extra money walking several dogs from the same household but cannot walk dogs from several households at once (sorry guys). Wag! does provide you with free treats and doggy bags to help offset your costs. You will have to pass a screening process and provide your own transportation to your gigs. It’s a great gig if you live in an area with a lot of pets and busy families.
If you aren’t interested in task-oriented work and prefer to pursue your passions or put your skills to work, here are some great apps for the moonlighting creative. These apps allow you to find gigs for everything from voice over work to basic bookkeeping.
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Fiverr is a freelancing platform that is primarily web-based, but has developed a great app to help its sellers and buyers do business on the go. Fiverr allows you to offer your services starting at five dollars. Fiverr is geared toward those with an entrepreneurial spirit, allowing you to begin a serious side hustle on a shoe-string budget. Sellers create packages, beginning at $5 USD up to $995 USD for any number of services. Some of the most popular types of gigs are voice-over work, logo design, illustration, social media work and translation. The platform offers seller payment protection and real-time deposits. Fiverr takes a 20% cut from every transaction made, which can be offset in your original pricing. The app allows you to remain responsive to your clients 24 hours a day.†
Upwork is another freelance platform that allows people with an entrepreneurial spirit to build their business in their free time. Upwork offers freelancers payment protection and dispute resolution. Upwork charges itís freelancers 20% for the first $500 USD of each new client and then 10% after that. You are free to bid on jobs, accept offers from clients looking for freelance work, negotiate contracts and accept work all from the app. Like Fiverr, Upwork is a web-based company whose app was designed primarily to make freelancing convenient and allow you to remain responsive to your clients. You can make a full-time income on Upwork, or simply pursue your passions in your spare time.
For those who prefer a more mercantile approach, there are apps that allow you to buy, sell, rent and swap goods on the internet. If you have an extra vehicle, luxury items, a spare bedroom, or even a knack for snagging great deals at flea markets, these apps may be a great resource for you. These apps function as marketplaces and allow you to keep track of your inventory, answer questions, respond to reviews and handle payments.
If you’re into arts and crafts then Etsy is the marketplace for you. And now the world’s most creative marketplace has an app that can put your†Etsy shop in your back pocket. This app allows you to create and manage listings, stay up on your stats, share milestones on social media, and so much more.†
Whether you’re flipping vintage clothes or selling handmade aprons, eBay remains one of the world’s most well-known marketplaces. Now they have made being a seller just a little bit easier, allowing you to create and manage listings using the app, as well as track packages and respond to customers in real time.†
If fashion is your passion, Poshmark might be the right app for you. Have a gown you paid big bucks for, wore once and then banished to the back of your closet? Drag it out and sell it on Poshmark. The Poshmark app allows you to create listings, edit photos, advertise using your social media and even attend virtual shopping parties. Poshmark provides you with a pre-addressed and prepaid label for shipping. Poshmark takes 20% from every sale over $15 USD and a flat rate of $2.95 for all smaller sales.†
For those who have a special place in their hearts for kids of all ages and a knack for teaching, there is a category of apps that help connect you to people who need you. These apps allow you to create a source of passive income with online courses as well as find people in your area looking for tutors. You can tutor online, in person, or just find a decent babysitting gig. The apps allow you to monitor your course content, manage payments, list availability, and respond to reviews.
