This post is a guest post from Moriah Joy, who writes at Our Table for Two. Currently, Moriah Joy charges $30 an hour to help out students with their homework and studies. She is looking to increase her hourly rate to $75 an hour soon, and thinks this could be a fantastic boost to her financial situation! In this side hustle guest post series, I’m looking to inspire others with unique stories of how people are making some extra money. Starting a side hustle tutoring might be for you. Read on below to learn how to tutor to make more money.
If you follow my blog, you know I have debt. Not a lot of it, but enough that my partner and I are not able to live on two W2 incomes and thrive while paying off my student loans. We’d probably be able to scrape by, but not well.
Thankfully, I’ve been a tutor since high school, and have used 10 years of experience to my advantage.
After I get off work (which is around 4 PM), I head over to a local Starbucks, or a client’s house, and spend the next three to five hours (including travel time) explaining math, English, and science concepts to 5th-12th graders. During any given week, I’m tutoring 8-12 hours (not counting commuting time).
While tutoring definitely does not pay enough for me to quit my current job, or reach the illusive financial freedom, but it helps power my family’s Adventure Fund.
I love tutoring, and this side hustle is helping me improve my financial situation.
In this post, I will be sharing with you what I do as a tutor, and talk about my recommendations for you to start tutoring to make more money.
What I Do as a Tutor for My Tutoring Clients
Tutoring is helping students learn and study their school material more effectively.
For my tutoring work, I offer three different services to my clients:
Study prep and research skills
Let’s dive into each of these different tutoring services.
Homework Help Tutoring
Homework help is pretty self-explanatory.
My clients bring their homework, and we go through each problem together.
Going over the homework is also chance for learning how to learn to happen, as we talk about kinesthetic learning, auditory learning, and visual learning.
In college, I was a TA for a remedial math class, and I draw a lot on the experience I gained from my mentor who helped me through that position and pass that information along to my kiddos.
When going through homework, the goal isn’t for them to keep needing me. It’s for them to learn how they learn and to teach them how to teach themselves.
It sucks working myself out of a job, but it’s also super exciting to watch them “get it” and not need me anymore!
I love homework help, and always enjoy helping my clients understand the material better.
TUTOR TIP: Ask your kids a bunch of questions about the process of their project, instead of just showing them step by step what to do. This way they’re engaging multiple sections of their brain and will retain the information better.
Study and Research Preparation Tutoring
Another service I provide for my tutoring clients is study prep and research skills.
I designed the service of study prep and research skills for kids who are confident with their homework, but still aren’t getting the scores they need or want.
We comb through homework assignment to create study guides; I show them the magic of Google and how to use it to their benefit.
Generally, I work with these students a few times a month. Enough to increase their grades, but not so much that they over-rely on me.
It’s a tricky balance. And one I’ve really worked to maintain.
To help with the breaks in-between sessions, I have them send over their topics before we meet. This way I can brush up on the material (especially in subjects like chemistry and biology, where rote memorization is important to the class) and so I can look around the internet to find the pages I’ve flagged for these subjects.
The idea is to show them good websites, and bad websites, and talk about how to make sure their research is credible.
With these kids, maximizing time with techniques is more important than material.
TUTOR TIP: Have your students bring their own laptop and perform the study prep/research skills alongside you, that way they’re mirroring good scholarship, but they’re also practicing necessary life skills at the same time.
Test Prep Tutoring
Finally, test prep is the third service I offer.
Testing prep sounds similar to study prep, but with a grand exception. It’s generally SAT/ACT tests that we’re preparing for.
Also, for these tests, I run it as a class, as opposed to an ongoing tutoring relationship.
Each student gets three hours of specialized instruction on SAT tips and where they need to work to improve their own scores. This three hours of instruction is spread out over a month before they take their test.
I assign homework that I expect done before the next session. If the homework is not done, then we postpone our meeting.
Since I use the homework to compile their personalized SAT/ACT study plan, it’s a lot more time intensive for me. To compensate for my additional time, I charge $350 for the class.
I run this SAT/ACT class in the summertime (when I have more time, and when most kids take the SAT), and these higher fees definitely compensate for the lost hours during the school year.
TUTOR TIP: Take a practice SAT yourself at the beginning of every summer to make sure you’re up to date on the latest changes and can accurately reflect them to the children you tutor.
With these three services, I have a wide variety of ways to make money and can help a diverse set of students.
Now, let’s talk about what the financial results of tutoring look like, and how you can become a tutor.
How Much Money Do You Make as a Tutor?
Being a tutor can be a fairly high paying side hustle.
Currently, I charge $30 an hour for my tutoring work. $30 an hour is more than I was paid when I worked at a tutoring company, and double what I charged when I was a college student.
Next year, I’m going to increase my rates, and then every semester subsequently to that until I’m making closer to $60-$75, which is the going rate in my area.
For specialized subjects (math above Algebra 2, and honors sciences, I charge $50 an hour, and those are going to be increased to $100).
Also, as mentioned above, I offer an SAT class every summer which costs $350 per student.
With these rates, I’m able to make a decent amount each month, and this helps with debt payoff and hitting my saving goals.
Nest, let’s talk about how you can start a private tutoring side hustle.
How to Start Tutoring for Extra Income
The hardest part of tutoring, in my opinion, is finding clients.
If your community has a job board, you can look there to find people looking for tutors, or post on a social media app like Nextdoor.
For finding clients, I used Canva to create tutoring fliers and business cards which I left at local coffee shops and grocery store bulletin boards.
People you know (from the gym or church) might also be willing to pay you to tutor your kids, so ask around.
After you have clients, and have set up a good rapport with them, I generally tell the families I have openings in my schedule, and if they know anyone that needs a tutor, to please give them my name.
Of the six families I’m tutoring right now, four of them have been referrals from other families. Referrals are amazing for growth!
TUTOR TIP: I used connections at my local university to get my first two clients, and have grown my business since then. Asking around for clients makes a HUGE difference, and referrals go a long way!
What Items Do You Need to Get for Tutoring?
Tutoring requires some tools and equipment to get started. You want to make sure you have all the necessary tools for the job.
For my tutoring side hustle, I have a canvas bag which I stow in my car with everything I need:
a Chromebook laptop
a Ti-83 graphing calculator
and any books the kids are reading (I need to have these on hand for their papers.)
I also carry around a scheduling book, so I never accidentally overbook myself. I prefer paper schedulers to my phone, but obviously, your phone could do the trick just as well.
Basically, make sure you have the tools for the subject you’re tutoring.
If you’re working on math, a calculator is a must.
Chemistry, a periodic table of elements.
You know the subject matter and what you need to be successful.
Having all those things in one place makes your job easier. (Especially if you’re like me and constantly running around between my full-time job, my side hustle, and any other crazy activity I’ve got going on).
TUTOR TIP: Make sure that everything you’ve collected is in your car the night before, and have a physical checklist you go through. That way, you’re never awkwardly caught off guard missing materials.
What are the Skills Necessary to Be a Successful Tutor?
To be a successful tutor, communication is very important (just like in life!)
Client interaction is very important for keeping clients long term. If your current families aren’t happy, then they won’t pass your name and number on.
For you, the key part to this gig is to show up on time, follow up well, and make sure your clients are happy with the services you are providing.
I check in with my parents after every session and make sure I know where exactly (letter grades and percents, not just a general “we’re doing okay”) the kids stand on their classwork. I have a few parents text me throughout the week when their kid has a big test coming up and how the child did on the big test.
One tip I can give is don’t expect all of your clients to magically become straight A students. Some don’t, and that’s okay.
The goal is to get them to pass their classes, get a good SAT score, and ultimately feel successful.
Some kids define that success differently than others, so make sure you’re in tune with what the children’s expectations are and the parents’ expectations. Find the middle ground and shoot for that.
