diy, Motivation, Teen (YA) Topics

Trying out Ten Creative Side Hustles to make extra money | The BEST to the WORST

My review on ten top creative side hustles from the WORST to the BEST.

Hey lovelies! Being a teenage student on Summer Break definitely has some of it’s perks. My sister and I seized the opportunity to take a creative journey this past year. Like most students (the struggle is real), we wanted to find a steady source of side income. The ideal job was one that wasn’t boring, and allowed us to be entrepreneurs. To establish a mini business and some sort of an online presence was the ultimate goal.

And I wont lie to you– most of these are significantly more complicated than typical part time jobs. Working at a McDonald’s or Chik fil a allow you to get paid for tasks you already pretty much know how to do. Working at any restaurant, store, or facility will provide you with an extremely reliable source of steady income. There won’t be any wondering what comes next or how to get your services the exposure they need.

Building an audience or client list will never be a worry and you likely won’t face but so much competition. Simple? Check. Steady? Check. Consistent income? Double check. But enriching learning experiences based on out-of-the-box thinking? Not so much. We really wanted to try out as many modern digital means of making money as we could, before it became a necessity. Yes, we’re fortunate enough to not feel forced to provide financially for ourselves or a family. We know a lot of you don’t have this privilege or “trial-and-error” time to make sure your bank account is flowing steadily. That’s why instead of sitting back and chilling all Summer (plus the months prior), we decided to try out all these new things and share our experiences with you.

Some are definitely more effective than others. Some aren’t efficient at all. Some are less competitive. And some are insanely time consuming. Nonetheless we still gave them all a fair shot, and have ranked and rated them based on various factors.

10. Content Creator on Freelancer.com

Whoa. That’s all I have to say about this platform. The site is stocked FULL with scammers. Freelancer has been around for a very long time, and even has good reviews on certain rating sites but my experience was so impossibly wack. I got up there, put in a nice profile pic, bio, portfolio, skills, education, the whole nine. I applied for like 4 positions and actually got messages back for three of them. I was shocked to say the least.

I had marketed myself as a “content creator,” or individual who is responsible for the contribution of information to any media, be it blog posts, social media post captions, email newsletters, videos, graphic design, whatever. Of the three people who contacted me back, the first one’s account somehow got locked out between the time they accepted my proposal and I requested. They had offered me $600 for some relatively simple sounding work so the whole situation screamed scam. The second man asked for me to send a photo and if we could just videochat. He said that “I didn’t have to do any work,” just talk to him when he needed a companion. He then said he wanted to make sure that I was a female. I’m not dumb–I’m knew what he wanted. He never even set up a form of payment, contract, or anything so I hit next on that whole situation.

The last person actually set up a contract for $300.00 that I agreed to and then proceeded to direct me off the platform toward a whole separate “agent” that I would be working for. He said he wanted to keep our contact strictly through Google Hangouts instead of the Freelancer platform( where I would be protected from fraud.) I asked multiple times if we could return to the freelancer platform due to the insecurity accompanied with taking business off the platform and he kept denying. He kept pushing me to finish the work and told me that I would receive payment in 2 weeks time. He didn’t set up a contract, any form of payment, and I couldn’t even figure out the connection between this guy and the dude I had actually initially contacted via Freelancer. Your girl was muy confuso.

I eventually just stopped messaging him and actually ended up $60.00 in debt thanks to the actual freelancer.com platform. Apparently they take 20% of the money you’re getting paid via a contract regardless of if the work is ever done and the money ever paid. This is way different from Upwork, the platform I had actually used in the past. So I wasn’t paid the $300.00 I was promised, the buyer wasn’t penalized, and I ended up losing money from the whole experience. You’ve been warned my friends.

9. Thrifting old clothes & selling on Mercari and Poshmark

I actually worked pretty hard at snapping and editing some quality professional-looking photographs of some old clothes I had repurposed from my closet. The clothes weren’t worn down and I wrote some pretty descriptive listing descriptions. Apparently, I didn’t realize just how weight brand names carry when consumers purchase products. Nobody wanted clothes from retailers that weren’t popular or even known. It was either that, or they wanted some chic vintage clothing.

Oh well, cause I didn’t have either. I gave both Mercari and Poshmark a fair shot but unfortunately made 0 sales. Both companies market themselves as ecommerce platforms where you can sell any items of clothing that you simply don’t wear anymore, don’t like anymore, or outgrew. But it’s never quite that simple is it? You may have a way better experience than I did, but for now I’ll stick to larger selling platforms.

