I graduated from undergrad with an INSANE amount of debt, and spent the ensuing “grace period” (the six-month deadline to find a job before making payments) simply panicking.
How the heck was I going to pay $700 minimum PER MONTH, especially with a less-than-part-time job in freaking FRANCE?!?!
To keep up with these payments, I eventually realized I would need to make more money, or sell a kidney.
I went with the first option.
After having stumbled through a few scams, I found several legitimate side hustles that have allowed me to make money from home, often from the comfort of my pjs.
Note: Side hustles are jobs that are…well…on the side. With the right one, or two, or five, you can save up more money (and get out of debt faster, in my case).
Within the past year, side hustles alone have allowed me to pay at least double my minimum monthly payment.
So if you’re itching to make more money or struggling to make your loan payments, please please please take these side hustles and run with them (all the way to the bank).
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I ONLY promote products that I would actually recommend to friends. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive compensation if you purchase something through one of those links. Read more about my disclaimer here.
5 LEGIT WAYS TO MAKE MONEY FROM HOME
VIPKID is an online English learning company that connects English teachers with Chinese students.
You teach 25-minute, 1-on-1 classes to (usually) adorable and highly motivated children…and then you get paid for it (between $14 and $22 an hour)!
The curriculum is provided and no, you don’t need to know how to speak Chinese (that’s how amazing these students are).
I’ve been teaching with this company for just over a year, and have been constantly recommending it to anyone looking to make extra money. Until recently, I have used only my VIPKID income to pay off my loans (again, $10,000 in 6 months!)
To apply, you must have:
- eligibility to work in the United States or Canada (although you can be based from anywhere in the world)
- a Bachelor’s degree
- at least one year of teaching or related experience (think camp counseling, babysitting, TAing, etc.)
- a stable Internet connection, a camera and microphone on your laptop, and a headset with a microphone (I bought a cheap pair at WalMart and wrote it off on my taxes…so really, it’s not costing you in the long run)
When applying, feel free to sign up using my referral link. I would be more than willing to share my tips and tricks with you, as well as personally coach you throughout the application process.
And if you want a more in-depth explanation on the company, the position, the wages, etc. head over to The One Side Hustle I Use to Pay Off Student Loans and Travel the World.
Freelancing is a broad term that encompasses any job you’re completing on a contractual basis.
It covers anything from data entry to transcription, ghost writing to web development, photography to telemarketing…you get the gist.
Upwork is a middleman platform: Clients post job opportunities on a huge feed, and freelancers can apply to them directly on the site.
You can filter Upwork’s easy-to-navigate job feed to your heart’s content.
For example, you can choose the categories you’re interested in, the level of skill the employer is looking for, etc.
When you find a job that interests you, you can click on it to read the job description, the employer’s preferences, and how many other people have already applied.
After proposing a price and submitting a cover letter for any one job, the client can choose to decline your proposal, interview you, or, in the best-case scenario, offer you the job.
You can easily create a free account on Upwork, which provides you with a certain number of monthly “connects” (think of these as a type of currency, with each application costing you 2 connects).
Each freelancing job will obviously be different, so the pay will vary accordingly.
I concentrate mostly on writing, editing, and translation jobs, and have made a bit over $1,000 since the start of 2018.
Since Upwork is providing a “middleman” service for you, the company does take about 20% of your earnings from each completed job (this percentage will drop if you work with any one client longterm – they explain more in depth here).
I’ve found the fee to be bearable, simply because Upwork gives you access to so many freelancing jobs that otherwise would be difficult, if not impossible, to find on your own.
To be completely honest, I’m new to this one. So if I don’t have experience with blogging for money, then why in the world would I recommend it as a side hustle?
Because I’ve read so many incredible testimonies from successful bloggers who have turned blogging from a side hustle into a full-time job.
Check out Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, for example, who makes more than $100,000 a month with her blog Making Sense of Cents. In fact, testimonies like Michelle’s are what led me to create this blog in the first place.
I trust what these bloggers say, and I trust the process they preach.
So here’s what I’ve learned so far, along with tons of links to other, more seasoned bloggers who have successfully been making money off their blogs.
Warning: To make a profitable blog, you have to be willing to invest money (this will cost much more than a headset or a middleman fee).
The Spending Money Part
(To be clear, I’m not a mommy, but she has incredible resources for blogging newbies.)
Although it’s a mini-course, Carly’s advice is in-depth, honest, and easy to understand.
Some (very broad) takeaways I learned from this course are:
- How to find your niche.
- Coming up with a name.
- Purchasing a webhosting platform (as per Carly’s advice, I went with Siteground, and have yet to be disappointed).
- Installing WordPress.
- Purchasing a theme.
- Customizing said theme.
- Writing, and revising, and revising some more.
- How to actually make money off your blog.
