It’s a new month, which means it’s time for another edition of the Financial Panther Side Hustle Report. Today, we’ll be looking at my side hustle earnings for October 2020.
As a quick recap for those of you that are new to this, each month I document exactly what I made from side hustling using various sharing economy and gig economy apps. I’m a big fan of these apps because of how flexible they are and how easy they are to integrate into your day-to-day life. They’re part of my Monetize Your Life strategy and a great way that you can put the Reverse Latte Factor into action.
Before getting started, be aware that this side hustle report is long. I always try to go into as much detail as I can about each of these apps so that you can understand what it is I’m doing. Hopefully, you find that helpful, but if not, you can always just take a look at my earnings and skip the more in-depth look into what I did for the past month.
That said, let’s take a look at my side hustle earnings for the past month.
Side Hustle Income for October 2020
- Airbnb: $0
- Rover: $38.25
- Postmates/DoorDash/Uber Eats/Grubhub: $1,138.85
- Shipt/Instacart: $21.63
- Selling Trash Finds/Flipping: $41.76
- WeGoLook: $37
- ProductTube: $10
- Gigwalk/EasyShift/Field Agent/Merchandiser/IVueIt: $31
- Google Opinion Rewards/Surveys On The Go/1Q: $21.97
- Secret Shopping: $161
- PrestoShopper: $40
- ProductLab: $6
- Market Research: $30
Total Side Hustle Income for October 2020 = $1,577.46
In October, I earned over $1,500 from 12 different types of income sources. That’s pretty standard with most months.
October ended up being a down month for my side hustle income – and for a very good reason. At the beginning of the month, my wife and I were notified that someone at my son’s daycare had tested positive for Covid. That same week, my son came down with some minor symptoms consistent with Covid, although thankfully, those symptoms dissipated after one night. Still, since we had potential exposure from daycare, we decided to get our family tested for Covid. My wife and son both came back negative. Strangely enough, however, I tested positive for Covid.
I was fortunate enough not to have any symptoms (and wouldn’t develop any symptoms), but my Covid positive test meant that I needed to quarantine myself for 10 days. That’s 10 days where I couldn’t do any gig economy stuff. I typically aim to make around $500 per week with my side hustles, so that’s probably around $1,000 I couldn’t earn this past month.
That said, I think my experience with Covid is a good example of two things. First, this is why we’re wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings. I never developed any symptoms and if I hadn’t gotten tested, I’d likely never have known that I had Covid. The fact that I was taking the standard precautions – wearing masks in public, avoiding crowds, social distancing – means that hopefully, I didn’t spread the virus beyond myself.
Second, having a financial buffer is key. You never know what life might throw at you, but having some financial cushion really takes a lot of the pressure off. Taking advantage of 3% and 5% interest bank accounts is one way to get the best of all worlds too – it leaves me with money in the bank and a good rate of return.
Even with those 10 days off, I still managed to bring in some decent side hustle income for the month. Let’s take a deeper look at how I was able to generate extra income this month.
Airbnb Income: $0
I’m no longer doing Airbnb due to the pandemic and because I have a baby. Before 2020, my wife and I rented out a room in our house on Airbnb and occasionally rented out our entire house when we were out of town. With the pandemic and a baby, we’re not comfortable with renting out a room in our house. And since we’re not traveling right now, there isn’t any opportunity to rent our entire house out either (even if we could, we probably wouldn’t).
Whether Airbnb makes sense for you is going to depend on your personal situation. If you have a separate space (think a basement suite or mother-in-law unit), then I’d probably still consider doing Airbnb. If you have a shared space, I wouldn’t recommend it right now.
That said, you can sign up to be an Airbnb host using my link. And if you’ve never used Airbnb, you can use this referral link to get $40 off your first stay.
Rover Income: $38.25
Rover has really slowed down a lot for me as we head into the last few months of the year. Most of it likely has to do with the fact that people aren’t traveling right now, and probably are unlikely to travel during the holidays. In the past, I always received a lot of sitting requests during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but I’m sitting vacant at the moment.
In October, I ended up with one sitting – a short weekend stay for a cat. The owners were having an open house, so they needed someone to watch their cat for the weekend since they couldn’t leave their cat at home.
I’ve watched cats occasionally in the past and generally don’t enjoy it that much. It’s not that they’re a lot of work. My main issue is that the cats I’ve watched have always been really scared since they’re in an unfamiliar house (unlike with dogs, you can’t really do a meet and greet with cats).
