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These 7 side hustles require little or no cost up front

These 7 side hustles require little or no cost up front
Posted at 7:30 AM, Jun 13, 2023

Do you want or need a little extra money to help pay off some bills early, improve your home or take that well-deserved vacation? Or maybe you don’t have the time to take another regular job? This is where a side gig comes in!

A side gig or side hustle is part-time work people do in addition to their primary job. Side hustle popularity skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to LendingTree, 44% of Americans were working a side hustle job to help supplement their income at the end of 2022, compared to only 13% of people in 2020.


What You Need To Consider Before Taking On A Side Hustle

Side gigs sound like a great way to earn some extra money every month, but there are a few financial considerations to make before you jump into the job pool.

As a side gig worker, you will likely be considered an independent contractor. Unlike typical hourly or salaried jobs, independent contractors do not have their taxes taken out each payday. That puts the burden of responsibility to calculate and pay your taxes solely on your shoulders.

And it doesn’t take much earnings for the IRS to get involved. Independent contractors who have net earnings of more than $400 must pay taxes. Plus, there are self-employment taxes that must be paid to contribute to Social Security and Medicare.

Most companies you work for as a contractor will send you an annual 1099-T form with your earnings to help you manage your taxes.

Visit the official IRS self-employment tax website to get all the details on how you’ll need to file and pay taxes.

Another important note: The salary ranges reported below are often based on full-time hours and only as a reference to potential earnings. As with any position, earnings depend on hours worked — and the negotiated salary, if you’re in a position to do that.

Now that we have the official business taken care of, let’s take a look at some of the best side gigs you can pick up with little to no upfront investment.

1. Restaurant Delivery Driver

If you have a car, then this job is an easy way to make some extra money. These days, there are a wide variety of options for what’s available to deliver. And since the COVID pandemic, the demand for these services has skyrocketed.

A NerdWallet/Fundera survey showed that 60% of Americans order takeout or delivery once a week and 31% of them use third-party food services such as DoorDash, GrubHub or UberEats at least twice a week.


So what can you earn working for one of these delivery services? According to, these are the average pay rates. Note that pay rates vary by the number of deliveries made, as well as in-app promotions offered by each service for its drivers.

2. Uber Or Lyft Driver

You can help people get from place to place by becoming either an Uber or Lyft driver. All rides are scheduled by customers in the companies’ apps and then the driver selects the trips they want to make.

With Uber, drivers make between $19 and $32 an hour, depending on their location and days/hours worked, according to company survey results shared by The Ride Share Guy.


Over at Lyft, the national average hourly rate is $21.79 an hour according to

An important consideration to make before signing up to be an Uber or Lyft driver is the expenses associated with the job. With gas prices still high, filling the tank to keep up the gigs can get expensive. You also need to think about other upkeep costs to be a rideshare driver. More frequent driving means increased oil changes, cleanings and general wear and tear on your vehicle.

3. Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) works remotely to help other people with a variety of tasks, including:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Typing/dictation
  • Customer service
  • Social media postings
  • Scheduling
  • Mailings
  • Shopping


The average salary for virtual assistants, according to, is $27.09 per hour. Schedules are often flexible based on your availability and the employer’s needs.

Many virtual assistants start finding jobs on websites such as Upwork, a freelance website where employers looking for VAs can post open positions or jobs needing completion. Jobs are even broken down into different categories so people can easily choose the work they enjoy.

4. Participate in Online Surveys

If you’re a pro at navigating the internet and want to monetize your time online, then you might want to try a side gig completing online surveys. Online surveys are an easy way to make a few extra dollars a week, which can be great for some extra spending money on the weekends.

All you need to do is go to one of the many online survey websites, register for free and then start choosing which questionnaires you want to fill out. Some sites, such as Swagbucks, have you collect points, which then convert to giftcards or cash. Others, such as InboxDollars, ask users to watch videos, play games or even shop at certain locations to earn cash.

Most of these surveys pay between $0.40 to $5 per survey. However, sometimes larger payouts from $10 to $50 are possible, based on’s research.


Make sure you use reputable sites when signing up to complete online surveys. lists these websites among the best options for online survey work: Swagbucks, InboxDollars, LifePoints, Survey Junkie, Opinion Outpost, i-Say and more.

5. Dog Walking or Pet Sitting

Love animals? Then a side gig as a pet sitter or dog walker may be your ideal way to make some extra money.

The number of people getting out of the house to either go back to the office or travel continues to climb following the COVID-19 pandemic. That means our furry friends at home need some extra TLC and someone to make sure their needs are met while their humans are gone.

Adobe reports that the average hourly salary for a dog walker or pet sitter is $17.79 an hour.

To find dog walking gigs, you can ask your friends and family to see if they could use some help with the pets. You could also post on social media that you’re starting your own dog-walking service and are taking clients. Or, you can use job websites such as Rover, Wag!, PetBacker and to promote your new business.

6. Tutor

Help students boost their self-esteem and their academic performance by becoming a tutor. If you have the ability to sit and work one-on-one with children, are patient and have a passion for a certain subject, becoming a tutor can be a profitable and fulfilling side job.

On average, tutors make about $25 an hour according to


Tutors can work in person with local students or virtually online. Connect with your local schools and friend groups, or hop online to let people in your neighborhood know you’re available for tutoring.

If you’re looking for online tutoring opportunities, check out websites such as, Preply or to get started.

7. Freelance Writing or Photography

Whether you love working with your camera or with words, there are many opportunities to make money with your creative work!

Freelance writing and photography are both growing businesses. More and more creative types are reaching out to companies to lend their services on a consultant or contractor basis. Sometimes the work can be one project. But, other freelancers often get regular assignments from publications or businesses looking to improve their online or print presence in the market.


Websites such as Upwork and LinkedIn are both great places to start looking for these types of freelancing jobs.

Salaries here range widely for freelancers because each job has its own rate depending on the assignment. Based on full-time status, reports freelance photographers and writers can earn anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000 per year.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money. Checkout Don't Waste Your Money for product reviews and other great ideas to save and make money.