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In a perfect world, summer fun wouldn't cost a dime. But since beach weekends, water park visits and happy hour cocktails on rooftop bars actually add up to considerable cash, now's the time to take on a side hustle to pad your bank account — so you'll have the extra money to throw toward all the things that make the season a total blast.
The gig ideas on our list can be pulled off in your downtime, and each one takes advantage of events and activities specific to spring, so opportunities abound. Start building your summer fun fund right now.
Help Students Ace Exams
Always had a knack for algebra or essay writing? With final exams and entrance tests for college on the calendar, many high school and college kids are going to need extra help making the grade. Your services as an in-person or online tutor could fetch $10 to $20 an hour. Tutor.com is one of several sites that can help you get started, or advertise yourself on Craigslist, a neighborhood Facebook page, or your town's Nextdoor.com page.
Calling strikes and outs as an umpire for a youth league can be a lucrative way to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. Leagues have different levels of training; for some it might just require a working knowledge of the game and a healthy dose of composure and patience (if you’ve ever encountered youth sports parents, you know what we mean). Pay can run $15 to $30 per game. To find out more, connect with your community or city recreation department.
Snap and Sell Photos
Spring is bursting with photo opps. If you’ve got decent camera skills and know your way around photo or video editing software, offer to take photos or videos at events, so busy hosts don’t have to worry about capturing every special moment themselves. Depending on your know-how and the type of event, you can charge up to $100 for a half hour, says Nick Loper, who runs SideHustleNation.com.
Another way to make cash from photos is by selling your images to a stock photography house or service. Or use an app called Foap. Just set up an account and upload your photos; if a buyer bites, Foap splits the $10 licensing fee with you.
Work the Party Circuit
Spring is all about celebrations and milestones, which means more people are throwing parties — and in need of organizers, catering help and even cake decorators. Signing up with a catering staffing agency is one way to go, or you could spread the word among friends and via your own social media or community Facebook pages that you’re looking to put your organizing skills or artistic talents up for bidding.
Get Crafty With Invitations
If you're handy and creative, you can take advantage of spring party season this way as well: Create handmade or hand-lettered invites. Even in this era of Evite, there’s still a market for hand-crafted, snail mail cards and invitations, especially for wedding-related events. Look for opportunities through local stationery stores, or advertise your services on Craigslist or Etsy with a link to a site that shows samples of your work.
Use Your Green Thumb
If the window boxes or front garden you planted and designed yourself are the envy of the neighborhood, offer your services as a gardener or landscaper planting flowers in front yards. Or take advantage of the organic food trend and get paid to seed and nurture backyard vegetable or herb gardens. Show off photos on social media of how you turned your own plot of dirt into pretty greenery, and offer to do the same for busy homeowners.
Get People in Shape
If you’re a devotee of yoga, boot camp classes or another popular workout activity, talk to staffers at local gyms or community centers if they have openings for instructors. You might need to be certified before you're hired, but if you don't have official credentials, you can still network through social media and offer to start an informal boot camp, running group or other class for friends willing to pay for your fitness expertise and motivational skills. With the weather warming up, all you'll need is a park or playground space.
A word about what to charge: Not sure how to price your services? It’s very subjective, says Lise Cartwright, author of "Side Hustle Blueprint," and depends on the going rate in your geographic location as well as the depth of your skills. Ask around and compare rates advertised on community websites and Craigslist. As a general rule, Cartwright suggests starting with minimum wage and adding 10% for profit and then up to 50% depending on your experience.