12 Services You Can Provide as a Side Hustle [EP 11]

Introduction

Welcome to Episode 11: 12 Services You Can Provide as a Side Hustle

When we think of side hustles, we often think about creating products, both physical and digital.

If you’re subsidizing a pension or other income, you may want to have daily interaction with others. If that’s the case, providing a service may be more suitable for you.

Not all services require you to be out and about, however. Some allow for face-to-face interaction with others, while some can be done remotely. You choose whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Now, before I get into the main part of this episode, I do want to let you, my listeners, know I will be scaling my podcast back to one episode per month until November. My blog posts will still be weekly, and will contain more side hustle information. It is a little change as I am working on creating a course, which I’ll get into more in an upcoming blog post. Plus, I’m taking a week’s vacation next month which I’m looking forward to. It’ll be nice to have some reprieve from the cold and snow.

Services

As mentioned, not all services have to be done in person. The following list contains some that involve little interaction with clients, while others are more face-to-face.

  1. We’ll start with bookkeeping, which I have done in the past. One of my clients dropped off an envelope full of receipts and papers each month, and I entered everything into an accounting program. She was then able to hand the USB in to her accountant at year-end. One of my other clients preferred me to work in his office, which I did a couple days a week. In his case it made more sense as he had a lot more paperwork for me to go through.
  1. Another service you can provide, and make a decent amount of money at, is cleaning people’s houses. Now this only works if you like to clean. An aunt of mine used to clean for others on a weekly basis. She would clean their houses during the day while they were at work, which made it easier for both parties. When I worked for Family and Community Support Services, my clients were at home when I cleaned. There are pros and cons to the latter, however. One pro is the client is happy to have the company. A con is it took more time because they wanted to visit. Keep in mind the latter was also cleaning for senior citizens, so my being there made it possible for them to stay in their own homes for longer.
  1. Lawn and Garden Maintenance is another service you can provide if you enjoy working outside. Some people either don’t have the time or their own equipment to do their own. And let’s face it, some people would just rather pay someone else to cut their grass, trim the hedges, and even pull the weeds. I don’t mind mowing and trimming, but pulling weeds is not my favourite. My experience in yard care has been mostly my own, plus for elderly family members from about the time I was around 14.
  1. Snow removal can be done during the winter for the same clients, so you have the opportunity to earn income year-round. Businesses also need snow removal done, so that could be another option if you prefer.
  1. If you love animals, pet-sitting and dog-walking are two services you can provide. When people go away they aren’t always able to take their pets, and many would prefer to leave them in a familiar environment. By providing a pet-sitting service your clients will be more relaxed while they’re away.  Plus, you can enjoy the experience of taking care of turtles, snakes, birds, and other not-so-common pets as well as cats and dogs. Dog-walking is nice because it gives the dog exercise and breaks up their day, which results in less destructive behaviour than one left to their own devices day after day. A bored dog is often a destructive dog. Not only will you be providing the dog exercise, you’ll be saving your clients’ furniture.
  1. A grocery delivery service is another option, especially in a small community. Smaller grocery stores may not have the extra staff to deliver groceries during business hours, and are generally more than happy to pay someone per delivery. It’s an added-value service they can provide to their customers, which in turn encourages local shopping.
  1. Providing healthy home-cooked meals for seniors in your area is an option if you love to cook. Just think of the meals-on-wheels larger communities provide. In my experience it’s a service that used to be provided by the local hospital, but with cutbacks in services, it may not be available in a small community. My great-uncle used to deliver meals to the seniors in his community a number of years ago, which gave him some extra income plus provided healthy meals for them. 
  1. You could play an integral part in someone else landing their dream job by providing a resume writing service. Presentation and simplicity are key components of a resume. Prospective employers will often not look at a resume that isn’t broken up by white space. As with most things today you want to make it skimmable, yet highlight your client’s attributes so they have an increased chance at being hired.
  1. Copywriting is another service you can provide to businesses near and far. Once you know how to convey a sales message, the rest is easy. There are courses available to teach you how, and I have taken a couple; but the best book I have come across is called The Copywriter’s Handbook – 4th Edition by Robert W. Bly. And copywriting isn’t necessarily about being salesy. All you essentially need to do is address a pain point and how your client’s product or service will fix it. The bonus is you can work for more than one client at a time, and you don’t have to be tied to your home office to do it. Have laptop…will travel.
  1. If you love a variety of music, then offering a DJ Service could be right up your alley. With the world opening up again to gatherings, people are anxious to be able to celebrate life events together. You can decide if you want to book one event a weekend, or one event a month. And if you don’t mind travelling, you could book events further away. The nice thing about the digital age is there’s no longer a need to pack hundreds of CDs, but you can if you like.
  1. Party Planning is another option if you have a flair for themed events. Whether it be weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, bachelor parties, birthday parties, or whatever else people celebrate; it’s sometimes nice to have the stress of the planning taken care of. If you’ve enjoyed planning your own parties over the years, perhaps it’s time to do it for others for a little extra income. And just like a DJ Service, you decide how many events you want to plan in a month. Keep in mind not all events are limited to weekends, so you could easily do a retirement party during the week and perhaps a birthday or engagement party on the weekend.
  1. Clutter control is something we all struggle with at some point or another, and the older we get the more of it we seem to have. Home organization is so popular nowadays there are entire TV Shows about it. If you have found a way to combat the clutter and let go of material things, there is someone out there who could benefit from your expertise. It’s not so much that you’ll be physically helping them throw things out (although you can if you wish), but rather help them differentiate between keeping things for emotional reasons or practical reasons.

