Everyone is getting in on the side hustle craze. More than a third of Gen Xers, 36%, currently have a side gig, according to a May 2022 Zapier survey of 2,032 U.S. adults. And nearly two thirds of both Gen Zers and millennials have one, 59% and 61%, respectively. Gen Zers, specifically, make an average of $9,537 per year on their side hustles.
If you’re a member of that younger generation and are looking to cash in on the trend, there are plenty of hustles for you to consider. “Think about what stage in life you’re in,” says side hustle expert Kevin Ha. “You’ve got more time, probably, you’ve got the ability to live unconventionally because you’re probably by yourself.”
Here are four side hustles for Gen Z to consider.
If social media is already second nature, you may have wondered or looked into how to monetize it.
“According to Instagram’s Trend Report, two thirds of Gen Z plan to use social media to make money this year,” says Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and the creator of the Monday Pick-Me-Up and Odd Jobs newsletter. “And the best part about that is you don’t need to be an influencer or have a million followers.”
One way to do this is through affiliate marketing. “What that means is that you promote products with a special link and if people click that link and buy, you make money,” says Glantz. You can apply to Amazon’s affiliate marketing program for example, or log onto your favorite brands’ site to see if they offer affiliate options.
Influencer Shannon Smith makes $8,600 per month in passive income from affiliate marketing on her social media posts. She suggests taking note of how other people are creating popular content and focusing on a niche subject matter and product.
Another option to consider is virtual assisting. What “virtual assistant” means can span the gamut.
“Maybe you’re really great at Excel, or you’re great at Google Docs, or you’re great at Photoshop or you’re really, really good at organization,” says Glantz. “Whatever your core skills are, you can get paid to assist someone virtually in those skills.”
Try offering your services on sites like Fiverr or Upwork, or looking for virtual assisting gigs on LinkedIn, dedicated Facebook groups or sites like Belay or Robert Half.
Virtual assistants on Upwork charge as much as $75 per hour.
If you’re a fan of buying things or eating out, you might consider secret shopping.
Sites like Secret Shopper or BestMark pay or reimburse shoppers for checking the customer experience of retailers, restaurants and other business, usually between $10 to $25 per shop, according to Sidehus.com. Reviewers have been sent to a salon to see if they honored a free first visit coupon and to a video game store to see if they’d sell a game for mature audiences to an underage kid.
When it comes to restaurant assignments, “for Gen Z, it’s a good option because it’s free food,” says Ha, adding that at a young age, “you probably have more flexibility to go out to eat.” Ha himself says he made $1,700 in 2022 using secret shopping website Market Force.
Speaking of food, another side hustle Gen Zers might consider is food delivery. Depending on what stage of life you’re in, recent grads or college students often live in “dense areas with young people ordering food,” says Ha. That means if you take on this, you won’t have to go far to make your deliveries. “You can just be in your apartment waiting for orders,” he says.
Ha recommends using sites like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub. Ha himself delivers on his bike to save money on gas and get some fresh air and exercise. In October 2022, he says he made almost $675 delivering food with these apps.
Whatever you decide to do, know that you’re developing skills that could feed into your career. Before you dive in, ask yourself, what’s an industry you’d like to explore? Where do you want to be in five or ten years?
Bottom line, says Glantz, ask yourself, “how can this side hustle benefit my future career?”
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