I was at the local Devonport Craft Market last weekend admiring some of the truly beautiful crafts made by people looking for ways to make money on the side.
Later the same day I struck up a conversation with an Uber Eats driver who earns extra money delivering food to locals any time he has a spare hour or two. It's a side hustle with lots of demand.
Well-heeled readers may not need a side hustle. But if you're the person who thinks it's impossible to make ends meet in New Zealand, then it might be the answer – although it needs to be tied in with serious goals and a rock-solid budget.
They can be very lucrative. Samantha Pfahlert was working full time in human resources when she set up LuxDesignNZ.com. It helped her pay down $44,000 of debt and save a $20,000 emergency fund. Pfahlert is in a full-time contracting role now, still running LuxDesign and has a new side hustle @RedesignYourLife, which takes the barefoot investor approach to turning finances around.
Some side hustles include selling zero-waste supplies such as bento boxes and shampoo bars, multi-level marketing (which gives me the shivers), babysitting, tutoring, window cleaning, in-home beauty services, importing and selling goods from Alibaba.com, and simply hocking off your unwanted possessions.
My obsessive reading of side hustle posts often turns up virtual assistants. These people help businesses with everything from typing to marketing and book keeping. It's the sort of work you can do while little children are having their lunchtime sleep. I know how profitable that two hours was for working when my children were small.
Green-fingered side hustles
Quite a few of the Following the Barefoot Investor NZ Facebook group members are growing and selling seedlings, succulents and even cut flowers.
Down on the farm
Living in remote locations can make it hard to get out to a part-time job. My "side hustle" searches have turned up rural people doing way more than the usual craft at home. Relief milking (which was finished before the babies wake up in the morning) and artificial insemination were two. Another enterprising soul is breeding farm dogs. The dogs sell for $1500 to $2000 each, which is considerably more than the costs involved.
Airbnb/students in your own home
If you own your own home and have spare rooms, then renting them out can add up to a steady income. Or rent your home out when you're on holiday. I booked a home via Airbnb for a weekend away. The owner, who I didn't meet, has since turned up on one of the personal finance Facebook groups I follow. Her venture has helped reduced her mortgage by more than $10,000 over and above usual repayments. That's impressive.
You'll find a range of websites offering work from home such as Rev.com, which offers transcription and other services, and UserTesting.com, which pays you to test out online services. Do make sure it's worth your time. I fear my local Uber Eats driver doesn't really earn enough after his costs from his side hustle.
Having said that, even a few dollars here and there adds up over time if you are persistent. Just make sure the money is earmarked for a purpose, even if that is simply saving for an emergency fund. Otherwise it will be frittered away.
But remember, if you're doing your side hustle, even a hobby, with the intention of making money, it does need to be declared to the Inland Revenue Department and tax paid. You can, however, deduct all sorts of expenses such as the cost of a home office to reduce your tax bill.