Chicken Class Action Suit Could Put Money In Your Pocket

If between 2009 and 2020, you purchased fresh or frozen raw chicken for the purposes of preparing a meal, you may be in line for an unexpected payday.

A class-action lawsuit against several chicken-processing companies has been settled to the tune of $181 million.

All you have to do to get your share is fill out a form. And then wait.

You likely won’t be alone because chicken is one popular protein. It comes in second in annual consumption to red meat, but the gap is closing.

According to the National Chicken Council, chicken consumption continues to grow in the U.S. In 2009, the first year of date range for this settlement, Americans ate 80 pounds of chicken per person. In 2020, that number grew to almost 100 pounds.

The companies named in the suit (Fieldale Farms Corporation, George’s, Mar-Jac Poultry, Peco Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson Foods) were charged with conspiring to fix the supply of chicken to maintain a certain price level, a violation of federal and state consumer antitrust laws.

The settlement amount was announced Sept. 10, but will not be finalized until the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois gives final approval at a hearing Dec. 20, 2021.

How Much Money Can You Get?

How much will be distributed among class action participants is uncertain, but all participants in the suit are likely to be rewarded with some amount. The reason the individual payout is uncertain is because it is unknown how many consumers will file a claim. This is a fairly large settlement at $181 million but the pool of claimants could also be quite large.

Remember, Americans have eaten on average between 80 to 100 pound of chicken a year in the time frame of the suit. Some of that is nuggets and chicken sandwiches purchased at restaurants and fast-food joints, but a portion is chicken purchased to prepare at home, and that is what the suit encompasses.

As a point of reference, the cereal manufacturing giant, Kellogg, was required recently to pay $13 million because of incorrect labeling on some of its “heart healthy” or “lightly sweetened” breakfast cereals. The products were neither. It was expected that consumers who bought the cereals between 2012 and 2020 could get about $16 each if they filed claims by the deadline.

The Payout Doesn’t Cover All 50 States

According to the chicken price fixing lawsuit, anyone who was a resident of certain U.S. states between Jan. 1, 2009, and July 31, 2019 (extended into 2020 for Pilgrim’s Pride), and indirectly purchased whole chicken, chicken breasts, or wings from the settling poultry processors is eligible for a portion of the settlement.

An indirect purchase is one from a third party distributor rather than directly from the companies named in the suit. It’s likely that nearly everyone who will file a claim is in this category because it’s almost certain most of the chicken was purchased from a grocery store rather than directly from the producers.

Residents of the following states can participate: California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

Common Questions about the Settlement

Katherine Webster is settlements editor for Top Class Actions, a website which tracks class action lawsuits for consumers so they don’t have to. She’s rounded up answers for questions  that she suspects The Penny Hoarder readers will have.

How do I prove I bought chicken in the designated way during the designated period?

For this settlement, proof of purchase is not required. Class members simply need to fill out and submit a claim form by Dec. 31, 2022 (yes, 2022). However, the claims administrator may request that a claimant provide additional information or documentation later.

How can I track the progress of the settlement as it progresses?

The settlement administrator maintains a website for information about the case. And, Top Class Actions will provide updates on the settlement article itself and via email as more information becomes available.

Is it worth my time to fill out the form?

Everyone has to decide for themselves whether it’s worth their time to join a settlement, but the claims process is simple — especially with no proof of purchase required at this time. If a consumer is an eligible Class Member, they have the opportunity to receive money they are entitled to under the terms of the settlement agreement. More details here from Top Class Actions.

For this particular settlement, Class Members who file a valid claim will receive a proportionate share of the settlement fund — currently $181 million before attorneys’ fees and other costs are deducted — based on their broiler chicken purchases.

In addition, those who submit timely claim forms in this settlement will automatically participate in any future settlements with other defendants unless the Class Member chooses to opt out.

Top Class Actions follows settlements already made, open class action lawsuits and payments already made. You may be in line for a settlement amount and not know it, so take a look. Here are the settlements deadlining in September and The Penny Hoarder publishes settlement deadlines monthly provided by Top Class Actions.

Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

7 Online Flea Markets Where You Can Find Deals on Treasures

Where can you find antique Pez dispensers, hot vintage heels and (finally!) the perfect lamp to match your weirdly patterned bedspread — all on sale for just a few bucks?

We’ll give you a hint: It’s not Walmart. At least, not our Walmart. (And if yours fits the bill… would you let us know where you live?)

No, it’s your favorite online flea market.

A New Way to Browse: Online Flea Markets

Not only are regular flea markets wacky and wonderful, but their goods are usually pre-owned, pre-loved and dirt cheap. (Who wants to pay the full retail price?!) In short, they’re a Penny Hoarder’s dream.

But everything is virtual these days. You turn to your laptop (or, let’s be real, your smartphone) for everything from takeout to taxi rides to a date for Friday night.

So it’s no surprise there’s a whole world of online flea market shopping out there. And it’s just as quirky and addictive as the real thing — especially since you can see it all with just a few clicks.

The Obvious Online Flea Markets

Of course, a few online flea markets are industry giants you almost certainly already know about.

  • Amazon: A once humble bookselling website, Amazon has become an online marketplace so powerful that its astronomic growth sent its founder, Jeff Bezos, into space. Vendors big and small can sell new and used products on the site — including handmade goods — and they can appear on your doorstep in as little as one day.
  • Craigslist: Known for sending shivers down the spines of journalists due to upending newspaper revenues, the online classifieds site is an easy way to pawn off your tchotchkes to neighbors, find some hidden treasures yourself — and so much more. It’s all anonymous, though. So give out your personal deets sparingly, and always meet in a safe, public space!
  • eBay: This classic buy-and-sell site has been around for more than a quarter century. Although it bills itself primarily as an online auction site, it operates like most online flea market sites. Many of its listings are available for immediate sale — and it seems you can find just about anything you might desire.
  • Etsy: Sort of like eBay’s quiet, artsy little sister, Etsy specializes in handmade goodies, but it’s also a treasure trove for lovers of all things vintage. In fact, it has a whole category devoted to vintage items, and it’s well-organized enough that you can dive into niches as specific as bolo ties, fedoras and marbles.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Compared to the other geezer sites so far, Facebook Marketplace is very new. Launched in 2016, the online marketplace feature is built into regular ol’ Facebook, and you can buy or sell all kinds of stuff on Marketplace, including cars and campers. You can even find rental properties. Marketplace is locally focused, but it also supports shipping.

7 Online Flea Markets You Might Not Have Heard of Yet

OK, we covered our basic-online-flea-market bases. On to the weird and wonderful ones. Half the fun of a traditional flea market is stumbling upon offbeat items and great deals you never would have found elsewhere.

To replicate real flea market experience virtually, we checked out a variety of smaller online flea markets and compared inventory, prices and user experience to help you find the best deals at the digital folding table.

Here’s what we found out.

1. Fleabay(.net)

Pros

  • Wide array of categories (even rentals and services!)
  • Each listing is “reviewed by a human”
  • Free stuff!

Cons

  • Clunky website
  • Pop-up ads
  • Few listings

A bit like a cross between Craigslist and eBay, Fleabay (a .net domain not to be confused with flea-bay.com!) lists items from all over the world — and includes categories as diverse as rental properties and ride shares. There’s even a free stuff section.

The list of prohibited items includes wine, credit cards and “human parts and remains.” Used airbags are merely “questionable,” though.

Fleabay’s listings feature little more than an item description, location, the seller’s information and an expiration date. Shipping or local pickup is arranged on a per-listing basis, and you reach out to the poster directly.

The most frustrating thing? A number of the categories were empty of listings — but there’s no way to tell that without clicking through. There’s also no baked-in way to make an offer on an item; if you’re interested, you’ll have to fill in an online contact form.

2. Flea-bay(.com)

Pros

  • Easy to use and navigate
  • Has smartphone apps
  • Haggle friendly

Cons

  • Lots of empty categories
  • Very little information on seller
  • Listings may include very little information

In a battle of the Fleabays, the dot com version comes out on top. Flea-bay (notice the hyphen) is a solid online flea market that features a pared-down and slightly dated interface. But that doesn’t make it at all difficult to use.

The site has dozens of categories to browse, but most listings seem to be focused on electronics, clothes or accessories. Like many small online flea markets, it lacks the thousands — or even millions — of listings like some of the better-known online marketplaces.

Still, it’s fun to browse when you’re trying to get a quick flea-market fix online.

Similar to Craigslist, Flea-bay simply connects you with sellers. No transactions take place on the site, so haggle away!

A man grows excited as he buys something online with his credit card.

3. vFlea

Pros

  • Easy to see if items are pickup only or shippable
  • Useful filters
  • Bartering and haggling allowed

Cons

  • Unencrypted website
  • PayPal account required for payments
  • Lots of old listings

Compared to other online flea markets, vFlea feels the closest to actually thumbing through junk until you find a treasure — before leaning across the table to make a bid. The interface is also a touch more polished.