8. Virtual Voice Actor

This is one is pretty far-fetched and out there but totally worth mentioning. We live in a very digital world where all people need is a motivating voice to sell them on an idea. Voice123 and Voices are project based platforms for all kinds of voice over positions. I’m talking cartoons, commercials, radio ads, audio-books, podcasts, you name it. It’s great for voice actors with years of relevant experience and top-knotch audition recordings. But I, unfortunately, am not one of those people.

I’m by no means saying these platforms don’t work, just that they didn’t work very well for me. Every position I’ve ever applied for never even got a call back due to the high level of auditions. I set up a nice cutesie profile with sample recordings and a bio, but just didn’t quite make the cut. I think I’ll keep playing around with this position but for now, I’ll just say that a newbie voice actor will have a very challenging time landing a part.

7. Freelance Pin Designer

All my fellow bloggers know the struggle that come with designing long, attractive, eye-catching pins for Pinterest. But….you also know that Pinterest is known for driving the most traffic to any blog over any other social media (even though technically Pinterest is a search engine–don’t come at me.) Designing anywhere from 5-10 pins per blog post can become particularly time-consuming. Plenty of parents with full time jobs still do want quality pins, but simply can’t squeeze out the time, or even desire, to create captivating pins themselves.

That’s where you can come in you little side hustler. Pinterest Virtual Assisting has actually blossomed into a growing industry. There are tons of people either offering or requesting services on popular freelancing platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, and even Linkedin. It’s definitely a competitive world out there though; as I learned from first-hand experience.

I was hired as a designer for two pins via Upwork where I was paid a whopping $5.00. I think I’d still prefer acting as a fully rounded Pinterest Virtual Assistant, but designing pins is still definitely an easier task. I have access to the full Adobe Creative Cloud, including Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as Canva Pro so designing pins is super easy. It’s definitely not a reliable position for beginners due to high levels of competition, plus extremely picky blog owners who want their pins done one specific way–but you could definitely make it work.

6. YouTub(ing?)

No shocker that this one is on our list. Nowadays, everyone and their mama, grand-mama, and auntie have their own channel. Can you blame this? YouTube has taken off incredibly in recent years with over 5026 channels having at least one million subscribers. Over 24,000 channels have at least 100,000 subscribers. And lets be real; those numbers are literally always changing. It’s a growing platform with tons of high-payout potential. But….small you-tuber is such a big term for a reason.

I won’t lie to you, my sister and I have had 3 different channels since the time we were 12. We always kinda dwindled away from the platform after peak periods of production, namely Summer time. YouTube honestly does take a lot of time dedication to reach substantial viewers or subscribers. You don’t actually make money until you monetize your videos and the requirements for doing so are applying for and being accepted into the YouTube Partner Program. And, as of January 2018, creators must have tallied 4,000 hours of overall watch time on their channel within the past 12 months and have at least 1,000 subscribers to even apply.

There are 5 methods of making money on YouTube that each come with their own minimum requirements.

Ad revenueBe at least 18 years old, or have a legal guardian older than 18 years of age who can handle your payments via AdSense.Create content that meets our advertiser-friendly content guidelines
Channel membershipsBe at least 18 years oldHave more than 30,000 subscribersHave no Community Guidelines strikes
Merchandise shelfBe at least 18 years oldHave more than 10,000 subscribersHave no Community Guidelines strikes
Super ChatBe at least 18 years oldLive in a country/region where Super Chat is available
YouTube Premium revenueCreate content watched by a viewer who is a YouTube Premium subscriber

So there you have it. Being sixteen years old ourselves, we can only legally make money through ad revenue. But our channel is not even close to 4000 watch hours, and we’re sitting at a simple 411 subscribers. I’m honestly grateful we’ve even accumulated that much. You can check out our channel here if you want. All the big YouTubers have really high quality cameras and editing software (for the most part) that we can’t afford so becoming a successful YouTuber is pretty hard for those on a budget. You’ll often need to do some social media marketing and lots of commenting on fellow pages. You don’t want to run the risk of sounding spammy though.

Our overall verdict would just be to never rely on this source for steady income. The platform is extremely competitive, and signing up for ad revenue doesn’t actually guarantee any profit. You could have 10 million subscribers but if hardly any of your viewers click on the ads, those numbers mean nothing. The ads can’t just be getting in front of people, the have to be getting in front of the right people. All that being said though, making YouTube videos can be lots of fun and significantly quicker to produce over other main media streams. If you have a good amount of extra time, I’d still say give it a try–particularly if you already have an online presence.

