19 Charlotte side hustles that will bring in the cash without burning you out

19 Charlotte side hustles that will bring in the cash without burning you out
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I’ve been thinking a lot about my savings recently, and not in a calm, collected way, but rather a panicked one. This recent San Francisco Business Times article, saying that most millennials don’t expect to ever get a Social Security check, didn’t help things.

That’s not surprising, but that reality is a bit alarming. Even more alarming is that 64% of us will never be able to accumulate $1 million in savings in the span of our lifetime if we don’t start saving consistently in our mid-twenties.

So now my savings are all I think about, and after speaking to a handful of people, I know I’m not the only one.

“I have a comma in my bi-monthly paycheck by seven dollars,” one friend told me. “After groceries, rent and health insurance, I don’t have enough to live, much less put anything into savings.”

Another echoed the sentiment, saying that although we’re nowhere close to starting a family or thinking about retirement, the money that comes with things like that is overwhelming to think about.

If you also don’t have a comma in your paycheck by a comfortable margin or are desperate to beef up your savings, you’ve probably thought about getting a small, but profitable second job — a side hustle, if you will — to help offset the panic. But how do you do add another job to your already stress-inducing 9 to 5 without quickly burning yourself out?

Here are 19 ideas to get you started.

Rent out your extra room and help offset your rent with Airbnb. Airbnb has blown up in the last couple of years and is now one of the most common ways to bring in extra money, which is good news for us – renting out your home to complete strangers brings in an average of $105 per night. If you’re in the right neighborhood with the right amenities and surrounding activities, that extra bedroom that you’re paying for could end up paying for itself if not your entire month’s rent if you play your cards right. Hosts in the Queen City make an average of $290 a week. Get started here.

[Related: 8 houses or condos in Charlotte you can book on Airbnb]

Set up one of their carts and start slinging King of Pops. People that have worked for the popsicle moguls say that hours go by fast (most carts stay put for just a few hours and the shop is open from noon to 9 p.m.) and the work is easy and fun. Apply here.

Get involved with one of the best noncorporate business opportunities in the city: Petsitting. Take it from Maggie Ruff, who used to petsit in her downtime for 18 families, but now owns The Ruff Life with 10 team members and over 136 clients all over Charlotte – petsitting is enough to help you cover your share of the rent even if you don’t turn it into a full-time career. The service used to be a neighborly duty, but it’s since changed to a professional gig with companies like The Waggle Company (who often posts jobs on our Job Board), Little Friends Pet Sitting and Fluffs of Luv Pet Sitting. Individual, word-of-mouth sitters can often make $30 to $35 for an hour visit, and when families request more than one visit a day for a week at a time, it adds up. If you’re looking to work more on your own, check out Rover.

[Related: How petsitting became one of the best noncorporate business opportunities in Charlotte]

Or, if you’re not looking for that sort of commitment, just walk a few dogs. Much like petsitting, dog walking has become a ‘thing’ in the professional world. The Waggle Company is in on it – and almost always looking for a part-time dog walker. If you want to do it on your own, again, check out Rover, where you can set your own hours and rates start at $15 per walk.

Got something you’re good at? Help others hone the same skill by becoming a tutor. Maybe you’re a genius at math, languages roll off your tongue or you have a knack for writing – why not cash in on the skill and make your own hours while you do it? The average hourly rate on Care.com is $13.25. Get started here.

Or up your game and teach a SkillPop class. It’s like being a tutor, but on a grander scale with topics more real-life-applicable than number theory or AP physics. These community-based classes have skyrocketed in the past year and often feature sold-out sessions ranging from topics like Marketing Essentials, Invest Like a Boss and Small Business Finance to Instagram Workshop and Handlettering Basics. Pitch your idea for a class, which often hovers around $30 per head, here.

[Related: SkillPop brings community driven, hands-on learning to Charlotte]


Become an Uber or Lyft driver. What often starts as a part-time gig turns into full-time because of freedom of schedule and the amount of money the driving service brings in. With Uber, drivers receive discounts on maintenance, fuel and cell phone bills while Lyft drivers make, on average, $400 for 20 hours of work. These are two side hustles that are more than plausible for just a couple of nights a week.