Each listing’s thumbnail specifies whether items are shippable or for local pickup only and also includes an asking price. The platform has built-in “buy now” and “haggle” options, and even an opportunity to “barter” with goods of your own.

Like most online flea markets, items are organized by tags as well as categories, creating better searchability and organization. The site populates the number of listings currently available in each category in parentheses, so no mysteries there.

Finally, vFlea still has some weird stuff available, although it draws the line at community events. For instance, you’ll come across the occasional hilltop timeshare, which apparently can be shipped or picked up locally.

4. Bonanza

Pros

  • Sleek interface
  • Fun and quirky inventory
  • Active community forum and blog
  • Vets sellers to some extent

Cons

  • Can be tough to verify vendor reviews
  • No bidding

Although Bonanza seeks to be the best eBay alternative, it doesn’t offer bidding or bartering options.

It does, however, list categories for everything from home goods to collectibles, including coins and paper money.

And there’s also a wonderful category called “Everything Else,” with subsections like “Metaphysical” (which features “haunted” items) and “Weird Stuff” (We found cockroach earrings).

There’s even a “Vintage” section under fashion so you can easily shop for those precious duds from another era.

5. Nextdoor

Pros

  • Verified locals only
  • Popular option
  • Lots of easy-to-use filters to help you find the best bargains
  • Frequent listings for free stuff
  • Haggle friendly

Cons

  • Lengthy signup process
  • Smaller towns may not have any users
  • All purchases made offline

Technically, Nextdoor is a social media site for your community. And it takes that seriously. You actually need to input a valid address, which you will have to verify, to join your community group.

Once you’re in, you can do all sorts of stuff. Gossip. Post community PSAs. Discover local events. (Our photo director uses Nextdoor to save money by polling neighbors for recommendations and hunting for deals from local businesses!)

Another great feature? “Finds,” Nextdoor’s very own local buy-and-sell section. You can browse listings to find deals across all kinds of categories. Toys, games, furniture, vehicles and much more! Its nifty filters make finding exactly what you want a breeze.

6. Mercari

Pros

  • Pick-up and shipping options
  • Easy to review sellers
  • Tons of listings and categories
  • Haggling accepted
  • Very polished site and app

Cons

  • No niche — inventory fairly bland

Mercari touts a user-friendly experience whether you’re browsing on its websites or scrolling through listings with the smartphone app.

There are tons of freshly listed items across a host of different categories. And if you live nearby the seller, you can opt for pickup. Otherwise shipping allows you to tap into a massive selection of goods.

What’s great about Mercari is how easy it makes reviewing the seller. Click the seller’s name and, boom, you can see more details about them and quickly check out any reviews. Mercari also handles payments. So no worrying about forking over cash to strangers in person!

7. The Internet Antique Shop (TIAS)

Pros

  • Inventory chock full of antique goodies
  • Simple browsing
  • Replicates the wonder of sifting through a quiet antique market
  • Still active after a quarter century
  • Verified vendors

Cons

  • Listings contain little info
  • Usually only one picture per listing

Founded in 1995, The Internet Antique Shop (TIAS) is a bit of an antique itself. While it never took off quite like its buy-and-sell siblings eBay or Craigslist, TIAS has carved out a remarkable niche for all things antique.

The site looks a bit dated. But, hey, it sells antiques. Maybe that’s an intentional part of its charm? It still functions just fine. The category’s sidebar makes browsing simple. And, before you click, it shows upfront how many listings are in any given category — a feature other virtual flea markets could learn from.

This site is truly a gem. It’s one online flea market you don’t want to overlook. With subcategories like vintage sewing tools and breweriana (read: old signage, steins and more from classic breweries), TIAS really makes it feel like you’re about to stumble upon unique treasures with each click.

A collection of vintage things sit on a table.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Online Flea Markets

Here’s everything else you should know about online flea markets.

Are Online Flea Markets Safe?

Generally speaking, yes, online flea markets are safe. As with any online purchases, guard your personal information. And if you need to make a transaction, be sure the website is encrypted. This sounds fancy, but it’s actually pretty easy to confirm. You can check by looking at the address bar of your browser: You should see “https” before the website’s name. The letter s in https means the website is secure. Many small or old websites ignore this crucial security feature.

Are the Sellers Legitimate?

Exercise good judgement, just as if you’re at a real flea market. Verifying sellers and vendors is a tough nut to crack for almost all online shops — even major corporations like Amazon. As best as possible, try to check who’s selling the item on any given listing before you make your purchase. Some flea market sites more than others make it easy to see the reputation of the seller. For sites that are locally-focused, the sellers are likely neighbors. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay vigilant.

Can You Make Money Selling on Online Flea Market Sites?

Yes, you can sell stuff online, and it’s an extremely popular way to make some extra cash. Almost every flea market website mentioned in this article allows everyday sellers and established vendors to sign up and start selling.

Depending on the online store, it could be as easy as creating a listing and publishing it for the world to see. Other sites are more selective on who they let sell items, and the sign-up process might require you to provide lots of personal information to verify your identity. Shipping is something you should definitely factor in when you get started: some sites allow it — and may even cover the shipping costs, and some sites are only for local sales.

What About the Online Flea Market Srchie?

You may notice that Srchie is included in just about every “top online flea market” article. (It was even included in an older version of this article.) However, the beloved website and its social media accounts have been abandoned since 2017. RIP Srchie. We’ll never forget all your great deals.

The Penny Hoarder Shop is always stocked with great deals, including technology, subscriptions, courses, kitchenware and more. Check it out today!

Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a freelance writer, and Adam Hardy (@hardyjournalism) is a freelance reporter and editor. Staff writer/editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors contributed to this post.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Best Mystery Shopper Jobs

Want to become a mystery shopper? If so, we’ve for the four best mystery shopper companies to work for.

Mystery shoppers go by a couple different names – evaluators, secret shoppers – but, regardless of the name, the job’s the same: mystery shoppers document their experiences to help businesses who deal with the public a lot.

Workers can score everything from free food to extra money when they work for a mystery shopping company.

Mystery shopping jobs are pretty plentiful, too. The mystery shopping industry has been around since the 1940s and is a nearly $2-billion-dollar-a-year industry.

Ready to learn how to get paid to shop? This post includes information about the best mystery shopping firms around (and what makes a reputable company), average pay, how to avoid mystery shopping scams and more.

What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery shopping is a job where a company pays you to pose like a regular customer. You’ll provide valuable feedback to the company — from how clean the store was to how the employees interacted with you. In exchange for your feedback, they pay you a fee, and in most cases, you’ll be asked to buy something and then be reimbursed up to a set amount. You will know that amount before you buy.

Many mystery shopping trips entail visits to retail stores, food markets or phone shops. However, for some gigs, you might visit local restaurants (free food!) or even theme parks. There are also phone mystery shopping companies where you interact with call centers and gauge the setup.

Typically, you’ll write up a report on your experience from the customer’s point of view and submit it to the client by a deadline. From there, you’ll get paid.

How Do You Get Started as a Mystery Shopper?

You can look up mystery shopping gigs on dedicated company websites (we’ll get to that soon) or via a job board, like Indeed.com.

After you apply and your application is approved, you simply log in to the company’s website and select the jobs you want to do. These firms will provide you with all the instructions, and after you’ve completed the shop, you’ll need to enter your feedback into their websites. Some pay via direct deposit, but most will mail you a check at the end of the month.

It varies by company, but you typically need to be 18 or older to be hired by a mystery shopping company. For assignments around liquor or alcohol, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old. Some gigs also have ranges. For example, a company might request someone between the ages of 18 and 30 so they can appear to be a college student. Some mystery shopping jobs also require you to have reliable transportation.

Looking for a side gig or even a full-time job that lets you work at home? Check out these 32 companies offering remote work.

Qualities of a Good Mystery Shopper

To be a successful mystery shopper, you’ll need to:

  • Read thoroughly. Make sure you read the job description completely and understand the requirements.
  • Be detail-oriented. Watch and listen closely when mystery shopping plus take notes and photos. Successful secret shoppers are meticulous with their data.
  • Stay organized. Hold on to any receipts, business cards and other items you need to submit to get reimbursed and paid for the gig. Adhere to deadlines, too (put a reminder on your calendar!).

Mystery shopping can be a great way to earn pocket cash, but you’ll want to treat this gig like any other job. Especially since not following the rules means you won’t get paid.

How Much Money Can You Get Paid for a Mystery Shopping Job?

It varies based on the company and assignment. Across the U.S., mystery shoppers make about $800 a week. Gigs run the gamut, from $12 and a free meal to $100 as a flat rate and beyond.