Conclusion

As I went through my list, I thought of at least another dozen services any side hustler can provide, from small engine repair to handyman services. It really doesn’t matter what service you can provide, because chances are there’s a need for it in your community. And because it’s your side hustle, you determine to what extent you do it. As with anything else be sure it’s something you enjoy doing, otherwise it just becomes another job.

Now, as mentioned at the beginning of this episode, I’ll be scaling my podcasts back to once per month until November. I’m excited to be working on something that will help fellow side-hustlers, so please stay tuned. And as I said, the blog posts will still be weekly so don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed.


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How to Turn Your Woodworking Skills Into a Hot Tub [EP 10]

Do you enjoy sitting on garden furniture you have built? Do others marvel at your arbors, trellises, and other garden structures you’ve made?

If you’re handy with a saw, hammer, nails, and other tools, you could turn your skills into enough cash to add a hot tub or pool to your own space.

With so much time being spent at home and in our own backyards, it’s nice to have some comfortable seating, protection from the sun, and a place to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. 

I’m going to start with garden furniture, then move on to structures and decor.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Garden Furniture

The first step to being able to enjoy a backyard space or deck is having comfortable furniture. There are many types available in department stores, but it never seems to last as long as quality homemade furniture. 

Wooden furniture is, after all, made from trees that have withstood wind, rain, snow, and frigid temperatures. Or in the case of cedar, it has withstood humidity and has natural insect-repelling properties which will keep the bugs from claiming your furniture as their new home.

Other woods can be used as well, but will need protection from the elements. You can apply paint, stain, or even linseed oil to protect them, depending on intended use.

If you have the tools and access to scrap iron and steel, you can make furniture from them as well. There’s nothing saying your furniture has to be made from wood alone.

One thing to keep in mind if you enjoy building and creating outdoor furniture (or furniture of any sort for that matter), is you should have a space designated to it. Perhaps a bay in your garage, or a separate workshop. A room in your basement is good too, just don’t build anything bigger than you can safely take out via the stairway. If you have a walkout basement you’ll have a few more options.

Plus, it will be dusty, dirty work. And if you’re making anything that requires using spray paint, proper ventilation is a must. Having a space away from your main living area will help keep the dust and dirt out of your supper and sofa. 

Some types of furniture you can make are:

  • Adirondack Chairs
  • Bench Swing
  • Picnic tables – hexagonal, round, square, or rectangular
  • Snack Bar with stools
  • Porch swing
  • Chaise Lounge
  • Hammock stand

They can be made in both adult and child-size, which will thrill the littles if they have their very own outdoor furniture.