This cat, however, was a joy to watch. She was extremely friendly from the moment she entered our house and was basically the way I think friendly cats behave – jumping up on our laps, sleeping in sunbeams, meowing for our attention. My cat rate isn’t very high – I only charge $15 per day for cats – but since they basically require no work, it’s basically like a form of passive income.
Postmates/DoorDash/Uber Eats/Grubhub Income: $1,138.85
Food delivery income was down in October since I couldn’t do deliveries for about two weeks while I was in quarantine. Still, even with those two weeks off, I was able to make some solid income from my delivery apps for the weeks I did work. Here’s the breakdown of my earnings with each app:
My hourly rate for the month was around $40 per hour, which is consistent with what it’s been since the pandemic started. This is possible because I averaged about $7 per delivery and completed close to 6 deliveries per hour. I’m able to hit these benchmarks because I deliver in a dense area and I tend to stick to prime delivery hours, mainly lunch and dinner hours. Importantly, I always run all four delivery apps at the same time, which is key if you’re looking to earn in the $30 to $40 per hour range.
As always, I did all of my deliveries using a bike, mainly my Radpower ebike that I’ve been using for the past year. There’s no doubt in my mind that, at least in my market, using an ebike will make you more money than using a car.
To track my earnings, I use a free app called Gridwise. If you do deliveries or rideshare, this is an app that you definitely should be using to gain a better sense of what you are earning.
If you want to deliver for any of these apps, feel free to sign up using the links below.
- DoorDash: Sign up for DoorDash here.
- Postmates: Sign up for Postmates here.
- UberEats: Sign up for Uber Eats here.
- Grubhub: No referral link, but you can sign up for it here.
Shipt/Instacart Income: $21.63
In October, I did one Shipt delivery and earned a little over $21 thanks to getting a $10 tip. I don’t typically do much Shipt or Instacart, but I had a slow food delivery day and decided to grab a Shipt order at a nearby grocery store to fill my time. The order wasn’t too difficult to complete, but it still took me more time than I’d like. My issue with grocery deliveries is that I’m just not very good at them and I haven’t really figured out how to improve my efficiency.
I also hate how tip-reliant the grocery delivery game is. Without the $10 tip, I would have made $11, which sounds good, except for the fact that I spent at least 30 minutes in the store shopping for the order. Generally, I can make a lot more money by delivering food, especially since food delivery doesn’t require me to spend time shopping for the order.
Still, I know some people can do pretty well with grocery delivery. This is especially true if you’re someone that lives in the suburbs where food delivery might not work as well. If you’re someone that uses a car, grocery delivery also comes with the added benefit that it puts less wear and tear on your car.
If you’re interested in signing up to deliver for any of these grocery delivery apps, feel free to use my referral links below:
- You can sign up to be a Shipt shopper using this link.
- And you can sign up to be an Instacart shopper using this link.
Trash/Flipping Income: $41.76
I didn’t sell too many things in October. My sales for this month were all eBay sales and were a mix of selling old stuff around my house and flipping some things I bought at Goodwill. We’ve been buying a lot of baby clothes for our son at Goodwill, so the basic strategy we have is to pay for our baby clothes purchases with the profits we get from flipping things.
Also, a quick pro-tip. If you have a baby, Goodwill is an amazing place to find clothes. We have one Goodwill near us that sells all their baby clothes for 99 cents, which means we’ve been able to stock up on a ton of baby clothes. When we’re done with these clothes, they’ll either get sent to future nieces and nephews or they’ll get donated back and hopefully get additional use from someone else. Given how many used baby clothes are out there, I don’t see a lot of reason to buy brand new baby clothes.
ProductTube Income: $10
ProductTube was slow this month, so I only made $10 from it. These gigs are never going to be consistent, but they’re worth doing given how much they pay for the time they take. The videos take 5 minutes max to complete, so getting paid $10 for a 5-minute video is well worth my time. They pay via Amazon gift cards, which are as good as cash to me.
Gigwalk/EasyShift/Field Agent/Merchandiser/IVueIt Income: $31
Field Agent was pretty standard this month. It seems like most months, I do 1 or 2 Field Agent gigs. October’s Field Agent gig involved buying some beef jerky at Whole Foods and answering some questions about it. It took a few minutes to complete the questionnaire and it paid $6.
