Side jobs for workers of all ages from boomers to Generation Z
If you’re looking for a way to make a few extra bucks, there are plenty of options. Some are perfect for the young and fit; others better suit people with more life experience and assets. Here are a few side hustles for every generation.
The idea behind defining and naming generations is that people in generational groups often share life experiences and goals. Some of those experiences are age specific; others reflect historic events that affected formative years. People who grew up during the Great Depression, for instance, tend to be thrifty because of the privation they suffered when they were young.
That said, personal preferences don’t always fit neatly into demographic niches. So check out the side hustles for generations older and younger than your own, too.
Generation Z: ages 11 to 23
The youngest generation in the workforce is hampered by legal and practical restrictions when attempting to make money. Child labor laws bar youths from work that’s considered dangerous. And privacy laws discourage online platforms from allowing adolescents to use their job-matching services without parental permission.
But some online platforms seek out young side hustlers for jobs such as yardwork, babysitting and cleaning. Some of the better options:
Kumbaya is designed for teens looking for work. It enlists the teens’ parents to not only give permission but also share their child’s work profile with their friends, a.k.a. potential clients. Teens set their own rates and say what they’re willing and able to do.
Bambino is aimed at teens looking to babysit. The site requires sitters to have a Facebook account, which is used to gather recommendations and familiarize parents and sitters with each other. Sitters earn $12 to $25 per hour, depending on age and experience.
If you’re over 18 and want to re-create a summer camp-like experience, consider applying with CoolWorks or XanterraJobs. Both sites find seasonal work in resorts and national parks. These jobs are generally physical — ski instructor, dishwasher, housekeeper or camp counselor, for example — and are seldom highly paid. However, the locations can be spectacular. Many of these jobs also come with discounted housing and perks, such as free lift tickets or cut-rate horseback riding.
College students may be able to make money by taking good notes in class. Several sites, including Stuvia, Study Soup and Nexus Notes, pay good students to upload their class notes to help other students who missed a class or are falling behind. Pay formulas vary by site.
Students contend that one of the best perks of the note-taking job is that it makes you so focused on lectures that you get better grades. One word of warning: Some colleges discourage selling notes unless you’re working directly with the college, generally through the school’s disability services department. Check with your school if you’re unsure about the policy.
Millennials: ages 24 to 40
Demographers say members of the millennial generation are staying single longer, having kids later and spending more money on travel than on buying homes. While that may worry parents hoping for grandchildren, staying footloose and obligation-free provides plenty of job options.
A high-paying side job for the young and strong is moving. A wide array of sites including Laborjack, Dolly, GoShare and Truxx seek out fit adults to help people move furniture and appliances. Pay is often $30 to $60 an hour. It can be even higher if you happen to have a pickup truck you can use. Most of these sites require you to be available on weekends and able to lift 50 to 100 pounds.
Willing to spend a few days — and take on some risk — helping pharmaceutical companies test drugs? You can earn thousands of dollars volunteering for clinical trials. The best-paying clinical trials require overnight stays but provide three meals daily and paid accommodations.
The catch: The drug you’re testing could cause unpleasant side effects, including rashes and headaches. And your housing is likely to be clinically sterile and dorm-like. Still, outside of being available for regular health monitoring, the days are largely free, so you can watch TV, read, study, talk to your friends or even participate in remote side hustles such as writing. The pay is high. WCCT Global and Covance Clinical Trials were recently recruiting for trials that paid $6,000 to $8,000 for healthy adults who could spend up to 10 nights.
Most travel-oriented side hustles have gone on hiatus as the COVID-19 pandemic led countries all over the world to lock down. However, as vaccines become more available, some are coming back. CoolWorks and Season Workers, which connect temporary employees with jobs at resorts, national parks and camps, are already seeking applicants. If you want to guide tours in your own city, you can sign up with ToursByLocals and Viator.
Generation X: ages 41 to 56
Parents, remember when you thought your life would get easier when the kids were a little older and could do more for themselves? There’s nothing like the reality of raising teens and tweens to shatter those dreams.
Short on time, short on money and spending whatever little time you do have on the kids’ school and extracurricular activities? You might as well parlay your “all about them” era into paid work.
Consider this: If you’re already helping your own kids navigate fifth-grade math or history, you could sign on to be a tutor. Dozens of tutoring sites are actively recruiting, especially during the pandemic as many kids grapple with the fallout of learning at a distance. You’re not confined to teaching academic topics, either. A site called LessonFace helps book online tutoring sessions in music and dance.
Younger kids make you feel like you’re running a daycare center? If you want to make it official, you might be able to earn a five-figure income. A site called Wonderschool can help you manage your home daycare operation and coach you through licensing.
If you’re better at photography than coaching, you can make money taking photos at kids’ events and selling them to parents. A site called Snapped4U can help you distribute the shots and collect payment.
Baby boomers: ages 57 to 75
Some professional job platforms woo retirees and near-retirees to provide consulting services to small businesses. Some worth mentioning include WAHVE, which specializes in placing insurance, human resources and accounting executives; FlexProfessionals, which looks for lawyers, marketers and CEOs; Braintrust, which specializes in tech; and Gerson Lehrman Group and Maven, which book short-term consulting gigs for all sorts of experts.
Another compelling side hustle: the myriad sites that help people rent out their assets and possessions.
With sites such as Giggster and Peerspace, you can rent out your home by the hour to movie producers and photographers. These gigs pay about five times more than Airbnb rentals and don’t involve hosting strangers overnight.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent site that reviews hundreds of money-making opportunities in the gig economy.