Garden Structures and Decor

Garden structures and decor lend themselves to be made from a variety of materials; not just wood. Scrap iron, copper, aluminum, PVC pipe, wire, and even wire cattle panels can be constructed into practical and decorative garden decor. I added a 16 foot by 4 foot cattle panel to the south side of my deck, and it will act as the trellis for my Virginia Creeper, plus other annual vining plants.

I have plans to add an arbor for climbing roses, and a few bench planters so I can enjoy different parts of my garden at different times of day. I’m not a professional woodworker by any means, but I think I learned a thing or two when I built my deck. 

Recycled materials are also great additions to gardens, such as wood pallets, old bed frames, crib springs, bathtubs, barbeques, tin cans, tires, metal tubing, picture frames, tea cups, and more. Chances are, if it can be recycled, you’ll find a use for it in your garden furniture and decor side hustle.

And if you’re doing some hard pruning of trees and shrubs, you can turn the logs and branches into planters, baskets, or stools for around a fire pit. I’m excited about the snow melting because I had some large trees taken down in November, and I’d love to see what I can make from the trunks. I foresee a bench for sure, but it may have to stay where I make it. I just don’t have the equipment to move anything too heavy.

The list of structures and decor is quite a bit longer than the furniture, and I know my list is only a portion of what is out there. You can choose from my list below, or create your very own. At the end of the day, it is really based on personal preference. When you’re creating a custom project for someone else, give them parameters. Within your scope of abilities and preferred materials.

Granted some projects are much bigger than others, and this is just an overview of the possibilities. 

Now for the list, in no particular order:

  • Decks
  • Arbors
  • Gazebos
  • Planter boxes
  • Raised garden beds
  • Pergolas
  • Trellises
  • Fences
  • Potting benches
  • Garden sheds
  • Greenhouses
  • Playhouses
  • Birdhouses
  • Bird feeders
  • Butterfly feeders
  • Bat boxes
  • Windchimes
  • Bird baths
  • Bench planters
  • Sandboxes
  • Garden Tool Caddies
  • Windmills
  • Stepping stones
  • Lanterns
  • Candle holders
  • Fire pits
  • Fountains
  • Fruit and vegetable markers
  • Games
  • …and so much more.

Now, just to give you a few ideas of what you can make with different materials let’s start with trellises. As I perused Pinterest I saw so many ideas I wanted to go outside and start creating. My issue, however, is there is still a lot of snow in my way. Plus it’s only about 5 degrees celsius today, so it’s a little too cool to be building anything outside. Well, in my opinion anyway.

Trellises can be made from wood, metal, old steel wagon wheels, wooden wagon wheels, cattle panels (as mentioned earlier), old wooden screen doors, branches and twine, bicycle rims, round bale feeders, old chandeliers (lights and glass removed of course), lattice, and more. Add chicken wire to an old screen door frame and you have the perfect trellis for vines, roses, and vining vegetables. Use your imagination and you’ll have friends and neighbours wanting to buy them from you.

Bird feeders are a great small item to make, and teacups and saucers are the perfect medium. And who doesn’t have a box or three of them handed down from generation to generation. If you don’t have your own teacup collection to use, check out thrift stores and garage sales. A little bit of glue, wire, and a bag of birdseed and you’ll have customers from near and far.

Raised garden beds are another way to turn your love of woodworking into a side hustle. With the increased interest in gardening over the past two years, raised beds have become very popular. They are ideal for anyone with a small backyard, or a balcony. Some are designed to sit on the ground and be filled with soil, while others are basically a box on legs, which is perfect for those with only a small patio or balcony. Upcycled materials such as washtubs, buckets, and even rocks can also be used to build a raised garden bed. Keep in mind the labour involved in building with rocks, and be sure to charge accordingly. 

Wind chimes can be made from branches, beads, wire, shells, metal, copper pipe, and even wood pieces. Light nylon rope or fish line can be used to tie the pieces together. Glass beads can be hot glued to a fish line and attached to either a branch or set inside a larger picture frame. You could easily make a few of these in a weekend and sell them on Etsy or advertise in local Facebook groups.

