9 surprising ways to make extra cash (and have fun doing it)

Remote work, side hustles, micro-businesses: if you’re looking to make some extra cash, there’s really never a better time to do it than during a cost of living crisis. Whether you’re still in the workforce and want to make some money, or you’ve retired but want to boost your income, Carolyn Tate explores the myriad opportunities to choose from.

By Carolyn Tate

Do you like being out among people, or would you prefer to make money from home? Do you want to use your existing skills or learn something new?

What’s important is to think about how you like to spend your time and what factors make something rewarding for you.

And of course, it’s important to consider how any extra income could affect your tax or pension status.

Have a chat with your accountant to ensure there are no nasty surprises, and that it’s worth your time and effort. You’ll also need to talk to your accountant about whether you need to register a business before you commence. The age pension work bonus might even inspire you to try unretiring.

1. Drive for a rideshare company

Like a drive and a chat? Ridesharing platforms like Uber, Didi, Ola and GoCatch provide an excellent opportunity to earn extra money on your own schedule. With the flexibility to choose when and how often you drive, it's an ideal option that can easily fit into your existing lifestyle. And for women, you can also drive for Shebah, which is for women and children only – but you do have to have a Blue Card or working with children check.

2. Participate in market research

Sign up for market research panels or focus groups – either online or in your area. Companies will often pay you for sharing your opinions on products and services. It's a fun way to offer feedback – something a lot of us would do for free – while earning some extra cash. There are many market research agencies to choose from; just google ‘market research’ in your area. You can sometimes do it online or turn up to earn cash doing focus groups.

3. Offer pet sitting or dog walking services

If you're outdoorsy and an animal lover, pet sitting or dog walking can be a rewarding way to earn extra income – and get some furry cuddles in as well. Many pet owners will pay for trustworthy caregivers to look after their furry friends regularly while they're at work, or on holidays. Check out websites like Mad Paws or Rover. You can also check Facebook for any local groups.

Read more about using your pet-caring skills as a housesitter.

4. Rent out your extra room

If you have extra space in your home, or an entire holiday home, consider renting it out on Airbnb. Hosting guests can be a lucrative way to generate extra income, but it’s not for everyone. You’ll need to keep your place clean and tidy, and be ready for guests at all times, plus you’ll need to be responsive to questions and problems. And if you’re renting out a room in your home, you’ll need to be prepared to interact with a wide range of guests. On the positive side, it’s a great way to meet lots of new people and it can be quite a good earner if you’re in a good location.

5. Teach a skill or hobby

What’s something you’re good at, or that people often ask you to help them with? You can share your expertise by teaching that skill or hobby – either in person, or expand your potential audience globally by taking it online. Whether it's playing a musical instrument, painting, or cooking, teaching can be a fulfilling source of income. Check out where others are teaching in your local community, or look at teaching platforms like Kajabi or Podia.  

6. Sell handmade crafts or art

If you enjoy crafting or creating art, you could be selling your creations on platforms like Etsy or at local craft fairs. Macrame, knitting, tapestry, crochet and sewing are becoming lost skills and if you’re good at them, it could be a nice earner for you. You could also offer alterations, such as sewing hems, in your neighbourhood starting with a simple letterbox drop or post in your neighbourhood Facebook page.

7. Offer home repair or handyman services

If you're handy with a wrench or you know how to change a washer, your skills could be in high demand. Many homeowners are willing to pay for help with small repairs and maintenance tasks. And if you know your way around a flat pack, you and your allen key could be very popular! Take a look at job sites like Airtasker to bid for jobs that suit you, or advertise your services in your local neighbourhood.

Read more on how to start freelancing.

8. Tutor students

If you have expertise in a particular subject, vocation or skill, you could be tutoring students of all ages. Whether it's math, language, business, or a musical instrument, your knowledge can help others succeed academically or in the workforce. You can advertise in your local community, or join a platform like Learnmate that matches you up with students who want to learn your skills.

9. Sell vintage or collectible items

Do you have a house full of stuff? Declutter and make a profit from items you no longer need – some may be worth more than you think. You can sell clothes, vintage or collectible items on platforms like eBay or through local antique shops – or, if you have time and like chatting to people, check for suitcase rummages and flea markets in your local area.

These are just nine ideas to help you get started, but you might be able to think of something else that better fits your skills and interests. The options really are endless and with many ideas, you can do them from anywhere in the world. If you're really inspired, read the 5 industries crying out to employ older workers.

Whether you choose to pursue a part-time gig, tap into your skills and hobbies, or leverage the sharing economy, you can easily increase your income and have fun while you’re doing it.

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