Best Side Hustle Ideas for 2024
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Best Side Hustle Ideas for 2024

Inspiration
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9.28.21
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Joseph Darby
The complete guide to NZ side hustles

Everywhere you look it seems you hear talk of recession, inflation, and so on. Job losses and pay freezes are impacting many people across the country. Many people are feeling the pinch financially. Against this backdrop, turning to a side hustle to bolster your income is a great idea, but with so many potential options out there it’s hard to figure out what is best for you.

You can have more than one side hustle, from upselling vintage goods and clothes to driving for Uber or DiDi. It’s not a bad idea to have a lot of fingers in many pies, so to speak. Side hustles can even morph to become a person’s primary source of income.

The internet has aided the rise of side hustle work, thanks to websites that make it easy for people to connect with those in need of their skills, product or services. Now is the perfect time to establish an extra income-booster!

The Top Side Hustle Ideas

So now we’ve covered a few carve-outs, here’s a quick-fire list of 15 great side hustle ideas.

1. Handyman/Woman

If you’re good at fixing things or using your hands, doing some casual handyman work could be a great fit for you. The cost of building rose 11.3% in New Zealand in 2022, leaving many Kiwis looking to do DIY work themselves, or looking for cheaper options. If you have the skills to do renovation work – from carpentry to painting to installing new appliances – the chances are people will jump at the chance to use your services.

Advertising your services on a community Facebook page or online is a great way to garner interest. You will also notice frequent posts from people wanting help with tasks for cash. It could be as simple as just moving heavy furniture or doing a few hours of gardening a week. The possibilities are endless.

Refurbishing old furniture is also a smart idea for anyone who is handy with tools. Mid-century and vintage furniture sell for thousands of dollars on Trade Me. Scouring the local op-shops for some rundown furniture that needs a good sand and coat can be a real money maker.

2. Freelancer

Freelancing is perhaps one of the most popular gig economy jobs and hence there are many options to find work. Thanks to the internet, you can work from anywhere in the world, making freelance work particularly popular. In fact, some countries have created freelance vias to encourage digital nomads to settle down for some time on their shores. Fancy working online from Bali, anyone? Or Portugal, Mexico or Greece?

Depending on skills and preference, there are a variety of freelance job boards you can browse to find freelance work in the gig economy. Here are a few of the most common freelancing jobs:

  • Writer
  • Graphic designer
  • Web designer
  • Social media manager
  • Developer
  • Proof-reader
  • Marketer

There’s a wide range of global websites in this area. Most have catchy names, such as; Fiverr, Task Rabbit, Toptal, UpWork, Unicorn Factory, solidgigs and Flexjobs. On nearly all these sites, you will be able to create a profile that explains your skills and showcases your previous work. You will be able to set a price for your services, from an hourly rate to a package rate – and interact with potential clients to negotiate an agreement. A good “sales copy” is needed to explain and sell your services. With time, reviews of your work will build up giving you increased credibility and probably increased reach. Each platform takes a cut of each purchase or charges a subscription fee and as most of these sites operate globally, usually prices are in US Dollars.

For those who are tech-savvy, there’s a nearly endless list of roles that can be performed from the comfort of your own home. This might include:

  • IT developer
  • Blockchain architect
  • Deep learning / artificial intelligence developer
  • Programmer
  • Virtual and augmented reality developer
  • Robotics engineer or designer
  • Ethical hacker

3. Driver or Deliverer

If you like to drive or ride a motorbike – why not use your free time to make a little extra income? Being a rideshare or delivery driver for apps is a very common side-hustle and hey, it can even be fun!

Both ridesharing and delivery driver tasks depend on your free time and willingness to share your car either with people or goods. Of course, having your own car or vehicle is a must, and you’ll nearly certainly need commercial vehicle insurance.

Uber is hard going for drivers most of the time but can be good at surge times when people are willing to pay higher prices. Think about a Friday or Saturday night, particularly rainy days (when people don’t want to take the bus), after a big concert or event or if public transport is down. Other rideshare companies such as DiDi are known to give drivers a bigger cut.

What’s great about driving for a rideshare app is the flexibility it offers. You could simply opt to take an DiDi request on your way home from work, or spend six hours driving on the weekend if you have no plans on Saturday night.

Apps such as Deliveroo and Deliver Easy - and of course Uber Eats - also offer you the chance to make some extra money without taking passengers in your car. Instead, you’ll be delivering people their take-out. A 2022 study found that Uber Eats paid $32 million to drivers last year.

4. Social Media Marketer

Social networks have become an integral part of both our private and business lives and, for some, are now a lucrative source of gig economy jobs.

Being a keen Instagrammer is not only fashionable but, for some, can be quite profitable in a gig economy environment. Many Instagram and TikTok influencers sell products for clients by posting staged videos and pictures using or praising a particular product or service. Chances are you’ve scrolled past someone advertising protein powder, household products, or clothing.

