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October 2016 Side Hustle Report

Welcome to another side hustle report! Each month, I document what I earned doing various side hustles outside of my day job.  I’m a firm believer that anyone can find a way to make some extra money on the side. Even just a few years ago, starting up a side hustle required a bit of work and might have required some upfront capital costs. And picking up a second job meant you’d have to go to work whenever your boss scheduled you.  But not anymore. Today, with the advance of technology, anyone can find a way to make some extra money on their own time, whenever they want!

Remember, your side hustle is worth a lot more than you think.  Even making a few thousand dollars a year can add up to a ton of money over time.   That’s because every dollar you earn in your side hustle is another dollar you can save.  If you’re living fine on your regular income, then you don’t need to spend your side hustle income at all!

Whenever I pick up a side hustle, I try to follow three basic principles: (1) I find a side hustle that’s fun to do; (2) I find a side hustle that generally incorporates tasks that I’m already doing; and (3) I find a side hustle where I derive a benefit from it beyond just making money.  I do some dog sitting because I already have a dog and I think it’s fun. And I make deliveries on my bike because I think it’s fun and I can use the exercise.

The great thing about side hustling is that there isn’t any commitment.  If you find that a side hustle isn’t for you, all you have to do is stop doing it.  You can try many of these side hustles out without any upfront costs. What do you have to lose other than a little bit of time?

I primarily have four sources of side hustle income:

Side Hustle Income for October 2016

I calculate side hustle income based on the payout date.  Accordingly, if I perform a side hustle in September, but get paid for it in October, I count October as the date the income was earned.

For October, my side hustle income was as follows:

  • Airbnb:  $807
  • DogVacay/Rover: $148.75
  • Postmates: $67.28
  • Selling Trash Finds: $40

Total Side Hustle Income for October 2016 = $1,063.03

Admittedly, I was pretty lazy this month.  Dogsitting and Airbnb brought in about what I expected for the month.  I could have done much better on the trash selling front – we have a garage filled with all the stuff we found during the August move out season. I’ve just been lazy in getting this stuff listed up for sale.  The Postmates earnings should also be higher than it was this month.  Ms. FP and I worked together on a little scheme that I’ll write about in a future post.  I’m sure you’ll find it entertaining!

Here’s a more detailed explanation of how I earned my side hustle money this month:

Airbnb Income

The Airbnb experiment continues to go well.  It’s grad school interview season around the campus, so the majority of our guests have been folks coming to interview for their various programs, mainly med students and dental students. These are our favorite type of guests.  They basically come to our house, do their interviews, sleep, and then they are on their way.  We barely notice they are here!  And it’s been fun chatting with folks about what they are studying.

Airbnb has also really been a great way to extract some income out of our otherwise unused room.  It’s way better than having a roommate.  As a bonus, our house stays really clean.  Seriously, when we don’t have guests around, our place just starts turning into a pig pen.  If you need motivation to pick up after yourself, try hosting on Airbnb.  I guarantee your house will never be cleaner.

Here’s a screenshot of our October earnings.  I’ve redacted sensitive information, such as names and bank account numbers:

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-9-54-44-am

 

We have family staying with us for all of November, so we’re taking a break from hosting this upcoming month and will return to Airbnb in December.  Again, another great advantage of Airbnb compared to a traditional roommate. When we need the house, it’s ours!

DogVacay and Rover Income

Dogsitting picked up again after a slow September.  We watched three different pups this month, with our longest stay being our regular guest, Brewski (see below), who stayed with us for a week.

October Side Hustle Report 2016 2
Financial Pup (on the right) hanging with her buddy, Brewski.

Other guests for the month included a 4-month old puppy.  We don’t usually watch puppies just because our schedule doesn’t work well with young pups and we don’t want to have to do more work.  However, the puppy that stayed with us this month only needed to stay for one night, and since we love pups, we’d thought we’d give it a shot.  In the end, this puppy was great!  Really fluffy and cuddly.

October 2016 Side Hustle Report 3
Financial Pup (on the right) with her new puppy friend.  Looks like she’s sleeping next to a mop.

Making a couple bucks watching dogs isn’t so bad.  I could definitely think of worse ways to earn some side money. If you’re interested in becoming a host on Rover or DogVacay, consider signing up for Rover using my referral link here. You should also list yourself on DogVacay as well, in order to get your profile out there to as many people as possible.

