Tips & how-tos

How to start a side hustle and earn money in your neighborhood

Written by Team Nextdoor

With rising inflation rates and rumors of a looming recession, earning extra income is top-of-mind for neighbors across the country. Whether you want to save up for a big purchase or just need some extra money in the bank, you may feel tempted to find a second job. However, a second job can mean more challenges including another boss and juggling another work schedule. 

Instead, why not try being your own boss and start a side hustle in your local community? 

A side hustle is an opportunity to make money outside of your regular job and as an additional source of income. One in three Americans is already running their own side hustle. If you’re ready to earn some extra cash on your own terms, keep reading. We’ll be exploring how to start a side hustle, step by step.

Step 1: Come up with an idea

To start a side hustle, the first and most important step is to know what you’ll be doing to earn money on the side. So, what are good side hustles? 

The type of side hustle you choose will  depend on your skills and interests. Ideally, you’ll take on something enjoyable and marketable, where you can earn a passive income. It should be something you can do outside of your full-time job or day job.

If you know you want to earn some extra cash but aren’t sure how, here are some ideas to consider for any skill set:

  • Pet sitting or walking – Are you an animal lover? This is a great side hustle for every pet lover. You can earn extra cash by checking on neighborhood cats, dogs, and birds while their owners are away. If you can’t watch a pet for a long period of time, you could offer your services as a dog walker and earn up to $35 per 30 minute walk to supplement your full time work. 
  • Working as a neighborhood tour guide – If you’re passionate about your neighborhood and want to share some interesting facts about your area (or are willing to learn), you could offer neighborhood tours on weekends. Tourists and interested locals alike want to know more about your community’s history, culinary scene, and the best photo spots in town.
  • Blogging or vlogging – Writing blogs or recording video blogs (vlogs) can be fun, rewarding ways to generate some extra income. Blogging as a freelance writer about your interests, passions, or even your day-to-day life can earn you cash through advertisements if enough people read or watch your posts. Going into affiliate marketing can generate additional income for your blogs and videos.

You can take an online course on basic video editing, content management systems, and graphics design to edit your blog and videos yourself.

Other side hustles that may require a more specific skill set include:

  • Refurbishing and selling used items on Nextdoor’s For Sale & Free 
  • Plumbing, carpentry, or general handiwork
  • Fitness classes
  • Babysitting
  • Performing (playing music, singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, etc.)
  • Food delivery
  • Rideshares
  • Freelance writing
  • Baking
  • Selling art or offering design services
  • Tutoring in an academic subject
  • Photography or family portraits

If you have a valuable skill like programming, graphics, design, or photography, you can have a lucrative side hustle to up your earning potential through freelance work for local businesses. 

Step 2: Do your research

Now that you have a concept, it’s time to set yourself up for success. To do that, you need as much knowledge as possible. Start by chatting with your neighbors in-person or on Nextdoor to get a clear sense of how you can fit your new side hustle into the community landscape.

Before you launch your side hustle, you may want to learn more about the industry you’re joining. For example, if you like the idea of becoming a local tour guide, check out some travel books about your area.

It’s also worth investigating how much your neighbors are charging for similar work. Does the local French tutor on your block charge $30/hour? If you’re a less experienced teacher, you may want to start with asking a little below the average cost. By researching the market or asking around through online networks like Nextdoor, you can ensure that you’re not over or under charging.

Step 3: Develop a business plan

A side hustle isn’t meant to be a full-time job. With that in mind, you usually don’t need to write a 50-page business proposal, but it can help to think about your short and long term goals before you start. Establishing goals for your side hustle can help you track your progress and know when you’ve reached exciting milestones.

A business plan for a side hustle can be as simple as:

  • A name for your services
  • A budget
  • A monthly or quarterly income goal

As part of your business planning, you’ll want to secure any necessary licenses and certifications. For example, if you want to start a side hustle as a makeup artist, you’ll need to see if you’re in one of the 41 states that require makeup artists to be licensed.

Step 4: Start small and local

Taking on a new side hustle that you enjoy can be exciting. If you’re tempted to go all out on your side hustle as soon as you start, remember that starting small can be a good thing. Ramping up your idea slowly can help you avoid becoming overwhelmed with the new project. 

Test the waters by taking on two local clients or accepting a single commission. Starting small allows you to see if you’ll enjoy the extra work. It can also keep you from feeling burnt out, especially as you learn to juggle your main job and your side gig at the same time.

How to make time for your side hustle

For some, the term “side hustle” may be synonymous with “easy money.” But running a successful side hustle still takes time and effort. If you’re already working a 9 to 5 job, it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to take on more work.

To make room in your schedule for your side hustle, a few time management tips can help. Consider the following strategies to help you make the time:

  • Scheduling dedicated side hustle time in your calendar
  • If you commute by train or bus, working on your side hustle while transiting to your primary job
  • Putting in some work while you watch TV or relax in the evenings
  • Sharing your side hustle with your neighbors on Nextdoor to get the word out quickly

Supercharge your side hustle with Nextdoor

This four-step guide should have made one thing clear: anyone can start a side hustle. All you need is an idea and some motivation to get started. Whether you get started by selling goods on Nextdoor’s For Sale & Free or claiming a free business page to spread the word, Nextdoor offers ample opportunity to start bringing in cash.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Gmail

Once you’re ready, it’s time to spread your offerings far and wide. Nextdoor automatically connects you with those nearby, so whether you’re selling art, pet sitting, or helping neighbors with odd jobs, you can reach more people with Nextdoor. If you’re inspired to turn your side hustle into an official business, you can even begin growing your business with Nextdoor Ads. Connecting with like-minded locals has never been so easy.

Take inspiration from Lisa in Plano, TX. Lisa, a single mom with four children, lost her job and had been searching for ways to make ends meet. After a conversation with her teenagers, they came up with the idea of a ‘family for hire’ where they could offer to do odd jobs around the neighborhood while spending quality time together as a family.  Lisa and her family posted on Nextdoor offering services such as babysitting, cleaning, yard work, and moving to bring in additional income while also minimizing costs for neighbors struggling with rising prices of various products and services. The response to her post was overwhelming as neighbors took her up on her family’s offer. To date, Lisa and family have helped neighbors reorganize a library, play with neighborhood cats, weed gardens, babysit, and much more! This side hustle allowed the family to meet new friends in the neighborhood and cultivate meaningful connections in her community.

No matter what your side hustle is, you can turn to Nextdoor to find your audience and meet your financial goals.


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