Becoming an influencer isn’t straightforward however. You need to be quite proactive on social media to develop a large following and be classed as an “influencer” that brands will approach to advertise with. Posting often and using hashtags is a great way to grow your audience and reach.

Even if you’re not experienced with social media, building a personal social media presence can be a great way to advertise another side hustle on this list, for instance, advertising your professional services.

5. Photographer

If photography is your hobby, it could pay to think about turning it into a profession. All you need is a decent camera and a great eye to become a professional photographer. Events such as weddings can pay thousands of dollars, however there is still a demand for other services from taking headshots to family portraits.

You also have the option to sell your photos to sites such as Shutterstock, Bigstock, or iStock and make a decent living. Once your name gains popularity, you can start charging higher prices and pick your clients.

Instagram is a great way to advertise your photography and build a brand and following.

6. Sell or Resell Goods Online

Even when the economy is slow, people still shop. Events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and other personal milestones are used as opportunities to treat oneself or others. There will always be people willing to spend money.

Chances are you have surplus stuff in your home – be that clothing you don’t wear anymore or books you don’t plan to read again. Online marketplaces such as Trade Me or Facebook marketplace are a great way to on sell your unwanted belongings and make some extra cash.

As we noted earlier, refurbishing furniture is a fantastic money maker. You can source items from resale shops and garage sales, which are full of stuff priced well-below market value.

If you’re skilled at arts and crafts, Etsy is a popular platform to sell homemade craft items in addition to Trade Me.

7. Dropshipping

If you have the time to do some serious market research the chances are you could find a niche product that people want to buy. You may have heard of dropshipping – a new money making opportunity that’s taken over the internet. Shopify describes it as “an order-fulfilment method that lets store owners sell directly to consumers without stocking any inventory.”

Basically, if you can find a product on the likes of Alibaba or AliExpress that you think people will buy but can’t purchase in store, you can set up an e-commerce business to satisfy that demand. By using Shopify, customers will order a product from your website, which will then automatically send an order to the dropshipping supplier who then prepares the order and ships it to them.

The only downside of dropshipping is it isn’t particularly great for the environment, unless you can find an ethically and sustainably made product, of course. So if this clashes with your values then dropshipping might not be for you.

8. Short term holiday rentals

New Zealand is a hotspot travel destination, for both international travellers and Kiwis themselves! If you own property or a sleepout that you don’t utilise all the time, setting up a short-term holiday rental could be a great way to generate passive income. There are many websites on which you can list your property – from AirBnB to Bookabach, Holiday Houses and Bachcare. Potential guests can search for rooms, apartments, or homes they want to stay at during their vacation or trip. These websites connect consumers with property owners and allow a safe, secure transaction between the two, however they will take a cut of course - on AirBnB this is 3%.

9. Tutor or Teacher

Teaching is a great side hustle and very broad in scope. If you are skilled in a particular academic field, you might tutor students on that topic, or teach an online class. If you play an instrument, consider teaching music. If you’re passionate about fitness, consider teaching yoga or other fitness classes. The benefit of these side hustles is that they are very flexible. They also allow you to share your passion with others.

If you’re a keen sports player then coaching is a great option. School teams and even clubs are sometimes in need of coaching help, and this can be a fun and active side hustle.

10. Author

Publishing a book was traditionally difficult to say the least, but, thanks to self-published platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, you don’t need to wait for one of the big publisher houses to come calling. Now, you can write the next great novel in your spare time, self-publish, and wait for your cheques to roll in – admittedly, most royalties are small unless the book sells in large numbers. However, some breakout authors such as Rupi Kaur made it by self-publishing on Amazon.

11. Rent a Spare Room

If you own a home and you have a spare room you’re willing to rent out, you can earn up to $40,000 "tax-free" by deducting the costs from the income. Yes, you will have people in your house, sitting on your sofa, using your kitchen, and taking long showers, but the extra money could be considerable.

The IRD lets you deduct up to $194 per boarder, per week under its standard cost method. There is a maximum of four boarders, so the total allowance is just over $40,000 per year ($194 X 4 rooms X 52 weeks). However, this method assumes you'll include expenses such as power, phone, internet, food, and even streaming subscriptions. You'll need to pay for these from the income you receive.

For flatmates, you can deduct the allowable rental expenses incurred when you live with your flatmate(s). While your income will be boosted from a spare room revenue, you can minimise the tax you need to pay by calculating what you incur as a percentage of the total use. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) explains how in this step-by-step guide.

12. A Part Time Job

Part-time jobs can be split into two groups:

Self-employed roles

Any job where you are working as a sole trader is classified as self-employed. For instance, work as a dog walker, pool cleaner, car wash and detailer, party planner, gardener or lawnmower, pet minder, house cleaner, house-sitter, and so on would all fit into this category.

