How I Made Over $4500 From Side Hustles

Side hustles can be a lucrative source of income. I’m sharing how I made over $4,500 in side hustles in less than one year.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure for more info.

My favorite side hustle is blogging. I started this blog while still at my full time day job in the hopes this website would make money.

At the time of publishing this post, I was still working at my day job!

Prior to side hustling, I also worked a part time retail job.

But to be honest, after the commute to the part time job and the long hours being away from home, it wasn’t worth my time.

I knew there had to be a better way to find something I could do from home on my own schedule.

While this post has been updated to present day, I still think about side hustles all the time. And yes, this blog produces a good source of income as part of my overall income strategy.

Because so many people ask me about how to get started side hustling, I thought this post would be fun to share because it’s still incredibly relevant.

To this day, I still participate in many of the side hustles on this list.

I also  recommend them to friends and family!

My side hustles have come from a variety of resources.

This does not include income income from a day job and is not from any kind of part time job.

So if you have a full time or part time job, or looking to start any side hustle because you are a retiree or stay at home parent, you are in the right place.

I have side hustled off and on for years, but this is the first official year I have tracked all the incomes I have earned from my side hustles.

Related content:

Side Hustles

$3,247.55 from pet sitting and dog walking

This makes up the majority of my side hustles from this year. I really enjoyed this as I love dog sitting.

I provided daily (and some overnight) pet sitting and walked dogs on my lunch breaks and days off.

One of the best perks of this job was it required no transportation costs. All customers came to me and all my dog walking clients live within a couple blocks from me.

I cannot even begin to tell you how inundated I became with requests to pet sit and dog walk!

Customers loved that I was home all day long with their dog and was able to provide a lot of love and attention to their pooch.

For day and overnight visits, typical pet watching services ranged from $35-60 a day/night.

Please note, the above rates are from several years ago and will vary by location. Today, it would cost me $90 – $120 to have someone watch my dogs overnight because of the area that I live in. 

20 minute visits/dog walks typically pays $20, and I received requests to walk dogs multiple times a day as well.

The best way to determine your pet sitting rate and pet walking rate would be to visit a website such as Rover and review rates in your local area.

Pet sitting and dog walking is one of the best side hustles I had and can be a great source of income. It also is a great way to get in some exercise!

I loved providing this service for a few reasons.

First, I worked remotely and could provide enough love and care to each dog that was at my house.

Second, my dogs loved other dogs. I would never jeopardize my own dog or a client’d dog safety just to make money.

Third, I simply enjoyed it! Dogs bring me so much joy and this did not feel like work!

If you love animals and want to start pet sitting or dog walking, learn more about how I started my pet sitting business.

I recommend checking out how to start a dog treat business if you love dogs but can’t petsit.

If you have a kitchen, you can bake and sell homemade dog treats. I

$251 from completing quick shop surveys on my cell phone

This is one of the easiest side hustles I have done. The app I use the most is Ibotta.

This cell phone app helps you make money off your grocery receipts.

Yes, this is for real!

You use it after you go shopping and use your receipt. It’s basically a rebate app, so you can earn anywhere from 50 cents to $5 off everything you buy.

My mom actually introduced me to this app and I have been using it for over 10+ years.

My favorite part about Ibotta is that it’s not always brand specific, like a lot of coupons are. So you’ll be able to scan “any brand of bread” for 50 cents off, etc.

If you do coupon – you can STILL use Ibotta and get a rebate. My best tip would be to browse the app before you go shopping because the savings can add up.

Sign up here and you will receive a $10 cash bonus when you make your first scan!

$422 helping small businesses with consultations

This side hustle relates to my day job. A couple of businesses reached out to me to see if I could help with some organizational paperwork.

I helped these small businesses with renewing business licenses, reviewing CEU classes, resale certificates, etc.

This was an easy job for me, I enjoyed it and it was completely worthwhile.

Essentially, you can take any skill you have at your current job and reposition yourself to help other similar businesses with one time or flat fee jobs.

This did not interfere with my day job and something I did on the weekend and evening on my own time.

For example, in a role reversal, I was looking for help to learn how to use Quickbooks.

While I am by no means an accountant or bookkeeper, I did want to further my education for my own purposes and learn this kind of software.

I was able to hire a girl similar to my age that had a degree in accounting and working on becoming a CPA.

She was looking for ways to earn extra income and I hired her to help me learn the basics of Quickbooks.

Essentially, she was providing a service like me but in a different field of work!

