Looking for a way to make extra money on the side, but not really sure where to start? There are a myriad of jobs to choose from where you can make your own hours, use any special talents you may have or tools at your disposal and earn with ease. For example, love animals? Let pet owners know you’re available to walk dogs and feed cats at Rover. Handy with home or yard tools? Let homeowners know you can assemble a bookshelf or create a garden at TaskRabbit. Have expert skills? Let companies know you’re available to edit a manuscript or translate an interview at Upwork. You’ll end up doing a little bit of everything so you’re never bored. From transporting dogs to driving carpool and doing chores for others, these women have found unique ways to do odd jobs for cash. Learn their secrets so you can too!
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Odd jobs for cash: 8 women tell their stories
1. “I make up to $3,000 a month transporting pets!”
“I had been out of work due to health problems, and as I was getting ready to go back, my father was ready to retire as a truck driver," says Lisa Juszkiewicz, 51. "I was doing research to help him find ways he could make extra money, and I discovered CitizenShipper, a company that hires people to deliver items and transport pets. It looked like a great opportunity, so I applied too."
“I filled out an online profile, and they ran a background check. Since I have a cargo van, I paid for cargo insurance, but you can use any vehicle. I also took a course and became a certified animal rescue transporter through the Animal Rescue Professionals Association and started a website so clients can book me directly as well.
“When someone books my services, I contact them to work out the details. I get paid per mile. The pay varies, but I’ve made up to $3,000 a month after gas, tolls and oil changes. I’ve delivered all kinds of things, from pinball machines to animals (including dogs, cats, turtles, guinea pigs and goats) and horse trailers. I always ask the client to supply their vet paperwork, food, a crate and toys, and I spend a few minutes with the pet so they feel comfortable."
“I love that I make my own schedule, and on some trips, I get to visit family and friends. I’ve traveled over 66,000 miles to places like Florida and Arizona! The money I make pays the bills, for concerts, trips and gifts for my six grandchildren!”
2. “I bring in $600 a week driving kids around!”
“I’m a teacher, but when I took a sabbatical, I was in search of a way to supplement my income. I thought about doing a ride-share service but was concerned about my safety," says Rowena Tong, 54. "So whenI heard about Kango, a ride and carpool service for kids, I knew it would be an easy—and safe—way to make money."
“Once I applied, I had an in-person interview, then Kango ran background, fingerprint, criminal background and reference checks. I gave them a copy of my car insurance and proof that my car was under 10 years old and that I had experience working with kids within the last two years. They gave me booster seats and taught me how to use the app."
“When I do a job, parents can track me, but I always let them know when I’m on my way, when I’ve arrived and when I’ve dropped off their children. I drive kids to school, after-school programs and home. When I pick up them up from school I have to show my ID, and when I pick up them up from other programs or if their parents aren’t there, they have to give me their code word. Older kids who have their own phones check the app so they know my car and license plate and can confirm the pickup. The older kids are usually quiet, but the younger ones like to talk to me about what they did in school."
“I love this work because it’s flexible, I get to help out parents and it’s a safe, fun way to make extra money. I earn $600 a week (I work 5 hours a day, 5 days a week)—money that pays the bills and will be used for vacation when I return to teaching!”
3. Odd jobs for cash: “I earn $45,000 a year being a task rabbit!”
“I worked in the media industry for 15 years, but two years ago, when my company was bought and they closed my office, I needed to find work," says Seri Westerbeck, 49. "I saw an ad on the subway for TaskRabbit, a company that hires people to do odd jobs, and I decided to sign up."
“Getting started couldn’t have been easier. When I applied, TaskRabbit ran a background check and asked me to describe what types of tasks I would choose to do and why. When I was a child, I helped my mom in our garden, and I enjoy trimming trees and planting flowers, so I decided to offer these types of services along with others like cleaning, organizing and catering. I attended training where I learned how to use the TaskRabbit app, take a professional headshot and land gigs. After my first week, I received a ton of positive feedback and loved the work and flexibility so much that it eventually became my full-time job.
“Now I work six days a week and do two tasks a day. I get hired by people to stand in line for tickets, help prepare food for their kids’ birthday parties and organize their homes. I also do work in their yard — everything from planting flowers to watering plants. One client hired me to clean up a yard that hadn’t been tended to in years. I loved making it beautiful!
“It’s refreshing to learn new tasks and meet new people; every day is different. I make $45,000 a year, which pays the bills and for tickets to events, Broadway shows and the opera.”
4. “I earn $5,000 a month ‘secret’ shopping!”
“I started secret shopping over 20 years ago when my daughter was a baby. I had read an article about a woman who was earning $100,000 a year getting paid by companies to shop in stores and collect data, and I thought it sounded fun," says Asha Hegde, 70.
“I did small jobs at first, going to grocery stores and coffee shops, and I earned $200 or $300 a month. Then several years ago, I was invited to a conference of the Independent Mystery Shoppers Coalition (IMSC), and I learned about video secret shopping, where you wear a hidden camera and record a mystery shopping visit. There are a lot of rules and regulations, but anyone can learn how to do it. And video shops pay from $100 to $200 per shop. You can find a list of reputable companies to shop for at the IMSC website ."
“I typically make between $60,000 and $70,000 a year as a mystery shopper working for about 20 companies. I look at what’s required, pick the shops I like, complete them according to instructions and upload the video if it’s a video shop or fill out forms online if not."
