7 Best Ways to Make Money in the Gig Economy
Uber, Amazon, Door Dash, Airbnb, Fiverr – most of us have used at least one of them at this point. Whether it’s getting from point A to point B, having your favorite meal delivered, or finding someone to watch your precious pup while you’re at work, there’s a service out there that uses everyday people to help make our lives easier. They call it the “gig economy,” and these so-called gig jobs and side hustles are a great place for just about anyone to make a quick buck.
Whether you’re looking to bridge the gap in unemployment so that you can pay bills between jobs, make a little extra money on the side, or turn your everyday skills into a full-blown career, the gig economy is a great place to look.
The first thing someone might suggest is to drive for Uber, but there are a lot more options than just driving strangers around in your car. No matter where you live, what you’re good at, or when you’re available, there’s a service out there for you. And many take just a few minutes to get started.
With so many crowdsourcing gig jobs out there, your options can be a little overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve broken down a few of the easiest ways to take advantage of the gig economy’s moneymaking opportunities.
Keep reading to find a brief breakdown of the different types of gigs, with more detailed descriptions of each company further down at the bottom of the page.
1. Become a driver with Uber or Lyft
This is probably the most obvious choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. And that’s because Uber is probably the most popular side hustle on this list. Nearly 7 billion (yes, billion with a B) trips were made on Uber alone last year.
There are currently around 7 million drivers between the two ridesharing giants and various sources report that drivers typically make around $13 an hour and between $300 and $400 a month, on average.
The best part about becoming an Uber or Lyft driver is the flexibility and ease of access. All you need to get started is a valid driver’s license, one year of driving experience, a reliable car, and the ability to pass a background check.
And once you start driving, you can control when and where you drive and how quickly you get paid. And with Uber, you can even limit your interaction with other people by choosing to go with Uber Eats or Uber Freight (introverts rejoice!).
Just remember, not all insurance policies will cover you if you decide to drive for Uber, Lyft or any of the other popular ridesharing and delivery services, so make sure to check in with your insurance company before you start driving.
2. Make deliveries for Amazon, Instacart, Door Dash, or Postmates
Much like Uber and Lyft, there are a number of different companies looking for drivers to deliver food, packages and other items with their personal vehicles. And the great part is, you can usually drive for multiple at once.
When it comes to more traditional food delivery, you can drive for Door Dash, Uber Eats, Grubhub and many others. Want to get paid to shop while you do it? Check out Instacart. Want to be a more generic delivery person? You can’t really go wrong with Amazon Flex or Postmates.
The pay isn’t quite as good as Uber or Lyft, though. According to Earnest, you’re looking at somewhere in between $150 and $300 a month, and Glassdoor says the typical hourly wage for Postmates is around $11 plus tips.
3. Participate in online studies and surveys with Amazon Mechanical Turk or UserTesting
While all of the previous companies we’ve mentioned so far have become household names, the next two are a little less popular. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t great options for a side hustle in today’s gig economy.
Mechanical Turk (often referred to as MTurk) is a crowdsourcing site owned and operated by Amazon that helps businesses hire what they call “crowdworkers” or “Turkers” to do “human intelligence tasks” or HITs – jobs that machines aren’t equipped for. These can be anything from photo identification and missing person searches to transcription, research, data input and other odd jobs.
One way to get involved with MTurk is to take part in any of its wide array of human-subject research. Here, businesses can recruit people to participate in social science experiments that are often part of published research in academic journals and other publications. These often come in the form of surveys.
While it’s a great way to work from the comfort of your own home with very little stress, don’t expect to break the bank. Much of the work is mindless and easy, but many workers don’t even make minimum wage.
If you’re looking for a little bit more money in your pocket, you could try providing input to companies testing new websites, apps and other tech features through sites like UserTesting. Users on Quora and Reddit say they can make around $300 a month through the platform, which isn’t bad considering you can do it from your couch.
4. Rent out your property (or part of it) on Airbnb, Neighbor Turo
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck side hustle, there’s no better choice than Airbnb. According to the Earnest study we referenced earlier, the popular home rental app provides by far the highest income of any app on this list, showing just short of a $1,000 average income per month.
And if you don’t like inviting strangers to stay in your home, you can rent out a bit of your unused space on Neighbor. Here, you can rent out your empty garage (or other spaces like your driveway, parking space, basement, shed, etc.) to a neighbor who needs a bit extra storage. They even advertise making as much as $600 a month. Not bad.
However, not all of us have a home to list on Airbnb or Neighbor, so these gigs are unfortunately reserved for a select few.
However, many of us have a car, and with Turo, you can rent out your car to other people for the day and make a little side income. It’s like Airbnb, but for your car, truck, or SUV. It’s an even better option if you have a cool or desirable ride that someone may want to spend a little extra money for.
5. Put your creativity to use and become a freelancer with Fiverr or Upwork
If you call yourself a “creative,” there are quite a few ways to make a little side income from the comfort of your own home. Writers, designers, coders, editors, artists and all sorts of other creatives can easily find a gig on Upwork or Fiverr. Both of these popular sites allow businesses to hire freelancers for both one-off and long-term jobs, so it’s a great way to make some extra money if you’re looking to cover your bills between jobs or save up for your next big purchase.
You won’t make a killing with either of these apps (Earnest estimates around $100 a month for most people on Fiverr), but if you can work quickly, you should be able to take on multiple jobs at a time and make a little extra dough.
6. Pick up odd jobs with TaskRabbit or Hello Alfred
Would you rather pick up odd jobs here and there and work with your hands instead of driving people around or renting out your property? Craigslist used to be a great place to find people looking for movers, cleaners, landscapers or other odd jobs, but these days it’s even easier.
TaskRabbit and Hello Alfred are two great options if you’re looking to work with your hands and make a little money while you’re at it. According to TaskRabbit, you can easily make $30 per hour doing a wide variety of odd jobs, whether that’s moving, going grocery shopping, assembling furniture, or many other gigs.
It’s a great side hustle for those who may not have a particular set of developed skills and would rather spend their time on a bunch of different tasks around town.
7. Transcribe or translate documents on Gengo or Rev
Even if you don’t consider yourself a linguist, using your language skills can be the perfect way to make some money from the comfort of your couch. There are tons of companies out there looking for cheap ways to get speeches, phone calls and similar audio files transcribed. You have to listen closely, but transcribing doesn’t take nearly as much physical effort as many choices on this list.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, check out Rev.
And if you enjoy the pleasure of speaking multiple languages, you can take that a step further by translating content for companies through services like Gengo.
With both services, you can work when and where you want and choose from hundreds of different jobs. Rev says you can make up to $1.10 a minute either transcribing or captioning videos and Gengo advertises a monthly income of around $400, depending on which language you can speak and what needs to be translated. Not bad.
But how do I sign up for a gig?
Do any of the companies on this list sound interesting to you? Check out the list below with links to get started on each one.
In just a few minutes, you could be well on your way to your next side hustle.
Well, what are you waiting for?
Get started with:
- Uber Eats
- Amazon Flex
- Hello Alfred