I have some kids who are B students really, desperately trying to get a few As on their transcripts for the college they’re interested in.
I have others who have failed the same math class twice and just want to get a C and be done with it.
Knowing which is which and catering to the difference is crucial to job performance.
TUTOR TIP: Kids act like they hate it when you jokingly make fun of yourself but do it anyway because they’re more likely to be honest about how school’s going if you’re honest with how dorky you are.
How to Communicate Effectively as a Tutor
When trying to understand where a student is in their understanding of a subject, I ask a lot of questions.
I ask a lot of “does this make sense?”, “are you understanding the concept?”, “can you repeat it back to me?” for every kid to make sure that
we don’t stay too long on one subject if they ARE understanding it, and
if I’m not making sense, I can immediately correct the way I’m explaining something and use a different strategy on the spot.
If things aren’t making sense, then we can fix it now, instead of after the test and a bad grade.
This part of the job takes time to hone, but it’s arguably the most important part of being a tutor and the part that you should work to cultivate if this is something you want to pursue.
With the skills of communication, asking good and thoughtful questions, and seeking to be a friend and helpful teacher to your clients, you can become a successful tutor.
Are You Interested in Tutoring to Make More Money?
I love tutoring.
It’s definitely not a passive income stream, it’s hard and frustrating at points, but it’s very rewarding.
I’m not huge into the side hustle culture because it’s exhausting.
However, this is one place where I feel my long days (some days I’m not home until 10, ESPECIALLY during midterms and finals) will pay off. My tutoring will pay off not just for us as a family, but for the kids I work with.
This is very cliche, and I’m gagging at how sappy I am, but it’s probably more true of tutoring than of others I’ve tried.
It also makes me feel personally accomplished.
My day job is very entry level “hey Moriah, here are these 12 random things – please do them”.
On the other hand, tutoring is something that I’ve done in some capacity since I was 10, and more professionally since I was 16.
Ifeel like I know what I’m doing, and it’s in my wheelhouse.
After we’re debt-free, I plan to take a break. I will relish in the “wow, that was intensely hard, but we’re done”, before I decide to pick it back up again. Life is about balance, and hustling doesn’t have to be a secondary full-time gig if you don’t want it to be.
In the meantime though, I’m off to tutor another kid, and I’m going to have a ton of fun while doing it.
This post is a guest post from Shawn, who writes at New Millennial Investor. Over the past year, Shawn has been very successful selling furniture on consignment. He has made over $3,000 in profit through his hustle! In this side hustle guest post series, you can learn how to sell furniture, make extra income, and sell on consignment. Starting a side hustle selling on consignment might be for you. Read on below to learn how to sell on consignment to make more money.
I’ve worked at a pair of consignment furniture stores for over ten years, and managed consignment stores for six years. Throughout this time, I’ve learned a thing or two about selling items on consignment.
Unfortunately, I never took advantage of consigning items myself until last year.
Boy, am I glad I started.
In the one year I’ve been consigning items, I’ve sold over $8,000 worth of furniture and other merchandise. This has netted me over $5,000, and over $3,000 in profit.
Consigning furniture and other accessories is a lot of fun, and has been lucrative for me.
In this post, I want to share with you my consignment store story, talk about how you can sell on consignment, and provide an overview of the potential of starting a consignment store side hustle.
How to Make Money Selling on Consignment
As mentioned above, I started selling my own purchases on consignment about a year ago.
The very first item I consigned was a desk I bought for $43.78 from an auction.
Even though it took almost six months to sell, we eventually sold it for $295, and I received $177 (60%) of the sale.
I only paid $43.78 for it, which means I made a profit of $133.22 – a return of over $300%!
With this first sale, I was hooked. A profit of $133.22 was like getting paid for a full day of work!
Even as I’ve learned about other hustles and ways to invest, I still don’t know where else a person can get these kinds of returns for such little work.
All I had to do was bid on the item, pick it up, touch up any defects and then list it.
Even though it took 6 months to sell, when I got that first $177 check, it felt amazing. I felt empowered. It felt good to know that I could accurately pick out, price, and sell items on my own.
My side business as a furniture consignment store flipper was born.
This has been such a lucrative side hustle that I wanted to share the details of how anyone can do it.
However, there are a few caveats I have to mention which could make your experience different than mine:
I work at a consignment furniture store which has been around for over 30 years and has a good reputation.
Also, because I’ve worked there for so long, I have extensive knowledge on what does, and does not, sell in our stores.
Finally, I’m able to bring items in on my own, and price and list them myself. This makes it much easier than if you just were to bring items in on your own to a store.
Still, there’s no reason you can’t duplicate my results.
I hope this guide proves useful to help you consign items at your local consignment store. Let’s get into the guide on selling items on consignment, and how you can make money selling furniture on consignment.
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you how consignment works, what is consignment store, how much you can make selling furniture, and how to make money selling on consignment.
What is Selling on Consignment?
First, what is consignment and how does consignment work?
Consignment is an arrangement between you and a consignment shop where you leave goods and products at the store, and they will sell it for you.
Selling your items on consignment means you bring your items into a store for the store to sell on your behalf.
When the item sells, you receive a portion of the selling price, with the store receiving the remainder.
Pretty simple, right?
Typically, the store you will bring your items and merchandise to are called consignment stores.
What are Consignment Stores?
Consignment stores typically will focus on one type of product or piece, whether that’s clothing, furniture and home goods, antiques and collectibles, etc.
Usually, consignment stores have higher quality pieces of goods, and you can sell nice furniture and other high quality home goods at consignment stores.
For the purpose of this article, I will be talking about selling furniture at consignment stores.
How Does the Consignment Process Work?
Let’s talk about how consignment works.
If you want to make money selling furniture like I do, then understanding how consignment works is a great first step to selling on consignment.
The general consignment process is most likely the same no matter where you go.
You bring your item into the store to be sold during a certain period of time.
After your item sells, you receive a portion of the selling price, usually 40 to 60 percent (I receive 60).
This portion is called the “Consignment Percentage” or “Consignment Fee”. The higher the consignment percentage, the better for you, but usually around 50 percent is fair for the consignment percentage.
There may be additional stipulations you have to agree to when you consign your items, such as:
Adhering to the store’s markdown schedule
Relinquishing your item to the store after so many days have passed
Relieving the store from liability if something happens to your item, e.g., it breaks
Every store will have different policies and these policies will be made clear in the consignment agreement and consignment rules for that consignment shop.
Before you just start lugging stuff over to your local consignment store, you’ll want to inquire about the store’s policies and procedures to make sure you are on the same page.
Now, let’s talk about some of the items you can consign.
What Kinds of Consignment Products Can You Sell to Make Extra Income?
There are a number of different products you can sell on consignment to make extra money.
When we’re talking about home goods, there is practically an unlimited amount of products we can sell.
For my consignment side hustle, there are four types of products which I focus on consigning:
While every store accepts different items, our store has always accepted a pretty wide variety of items, focusing on high-end consignment furniture. We also carry new accent pieces, home decor and accessories, like lamps, artwork, mirrors, etc.
While I mostly dabble in selling nice furniture and furniture flipping, I’ve also sold other home goods, like lamps, artwork, and various accessories like cains, statues, and trinkets. I’ve even sold stuff I’ve found in other stuff, like a set of drawer dividers I found in a chest I purchased.
Depending on where you live, you may not have a local store that specializes in reselling high-end stuff. Depending on your local store, they may take a wide-variety of things, or are more narrow in what they accept.
To make it easier on yourself and the stores, you’ll want to make sure the items you’re consigning meet three stipulations.
What Is Important When Consigning My Items?