Help people get through that dreaded Saturday morning hangover by delivering food to their doorsteps with Postmates. Like Uber and Lyft, employees set their own schedule. Postmates runners can make up to $25 per hour + 100% of the tips received. Hello, weekend morning plans.

[Related: Postmates is coming to Charlotte – it’s more than just Chipotle delivery]


Teach a fitness class. Many fitness programs, like Zumba and Insanity, only require participation in one full-day certification class. From there, you can teach at local gyms and fitness facilities, who pay you a flat or by-head rate for any classes you host. Activities like yoga have teacher certification programs that are more intense, but you do have the ability to set your teaching schedule.

[Related: Upcoming 2016 Registered Yoga Teacher trainings in Charlotte] (Note: These classes are meant to be an example – all registration periods have passed.)

Become a consultant or ambassador of a popular brand. This is a side gig I see plenty of in my own Facebook feed from friends that are trying to pay off their undergrad debts while accruing graduate school debt. Events are often held in the individual’s home or in the home of a host. Popular brands include skincare line Rodan + Fields, jewelry line Stella and Dot (stylists earn 35% of each sale) and weight-loss mogul Plexus.

Dive into Craigslist. If you know how to search and select carefully, Craigslist can offer a plethora of different side hustles. Check the jobs and gigs sections, where you’ll find permanent positions such Entry Level – Marketing & Communications and letter writer (this is a real thing) as well as one-time gigs such as a call for a wedding photoshoot model.

Go mystery shopping. Both independently owned and big businesses need to know how their stores operate when the bosses aren’t looking. Get paid to tell them – apply to be a mystery shopper with companies like Marketforce, BestMark and IntelliShop. It’s easy money once you’re accepted to begin taking on jobs (shoppers are even sometimes reimbursed for meals), but the application process is intense.

Get paid to voice your opinion through online surveys (really). When you’re looking for online surveys to fill out, be on the look out for scams. Stick to trusted sources like Harris Polls, who works with 74 of the Fortune 100 companies and will reward you with HIpoints to be exchanged for rewards at places like Starbucks and for sites like Amazon. Short surveys often take around 5 minutes to complete while longer ones often verge on the 25-minute mark.

Go thrift store hunting – and then flip what you find. That stuff that people mark as junk and therefore send it on its way to Goodwill or other thrift spots? Occasionally, they’ve gotten rid of something that’s of impressive value. Head to a store of your choice, do your research and flip it for a massive profit on a site like eBay. Things most likely to bring in a few bucks: Pyrex, old books (check their value on AbeBooks), rare video games, Jade-ite glassware and vintage boardgames. If you come across old pottery, vases or dinnerware, check the stamp on the bottom and head to Google to see if it may be worth something.


Wear the coveted red swimsuit as a lifeguard. Summer may be almost over, but indoor pools will stay open year-round. Cough up the admittedly pretty penny to get your certification but don’t worry about it for too long – lifeguards tend to make around $16 an hour on average. See class options from the Red Cross, Charlotte Safety Training and the YMCA.

Find and take part in a clinical study. This sounds much more involved and morbid than it is; most studies simply require you to to participate in a screening, study visits that are often spread over a period of time and a follow-up. Not only do the results help both the FDA and others experiencing the same symptoms, but you also get paid. Multiple studies are happening in at the PMG Research facility throughout the year that range from topics like acne in people ages 9-40 and vaccines. Find open studies here.

Or just participate in a focus group. Tell companies exactly how you feel in group settings at AOC Marketing Research‘s facility on Cedar Park Drive and 2020Research on Cambridge Beltway Drive. Participants are compensated nicely, but do need to apply.

Clean things. If you’re one of the people whose stress levels visibly deflate when you spend a chunk of time doing a deep clean, this might be the best side hustle you could ask for. And with companies like Hux making their way to the Charlotte scene, it’s never been easier to get paid for. Choose to do light to deep cleans and make money that would be double what you’d make at a normal cleaning company. Apply to join the Hux force here.


Write for Axios Charlotte. Really. We’re always looking for interesting stories. If you’ve got writing chops, the cash can start to roll in. See the full list of guidelines here.


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