Hello readers and welcome to another edition of the Financial Panther side hustle report! In today’s post, we’ll be taking a look at what I was able to earn from side hustling in February 2020.
As regular readers know, each month I document exactly what I earned from side hustling using various sharing economy and gig economy apps. I’ve been tracking this data since 2016 and over the past four years, I’ve managed to bring in a significant amount from my various side hustles – over $90,000 doing dozens of different side hustles over the years.
My side hustle life has changed a lot ever since I quit my job last year to go all-in on this blog. My schedule is a lot more flexible these days, which makes it much easier for me to fit these gigs around my day-to-day life. The nice thing about having all of these different side hustles is that it gives me a sort of income floor while I continue to work on building up my online income.
Now, let’s take a look at my different side hustle income streams in February:
Side Hustle Income for February 2020
- Airbnb: $0
- Rover: $97.75
- Postmates/DoorDash/Uber Eats/Amazon Flex/Grubhub: $595.96
- Wag: $11.20
- Shipt/Instacart: $395.08
- Selling Trash Finds/Flipping: $8.70
- Job Spotter: $3.44
- ProductTube: $45
- Google Opinion Rewards/1Q/Surveys On The Go: $5.51
- Secret Shopping: $35 (plus a bunch of free food)
Total Side Hustle Income for February 2020 = $1,197.64
February was a slower month, as I didn’t travel anywhere and spent all of it on the home front. Most of my time in February was spent doing two main gigs – food deliveries (which I do entirely on my bike) and grocery deliveries (which I do either on my bike or on foot).
The delivery income ended up being surprisingly high this past month. Usually, my delivery income takes a big dip in the winter, but we’ve had a pretty mild winter, which has made it a lot easier for me to be outside. In addition, I’ve also been using my e-bike to do a lot of my deliveries, which has really increased my delivery efficiency. I’m convinced that an e-bike might be the best vehicle investment you can make – it costs almost nothing to operate and, importantly, it removes the entire “I don’t want to get sweaty” argument that a lot of people make to justify why they can’t bike.
My current e-bike is the RadCity from RadPower bikes. My wife used it for her 12-mile commute to work during the summer and fall (her commute is entirely on bike paths and with the e-bike, she was able to do that commute in about 35 minutes). This summer, I’m planning to buy a second e-bike, a cargo bike called the RadWagon.
I also really want to get an electric scooter this year, although this is something that I still have to think about more. Even though I’m often able to scoot around for free most of the time by working as a scooter charger, I’d really like to have my own scooter at some point. I’m just not sure if I want to drop the cash for one yet (if any company wants to give me a scooter to promote – well, that would be cool too).
Ramit Sethi talks about Money Dials, which are things that you spend on without feeling bad about it. The more I think about it, the more it seems like electric micromobility vehicles – things like e-bikes and electric scooters – are my money dial. I’d spend crazy amounts on these vehicles if I could.
Anyway, February ended up being a fairly uneventful month other than that I did a lot of e-biking. Below is a more in-depth breakdown of how I earned my side hustle income this month.
Airbnb Income: $0
Airbnb income stayed at $0 for February since I paused my Airbnb listing so that my wife and I could take a break. The current plan for 2020 is to only rent it when we’re out of town. Ideally, we’d rent out the entire house, but if that doesn’t happen, I’m confident that we can at least rent out the guest room anytime we’re gone.
We have a number of international trips planned this year, as well as a bunch of weekend trips planned, so there will be a lot of opportunities to earn extra income from our house without having to do too much. Depending on how things look, I might limit my Airbnb days to 14 days in order to take advantage of the Master’s Rule and the tax-free rental income that comes with it.
- If you have extra space and want to earn extra income using your home, you can sign up to be an Airbnb host using my referral link.
- Airbnb is also one of the most affordable ways to travel. If you’ve never used Airbnb, sign up for Airbnb with my link in order to get $40 off your first stay.
Rover Income: $97.75
I only ended up watching one dog in February – a repeat pup that my wife and I have been watching on and off for the last three years. He’s an easy pup to watch, making this feel very much like passive income.
In addition to watching this pup, I also did a dog walk for my neighbor through the Rover app. This client has been working out very well since they live down the street from me. Even better, I can take my own dog for a walk at the same time. If there’s a way to make dog walking a passive activity, this is probably as close as it can get – I’m basically getting paid to walk my own dog.
Rover is an easy side hustle and business that you can create. It works especially well if you already own a dog since that means you have to do your own dog care tasks anyway. Sign up to be a dog sitter on Rover using my referral link and see if Rover makes sense for you.
Postmates/DoorDash/Uber Eats/Amazon Flex/Grubhub Income: $595.96
I’m actually surprised at how much I was able to make doing deliveries in February. Remember, I do all of my deliveries using a bike and as you can probably guess, February in Minnesota isn’t the most pleasant time to bike. Still, I bike year-round and I think there’s a sort of character-building thing that biking in the winter does for you. There’s a lot of value in being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Below is a breakdown of my earnings on each delivery platform in February:
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve been doing a lot more deliveries using my e-bike, which has really increased my efficiency. I’ve been telling people for a while that deliveries are so much better (and likely more profitable) when done using a bike since you can get through busy areas much more quickly and you don’t have to worry about parking or car expenses. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t think you can do deliveries on a bike, an e-bike can really serve as an alternative option.
The question I get often is how much do I make on an hourly basis doing these delivery gigs. I did some casual tracking this month and consistently made $25 or more per hour. On some days, my income would hit $35 or so for an hour of work. The way I’m able to do this is by stacking all of the apps together and, since this is a side hustle, only working for an hour or two during the prime hours when deliveries can be much more efficient.