When it comes to consigning furniture, from my experience, there are three important qualities of an item. These important qualities include:
the item is made from high quality materials
the item is in good condition
and the item is in demand
It’s not rocket science – people want things which are nice!
The best items to consign are items that are high-quality, in great condition and are in style now.
So, how do you know what’s a good quality or not?
It’s generally not too difficult, provided you can identify the brand. Identifying the brand is the easiest way to determine a product’s quality.
I generally avoid items with no brand because it’s much harder to sell items with no brand recognition. That being said, if you’re flexible in pricing the item as if it’s a lower tier piece, you may be able to sell it.
Examples of Furniture Brands to Sell in Consignment Stores
A piece of furniture’s price is directly related to its quality. A $2,000 sofa is going to be of a much greater quality than a $200 one. That’s simply the way furniture is made.
For me, I want to be able to flip nice furniture, as these will have the best margins, but I still will flip the low-tiered pieces of furniture if they are available.
That being said, there are ranges to quality. I categorize them into top, mid, and low-tier.
Let’s dive into each of these tiers.
Top Tier Furniture Brands for Consignment Store Selling
The top tier brands of furniture makers are going to be the best quality, and be the highest price. By knowing these brands, you might be able to find an undervalued piece with a big potential for profit.
The pieces made by these brands are known for their high quality, timeless beauty, and traditional design. The items from these top tier brands are popular all over the world, using traditional designs that have been beloved for centuries.
Pieces made by these brands are made of solid wood, are hand crafted, and feature beautiful fine-details like inlay, carvings, and painting. They’re also typically made in the United States.
If you find pieces from these brands for cheap (or free!), you’ll want to snatch them up.
Mid Tier Furniture Brands for Consignment Store Selling
A step down from the top tier furniture brands are the mid-tier furniture manufacturers.
The pieces made by these brands are good-quality, but are not considered “fine furniture” like the makers above.
Pieces made by these brands are usually a mix of solid and manufactured wood. Some of the pieces are made in America, while others are made overseas. They can still include nice details such as inlay and hand-carving.
Now that we’ve talked about brands, I will provide a number of examples of items I’ve sold on consignment to give you a taste of what is possible.
Examples of Furniture Items Sold on Consignment
As I mentioned above, there are so many different things you can sell on consignment.
For my consignment selling side hustle, I’ve focused on upholstery, case goods, and accessories.
Within each of these categories, there are a number of items which you can find at different auctions, thrift stores, estate sales, or online.
Before going into how to find these items, I’m going to share with you all of the different items I’ve sold in the last year.
Upholstery Items Sold on Consignment
Upholstered pieces are any items that you can sit or rest on. Upholstery includes:
Below are examples of sales in each of these different upholstery pieces.
Selling Sofas on Consignment
An example of a sofa I’ve sold is this Ethan Allen Whitney sofa.
This sofa sold for $600.00. Originally, I purchased this sofa (with an ottoman) for $156.35. After the sale, I received $360 – a profit of $203.65!
Selling Club Chairs on Consignment
Club chairs are large arm chairs, usually designed for lounging or curling up on.
An example of a club chair I’ve sold is this C.R. Laine club chair with ottoman.
I purchased this chair for $87.56, and it sold for $350.00. My cut was $210.00 – a profit of $122.44!
Selling Side Chairs on Consignment
Side chairs are chairs that don’t have arms, are usually smaller, and are designed to be used for desks, tables, or as occasional chairs.
An example of a side chair I’ve sold were these two upholstered side chairs. I purchased this set for $31.27, and they sold for $200. My cut was $120, which resulted in a profit of $88.73!
Selling Dining Chairs on Consignment
An example of dining chairs I’ve sold are these TON dining chairs. I purchased a set of six for $106.32, and they sold for $595. After receiving my cut of $357, I ended up with a profit of $250.68!
Selling Ottomans on Consignment
Ottomans are low footrests designed to be used as a footrest or cocktail table in front of a sofa.
An example of an ottoman I’ve sold is this Fabric Possibilities ottoman that sold for $250.00.
I originally had purchased it for $31.27, and after receiving $150 – I ended up with a profit of $118.73!
Case Goods Items Sold on Consignment
Case goods are another type of furniture item I’ve consigned.
The term “case good” refers to an entire category of furniture, usually made out of wood, that either serve as storage or other practical functions.
This ranges from side tables and dining tables to pieces like chests, dressers and nightstands.
Selling Dining Tables on Consignment
Dining tables come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, finishes, etc.
An example of a dining table I’ve sold is this rustic four-piece set that sold for $350.00. I purchased this dining table for $107.57, and received $210 – a profit of $102.43!
Selling Desks on Consignment
An example of a desk I’ve sold was this cherry writing desk that I sold for $175 in cash. I purchased the desk for $38.77, netting me $136.23 in profit!
Selling Side Tables on Consignment
An example of a side table I’ve sold is this leather top side table. This side table sold for $195.00. I purchased it for $25.02, and received $117 after the sale – a profit of $91.98!
Selling Cabinets on Consignment
An example of a cabinet I’ve sold is this tall oriental cabinet.
This cabinet sold for $495.00. I purchased it for $75.05, and after the sale, I received $297. This resulted in a profit of $221.95!
Selling Dressers on Consignment
An example of a dresser I’ve sold is this Harden dresser that sold for $495.00. I purchased it for $68.79, and after the sale, I received $297. This resulted in a profit of $228.21!
Selling Chests on Consignment
An example of a chest I’ve sold is this Vaughn-Basset chest that sold for $300.00. I purchased it for $93.81, and after the sale, I received $180. This resulted in a profit of $86.19!
Selling Nightstands on Consignment
An example of a nightstand I’ve sold is this rustic nightstand that sold for $225.00. I purchased it for $62.54, and after the sale, I received $135. This resulted in a profit of $72.46!
Accessory Items Sold on Consignment
Finally, there are some accessory items which I’ve sold on consignment. These items could include decorations or functional add-ons to another furniture piece.
Selling Drawer Dividers on Consignment
An example of an accessory I’ve sold are these drawer dividers.
I got these for free from a chest, and they sold for $35. I received $21 of that $35, a nice $21 profit!
Selling Elephant Statues on Consignment
Another example of an accessory I’ve sold is this elephant statue. This elephant statue sold for $35. I purchased it for $6.25, and after receiving $21, ended up with a profit of $14.75!
All of these items and examples I’ve listed above can be found and sold. It might take a while to find an underpriced item, or one which you can sell for a lot, but there are deals out there.
Now that I’ve shown you a number of examples of furniture pieces I’ve sold, I will talk about some of the techniques and strategy behind consigning items as a side hustle.
How to Determine if an Item is Worth Selling
Because you (most likely) don’t manage a consignment store, it won’t be up to you to set the price – the store will.
Unfortunately, this leaves you at the store’s mercy.
So, you are left with the question, “how do you know if an item is worth selling if you don’t get to set the price yourself?”
As a rule of thumb, for items which are brand new to a year old and in good condition, you can expect to sell the piece for about half of purchase price. Then, depending on the piece’s quality and brand, condition, marketability, etc., I may go down from there.
While this rule doesn’t always work, I’ve found that it’s at least a good place to start.
For example, I sold this kinda hideous Ethan Allen Whitney sofa on sale for $600, after starting it at $795.
While it’s a nice quality sofa, the pattern itself is quite…unmarketable.
You can see on Ethan Allen’s website this line of sofas originally went for $3,000.00, and then on sale for $2,400.00.
That means, feasibly, I could sell my sofa for $1,200.00 then, right?
Not with that pattern.
See, an item’s desirability is directly determined by its marketability, which is determined by the piece’s quality, design, and appeal. The more narrow the appeal, the less likely your piece will sell. If an item is a high quality piece, but it’s in an ugly color or fabric, it won’t matter that’s it’s expensive.
