If you have a laptop, a bachelor's and a vibrant personality, you may be able to take on a side gig as a VIP Kid tutor making $14-$22 an hour.
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

7 unique side gigs that rake in major dough

Call it a side hustle, a gig, a passion-for-profit endeavor. Whatever the name, part-time work in addition to your main source of income is a hot trend. Pinterest, for example, said searches for "side hustle at home" increased 690 percent, listing the phenomena as one of its "Pinterest 100 Top Trends for 2019."

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Many of these side gigs can earn you a little extra money, maybe enough for a family vacation or to pay for textbooks. But there are some options that let you make major dough, the kind that helps you save for a new house or pay off some credit cards. "With the right combination of skill, marketing and elbow grease, you can land a $1,000-per-month side gig," said The College Investor.

You probably won't make six figures selling other people's stuff on Ebay and Amazon like Mark Meyer did in 2018, according to CNBC, but big bucks for flexible, on-the-side revenue generators are out there. And here are seven great places to find them:

15. Visa     Recent research shows that Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) controls half of all the credit card transactions globally. The company claims it operates in over 200 countries and has 3.3 billion cards in use. It is a level of market share no other company in the industry can possibly match. The company is expanding into related businesses, particularly mobile payments and checking. Last year, Visa's revenue rose 12% to $20.6 billion. Net income rose 54% to $10.3 billion. Payment volume rose 12%. Visa's yield is only 0.74%, but its shares are up 65% over the past two years.

1. Use your great credit history to generate income

If you have a credit card with a perfect history, you may have the perfect side hustle right in your wallet, according to The College Investor.

"You could sell authorized user positions on your credit card to people looking to establish or improve their credit history. This is called 'selling tradelines,' and it's one of the most lucrative side hustles available for cash-strapped people."

Here's how it works: You sign up as a credit partner with an established company. TCI recommended Tradeline Supply. "You can earn $50 to $300 in commission for every authorized user position that you sell. Each credit card may allow you to add between 5 and 20 users."

Skeptical? TCI is reassuring. "Authorized users stay on your account for two months, but your entire credit card history goes on their account," it explained. "Authorized users never get access to your account. You'll know the name of the person buying the tradeline, but they won't know your name. Tradeline Supply does screening to make sure that the person buying your tradeline is legitimate."

And while selling tradelines may be new to you, "Congress, the CFPB, banks, and credit bureaus all know about the practice," according to TCI. "They don't like it, but it is squarely legal."

2. Modern-day handy person

According to The Balance Small Business, people who are handy with all types of chores, from landscaping to balancing a checkbook, can earn pretty big bucks with TaskRabbit. Independent contractors sign on to the service with terms that work sort of like Lyft or Uber. Only instead of toting people around, you're on call to help them with various tasks as, you guessed it, a Tasker. "Even if you work part-time as a tasker, the income adds up fast," TBSB noted. "You set your own rates, and you might charge anywhere from $25 per hour to $150+ per hour depending on your local market and what you can offer."

Some of the most popular TaskRabbit offerings include decoration, random (legal) deliveries, waiting in lines and IKEA assembly. Basically, if you can dream it up, there is probably someone willing to pay a fee for it.

3. Flipping, just not houses.

If you've got an eye for used furnishings and collectibles, you might want to try a turn at "flipping." Just like its counterpart in real estate, this means buying items at a low price and selling them at a higher price online via sites like eBay and Amazon. You'll need to be willing to scour the low-end thrift stores for overlooked collectibles and designer brands or even scout curbs the night before trash day for unloved furniture finds. You'll also need a place to store the goods while you're in the sales process. You can make anywhere from $20 to hundreds (or even thousands) on items you obtain from people who don't want them.

Reselling online is easier with apps like the Amazon Seller App and Camel Camel Camel, according to TBSB. "A great option to start is to find free furniture on Craigslist, pick it up, clean it, and list it for sale on your own Craigslist account," it said.

The College Investor also recommended side gig seekers "scour big-box stores for items on clearance that they can sell for a profit on Amazon. The amount of money you actually earn from retail flipping will depend a lot on how good you are at finding deals, the amount of money you have to put into your inventory, and your ability to sell items quickly."

4. Transcribing

If you can type 60 words a minute like a good millennial and also thrive on deadlines and persnickety accuracy, transcribing could pay at least a $100 per week for 7-8 hours of work. According to PayScale, the median transcriptionist wage is $15.68 per hour, while Life and a Budget notes that advanced transcriptionists can earn $25-$30 per hour.

There's a good chance you can find clients on Craigslist or through a temp service to start. And while medical transcribing requires special training (which is why it tends to pay the best and offers the most consistent gigs), business analysts, attorneys and even social media marketers also have need for part-time, contract transcribers.

5. Clean houses 

Apartment Therapy recommended house cleaning as a side hustle option for those who love either deep cleaning or organizing tasks. Cleaning up someone else's mess commands a pretty decent hourly rate - $20 per hour and up depending on your market. To start, hit up sites like HouseKeeper.com. "They allow you to list and promote your skills and set your own schedule," noted Apartment Therapy.

Other potential clients include Airbnb hosts who need someone to clean between guests and students who need help on move-in or move-out days at dormitories. You can also create a niche service, like pet odor control, all-natural cleaning, closet organization or window washing.

6. Online tutoring

Tutors can earn decent money, but it's a lot of work to keep up the client list and make sure people pay you on time. A better option (that pays $14-$22 per hour) is online tutoring with VIP Kid. They hire teachers to do one-on-one English instruction for Chinese students via video conferencing. While it does require a bachelor's degree, it doesn't have to be a teaching degree.

The real advantage here is that VIP Kid cultivates the client lists, creates the lesson plans and does all the bookkeeping. They also offer bonuses and referral fees. All you have to do is pass their interview process, which goes best when you're upbeat and appealing with only a video screen to work with.

Photo: Contributed by Matt Nelson/Unsplash/For the AJC

7. Dog walker or sleepover host

While owning a dog may be a budget drainer, you can make substantial money caring for other people's dogs.TCI profiled Kristin Larsen, founder of Believe in a Budget, who signed up for a local pet sitting company and generally made $20 for 20-minute dog walks (that she took care of while on her lunch break from her main job). While those rates may not apply in every area, you may be able to combine a couple of clients at a time to make more per hour.

If you're able to keep animals in your house or apartment overnight, you might also consider signing up with an outfit like Rover.com that sets you up with clients, provides screening on both ends and takes just a small fraction of each booking fee. These gigs can pay $30 per night or more.

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