CHARLOTTE, N.C. – American families are feeling the financial crunch more than ever.
In fact, one in four people has turned to a side gig to make a little extra income.
Niki Otis is in debt. She’s facing $78,000 in debt from student loans, car payments, and home repairs. So she, like many Americans, is spending her “off hours” teaching English to Chinese children through VIP KID.
“I have a great job, but to really move up the timeline to pay off the debt, we needed about $1000 a month,” Otis said. “You just have to fill a need that people are looking for.”
These days, side hustles range from everything from selling beauty products to mowing lawns or even walking dogs and selling things online.
“You just post it and say, ‘come take this from my house,’” said Michelle, who sells items on Facebook.
Rebecca Penaloza started the invitation-only Facebook group M2M. It’s become a popular side hustle for a lot of moms. And the best part, you don’t sell items you need or use regularly.
“Just stuff that’s sitting here,” said Sarah O’Conner. “It clears up space.”
The yoga instructor and mother of two said she makes $50 to $100 selling stuff that she doesn’t need. The lure of extra money is fueling side gigs of all kinds.
Services like Uber, Task Rabbit and Airbnb are among the most popular.
“We’ve only been doing it less than a year, so it’s not a tremendous amount of income, but it’s allowed us to pay for our vacations this year,” said Kellie Pittman.
Otis says knowing how much you need each month to meet your goals can help you choose a side hustle. Successful hustlers also say to make sure whatever you choose fits your lifestyle.
“My husband and I both love to travel and because of that, we decided to become hosts for Airbnb,” Pittman said.
Consider factors like kids, startup costs, and available hours. Some gigs require a lot of work, others not so much. Pittman said Airbnb is almost no work for her and her husband.
“It’s very easy,” she said. “Once you get the room set up, it’s just a matter of washing a few clothes, leaving a few snacks. It’s very easy, we enjoy it.”
But remember: It’s still work. After all, even with flexible hours and being your own boss, it’s still work.
According to Gobankingrates.com, more than half of American families have less than $1,000 in savings and the average household owes more than $16,000 on credit card debt.