Who Needs a Holiday Side Hustle? – Shannon Ashley
As I write this story, we’re in full swing of the Halloween season. Pumpkin spice is everywhere. Little more than two weeks to go until Americans start seriously planning for things like Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.
The holiday season is a lot of things, but perhaps most frequently, it’s a mix of magical and manic moments. Lately, I’ve been spending time working from a Target Starbucks cafe, and the store has been holding interviews for new employees. Plenty of people are looking for a holiday hustle to earn extra cash during the busiest season of the year.
And it got me thinking. Not everybody wants a side hustle with a set schedule. Plus, we don’t all love retail. So, why not employ a little resourcefulness into carving out your own seasonal side gig?
If it’s a success, you might even be able to leverage it into a year-round business.
The holiday season is a natural time for folks to stress more about keeping a clean and tidy house. If you are willing to put in the elbow grease, this can be a lucrative side gig.
You might clean homes before or after a get together, offer laundry service, or provide special attention to appliances with full oven and refrigerator cleanouts.
Here in the south, $20 an hour is a reasonable starting place. You can certainly charge more for particularly pristine results and heavy duty jobs.
Depending upon what part of the country you live in, there are plenty of different lawn care needs. Again, the holiday season tends to be that time when more people care what their yards actually look like.
If you live in an area with plenty of snow, shoveling is hard work, but a real need in many communities.
For warmer regions without snow, you might clean up the debris and trim hedges, etc.
I see prices for this sort of work all over map. Ten to fifteen dollars an hour for more basic services and less experience. Twenty to thirty bucks an hour for heavier work and more expertise.
Hey, it’s hardly the holiday season without gift wrapping. But believe it or not, not everybody enjoys this activity. Or, they might just really suck at it.
Are you particularly handy with giving every present that wow factor? Your services are most likely (desperately) needed somewhere nearby.
Most folks I know do flat rate wrapping, say $5 to $10 per gift. But a person might charge a bit more on particularly large or challenging gifts.
We can’t really talk about holiday gift wrapping without also talking about toys, right? We might as well be honest. Some toys are a real bitch to put together.
My daughter is five and I can’t tell you how many times I have been near tears trying to put together some kid’s table, dollhouse, or what have you.
I’m getting better at the whole process, but there are plenty of people willing to outsource such tasks, particularly during a frantic holiday season.
In the same vein, people often buy new furniture that requires assembly during the fall and winter months, whether it’s a new entertainment center or bed for their guestroom. Don’t underestimate the value of such a service.
In my neck of the woods, most people charge $50 to $100 per piece of furniture. Toy assembly varies a bit more widely depending upon the size and complexity.
The possibilities are endless here. Some folks sell baked goods on websites like Etsy. Every state has different laws surrounding the sales of homemade foods. Some states have cottage food laws which make it legal to sell the food you’ve made at home as long as you state that it was prepared in your home on the label.
Other states might require you to rent a kitchen for preparing your food.
When it comes to holiday cooking or baking, it can be as simple or grand as you like. Holiday cookie boxes, potato latkes, elaborate cakes, comforting casseroles, or party appetizers–it’s up to you and your customers’ desires.
Browsing Etsy and local bakery menus can help you set your own price points.
I’m one of those people who particularly enjoys shopping, but not everyone can say the same thing.
The idea of personal shopping might seem kinda bougie, but it can provide an especially important service for those who don’t just hate shopping, but those who lack the time or ability to get around town.
Personal shopping can encompass a lot of different things. You might simply run errands, or help customers find the perfectly unique gift for those tough-to-buy-for loved ones.
You might charge hourly, like a personal assistant, starting around $15. Or, you might prefer to charge customers a flat rate plus a percentage of their shopping order.
So many holiday parties, so little time to decorate. If you’ve got a knack for design, you can totally create a side gig to help beautify your neighbors’ homes for the season.
Again, the possibilities are many. Indoor and outdoor decorating. Parties, specific holidays, or simply seasonal decor.
Your prices will vary according to the scope of each project. This is another gig that might go best if you charge an hourly rate plus the cost of supplies. Be sure to get permission to take photos of the finished work to better promote your services.
Speaking of holiday decor, what about party planning? Granted, this is a huge responsibility, but if you’re up to the challenge, you can easily earn more than $400 per event. The more you charge, the more flawless and professional it should be.
In Chattanooga, I gladly paid $400 to a business which put together custom themed parties for my daughter’s birthdays. And I know plenty of other families who would do the same thing for the fall or winter holidays.
The main thing to remember with party planning is that customers are paying you to take care of the details so they can enjoy their event without stress. Plus, many of them are expecting you to make them look good in front of their friends.
Take it seriously and you can earn a good chunk of cash.
Here’s a side gig that for whatever reason really appeals to me. Gift baskets and care packages are fun to put together. But some people aren’t that good at it.
If you’re a particularly thoughtful and creative person, this might be a great gig for you. Obvious themes include holiday goodies for college students and grandparents, or “away from home for the holidays” care packages. Don’t forget new parents too!
Chanukah-In-A-Box, gift baskets for guest rooms… your imagination is the only limit here. Add a percentage to the cost of each selection to cover your profits.
It’s not just homes that may need sprucing up for the holidays. People need it too.
As a personal stylist, you might help pick flattering outfits for holiday gatherings, and coordinate hair or makeup services if you can’t perform those services directly.
The price you charge will have to depend upon the extent of the services you provide.
The world of holiday crafts is a vast one. You could make ugly Christmas sweaters, and extend the joy to the other holidays. Holiday wreaths, centerpieces, photo props, ornaments, children’s hair bows, and countdown calendars. You might also create handwritten “letters from Santa” or handmade greeting cards.
Crafting might have a certain cheesy reputation, but it’s an underrated skill. Most people don’t know how to sew these days, and they aren’t all handy with a glue gun.
If you’re good at what you do, you’ll be able to charge more for your time and supplies.
Here’s something that isn’t actually about the holidays, but the timing is just right. A lot of people out there could use a hand when they’re battling a nasty cold or flu.
One interesting side hustle might cater to all of those needs. You could run errands for customers who are under the weather, prepare homemade chicken soup or healthy smoothies, create care packages for sick clients, and even sanitize homes in the event of illness.
Think of it much like a personal assistant for folks who need a healthy hand. You can also charge hourly and add a surcharge for any shopping orders.
Many people complain that they need to earn some extra money for the holidays, but they often do nothing about it. If you need to make more money this season, you can.
You just need to be a little industrious. This list is hardly an exhaustive one.
People are stressed out during the holidays. If you can provide a valuable service to help them manage that stress, you can definitely make bank. But you do have to be ready to hustle and work hard.
These days, it’s easier than ever to spread the word about your holiday hustle. You can promote your business on Facebook, Twitter, and virtually any other social media platform. Email marketing still works.
Hit up your family and friends to find leads of neighbors who might need your services. Open up a shop on Etsy for handmade goods. You can place ads in newspapers and use Craigslist. Even YouTube can help you meet new customers.
Halloween is just around the corner, but with a little planning and ingenuity, you can head into 2020 with more money.