4 Seasonal Side Hustles to Keep Your Pockets Jingling
Everyone can use some extra money before and after the holiday season, so bring on the side hustle!
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The holiday season is such a busy time that you might not think of taking on a side hustling gig. It's the perfect time to do so because you are not the only one whose time is stretched to the limit. Everyone is going in ten directions at once; now's your chance to step in, lend a hand, and make some excellent side-hustle money. Maybe you'd like to earn for that weekend getaway during the cold winter months or pay off those smoking-hot credit cards after your busy shopping season. Let's look at some tremendous seasonal side hustles that also let you enjoy the fun of the holidays.
1. Take your e-business live at a show or festival
The holiday season is bustling with craft fairs and shopping festivals. Here's your chance to combine a side hustle with valuable business research. My company, Hollywood Sensation Jewelry, has been an online business from the start. This year, my ingenious husband Anthony Hood suggested we participate in the Sunset Market, a huge outdoor market in Oceanside.
Quite economically, we rented a booth, set up a tent and spent four hours selling Hollywood Sensation merchandise in public. I admit I had doubts about whether this would work for us, and I was even nervous about the public interaction. But, if you'll forgive the pun, the results were sensational! We sold more than enough to offset our expenses. More than that, however, we got live feedback from real customers with whom we could speak one-on-one.
If you have a product you've never taken out of the e-store, check your community calendar for upcoming festivals, conventions and fairs to get in on a new revenue stream and free market research. The cost of renting a booth will vary depending on the popularity and turnout of the event. I recommend starting small and scaling up if things go well. Be certain that you select an event that jibes with your brand. We might not want to take Hollywood Sensation Jewelry to a plumbing expo, but that sunset beach atmosphere was perfect for some glamor.
2. Take your skills to the masses
Do you have a knack for holiday décor? Fancy gift-wrapping? Event planning? Delectable baked goods? Well, not everybody does, and that's why they need your services, especially at this time of year. Maybe you have a holiday cake or cookie recipe that gets rave reviews everywhere you go. Let folks at the office potluck and the church social know you're available to bake one for them, too.
Utilize social media to get your name out there as someone who can put up a beautiful Christmas tree (indoors or outdoors) and otherwise deck the halls. And don't forget – while many people love to decorate for Christmas, almost no one loves taking it all back down again. Are you willing to do the untangling, repackaging and boxing of all that holly and mistletoe? Maybe you have a pickup truck and can haul away trees for responsible disposal.
Sites like TaskRabbit.com let you create an account as a helping hand for a limitless variety of tasks and get customer reviews to build your reputation and bring in even more business. For example, TaskRabbit offers the following average costs for these services: "Party Clean Up" for $49-$80, "Toy Assembly" for $40-$99 and "Christmas Decorating" for $48-$86. You can even get paid to stand in line for someone else. I am not kidding!
3. Reap the perks of a seasonal job
Stores and delivery businesses always seek reliable help for the season. Showing yourself as an excellent seasonal employee means you can almost certainly be welcomed back the following year. And don't forget – many stores offer their regular employee discounts to seasonal workers. If you've got your eye on an expensive purchase, you might get another 10% or more off the cost. My friend worked for five weeks at a home furnishings store and saved his family a bundle on new flooring and a refrigerator.
Here's another option: party companies are slammed this time of year, and they need people to prep, decorate, serve, check in guests, take coats, valet cars, conduct table games and clean up afterward. I have a friend who deals blackjack at holiday parties and enjoys it. She attends several fancy parties each year, hears the bands, meets fun people who are all having a great time and gets paid for doing it.
Seasonal job salaries depend on your location, but here are some examples. On average, delivery companies pay about $16.00 per hour, warehouses about $13.80, and store gift wrappers earn around $12.00 an hour. When applying at retail stores with an eye on purchases, ask if their employee discount extends to seasonal help.
4. Be a sitter
What do the holidays bring besides good cheer? Travelers! People have places to go and things to do, whether for an evening party, a busy shopping day away from the children or two weeks out of town. Ease their travel stress by being the person who holds down the fort. Reliable and friendly childcare, eldercare, housesitting and pet care take a load off everyone's mind.
It's a relief to know someone is there to keep an eye on the house or check in on older relations to ensure all is safe. Once more, multiple gig websites let you register as a sitter (check out Rover.com or Care.com, for example). Or, get established in one neighborhood as a terrific house — or pet-sitter, and you'll get more offers. Word gets around on the homeowners' websites fast, and having multiple gigs in the same neighborhood adds to your convenience.
Enjoy your holidays
A holiday side hustle is more than just a way to supplement your income. Getting out into the holiday atmosphere is a great way to enjoy the season's spirit, ease the stress for others and help create wonderful memories. Of course, giving is better than receiving, but if you can do both simultaneously with a holiday side hustle, that's quite a reason to celebrate.