No matter how much planning goes into the holidays, they always seem to leave people a little strapped for cash. The good news is that we’re living in a “gig economy.” This means companies are offering people more and more ways to make money on the side using their own talents, skills and passions. While some of these jobs, like driving for Uber or Lyft or delivering food for Postmates, provide some people with the equivalent of a full- or part-time income, they aren’t the only ways to make a buck.
Check out these opportunities that not only help people make extra money during the holidays and year-round, but just might be able to help you double up on a paycheck.
Have a marketable skill that people will pay for? Then Fiverr could be a good option. It works similarly to other freelance apps, which are great for graphic designers, photographers, writers, web developers, app creators and many others. The difference with Fiverr is not only its global network, but also the easy of use. Freelancers fill out a schedule of when they’re available, they receive ratings from previous jobs and then get hired.
The most difficult barrier to entry? Getting the ratings. Making good money on Fiverr might require doing some cheaper work initially to get good ratings. This is understandably frustrating, but employers want to make sure they’re working with the right person. Still, with a few ratings in the can, freelancers are on their way to making good part-time cash, especially during the holidays when people need the best creative minds to stand out.
There are lots of companies out there who pay people to review client websites, but UserTesting consistently rises to the top of that list. Tests take anywhere between five minutes to several hours, but the pay is pretty fair for the work required.
Testers simply sign up, install the screen recording software, and do a test recording. This only takes around five minutes and ensures that the recording equipment is sufficient and the tester understands what’s expected. Once accepted, tests will become available, and a “ding” sound will alert testers when new opportunities are available. As for the pay, a five-minute test might pay around $3 while a 20 minute test will be closer to $10. Occasionally, there are also longer tests that pay more. There’s no earnings threshold to receive payment, and the profits are released around five business days after the test has been approved, which is just enough time to buy those last-minute gifts.
Another perk? Some tests are only for mobile, which means testers can make some spare change while waiting in the car for a friend or in line at a coffee shop.
Visit UserTesting’s website, to install the PC, Mac and mobile software.
Businesses have a lot on their plates, and when it comes to customer service and distribution, they want to make sure everything is up to par. This means coming up with occasional “drop ins” at stores. That’s where GigWalk comes in. It’s kind of like a mystery shopper, but for all kinds of tasks.
To get started with GigWalk, you simply download the app, enable the location finder, and then apply to gigs nearby. Gigs range in all types and prices. One might pay $5 to go to a local restaurant and take a photo of the lunch menu, while another may pay $10 for someone to take a picture of an electronics display.
The biggest drawback for GigWalk is that opportunities are offered irregularly, so it’s not really a paycheck that people can count on. However, if someone wants to make some money while running around doing the holiday shopping, then you might just make enough in gigs around the mall to pay for your gas or smaller presents.
It’s no secret that making money from stock photography is tough, but there’s also the mindset that if someone is taking pictures anyway, why not try to make a few extra bucks? That’s where Foap comes in. While there are other more well-known sites like iStock and Getty, they are tough to get accepted to and only recently developed an app for uploading cell phone photos.
Meanwhile, Foap has been serving its mobile and PC users for years, supplying images to clients like Nivea, Bank of America, Absolut Vodka and even small potato bloggers. Bonus: If photos are good enough for Getty, then Foap will distribute them there too, maximizing earning potential. Photographers get 50 percent of the commission from their sales.
Don’t expect to get rich from selling stock photos on Foap, but if you’re taking pictures of snow-capped mountains at Grandma’s house, why not upload them and see what happens?
Knitting a scarf for your sister’s Christmas present? Try to film yourself doing it, walk through the process and make some money. That’s basically the idea behind Skillshare. People who are skilled in anything from webpage design to watercolor paintings can create a class to share skills with people. Of course, light equipment is needed, but Skillshare has ample tools to help teachers make high quality content, which is important since teachers are paid per minute of class time watched.
For many people who have a few classes on the site (which can range in length from minutes to hours depend on how much there is to share), Skillshare can be a good passive source of income. The site even claims that some of their top performing teachers make $40,000 a year simply from people watching classes.
Since it’s the holidays, think of something shareable that falls into this theme; learning different ways to cook a turkey, how to set a table and many other skills are waiting to be shared with a future audience. The best part? If these classes are annually relevant, then the extra holiday money will start coming in from students next year when it’s time to get that butterball in the oven again.
Visit Skillshare’s website to become a teacher.
Everyone is busy around the holidays, and sometimes there actually is no time for tasks like picking up the dry cleaning, grabbing the groceries, or waiting in line for the hottest new toy, and that’s where TaskRabbit comes in.
Not to be confused with a platform like GigWalk, TaskRabbit gives people the ability to market a wider range of services. After signing up, “Taskers” will add what their skills are, their hourly rate and sign off on a background check. These skills can be anything from hanging Christmas lights to cleaning a house to simply waiting in line.
Simply add your skills, rates and either find nearby tasks or let them find you. The one drawback? There’s a $20 fee to start. But depending on what each Tasker’s rate is, that might be recouped in a single hour.
7. Amazon Flex
Like driving but not necessarily driving other people? Give Amazon Flex a try. In their quest for consumer world domination, Amazon aims to bring Prime customers theirs purchases faster, especially during the holidays. So, they created Amazon Flex.
This program is only in two dozen markets around the world, so it might not be for everyone. However, for those who are willing to make deliveries in their free time, they can earn between $18-25/hr, according to Amazon's website. This will depend on the types of deliveries, but given that the national minimum wage is $7.25, making two to three times that amount on the side doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
Sign up, and keep an eye out for the delivery requests.
Visit Amazon Flex’s website to download the app and get started.
Dog lovers, hold onto your leash for this one. People are busier than usual this time of year, but that doesn’t mean their dogs don’t need to be walked. That’s where Wag comes in. The number one dog walking app allows dog walkers to get their puppy fix while also making around $20/hr.
The company vets walkers so dog owners feel confident their pooch is getting the best walk possible. A live GPS tracker will show where the dog was walked and allows for tips for walkers. One of the best perks? As soon as a walker is accepted, they can get to strolling in as little as 15 minutes. Wag has other features that make the experience no-stress for both owners and walkers, like a Wag Lockbox if the owner is out for the day, and realtime messages.
Natalie has her BA from University of California, Riverside and has worked in digital media for over a decade. She has been a Bleacher Report featured columnist for Bleacher Report and created content for some of the leading companies in the financial space.