There’s going to be a time between jobs, or when you first move somewhere, that you’re going to be tempted to live off odd jobs.
Don’t do it.
First of all, most of them are scams. Please do not look at any of those “30 surprising ways millennials make money!” articles. Don’t get tricked by coupon or transcription or review sites, they are not worth it. Trust me, I’ve tried.
Yes, there are some apps and sites you can make some extra cash on. I’ll go into each below. But if you’re hoping to make some extra cash fast, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
- Uber/Lyft: This is a real job. Obviously, it’s a lot scarier to do as a woman. And you might have to deal with people throwing up in and causing damage to your car. But it is a legitimate job, and a good way to make money. Like with any of these, it will take time to build up a good rating, and you’ll have to work hard to maintain that. Also, you have to be careful about your hours. Remember that weekends will have the highest rates. Also, as you’re technically self-employed, you should definitely keep track of your mileage to write off on taxes, and get insurance for while you’re waiting for riders (not included in normal car insurance).
- Postmates: Don’t be tricked by this. If you like in a smaller, highly populated city and you have a bike you like to ride, it’s probably fine. But if you’re driving a lot, it won’t be worth it between the gas and the parking. Some of their sign-on bonuses are good, so it might be worth it to do a few deliveries, but overall you’ll be making below minimum wage.
- Wag!/Rover: This is sort of a luck-of-the-draw situation. If you really commit and you get lucky, you can get consistent clients who will keep coming back to you. But if you’re just waiting for jobs to come in, there’s not going to be enough work. The real money is in dog-sitting, so definitely try to build relationships with clients so that they’ll keep you in mind when they go out of town.
- Online Tutoring: Sites like VIPKid are actually good freelance jobs – but it’ll probably take more work and initial cost than you’re expecting. You’ll need training (which you won’t be paid for), a reliable Wi-Fi network, a professional headset, and an education background and props. This is a good option if you’re already a teacher or have experience with young children. It pays pretty well, but you will need to give undivided attention during the session. There will be no checking your phone or breaks. The hours will also likely be off, as many of these sites are for Chinese kids. There are American tutoring sites, but like Wag! they are more inconsistent in work and require building up a good clientele. They also often require high level math and science skills, rather than just basic english kids for ELLs.
- Babysitting: Again, places like Care.com will only really get you the odd gig. It’s best to build up clients or start sitting through a referral (ask your friends!) – it’s my experience that once you start sitting for one family, their friends all start to ask you for help. Again, this is a great job in terms of pay, but it can be inconsistent and requires a strong clientele! Also, you obviously have to like children, and have prior experience with them. It’s also much easier to become a sitter or nanny as a woman.
- Working in freelance writing, editing, or bookkeeping is going to really be more of a career and require a lot of training and schooling. These are good options if you’re really willing to commit the time to put into training, but they will have a long time where you make no money.
My recommendation is to work part-time somewhere while you figure out your career, or get an entry level job, or nanny for a family you’re referred to. More on all that later! But don’t waste time doing stuff you’ll be paid under minimum wage for – it’s not worth it! I tried it all so you don’t have to. Trust me on this one.