By Meadow Clark
It’s the holiday season and a great time to put a little extra jingle in the piggy bank.
Here are some side gig jobs that are (mostly) specific to the holiday season and are not typically found in other lists about side jobs.
For instance, if you’re tired of seeing suggestions to rent out a room in your house to strangers, then don’t worry, you won’t find that here. I’ve also excluded jobs that require intense training, drop shipping, or affiliate jobs that require a lot of set up. I excluded dog walking because it shows up on a lot of lists but it is an option if you live near pet owners. Starting a blog is great, but not a good way to get cash right this moment.
The list below serves as a way to potentially start a business, make some quick gift money or catch up on bills in the new year.
But First – Avoid Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
Don’t get me started on the pitfalls of multi-level marketing, aka direct sales, aka network marketing, aka pyramid schemes. This season, you will be seeing lots of promos from your Facebook friends that come from various pyramid companies – essential oils, secret whitening toothpaste, makeup, candles, scented wax, special water, etc…
Times are hard, but it would actually be better to get a minimum wage side job than to give your soul to MLM. No offense, but there’s a reason that most Facebook job-posting groups banish all plugs for MLM products.
Here is my ANTI-sales pitch for MLM:
- How would you like to make a few people rich off your free labor?
- How would you like to work for less than $1 per hour and for 16 hours a day, every day?
- Have fun alienating your friends and family by upselling them through guilt and offering little in return?
- Work from the ruined comfort of your home?
- Turn potential customers into mortal enemies by pretending to be their friend at church?
- Tank your marriage by secretly racking up credit card debt to meet your monthly minimum quota?
- Be left with tons of product that cost you three months’ rent?
I know there are some who succeed, but I’ve seen a lot of people get burned on MLM, myself included.
If you think about buying an appliance or sweater in terms of how many hours of work it will take to get the product, then imagine how many hours of MLM work it will take earning only 15-30% commission at best and working for ZERO dollars hourly. It doesn’t make cents at all. (See what I did there?)
As you read the list of holiday side gigs below, bear in mind the VPH (value per hour) and your MVA (most valuable activities). Be sure to factor in supply costs including any possible shipping and packaging costs.
Most importantly, have fun and do what you love!
#1 Rustic Painted Wood Signs
I cannot stress enough how big these are right now. If you enjoy painting, stenciling, or refurbishing found pieces, you might enjoy making some of these stylish signs. Here is an example of them on Etsy. They are wooden boards where you paint a word or phrase and they are hung up in homes or shops. They can be sold through Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, local markets/shops, or even through a Facebook group. Be sure to calculate your shipping charges accurately so that you aren’t spending your profit mailing these out.
#2 Scan Memories by becoming a Photo Digitizer
A lot of people have storage boxes full of photos just waiting to be scanned by the right person. Many people don’t have the time or equipment but they’d like to make photo books and need their photos digitized. Scanning them prevents loss from fire or water damage. You will need a good scanner, storage drives, gloves, a computer, and your own storage bins or organization. Pos ads on Craigslist (be safe!) and in job posting groups.
#3 Gift Baskets
Lots of people need those last minute gifts! Believe it or not, you can make nice gift baskets from items at the Dollar Tree. But you can also use overstock items and/or chocolates, candies and other specialties. Check out stores like Big Lots, too. Use shrinkwrap and bows for that finishing touch. Think about different themes like “movie night” or relaxation. Sell at markets, Craigslist, Facebook, and more.
#4 Résumé Writing
If you can craft a winning résumé that hiring managers are looking for than you can start making money right now. You can make around $30 and up per completed, emailed résumé, and decide if you want to include a free cover letter or charge an additional fee. Set yourself apart by showcasing why your résumé will get a foot in the door – maybe you can offer to send it into the hiring manager. Pay attention to costs such as résumé paper, ink, and envelopes if you are printing them. Ease the customer’s mind by not collecting a fee until they approve and send an image of the résumé with a watermark. When they approve and pay, send the résumé.
#5 Snow Removal
Download Your Free Copy of Counter Markets
This requires an attachment on a truck. But once you have it, people will be flagging you down after a snowfall. This job will probably take place in the early and late hours. Consider other wintry outdoor needs. You can always shovel snow by hand, too.
#6 Sprouts and Microgreens
These are SO expensive in grocery stores that it’s worth a shot growing countertop sprouts and selling them.
#7 Edit Photos/Images
You don’t need to be a Photoshop expert. Just go to Picmonkey.com and try the different functions.
#8 Health/Fitness Motivator, Meal Planner
If you have a history of being a health and fitness buff and you’ve got an organized meal plan, you can duplicate this for others. Honestly, you can avoid most certifications out there. Either you can demonstrate healthy living or not. Most certifications are just non-accredited mills. Look for actual fitness accreditation if you are doing personal training, though. Avoid giving any advice that could be construed as medical advice or a diagnosis and stick to personal motivation. It would be prudent to get insurance for coaching because there is some liability here.
#9 Team Color Scarves – No Sew
Buy yards of fleece in various football game colors. Cut. Tie. Here are the Instructions.
Alternative method. Cut two pieces. Use ironing hem in the middle and leave the pieces open. Then fringe the bottoms and tie (optional). You can actually use a hair flat iron to crimp the middle of the scarf for the no-sew hem if you have iron-hem. Here are the Instructions.
This doesn’t take very long and some of it can be done while watching Netflix.
#10 Aerobics Class Leader
I highly encourage anyone who has an affinity for exercise or dance to take steps to become an instructor. Benefits: On-demand side gig money, keeps you fit but you get paid and, oh yeah, you don’t have to pay for exercise! This can be a lifelong side job. Talk to a local fitness group about what they need and their recommended certification. Like yoga? Why not get certified while you practice?
Once you see what a straightforward (and even therapeutic) job that cleaning is, you may even scale up to a full-time business. Decide what you want to clean and how detailed you want to be. Charging by room seems to work well. Regular vacuum cleaners work just fine. Make sure you don’t price yourself out of business since you will also be driving and buying supplies. It’s wise to get insured especially if you plan on doing this more than once. You will be competing against commercial cleaners who have a reputation and holiday promos so see if you can set yourself apart with something different – perhaps using natural cleaning products, or using essential oils for a “spa” like experience.
The holidays get people to think about their storage space for a few reasons. 1) When they pull out decorations and see all the junk they have accumulated. 2) Memories and sentiment cause people to “go within” their house the same way they may be reflecting on things within themselves. 3) Time to donate stuff! and 4) New Years makes people think about remaking their lives. This is the ultimate time to capitalize on your organization skills whether it be home storage or time management.
#13 Make Wreaths
Make different kinds of wreaths by watching YouTube tutorials. Here is an easy Dollar Tree DIY wreath. You can often make wreaths from found objects or thrift store items, too.
#14 Chop Wood
Many people are switching to fireplaces and woodstoves when possible and could use some logs! Remove fallen trees for people and use the wood. Chop away and get ripped like George Foreman did. Chopping wood was his favorite exercise. Safety first: do not neglect to wear goggles!
Vacations and travel sometimes bring unexpected arrangements for beloved pets. If you have references and can show that you are an upstanding animal caretaker, then this job can be a fun side gig.
What about you?
What was your favorite job on the list? Have you tried any of them or were they mostly new to you? Did I leave some good, non-typical seasonal side gigs out? Sound off and let me know in the comments below!
You can read more from Meadow Clark at The Organic Prepper.