It’s like painting a Lamborghini like a checkerboard. I mean, it’s still a Lambo, but… it’s a checkerboard.
Not a lot of resale appeal there.
That being said, I’ve had great luck with selling lots of pieces at half of purchase price or above. As long as your item is a good piece in good condition and it’s marketable, you should do fine.
Keep in mind that most stores have experience setting prices, and really it’s in their best interest to get as much for you (and themselves) as they can.
What Items You Should Consign
Now that we have talked about some of the strategy behind the mindset of the consignment stores, let’s talk about which items you should consign, and how you can source your items.
When thinking about which items to consign, this will be very dependent on where you live.
From the perspective of this post, I don’t have an answers which will cover everyone, and for you, this is probably going to be the most difficult question to answer.
There are so many factors that dictate what is going to be popular in your area.
In the city I work, we’re known for very traditional high-end furniture like this:
However, this may be totally different than the style typically seen in a downtown New York apartment.
Because of this, it’s going to be difficult for me to tell you what you should buy and consign.
The best way to determine what is popular with consignment stores in your area is to just ask your local store what’s most popular, and then try to find pieces like that, using the above criteria.
Next, let’s discuss where you can source items to sell on consignment.
Where to Source Items to Sell on Consignment
When flipping any retail merchandise for extra income, sourcing is the most important thing to focus on.
How you source your items most will most likely vary depending on where you’re located.
If you’re in a dense packed city, you may use garage sales more frequently than someone who lives in a rural area.
It’ll be up to you to figure out how best to source your items.
There’s practically an unlimited number of ways to get inventory, but a few great ways are:
Online, through Craigslist or Offer Up
Let’s go into each of these in more detail.
Using Auctions to Find Items to Consign
Auctions are a great way to find items to sell on consignment.
I mainly use auctions to source my items.
I’m lucky there’s a huge auction house just twenty minutes away from me which has a new auction every week with hundreds of new items, sourced from all over. The items come from private estates, repossessed pieces, clearance items from stores, etc., and there is a ton of variety.
Auctions are a great way to get good, high quality stuff from a diverse variety of sources, and generally at good prices.
Sometimes, you can get things for a steal if you have more knowledge than the average consumer.
Being knowledgeable about furniture (and being willing to do the research), has made all the difference. For example, I just won an auction for a set of four of these TON chairs for just $18.76.
You wouldn’t know it from looking at them, but these normally retail online for over $300 a chair.
The only reason I won them was because I recognized the potential in them and then did my research.
For me, much of my knowledge comes from knowing, understanding, and appreciating fine furniture.
It’s not something I was planning to get into, but it was where I went in my professional life, and now I understand a lot about the industry.
Perhaps you have a skill or knowledge about a particular industry that you can leverage in this way?
Here are a few sources to help you find auctions in your area:
Using Garage Sales and Estate Sales to Find Items to Consign
Garage and estate sales are other places you can find items to consign.
I don’t really go to estate or garage sales too frequently because, quite frankly, most people don’t purchase high-end furniture.
The average person doesn’t really have an appreciate for fine furniture. And why would they? They have kids and pets and relatives, and any number of things that aren’t really compatible with having a $25,000 dining table.
Not exactly practical.
However, estate sales can still be a good way to get good furniture, provided that the estate doesn’t belong to a person a million years old.
Unfortunately, I don’t have many tips I can offer on estate sales, but I will say:
Bring cash or a check
Get there early
Most garage/estate sales will be cash only, so you don’t want to get caught with your pants down only having a card.
Also, most garage/estate sales can be pretty popular, so the earlier you get there, the earlier you’ll have access to the best stuff.
Sometimes in the trash, you can find treasure. Looking in the trash can sometimes lead to finding items to consign.
I haven’t found furniture this way myself, but I’ve heard of many people getting perfectly good furniture from the side of the curb.
Always be sure to ask if you can have something before just taking it, though.
I once made the mistake of leaving a couple tables near the curb in our yard while I went to go pick up some more items from an auction, and when I came back they were gone. That really made me mad.
So I’ll say it again: don’t just take stuff from people’s yards.
Can You Find Items on Craigslist/Offer Up to Sell?
Finally, you can find items to consign online by using different apps and marketplace websites.
I haven’t gotten any of my items from Craigslist or apps like Offer Up, but I have heard of people successfully sourcing items from there.
If you have an eye for furniture/accessories, it may be possible for you to flip items using these sites. Just be careful – there are a lot of weirdos out there.
Here’s a link to Craigslist. If you go to the “For Sale” section, you can see all the available furniture people are trying to sell.
Now that we have talked about sourcing items to consign, let’s talk about the profit potential of selling on consignment, and some of my recommendations for you if you think consigning could be a fun side hustle.
How Much Money Can I Make Consigning Furniture?
Consigning furniture can be a lucrative side hustle.
You can make a decent amount of money selling furniture.
Last year, I profited over $3,000 selling furniture by consigning furniture and accessories.
If you can acquire good-quality items at a cheap price and can consign them at a nice store, you can definitely make some good money.
Not bad for a side hustle which takes just a couple hours a week.
If you were to sell one item a month, you could make a few hundred dollars extra this year. Ramping your efforts up to selling multiple items a month could lead to a few thousand dollars in income this year.
If you can get a steady stream of items and have a regular store you can go to, there’s no reason consigning furniture can’t be a lucrative side hustle for you.
Common Misconceptions About Selling on Consignment
One of the most popular misconceptions about consignment furniture is with how much money people expect to make.
Most people are woefully unrealistic about what their furniture is worth.
Per the rule of pricing listed above, at most you should expect to have your item listed for half price, after which it sells you may get a 40/50/60 percent commission, depending on the store.
This averages out to about one-quarter’s worth the original purchase price.
Not a crazy amount of money, depending on the piece – but that’s why we’re not selling our own items, we’re selling items we’ve gotten for cheap.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Placing Items on Consignment
While selling your items on consignment can be a great way to earn some extra money, it does have some advantages and disadvantages compared to selling your stuff in a more traditional way.
Advantages of Placing Items on Consignment
One of the biggest advantages of selling your items on consignment is that it’s way less work for you than flipping things on eBay or a similar marketplace platform online.
You don’t have to worry about taking pictures of your item, listing it on a site, dealing with people calling you, haggling over price with customers, worrying about storage, the shipping of items, etc.
All of that is handled by the store on your behalf.
That being said, there are some clear disadvantages to selling items on consignment:
Disadvantages of Placing Items on Consignment
There are a few disadvantages of placing items on consignment. These disadvantages include:
Less Control Over Price
Limited to Your Geographical Area
One of the biggest disadvantages of selling items on consignment is that you don’t have any control over what your item is priced at. If the store thinks your piece will only sell at $85 but you think it’s worth more, you either take their offer or try to sell it on your own.
Another disadvantage of selling at a consignment store is that, especially if it’s a small business, the business is limited by its geographical area.
Unless the business has a website that can help get your item seen by people all over the United States, it’s likely that someone from your area will have to purchase the piece. This means there is less chance your piece will sell because it’s limited by the local market. Trying to sell a blue bowl on consignment in a market that doesn’t like blue bowls will make it difficult for your piece to sell.
Are You Interested in Starting to Consign Items to Make More Money?
Hopefully this post has given you a lot of great information into the world of consignment stores and selling furniture and other items on consignment.
If you have knowledge of furniture (or are at least willing to do the research) and have a reputable consignment store in your area, then consigning furniture and accessories may be a great way for you to make some money on the side.
Googling “Consignment shops near me” can help you start this side hustle, and then by following this guide, you can be on your way to selling furniture and selling other products on consignment to make more money.
Again, using the techniques listed above has netted me over $3,000 in profit by selling furniture!
