Everybody dreams of being able to retire early, knowing that they will be financially solvent for the rest of their lives. Not everybody is actually able to do so. For every app that makes it big, there are hundreds of failed developers trudging into work every day and hoping that they’ll even be able to retire at all. This isn’t because they aren’t saving for it, of course. It is because they aren’t saving enough. If this sounds like you, here is some good news: thanks to the rise of the Gig Economy, padding and beefing up your retirement fund is something that anybody can do.
Gig: Massage Therapist/Masseuse
Yes, it is true that you will have to go to school and get your certification in order to operate this side business legally. But once you have that certification, moonlighting as a masseuse or a massage therapist during your evenings and weekends is an incredibly lucrative gig. You could bring in several hundred dollars a week! And the overhead for this gig is relatively low. You can order a portable massage table from online shops like Earthlite.com for a few hundred dollars (which you’ll make back in a week or two). After that, it’s simply staying stocked up on wipes and massage oils and lotions. This gig more than pays for itself–and that’s including offsetting what you paid for your certification.
There are tons of opportunities out there that will let you set up a side gig using your own car. You can drive people around through companies like Uber and Lyft. You can deliver groceries and food through Instacart, Amazon Prime Now, Postmates, Yummy.Com, Delivered Dish, GrubHub, and any number of others. You could even set up your own independent courier service that specializes in after hours pickup and delivery for executives who work late or on weekends. If you get your notary license (which costs around $25, depending on which state you live in), you can add some extra value to your side gig. As far as overhead is concerned, this can get pricey: car maintenance and gas aren’t cheap. Still, if you work enough, you could add a nice sized extra chunk of change to your retirement fund every month.
Cleaning and Organizing
Not everybody has the money to hire a professional cleaning service to help them keep up their homes. Moreover, not everybody needs regular professional upkeep. Some simply need some help cleaning before a big event, or only in a few places in their home. You can find these one-off gigs through portals like TaskRabbit. The portal makes sure that you get paid well and if you find some regular clients out of it, you might be able to moonlight for them independently!
Freelancing is the ultimate side gig in that the schedule is extremely flexible and, if you are good at what you do, you could bring in a full-time second income during your “free” time. The main problem with freelancing is that everybody thinks they can do it and there are companies out there that will prey on this naivete. Take time to find good clients and gigs. Don’t get stuck in a mill that will only pay you $5 for 500 words where you have to churn out content or art for pennies on the hour. Instead try to find side work locally or by pitching potential clients directly. You’ll build your portfolio and side business much faster and more reliably this way.
Do you love shopping and hunting for great finds in thrift shops and at yard sales? Thanks to sites like eBay and others, now you can take those thrift store finds and turn them into real money. Sophia Amoruso built her empire this way. The only issue is that you’ll probably spend a lot of time at the post office.
Are you good at crafting or making things? Set up your own Etsy shop! This way you can get paid for things you would have spent time doing anyway. Be careful, though: the urge to price low is strong. Make sure you’re asking enough to cover the cost of your materials and your time!
Are you good at art, slogans, etc? Create your own clothing line! Sites like RedBubble and Society6 have made it possible for you to put your art and words on pretty much anything you want. The best thing about these sites is that they can be a passive source of income…though you’ll earn more if you promote them through a blog and social media.
There are all sorts of side gigs that bring in real money. If you can monetize it, you can retire off it.