Have you ever heard of a “side gig”? Or perhaps a “side hustle”? Chances are you have, or are at least familiar with the concept. Both of these terms refer to a phenomenon that exploded during the Great Recession. Individuals who lost jobs or were scrambling to survive on reduced household incomes started new careers as freelancers and independent contractors, or took on a second job “on the side” (thus the phrasing). Once a necessity to get by financially, the “gig economy” is now the preference of more than a third of the American workforce. People of all ages — not just millennials — are adopting this lifestyle for the flexible schedule, the ability to be their own boss, and the escape from corporate life.
While you can find countless options for side gigs, including driving for a ride-sharing company (or two), offering professional services such as accounting or website design, or even delivering packages for Amazon, many hustles can be performed from the comfort of your laptop. You can earn money by taking surveys, doing transcription work, managing social media accounts for companies, or even blogging. One list offers 99 side hustles, from passive income to gigs requiring particular skills.
Selling items online and day trading are two side hustles that have been around for a while — even before gigs became an economy. However, these two relatively new and interesting options for making money online might just make you reconsider your current employment situation.
Reselling returned and overstocked items
Have you ever sold anything on an auction site such as eBay? More than 175 million people are active eBay users, selling and shopping for more than $88 billion in merchandise in 2017. If you think that sellers are just auctioning off old clothes and grandma’s antiques on auction and reselling sites like this, you’re mistaken. EBay and websites such as NewEgg, Amazon, Etsy, Rakuten, and Bonanza resell or auction everything from books to refurbished electronics to slightly damaged or defective department store items.
If you’re wondering where a regular person like you might find these types of items to purchase for profitable resale, consider websites that buy liquidated, returned, damaged, or overstocked merchandise in bulk from big-box stores. The selection of items you’ll find on these sites is astonishing. Walmart pallets are filled with hundreds of name-brand video games, headsets, and game consoles. Boxes of premium laptops, tablets, or digital watches that have been certified refurbished. A set of 11 bar refrigerators, water coolers, and air conditioners that were returned by customers but are in working condition.
These sites allow you to bid on or purchase items such as these at ridiculously low prices. Your next step would be to list your goods on one of the many auction sites to sell to other regular people. You’re almost guaranteed to make a profit, and your buyer is probably getting a great deal. It’s a win-win.
Day-trading stocks online has been around about as long as the internet. Anyone with a financial mindset, a tolerance for volatility and risk, and time to closely monitor the stock market can buy stocks online and sell them for a profit within hours or even minutes. The concept of day trading bitcoin or other cryptocurrency is basically the same, except you’re buying and selling virtual money. Although Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency, more than 1600 different types of “coins” are available for trading, including Ethereum, Ripple, and Monero, and the value of each fluctuates by the second.
To use or cryptocurrency, you purchase virtual coins using traditional means (such as a debit or credit card). From there, you can use your cryptocurrency to purchase things or pay others completely anonymously online in a deregulated environment. Like trading stocks or gold, many different strategies exist for making money through trading — most of which you can learn online from various sources.