Clearly, there is money to be made flipping furniture. Just give it a shot!
Saving your $1,000 can be done. Getting to $1,000 in the bank isn’t too difficult, but can take some time. In this post, you’ll learn about 5 simple steps you can take to save your first $1,000.
Did you know? Just 40% of Americans are able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense. Let’s change that narrative, and help you save your first $1,000 this year.
Saving money might seem like a daunting task, especially if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Saving money is even worse when you are tired from carrying the burden of debt.
However, saving money is something everyone should do. There are very few pieces of one-size-fits-all advice in the personal finance world, but saving money, even a little, will make an impact on your life.
Even a small sum of $1000 in a savings account can stop you from falling behind if unexpected expenses pop up. There is not one person who wouldn’t benefit from a small cash cushion!
This article covers the a few simple steps you can take to save your first $1,000:
There are a number of benefits to saving money. One is the obvious improvement of your financial situation.
However, there are more than just financial benefits to saving this sum of money. There is also the satisfaction (and stress-relief) that comes from feeling in control of your money!
Now, you now need to add a deadline in order to make it a true goal. If you didn’t have a deadline, it’d be difficult to measure the goal and you will be less likely to accomplish it!
The date component of the goal could be as aggressive or conservative as you’d like. This will depend on your personal situation as well as how much you are able to change in it. A good benchmark would be 3 to 12 months.
Your goal should look something like this:
I will save $1000 within 6 months.
Now that you have your goal in mind, let’s move on to how you will accomplish your savings goal.
2. Break Down Your Big Savings Goal into Smaller Savings Goals
Saving $1,000 for the first time might seem intimidating and/or discouraging. Luckily for you, there is a simple trick to make your savings goal much more manageable!
To make your big savings goal more manageable, you can break it into smaller savings goals. These smaller savings goals need a time component to them just like the main goals.
Looking back at our example goal, saying I will save $1000 in 6 months is the same as saying:
I will save $500 in three months two times,
by saving $166.67 every month,
which means I have to save $83.34 every paycheck (biweekly), and
this results in saving $41.67 a week
By focusing on the $41.67 a week in savings, the goal seems a lot more manageable and attainable.
Does saving $41.67 a week sound a lot more manageable than $1000 in 6 months?
Breaking your big goals into smaller goals is research-backed as well. A study conducted jointly by USC and Harvard has shown breaking down big goals is effective due to the dopamine released by accomplishing your small goals.
Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone. Your brain appreciates these frequent small “rewards” more than chasing the infrequent big ones!
By staying consistent, and hitting your weekly saving goal of $41.67, in 6 months, you’ll hit $1,000 in savings! Do you believe this is possible?
Let’s move on to the next step and talk about how to save this $41.67 a week.
3. Determine How to Achieve Your Smaller Saving Goals
You’ve gotten the what, when, and why figured out. This next step will help you answer the question “How?”
You now need to figure out how to save that $41.67 a week.
There are many ways you can go about this, however they all stem from the same principle: the difference between income and expenses, and then saving that difference.
For you, you may already have that income and expense gap, but may want to set up automations to help with increasing your bank account balance.
Automate Your Savings to Save Your First $1,000
Automating your savings can be a great way to help you make sure you don’t touch your $41.67 weekly savings.
Not only does automation make managing your money hassle-free, it also can help greatly if you find it difficult to manage your discretionary spending.
Quite simply, you set up an auto-transfer so that money is moved from your checking account to a savings account after payday. This removes the element of choice, meaning you will save money, and you will make it work!
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving” – Warren Buffett
This pay yourself first mentality can be very effective. Let’s recall our example goal of $1000 in 6 months.
You would set up a biweekly auto-transfer in the amount of $85 (the exact amount is $83.34, but it’s easier to stick to round numbers). Now, that money is put away, you can spend the rest of the money however you’d like!
One word of caution would be to take care to not save more than you can afford. Doing a quick projection of your expenses can help to see if you have enough cash left over after saving to pay the bills!
If you can’t afford to save this much with your current income and expense gap, then it might be best to focus on increasing the gap by increasing your income, or decreasing your expenses.
4. Increase Your Income and Expense Gap
One of the fastest ways to save more money is by increasing the gap between your income and expenses. If you increase your income by $100 a month, and keep your expenses the same, then you will have the ability to save that $100 a month right away.
Likewise, if you decrease your expenses by $100 a month, and keep your income the same, you can save that $100 a month right away.
There are a number of ways you can increase your income, or decrease your expenses. Let’s go into a brief discussion on these two topics.
Cut Expenses Where Possible to Save More Money
Most people associate cutting expenses with being “cheap.” However, this doesn’t need to be the case! The easiest way to cut down expenses is by focusing on the three biggest categories.
These three categories alone make up for 61.3% of the average American household spending.
The three are housing, transportation and food. You will find it most effective to focus your efforts on reducing expenses here!
The biggest expense is housing. Some ways to reduce housing costs include:
Downsizing your home
Renting out space on AirBnB
Trying to save $100 on food, entertainment, or other necessary items may be difficult, but moving to a lower area, or opting for a non-luxury apartment instead of the luxury apartment will do wonders for your ability to save.
Reducing transportation costs basically falls along the lines of reducing car usage. Deciding to buy a used car, instead of a new car would help you reduce transportation costs. Also, buying a car with better gas mileage will help as well.
If you want to cut other expenses, subscription services are another place where money will go to waste!
Increase Your Income through a Raise or Side Hustles to Save More
The alternative to cutting expenses is increasing income. The drawback to cutting expenses is that you can only reduce your expenses by so much. Increasing your income on the other hand effectively has no bounds!
Arguably the easiest way to boost your savings is keep your expenses constant whenever you increase your income. Your income can increase through getting a raise, getting a new job, or starting a side hustle.
I managed to grow my income from $12 an hour to $100,000+ a year in my 20’s.
What I realized is increasing your income is all about providing VALUE.
Focusing on providing value in your work and hustles will lead to more gigs, higher compensation, and more money coming in on a monthly basis.
With more money coming into your bank account, you can save more money.
5. Consistent Actions Lead to Success in Saving Your First $1,000
By this point you have came up with a savings goal, broken it up into a series of smaller goals, and determined how you’re going to accomplish the goal. Now, it’s time to take action and achieve your goal.
Consistency is key when it comes to saving your first $1,000, and it’s just as important for the next $1,000.
Trying to save a large sum of money in a short amount of time might not be realistic, but you can definitely do it over time.
Saving small, regular amounts on a consistent basis is much more likely to result in you accomplishing your goal.
Setting up auto-transfers (as I previously mentioned) effectively forces you to be consistent in contributing towards saving your first $1,000.
All you need to focus on is the methods you use to make these contributions possible such as spending less and earning more.
Save Your First $1,000 This Year with These Saving Tips!
The act of saving $1000 involves just as much planning as it does execution.
Following these 5 simple steps will help you:
set a realistic savings goal
break it down into manageable smaller goals
optimize your savings rate
stay committed and motivated until you hit your goal
Remember, not only do you have to do things properly; you have to do it consistently as well.
The discipline gained and lessons learned from saving money are applicable for goal reaching in many other aspects of life.
Consistency can help whether you are undertaking a huge work project or you are trying to lose weight for the summer.
Think about past experiences: you most likely only became good at something through months and months of practice.
While it took a while, by putting in the work, you achieved your goal. You can do the same thing here with saving money over time.
Saving your first $1,000 will be incredible for helping you get to a better financial situation.
Can’t wait to see your results after you get started saving!!
This post is a guest post from Daniella who writes at iliketodabble. Over the past few years, Daniella and her wife have been making money through flipping guitars and other items found online, or at thrift stores. In this side hustle guest post series, I’m looking to inspire others with unique stories of how people are making some extra money. Starting a side hustle as a flipper might be for you. Read on below to learn how to start a flipping side hustle!
