5 Flexible Side Gigs You Can Do From Home

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Whether you’re struggling to pay for a studio apartment in New York City or are saving money to purchase your first home, your salary may not be enough. With so many demands on your budget, making ends meet — let alone saving for anything extra — can be next to impossible.

While a second job would give you some financial breathing room, set hours and schedules can be hard to fit in with the responsibilities of your full-time job and other obligations. But don’t worry — there are other ways you can make money on your own time without interfering with your current job.

Here are five ways you can start making a side income:

Be a Personal Assistant

Plenty of busy professionals find themselves out of time for errands and chores. More and more are turning to personal assistants to manage calendars, make travel arrangements, pick up dry-cleaning and drop off packages. Sites like Care.com and even Craigslist can connect you with potential clients in your area. If you choose to use Craigslist, only meet up with clients in a public place, or bring a friend with you to ensure your safety.

Use Your Social Media Skills

Small businesses in every industry realize the importance of social media, but many don’t have the time (or the expertise) to manage their accounts. Sites like UpWork, eLance and Guru have thousands of social media gigs that you can do whenever your schedule allows it.

Become a Personal Shopper

If you have a flair for fashion, this could be a great gig for you. Both men and women struggle to put together a cohesive wardrobe, so they hire independent personal shoppers to help them identify pieces that work for their lifestyles. Many personal shoppers get their start by launching a website and advertising on community websites and social media pages.

Help Students Through Tutoring

Students of all ages — including adults returning to college or graduate school — need help with tests, papers and basic concepts. Services like Tutor.com or Chegg.com allow you to work with clients online, so you can work from your couch or kitchen table.

Board Pets

Between work travel and family vacations, people are always looking for boarding situations for their pets. More owners are turning to private homes rather than professional kennels to give their dog or cat a more relaxed, personalized stay. If you’re an animal lover, you can make significant money each night by having a pet stay in your home. Care.com and SitterCity.com are filled with people looking for both regular and occasional visits for their pets.

How Do I Get Started?

To get your first clients, let your friends, family and coworkers know about the services you offer. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and you might get connected to your first gig by someone you already know. You can also look for websites that connect clients to freelancers like FreelanceConnect.com or Freelancer.com; as your customer base grows, you can branch off with your own website or Facebook page.

While it can be more work to get the first few clients than it would be just picking up a regular second job, you will have much more flexibility and earning potential through a side gig where you set the hours. That extra income can help pad your budget and bulk up your savings so you can meet your goals faster.

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