Lots of words you don’t understand? I felt the same way starting out.
I seriously, seriously recommend that you head over to Carly’s mini-course and check it out for yourself, because Carly is more equipped (and more qualified) than me to help you create a blog for profit.
Along with Carly’s in-depth advice, she was also very candid about the fact that there was so much more to learn that, unfortunately, just wasn’t going to be free.
As such, I have also invested in a few educational resources:
- Nataly Llane’s ebook, Blogcabulary Plus ($34)
The majority of my issues as a beginner blogger came from the fact that I just didn’t understand so much of the blogging lingo. How was I supposed to install a plug-in if I didn’t know what a plug-in was?
This book is a godsend, because Nataly takes this foreign blog terminology (seriously, ever heard of a widget?) and explains it in a digestible way.
- Paul Scrivens’s “Billionaire Blog Club” ($397)
This is a community filled with helpful courses, materials, and people in general. There’s an easy-to-follow curriculum with tons of videos and challenges, all with the goal of helping you make money off your blogs.
My membership here is one of my heftier investments, so if you’re not ready to take the plunge on this one, you can also check out Paul’s free 12-day blogging bootcamp course.
I also have plans to buy more resources, specifically pertaining to generating more traffic to my site.
Okay, so that’s enough about spending money, what about making money?
The Making Money Part
With so much to learn about actually getting a blog up and running (not to mention writing enough content to actually have a blog), I have yet to make money off of it.
According to bloggers like Carly, Michelle, Nataly, Paul, Lena, and just about every other blogger out there, you can make money off blogs with:
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored posts
- Creating and selling your own product
I’m not going to explain these strategies, because I don’t think I can do them justice just yet (stay tuned for an update).
For now, head to Carly’s free mini-course or Paul’s free bootcamp or Lena’s free trial of her traffic guidebook. (Keyword here: FREE)
This seems like a lot of work, and it is. But after reading Michelle’s income reports (she made over $130,000 in the month of May ALONE), blogging for profit is too good of an opportunity to not share with you.
4. Online Surveys
Yes, it’s that easy. All you have to do is make a free account with Swagbucks, and start taking surveys.
(There are similar sites out there, but I’ve only ever used Swagbucks and can vouch for its non-scammy nature.)
Granted, you won’t be making hundreds of dollars off of a survey (I usually make a few dollars), but any bit helps.
I would probably call this a supplementary side hustle. Even if I focused all my efforts on taking online surveys, there’s no way I’d be able to generate as much income as I do with VIPKID, for example.
Still, it’s low-commitment, and can contribute to your savings.
Do you have a knack for languages? Play the guitar like a god(dess)? Understand computer code like no other? Then you should transfer these skills to other people, and get paid for it (aka tutoring).
While I was in France, I tutored students in English and used that money for weekly groceries.
Now, I’m tutoring my older brother in Spanish and am using that money to pay back more on loans.
(Disclaimer: I’m not a horrible sister; he offered to pay me in light of my loan situation…thanks Richie!)
I like tutoring as a side hustle because you have complete control over it. You set your pay, your hours, and of course the subject you’re tutoring in.
I’ve never had a problem finding tutees, mostly by word of mouth, but there are also websites like tutor.com that can connect you with potential tutees.
And if you’re going to tutor, make sure you research how much you should be charging. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself!
Aka, don’t do what I did.
When I was in France, I was charging only 10 euros per hour, because that’s what a trusted parent initially suggested.
Turns out, I could’ve been charging 30 euros per hour or more, considering I was the only native English speaker for miles around.
It’s not ripping people off, it’s knowing and demanding your worth.
Your rate should depend on some not-so-quantifiable factors (the demand of your subject, your experience, etc.), which means that sadly, there is no magic formula that can spew out your perfect rate (or at least there’s none I’ve heard of).
Still, you can do a quick Google search on “how much should I charge for such and such?” to get a ballpark idea.
BONUS: Uber driver
I’m not an Uber driver (I don’t own a car…and even if I did, I don’t know if I would trust my less than satisfactory driving skills to cart around strangers).
Still, I’ve heard from friends that it’s a pretty good side hustle.
Since I’m not well versed in Uber, here’s a Forbes article detailing 11 Things to Know Before Becoming an Uber or Lyft Driver.
So, if you have a few hours to kill (and/or a high tolerance for drunk young’ins), then this could be the job for you.
But seriously, you can use your car to make money and pay off those loans faster.
There you have it. You can use these completely legitimate side hustles to make money from home and get out of debt faster.
And of course, this list is by no means exclusive (I have friends who swear by dog-walking to pay the bills).
If you want to find even more side hustles, take a look at 48+ Side Hustles That Will Help You Make Extra Money. This article literally gives you more than 48 ideas (50, to be exact).
And if you enjoyed this post, you can share the wealth by sharing this pin: