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Inflation Survival Guide: Side Hustles

NBC10 Boston Consumer Investigative Reporter Leslie Gaydos is here with our inflation survival guide -- money-saving tips to help you keep costs down

With surging prices, you may be looking for ways to make extra cash. Leslie Gaydos helps out with some side hustle ideas.

From rent to gas and groceries – the cost of just about everything is through the roof, and everyone is paying the price. With inflation now at a 40-year-high, plenty of people are looking for ways to make some extra cash.

How to Rent Out Your Skills for Cash

By day, Sheldon Rawson works full-time in IT and marketing. But by night, he works for TaskRabbit, an online service that instantly connects users with “taskers” to do odd-end jobs for cash.

It seemed like a pretty good gig compared to, you know, Uber and Lyft driving. So I decided to go ahead and sign up and it's been great for an extra job that I can do after my normal 8 to 4 every day. And I've just been tasking ever since,” said Rawson.

From building bookcases to mounting TVs or just helping with a heavy lift, Rawson sets his own hours and decides what tasks he wants to do, when he wants to do them.

"The easiest task I ever had, was a girl purchased an exercise bike and she just couldn't take it up the two flights to her second-floor apartment. So I just I showed up, I carried the box up the stairs, and that was my task for the day," he said.

The company’s CEO, Ania Smith, told NBC10 Boston they are seeing an uptick this year in people looking for extra income.

"To date, we've had over 50% more Taskers signing up this year than last year. So this is a huge growth rate for us," said Smith.

Smith said the hourly rate for Taskers in the U.S. right now is about $49 per hour. But in Boston, that rate is closer to $60 per hour.

Rawson has been a Tasker for less than a year, and so far, he’s made $6,000.

On TaskRabbit, you can sign up to do all sorts of things, like help someone move, clean their house, do yard work – you can even wait in line so someone else doesn’t have to.

But that’s not the only way to put your skills to the test. If you’ve been in a lot of weddings lately, you could actually get paid for it. It’s called “Bridesmaid for Hire,” a company Jen Glantz founded back in 2014.

“So I posted an ad on Craigslist offering my services as a hired bridesmaid to strangers, and before I knew it, I had over 300 people reach out to want to hire me,” said Glantz.

Her weekend side hustle quickly turned into a booming business in the last seven years. Glantz now hires bridesmaids to be in other people’s weddings. From the bachelorette party to the wedding day, and maid of honor speech – she has you covered.

Glantz told NBC10 Boston, “Being a bridesmaid for hire is exactly how it sounds. You are hired to step into that bridal party and be an actual bridesmaid… I have a fake name and a fake backstory of how I know them so that I can blend into their lives.”

“There's two main reasons why people hire bridesmaids. The first reason is that they have friends and their friends are great, but their friends might be busy or not well-suited to support them in the ways that they need. And the other main reason why people hire bridesmaids is because they don't have any close friends to rely on, which is way more common than we think. And in those instances, they're not just looking for bodies in the room. They're looking for a support system, somebody they can hire to support them like a best friend.”

Glantz says packages on Bridesmaid for Hire typically begin around $2,500, but the overall price depends on how involved you are in the bride’s big day.

Now what if you’re just looking for some companionship and cash? You can do that to, it’s called “Rent a Friend.”

According to Rentafriend.com, you can make anywhere between a couple hundred bucks, to $2,000 a week for things like going to the movies, or tagging along for a summer concert.

Financial educator Azucena Gomez Victoria explains some of the most important things you should know before starting a side hustle.


Check back for more tips, tricks and advice on starting up a side hustle.


Your Inflation Survival Guide

NBC10 Boston Consumer Investigative Reporter Leslie Gaydos has more money-saving tips to help you keep costs down, available here.


Turn Your Home Into a Side Hustle

How can your home help you get a little extra cash? Leslie Gaydos explains.

Michael Serra has been working on his solo record for months. And while one side of his garage is focused on making music, the other side is making money.

Serra’s been renting out half of his garage space since the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

"I'm a touring musician, so all my gigs were canceled. My wife unfortunately got laid off, so we were just looking for ways to make more passive income," said Serra.

One night on Instagram, Serra came across a sponsored post for Neighbor.com.

"I checked it out and it said, you can rent out garage space, driveway space, basically anything that you have on your property to make extra income."

Serra took a photo of his space, put it on the app and has had a long-term renter ever since. He makes $180 a month which covers his HOA fees, and now he’s looking to rent out his driveway.

Christina Yin is also on the Neighbor app. She rents out a parking space in Brookline outside of her mother’s apartment.

"My mom's always pushing me to do side hustles," she said.

Yin takes home about $170 a month after Neighbor takes a percentage of the cost.

And then there’s Linda Doucette, who rents out her pool on Swimply for $60 an hour. She sets her own availability, her own price, and her own rules. So far, Doucette has made thousands on the app.

"I give them some water and towels, and I just tell them to help themselves to whatever they need. And if they need to use the bathroom, they go inside and they just hang out," she said.

Asher Weinberger, Swimply’s co-founder and COO told NBC10 Boston, business boomed during the Pandemic.