An actual part-time job as an employee

This could be as a receptionist, restaurant server, administrative assistant, barista, etc. You might also be able to find part-time jobs within your industry – maybe you’re a full-time marketer who takes on a part-time social media gig.

If you’re still working full-time, of course you’ll need something to fit around your primary role.

13. Dog Walking or Pet Sitting

Animal lovers will jump at this side hustle. Yes, you can make money walking people’s dogs or simply caring for them while their owners are away. Websites such as Pawshake are a great place to sign up and offer your services. People charge between $20-$50 a walk, and around $50-$70 a night for dog sitting. Posting on Facebook community pages is also a great way to garner interest.

14. Babysitting

Babysitting or nannying is a tried and true side hustle. High school and university students typically take on nannying work to supplement their income whilst studying, but if you’re after some extra money and don’t mind sacrificing a Friday or Saturday evening, it could be the job for you. The catch is you probably should like kids, and have a track record of caring for them. Parents are often happy to pay in cash which is a bonus, however they may require a police check if they are rigorous. Websites such as care.com and Babysits will allow you to create a profile, or again, post in your local community Facebook group.

15. Retail Arbitrage

You may not have heard of retail arbitrage – but it is simple. It means buying discount products and selling them online for profit. The most common way to do so is by creating an Amazon account and scouring shops for clearance items that you can sell online for a profit. The Amazon Seller App will allow you to scan items to see what their current price is online. Buying items wholesale is also an option, or flea market flipping.

What to Watch Out for When Starting a Side Hustle

Before delving into your new side hustle, there are a few things you need to consider.

Do the Sums

It’s been suggested the average ridesharing driver (such as Uber or Lyft) probably earns less than minimum wage once all costs are accounted for – including wear and tear on the vehicle, taxes, running costs, and time.  

So what?

Do the maths to ensure that whatever you’re doing is worth it, including all costs. This includes having a full understanding of all tax implications of your chosen side hustle. Online accounting websites such as Hnry can be a great, hassle-free way to handle your tax obligations and make sure you aren’t short when the end of the financial year rolls around.

Know Your Rights – New Zealand Worker Misclassification

Several large corporations have been critiqued for classing employees as independent contractors, alleged to save on employer costs and responsibilities. In some cases, especially overseas, this has included corporations that many people might associate with the “gig economy”, such as Uber, being forced to fight several court battles in the USA and UK about this. Uber is far from unique in this regard though.

In New Zealand, and in most developed countries, there is a distinct difference between contractors and employees. This is important because:

  • Employees have a range of protections such as sick leave, minimum wage, annual leave, employer KiwiSaver contributions, and other rights.
  • Contractors, including those who are self-employed, don’t have the rights and protections employees do. This means they don’t get things like annual leave or sick leave, they can’t bring personal grievances, they must pay their own tax and ACC levies, and general civil law determines most of their rights and responsibilities. In New Zealand, businesses don’t even have to hold records related to past or present contractors.

If you choose to be a full time contractor, or side hustler shall we say, you must factor the lack of employee protections into your pricing.

Is Not Starting a Side Hustle at All a Better Choice?

There may be good reasons for you to avoid a side hustle altogether:

  • Many professionals might be better off if, instead of a side hustle, they focus on doing their best at their primary role. This might be by developing their primary skillsets first, rather than working a second job or side hustling at night. Working longer hours in one’s primary role may result in a pay rise and promotion - over the long haul, this can pay off many times over.
  • Other people, even in low wage roles or roles with limited opportunity for advancement, may be better off taking night courses or extramural studies so they can increase their employability and skills, perhaps in preparation for a change in career path to a better career.
  • Someone who starts a side hustle because of concern about losing their main job may turn that concern into a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if their part-time night job means they start showing up to their day job exhausted and unable to give it their all!
  • If you have a day job or have connections that could lead to a conflict of interest with your potential side hustle, then it is not a good idea to continue with it.

Be Careful: There Are Plenty of Side Hustle Scams

You might have seen adverts online of people promising you endless cash flow without having to do so much as lift a finger. The catch is always the same – you need to pay an upfront fee to a ‘guru’. These ‘gurus’ promote themselves heavily on YouTube and social media sites, selling everything from foreign exchange trading platforms to ‘education investments’ where you become a management consultant.

Unless you are comfortable with losing the money upfront, side hustles that seem too complicated and heavy in upfront fees are probably best avoided. In fact, these are just modern variations of get-rich-quick schemes.  

The Bottom Line – The Best Side Hustles

There truly are countless options when it comes to making a bit of extra cash. We advise choosing a side hustle that you find interesting and will have a flair for, as you don’t want to run out of steam and give up when the going gets tough.

You’ll also want to ensure your side hustle fits with your lifestyle and routines, and ideally aligns with your skillset. You want it to be worth your time!

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