In reality, this is an area I should pursue more as it’s a stepping stone towards having my own permanent side hustle. Consultations are similar to words like freelancers, contractors and small business owners.

$386 from panel studies completed online

This is one of my favorite side hustles!

I only did a few of these, but each panel study was pretty lucrative, with each one paying between $75 – $500.

I was rewarded in cash and prepaid Visa gift cards.

Each study was completed in a 1-3 day period, and I had to log online into a portal and answer questions for about an hour a day.

The panel studies I qualified and completed included kitchen products, as well as a separate survey on my lunch habits.

In person panel studies included watching me shop for pet food and my spending habits!

Many panel studies can be done in person or online. However, there usually needs to be a time gap in between when you complete a study such as 60 days depending on the company.

The best way to look for panel students is by performing a Google search with panel studies plus the city you live in to find a few different companies to work with.

Cash back from online shopping

I also earned points for completing online polls and shopping online with Rakuten.

Again, my mom introduced me to this app over 10 years ago!

To date, I have earned over $10,000 back in cash via PayPal. I know, this is a lot!

I have made all types of purchases with this website, including large purchases like new flooring for my home to small purchases, like an order from Sephora.

Cash back payments are paid directly to your PayPal account every quarter. Rakuten has also been very consistent with their payments and they are a website I trust very much.

Rakuten is my favorite way to make money when I shop online. Every time I shop online, I start at Rakuten or use their browser extension.

If you want to try Rakuten, here’s a free $10 gift card to places like Target when signing up!

$250 in gift cards from completing online surveys

Here’s a few FREE amazing surveys that I like to take on my cell phone, laptop and tablet when I’m sitting around the house or have down time.

Often times, these take some time to build up and earn income from, but I tend to be a multitasker when watching TV.

I like to let my survey earnings add up over the year and then cash them out before the holidays or birthdays to save money. These are some of the best surveys:

Once I achieved a certain points threshold, I cashed out my rewards and purchased the following:

  • $150 Cash deposited into PayPal
  • $50 Starbucks Gift Card
  • $50 Macy’s Gift Card

I also received a lot of free stuff in the mail from filling out surveys!

I received a number of products in the mail for free to sample and give my opinion.

This includes a really wide assortment of products, like paper towels, dog food, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, alcohol, make up and beverages.

All products were full size (no trial sizes) and I was allowed to keep everything I was sent. I used every product I received and this actually helped me save money!

If you want to make money from home, surveys are the way to go.

I started a blog

When I started my blog, I knew I wasn’t going to get rich right away. It took about four months before I earned $60 from my blog.

This gave me the confidence that blogging was real! This was a side hustle that I could do from home or on the go.

I’m not counting my blogging income towards this side hustle income report, because I want you to see all the other ways I’ve made income from non-blogging sources.

My blog went from making $40/month to over $4,000/month in the span of six months. That’s crazy!

Blogging changed my life.  If you want to start a blog, Bluehost is the best way to get started.

If you are thinking about starting a blog, this blog post will show you over 50+ blogging ideas to help you start a blog today.

I am really glad I took a chance and started a blog! I invested around $100 to start my blog and made $13,000 in 6 months of blogging.

That’s the best return of investment ever!

You can read my very first online income here where I made my first $60!

I was also able to quit my job and blog full time, all within my first year of blogging.

Other money saving tips

While I love to side hustle, it’s also important for me to save money. You can make all the money in the world, but if you spend it all, that’s not good.

Were all my side hustles worth it?

I made $4,556.55 from side hustles in one year that were non-blog related. In fact, many of these were before I started this blog.

As you can see from above, using my free time to side hustle really paid off for me this year!

I was able to use this extra income to pay off some debt, put some away in savings and go on a vacation.

Have you ever done any side hustles to earn extra money?

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  1. I’ve always wondered if those survey programs actually paid out their responders, glad to know they really do. Will be checking those out this weekend, thank you!

  2. Hi! You are my life saver today! This blog is the most informative one I’ve come across so far. Thank you for all the useful tips and info!

  3. Tired to get the 120 blog ideas, but it kept giving me an error message each time. I tried two different emails. Really weird that it doesn’t work and kind of a bummer.

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      I double checked the link and got it to work fine! Maybe check your spam?

  4. So much great information! It’s so helpful to see the huge variety of ways that are out there to earn extra income. Thanks for this post!

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Thanks, glad to help!

  5. Hi, I just came across this and I agree that dog sitting is a great way to make some extra money. I think the place I’ve boarded my dog recently is over $40/night now and that’s the cheapest one around. I think people like the idea that their pet is in a home rather than a cage.