Garden markers can be crafted from oversized popsicle sticks (available in the craft aisle of your local Dollar Store) and either painted or coloured with permanent markers. To keep the paint and ink from washing off, use a clear coat to protect them. Painted rocks make perfect markers because the wind won’t blow them away, and your canine friends won’t steal them and chew them to bits.

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Conclusion

The lists and ideas above just go to show you what can be done with a few materials and an imagination. If you’re anything like me, the ideas will just keep coming and you’ll be chomping at the bit wanting to get started. Creating decor for a garden space can be fun and lucrative. The possibilities are endless, and I’m sure I’ve only touched on a small number in this episode.

If you have any questions about gardening, feel free to visit allingardening.ca and contact me via the contact page.

Join me next week when I talk about services as a side hustle. Most services are provided in person, but there are a few that can be done remotely as well. Tune in next week to learn more.

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee


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How to Turn Your Green Thumb Into a Side Hustle [EP 9]

Welcome to Episode 9: How to Turn Your Green Thumb into a Side Hustle

Thoughts of spring are creeping in as the daylight hours get longer. I know I’m ready for spring but I feel as if Old Man Winter isn’t finished with us yet. I’m sure we’re in for at least 6 more weeks of winter, no matter what the groundhog says.

In this episode I’m going to talk about how you can take your love of gardening and turn it into more than just green leaves.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Bedding Plants and Flower Baskets

Anyone that has shopped for bedding plants since Spring 2020 knows how hard it is to get what you want. I know the greenhouses in my area were sold out of almost everything within a couple weeks of being open. It’s as if every single person decided that was the year to start gardening. It’s amazing what fear will do to people.

But, I’m not here to talk about the pandemic because I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing about it, even though it’s a part of our everyday life now. 

If you have the space and a window that gets direct sunlight most of the day, you can start your own bedding plants. And if you plant seeds like I do, you’ll have more than enough and can sell the extras. An ideal location would be a greenhouse, but if you live in a climate like mine, the cost to heat one this time of year would eat up your profits and then some.

It takes several weeks for seedlings to grow into sellable plants. Depending on your temperate zone, you’ll want to get your seeds planted before the end of February. Some can be planted later but keep in mind peak planting time. In my area nothing is generally planted in the ground until after Victoria Day, which is the third Monday in May.

I have planted potatoes on May Long, and some seeds that don’t mind the ground being a little cooler. But when it comes to putting out tender young plants, it’s best to wait another week or two. I’d rather wait than have everything freeze and have to start over.

Now, back to the seeding.

You’ll need a lightweight soil, some cell packs, plant trays with clear lids, a spray bottle, and your seeds. It’s also good practice to have labels and a permanent marker handy. You don’t want to be playing any guessing games when it comes to telling potential customers what the plants are. And until they mature a little, it’s often difficult to tell them apart. This is especially true when it comes to flower seedlings.

Also, make sure you record everything in a notebook. Don’t rely on memory alone, because no matter how good your memory is, when it comes to a dozen or more varieties of plants, it will fail you. And yes, that is experience talking.

Next determine what stages you want to sell your plants at. Will they be a couple inches high, or will they be ready to flower? Or do you want them in all their beauty so they attract more than the bees? These are all things to consider before you start planting your seeds. 

Another very important thing to keep in mind is once your seeds germinate and get their first true leaves, it’ll be time to transplant them into bigger containers or cell packs. Do you have enough room for them, and enough natural light? 

If you don’t have the right light you can invest in some grow lights. They are relatively inexpensive, and I bought a few on Amazon. They are currently providing light for a couple of experimental plants I have, as well as some of the smaller houseplants.

You can improvise to a degree and invest in some grow light bulbs that can be put in a lamp. I have used a floor lamp and directed the fixtures toward the plants I was growing. It does help to have a light bar instead, as more space and light can be utilized.

As the seedlings grow your house may begin to look like a jungle. Ideally you’ll have a shelving unit of some sort set up in front of a direct sun window, or with the grow light bars. 

If you have the right amount of light, your plants should be growing but not becoming stretched out and leggy. And as the weeks go on, you should start to see buds appearing. As the weather warms you can move your seedlings to a greenhouse or under plastic in raised beds. If the nights are still below freezing be sure you have a reliable heat source to protect your tender young plants from freezing.