My wife and I started our flipping side hustle together back in 2017 around the same time I started iliketodabble.com. Flipping is whenever you purchase something you know you can resell for a profit.
We flipped items on our own before we ever met each other, but they weren’t nearly close to the volume we’ve done since we met.
My wife is a huge guitar collector, and when we were thinking of ways to make extra money on the side, we turned to the guitars. At the time, we were also in the beginning process of decluttering, so we were also looking for ideas of what to sell.
It was like a light bulb went off in her head. Just like that, she got me on the bandwagon.
It is a rush when you can find something for $5 at a store and can resell that same thing for $100 online. Like when she finds an underpriced guitar on eBay listed for $250 that she knows she can resell it for $850+, things get REAL.
A $600+ profit just for buying something, and then selling it for more? That’s what I’m talking about.
In the rest of this post, I’m going to share with you our story of flipping guitars, how you can start a flipping side hustle, and my recommendations for flipping underpriced items.
How to Get Started Flipping Guitars and Other Underpriced Items
First, let’s talk about how we got started with our flipping side hustle.
At the beginning, my wife started listing a couple of guitars and accessories for sale on her eBay account and they went quick. After this, we bought a couple more off of eBay with some of that money.
We only were looking for lower priced guitars that we knew would sell for much more than they were currently listed for.
How did we find them so cheap? With some knowledge of the guitars, we could figure out when a seller doesn’t realize the brand and rarity of the guitar they’re selling.
After figuring out our acquisition and pricing for a number of different guitars, we started to branch out from eBay, We got acquainted with some other marketplace apps to get the listings in front of more eyes on apps including:
Facebook Marketplace for larger items we don’t want to ship, such as guitar amps
After figuring out how to flip guitars successfully on multiple platforms, we then branched out with computer accessories, collectibles, and even designer handbags (which I love!!)
For the designer handbags, I started following her advice for finding lower priced items to flip on eBay. I also used apps like Poshmark and Mercari (as the people on those apps browsing for designer brands are much greater than eBay for certain brands). Here are some more sites and apps for selling using this list.
How to Price Items to Make a Profit Flipping
Before buying an item, you want to figure out what price you will look to sell at to see if it’s worth the purchase.
We price items in a variety of ways, but always start with the eBay search function and filtering on “Sold items” to see what they were recently sold for. Then we work around that price.
We always go a bit higher than what they were recently sold for (and this has seemed to work for us).
You can also use specific product knowledge to get an estimate of the sales price. My wife has a lot of knowledge of guitars, and knows what certain guitar brands are selling for at Guitar Center, other music stores, and other apps.
Using eBay’s search will help, but also important to compare prices across platforms.
If an item doesn’t sell right away, it is ok. We have busier times and slower times. Usually the summer and holidays are pretty strong, whereas March and April are sometimes a little slow.
What sort of skills do you need to be a “flipper”?
Flexibility for communication with buyers and patience are must have skills for this side hustle. Also, it’s important to have a passion for research and basic photography skills.
Finally, try as hard as you can to stand firm on your pricing.
Buyers will jerk you around and try to convince you that what you have isn’t worth the price you list it for.
Don’t believe them when they send you an offer of $30 on an item listed for $100.
I always send those offers back with the original price. I might drop it by $5 or $10 if the item has been sitting there for a while and not getting any bites. It’s possible I may drop the price more though if I want to just get rid of the item (I have less patience than my wife does who hardly ever gives deals for guitars.)
If we get “low balled” on a guitar, we always counter with the original price but offer to throw in a freebie like guitar pics or a soft case.
Again, communication is very important for flipping, and staying firm on your price will allow for higher profits and income over time.
How much money can you make with flipping thrift store items?
The potential for how much money you can make flipping depends on the products you flip. Flipping guitars works great for us because we can flip 1 guitar and make $500 off of it. I would have to buy and resell a lot of bags and clothes from the thrift store to equal that.
Something to consider is any repairs or modifications before listing.
There are times where we have to make minor repairs or modifications on guitars before listing. This way, we can we can list them higher. We do take these repairs into consideration, because time is money, right?
The less effort you have to put into a flip, the better.
We recently sold a Gibson Firebird for $525 (not including shipping). We bought it at $316, giving us about a $200 profit. This isn’t as high as other guitars, but there was no work required on it what-so-ever. With zero effort on our part, besides packaging and shipping it, $200 is pretty good.
There have been months where we made over $2,000 flipping guitars and other items, and then other months like April where we made a little less than $300. The most expensive guitar we sold was a Gretsch for $950.
For us, our profits have depended on how much we have listed, how quickly we can get new ones listed when others sell, the demand and timing.
We are not flipping geniuses either. We make mistakes.
One example of a mistake was when I pressured my wife to sell a guitar she got a fairly good offer on. I was being rushy as I normally am (I am a restless Virgo that has no patience – I am working on it ☺ ). A couple of months later that same guitar was selling for $400 more than what we sold it for!
Take that lesson and know if a sale doesn’t feel right to you, and you know you can make more if you wait, then wait.
Guitars are definitely a sort of investment where their price can grow over time with certain brands.
Our Recommendations for Your Flipping Side Hustle
Disclaimer: Guitars are expensive. Don’t try to buy a random one you found for cheap to flip without researching as much as possible about that certain guitar.
Flipping guitars isn’t a common side hustle, but isn’t a hard one if you know what you’re doing.
You have to really love guitars to know the exact pricing for some of these brands depending on where they were made, when they were made, how many were made, rarity, demand, specific modifications, etc.
Whatever it is you want to try flipping to make extra money, make sure you like reading about it, researching about it and browsing for it online and in stores. The item has to be something you truly love. I don’t love guitars, so my wife does all the research for them.
I do however love taking pictures, helping with packaging and shipping.
For me, I love browsing for designer items and collectibles to add to our flipping inventory, and focus more of my research and purchasing on these things.
When I start researching, there are a number of things I look out for when purchasing an item to flip:
The item’s condition
Is it a special edition or rarity?
What is it currently selling for (or sold for) on eBay?
How much profit do you think you can make?
How will you package and ship the item and the costs of that? Be sure to charge enough to cover these costs.
This post is a guest post from Michelle, who writes at Savvy History. In this post, she shares her side hustle story. Throughout Michelle’s life, she has been a full-time musician, and part-time musician, and has actually made good money doing both! In this side hustle guest post series, I’m looking to inspire others with unique stories of how people are making some extra money. Starting a side hustle as a musician might be for you. Read on below to learn if you can actually make money as a musician!
Hi, I’m Michelle from the band and blog Savvy History.
I play original music while selling my own CDs at festivals, private parties, coffee shops, bars, and colleges in the Midwest.
Sometimes, I even get to ride on cruise boats going up and down the Mississippi! My husband used to play bass with me at most of the shows, but now, he stays home with our son (or they come along to watch.)
I’ll be sharing with you how I’ve made money with my music, and talk about this (potentially) lucrative side hustle.
How I Got Started as a Full-Time Musician
I started playing the guitar at 17 because I had stress fractures in both my knees.
Long story short, I felt useless on crutches and wanted to push myself in a different way than long-distance running. I was looking for a creative outlet after a unique upbringing.
When I realized I could put my life-long love of poetry into music via learning to play an instrument, I was hooked on the guitar and played it every chance I could get.
After writing a few songs and garnering a positive response, I naively decided to be a singer-songwriter when I grew up.
I pulled back on my interest in college and kind of did a 180 with my life. (For example, I had visited Stanford and actually considered applying.) Instead of pursuing an academic path, I started learning more and more on my own after school and looking at society differently (all while forming an opinion about the type of life I wanted with the help of artists and music).