If you’re looking for more information about my dog sitting side hustle, you should check out my previous post where I go in-depth about how I make money dog sitting.

Postmates Income

The weather is still great this time of year, so I’m getting exercise and doing Postmates when I can.  This month, the income was less than normal, but it’ll actually be higher once additional funds come in during November.  Postmates was also a bonding exercise this month.  Instead of date nights, Ms. FP and I had some nights where we went out and did some deliveries together. Okay, we’re total weirdos, but it’s not so bad to get out on a bike on a nice evening.

Remember, what makes bike messengering so great is that, with technology the way it is, you can literally do it anytime you want.  And since you’re biking around town, you’re getting exercise too.  There’s really no other way in which you can exercise and get paid at the same time.  If you need motivation to get yourself moving, try Postmates or any other bike messenger service out there.  It’s not a ton of money, but your body will thank you for the exercise.

If you want to learn more about how I use Postmates to make some extra money and stay healthy, then check out my post on my Postmates side hustle. 

Trash Income

Trash income was down this month, but not because of a lack of inventory.  We actually have a garage full of all our trash finds from August.  I’ve just been really lazy getting this stuff listed up for sale.  Procrastination is a deadly foe. My goal for next month is to just sit down and list this stuff up!

Still, I did manage to sell two trash finds this month.  Here’s a nice shelf thing we found on the side of the road. Fetched a solid $15 for it.

October 2016 Side Hustle Report 4

And here’s some TV trays that I dug out of the dumpster.  A solid $10 for them.

October 2016 Side Hustle Report 5

I also managed to flip a garage sale find on eBay this month.  Way back in August, Ms. FP and I were biking around and decided to rummage through some stuff at a garage sale.  I stumbled upon this:

October 2016 Side Hustle Report 6

A “Screaming Kevin” doll from Home Alone!  This thing looked hilarious.  And I thought it might be a collectors item that someone might want.  I ended up buying this thing for a buck and as soon as I got home, I listed it up on eBay for $25.  And then it just sat for a couple months.

The key with eBay is patience.  Most stuff will eventually sell given enough time.  In October, some guy finally offered me $15 for it.  I figured why not.  I only paid a dollar for it.  And hopefully, this guy loves Home Alone as much as I do.

Want to know more about flipping trash finds?  See how I made over $1000 selling trash I found in one dumpster.

That concludes this month’s side hustle report!  Remember, there are tons of ways to make money out there on your own time.  The key is to look at what you’re already doing, and figure out a way to monetize it.  Save all of your side hustle money in some sort of tax advantaged account and watch that money grow!  Most importantly though, make sure you’re having fun with your side hustles!

If you’re interested in seeing what I earned in previous months, be sure to check out my side hustle report page, where you can find all of my monthly side hustle reports.

27 Comments

  1. Who wouldn’t want that Home Alone doll?! Best movie ever. Cool to read about your success on Airbnb and dog sitting. I wish my dog got along with other dogs or I’d totally do it. He started getting super aggressive with other dogs after a bad incident in the dog park so now we don’t allow it. Poor guy.

    • The Home Alone doll was hilarious. As soon I saw it I knew someone would probably want it.

      And that’s a shame that your pup had that bad incident. Hopefully there were some responsible dog owners that took responsibility for what happened. My buddy had a dog that bit his dog at the dog park once, and the owner literally walked away. Didn’t apologize or take any responsibility.

  2. Good Stuff FP!

    Unfortunately, my apartment lease says I can’t use Airbnb 🙁 or I would be all over it. $800 would go a long way to pay off my student loans quicker!

    I recently read a book called “Buy Buttons” by Nick Loper. There’s a big section on the sharing economy platforms out there today. It caught me by surprise about how many sites are now out there. Airbnb, Uber, Rover, toro, justpark, dolly, etc.

    • Ah. Better not take the risk then with Airbnb. I can’t advocate violating your lease, although I know a lot of Airbnb hosts just take the risk anyway. Not worth the hassle in my opinion.

      There really are so many sharing economy platforms out there. Sure, you probably can’t make a living doing just these type of gigs. But you can definitely bring in a little bit of extra money without very much extra work. It’s way different compared to the old days when the only options were to deliver pizzas or newspapers.