“I work 5 to 6 hours a day and try to schedule 3 to 4 video shops and 8 to 10 non-video shops. I’ve visited banks, hotels, car lots — I even got flown to Hawaii to look at a condo once. The best part is that I get to pick and choose what I want to do. And I didn’t need any special training to get started.. My husband is a dentist and is busy working, so I use the money to take trips with my daughter.”
5. Odd jobs for cash: “I bring home $1,000 a month doing laundry!”
“I used to work for a mortgage lender, but when I had my first child, I stopped working. Then one of my friends posted on Facebook that Laundry Ladies, a company that offers laundry pickup and delivery services, was hiring," says Stacy Petersen, 47 who was interested in doing odd jobs for cash. "I’ve loved doing laundry since I got my first place — it was the one chore my mom wouldn’t allow me to do as a kid! It’s a great feeling when everything is clean and organized."
“I contacted the owner of the company, had an interview, then paid a fee of about $250, which gave me access to marketing tools and support to help me grow my business (the company no longer charges an upfront fee as they now have a $40 a month licensing fee). When a customer searches the Laundry Ladies website, they can see my profile, fees and the areas I serve. They fill out a request and tell me how much laundry they have. They choose their laundry detergent, which I purchase. I pick up their dirty laundry and wash and fold it in my home. I organize it in rainbow order, put a bow on it, like a present, and return it to them within 24 hours. Laundry Ladies gave me recommendations for pricing, but I set my own prices. I charge based on weight: $3 per pound, or $2.50 per pound for clients who use my service weekly."
“My clients are busy moms, professionals who don’t have time or don’t want to do their own laundry, seniors or people who need help after they’ve come home from the hospital. Some businesses like nail salons or medical practices also hire me. I love this business because I get to help people. Not having to work in an office and being able to work on my own schedule is priceless. I make about $1,000 a month, which I use to pay for extras like my kids’ activities, gifts for others or date nights!”
6. “I bring in $23 an hour as a Rent a Grandma!”
“Domestic work has always been my forte. I have decades of experience as a professional maid, but a lot of people could no longer afford one in the years after the economy dried up in 2008. I was in my 60s — and my age was also contributing to my difficulty in finding work. I moved from Kentucky to California in search of more opportunity," says
Linda Terry (above, left), 74.
“Then I heard about Rent A Grandma, an agency that recognizes the unique skills of workers over age 50 — you don’t actually have to be a grandmother — and matches them with families in need of caregiving and home management services, such as childcare, domestic help, cooking and pet sitting. I had acquired so many of these skills over the years that could benefit other families, and here was an agency that valued the life experience I had to offer!"
“I had a phone interview with the founder, and easily passed the required background check. My first gig was full-time as a live-in nanny, cook and personal assistant to two teen girls. Everything is done through the website, from initial contact with families to payment. The clients reach out directly with details about what they’re looking for, including specific duties and scheduling. The hourly rate ranges from $14 to $23 (the agency takes 12%)."
“It’s wonderful to be able to take on jobs of your choosing and build lasting relationships with families. They feel a sense of security and trust, like their real grandma is there. And it allows me to contribute to others’ lives, feel like an important part of society and support myself too.” — as told to Hannah Chenoweth
7. Odd jobs for cash: “I make up to $3,000 a month caring for pets!”
“I have two dogs of my own, and as a single mom, I’m always looking for more ways to make money. When I learned about Rover.com, a site that connects you with pet-sitting jobs, I was thrilled," says Heidi Horvath, 53.
“To get started, I set up a profile, listing my availability and services I provide, which include dog walking, doggy day care and overnight boarding in my home. When a new client contacts me, I meet them and their pets and explain my services. I take care of dogs, including elderly, blind and disabled dogs, as well as cats, hamsters and guinea pigs. When I care for the pets at my home, I send photos so my clients know their pets are okay."
“After I provide services, my clients leave ratings and reviews on my page (Rover.com/sit/heidiho). I have a perfect, 5-star rating. Rover also gives me promo codes that I can offer as an incentive for new customers. I can also buy T-shirts, window decals, bags and business cards to market my services. Rover gets 20 percent of my earnings, which covers insurance."
“I love walking dogs and caring for pets because it’s such a happy, positive experience and I have the flexibility to be with my daughter, who is learning how to be an entrepreneur too!
“I work 40 hours a week, but you can put as little or as much time as you want into it. I make between $500 and $3,000 a month, enough to pay the bills and set aside some for my daughter’s college savings!”
8. " I make up to $600 a week as a virtual assistant!"
"My husband and I run a dry stone and environment artwork business, but because it’s seasonal, dependent on the weather and inherently irregular, I was looking for a way to supplement our income," says Elin Waagen, 69. "Since I live in a rural area, the job opportunities are also limited. I did some research, and freelancing appealed to me because my age and gender didn’t matter and I could work from home."
“Then I discovered Upwork, a marketplace where you can market your services and find clients, and I knew it would be the perfect fit. I thought about the work I enjoyed doing, as well as my skills, and decided to offer virtual assistant services."
“Upwork makes it easy to get started. I set up my profile, posted my résumé and added my services and pricing. They provided a lot of advice and support. Fortunately, I found a client almost immediately, who was a perfect match in terms of the work and the hours."
“I help with a wide range of tasks, including administrative, marketing, research, making travel arrangements and social media. I’ve also been helping my client teach young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo how to use Upwork to find work, which is really rewarding.
“I work between 10 and 20 hours a week and earn up to $30 an hour. Upwork is free to use, but they take a percentage of my profits. The money I make has allowed me to pay down debt, save for retirement and spoil my eight grandchildren.”
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