By 18, I was making money off my music. I wrote songs before ever learning to play anyone else’s hit songs (this wasn’t the wisest way to go about it, but I simply had a lot I wanted to express). The first song I did learn to play was Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.
Early Success as a Musician Investing in My Musical Career
While not everyone can become successful after a few years, I found some early success as a musician after participating in a battle of the bands in high school.
After getting 2nd place at a battle of the bands in high school (and making a whopping $38 off my original songs), I invested my own money to make a CD.
I realized if this was a dream of mine, I’d have to upgrade my equipment and take it a little more seriously.
I bought a $350 PA, bought a few mics, and started playing at coffee shops and bars in the area. Some places paid me money, some places paid me in food, and sometimes I simply made decent money on tips and CD sales.
Also, I obtained a bartender’s license in Wisconsin just so I could legally be in some of the bars (where I was paid the best as opposed to some of the coffee shops).
I worked in a factory part-time while going to community college.
When I realized I could make more money off my music than working “a real job,” I became incredibly frugal, launched a website, booked up to 100 shows a year, and became a full-time musician for a couple of years!
What Skills Do I Need to Make Money as a Musician?
There are a number of skills to learn and focus on to become a successful musician.
The discipline to learn an instrument is an obvious and absolute must. You need to be able to keep your eyes on your own life and put creative living above all else.
I’m still working on this and have a lot to learn after all these years.
Also, if you want to make money playing shows, you need to garner a business mindset, learn to schedule and book venues, and promote yourself (to some extent).
In addition, in my experience, the ability to write your own music helps a lot.
If you are a great musician (but you only play other people’s music), you are already technically in the red because you need to pay licensing fees to big publishing companies like BMI (in order to perform popular songs live).
I had CDs of my own original music which would cost me $1 to make, I would buy 1,000 of them at a time, and then I would sell them for $10. I did this with five albums (and this brought in some decent income).
Self-Promotion is Very Important for Musicians
As a side note, I absolutely stunk at promoting myself. To make up for it, I would purposely book shows where people were already milling about (versus expecting people to come to me).
For example, I would start by sending a song sample to a booker at a large festival (like the Stone Arch Bridge Festival in St. Paul). Then I would get there, play my music, have a built-in audience, sell CDs, and leave with variable amounts money (I never knew if I’d sell 40 CDs or 10).
I was not the type of artist who could sell tickets for quiet intimate shows where the focus was on me for the night. The “go-where-the-people-already-are” approach (or I guess you could say “strategy”) worked for me.
While I didn’t garner a large specific fan base or make as much money as I could have, I also skipped all of the parts about marketing myself that I wasn’t comfortable with.
I didn’t have a social media presence most of my career, or an email list. I was basically banking off how good I could be each time I showed up in front of strangers.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the above approach was wise for a variety of reasons. I simply think it’s what I did at the height of my career because I lacked self-esteem and any true belief that people would become long-term “fans.” I struggled with artistic promotion SO MUCH.
It’s probably the main reason I quit playing full-time. Maybe you will be able to handle this better if you pursue a musical side hustle.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Musician?
Contrary to popular belief, you can actually make money as a musician.
Make no mistake, making money as a musician takes a lot of work and luck, and is very tough.
However, it is possible.
For me, I never know what I’m going to make off a given show because I never know how the audience is going to react.
While this might drive some people crazy, I’ve always found it kind of exciting and informative. Some nights, I’ll sell all of my CDs and get a bunch in tips; other nights, I won’t sell anything.
Now, I accept gigs at $200 an hour or more as a flat rate, though in the past, I’ve made anywhere from $10 to $700 at a gig.
For tips and CD sales, it’s an interesting psychological challenge to make money. It’s a great way to obtain direct feedback from people about my music. I have learned a ton about behavioral economics while putting myself out there.
For one, it takes a crowd to make a crowd. If people are already coming up to me and buying items, then others suddenly feel comfortable doing it. If a crowd sees someone else has already tipped me, then they all start doing it.
However, there are other ways you can make money if you don’t want to try to sell CDs.
Gigs and Events Where You Can Make Money as a Musician
There are a number of different events and occasions where people will hire musicians.
I’ve played weddings (my least favorite) and I’ve played private parties (where my enjoyment depends on the party – Norwegians and Irish people are COOL).
My favorite type of gig is a daytime family-friendly festival that pays well for a morning or early-afternoon slot and then I’m back in time for dinner (and able to hang out with my own friends and family that night).
When I show up to play music, I treat it like a job. I don’t like wasting time. Some might even say a “musician’s lifestyle” doesn’t fit me well. (They are right. It doesn’t. I’m a square who hates waiting around.)
However, the “behind the scenes” tasks of songwriting and hyper-scheduling DO fit me incredibly well,… so I’m working on switching it up.
Part of our blog is devoted to figuring out how to make money as niche musicians no longer willing to travel or stay out late.
Maybe… But we’ve seen stranger ideas succeed (like paying off our house with our music money), so here we are!
How You Can Book Festivals and Well-Paid Gigs as a Musician
As said above, I’m kind of leaving big festivals behind, but I do have a lot of past experience.
Festivals are fantastic for having fun (free ticket bonus!), getting exposure as an artist, and meeting people – if you are ready to hustle.
Below are 6 steps you can use to land a gig as a musician for money:
Obtain decent recordings of your music (this is a huge task if you are taking it seriously)
These can be audio recordings (and/or live videos of successful past shows).
Choose around 3 samples of your music.
Put this music online in an EPK (electronic press kit)
When you are ready to target some festivals, you can easily send this as a link in an email functioning like a pitch.
Make sure you have a great bio written in 3rd person
include recommendations from others (it’s better to have someone else brag about you than to have you brag about yourself)
include some press pics in the EPK that you would be comfortable having on posters, in brochures, and in local papers.
Understand the nature of the festivals you are pitching to.
For example, what level of musicians do they book?
Are you going to fit in at the bottom of their roster or the top?
Do you have any ball-park about how much money they are paying other artists?
Understand your niche.
For example, I’ve played bluegrass festivals and barely fit in (I knew it and so did everyone else). I fit in much better at folk-festivals.
Be a decent human being.
It should go without saying, but show up on time, don’t swear in front of kids, say thank you, get your money, and leave without a trace.
By following these steps, you will have a better chance of landing gigs and paid festivals.
What are some of the Pros and Cons of a Musical Career?
With all side hustles, there are pros and cons.
For my musician side hustle, one of my favorite things is how I’ve been able to meet some amazing people.
I actually met my husband while playing music at a benefit show in a small town on the Mississippi!
He was in a band with a lot of music industry “experience” when I met him (quotes used to denote the music industry can be a mess). Then he started playing music with me almost exclusively. We’ve kept everything independently owned and operated as opposed to his music label experience.
One con of being a musician would be you may need to travel a lot to get to different gigs and events.
We’ve never traveled nationally or internationally together because we like to sleep in our own house. He toured nationally in his old band before I met him.
In addition, we used to travel up to 8 hours away, but now only travel within a three-hour radius.
Does Starting a Musicial Side Hustle Sound Interesting to You?
I love playing music and hope that this post on my musical side hustle can inspire you!
For now, my husband and I are trying to figure out the next steps. While being a musician is a lot of fun, it is also tough.
We started our current blog because we are at a crossroads with our entire music operation.
We used to play dozens of shows per year (up to 100)! Now, I am playing solo and only booking gigs that seek me out first. I put no effort into booking gigs anymore. If something comes up, it’s riding off past networking.
We’re busy at home with our child, we have other full-time careers, and we like it this way.
