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The best side hustles for your twenties and thirties

A dog walker leads a pack of various breeds on a sidewalk
Walking dogs with a service such as Rover is one way millennials can pay down their college debt faster than a day job alone allows.
(John W. Banagan / Getty Images)
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People in their twenties and thirties are avid side hustlers. And they have good reasons to be. With the average student debt at $36,510 per borrower, recent college grads are starting their adult life in the red. Skyrocketing home prices and the recent surge in inflation are further pinching budgets.

Not surprisingly, side hustles for twenty- and thirtysomethings are considered so necessary to pay the bills that more than half of this generation have one or more side hustles.

On the bright side, some millennials say that side hustles also present an exciting opportunity. Side jobs allow them to test-drive projects that ignite their passions — or provide some valuable benefit that they otherwise couldn’t afford. In best-case scenarios, side hustles can lead to early financial independence and more rewarding careers.

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Consider Vee Weir, 29. Five years ago, she held a marketing position at a toy company. She also had a pile of debt. So the Colorado-based animal lover started to watch dogs through Rover as a way of making a bit of extra money. She also launched a blog — VeeFrugalFox. Although the blog didn’t produce much income at first, her need to market it cheaply helped her hone her digital marketing skills.

When the toy company she worked for started laying off employees, Weir realized she didn’t want another corporate job. She used the income she earned from Rover to help finance her startup, Weir Digital Marketing. Now, between the blog, her marketing agency and Rover, she earns considerably more than she did with her full-time job. And her schedule is far more flexible.

“My side hustle allows me to live the life that I envisioned for myself,” she says. “At first, the little bit of money I earned with Rover was just enough to keep me going. Now, I do it to finance our vacations.”

Flexibility is key

Rob Phelan, 32, is a Maryland high school teacher by day. At night, during lunch hours and on weekends, he creates children’s books and resources for other teachers and officiates lacrosse games. He also teaches an online course in entrepreneurship for kids. His goal is to earn enough in his free time to become financially independent at an early age. He knew he couldn’t do that on his teaching salary alone.

However, he chooses his side hustles carefully. Whatever he does has to be completely flexible and generate a good hourly return for his time, he says. That’s because he’s married and has a toddler. Time is precious.

Katy Roberts, 39, echoes the sentiment. She is also a teacher with young children. She started selling skin-care products through Rodan+Fields a few years ago because it allowed her to fit her side hustle into “little pockets of time” that she could spare during the day.

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“It’s been a huge blessing,” Roberts says. “It covers all the extracurricular activities for my girls.”

Paying off debt

Debt — primarily student debt — is also a huge issue with this generation.

Like Weir, Jazzy Thatch, 30, graduated from college with a mountain of student debt. She earns good money as a project manager for a digital marketing agency. She also has a blog that brings in about $60,000 in revenue annually, and she creates and sells digital products, such as e-books and budget worksheets.

With real estate booming, people who know just where to put the tables, sofas and paintings — or how to landscape for maximum effect — can find plenty of work.

Jan. 23, 2022

“I needed extra money to help pay off my debt faster,” she says. But she rejected a number of side hustles, such as Uber and DoorDash, as being too time-consuming for the money.

“The side hustle needed to be worth the time I was spending,” she says. “I have done side hustles where you are testing websites and doing surveys and you’re not making enough money to make it worth it.”

Other lucrative and flexible hustles

Other great side hustles for people in their twenties and thirties include tutoring, virtual assisting and selling art and clothing.

Tutoring

Platforms including Juni Learning and Wyzant pay between $15 and $60 per hour, depending on the subject. And some tutoring platforms, such as Wize and LessonFace, allow tutors to set their own rates of pay. What are the best sites for online tutors? It depends on the subject you want to teach. Some specialize in math, science and coding; others focus on music, art and dance. And, of course, many tutoring platforms include a wide spectrum of topics, such as English and SAT prep. Here are the 12-best tutoring platforms, based on the type of tutoring you want to offer.

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Virtual assisting

Another highly flexible side hustle is virtual assisting, which can describe anything from handling a client’s email or scheduling to updating websites and managing social media accounts. Freelance virtual assistants can find work through Boldly, Belay and Time Etc. They typically earn between $15 and $50 per hour.

Selling art

Artistic and creative? There are a plethora of sites that will allow you to sell crafts, drawings or paintings, or to license your art for sale on site-produced products. If you want to sell crafts, Etsy is the top choice, allowing craftspeople to cheaply list and sell homemade items.

Illustrators can find jobs through Fiverr; those who want to sell paintings and license their art for sale on products as varied as puzzles and aprons can upload their art to a variety of print-on-demand operations including FineArtAmerica, Society6 and RedBubble. With the print-on-demand sites, you earn a royalty on each sale.

Selling used clothing

Annie Darling, 21, is a full-time college student who launched a blog called Spectacular Girl to share her love of fashion. In between classes, she also sells her used clothing on Poshmark, one of several sites that invite fashionistas to resell good-condition used clothing and accessories. Other sites worth checking out include Mercari and EBay.

Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent site that reviews hundreds of money-making opportunities in the gig economy.

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