‘Tis the season to start a side hustle.
Indeed, launching a side gig as we move into the busy and expensive holiday season can help you earn extra money to buy gifts, travel to visit family, host a Christmas or New Year’s party, and more. Best of all, since your new side hustle may be seasonal, you can move onto a new endeavor once January hits – if you want.
With so many holiday-related side hustle options, it can be tough to decide where to start turning your idea into hard cold cash. Luckily for you, we’re to help you launch and grow your side business this holiday season. Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Where to Find Holiday Side Gigs
As it turns out, no one is going to knock on your door and beg you to be the mall Santa Claus. Here are a few places to start your job search:
- Online job search: Look up “seasonal” and “holiday jobs” in job search engines like Indeed.com and Monster.com. If your community offers online job listings, don’t forget to check there too.
- Established side gig platforms: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when starting your hustle. Instead, use gig platforms like Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Shipt, TaskRabbit, and more.
- Ask around: Keep your ear to the ground for money-making opportunities. Does your roommate complain about being swamped as a bartender? Ask if his manager will hire seasonal help. Is your aunt stressing about throwing the office holiday party? Offer to be the shopper, caterer, DJ or decorator. Look for a way to fill existing needs.
- Strike out on your own: If the above suggestions don’t fit your ideal gig, don’t be afraid to create something unique. Your customized stockings or mobile dog grooming biz may be the ticket to extra dough. There is no guarantee for success, but you won’t know until you try.
Picking the Right Side Gig Idea
To set yourself up for success, you first need to choose a gig that aligns with your talents and lifestyle. Don’t pick something your co-worker or friend is doing just because they’re successful at it. Instead, brainstorm a list of possible holiday money-making ideas, even silly ones. Next, ask yourself these five questions:
- Is this a job I can sustain for several hours without burning out? Ideally, you’ll be passionate about your side hustle, but let’s be real: Not many folks love shoveling snow (but you may be one of the few who does!) Pick a job that you will enjoy and that fits your lifestyle.
- Is money the only benefit? Answering yes is not essential here. But, fulfilling a need outside of finances will keep you motivated. For example, money may not motivate you if your side gig is wrapping holiday presents, but perhaps you love your co-workers or helping customers pick out the perfect wrapping paper.
- Do you have enough time or bandwidth to do this? Before you take on a side gig, you may want to consider whether it will interfere with your full-time job or deplete you completely of family time. Even if you have the time, you should evaluate if you have the mental or physical bandwidth to take on another job. Think about it: Added hours of freelance writing may not work for you after a long day of mentally-taxing work. So, respect your limits.
- Is this something you are good at? Choose something you are already skilled at. For example, if you love knitting sweaters or taking family photographs, perhaps you can start a business selling hand-knit sweaters on Etsy or taking holiday family portraits.
- Can you afford to start this business? While you can start driving for Uber or Lyft right away if you have a reliable car, other side hustles may require an initial investment. So, before launching a new gig, research and calculate all the costs associated with the new venture. Something to consider: Do you have to buy into a membership or purchase a large order of product or supplies to start? If your answer is yes and you don’t have money available in your savings account, then this may not be the right side gig for you right now.
How to Launch (on a Budget)
If you choose to launch a side hustle that isn’t tied into an existing app infrastructure (like a ride service or renting a room on Airbnb), figure out who your ideal client is. For example, are you selling customized holiday sweaters for an ugly sweater party? If so, your target customer may be college students or millennials rather than older generations. Similarly, if you are selling customized art for children, your best clients may be grandparents.
From here, you can then figure out how to go to market with a website and advertising. You may also want to research other costs like printing for business cards and brochures, logo design, and high-speed Internet. For service-based gigs, see if you can land a client or two before investing in any tools.
Remember, you can always add on as you go. For now, concentrate on making your services look presentable and start hustling.
How to Drive Customers
Now that you’ve started a great side gig, it’s time to keep the momentum going. Here are a few budget-friendly ways to attract customers:
- If your business is local, then get the word out locally. Go to where your target client shops or hangs out. For example, if you plan babysit, advertise at your local library, community center or via Facebook moms groups. If you are offering winterizing services, go door-to-door and advertise on local Facebook groups.
- For product-based gigs, use both online and offline platforms. If you have a physical item to sell, then research the best way to sell it. For crafts or sweet treats, for example, you can sell at local craft fairs while using social media to expand your reach. You can also sell crafts through Etsy or Shopify.
- For service-based gigs, networking is key. Let your family and friends know about your new side gig. Ask them to refer you to their networks. Consider offering discounted services to attract your first few customers. Build your portfolio from there.
- Don’t miss out on follow-up business. Once you have a customer base, it’s time to turn those one-time customers into repeat customers. For example, if someone hires you to hang Christmas lights, you can perhaps also take the lights down come January. Offering a discount to repeat customers can also help you turn a one-time gig into a regular business.
Keep the Holiday Gig Going
While some holiday hustles, like delivering Christmas trees or hanging lights, are truly seasonal gigs, other jobs may be year-round opportunities. So, while you’re getting your side hustle off the ground, think about ways to keep this business going after the holidays are in the rear-view mirror.
Regardless of whether you run your side gig every holiday season, just this year or all year-round, with a little bit of creativity and commitment, you’ll be on your way to banking more cash.