Looking ahead, we would like to record our 30 songs (written through the perspective of overlooked historical people), start a Youtube channel or podcast devoted to the songs, and possibly experiment with selling music online. We hope to pull together information on education, money, creativity, and music (and make it fun).
This post is a guest post from The Budget Epicurean, sharing her side hustle story. Her side hustle is as a food tour guide, and she was able to make a few hundred dollars a month sharing her passion of food. In this side hustle guest post series, I’m looking to inspire others with unique stories of how people are making some extra money. Starting a side hustle as a food tour guide might be for you. Read on below to learn how to become a food tour guide to earn some extra money on the side!
I remember it like it was yesterday, the early afternoon of April 11, 2015 in Denver Colorado. My mom had come for a visit while I was attending graduate school.
The sun was shining but the weather was still chilly up in the mile high city.
She was in town for just a few days, and had a super fun surprise planned for us, she said.
She took my on my very first Food Tour.
I had never heard of a food tour before this, but it totally makes sense. The tour usually stops at 4 to 6 food or drink spots, with some sightseeing along the way. The group with us was about ten people total, and we had a blast.
We ate, drank, laughed, learned, ate some more, walked, made friends, drank, and ate some more.
Why would anyone pay $50 for one dinner at one location, when you can see five different places and sample all their food and the different ambiances?! Why not learn about all sorts of fun facts, history, and information about the city you are in as well as each restaurant and food you try?
From that day I was hooked on food tours, and thought I could become a food tour guide.
Starting My Food Tour Guide Side Hustle
This food tour experience stuck with me for the next few months.
Sadly, soon after I left graduate school, and not long after that, also left the state of Colorado.
Real estate prices were just too high (thanks, pot laws) for my soon-to-be husband and I to afford the home we wanted.
With these high prices, we jumped ship to the other side of the country, and moved to Connecticut.
Where the ocean was literally frozen and the high was zero.
Yes, we are well aware of how insane that was.
Anyways, we settled into East Coast life, and the idea of being a food tour guide stuck around. My husband was so supportive, he even thought I could start my own tour company.
Step one was to see if there was even a market for such a thing in our new town. Turned out, there was a market, because there already was a food tour company! It had been around for several years already at that point.
So, I figured, rather than try to start up a competing tour, why not keep my lucrative day job and just see if I could learn the ropes from this company which clearly already knew what it was doing?
And the rest is history.
I was a guide in Connecticut for 2 years. Then when we moved again, to our forever home in North Carolina, I immediately found a tour company, contacted the owner, and have been guiding for them for another 2 ½ years.
I have done between 1 and 6 tours per month, on Saturdays or Sundays, and a few special events. Most tours I’ve done are 1 – 2 miles walking, round trip, and take 3-5 hours.
I’ve loved doing this fun side hustle and want to share some more details on how you could start working as a food tour guide.
What is a Food Tour Guide?
A food tour guide is exactly that, a guide for a food tour!
A food tour is typically walking, and has several stops. The group meets up somewhere, and the guide will introduce themselves and the tour route, set the expectations, and hopefully do a little intro of the town.
In addition, you’ll include an icebreaker to get the group comfortable if they don’t already know each other and look to create an enjoyable experience for everyone.
The guide then leads the group through the tour from restaurant to restaurant, sometimes stopping at notable locations along the way to describe some history of the place you’re touring or a notable piece of art, etc.
We also call ahead to each stop to let them know the final head count on the tour, remind them of any allergies or special requests, and let them know if the group in on schedule or not.
The guide’s main goal is to make sure each restaurant treats us well and that the guests are having a good time.
How Can I Become a Food Tour Guide?
Most cities have food tour guide companies.
I’d start by googling “Food Tour in <your city>” and see if there are already any companies locally.
If so, go check out their website. There will likely be a contact page, just send the owner an email and say you are interested in learning more and becoming a guide for them.
If there are no tour companies in your area, then you have some big choices to make.
Do you have a cluster of good food stops close enough to walk between them all (1-2 miles is pretty typical)?
Do you have enough interest that people in your town will want to do tours, and preferably a good amount of tourists as well?
If the answer to these questions is yes, you could possibly start your own food tour guide company and take people to different restaurants.
You would need to go talk to the business owners to find partners on your tours, and work out arrangements with each restaurant/business.
Joining an existing company would most likely be the easiest, but starting your own company is always an option.
What is Expected of a Food Tour Guide?
As the tour guide, you are the de facto expert of food, culture and geography.
On the tour, people ask you about food, the restaurants you are going to, anything about the town you are touring or the state you are in. They also ask about you, and how you got into food tour guiding.
You should make sure you have an elevator pitch about yourself prepared, and some fun facts about your town.
It helps if you’ve been to the stops on your tour before, and for a real overachiever introduce yourself to the owners and or staff and ask if they have any stories or history they want your tour to know about.
Some additional expectations and things to do on the food tours are:
You may need to pay or tip at some of the stops, in which case your company owner should supply you cash ahead of time or a company credit card.
You are expected to show up on time, to be able to command a groups’ attention, and to shepherd people safely through a city.
When you are on the tour, show your personality! You are also expected to be outgoing, fun and loud, especially at the beginning of the tour before everyone gets more comfortable.
Finally, you want to provide them a relaxing, fun, and memorable experience.
How Much Can I Make as a Food Tour Guide?
As a food tour guide, you can make potentially $100 a tour. You will likely be paid a flat fee per tour by the company, plus any tips from your guests.
While this isn’t a super lucrative side hustle, you can still make some extra money to pay down debt, save more, or get some extra spending money.
I have been paid between $35 – $50 per tour by the companies I’ve worked for, and for tips, these have varied drastically.
My best tour was a 6 person for which I got $100 in tips, but I’ve also had several tours with $0 in tips.
You typically can’t predict how well people will or will not tip you; I’ve had tours I thought went very well and the group had a blast, and then got nothing.
The hourly rate is not the greatest, as most tours run 3-4 hours, but the tips can push it into lucrative territory.
That being said, you will most likely get a free meal out of it, which adds a little bit more to the compensation!
What are the Hours Like for Food Tour Guides?
Each food tour is different, but typically, a tour will be 3 to 5 hours. The amount of time a tour will take is completely dependent on how many stops you are scheduled to take.
Most tours run on the weekends, some companies have weeknights or daytime tours offered. Companies offer private tours for birthdays, company events, bachelorette parties, etc.
Depending on the company you work for, you could work up to every weekend each month.
Finally, most tours also run no matter the weather unless it is truly severe. You will want to dress and plan accordingly. Whether that means bringing an umbrella, layers, or a thick winter coat and hat, you’ll want to be prepared.
All in all, if you work most weekends, you could expect to make a few hundred extra dollars a month from your food guide side hustle!
What’s the Best and Worst Parts of Being a Food Tour Guide?
Every side hustle has its pros and cons.
The best part of being a food tour guide is definitely getting to meet all the people on the tours, and the local restaurant staff in your town.
I meet people who lived there their whole life, and meet out of town people visiting family, touring colleges, or celebrating birthdays. Touring different places and meeting people is always fun and different, and I get to learn a lot myself about other people and cultures.
Also, you usually get to eat and drink along with the tour group, so I get a free dinner every Saturday tour!
The worst part of being a food tour guide is when you think you did a really great job guiding the tour, and then get zero tips. I try not to take it personally and think some people just don’t know to how to tip so, or maybe don’t have the spare cash flow to do so.
Become a Food Tour Guide and Make Some Extra Money
There you have it, the glamorous life of a food tour guide side hustler!
If you are the type of person who is very outgoing and likes getting people to talk to each other and telling stories, becoming a food tour guide might be for you.
If you seek out knowledge about your town and local restaurants and like sharing those facts, and if you love eating and talking about food and don’t mind walking, becoming a food tour guide is the hustle for you.