How These 11 Side Hustles Made Me Over $16k

side hustles

“Side hustle” has kind of become a buzz word. It gets thrown around a lot. But there’s a reason many people are talking about it. Side hustles are worth it. 

In this article, I’d like to share where and how I’ve found my side hustles to make some extra money. I’ll also share how much I’ve made from each job and the grand total over about two years. 

During my efforts to become debt free, side hustles were crucial. I was ready to do just about anything that I was capable of to get some extra cash to pay off my debt. Here are a handful of jobs I worked:

  • Commercial real estate photography
  • Photography at a comedy club
  • Freelance web development
  • Freelance graphic design
  • Bartending
  • Yard Work
  • Flipping items
  • Podcast editing
  • Performing

Moving forward I’ll tell you how I found these jobs and which of them turned out to be the most lucrative. 


Craigslist is a great place to find odd jobs. Albeit potentially sketchy sometimes, I’ve never had a bad experience with the jobs I’ve worked that I found on Craigslist. 

The best way to find jobs on Craigslist is to check the “gigs” listing for your area and surrounding areas. You can either select specific gig categories or you can just look at all of the current gigs listed. I recommend looking at all the gigs incase you see something that you’re capable of doing in a category you wouldn’t have checked specifically. 

Craigslist was how I got my yard work and bartending jobs. 


I’m not a great bartender. I wouldn’t even say I’m good at it. But I was fired up about paying off my debt. So when I saw a job listing for a wedding reception bartender, I jumped on it. 

I knew no one at the reception but I ended up having a good time. Most of the drinks requested we simple one-to-two ingredient drinks.

Total earnings: About $200

Yard work

For the type of yard work I was doing, you didn’t really need specific skills. I would just show up at this random lady’s house and clean out her flower beds and tend to the rest of the yard. 

Total earnings: About $500


Wonolo is a on-demand staffing application that links business looking to hire people for temporary work.

I don’t use Wonolo much any more but it did help me find a side hustle that I’ve been working for about two years. 

Commercial real estate photography

This is a simple job. I work with a real estate company in a different state and take photos of properties to ensure loan money is being used as it was intended. I show up, take the photos with my phone and send them to the real estate company. I earn $50 — $100 per property.

Total earnings: About $3,000


This one is important. It has been the most effective method for finding side hustles. I will say that, in my case specifically, I had specific skills that people in my circle were looking for. However, I was not particularly great at these skills, but I was willing to try. 

Freelance web development (Job 1) 

I knew I wanted to learn web development for a while. So I finally did it. I started learning with freeCodeCamp. It taught me basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It took me a while to find work. While I was job hunting, however, I would work on projects of my own to sharpen my skills. 

One of the first “jobs” I took was from a friend who needed a website for a business they started. I built the website for free because I knew I needed to start a portfolio to show future clients my past work. I was also happy to gain the experience.

Freelance web development (Job 2):

Jump back to Craigslist. While I was perusing Craigslist for some potential gigs I saw a local marketing firm looking for a web developer intern. It was a paid position (nice). I took the job and worked select days during the week after my day job for about six months.

They didn’t offer me a permanent position but the other web developers I met at that company became friends. Those friendships led to a remote freelance position. They were doing freelance web dev work with a company out of Arizona. That company was looking to hire additional help and the developers I met from the internship recommended me. I took the position and eventually became their lead developer.

Total earnings: Over $6,000 

Freelance web development (Job 3):

Working with the Arizona company was going well. It was primarily WordPress development. But I wanted to expand my web dev skills. While poking around on Facebook in a web developer group I was a part of, I saw someone post about a free class in my area that was teaching Python and Django. 

In short, I joined that class, became friends with the teacher, taught some of the classes and worked on freelance projects using the skills I learned from that class. 

I learned a lot from this endeavor. I also became part of a great entrepreneurial/tech community because of this class.

Total earnings: Over $2,000

Fun fact: Because I learned these web development skills, I was able to land a day job that more than doubled my previous salary. 

Freelance graphic design

Again while scrolling around on Facebook I saw someone looking for a graphic designer to create posters for their radio show. I wasn’t the cream of the crop when it came to graphic design by any stretch of the imagination but I knew my way around Photoshop. 

I reached out, told them what I’d like to be paid based on my skillset and sealed the deal. They hired me for multiple posters. 

Total earnings: About $240

Photography at a comedy club

I’m friends with someone who is well-connected in my area. He’s a solid guy and always looking to help out those who are trying to make their ideas come to life. 

This relationship led to a meeting at one of the most popular comedy clubs in town. They wanted to shoot photos of the performers as they were doing their set. Additionally, they wanted photos of the patrons who were attending the shows. My friend knew I was dabbling in photography and asked if I’d be interested in shooting those photos. I agreed and worked at the comedy club on random weekends for about six months. 

Total earnings: About $1,500


I was only able to pick up a couple jobs on UpWork. As a musician I knew my way around Apple Logic (a digital audio workstation). I was also a big fan of podcasting. So I figured I’d try my hand at podcast editing. 

As a new freelancer on the site it took some time to get clients but I did get them. I worked a couple of jobs and earned a little bit of money. While I was able to make money, I didn’t see UpWork as a great way to continue to look for jobs — for me anyway.

Total earnings: About $240


 Like I mentioned above, I’m a musician. Most of the time I’m performing with my band. But when I find a venue that’s looking for solo artists, I jump on on the opportunity. Most of my solo gigs are booked during the week which leaves weekends open for the band when we’re not traveling. 

Total earnings: About $2000

Flipping items

I just started flipping items. Currently I have a few of listings on eBay. I’ve found that some of the best places to look for items to flip is at thrift stores and at estate sales. 

I recommend checking out to find estate sales near you. 

Total earnings: About $1,000

Grand total: $ 16,680

There’s plenty of money to be made doing work you’re more than capable of doing. Even if you’re unsure that you’re fit for a job, give it a shot. It might not work out but there’s also a possibility it could turn out great for you. 

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