It’s important to note that, as a mystery shopper, you’ll be an independent contractor. That means you’re responsible for paying your own taxes. You can keep tabs on deductions (like paying for gas to get to a gig) to help with your tax burden at the end of the year. Many companies require shoppers to sign an independent contractor agreement (versus signing them on as a w-2 worker), so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a full-time situation that offers health insurance and other benefits.

On the plus side — since you’re not an employee — you should be able to mystery-shop for multiple companies at one time.

How Do You Get Paid?

Similarly, it depends on the company hiring for the assignment — each one has its own rules surrounding payment, from how it’s issued to how often you’ll see your money.

Many mystery shopping companies pay via PayPal, though some do direct debit and physical checks, too. Some offer gift cards in lieu of cash payment, as well.

4 of the Best Mystery Shopping Companies

Here are some of the top companies where you can find mystery shopper jobs. Also, all of them are free to join:

1. BestMark

BestMark has been around since 1986. The firm provides coverage in more than 13,000 cities across the U.S. and Canada in four main categories: mystery shoppers, intercept interviewers (gather information from people directly in in-person shops), compliance auditors (review adherence to company rules and regulatory guidelines) and panelists (moderator-led panels or focus groups).

Once you sign up, a BestMark staffer should contact you within five to 10 days. You can also get bonuses for referring friends and families to BestMark.

Prospective mystery shoppers can sign up here.

Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

How payment is distributed: PayPal, direct deposit or gift card.

When payment is sent: Three to four weeks after a completed assignment.

What you need to get paid: Submit completed assignments on time and adhere to all specifications.

2. Sinclair Customer Metrics

Sinclair Customer Metrics has been in the mystery shopping game since 1987. It specializes in the banking, retail, grocery store, (quick-service) restaurant and convenience store spaces. And on top of in-person gigs, Sinclair offers video mystery shopping to clients, too, complete with a hidden camera.

People looking for a mystery shopping assignment can sign up here.

Better Business Bureau rating: Not BBB accredited.

How payment is distributed: Check.

When payment is sent: You’ll be paid once a month, the last week of the following month after your last completed assignment.

What you need to get paid: Submit completed assignments on time and adhere to all specifications.

3. Market Force

Market Force works with clients in a variety of industries, from health and wellness and movie studios to specialty retail and alcohol and tobacco. The firm has offices in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, and provides gigs in thousands of locations. Market Force also has an app, Eyes:On, which allows mystery shoppers to complete assignments on the go.

People looking for mystery shopping gigs can sign up here.

Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

How payment is distributed: Direct deposit.

When payment is sent: Monthly, on the 15th.

What you need to get paid: Submit completed assignments on time and adhere to all specifications.

4. IntelliShop

IntelliShop is a customer experience research and improvement firm. The firm’s specialties are in the customer experience, online reputation management, and loss prevention and compliance sectors. IntelliShop provides coverage in more than 18K cities in the U.S. and Canada and 180 countries.

Prospective shoppers seeking a mystery shopping assignment can sign up here.

Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

How payment is distributed: PayPal.

When payment is sent: Approximately 30 days after the last day of the month in which your mystery shopping trips were completed.

What you need to get paid: All shop documentation (a business card, receipt, etc. — anything required for a particular task) must be submitted to receive payment for the shopper challenge.

Pro Tip

Never pay to be a part of a mystery shopping company — or to see its list of jobs. Legitimate companies never ask for these things.

What’s Life Like for a Secret Shopper?

You can become a mystery shopper in a number of ways. In fact, our CEO started mystery shopping as a teenager. (He’s also completed more than 5,000 mystery shops to date!)

He got his start mystery shopping at local grocery stores, an Ikea, fast-food establishments, restaurants and liquor stores. On another assignment, he was asked to pretend he was shopping for a car — he took a test drive and everything — and earned a cool $60 for each dealership he went to that day.

He’s since hung up his mystery-shopping boots. But back in the day, he was usually paid between $8 and $25 per secret-shopping trip. And the big one — he was reimbursed for his purchases (you become popular in your early 20s when your work earns you free booze). There were months where he earned more than $5,000, but most months, he earned $400-$500 in extra money for mystery shopping.

Your mileage may vary, of course. But it can be a semi-lucrative and fun gig for the right person.

Warning: Be Careful of Mystery Shopper Scams

Unfortunately, if you’ve looked into mystery shopping before, you know there are a lot of scammers trying to take advantage of this industry’s growing popularity.

A few rules of thumb:

  • Never pay to join a mystery shopping company. The real ones never ask for a payment from you.
  • Never pay money to a company to see their list of jobs. Legitimate mystery shopping companies are always short of shoppers, so they never ask for you to pay to see a list of their jobs.
  • Also, legit mystery shopping companies shouldn’t force you to take a certain number of jobs.

Still confused about an opportunity? The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) is a trade organization that offers resources for secret shopping companies and guidelines for individuals who are interested in this type of work. Also, check out online reviews for any company before you work for them.

There are a ton of real mystery shopping companies, so do your due diligence to stay away from the scams.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Mystery Shopping

Here are some FAQs when it comes to mystery shopping companies and gigs.

Which Mystery Shopping Company Pays the Best?

BestMark is one of the largest mystery shopping companies, so you’ll have a wide variety of jobs to pick through and choose based on pay.

Overall, though, it’s worthwhile to sign up for a couple different companies and see what’s out there. Also, consider that the types of gigs you go after (visiting three grocery stores in one day vs. answering a 10-minute survey, for example) will have an effect on your pay. If you choose more involved tasks, the pay tends to go up with the workload.

Which Mystery Shopping Companies are Legitimate?

The four companies listed in this article are all legitimate mystery shopping companies. Always do some research before taking a gig and revisit the section on scams so you know what to avoid.

How Much do Professional Mystery Shoppers Make?

Mystery shoppers can make anywhere from a few bucks to several hundred a week. Depending on your availability and the job pay, you have some control over how much you can make. Remember, though, that it will typically take a couple of weeks (minimum) before you will receive the pay for your work.

What is the Best Mystery Shopper Company to Work for in the U.K.?

Market Force and Ipsos Mystery Shopping are two companies mystery shoppers can work for in the U.K.

The Penny Hoarder Shop is always stocked with great deals, including technology, subscriptions, courses, kitchenware and more. Check it out today!

Contributor Kathleen Garvin (@itskgarvin) is a personal finance writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and former editor and marketer at The Penny Hoarder. She owns a content-writing business and her work has appeared in U.S. News, Clark.com and Well Kept Wallet.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

21 Side Jobs for Women That Will Bring in Extra Cash

Women hustle. It’s in their DNA. If you’re a woman, you know how to work hard and overcome the obstacles that come up along the way. You’re willing to do what it takes to provide for your family, even if that means putting in a little more elbow grease than what most people are comfortable with.

But sometimes, because of family obligations or other life events, finding extra time can seem next to impossible. That’s where side hustles come in.

Sides hustles are great for women looking for ways to make money around their kids’ schedules, such as during school hours, nap time, or in the evenings. They give you the chance at earning some extra money on your own schedule.

21 Side Hustles for Women

In this post, we’ll show you 21 out-of-the-box ideas of side hustles for women that bring in at least $1,000 a month. The jobs are:

1. Freelance Writer

If you’re good at writing and it’s something you enjoy doing, freelance writing is a lucrative side hustle that’s flexible and easy to start.

Freelance writing has many benefits, especially for a stay-at-home-mom, such as:

  • You don’t need any formal training.
  • You can write on your own time and virtually from anywhere. Write while the kids are napping or they’re at soccer practice—there are no limitations.
  • As a freelance writer, you can choose the niche you write in. That means you can write about things you’re passionate about and get paid for it. Want to write greeting cards? Go for it! Are you good at resume writing? That’s always in demand. There’s such a strong need for content creators today that you’re sure to find a writing gig in almost any niche.

How Much Do Freelance Writers Make?

Good writers make pretty decent money: the average writer rakes in a little over $63,000, according to ZipRecruiter, so making $1,000/month part-time is totally doable.

Use our 8-point guide to setting freelance rates for novice and experienced writers. 

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2. Virtual Assistant

What exactly do virtual assistants do? Their role is to be someone else’s right hand, be that through helping them manage their online business or just get their life in order. Some common tasks for a virtual assistant include:

  • Data entry.
  • Managing social media accounts and profiles.
  • Sourcing, arranging and booking travel itineraries for clients.
  • Organizing and scheduling meetings.
  • Communicating with clients via email or phone calls.
  • Preparing reports, presentations or documents for client review.

You don’t necessarily need a lot of experience to be a virtual assistant: just a strong work ethic, good communications skills, a computer, and an internet connection.

How Much Do Virtual Assistants Make?

As a virtual assistant with no experience, you can expect to make about $7/hour, in which case it would take you around 7 hours of work every day during weekdays to get to $1K per month. Not exactly a side hustle.

Once you get some more experience, though, you can expect to make an average of $32/hour, meaning you’ll be able to dedicate just 5 hours per week to reach the $1,000 monthly mark.

