Earning

3 cost-effective side hustles you can do from home

Twenty/20

Earning extra income doesn't have to be inconvenient. If you need flexible hours and prefer the comfort and independence of working in your own space, then consider picking up a side hustle from home.

Also, "working at home tasks do tend to be safer," says Alexandrea Ravenelle, author of "Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy," since you don't have to enter or share someone else's space.

Here are three cost-effective side hustles you can do from home.

Tutoring

Tutoring rates vary, depending on the demand for a subject and the supply of qualified tutors, says Kathy Kristof, founder and editor of SideHusl.com. Tutors with expertise in high-demand subjects like calculus can earn as much as $140 an hour, according to SideHusl.com. Those with degrees in education may earn even more.

Brett Stevens, a 36-year-old tutor based on Philadelphia, tutors English to Chinese students based in China between 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. and earns $25 per hour, using the tutoring services Gogokid and VIPkid. Both sites create lesson plans for Stevens by providing PowerPoint presentations. That helps reduce her prep time.

She says she pulls in up to $5,000 a month, depending on how many classes she takes on.

Working at home tasks do tend to be safer in terms of not walking into someone's private home.
Alexandrea Ravenelle
Author of 'Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy'

Serving as a virtual assistant

If you're great at organizing or have technical skills, you can earn $20-$25 per hour as a virtual assistant, according to Kristof. Responsibilities range from managing emails and social media accounts to booking travel. If you have other specialized skills, you can charge more, says Kristof.

If you go through a client match website, you may be hit with a 10%-20% service fee. Kayla Sloan, 28, who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, started her VA business by face-to-face networking. When she first started, Sloan charged $15 an hour working three hours per day from home.

Freelance writing

As a freelance writer, you can often choose your own hours and which stories you write, which gives you creative freedom and flexibility, says Laura Gariepy, a 34-year-old freelance writer from Florida. To get her business off the ground, Laura Gariepy bought a domain and cold-pitched editors until she built up a portfolio.

She says you can earn as much as $500 per post from big name clients, and she makes anywhere from $3,000-$5,000 per month, working anywhere from 25 to 50 hours.

To find clients, at least at the outset, you can also sign up with sites like Fiverr, which offer a range of freelance work but take a 20% cut of your pay, or sites like Indeed that help you market your skills, often for a fee.

Bonus: Selling products on Etsy or Creative Market

If you have a creative streak, consider selling original creations like jewelry or screen-printed posters in online marketplaces like Etsy or Creative Market. To get the most bang for your buck, Kristof suggests creating art pieces that consumers can digitally download. That means you'd upload a design once that consumers can pay to download themselves or affix to an item of their choice, like a pillowcase or coffee mug.

With each purchase, you'll receive a royalty, for example $2 per download, says Kristof, while avoiding shipping or made-to-order costs.

"I love the print-on-demand sites partly because they give you that option of creating the art, and having someone else do the hard work of transferring that art to a product that is well made, and then mailing that product out to buyers—which is a lot of work," Kristof says.

Keep in mind that when opening an online shop, you'll need to pay to keep it up: Most platforms charge subscription and startup fees, plus charge a 10%-30% fee for listing or selling items, she says.

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