The Working Weekender: Make extra cash with a side gig
Need some extra cash, but available part-time jobs won’t fit your schedule or your style? Start your own weekend business and discover just how much your free time is worth. I’ll help you with some ideas and planning. You provide the weekends and a little ingenuity.
The first step in coming up with a weekend business idea is identifying your areas of expertise. What do you already know how to do? What you’re good at doesn’t need to be complicated. For example, I know how to use a lawn mower, so I mow lawns on the weekends.
Start with equipment and resources you already have. If you don’t spend much money to start your business, you start making a profit sooner. For example, if you’re a good basketball player and have access to a gym, consider offering a service helping younger players improve their technique. If you do need start-up money, find out before hand if you’ll be able to make up whatever you invest. Talk to potential customers to see if anyone is interested. If you get five or six potential customers, it might be worth it to spend money on start-up supplies. If you only end up with one or two potential customers, it might be better to try something else.
Make a list of everything you know how to do, from sports to music to computers, and what resources you can count on using. Then think about what people need in your neighborhood. How will your business help potential customers? Lots of people don’t have time to wash their cars, do yard work, walk pets or clean out their garages. Providing a service that saves them time and money is a sure way to make a profit.
Look around your town to see what others are charging for similar services. If you are starting a mobile car wash, look up the local drive-through car wash rates. If the prices range from $7 to $10, charge $6. Now advertise that your services save money and offer the extra convenience of coming directly to them. As the value of your services increases (maybe you add window treatments and vacuuming), so can your price.
Post flyers or shoot out an email to friends and acquaintances. Be sure to give your business a name and keep it professional. Ask family and friends if they know anyone who could be a potential customer. Consider offering your services for free for a short time to let customers see how useful you are. Free dog walking anyone?
Make sure your business will fit your schedule. It’s easy to forget about the little things that add time. Make a schedule to keep everything on track, and to make sure that you don’t overbook yourself. Try out that calendar function on your cell phone or Google Calendar online for free.
For example, when I started mowing, I had one day available on the weekend and very little time during the week. I asked my neighbor if she would like to have her lawn mowed, and we agreed on every other week. At that point there weren’t a lot of little things to eat up time, but when I added more customers, I needed to keep track of which days I mowed. I needed time for maintenance on the lawn mower. I also had to allow time for traveling to each different location, time for cleaning up and some time for customer relations — be friendly and they might refer you to a friend.
No matter where you live or what your skills are, there’s a weekend business idea out there to cash in on.