Wondering why people have side hustles? They can sometimes address compelling goals and needs in a way that an ordinary job cannot. Here are 5 reasons to side hustle and the online platforms that address those needs the best.

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5 reasons to side hustle

What are the compelling goals or needs that could spur you to engage in a side hustle?

  1. To earn additional money to pay off debt
  2. To subsidize retirement spending
  3. As a way to test a new career or business idea
  4. To finance a short-term goal, such as a vacation or wedding
  5. To super-size savings to potentially retire early, without sacrificing your current lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at how a side hustle can help with each of these goals.

Use a side hustle to pay off debt

Did you overspend during the holidays? Are you burdened by credit card bills or student debt?

Consider signing up with Rover, which can help you start a dog-walking and/or pet-sitting business. Dog-walking and pet-sitting are high-demand side hustles that can allow you to make real money. With Rover, you set your own rates, paying Rover a commission for making the introductions and handling payment.

Rates for walking one dog typically run $15-25 per half-hour. Overnight pet-sitting usually costs $25 or more per night. So, if you walk one dog every day for a half-hour, you’ll earn a minimum of $350 per month, after paying the site’s commission. And many Rover walkers and sitters say they earn considerably more — usually $500 to $1,000 a month. Apply that extra income to your credit card and student loan balances and you’ll be debt-free before you know it.

Sign up with Rover here.

Use a side hustle to supplement retirement

A dodgy stock market coupled with high inflation has many seniors worried about outliving their savings in retirement. That’s spurred many to take up side hustles.

Unlike officially “unretiring,” side hustles can be done in a few hours a week. Indeed, some platforms allow you to work just a few hours a week — just enough to earn the extra income you want to keep retirement comfortable. Others can help you monetize underused assets, such as the open storage space in your garage or attic, a spare car or extra room.

Some good options?

Consulting platforms, such as Maven, allow you to sign up and state your area of expertise and your rates. The site then contacts you when a client needs help. The site also offers surveys that generally pay upwards of $25 per gig. You choose what projects to take and what to reject.

You can sign up with Maven here.

Tutoring platforms, such as Wyzant, allow you to advertise your availability to teach any subject, from English to dance. You set your rates and pay a commission to the platform for marketing and collection.

You can sign up with Wyzant here.

Prefer to just money renting out assets you already have? If you have a spare room that you’re willing to rent long-term, consider Silvernest. It plays matchmaker between empty-nesters and people looking for a place to rent.

You can sign up with Silvernest here.

Want to rent out storage space, instead? Try Neighbor, a site that connects people with space with people with stuff to store. Sign up for Neighbor here.

Use a side hustle to test a new career

Dan Simms was a salesman, traveling three hours each day to get to and from work. While he was professionally successful, the commute was killing him. He longed for change. An avid animal lover, he decided to try out a dog-walking/watching business.

He has since jettisoned the day job and now earns $5,000 a month, after expenses, with his full-time animal care business.

Likewise, John Michaloudis was an accountant for 15 years. But he realized that many of his colleagues were struggling to understand how to use Microsoft’s spreadsheet program, Excel. He created a class on a site called Thinkific. He now has some 95,000 regular subscribers to his class. The only accounting he does now is count his own money.

While not every experiment works as well as these, the freelance economy gives wannabe entrepreneurs a low-risk way to determine whether a hobby could turn into a business.  Don’t know where to start? Take SideHusl’s quiz to get some suggestions based on your unique combination of interests, skills and resources.

Using a side hustle to finance a short-term goal

In 2014, Laura Gariepy was a human resources representative in Massachusetts. But she longed to move to Florida. Not wanting to add to her already substantial student debt, Gariepy worked nights and weekends in a nursing home, coordinating activities for the residents.

It took several months of working 50 and 60-hour weeks, but she managed to save the $7,000 cost of the move. She now freelances and lives by a lake in Florida.

Chris Mamula, author of “Choose FI: Your blueprint to financial independence,” taught climbing in his spare time. His goal was to pre-fund his daughter’s college education. She’s now 6 and he’s confident that he’s already socked away all the money necessary to pay her future college bills.

Super-saving for financial freedom

Josh Overmyer, 36, hopes to be financially free by the time he’s in his early 40s. A floodplain manager in a county building department by day, Overmyer spent several years driving for Uber to help kickstart his savings.

He quit driving for Uber after the site slashed its rate of pay for drivers, but he engages in a couple of other low-maintenance side hustles to keep his savings rate at a whopping 58% of his take-home pay.

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