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3. Photographer

Are you the go-to person everybody asks to take their pictures for them at parties and get-togethers? That’s a clear sign that you may have a hidden talent for photography, and your phone’s memory bank might just be a goldmine that could turn into a steady source of passive income, generating some extra cash with little to no extra effort.

All you have to do is upload your photos to different stock photography websites like Shutterstock or iStockphoto and start turning your photos into cash.

How Much Can You Make From Selling Stock Photography?

Before you get too excited, you should know that it’s a bit hard to actually start making money on these platforms since there is a lot of competition.

To give you some idea, in one case study, a contributor uploaded 444 photos to Shutterstock and, after 8 months, had only earned around $150. At that same rate, if you were to upload 1,000 photos, they would earn you only $40-$45 per month, which is nowhere near $1,000. However, do consider that this is passive income that can continue to earn for years with no additional effort.

Still, a little extra money every month never hurts, and if you dedicate a few hours per day to taking more photos, you can end up making well over $1,000 every month from these platforms alone.

Selling photos online  may be easier than you think. Check our guide to who’s buying what type of photos and how much they are paying.  

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4. Personal Shopper

Many women love shopping and offering others advice on what they should buy, so becoming a personal shopper is one of those side hustles to consider.

Personal shoppers provide their services to busy professionals who don’t have the time or energy to shop for themselves, but still want to look good. As a freelance personal shopper, you’ll work with clients over email, phone or video chat, visit stores, help clients choose the clothes that are best for them, and perhaps even deliver purchases directly to their home.

How Much Do Personal Shoppers Make?

According to Glassdoor, personal shoppers earn an average of $30,000/year working 25-30 hours per week, so it’s a great way to make more than just $1,000 per month in your spare time.

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5. Professional Organizer
Organizing is a tough job, but somebody has to do it. If you can help the cluttered get their affairs in order, it won’t take long for word to spread and for you to gain a few clients. Professional organizers generally work from clients’ homes during the day, so keep that in mind if you don’t have the flexibility to take on more during regular work hours.

If you feel like this is something you want to try out, a great way to hit the ground running is to join a group like the National Association of Professional Organizers or NAPO. There, you’ll find like-minded people who love organizing, you can get your name added to a growing catalog of professional organizers that will help you find work, and you can even take courses to polish your skills.

How Much Can You Make as a Professional Organizer?

As an organizer with no experience but strong organizational skills, expect to earn around $22/hour. At that rate, it will take you less than 12 hours per week to make $1,000 a month.

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6. Online Tutor

Studying on your own can be frustrating, even if you opt for a high-quality online course. Thankfully, there are people like you that love teaching others about their specific skill set. If you have a passion for biology, calculus or any other subject, it might be worth your while to earn some extra income by becoming an online tutor.

Tutoring is flexible work. If you’re really good, you may end up having a major positive impact on the lives of your students, while you bring in income.

How Much Do Online Tutors Make?

Rates vary depending on your field of expertise and your years of experience, though you can expect to earn anywhere from $10/hour to $50/hour and up. If there’s any subject matter that you’re particularly good at, tutoring is a surefire way to make some extra money online.

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7. Rideshare Driver

You certainly don’t need a degree or any special skills for this job. As long as you know how to drive and you can pass the companies’ background checks, then there’s nothing stopping you from making some money in your downtime driving for Uber or Lyft.

How Much Can You Make Working For Uber Or Lyft?

This is an amazing side gig because it doesn’t require much effort, unlike other jobs like being a personal shopper, which requires constant running around and being on your feet all the time. It can also pay very well, with reports of drivers earning $90 to $140 per day depending on where they’re working.

All in all, if you have a car and are looking for something temporary to do while meeting new people, this is a nice side hustle to consider.

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8. Airbnb Host

You might be surprised at how easy it is to make extra money if you live in a popular tourist city. All you need are some spare rooms and an Airbnb host account.

The average Airbnb host makes about $1K/month, but these earnings vary dramatically depending on where you live, the time of year, and the size and type of home or room you have up for rent.

How Much Can You Make On Airbnb?

The global average for renting out your entire home is $110/night, while in the U.S., it’s $161/night. Of course, you’re able to set your own rate, so if you have a really nice listing with modern furniture and appliances, that increases your earning potential dramatically. When you’re ready, you might even consider making a business from your Airbnb hustle.

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9. Crafter

Many of us have a hobby or particular talent we like to indulge in our spare time. Whether it’s woodworking, pottery, sewing or knitting, these hobbies can easily become a great source of extra income if you know where to sell them.

One great place to sell your crafty creations is on the world’s largest marketplace for handmade goods: Etsy. With more than 30 million unique monthly visitors and millions of items for sale in over 200 countries, you’ll find plenty of people who want to buy what you’re making.

Bonus: Over 80% of Etsy sellers are women.

How Much Do Etsy Crafters Make?

According to shmoop.com, the average income you can expect to make as a crafter selling your work on Etsy is around $44,000 though you will likely have to hustle for this. This means that you’ll be comfortably making over $1,000 a month without hassle, and you’ll have a great time in the process. After all, crafting is a fun hobby.

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10. Drop-Shipping Entrepreneur

If you’re looking for more than just a side hustle — something you can turn into a real business with little upfront cost — starting a drop-shipping business may be a good way to go. You don’t need an MBA to start drop-shipping, though you do need at least somewhat of an entrepreneurial spirit. If you don’t feel confident, there are plenty of online courses out there that cover the basics.

Drop-shipping is a retail strategy that lets you get products in front of your customers without ever having the product on hand. You purchase goods from third-party vendors and have them shipped directly to buyers, bypassing the need for warehousing or stocking inventory.

One great thing about drop-shipping is that it’s always cash flow positive: you sell the product to your customer before buying it from your supplier. This simplifies many of the liquidity issues small business owners run into, and helps you set yourself up for success.

Oberlo are two digital giants that can get you started in the e-commerce game.

How Much Do Drop-Shippers Make?

Drop-shipper earnings vary wildly, from zero to tens of thousands of dollars per month. If you manage to find a popular product with healthy margins, there’s almost no limit to what you can make.

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11. Podcaster or Blogger

#1 on this list was becoming a freelance writer. But what if you love writing, but you don’t want to write for someone else? In that case, forget freelancing and start a blog of your own.

(If you aren’t ready to go out on your own, contract your services to a dentist, attorney or any other professional with a business that wants to connect with clients and potential clients. You can write their blog posts for them.)

You don’t have to limit yourself to writing alone. Content is king—no matter its format—so experiment with text, images, videos, audio, or all of them at once. If you’re more comfortable speaking than writing, becoming a YouTuber or a podcaster may be a better fit than starting your own blog.

Thousands of women run blogs to make money online on their own schedule, and they generally find it much more rewarding than being a virtual assistant or walking the neighborhood dogs.

There are a number of content management systems that can help you get your blog started, offering templates and tutoring. The pricing varies on the services you need, including hosting your blog. WordPress is probably the most popular and widely used, but there are others such as Wix and HubSpot.

How Much Can You Make Through a Blog?

Thoughtful blogs with carefully-crafted content can generate thousands of dollars of revenue per month with little overhead, which is why blogging is one of the quickest ways to hit the $1,000/month mark. It will, though, take time to build up to this amount unless you already understand the ways to make money from blogs. This post from Penny Hoarder contributor Dana Sitar explains how she uses affiliate marketing to monetize her blog.

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12. Food Delivery Driver

Delivering people to where they need to go isn’t the only way to make money with your car. Those people need to eat and they want food from their favorite restaurants — and fast food places — delivered to them.

Food delivery isn’t a particularly glamorous gig, but it’s easy to get into, and allows you to work on your own time. If you’ve got kids or another job, this is definitely a side hustle worth considering.

How Much Can Food Delivery Drivers Make?

You can also join UberEats and start delivering food to earn an extra $8 to $12/hour. By dedicating five hours to this job every weekday, you’ll make about $1K/month (before accounting for gas). If you work on the weekends as well, you can earn even more.

Drivers for DoorDash can earn between $11 and $15 an hour depending on location, but those earnings aren’t guaranteed. Those hourly rates are based on how many orders are accepted by the driver and also factor in tips.

Grubhub drivers make about $12 an hour, more with tips. That’s an extra $11,000 a year if you can put in 20 hours a week. Not bad for making your own schedule that works around other obligations.

Which is better? Delivery food or people? We’ve got the rundown on rideshare driver vs. food delivery driver.   

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13. Storage Provider

Many of us have storage space that we don’t use or need, and that space can be monetized if it’s valuable to others. Perhaps you have a two-car garage but only one car. Why not offer the extra parking space for a monthly fee?

Another option is to offer space — perhaps garage or basement space — that a neighbor or a local business can use to store their belongings. Of course, you’ll want to consider how to keep those belongings safe, and how to give others access to a part of your home without jeopardizing your own privacy. But once you work through these temporary difficulties, it’s a great use of your excess space, and a win-win for everyone.

