Earning

4 money-making side hustles that are easy to start from home this winter

David Mercer
vgajic | E+ | Getty Images

Maybe you're not going anywhere for the holidays. But plenty of other people are: Nearly half, or 45%, of Americans are planning to travel for the holiday season and expect to spend an average of $1,393 while they are at it, according to a recent study.

If you want to make a little extra cash, that's an opportunity. Here are a few potentially lucrative side hustles you could launch while you're home over the holidays.

Pet sitting and dog walking

If you love animals and have a decently sized backyard, put it to work. Tons of people living in apartments or travelling with their pets need a safe space to take their pooch to get some exercise and play, or simply have someone to keep an eye on them for a few hours while they get their shopping done.

You can also add in a few optional paid services to generate even more income. Offer dog walking services, or pet sitting for people who have parties and family gatherings to attend and would rather not leave their pets alone for too long.

The average national wage for pet sitting is around $15 per hour and up to around $80 to $90 for overnight services, according to business estimate platform to HomeGuide.

Create a website or a Facebook group to keep people posted on what you offer and what the services cost. Advertise with a few flyers in the neighborhood to get people coming in, and approach local hotels and lodges to advertise your service to guests travelling with pets..

VIDEO4:0804:08
This guy makes six figures a year with his dog walking business

Video by David Fang

Home office rentals

Home office space, if you have some, is also cash waiting to be made. Consider renting that space out by the hour.

Vacationers almost inevitably wind up having to some emergency office work while on holiday. I know I usually do. While a coffee shop might suffice to simply keep an eye on emails, a full office often comes in handy, especially if it comes with Internet access.

Large coworking platforms that rent single-chair office space often charge around $30-$40 for the day, according to a Coworking Resources report. Be competitive by pricing low and offering more flexible hourly rates, since many vacationers probably don't want to work a full day if they can avoid it.

Make extra money by converting your single home office into a coworking space that can take a few clients at a time. This is a fantastic way to earn a passive income in the long term as everyone starts getting back to work in the New Year.

Make extra money by converting your single home office into a coworking space that can take a few clients at a time. This is a fantastic way to earn a passive income in the long term as everyone starts getting back to work in the New Year.
David Mercer
Entrepreneur and author

Provide short-term holiday storage

Got a garage, a barn or a shed? A pickup truck or van? Any clean, dry and bug-free space in which you could offer short-term storage could work.

Short-term storage is a great way to help people who need room for too many guests staying for the holidays. They might need to move a couch and bookshelf to make space for inflatable mattresses, for example, or for a Christmas tree.

Large items like furniture take a lot of space and there's not always room for the old items to be put into the garage or time for it to be taken to the dump. Offer locals a pickup, storage and return facility with weekly or daily rates to take the hassle out of rearranging the den or trying to fit new furniture into the house, Tetris-style.

You could make extra money by offering to flip their old goods on eBay or Craigslist and taking a commission.

Storage units can go for between $95-$215 per month depending on location with pickup costs running at around $80 — depending on volume and location, according to Move.org. While you would need to take these prices into account, you'd probably be able to charge a slight premium in exchange for greater flexibility (i.e., clients might only want the storage for two weeks).

Holiday tour guide and ride-share driver

In the same way that Airbnb hosts provide a true local experience to tourists staying at their home, you can use your insider local knowledge to create custom tours that vacationers would love — and pay for.

Depending on your interests and expertise, and the weather, custom tours could include showing tourists unique local shops to help get their Christmas shopping done, visits to top restaurants and bars, outings to museums and historical sites, walking or jogging tours around town, or hiking and camping trips.

Approach local hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses and Airbnb hosts to let them know you're available to help their guests get the most out of their stay. Try to build face-to-face relationships with them. This will help put you at the top of their minds when guests ask for recommendations.

Approach local hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses and Airbnb hosts to let them know you're available to help their guests get the most out of their stay. Try to build face-to-face relationships with them. This will help put you at the top of their minds when guests ask for recommendations.
David Mercer
Entrepreneur and author

In addition to providing these services, if you have your own car, you could also consider becoming a ride-share driver to create another stream of income.

Do some research on the ride-share platforms in your area and make yourself available to the influx of tourists in your town. According to a recent CNBC report, earnings from platforms like Uber can be as low as $11 per hour after Social Security and taxes, while Uber claims drivers can earn upwards of $25 per hour.

Make sure you are in possession of the relevant license or permit for your locale. Requirements differ from town to town but a tour guide licence usually costs around $50 with a renewal period of two years.

Hopefully these four ideas have shown how you can use your own skills and resources to earn extra money over the hectic holiday period for very little effort. Always remember to explore appropriate insurance and liability limitations for any side hustle you undertake.

If you've started your own successful holiday side-hustle, help others by sharing your experience with us on Twitter @Grow_mag.

David Mercer is an experienced tech entrepreneur and published author with programming and web development books translated into over 13 languages worldwide. His books have been used as recommended readers at places like MIT. His software products are relied upon by businesses (big and small) in over 60 countries around the world.

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