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Pet sitting is such a great side hustle, especially if you love animals!

  6. Great post! It’s been said already but, I really dig the transparency. I have always dabbled in many side hustles, but only recently got serious. I’m now blogging, writing ebooks, and developing apps. This post gave me some great ideas, but I just have to find the time to execute them!

    I do have a question – with regards to your blog, what was the primary source of your revenue on that $40/mo to $4000/mo? Was it Adsense, Affiliate links? I have a new blog, and I’m trying to find the best way to monetize it without sacrificing quality of content.

    1. Thanks Mike! This blog post goes over this in monthly detail with charts on how my income grew with different revenue streams.

  7. Congrats on that – sounds like you have a great mix of things going on πŸ™‚

  8. It’s so nice to see the $$ that you made broken down. I can’t believe that you were able to make 3k pet sitting! Making money and playing with cute pups?! Best job ever! Side hustles are a great way to help save money and turn passions into full-time ventures! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I am interested in reliable links for secret shopper websites and surveys!
    Thanks so much! Loved this post very inspiring!

  10. I would love to have the link to the study panels.
    Thank you!

  11. Thank you for the transparency of your side hustles. It’s always good for the reader to read of some ones success. It gives a person hope. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks! Do you do any side hustles?

  12. I would love to get into dog walking/sitting. How did you go about getting started? Did you create a site or FB or did you run ads and speak with friends and family? Did you get insurance in case anything happened?

    1. Hey Jessica! I started with Rover – so check them out. There were a ton of different pet sitting companies, probably because I lived in a big city.

  13. Hi Kristin – great blog! I’m curious how you make so much money blogging? It is all through affiliate advertising? Thanks!

    1. Hey Karen! You can check out all my income reports here. I break down every source of income and what works and doesn’t work – I’m totally open! For the first several months, most of my income came from freelancing and my Hire Me page. The past couple months it’s been about 50% freelance and 50% mix of ads, affiliate income, products (aka passive income).

  14. I have just a few questions about your money hustle.
    1. How did you earn anything from online surveys??? I’ve signed up for almost everyone possible but in 2 years haven’t qualified for a survey yet.
    2. How do I become a dog walker/ sitter if I live in the boondocks where this is just something you do if your a good neighbor when they are out of town.
    3. As far as ibotta, checkout 51, ebates and all the other cash back apps you have to have some income to spend to be able to get cash back for purchases and I’m still lacking that cash.
    5. Mystery shopping and panel studies I’ve signed up for once again don’t exist in the boondocks.
    So all that being said and the fact I’m still in need of money do you have any other ideas? I’ve got 2 weeks to make 1,000 to get my car from the repo

    1. Hi Nichole! I don’t really do online surveys as they don’t make me very much money. If you buy groceries and household items, you can definitely use Ibotta or Shopkick. Pet sitting varies by market, so what works for one person might not work for another. Panel studies definitely exist for everyone – I do most of mine online from my couch! I am currently doing one about candles and I don’t even have to leave my house πŸ™‚ Good luck!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I think some of these are definitely doable!

  15. I really enjoyed this post. I would have never thought of dog sitting but what a wonderful way to earn extra money. I love dogs!

    1. You should do it! There are a lot of great organizations you can sign up with or go for it on your own!

  16. I would love to get the link for the panel studies!

  17. What a great post! Could I please get links to the various panel study companies as well as for product reviews?

    Thanks again for this useful info. Here’s to living debt – free!

  18. Hi, I would like the link to the panel website also. Please and thank you!

  19. What a great post and for me so timely as trying to pay down credit card debt.

    Could I please get links to the various panel study companies as well as for product reviews?

    Thanks again for this useful info. Here’s to living debt – free!

  20. Where did you sign up for the panel studies and the free products to review? I’m very interested in those. Thank you!

  21. Can you please send me the link for panel studies?

  22. I’m also interest in what company you did your survey panels on and the company you tried all the samples of products for? TIA

  23. Thanks so much for the tips! Will you please send me the links for study panels and all the other sites as well? I would greatly appreciate it!

  24. Hi I’m also interested in how you presented your services to small businesses.
    Not knowing everything they need to renew it would be difficult to offer those services, even though I’m very confident I could accomplish the renewal processes for them.

  25. Where did you sign up for the panel studies and the free products to review? I’m very interested in those. Thank you!

  26. This is so helpful! Thanks for posting! I just found this on Pinterest and am currently trying to save up some extra cash for my wedding! What company did you use for the panel studies?