The more interesting app that’s starting to become part of my monthly routine is IVueIt. This is another picture-taking app where you’re typically tasked to take pictures of the exterior of businesses. The idea here is that businesses want to make sure the landscaping around the building looks good. In October, I did one exterior landscaping gig at a convenience store near me. It paid $8 and took a few minutes to complete.
The other interesting IVueIt gig I did in October involved taking photos of the interior of a closed down coffee shop. This one was interesting because I had to access the coffee shop via a key that was left in a lockbox for me. The gig only took a few minutes and I didn’t have to interact with anyone. It paid $17, so it was definitely worth my time. And it was kind of cool to be in an empty coffee shop. It seems like, if I wanted to, I could have invited my friends over and thrown a party in there.
Google Opinion Rewards/Surveys On The Go/1Q Income: $21.97
The short survey apps were consistent as usual. It seems like most months, I make about $20 or so from these apps.
Here’s the breakdown with each of these apps. It’s not a ton of money, but it’s still a little bit of extra money in my pocket for very little work.
- Google Opinion Rewards: $6.68
- Surveys On The Go: $14.79
- 1Q: $0.50
Secret Shopping Income: $161
I’ve never really thought of secret shopping as anything more than a way to get free food, but it’s actually starting to become pretty lucrative. Most of the secret shopping apps aren’t offering much these days (or at least not much that I’d want to do). The exception is Marketforce, which has a lot of fast-casual restaurant shops. I basically snag as many of them as I can each month in order to get free food, but the income they pay me is actually pretty good too.
Here’s a look at my Marketforce earnings for October. Note that Marketforce pays one month later, so my earnings for October are from shops completed in September.
When no one has taken the gig, the amount they pay goes way up, so you can see I have some secret shops where I got paid $15 to $25. That’s on top of the food reimbursement, which makes that a really good deal.
I had one other secret shop in October that worked out really well via Bare International. This is one of the secret shop companies that I signed up for via Presto InstaShops. This gig paid $10 for me to pay my utility bill and send them a screenshot of the utility payment page. Some company is working on a payment app, so they were paying secret shoppers to send them this information. $10 to do something I was already doing was a no-brainer.
PrestoShopper Income: $40
This category of side hustle income was first introduced in September’s side hustle report. It’s technically a secret shop gig, but I break it out into its own category because it’s not exactly the same thing.
You do these gigs via the Presto InstaShopper app. The gig asks you to take a few pictures of a phone store to make sure that they’re complying with mask and social distancing requirements. Each gig pays $10 and only takes a few seconds to complete, so this is very easy to do. The only awkward part is taking the photos without staff seeing you, but I’ve gotten pretty good at sneakily taking photos.
I ended up doing four of these Presto InstaShopper gigs in October, which paid out a solid $40. That was well worth it given how little time it took me to complete these gigs.
A new website I discovered last month is ProductLab. You can only earn money with this website if you do gig economy work, so it’s not going to be something everyone can take advantage of.
Each week, I make $2 by sending them a screenshot of my DoorDash earnings for the past week. The screenshots don’t contain any personal identifying information, so I’m not concerned about privacy or identity theft issues with this site.
It’s not a lot of money, but uploading this information takes me 5 seconds, so I’ll gladly take the money for the earnings info I provide them. They pay via PayPal and you have to bank $2 before you can cash out.
Market Research: $30
I did two small market research gigs in October. One was answering a short survey for CommonBond, which is a student loan refinancing company I used long ago. I received this survey randomly via email and it paid $5 for me to answer a handful of questions. The survey took a minute or less to complete and I received my $5 Amazon gift card soon after.
The other market research gig was for the Gridwise app, which is the free app I use to track my food delivery earnings. I got this market research request via email and it offered $25 to speak to me on the phone about my experience with the app. The call took about 15-20 minutes, so I’d say it was worth the time.
And that concludes the October 2020 Side Hustle Report!
October was a down month, but understandably so since I was in quarantine for half the month. Even with the quarantine, I was still able to bring in over $1,500 of extra income, which is not bad at all.
The weather is definitely starting to turn colder now and will likely remain this way until March or April. Over the years as I’ve tracked this income, my side hustle income has always taken a dip in the winter months and I expect it’ll do the same this year as well. As tough as I think I am, I don’t love biking and delivering food when it’s below freezing (I still do it though, just now as much as when the weather is nice).