How Much Can You Make Renting Out Storage Space?

You’ll have to get the word out that you’ve got space to rent and Neighbor is one digital option. Another might be the bulletin board at your place of worship or community center. If you have school-age children, get the word out through the parents group. Neighbor says garage rental space could bring in $100 to $600 a month, obviously depending on how much room you have and how difficult storage space is to find in your area.

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14. Personal Chef

Does everyone praise your cooking every time you have someone over for dinner? Would you love to start making money from your passion in the kitchen, but don’t have the money to start a restaurant? Working as a personal chef is a fun and great way to use those spare evenings while making a good bit of money on the side.

To be clear, personal chefs don’t only cook for millionaires in their mansion, though that is certainly possible. You can also offer your services as a freelance chef on a website or on social media. That way, when someone wants to host a special dinner party or gathering, they can create a unique experience and take the stress of cooking off their hands.

Or you might even provide weeknight meals a couple of times a week for several of your friends and their families.

How Much Does A Personal Chef Make?

The national average for full-time starting chefs is about $15 an hour, and wages move up rapidly from there. In fact, chefs usually earn between $70K and $90K per year. So, if you can get a few regular clients that have you working on the weekends and one or two nights per week, you can reach $1,000 a month without too much trouble.

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15. Car Rental Hustler

We’ve already seen two different ways to make money out of your car, but both of them involve you driving it. That means you’re investing your time — but what if your car could earn you money without requiring any of your time?

It may sound inconvenient to be without a car but if you’re working from home, how much are you using it anyway?

A couple of websites that can help facilitate renting out your care are RelayRides.com and GetAround.com.

There are more than a few apps that let you rent your car out to others, who pick it up, drive it, and deliver it back to you. While this has some obvious inherent risks, the companies behind the apps generally include car insurance to keep your vehicle protected.

How Much Will You Make Renting Your Car Out?

It all depends on your vehicle’s make, model, and year, but if you rented your vehicle out 20 days per month at $50/day, that’s $1,000 right there.

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16. Stock Market Investor

Investing in the stock market can be intimidating, especially since you risk losing some of your money. However, investing is also a great way to make a decent income once you learn the ropes.

If you’re not sure how to get started, subscribing to an investment newsletter — either a free or a paid one — is a good way to see how experienced traders are making money in the markets. There are many women making thousands of dollars per month from their investments, but it’s important to educate yourself on how the markets work before jumping in.

If investing is something you’d like to try out, you’ll need to start by choosing a broker. There are many out there that offer different perks and features. And there are apps like Stash that help you invest your money in stocks, ETFs and other assets with little or no commissions. Apps that charge commission offer other benefits in return.

With most brokers, you can generally make practice investments using virtual money inside of a demo account. This protects your hard-earned cash but allows you to learn the lessons to turn you into a stronger, more profitable investor.

How Much Can You Make in the Market?

As I said, investing in the stock market is risky business. Some people end up losing money rather than making it. This makes giving an accurate estimate of how much you actually stand to earn very difficult. As proof of that, estimated salaries tend to vary a lot, depending on who you ask. ZipRecruiter, for example, puts the average at around $54K, while Glassdoor shows an average of $75K and some salaries that go as high as $300K. Not bad at all but it would be smarter to think and start smaller.

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17. Online Gamer

Who doesn’t like the idea of winning real money when killing time with online games? Imagine if we’d been getting paid for playing solitaire on those old Windows 98 PCs from back in the day! You can actually earn money these days by playing online games, and a very popular one is, in fact, Solitaire Cash.

Solitaire Cash is a free app that pays you every time you reach the top-three spots of any given tournament. It’s that simple! No catch, no strings attached. You earn money based on your skills in the game and on your ability to beat other players on the same deck of cards you were dealt.

This is an extremely easy way to make money in your spare time if you have what it takes to finish solitaire games quickly.

How Much Can You Make Playing Games?

Ok, so this is another case that is very dependent on both your skills and the time you put into playing. To put things in perspective, professional gamers haul in an average of $60K a year. While you probably won’t start at that level, it seems very doable to reach $1,000 a month by playing every time you take a break from your chores, the kids, or even your regular day job.

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18. Eagle-Eye Shopper

A penny saved is a penny earned, as the saying goes, so as we near the end of our list of ways to earn more money, it’s worth mentioning how you can save, too. Earning cash back on your purchases is one great way to do exactly that.

There are many different ways to earn cash back. You’ll find that many good credit cards offer cash back rewards on certain spending categories like food and travel, while others offer it on gas or by shopping at specific retailers.

Others still, like Aspiration, throw in extra perks like planting trees on your behalf, supporting eco-friendly and ethical businesses, and even doubling all your cash back rewards if you become carbon neutral.

How Much Can This Side Gig Bring In?

Saving money with cash back depends heavily on two things: your spending habits and which cash back program you join. It is worth noting, though, that saving (read earning) $1,000 every month implies spending a lot of money on a monthly basis. While this is a way to make $1,000 per month on particular occasions, but probably not every month.

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19. Online Course Designer

An alternative to online tutoring that requires less time yet is still a good source of passive income is selling online courses. Video courses are particularly attractive, since many students prefer learning visually over reading. There are dozens of platforms where you can market your courses: some general, some more niche, and each with their own payout structure.

If you’re good at something and you enjoy teaching it to others, launching your own online course is an ideal side hustle for you.

How Much Can You Make from Your Online Course?

So, obviously this depends on how many courses you have to offer, many people end up buying it, and what your price point is. Suppose you have a blog that receives 1,000 visitors per month (very low bar) and you publish your course offering it at $20 a pop. This means that you would only have to convert 5% of your audience to make $1,000 every month, without any additional effort.

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20. Movie-Watching Moneymaker

Surveys aren’t our favorite way to make money, but if you’re just vegging out on the couch — or sitting through Moana with your toddler for the 27th time — why not click a couple of buttons and earn a few bucks?

We’ve tried many paid survey sites, but two of the best we’ve found are InboxDollars and Swagbucks, which is run by a company rated A by the Better Business Bureau.

How Much Can You Make?

Considering that you can make, on average $0,4 to $2 per survey on Swagbucks, it’s very easy to reach the average $100 per month. If you’re thinking, “Hey! That’s missing a zero,” it’s because it is. Making $100 in Swagbucks is easy, but making $1,000 takes work. However, it is doable, which is what really matters.

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21. Online Real Estate Investor

Want to try real-estate investing without playing landlord? We found a company that helps you do just that.

Oh, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through interest payments and property income (e.g., rent). You’ll get paid via quarterly distributions, plus extra periodic distributions if properties are sold.

How Much Can You Make as an E-commerce Real Estate Investor?

According to millionacres, real estate investors make an average income of over $70K per year., which translates to almost $6,000/month. This means that, if you choose online real estate as your next side hustle, you shouldn’t have any issues reaching $1,000 per month. As a matter of fact, odds are you’ll end up transitioning from side gig to a full-time job before you know it.

The Bottom Line

There are so many different side hustles that are ideal for women that there’s really no reason you can’t start making more money today. If you choose one or more options from this list, it won’t be long until your worries about money go away.

It doesn’t matter if you choose to become a virtual assistant or a food delivery driver: you can start making a full-time income on a part-time job with some of the side hustle ideas listed above.

Contributor Jordan Bishop writes about personal finance and hospitality topics. He is the founder of Yore Oyster, a website specializing in financial products review that includes a regular newsletter. 

Young woman sitting on the bed holding baby and remote controler

A crisp dollar bill being held out over a pair of blurred out sneakers.

Woman gets in her car

Woman paying with a credit card

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

49 Best Home Business Ideas for 2021

You fantasize about ditching the daily commute and starting a business from the comfort of home.

The only problem with your entrepreneurial daydream? You don’t have any idea what kind of business to start, much less how to make it profitable.

No worries, we’re here to help.

You’re not alone in wanting to go it alone. Of the 31.7 million small businesses operating in the U.S., about 81% were run by individuals with no employees, according to the most recent government numbers.

Whether you’re looking for a little side-hustle income or you dream of quitting your current job and the daily commute for good, here’s your guide to home-based business ideas.

The 49 Best Home Business Ideas

Choosing your business can start with something as simple as picking an activity you enjoy and figuring out how to monetize it.

However, if you don’t already have a passion you want to profit from — or you’d rather keep your hobbies and work separate — you can still start a successful home-based business on your own as a sole proprietor, or one-person business.

Pro Tip

A sole proprietorship doesn’t need to register with the state (unlike corporations, partnerships and LLCs). However, you still must comply with registration, license, tax and permit laws.

Local social media groups like Nextdoor can be a source of ideas. There you’ll find everyday services that are in demand, although it may not be the most glamorous work.

