Kevin Ha, a 32-year-old living in Minneapolis, might not be who you initially imagine when you picture someone banking serious hours in gig-economy jobs.
For one thing, he has a full-time job as a lawyer, and his wife works full time, too.
He has no student loans left. He paid them all off in 2012, partly thanks to the side gigs he was doing while working at a large law firm.
But even with his debt clear, he works up to 13 side gigs a month, including dog-walking and doing food delivery on his bike.
Now, he finds doing so many gigs “a little bit addictive,” he says. “I have a lot of fun.”
And it does add up: At his current rate, he’ll make about $24,000 in a year. Even if you make $20 to $25 an hour, working one hour a day, that still adds up to between $7,000 and $10,000 per year, he said.
“A lot of people could do a lot with” that amount of money, he said. “It’s kind of like a reverse ‘latte factor.’”
Here’s what he’s learned in the process.
Which hustles he does, and how much they pay
Ha lists out his hustles, and how much he makes doing them, on his blog, Financial Panther. (He works on the blog during nights and weekends, but he does not make a profit on it yet.)
Lately, he’s been making between $2,000 and $3,000 per month.
The most lucrative gig is Airbnb. Ha and his wife rent a room in their house, for an average of $47 per night.
In December, he made $568.42 by renting that room.
Although Airbnb can be lucrative, it’s one of the most time-intensive hustles to get started, Ha said. The company will complete a background check for potential Airbnb hosts, and you also have to spend some time setting up a profile, he said.
Another side hustle: Ha watches dogs, by working through the app Rover. “It’s like Airbnb for dogs,” he said.
Ha and his wife already have a dog, so it’s not too much extra effort to watch other dogs who can be on a similar schedule, he said. In December, they watched a French bulldog named Fancy and a toy poodle named Watson.
In December, he made $127.50 on Rover — lower than a typical month, because he and his wife traveled for part of the month for the holidays.
He made an additional $234.60 that month walking other dogs on Wag, an app that matches dog-walkers with dogs.
And if that weren’t enough, Ha also made deliveries on his bike, typically on his way to and from work. He delivers through Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Amazon’s AMZN, +0.29% Flex. Through those, he made $232.44 in December.
As for the rest, it’s a combination of income from Bird and Lime (scooter companies that pay individuals to bring scooters back to the headquarters’ warehouses); selling unique items on eBay EBAY, +0.54% (sometimes items he finds in the trash, or ones he “flips,” like buying electronics with special deals then reselling them); Job Spotter (an app run by the career company Indeed, that pays those who take and submit photos of “help wanted” signs); Market Force (a “secret shopper” app); and several other apps he’s trying out.
Why does he do so many side hustles?
Originally, Ha started doing side hustles to pay off his student loans.
But he didn’t see a reason to stop, he said.
“People sometimes say, ‘If you want to do something on the side, why not do something law-related?” he said. “But it doesn’t really work that way. I can’t go work at my job extra and make more money right then.”
Plus, by making bike deliveries and walking dogs, he gets some extra exercise, he said.
And he and his wife sometimes make it an activity for them to do together. She makes bike deliveries also, and they have fun making their deliveries together.
Also, making side gigs part of your already-existing routine helps, he said. By taking on Airbnb and Rover guests, he makes money by simply being at home, he said. And when he makes deliveries on routes he’d already be taking, it’s like making money for exercising.
Why don’t more people do side hustles?
Many people probably don’t realize how easy it is to get started on a lot of side hustles, Ha said.
It helps to live in a city, since many of the gigs he does are common to urban life, like dog-walking, he said.
But no matter what, many side hustles require very little — if any — initial investment, he said.
“You just sign up,” he said. “If you try it out, and it’s not for you, you just don’t do it anymore.”
And don’t let your pride get in the way, he said.
“A lot of people don’t think about them because it seems beneath them if they’re a young professional or something.”
What’s a little-known side hustle he recommends?
In cities with electric scooters, there are several side hustles you can do, Ha said.
Some companies will pay you to deliver the scooters back to certain areas. And some will even pay you to charge them, at a normal outlet at your house.
“I made over $1,000 once doing it, and my electric bill did not go up at all,” he said.
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