  3. Nice work! One man’s trash is another’s treasure!

    The AirBnb is crazy and I wish we could adopt something similar. Many of the buildings in Chicago try to explicitly list Airbnb as an activity you’re not able to partake in – but maybe when we get a 2bed/2bath we will find a housing association that allows it.

    Awesome work and keep it up! Inspiring is an understatement.

    • Thanks Matt! Airbnb has really worked out well for us, and the fact that we’ve been able to hone in on a target market (students coming to campus) has really helped us in the smoothness of our guest stays. It’s much better to host these type of travelers since they have very scheduled itineraries and are easy to relate with. I know Airbnb isn’t an option for everyone of course. For us, Airbnb was just a way to extract income out of our house and avoid wasting all that unused space. But it’s definitely been more fun than I had thought it would be.

  4. It’s amazing how much you can make when you start looking at different options! My son has always wanted a dog and dog sitting would be a good option for us. We have a nice fenced yard and a huge public park behind our house. I teach online as my main side hustle – it brings in over $1000/month for about 10-12 hours of work. Can’t beat it!

    • Vicki, that is an amazing hourly rate for that side hustle! I know you are an educator, so that’s a great way to make use of the skills you already have.

      Trying your hand at dog sitting is a nice way to test the waters on dog ownership as well. You could always try it out once and see if it’s for you.

  5. Nice extra income again, especially AirBnB. Looks like you had almost full house. Our mortgage agreement say we cannot use our house for such purposes (seems like from previous comments that we’re not the only one). So this option wouldn’t work for us.
    At the same time I just bought a screaming Kevin doll on eBay for a bargain; I’m expecting huge profit there 🙂

    • Haha, so you’re the one! I should’ve held out on selling it until Christmas, but I was too lazy.

      The great thing about Airbnb is that even with a supposedly full house, it really doesn’t feel that way. A lot of guests come in the evening and then leave the very next morning, so they’re often in our house just to sleep. Even guests that stay a longer time are gone the entire day and only come back in the evenings. When you’re in town for a conference, you basically are booked from morning until evening. So really, it’s just a great feel compared to a traditional roommate scenario.

  6. Another great month FP! Out of curiosity, what do you use the extra income for now that your student loans are paid off? Do you allocate it to other debt or invest it?

    • That’s a great question. I’m planning a post on this in the future, but right now, all of the side hustle income that comes in the form of a 1099 goes to a Solo 401(k). I’m just planning to make one big lump sum investment towards the end of the year, once I know exactly how much I’ve earned in 1099 income. The great thing is that I have a 457(b) plan at work, so I am able to put all of my independent contractor money into a Solo 401(k).

      Airbnb income is currently just being saved for our house emergency fund and to cover house expenses, although I put a portion of those earnings into an HSA as well, just to reduce some of the taxable income. Unfortunately, Airbnb income gets treated like “passive” rental income, so it isn’t eligible to go into a Solo 401(k). I’m still brainstorming how I can reduce taxes on the Airbnb front.

      • Interesting on the Airbnb income. I guess that makes sense though. Keep up the good work!

  7. I’ve never thought about using AirBnB in our house. Does it freak you out a little to share your space with strangers? Have you had any weird-ies stay with you?

    • That’s a good question Amber. Personally, I haven’t had any weirdos stay with us. My Airbnb sort of goes after a niche market since I’m located right near campus – students attending conferences or coming for grad school interviews. As a result, basically everyone who stays with us is just like any friend I’d have. I think listing up just a guest room also helps to avoid the partying people or other disrespectful people. It’s just hard to be a jerk when you’re a guest in someone’s home while they are also living there too.

      Of course, my experience may have been lucky. I follow a lot of Airbnb forums and have read horror stories about inconsiderate guests, rude people, weirdos, etc. I can’t guarantee that your experience will be the same as mine.

      I think the key to avoiding weirdos is to really think about your market. What sort of niche are you going for? Who is the type of person that would want to come to your area. If you’re near a college for example, then I think most guests you’ll get would be grad students, similar to the types I get. And if the person is a lot like you are, they just are less likely to be a weirdo just because you’ll be able to relate to them and they’ll be able to relate to you. So I guess my advice is really, just think about what niche of people your Airbnb would attract.

      One way to do this is to look at the other Airbnbs in your neighborhood and see the people who are leaving reviews for them. What type of people do they look like? This will give you a good idea of the type of guests you’ll get.