5. Blogging

Blogging is right up there with Youtube as a popular growing industry for anyone with knowledge to share to make some money. You may be surprised to find that you’re reading one right now. My sister and I started this blog back in February and have definitely met our expected revenue of 0$. We didn’t start this blog to make money but would like to monetize some our content in the future once we’ve established more of an audience. I fully understood that the process would take dedication, time commitment, and patience. There’s the whole figuring out your niche and how you stand out from others that takes so much time.

Any blogger will tell you that you’ll have to make at least one of two investments– a time investment or money investment. We went the time route since like we mentioned earlier, we’re kinda broke. We’ve yet to purchase courses, eBooks, promoted social media posts, or shout outs. We create all our content ourselves and we’re figuring it out as we go. Designing Pins for Pinterest and joining group boards has been extremely effective at reaching a wider audience. I will say that our blog views have been steadily going up by the month.

If you’re truly an expert in your niche though, creating valuable content to market through a blog site shouldn’t be too difficult. Almost every established blogger has released at least one course and one eBook. Both are great ways to make money and can pay great…..once you build an audience. So patience young grasshopper; it’s a virtue worth cultivating.

Affiliate marketing is one of the main ways of making revenue from a blog site. It’s the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. Since we recently signed up for Amazon Associates, that’s the main means of how we plan to gain a profit from our blogging. It’s harder to rank in search engines and build a following as a blogger than a YouTuber. This can be balanced out by the fact that blogging gives you way more control over your site, its modifications, and the methods you choose to make income from.

The verdict for blogging is pretty similar to that of YouTube. Don’t start one to rely on it as a steady source of income. Definitely have a game plan, ideas for info your target audience would be willing to pay for, and plenty of extra time. Time is crucial to building an online presence and gaining notable social media attraction.

4. Door-to-Door Baked Goods Selling

This is probably the most out of the ordinary hustle on this list. It was an extremely random idea pitched by my sister at the beginning of Summer that we decided to give a try. Door to door selling had always seemed intimidating to me, but was something I actually did want to attempt at some point. Some sellers swear by this super upfront way of selling products to expand your business’ reach. Of course this involves literally having products to sell in the first place– tangible or services. We decided to concoct up some homemade miniature containers of nut butters and throw them in a basket with packaged tastykake treats.

From the get-go, we knew a portion of proceeds would being to going to the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation because (1) It’s a cause very dear to us and our family and (2) everyone loves supporting a good cause. We charged $2.00 per miniature nut butter container and $0.75 per Tastykake. We sold them to neighborhoods in our area three timesand ended up making over $60.00. I won’t lie though– us being teenage girls probably did boost the amount of people willing to support a “bake sale.”

Nonetheless, it was still some hard work trekking house to house during the midday Summer heat. Plus there are “no soliciting” signs you have to deal with and the danger of not knowing whose going to open the door. Fortunately, we didn’t have any negative experiences and selling everything with one another added a nice layer of protection. Cold pitching your services in this manner could work better than you think. I’d say to really think it through, figure out how you’re going to market your mission, and how you’re going to present yourself in a non-intimidating manner. Definitely think about the area you’ll be selling in concerning the consumers who you’ll primarily be talking to, and whether or not you’ll be safe. Let us know if you give it a try.

3. Selling Digital Files on Etsy

Available for purchase here

I was so unfamiliar with this platform, I didn’t even know that selling digital products was so huge on Etsy. I’ve since fallen in love with the thought of creating a form of passive income through designing my own svg files. I’ve experimented around with clipart, watercolor graphics, cut files, dxf files, png graphics, and pdf printables using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. The creation process can be a bit time-consuming, and even tedious, but still enjoyable for those passionate about graphic design. Creating Text-based SVG files can even be simple for newbies who have never touched a graphic design application.

Passive income will be majorly convenient for me when my schedule loads back up with school work. The only real drawback of selling digital products over physical ones, is the cheap price most listings have to be offered for. Most consumers aren’t willing to pay over 4 or 5 dollars for one digital file. Most of my digital files range between $2.29 and $2.89. Of the $81.23 of revenue I’ve made from my Etsy shop, $12.04 have come from my digital files. Not much, but I definitely see some real potential on the horizon with this one.

You can see all my digital files offered on Etsy here.