"You can be sitting at the office, and you get a push notification that someone wants to use your pool, and you say, ‘Sure.’ You come home and there's no trace left behind. It's a very seamless and contactless experience," he said.

"Your property is earning money for you," Weinberger added.

Swimply provides each of its hosts with a $1 million liability coverage plan per booking. Michael Mahoney, a personal injury attorney urges people renting out their pools to go one step further.

"That's an inherently potentially dangerous product to be renting out," said Mahoney. "So along with the coverage that the apps are provided, I would also go see my trusted insurance agent and run it by them and say, is this enough insurance or do I need more? And tell me why."

Mahoney also said it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your insurance company before renting out any part of your property. Talk about worst-case scenarios and whether you need any additional coverage to protect yourself in case something goes wrong, and always read the fine print before signing up.

How to Make Money Off Your Car

Luis and Jamie are best friends.

Luis is an audio engineer, and Jamie works as a full-time real estate agent. But on the side, they rent out their cars to perfect strangers using Turo.

"I just meet them outside and they take the keys," said Luis.

Turo is a car rental service that takes out the middleman, giving owners full control of who takes their personal vehicle for how long, and how much.

Luis started out with just one car, but now he has three on the app. Jamie on the other hand, has 15 cars available on Turo. In 2021, Jamie said he made more than $45,000 on the app. Now, he’s on track to double his profits by the end of the year.

As expected, this side hustle comes with its fair share of risks.

"I have dealt with everything you could imagine as far as cars stolen, cars totaled… people not trying to return the car," Jamie told NBC10 Boston, “

After someone tried to steal Jamie’s car, he started arming his fleet with individualized trackers that give him the ability to cut the engine right from his smartphone.

"It helps me sleep so much better at night," said Jamie.

Personal injury attorney Michael Mahoney isn’t a big fan of renting out your personal property to anyone.

"My first suggestion is don't do it. And if you're going to do it, if you think that the money is worth it and you need the money....then make sure you speak with your insurance agent and make sure that you're going to be covered," said Mahoney.

We also spoke with Okella Wood, an IT Specialist at Harvard University. To make some extra cash, he drives around with an advertisement professional wrapped around his car and gets paid by Carvertise to do it.

With Carvertise, your monthly income is based on the campaign wrapped around your car and how many miles you drive it. Wood told us he drives about 15 miles a day and makes $100 a month, committing to a one-year contract. In addition, he can sign up to drive in what’s called "swarm" events at local venues, like Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium.

"People on the street get a kick out of it… just amazed to see a car driving around like a billboard," Wood said.

In total, Wood makes about $1,500-$2,000 a year in extra income, and he said, it’s no work at all.

"I don't have to change my driving habit And lo and behold, I get paid for," said Wood.

"If you're not really a fan of the color of your car, spruce it up with a wrap. Get some extra cash in your pocket."

Entering the Online Side Hustle Game

Jamie Raucci has been taking online surveys for three years now. So far, she’s made about $400. And while it may not be much, she told NBC10 Boston, it was money she didn’t have before.

"I would have been sitting here not making anything at all. So even if I just spent a couple minutes and made, you know, a few dollars, I at least made something," said Raucci.

Raucci uses Survey Junkie, a free website that pays you to take online surveys and cash out through your choice of PayPal, bank transfer, or gift cards. Survey Junkie members can cash out starting at just $5 if they want to, something Tom Blake considers to be a “green flag” when looking for ways to make money online.

Blake, a finance blogger and creator of This Online World, has been testing out online side hustles for years, documenting his progress along the way.

"Survey Junkie is one of the reputable ones," said Blake. "Websites that have $25 or $50 cash requirements… I don't think you're ever seeing your money."

Blake knows from experience. He’s put several of these free survey websites to the test. In a 10-hour span, Blake said he only made about $15 taking online surveys.

"That's not a good payday to me," said Blake.

But for Raucci, she told us, putting in one hour a week is worth it to her and her family.

"I actually use what I make to put into my daughter's savings accounts," Raucci explained, “

"I hope that she'll use it for a college fund, but it is her savings account, so whatever she decides to do with it will be hers."

Some of these websites ask for your personal information, something that attorney Simon Dixon said can be very risky.

Dixon warned, "Any information that you think you're giving out, may be used against you."

"My belief is that anything that's for free...there's always a catch to it," he said.

If taking online surveys isn’t for you, you could always put your administrative skills to the test and become a personal assistant. Blake explained, "In terms of virtual assistants as a side hustle, that's another really popular one, especially if you want to work from home, you don't want to get involved in the gig economy or leave your house or anything like that."

Some of the highest paying cities for virtual assistants can be found on the West Coast, but according to Zip Recruiter’s list of top ten cities, Barnstable, Massachusetts, ranked 5th overall with an hourly rate of $24.65. That’s more than Boston, which according to Zip Recruiter only pays about $23 per hour.

Blake said when it comes to choosing the right side-hustle, it ultimately comes down to playing to your own skills.

"A lot of the time people will try like online survey sites or money-making apps, and they get frustrated because they don't really make that much money. But if you go down the route of things like freelancing, even just pitching different business owners, your different skills, whether that's graphic design or freelance writing or something like that, you can often make a lot more money in the long run, even though you're giving up some of that short term immediate income," he said.

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