Mundane chores make for good business because they’re tasks that many people are willing to pay someone else to do, whether it’s mowing lawns as a groundskeeper or setting up bounce houses as a kids’ party planner.

We’ve come up with a list of the best business ideas that have relatively low barriers to entry and startup costs but offer real income potential.

Ready to start your journey toward self-employment in the comfort of your own home? Let’s get to work.

Businesses That Don’t Require You to Leave Your Home

Running an online business lets you make money with little need to leave the house. You may need a personal website where potential customers can find you, although you can also find work for your specific skills through sites like Upwork and Fiverr.

1. Freelance Writing

Use your wordsmithing skills to start a freelance writing business. We have advice for how to pitch a story if you’re looking for your first byline.

To make freelance writing your full-time business, you’ll benefit from expanding your repertoire to incorporate multiple types of writing (editing skills also increase your value). Here are a few options:

  • Creative writing. Share your literary talents by submitting to these seven literary magazines that pay for short stories and poetry.
  • Technical writing. Who doesn’t love a well-written instruction manual? Although technical writing might not offer as many creative options, the median pay as of 2020 was $35.89 an hour.
  • Resume writing. Use your writing prowess to help other people get jobs. Charmaine Pocek told The Penny Hoarder she earned $30 to $800 per assignment on Fiverr as a freelance writer creating resumes and cover letters as well as optimizing clients’ LinkedIn profiles. Pocek set a record for being the first U.S. — and the first female — Fiverr seller to break $1 million in earnings.
  • SEO writing: Help websites show up at the top of Google searches with content that focuses on search engine optimization.

2. Virtual Assistant

Administrative assistants typically answer to a boss, but start your own business, and you’ll be calling the shots.

A virtual assistant performs similar tasks to in-person assistants, but you can offer your services to one or multiple companies. You might be doing data entry one day and proofing articles on WordPress another, so be prepared for a variety of tasks.

3. Travel Planner

Arrange for others to travel the world without having to leave your couch.

A remote travel planner is a great home-based business idea for someone who is well organized, detail oriented and has stellar customer service skills. It helps if you have travel experience and understand trends in the travel and tourism industry.

Although the job market for a travel agent is currently on the decline, you might be able to niche down by marketing to a targeted audience, like single parents with young children or retirees with limited income. The median pay for a travel agent is $20.36 an hour.

A man writes down something in his notebook. He is supposed to be a bookkeeper.

4. Bookkeeper

Life makes more sense in spreadsheets. If this statement sounds like something you’d say, a bookkeeping business could be in your future.

Rather than targeting a big business account, start by focusing on smaller businesses that need help managing their finances. You don’t need to be a CPA to start, but strong computer and customer service skills help.

5. Tax Preparer

Another home business option for someone skilled in accounting is to become a tax preparer.

While you don’t need formal training to become a tax professional, it can help. You’ll need a Preparer Tax Identification Number and an Electronic Filing Identification Number from the IRS to start, and you may have to register with your state.

While tax preparers generally work on a seasonal basis, you may be able to earn enough during tax season to stretch through the remainder of the year.

6. Tutor

Enjoy all the fun of teaching without leaving home.

An online tutoring business lets you offer your expertise, whether it’s teaching math and English to elementary kids or prepping high school students for the SAT.

These 10 online tutoring companies are a good place to start. Promote your expertise in a subject or grade level in your bio — teaching certifications will also add to your credibility (and bottom line).

Pro Tip

Most tutoring platforms require instructors to either have or be working toward a bachelor’s degree, and previous teaching experience is preferred. Check the requirements before you apply.

If you’re thinking of starting a tutoring business, you can learn a thing or two from this former Scripps National Spelling Bee participant who earned $100 an hour tutoring kids who want to compete.

7. Teach Online Classes

Turn a topic you know a lot about or a talent you have into an online course as a way to make money from home.

This is one of the best home-business ideas because it allows you to capitalize on what you already know with very little investment. Online classes are also a great way to earn passive income. You can record your online classes once and get paid for months or years to come as people sign up for your courses.

A man looks at an oversized book with a ladder leading up to it.

8. Write an Ebook

Writing an ebook (or several) is another option to earn passive income from home. Your ebook could be fiction or nonfiction, and you can decide to write about whatever topic you like — as long as there’s an audience for it.

Self-publishing your book removes the barriers to entry built into the traditional publishing business model. You don’t have to have a literary agent and hope it gets seen by the big publishing houses. However, after publishing your ebook, it’s up to you to funnel potential readers to your masterpiece.

9. Affiliate Marketer

If you have your own website or your own blog that already gets traffic, affiliate marketing should be part of your business plan.

The basic concept: You can make money by including affiliate links to products you recommend on your site. When your readers click on the link and buy the product, you receive a commission.

Check out affiliate marketplaces to connect with brands that will pay you to promote their products and services. Among the many marketplaces is ClickBank, which says on its website that you can earn commissions as high as 90%.

10. Social Media Consultant

Got a knack for words and a knowledge of the latest trends in social media? Consider becoming a social media consultant.

Most small businesses don’t have the budget for full-time social media management, but they want a presence on social media to attract and engage customers. That translates to plenty of opportunities for you to pitch your services. Sell your social savvy — and expertise with publishing software — to local businesses by writing blog posts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lumps social media consultants into the general category of public relations, listing a median pay rate of $30.20 an hour.

Focusing your business on one area, at least early on, can help build your expertise. Research the local online business landscape to discover where the need is, whether it’s helping establish social media accounts for local businesses, contracting for a specific number of posts per week or setting your sights on a specific industry (restaurants, for instance).

11. Start a YouTube Channel

Share your life, interests or skill set with the internet via YouTube, and bank some cash. YouTube is a home business idea that can help you earn residual income. The videos you create now can bring in income months or even years down the road.

One YouTuber told The Penny Hoarder that she started earning revenue on her YouTube channel within six months, despite having no technical experience or equipment beyond a laptop and a smartphone. Check out her advice on how to make money on YouTube.

Some of the platform’s top earners bring in tens of millions of dollars, however you can aim to make this home-based business idea into a modest side hustle with low startup costs.

Two people dance while someone records them on a phone.

12. Become a TikTok Influencer

TikTok is much more than just trendy dances. It’s also a legitimate way to earn money from home if you have a nice-sized following.

You likely won’t make a bunch of money overnight, but if you create quality content consistently, focus on a niche and follow the trends, you might find success. Depending on how many eyeballs check out your videos, you could earn from $200 to $20,000 for a branded video. You can also make money selling products online or offering consulting services.

13. Start a Podcast

Launching a podcast is another way to capitalize on your knowledge base or interests.

For example, one journalist told The Penny Hoarder that she quit her TV station job in 2017 to become a full-time podcaster and focus on the news she wanted to share.

You can make money with a podcast through advertising, sponsorships, subscriptions, paid content and donations.

14. Be a Voiceover Artist

Put your talents from high school drama class to good use earning money as a voiceover artist. Voiceover artists record audio for video games, audiobooks, TV commercials, radio spots, cartoon programs and more.

It’s a fairly flexible job that you can do during nontraditional work hours, making it a perfect home business for someone with a 9-to-5 job or a stay-at-home parent, like this woman.

15. Web Developer

If you can balance aesthetically pleasing and user friendly, your next business could be as a web developer.

Technically, there are differences between web designers and developers, with designers tending toward the visual aspect while developers focusing on the coding. The BLS, which doesn’t differentiate between the two, states the median pay is $37.12 an hour.

Even if businesses in your area don’t have a big budget for complicated websites, they may need a simple landing page. If you have the web design and coding skills, you can start small and expand your business based on referrals and your portfolio.

A woman draws on her computer.

16. Graphic Design

Unleash your creativity — and use your art degree — to create a graphic design business.

Whether it’s designing logos or layouts, you’ll need to invest in the proper equipment and programs to give your designs a professional look. But you’ll at least be able to find colleagues to consult — in 2019, about 1 in 5 graphic designers were self-employed, according to the BLS.

Prospective clients will want to see past design work to determine if you’re a good fit, so a portfolio is essential. You can find free places to post your work at sites like Coroflot and Carbonmade.

If you’re just getting started as a graphic designer, add to your portfolio by volunteering to create brochures and programs for nonprofits like your church or kids’ school.

Once you’re established, you’ll be able to set hourly or per-project rates. You could earn between $65 and $150 per hour. These tips will get you started.

Pro Tip

Make your business stand out by including your personal story. Share how you got started and why you love what you do to connect with customers looking for a reason to choose you over the competition.

17. Become a Life Coach or Career Coach

If you’ve got excellent motivational skills and you’re passionate about seeing others succeed, you might want to start a business as a life coach or career coach.

You can make money in this line of work through one-on-one sessions with clients, creating webinars or workshops or creating a blog or podcast. The amount of money you can generate with this home business idea will vary based upon your method of monetization and the size of your own audience.