Stacking is especially key because it can basically double your income if done correctly. During high-demand times, I’m almost always able to get deliveries going to the same places, so, as an example, a $6 delivery can become a $12 delivery without adding much additional time to my route. If you do this enough times, the numbers really start to add up.
Wag Income: $11.20
Not a lot to report here. I walked one dog on Wag in February but otherwise didn’t do much with the app. The main problem for me is that I make much more utilizing other gig economy apps, so I tend to focus my energy there rather than on Wag. At this point, most of my Wag walks come about when I’m traveling and find a nearby dog to walk, or if I’m just bored and looking for a change of pace. That isn’t to say Wag isn’t worth doing – it just really depends on your situation. If you want more information about Wag and how you can make it work for you, check out my Wag post.
Shipt/Instacart Income: $395.08
Shipt was pretty interesting in February. One of the interesting things I discovered is that there is some money to be made doing really big office orders with Shipt – although it can be hit or miss as well. In the past, I avoided these shops since I didn’t have any way to transport these huge orders, but I recently discovered that the downtown Target where I do most of my deliveries from lets you borrow the shopping carts.
This past month, I did a bunch of big office orders where I had to deliver multiple cases of soda and sparkling water. The key with these orders is that they are all really close to the Target – within a block or two – so I’m able to fill up a shopping cart and push it over to the office that it needs to go to.
Take for example this big order I did:
Minneapolis is unique because the office buildings are all connected via a skyway system. This Shipt order was for an office building literally across the street from the Target. I ended up loading these carts and pushing them across the skyway to the office building across the street.
I find these Shipt orders weirdly fun to do, although admittedly, I feel like it’s often not worth my time. My one issue is that Shipt orders rely heavily on tips and for whatever reason, I am not getting a lot of tips for my office deliveries. I’m not sure why this is the case, and maybe other people are having better luck than me.
When it pays off though, it can really pay off. I had one big order that took me about 45 minutes to complete and ended up making $57 after tip.
If you’re interested in learning more about Shipt, be sure to check out my Shipt Review.
Trash/Flipping Income: $8.70
I don’t have much to report here. The only thing I sold this month were some pieces from a Simpsons Monopoly set that I bought at Goodwill a few weeks ago. I listed up the cards and the play money for $10 and someone bought them.
The only other thing I sold was a Nintendo Switch Lite, which I bought using the $100 Dell credit on my American Express Business Platinum Dell credit. Twice per year, the American Express Business Platinum card gives me $100 of Dell credit that I can use on the Dell website. My strategy has been to buy something from Dell that I can then resell locally.
- In this case, the Nintendo Switch Lite cost $216 after taxes.
- I bought the Nintendo using the Rakuten portal (formerly Ebates), which gave me 10% cashback (I received $28 cashback). This effectively reduced the price of the Nintendo Switch Lite to $188.
- I then received $100 in Dell credit, which reduced the effective price of the Nintendo Switch Lite to $88.
- Then, I resold the Nintendo Switch Lite for $175, netting me an overall profit of $87.
I don’t really consider this a real profit since I used the earnings to offset a portion of my annual fee on this card, but it’s an example of how credits for premium cards can be used to offset annual fees.
Job Spotter Income: $3.44
Unfortunately, Job Spotter has taken a big dive with their recent algorithm changes. At this point, it’s basically pocket change. It doesn’t take much work, but it’s clear the golden age of Job Spotter is gone.
ProductTube Income: $45
ProductTube has to be one of the most underrated apps I’ve used – and it’s one that I think everyone should put on their phone. The videos that you have to record are so short that the hourly rate is extremely high for these gigs – easily $60 or more. You just have to be comfortable filming and talking to yourself in public. It might seem weird, but you don’t have to talk for that long (only a few minutes at most) and, in truth, no one is paying attention to you when you’re in a store. In short, you should download this app.
Google Opinion Rewards/1Q/Surveys On The Go Income: $5.51
Below is a breakdown of my earnings with each short survey app in February:
I didn’t hit the $10 threshold to cash out for Surveys On The Go, which is why my earnings were $0 for the month (I should get to $10 this coming month). Google Opinion Rewards and 1Q both took me a few seconds of my time, so they were worth my time. I’m obviously not getting rich from these apps, but they’re so easy to do and take up none of my time.
Secret Shopping Income: $35 (Plus A Lot Of Free Food)
I was paid $35 in February for a secret shop that I did in January when I was in Austin for a wedding. That secret shop worked out well because my buddy and I were able to get free drinks while we were traveling.
I spent the rest of the month doing my usual secret shops, as well as adding a few high-value secret shops for pretty expensive restaurants. At this point, I’m starting to hit the point where I need to cut back on secret shopping since I’m going out to eat so often. I have no idea why I’m able to get so many secret shops, but whatever the reason, it seems pretty easy where I live.
For more information, be sure to read my post on Restaurant Secret Shopper jobs. That post goes into a lot of detail about how you can use incorporate secret shopping into your life and eat for free.
And that concludes the February 2020 Side Hustle Report!
In 2020, it looks like my side hustle income is probably going to be around $1,000 per month, which I think is pretty good considering that I don’t have to spend too much time doing this.
I think what’s key about these side hustles is that they’re generally very accessible. Most people can incorporate these into their day-to-day life without too much trouble. When you think about it, it’s not really that hard for most people to make an extra couple of bucks every day doing something. And just as savings small amounts over time can add up over time, making small amounts can do the same thing.
The way I do things won’t work exactly for your situation. But figure out what works for you and your lifestyle. You just might be surprised.