Seven (7) Side Hustles I’ve Had

I just called them jobs.  But at a time when I wanted to stay home with my children instead of working full time, side hustles became essential for survival.

Maybe these will give you some ideas for some of your own!

1. Waiting Tables

Who didn’t wait tables in college, right?  Here I learned how to do multiple things at once, memorized complicated orders (some of the time!), and balance a huge tray of food on one hand.  I also made a wad of cash (strategically working the lunch shift) and am forever empathetic to anyone who serves in this capacity (and I’m a good tipper as a result!).

2. Cleaning Houses

During college, if I wasn’t going to class, student teaching, or working in the restaurant, I was cleaning houses, as well as an office building (with my husband).  We made $800/month (in the 80’s), and we spent about 2.5 hours M-F cleaning.  Then every other weekend, I would clean a professor’s house (around 4 hours on those Saturdays). 

3. Teaching Piano/Music Gigs

Thanks to my mother, who was my piano teacher, I learned how to play the piano.  That’s actually been a fun and lucrative side job as I’ve taught piano lessons, played for weddings/receptions/parties/funerals, accompanied choirs and solo vocalists/instrumentalists, and been a paid church musician.  I’ve recorded in a studio a few times and was even filmed for a movie once. 

4. Tutoring/Part-time Teaching

After I earned my college degree (BS in Education), and after teaching full time for two years, I determined with my new baby, I’d like to stay home.  Fast forward to more babies –totaling four.  I have not taught full time again, but I did enjoy some lucrative tutoring (math and English and SAT/ACT Prep) through all these years.  I have also taught part-time for private schools.  .Even now, I tutor every now and then for the fun of it (and also $).

5. Lab Rat

This actually was an income-producing venture that both my husband and I used.  It is definitely NOT for everyone.  We lived near a teaching hospital (UTMB in Galveston) for several years.  Hubby was in school there, and there would be postings for medical studies that paid people to basically be lab rats.  Perhaps the most memorable was being a human pin cushion while students practiced drawing blood on me.  I remember I got paid $35 per stick.  One day, I was stuck 7 times!  And all by one student.  Like I said, not for everyone.  

6. Mystery Shopping

This was a fun side job that I spent about a year doing.  If you’re unfamiliar, you are hired by different companies and paid in the form of food, goods, services, or cash for reviewing their business.  I used to mystery shop restaurants and would be reimbursed for my meals.  I shopped an optometry group and got free glasses.  And one weekend, I went to a small country town and took surveys of businesses there.  I made $1300 just that weekend! 

7. Selling items

For me, retail therapy is going to estate/yard/garage sales and finding great deals.  I also have never been above stopping to look through someone’s pile of things they’ve put out for trash.  During one of those stops, I found a solid queen size headboard which we used for 5 years and then sold for $110.  This leads me to the next and current side hustle….

Bonus: Furniture Flipping

Now, I’m brand new to this.  But my first sale was a chaise lounge that I bought for $10, cleaned, and sold for $80.  I’m hoping to continue in this as time and Texas heat allows.  Currently, I’m restoring some wood furniture.  It’s hard, sweaty work but allows for creativity; and I’m a firm believer that we should all be doing something creative. 

What side hustles have you had?

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