  8. I love reading your side hustle reports, FP! The dog sitting is intriguing to me. I think I could make it work if I didn’t have cats…

    I picked up some winter coats at Goodwill for half price last Spring (they ended up costing less than $3 each) and have been working on selling those. Sold one today for $20, so not a bad return.

    • That’s awesome! I know there are a lot of folks out there who are able to make a living flipping things they find at thrift stores. While we might not going to those extremes, even just doing a little bit here and there can bring in some extra money without much work. If you’re already at Goodwill for example and see some coats like that, why not take a chance on it. Probably took you a few minutes just to buy them and list them up for sale.

  9. We have a studio apartment in our basement that we lease out, but I suppose it could potentially be an Airbnb. I do like the fact that we can go months at a time without having to contact/communicate with our renter, while Airbnb seems to be a bit more work as you have guests coming and going. But you certainly make more on Airbnb, so I guess you get compensated for that little bit of extra work.

    • So one thing in the Airbnb world to take note of is the difference between hosted homes and unhosted homes. Listing up an entire house or apartment definitely takes a different type of work as compared to listing up a guest room. When you list up a whole house, you are adding on work that doesn’t benefit you in anyway. Cleaning up a house you don’t live in for someone else doesn’t give you a benefit. That’s pure work. From that standpoint, I totally get just doing a regular yearly rental.

      In contrast, renting out a guest room in your home is a different type of work. Sure, I have to clean and things like that, but the rooms I’m cleaning are rooms I use. I’m going to (or should) clean my kitchen, living room, bathroom, etc, regardless of whether someone is staying in my home or not. I make some money, and I get the benefit of a clean house for myself. So when I think of it that way, I don’t see it quite the same as doing pure, unwanted work.

  10. Another incredible month! That is so true about having guests and keeping the place clean. It doesn’t take much work to straighten up, and having guests forces you to stay on top of it. That’s an interesting bonus you pointed out to hosting with Airbnb.

    • That’s a benefit of hosting a room on Airbnb that isn’t really considered. The way I see it, if I’m doing some extra work, I should try to get something out of it. Whenever I don’t have guests around, it’s easy to tell. Plates start getting left out. Clothes get thrown on chairs. Things start looking more cluttered. But whenever I know someone is coming, I try to keep the place clean, just as a matter of personal pride.

  11. I love the report, it’s so clean and organized!

    I was sorely tempted to rent out our second bedroom but then we had a kid. It turns out that while a second bedroom isn’t strictly necessary, it’s really nice being able to send the kid to zir room. 🙂

    My friend, Lazy Man and Money, has turned DogVacay into a great side gig. It sounds like a great way to get more dog cuddles and make some income if they’re well behaved dogs. Financial Pup is adorable!

    • Thanks Revanche! I’m glad you like the organization! I think you’re the first person that has said that.

      Having children definitely does make it harder to rent out a second bedroom. I’ll admit, I don’t know if I would continue to Airbnb once I do have children. Doing DogVacay and Rover has been great. It’s fun to have an other pup around and Financial Pup likes having a buddy to hang with. The key is definitely well-behaved pups. That’s why I love when I get repeat guests, since I know exactly what I’m getting.

  12. Wow, I didn’t know there are so many different ways to make money! I have not heard of before of dogsitting and postmates. But it is indeed a wonderful and new way to earn some side hustle and get more experiences!

    • It’s pretty amazing many ways there are to make some extra money without a ton more work. Not everything is available wherever you might live, of course. My side hustles are definitely geared more towards urban areas. But my hope is that this at least gives you ideas about how easy it is to make some extra money on your own time.

  13. That Kevin doll has to be worth at least $300! That’s awesome. Really inspired by your hustle FP. Do you make any money with your blog – I didn’t see that listed? Given you are a lawyer do you ever do legal consulting or help people with legal issues on the side?

    • Thanks! My blog earnings so far total a grand $0, although I hope to generate a little bit of income on the blog one day. Currently, I’m just aiming to deliver some decent content and have a smooth running site, so I’ve avoided ads and things like that right now. It’s in the works one day, just not doing it yet.

      I don’t do any side legal work. The nature of the legal industry makes it really hard to do a side hustle that’s legal related. There’s a lot of ethics rules and conflicts of interest issues that arise, so you can’t really work for one client one day, then do something else legal related in the evening.

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