If you happen to have experience in a specific niche you can make money online by teaching a course on Udemy. If you have years of gardening experience or just happen to be an expert in your field, you can turn that knowledge into cash by teaching an online course through Udemy. It’s simple, you create an online course using videos and whatever texts you feel are necessary. It doesnít have to be elaborate or exhaustive. In fact, many courses only require a few hours to complete. Your courses can be as little as $1 USD or several hundred. Udemy is a great tool to create a passive income since the course will continue to make money for you as long as people are still purchasing it. You are paid according to how many students buy your course each month.†
Skillshare is another online learning platform. Similar to Udemy, Skillshare allows you to create and sell online courses. Unlike Udemy, Skillshare is a subscription service which means that you are paid according to how many people watched your courses and how long they spent watching them. Courses must be at least thirty minutes long. You can augment your course with assignments and notes and interact with your students via the app.†
Earn up to $20 USD an hour tutoring online, no experience necessary. QKids is an online platform that focuses on teaching English as a second language to kids between the ages of 5 and 12. You must be a native English speaker, based in the U.S. or Canada. You must have a bachelor’s degree or be currently enrolled in college. You must be computer literate. NO prior teaching experience is necessary, and the lesson planning is all done for you. Once you complete the training you will be required to teach ten thirty-minute sessions each week. You will be teaching a virtual classroom, with several students joining the lesson at the same time. You are paid a standard rate according to how many classes you teach.†
Finally, if you really aren’t the entrepreneur-type but still want to use your cellphone to cash in, there are a lot of apps out there that will help you earn extra cash by doing the things that you were going to do anyway. Some of them require you to fill out surveys, but they can usually be completed in a few minutes during your spare time. Use your commute or TV time to earn a few extra bucks using these apps.†
Healthywage turns weight loss into a game, offering financial incentives for losing weight. You join a team of people working towards their weight loss goals and then you work together as a team to earn incentives along the way. You not only get social support but also professional support from health and fitness experts once you register. Like any game of poker, there is a buy-in associated with this platform, but you were probably going to spend more on a gym membership and get half the results. If you’re serious about getting healthy and wouldn’t mind earning a few bucks along the way, Healthywage is for you.†
This is another “betting” app where you bet on yourself However, you aren’t billed up front. You pace a wager, say $10 on a healthy goal of your choice. If at the end of the term you failed to meet your goal, you will be billed $10. If you meet your goal, StickK will pay you $10 via Paypal within 72 hours. This is a great way to earn a little cash for doing what you were probably going to attempt to do anyway, and if you play your cards right, you can roll your reward money over into a treat for your efforts “on the house”.†
If you are the kind of person who likes playing games online or does a fair amount of shopping from your mobile device, this app is an easy way to pick up a few quick bucks with no effort. The app has a number of tasks and features that you can use to collect “Swagbucks” which can be exchanged for gift cards. Most of the tasks involve short surveys, games, shopping rewards or watching videos. It’s just that easy.†
Inbox Dollars is another app that turns the time you would’ve spent watching cat videos into cash. Play games, respond to surveys, watch videos and read ads to earn money. The cash out threshold is $30 USD. Keep using the features to earn more money and get your money via prepaid visa card or a check (allow 10 to 16 days for checks).
Outside of all of these traditional side hustles, there are other apps that help you to connect with money making opportunities. One of these is ShiftPixy, an app designed to connect shift workers with businesses that have empty shifts. Small and medium-sized businesses often run into staffing issues, especially during times when they are experiencing heavy customer activity. ShiftPixy allows you to jump in and help to fill the need. Donít worry about pay and timesheets, all of those things are taken care of through the app. If you have a few hours to spare and donít mind jumping into the deep end of a new company every so often ShiftPixy may be the right choice for you.
It’s tempting to download as many apps as you can and use them all to increase your earnings. After all, most people are just one medical emergency away from serious financial problems. Changes in government regulations or shifts in the market can make your reliable income dry up. And while you probably won’t get rich filling out surveys, they can put gas in your car, or pay for a much needed night out with friends.
It’s best to pick one or two things that you know you can do consistently and make them work for you. Some of these apps will require you to put in a significant effort in the beginning before the money begins rolling in regularly. Don’t be discouraged if the first month or two doesn’t yield big results. It will take time to figure out how to make the platforms work best for you and to hone your skills.
Set healthy limits for yourself. We all need rest and relaxation. A side hustle shouldn’t become a second full-time job. Be realistic with yourself about what you can do and how much time you are willing to commit to it. Be honest with your clients as well. Nothing is worse than overcommitting and then having to disappoint a client. The benefit of using mobile apps to make money is that you can find work from anywhere, at any time. It shouldn’t make you “available” at all times. Learn when to unplug and enjoy some of the spoils of your new found income.
And lastly, remember that whether you are freelancing on the side, or running errands in the neighborhood, the income is taxable. You will be responsible for reporting this income during tax season. Be sure to include your tax burden (somewhere between 20% to 30%) in your asking price. Set aside the amount you estimate you will need to pay in taxes. Most apps make keeping track of your earnings and tax paperwork easier as well. Be sure to take advantage of them.
Side hustles should be easy and fun. They should take advantage of your strengths and passions and offer the flexibility to keep them from feeling like a grind. Mobile apps are just one tool in your toolkit for building a solid financial future.
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Find out more about how ShiftPixy can help you rock work-life balance.