18. Be an Online Dating Consultant

Helping someone craft an online dating profile sounds like something you’d do for a friend over drinks, not a home business idea that generates income.

However, you can legitimately start a business as an online dating consultant, helping people craft their online profiles and connect with potential dates.

Other ways to earn money from providing online dating services include shooting photos for a dating profile and investigating dating fraudsters.

Work at Home… and Beyond

Sure, you enjoy working from home, but sometimes you miss human interaction. No worries — there are plenty of home-based business ideas that let you run your business from your couch but also allow you to escape the confines of home.

A man gives a tour guide on bikes.

19. Local Tour Guide

Do you love showing off your city? Make it your business by becoming a local tour guide.

And you don’t have to limit yourself to museums and monuments — although that’s an option, too.

One man told The Penny Hoarder he makes $10,000 a year with his side gig leading craft coffee tours around St. Petersburg, Florida, while another earns income leading bike tours to check out the many murals around the city.

If you already have a passion for arts, food or other amenities that make your town special, you can start by offering free tours to friends, then expand your reach by promoting your tours on social media and through your local tourism office.

20. Cleaning

Cleaning other people’s places may not be everyone’s dream job, but that’s what increases its potential as a profitable business.

Housekeeping is one option, but if you’re willing to get your hands a little (or a lot) dirty, your services can be invaluable to clients who want you to clean out decades of accumulated trash in their basements, attics and barns.

21. Professional Organizer

Channel Marie Kondo or Clea and Joanna of The Home Edit and start a home-based business as a professional organizer.

This profession differs from a typical house cleaner. It involves organizing people’s belongings into beautiful systems that discourage clutter. This job requires an eye for detail, good judgment, discretion when dealing with clients’ personal things and, of course, stellar organization skills.

Being that you’re doing work that many people avoid, you can pocket some sweet income with this home business idea.

22. Personal Chef

Your dinner parties are always a hit, and people form a line for your bake sale contributions.

Bank on your culinary prowess with a personal chef or catering business.

You don’t need a culinary degree to start plating, but a few referrals could help fire up your business.

Offer to cook for the school fundraiser or church picnic, and be sure to display your business cards at the serving stations.

Posting professional-looking photos of your mouth-watering dishes on your website is another way to attract customers. A personal chef who charges up to $65 per plate hosting dinner parties shared more tips.

23. Photography

Use your photography skills to take a shot at starting a business.

Besides taking photos of babies, parties and weddings, people make money with photography businesses by selling their work to stock photo sites like Shutterstock or iStock.

24. Real Estate Agent

As a real estate agent, you’ll spend a good amount of time away from your home meeting with clients, touring properties and hosting open houses. But you’ll also spend time in your home office compiling comparable properties, pouring over listings, researching the market and drawing up contracts.

To become a real estate agent, you’ll need to complete coursework and pass an exam to earn your real estate license. You’ll also need to find a brokerage to work with.

As a real estate agent, you earn a percentage of the sales you see through. The median pay for real estate agents in 2020 was just over $51,000.

Kristy Anderson, of Dwell Home Staging, organizes a home in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

25. Home Staging

Live out your HGTV dream.

Homeowners hoping to get the highest price need to make their humble abode look its best. And that’s where you, the home stager, come in to rearrange the furniture, hide the million toys in a storage unit and replace all those framed cat photos with tasteful art.

Think you have what it takes?

One woman who started her home staging business with a $3,000 investment built her client base by doing the following:

  • Using Google Adwords for online advertising.
  • Asking for word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Creating a social media presence.
  • Networking with local homebuilders and Realtors.

26. Babysitter

Love kids? Love having kids running around your home?

If your home is prepared for the rough-and-tumble world of children, babysitting in your home is a good way to get around the whole “nanny tax” thing (that’s where the parents have to pay you as a domestic employee because you’re working in their home).

Each state has its own regulations about what age and how many kids you can watch at one time before becoming a daycare, so check out your state’s rules before you start. Learning a few basics — like CPR and first aid — can also help you demand a higher rate.

How much you can make varies based on how many kids and your location, among other factors. The Care.com calculator suggests the rate for babysitting one child in New York City is $17.25 per hour.

A rapper records in his studio.

27. Musician

Let’s start with the assumption that you aren’t a rock star musician prepared to tour the world.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be in the music business. In fact, we have 13 ways to make money off your music here.

28. Personal Trainer

Turn your love of fitness into cash by becoming a personal trainer working from your own home studio or travelling to clients’ houses. Increase your credibility (and pay) by getting certified by a nationally accredited organization like the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Expect the business of personal training to be more of a marathon than a sprint. Accreditation training can take weeks and cost hundreds of dollars, along with liability insurance, and you’ll have to maintain your certification with continuing education.

The BLS says the median pay for fitness trainers and instructors is $19.48 per hour, but pay can vary widely depending on your location and specialization — IDEA Health and Fitness Association notes the average rate for personal trainers in New York City is $32 an hour.

29. Yoga Instructor

A yoga instructor is another fitness-related, home-based business idea. Getting trained as a Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT) can help you establish yourself as a professional qualified to lead others in their yoga practice.

Working as a yoga instructor allows you to have flexibility (pun intended) about where you work. You can take your home-based business online by recording videos or doing virtual classes. You could also lead yoga instruction at a community center, a park or your client’s home.

30. Massage Therapist

Work with your hands… and arms… and elbows… as you massage clients’ muscles.

Starting a massage therapy business requires more than one of those cool tables and a towel — although you should definitely expect to do a lot of laundry (all the sheets, you know).

Before flexing those fingers, you’ll need schooling and licensure — check here for your state’s massage therapy licensing requirements.

According to the latest numbers from the BLS, employment in massage therapy is projected to grow 21% from 2019 to 2029, with a median pay rate of $20.97 per hour.

31. Notary Public

There are many occasions that call for a person needing a document notarized — from buying a house or signing a will to filling out school forms or entering into a business contract.

A notary public is the individual who witnesses the signing of legal documents and ensures that the people signing the documents are who they say they are.

Depending on the state you live in, you may have to take a course and pass an exam in order to become a notary public. In many cases, you’re required to purchase a surety bond. You’ll also need to purchase a notary seal or stamp.

Your pay may be regulated by the state, but you can make decent earnings as a notary public.

A man fixes a leaky pipe underneath a person's sink.

32. Handy Person

If you have a knack for fixing things around the house, a good home business idea for you might be to become a handy person.

There’s a lot of variety in this line of work. You might spend one day fixing a leaky pipe and another day patching a hole in someone’s drywall.

Being that you can set your own hours, you might be able to charge a premium for working nights and weekends when other companies are closed.

Home Business Ideas for Selling Stuff

No, these aren’t the dreaded cold-calling telephone sales jobs — instead you’re selling your own stuff or other people’s stuff through your own local or online business or a third-party site.

33. Amazon Seller

Considering it seems like you can buy nearly anything on Amazon, it makes sense that you should be able to sell almost anything on Amazon, right? Here are three great options to create and run your own online store on Amazon:

  • Private-label products: Generic products you sell online with your own packaging and logo.
  • Retail arbitrage: Items you purchased elsewhere — like clearance items or Craigslist freebies — that you sell on Amazon for a higher price.
  • Fulfillment by Amazon: Items you purchase for resale are shipped directly to Amazon, which stores the inventory in its warehouse.

34. eBay Seller

Use your eye for fashion to resell thrift store finds at a profit as an eBay seller.

To get started, check out eBay’s listings for similar items to determine the demand for your product and a pricing strategy. How you price your item affects how it shows up in a search — the lower the price, the more eyes, but setting a higher minimum guarantees a greater return on investment if the item sells.

Pro Tip

Good reviews are essential for any online seller. Invest in thank-you cards to include with each order to remind your customers to add their feedback to your site.

Attract more buyers (and higher prices) by using good lighting and a professional presentation in photos of your product.

A person makes jewerly.

35. Etsy Marketer

Crafting a business from your love of, well, crafting, doesn’t mean you need to drag your wares to a table at the farmer’s market every Saturday. Setting up shop with the online marketplace Etsy allows you to sell handmade products like custom jewelry, refinished furniture and custom gift baskets without leaving your home.

As experienced sellers will tell you, a big part of being able to sell online via Etsy is re-creating the experience for a buyer who is used to handling handmade products in person when deciding to make a purchase.

Instead of discovering your handmade jewelry or macrame plant holders through a tactile experience, buyers are looking at your photos and descriptions of your handmade products on your Etsy store to decide whether to buy. High-quality photos and in-depth descriptions are essential for attracting customers, as is sharing your personal story.

36. Print-On-Demand Business

If you have a pulse on what’s trendy, you could develop your own line of graphic T-shirts with a print-on-demand business.

To gain success with this home business idea, it helps to have graphic design skills. However, you could always contract out the design work.