Depending on how the weather looks, I may transition myself towards more grocery deliveries, since that allows me to stay indoors for longer stretches. That’s sort of what I did last winter, although I still did a lot of food deliveries too just because it was lucrative.
I hope you enjoyed this look into my side hustles for this past month. There are a lot of ways to generate extra income out there and to make it fit around the things you’re already doing. Take a look at what I do and see if anything can work for you.
Fantastic article & love the transparency and details of side hustles with no BS filters or excuses. This becomes a replicable process as a result. Among the best side hustle articles I’ve read.
Financial Panther says
Thanks Robert. Glad you enjoyed!
What’s was your net after overhead, gas, fluids checked. Etc.
Financial Panther says
Well, I use an electric bike, so overhead is the cost of electricity to charge my bike battery and any maintenance on the bike.
What is your main hustle ??
Financial Panther says
I was a full-time attorney until 2019. Last year, I quit my job to go full-time on running my online businesses. I currently run this blog, plus a content curation website called Personal Finance Blogs.
Alex D says
Long article – yes -, but very informative. I actually enjoyed reading all the detail to each side hustle. I hope to read future posts!!!
Financial Panther says
Glad you liked it!
I loved this article the honesty and details are very helpful!!!
This is really helpful. Thank you.
This article was very informative. I just recently got back into secret shopping so I can’t wait to continue reading about your experience with that as well as the other side hustles.
Financial Panther says
Glad it was helpful! I used to really hit the secret shopping hard – basically getting free food 10+ times per month. Obviously not possible now given the current state of the world but maybe in the future things will get back to what it once was. We’ll see!
I’m enjoying your blog and have tried out many of your hustles in my area recently. However, some are not as clear and I wondered if you would consider adding some tutorial videos to your online presence. For example I just downloaded Presto Shopper, but the sign up process for jobs is not nearly as clear as something like Field Agent. A YouTube search yields almost no Presto Shopper support. Keep up the awesome blog. Unlike many in the fire blog arena, you actually are showing how to make financial independence happen rather than recapping your retirement. Thanks.
Financial Panther says
That’s a good idea. I agree that some of my side hustles can be confusing and it’d take me a lot of words to go into way more detail about each app.Maybe I’ll try doing a sort of how-to guide for each app. I could probably put something together with a little bit of time.
And yeah, I agree, the presto shopper thing is a bit confusing. Like its sort of an app, but also sort of just an aggregator for other secret shops. It took me a little time to figure it out also.
I agree that Presto Shopper is confusing. In particular, they have had several rounds of Safety shops in my area and for the life of me I could not figure out how to sign up properly. Their info can be OK for some of the companies that use this site but for others like my example, clear directions were missing.
I’ll note that Field Agent has gone downhill on the richness of opportunity after most of their standard suite of Walmart shops have disappeared. However, if you have a few minutes to kill, like in a doctor’s office, their Penny Tasker (small micro tasks, a penny each) is a simple way to make money when you aren’t in a position to do anything else.
Financial Panther says
Yeah, Prestoshopper can be confusing. Those safety shops are gold though. Pay $10 and take me literally 10 seconds to complete.
Gig Work says
Some of these side hustle/gig opportunities (i.e. Market Force) require/ask you to input your social security number and other various personal details. Do you personal provide that information and what level of confidence do you have that it will be protected? Thanks in advance.
Financial Panther says
I’m not concerned about that. You have to do this when you’re doing any independent contractor work. It’s no different than if I worked at a mom-and-pop restaurant and have to fill out forms in order to get my paycheck.
I’ve been enjoying your blog for some time now and glad you and your family are in the clear. =)
For Market force, or in any scenario that deals with expense reimbursements, are we being taxed on it (Shop Fee & Food Reimbursement) once you’ve earned $600. Thanks
Financial Panther says
Yes. Technically, taxes are owed on all earned income, regardless of how much it is. The $600 mark is just when you get a paper trail that goes to the IRS.
Expense reimbursements wouldn’t be taxed. If it were included on your 1099, you deduct it. So if you got paid $10 and reimbursed $15 for your $15 meal, you’d make $25, subtract $15 as a business expense, and you’re left with $10 of taxable income.
Your in Minnesota. Do you use studded tires for your bike in winter?
Financial Panther says
You know, for all my years in Minnesota, I’ve just used my regular bike in the winter. I take it slow, am just a bit more careful, and generally don’t have any problems. Minneapolis does a good job of clearing roads and bike paths, I’ve found.