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The holidays are such a busy time that you may not think about taking on a side job. It’s the perfect time to do this, because you’re not the only one whose time is stretched to the limit. Everyone goes in ten directions at once; this is your chance to step in, lend a hand and make some excellent cash. Maybe you want to earn some for that weekend getaway during the cold winter months or pay off those sweltering credit cards after your busy shopping season. Let’s take a look at some great seasonal hustles that can also help you enjoy the fun of the holidays.
Related: The holiday season means more people are taking on side hustles — the difference this year? They don’t plan to stop any time soon.
1. Take your e-business live to a show or festival
The holiday season is bustling with craft fairs and shopping festivals. This is your chance to combine a side job with valuable business research. My company, Hollywood Sensation Jewelry, has been an online business from the beginning. This year, my ingenious husband, Anthony Hood, suggested I partake in the Sunset Market, a huge open-air market in Oceanside.
Very economically, we rented a booth, pitched a tent, and spent four hours selling Hollywood Sensation merchandise in public. I’ll admit I doubted this would work for us, and I was even nervous about the public interaction. But if you’ll pardon the pun, the results were sensational! We sold more than enough to cover our expenses. But more than that, we got live feedback from real customers that we could speak to one-on-one.
If you have a product you’ve never picked up from the e-store, check your community calendar for upcoming festivals, conventions, and trade shows to participate in a new revenue stream and free market research. The cost of renting a stand depends on the popularity and attendance of the event. I recommend starting small and scaling up as things go well. Be sure to select an event that fits your brand. We may not want to take Hollywood Sensation Jewelry to a plumbing show, but that sunset beach vibe was perfect for some glam.
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2. Take your skills to the masses
Do you have a knack for holiday decorating? Interested in gift wrapping? Event planning? Delicious baked goods? Well, not everyone does, which is why they need your services, especially at this time of year. Maybe you have a holiday cake or cookie recipe that is getting rave reviews everywhere. Let the people at the office and social church potluck know you’re available to bake one for them, too.
Use social media to get your name out there as someone who can set up a beautiful Christmas tree (inside or out) and otherwise decorate the hallways. And don’t forget: while many people love to make Christmas decorations, hardly anyone likes to tear everything down again. Are you willing to untangle, repack and box all that holly and mistletoe? Perhaps you have a pickup truck and can tow trees for responsible disposal.
Sites like TaskRabbit.com allow you to create an account to get a helping hand for a limitless variety of tasks and get customer reviews to build your reputation and bring in even more business. For example, TaskRabbit offers the following average costs for these services: “Party Clean Up” for $49-$80, “Toy Assembly” for $40-$99, and “Christmas Decorating” for $48-$86. You can even get paid to stand in line for someone else. I’m not joking!
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3. Reap the benefits of a seasonal job
Shops and delivery drivers are always looking for reliable help for the season. By demonstrating that you are an excellent seasonal worker, you will almost certainly be welcomed back next year. And don’t forget: many stores offer their permanent employee discounts to seasonal workers. If you have your eye on an expensive purchase, you may get another 10% or more off the cost. My friend worked at a home furnishing store for five weeks and saved his family a bundle on new floors and a refrigerator.
Here’s another option: Party businesses are having a rough time this time of year and they need people to prepare, decorate, serve, check in guests, take coats, operate cars, hold table games and then clean up afterwards. I have a friend who hands out blackjack at holiday parties and enjoys it. She goes to several fancy parties every year, hears the bands, meets fun people who are all having a good time, and gets paid for it.
Seasonal salaries depend on your location, but here are some examples. On average, delivery companies pay about $16.00 per hour, warehouses about $13.80, and retail gift wraps earn about $12.00 per hour. When applying to stores with a view to purchases, ask if their employee discounts extend to seasonal help.
Related: Start an Amazon Side Hustle and Make Extra Money
4. Be a babysitter
What do the holidays bring besides good cheer? Travelers! People have places to go and things to do, whether it’s an evening party, a busy day of shopping away from the kids, or getting out of town for two weeks. Relieve their travel stress by being the person holding the fort. Reliable and friendly childcare, elderly care, babysitting and pet care take a burden off everyone’s hands.
It’s a relief to know someone is there to keep an eye on the house or check on older relationships to make sure everything is safe. Again, on multiple gig websites you can register as a sitter (check out Rover.com or Care.com for example). Or settle in a neighborhood as a great house or pet sitter, and you’ll get more offers. Word spreads quickly on homeowners’ websites, and having multiple gigs in the same neighborhood adds to your convenience.
A busy holiday is more than just a way to supplement your income. Getting into the holiday spirit is a great way to soak up the spirit of the season, relieve others’ stress, and create wonderful memories. Of course, giving is better than receiving, but being able to do both at the same time with a holiday rush is a good reason to celebrate.