With a print-on-demand business, you don’t have to worry about managing inventory, shipping, returns or customer service. You run your own online store and the rest is handled by the third-party company you work with. Some popular options are Merch by Amazon, Printify and Spreadshirt.

It’s also important to note that your print-on-demand business doesn’t have to revolve around selling T-shirts. You could choose to sell products like tote bags, coffee mugs or wall art — customized with your own design or text.

37. Start a Dropshipping Business

A dropshipping business is a type of e-commerce business where you sell products featured on your online store, but you rely on a third-party business to fulfill the order and ship it to the customer. You pocket a percentage of the sale by getting the products at wholesale prices from your supplier.

You can choose from a variety of products for your dropshipping business. Your dropshipping business could be an online store selling clothing. Or perhaps you want to focus on selling home decor.

Your dropshipping business could play a part in a larger home business operation, like this woman who started a dropshipping business in conjunction with her existing ecommerce business.

38. Vending Machine Owner

Being a vending machine owner gives you the ability to sell products without renting commercial real estate or needing to meet with customers in person. You just have to find the right location for your vending machine and get permission from the local business owners there.

You can sell anything from soda and candy to toys and tech accessories. Startup costs can be around $2,000 but this home business idea is one that can generate passive income with little work required.

39. Subscription Box Business

Another home based business idea where you’d sell products is a subscription box business. According to the ecommerce platform Bluehost, projections show that subscription box businesses will bring in more than $15 billion in sales in 2021.

Subscription box businesses can span many different industries. You could sell clothes, makeup, food, books, pet toys and more.

Depending on what type of products you choose to sell with your online business, you may need a significant amount of capital (and storage space) to start this home business. However, you have the potential to gain customers and sales on a repeat basis with a subscription box business.

A woman sews in her home.

40. Sewing

Sew you want to start a business (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

Turning your threads into a profitable business can start with adjusting hems and making alterations for family and friends, but there are plenty of other ways to use your needle and thread to follow your passion.

41. Home Baker

If your friends and family members can’t stop raving about your chocolate chip cookies or apple pie, perhaps baking is a great business idea for you.

You could create desserts for birthday parties, weddings, business events and more as a sweet source of income. If your treats are easy to ship, you can set up an online store and sell online in addition to fulfilling local orders.

42. Furniture Flipper

Successful online furniture flippers say to follow tips such as:

  • Painting furniture in neutral colors
  • Keeping rehab efforts to a minimum
  • Instead, make small changes like adding drawer liners in dressers or putting on interesting hardware.

43. Airbnb Host

If you ever dreamed of owning a bed and breakfast, but never quite got your hands on that country estate, you can still channel your inner hostess by transforming a guest room (or your home) into Airbnb accommodations.

Instead of selling physical merchandise, you’ll be selling your space, but you’ll still need those same marketing skills to make your Airbnb attractive to potential guests. Think: inviting photos and a well-organized space that will garner great reviews from previous guests.

Figure your potential earnings with this Airbnb calculator.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

Home-Based Businesses That Let You Work Outdoors

There’s no need to limit your home business to the confines of your house. Here are some home business ideas that’ll let you spend time outdoors enjoying some fresh air.

44. Pet Sitting

Prefer your clients to be the four-legged variety? You could start a pet sitting business and cuddle with cats and dogs while their owners are gone all day.

There are more business ideas that can branch off of a pet sitting business, like starting a dog walking business. Connect with fur babies and their parents through apps like Rover or Wag to build up a client base. There, you can add your profile and let owners see your experience.

A farmer feeds his chickens.

45. Small-Scale Farming

Got a backyard with some room to breed?

If a full-size farm is a bit beyond your reach, you could go the (much) smaller animal route and install a beehive. Turn it into a successful business by selling honey at the local farmer’s market.

Yes, there are setup costs and licensing required after you buy the bees to factor in. But considering the high price local honey can demand, one beekeeper nearly broke even his first season raising bees by selling the sweet stuff.

If you have more space, take notes from this couple who started raising four chickens in the backyard of their home and went on to raise 900 chickens and 400 Grimaud Pekin ducks on their six-acre farm.

Pro Tip

Regulations vary for raising livestock, which is considered any domesticated animal that’s raised to produce labor and/or commodities. Visit your state’s Department of Agriculture website for details.

46. Seasonal Operator

Maybe you’re more of a fair-weather businessperson.

Seasonal businesses offer you the chance to operate when you prefer to be outdoors — think shoveling snow during the winter or hauling beach gear during the summer.

And if the holiday season offers more free time for a business venture, think Christmas lights.

Light installers make the majority of their money hanging those twinkling lights during the holiday season.

47. Garden Consultant

You’ve probably heard of business consultants, who bring their decades of knowledge to advise a company on whatever their issue is. You might not be a CEO, but if you’ve had years of growing gardens, you could turn your planting know-how into a garden consulting business.

Although people may dream of growing their food, most backyard gardens end up a little on the sad side, if alive at all. Your knowledge of soil acidity, fertilizer composition and sunlight needs — plus a willingness to dig around in the dirt — could pay off as a garden consultant.

Two people work on a person's yard by mowing it and trimming bush hedges.

48. Landscaping

If you enjoy being out in your yard and are already skilled at maintaining your own lawn, a landscaping business might be a good home business idea to pursue.

Depending on where you live, your business may be at the mercy of the changing seasons, but this business is one where you can easily snag repeat customers year after year.

Local social media groups — like NextDoor or a neighborhood group on Facebook — could be a good way to drum up business. Providing great results is also an excellent way to attract new customers and prompt existing customers to refer you to their friends.

49. Car Detailing

Cleaning a car inside and out is a chore many people would pay someone else to do. It’s also among the home business ideas you can start with little experience, no education requirements and low startup costs.

You can choose to have clients come to your home to get their cars detailed or charge a premium as a mobile car detailer who’ll meet busy clients where they are.

In addition to this being a good home business idea for those who enjoy the outdoors, this line of work is fitted for people who are detail oriented and enjoy physical labor. You can get a nice workout by cleaning cars all day!

Next Steps After Choosing a Great Home-Based Business Idea

Consider these home business ideas a jumping off point or the spark for a related idea that isn’t on this list.

Just know that starting a business requires more than just a good idea, so you’ll first want to check out our step-by-step guide to starting a business.

You’ll need to research the marketplace, create a business plan, gather funding, consider how to legally structure your business, come up with a memorable name and potentially register with the state.

The business world might be tough, but isn’t it easier weathering the ups and downs in the comfort of your own home?

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Home Business Ideas

If you’re still figuring out which of these best home business ideas would be right for you, the answers to these frequently asked questions may help provide clarity.

What Are the Most Successful Home Businesses?

You can find success with any of the home-based business ideas featured on this list, provided you target an audience who could benefit from your product or service and you put in the work to consistently deliver.

That being said, there are some home-based businesses that seem to be more profitable than others. Web developers, graphic designers, tax preparers, bookkeepers and real estate agents can develop a lucrative business from home and end up earning more than the median wage for U.S. workers.

What Is a Good Home Business Idea?

What you’ll consider to be good home-based business ideas will depend on what you’re looking for in a new business opportunity. Many profitable home businesses start as a hobby or interest you already have.

If you’re looking for home business ideas where you can be flexible with your hours, consider business ideas like working as a graphic designer, a voiceover artist, a home baker, a furniture flipper or an Amazon seller.

If you crave some social interaction while you work, business ideas like a personal chef, a babysitter, a personal trainer, a real estate agent or a local tour guide might be the best business ideas for you.

Great home business ideas you can start if you’re good at making sales include running an online store on Amazon, operating an online store on eBay, having a vending machine business or starting a subscription box company.

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, some home-based business ideas you should consider are working as a garden consultant, starting a landscaping business or detailing cars.

What Is the Easiest Business to Start?

The easiest home-based business ideas to develop are those with low barriers to entry and minor startup costs.

Think about your existing skill set, qualifications and expertise. If you used to teach fourth grade, for example, it would likely be easy for you to start a business tutoring elementary school students. Or if you’re a skilled crafter who always makes custom stuffed animals for your friends’ kids, you could easily create an online store on Etsy and sell your handmade products from your online store.

If you have to take courses and earn a certification before you can launch your own business, that may not be the easiest path to pursue.

Having low startup costs is a big factor in deciding whether your home business ideas will be easy to follow through with. However, what you consider to be low costs for your home-based business is subjective. Ideally, you’ll want to be able to get your business up and running without depending on a loan or blowing through all your savings.

Pro Tip

Before you start a business, make sure you have a solid emergency fund aside from the savings you plan to use for business expenses.

Some home business ideas you can start for less than $100 include freelance writing, working as a virtual assistant, tutoring, starting a YouTube channel, being a professional organizer, starting a dropshipping business, starting a print-on-demand business, working as a pet sitter or detailing cars.

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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