  27. Kristin you are doing great things, I think you might be my new inspiration LOL :), can you email me the link for the panel studies.


    1. Could you send me the links as well for panel studies?


  28. Kay Blackledge says:

    Please can I get the names of the websites that you used? Thank you

  29. I just found your site on Pinterest and I’m so glad I did! I’ve babysat, and with the holidays coming up, I’m thinking about doing baking for a side hustle. I would love some information about the panel studies as well, please!

  30. I would love to get more information about the panel studies. Thanks!

  31. I love all these ideas. I used to do surveys for points but haven’t in many years! Would love the link to the lucrative panel studies. I’m a teacher so every little bit helps.

  32. Would love to get the link to the panel studies. I have done some side hustles, as well, like demos and am interested in some freelance writing. Thank you for your time.

  33. Hi. This is an awesome breakdown. I have been looking for ways to make a little extra cash on the side, and this was very helpful.

    I had a question as to where I can find the panel studies?

  34. I am interested in the Panel study also. Also, did you do the dog walking during the business hours or did you offer overnight? Was there a market for the evening/overnight hours?

  35. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing! I would also like to request the link to the panel study. To the side hustle success!

  36. HI,

    great article. Can you tell me also where did you find the panel studies? Thank you very much πŸ™‚

    1. Hi, I would also line the link to the panel studies. Thanks so much. Great article!!

    2. Could I please be sent the links as well for the surveys and studies?

    3. Maria Mask says:

      HI, can I please have the link to this panel website also? I would appreciate it!

  37. Katy Kirkpatrick says:

    Wanted to know how you signed up to get free stuff as a side hustle?

    1. Hey! Thank-you sooo much for this!! What are the panel side jobs you are talking about? I noticed you didnt add in what some of the side jobs were! I appreciate this blog soo much, you rock! πŸ™‚

  38. Where did you find the panel studies? I found a decent site a few years ago, but nothing paid more than $15 as far as I can remember. Thank you!

    1. Hi! I would also love some information on how to be able to do panel studies! Thanks

  39. I make extra money using GPT sites my favorite are InstaGC and Dollartracks

    The best part about Insta is they are doing a holiday bonus right now so by doing offers you can actually increase your bonus and get free money on top of the money you earn. I have made a little over $600 on there this year would be more but I have had a few months were I just didnt get on because of real life stuff.

    Dollartracks is still very new but they are working hard, and listening to the users about suggestions and such which I think is the mark of a good quality site, plus they pay out to paypal fast.

    (I included my links if you want to check them out, on Insta I actually send anyone who joins under me a message on the site to help them get started)

    1. Thanks for the tips Kai! I’m not familiar with either of these so I will check them out!

    2. Tina Dalasinski says:

      What exactly is dollartracks? I cane a log’t do a lot to earn money on the side because I live in a rural area and not a lot of places around to do things with to earn money.I do some survey sites and I have a blog trying to get it out there more. Can’t afford to pay to do that I don’t work and my man is on disability and we live on a tight budget. Any helpwould be appreciated.

  40. These are really great ideas!! I love making money on the side like this and never even thought about pet sitting! I used to do surveys and stuff on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk but haven’t in a while. It seems like a small amount of money, but it all really adds up. This is great inspiration πŸ™‚ <3

    1. Pet sitting is so awesome and such great therapy – it doesn’t even seem like work! Good luck with the hustles!

  41. How many of those are taxable? Did you get 1099’s?

    1. I would check with your accountant. Depending on the amount, you could receive a 1099 in the mail!

  42. Definitely a varied list of side hustles — impressive! I hope to get into freelancing and maybe VA work eventually. The dog walking and sitting is interesting to me, and I will have to check out Rover.

    1. I feel like everyone is moving towards VA work, which is something I would love to get into at some point!

  43. Man, I’m feeling really dumb for not having tried to get into dog-walking when I lived in New York and was a grad student with a flexible schedule. On the other hand, the market there is oversaturated so I probably wouldn’t have made as much as in another city with fewer starving artists πŸ™‚ I did some babysitting, basically through personal referrals, and earned a little side cash that way but nowhere near $3000 a year! Probably more on the order of $500 that I immediately spent on groceries πŸ™‚

    1. If side hustle can pay some bills or groceries, why not?! I really lucked out with the dog sitting and walking – I was in the right place at the right time! I don’t know how I can top that!

  44. Thanks Kate! I had no idea it would turn into such a fun side hustle! It is definitely crazy how many people need walkers/sitters on such a regular basis. By far, my favorite side hustle of all time!

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