In my area the greenhouses are open to the public generally on Mother’s Day weekend. If you’re going to have your plants ready at the same time, be sure to advertise your location a week or two ahead of time. Or, you could sell them at any time by posting on social media.

If you are only going to have a few trays to sell you may be tempted to price much lower than the bigger centers but I advise against that. You’ll be cutting into your profits plus bringing down the overall price, which hurts everyone in the industry in the end. Find out ahead of time what greenhouses are charging and stay competitive. 

If you enjoy creating planters and baskets, you could add a little more to your bottom line. Your additional investment will be containers and more soil, but your earning potential is higher. 

If selling the seedlings or baskets doesn’t appeal to you, another option is to have a market garden. This is ideal if you have a large garden plot, as you can plant a lot of vegetables. If you don’t have a lot of area for a traditional garden plot, you can still have a market garden.

Raised beds are wonderful in that you can plant sooner, and attach trellises so your otherwise sprawling vegetables can grow vertically. This is ideal for cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelon, and other vining crops. One word of caution here though: make sure your trellises are firmly attached to your beds or to poles sunk into the ground. As your crops grow the produce gets heavy, and will cause bending or breaking if not properly anchored.

Some types of produce that is popular are potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, herbs, onions, and garlic. If you can grow these basics, plus some others to add a little variety, such as tomatillos and cucamelon, you will do well.

No matter what you grow, remember it takes time and maintenance. Weed between the rows, water regularly, and protect them from the hot sun and moths by using row covers. And you don’t have to start with acres and acres. It’s okay to start small, and if you like what you’re doing, expand a little more each year. 

The nice thing about a summer side hustle is being able to potentially fund a winter vacation. And for those of you who live in a climate like mine, a vacation to warmer temperatures is welcome.

House Plants

Do you have house plants that are multiplying? 

Not everyone wants or has the space for bedding plants, so offering houseplants can be a nice little side hustle as well. Some can be started from seed, but you’ll get much faster results by taking cuttings from your existing plants. 

Some are easier to propagate than others, but with patience it can be done. Spider plants are the easiest to propagate, plus they are air purifiers. And I think they’re the coolest plant when they’re sending out the babies. I love my spider plants, but they do not like where they are because neither one is giving me any babies.

Succulents, Christmas Cactus, Snake Plant, and ivies are the easiest to propagate. I have had good luck with fig trees and umbrella trees, and even African Violets. My only issue with the latter is they do not do well in my presence. I can get a leaf cutting from someone, start it easily enough…then it dies. I do not have the magic touch with them that my maternal grandmother had. I swear they’re a species that has a hatred for me, no matter how hard I try.

Potted houseplants do take up space, but depending on the species, you can get in upwards of $6 for a 4” potted plant. I have a prayer plant that I paid $12 for at a local shop last spring, and it came in a 4” pot if I recall correctly.

Another type of houseplant you can grow and sell is the air plant. I personally do not have any, but my daughter has several varieties and multiple sizes. She has had a few of them reproduce, which is pretty neat. She has sold several in clear bowls or terrariums, complete with coloured sand, rocks, and shells. They’re fairly easy to care for, and there’s no soil to mess around with.

Conclusion

Planting, growing, and harvesting is a great way to make some extra money during the summer months. The best part is being able to enjoy the fresh produce, because when you grow it yourself you can’t get it any fresher. Supplying it to others in your community ensures they also get quality fruits and vegetables, plus they can be rest assured no chemicals were used to keep them from perishing.

If you would like to learn more about gardening, visit my just-for-fun site where I have articles about growing your own sprouts, making self-watering planters, and other gardening tips. It’s a work in progress as I didn’t touch it for over a year due to life, but it is being added to once again.

If you have any questions about gardening, feel free to visit allingardening.ca and contact me via the contact page.

Join me next week when I talk about another gardening side hustle: making furniture and decor. 

Thanks for listening to this episode and I hope you’ve been able to take away a little something from it. If you want to learn more about me, visit my website takeonlifeafter50.com. If you like what you heard, you can support my podcast and blog at buymeacoffee.com/takeonlife50. 

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.


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