The holiday season isn't just great for gift-giving — it's also a great time to earn more money with a seasonal side hustle.
Retailers are in a hiring frenzy ahead of the holidays, but if your schedule doesn't allow for long shifts during standard business hours, you still have options.
"If you don't have that kind of time, or your schedule is such that it's harder to commit yourself in advance, think about something in the gig economy that increases during the holidays," like stocking shelves, pet-sitting, or craft-making, says Kathy Kristof, cofounder and editor at SideHusl.com, an independent side hustle review site.
If possible, merge your passion with an in-demand job during the holiday season to get the most bang for your buck. "For most seasonal work, you should think about it not necessarily as a side hustle you'll be investing in long term. Rather, think about it like, 'How can I make the most money for my time this holiday season?'" says Grant Sabatier, creator of Millennial Money, an online personal finance community.
Here are five side hustles that are in high demand over the holidays.
Traveling spikes during the holiday season and many pet owners may be in need of a sitter. You can earn anywhere from $15 to $25 an hour walking dogs, according to professional dog walker Ryan Stewart, and $35 and up for boarding dogs overnight, according to Rover.
You can set your own dog-walking and overnight boarding rates on applications like Rover and Wag.
Video by David Fang
Because shopping increases around the holidays, products fly off the shelves and need to be replaced faster than usual. If you don't have time to pick up a full-time retail shift, consider stocking shelves, says Kristof.
With a little talent and dedication, you can create holiday decorations, gifts, or stocking stuffers, and sell them on sites like Etsy, Society6, or Redbubble. Selling original designs has big potential if you can earn royalties off of a single design.
Kristof says that royalty rates may be as low as a few bucks per item, "but if you get 10 people to buy your T-shirt, for which you get a $2 royalty, you've got $20 — and there is no additional work on your side."
As we inch closer to the holidays, seasonal markets pop up. Temporary holiday fairs, markets, and bazaars offer great opportunities for vendors or Christmas tree sellers, says Sabatier, who suggests looking at local listings for job openings. For example, Indeed lists several sales positions starting at $15 an hour to work at a pop-up toy store at the Bryant Park Holiday Market in New York City.
You can advertise gift-wrapping services in your neighborhood by posting flyers on telephone polls, Kristof says, or online using a job finder app like Task Rabbit. You can set your own fees for your service, but be mindful that Task Rabbit takes a 30% cut of your earnings. So if you charge $5 per gift, Task Rabbit could take $1.50.
You can also stop by local boutiques and shops in your area and inquire if they need gift-wrapping help.
Kristof's No. 1 piece of advice on choosing a seasonal side hustle is to choose the right one for you: "If you find something that suits you, you'll be great at it and probably wildly successful."
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