2. Selling Jewelry on Etsy

If you’ve been keeping up with me at all, you’ll know that I officially opened up my Etsy Shop, SassyCrochetPaints, about a month and a half ago ago. On July 1st, I finally made the leap. I had talked about opening an Etsy shop for years, but never got around to doing it simply because I didn’t think my items would actually sell. Plus there was the issue of not even knowing what to sell in the first place. I’m sure there are many of you like that out there.

Etsy can be a daunting new platform to try to grow your business on. There are already so many people using the site, and everyone seems so incredibly talented (And everyone actually is–it’s a bit insane.) It’s definitely a bit nerve-wracking starting out, with all the competition on the market. First, you have to find your niche. But the real challenge is finding a way to stand out. You have to find your thing. That’s really what worked on mastering the first month.

There’s truly a whole SEO system on the platform that every Etsy seller seems to be following. All the pros already knew about longtail keywords, keyword analysis softwares, catering their products to what’s trending, and social media marketing. I decided to sign up for some email courses, watch some videos, and search Pinterest for assistance on boosting traffic. This side hustle actually produced some of the most revenue out of everything on this list. Not too surprising, given it is a direct eCommerce platform.

Etsy fees do add up though, and they’re even more substantial for a new business. Since I first opened my shop, I’ve accumulated a revenue of $81.23 with $69.19 coming from my jewelry sales. That value doesn’t take into account the fact that each purchase included shipping prices that weren’t really mine from the get-go. I currently have 29 listings which add up to $5.80 in Etsy selling fees, plus the $2.80 selling fees from the products I’ve already sold. Then there’s the $4.41 I spent on promotional listings. Then there’s the 9 extra dollars I stupidly had to pay for international shipping. (Read my “sob” story here under #5, so you don’t make the same mistake.) So I actually have yet to make any deposits from Etsy but only have $43.08 to cash out– not $81.23. I definitely plan to keep selling my jewelry on Etsy though, so I’d say the experience was a success.

All my Etsy Jewelry listings can be found here.

1. Blog Rephraser on Upwork.com

This is basically the only position I truly got hired for, so it’s no surprise that I made the most money. Yes, it definitely took time and energy applying to tons of different buyers but two people actually messaged me back regarding my proposal to write blogs and I was hired. Not too surprisingly, both business-owners already knew the information that they wanted to be shared on their blog so they gave me other sites and simply told me to rephrase the content. One even told me to use a plagiarism checker to where my article was 3% or less similar to the article I had “copied.” Ethical or unethical? You decide. But it was definitely easier than writing from scratch after being pitched me an idea.

I ended up writing 22 articles for one man, and 10 articles for one woman. I made over $300 and was extremely happy. Were the jobs that fun or creative? Not really. But I did get to channel my blog writing skills and creative vocabulary. You’d be surprised the kinds of words you can pull out when you’re trying to find a synonym for real estate!

But wait!

Before you go, we want to make sure you don’t miss out on any free deals. If you’re interested, for all our creative entrepreneurs out there we’re giving away the first 3000 listings in our Masterlist of over 47,762 businesses you can start marketing business with today. You’ll receive the names of 3000 domestic U.S. businesses, including local and national companies, along with websites, phone numbers, locations, and social media links for each. This is an exclusive interactive spreadsheet you won’t find for free anywhere else on the web. A nice chunk focuses on arts & crafts companies that would be prime candidates for a creative blogger to work with. We have not yet released the 44,000 other business names but we’ll keep you posted for when we do. The full master list of 47,762 businesses will likely be for a very small fee. If we receive enough interest, we’ll give it away for free to one lucky email subscriber. The winner will be notified via email and be announced on our Instagram page here. Make sure you follow us to stay updated! Email subscribers also get the First Page Sneak Peek of Our Upcoming mini ebook “The masterguide to Creating on a Budget!” A cheapskate analysis of over 100 craft ecommerce sites.

We’ll keep you in the loop with exclusive first access to DIY & Creative Entrepreneur content– including promo codes, discounts, giveaways, sales, and more! Relevant tips, tricks, and hacks for creative entrepreneurs and DIY lifestylists straight to your email. We promise we won’t flood your inbox and to make sure all content brings personal value to you..

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Since you’ve stuck around, we’ll you a bit about ourselves. We’re full-time students who love to create and blog. Raleigh bloggers focused on hair and health. We pride ourselves in being DIY lifestylists actively spreading creative, entrepreneurial spirits and Natural Hair Beauty Enthusiasts♥

My review on ten top creative part time jobs from the WORST to the BEST.