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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Creating and Selling Greeting Cards as a Side Hustle [Ep. 7]

Greeting cards are bought every day of the year, with some occasions selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cards over a matter of a day or two. Now wouldn’t you like to have a piece of that pie?

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.

Creating and Selling Greeting Cards as a Side Hustle

Beginning of full transcript. It has been edited for clarity.

You’re listening to Take On Life After 50, the podcast for people over 50 who want to supplement their retirement by doing what they love. I’m your host Diane Ziomek, and this is where you’ll find practical how-tos and inspiration to create the life you deserve. Whether you want to replace your current income or supplement it, I’m here to share my experiences, ideas, and even some of life’s lessons when it comes to side hustles.

Welcome to Episode 7: Creating and Selling Greeting Cards as a Side Hustle.

I hope you’ve had a good week. We had some reprieve from the frigid temperatures for a few days, but the last couple have been bitterly cold again. Winter isn’t ready to loosen its grip on us quite yet. It really isn’t all that bad though, because it gives us creative people a good excuse to stay inside and make things.

In this episode I’m going to talk about card making as a side hustle. You can either make ready to ship cards or design cards using graphics software and delivered to your customers via a platform such as Etsy, or via your own website or offer both. Not everyone has access to a printer and may want a handmade card for that special someone. Stay tuned to the end where I’ll give you another side hustle you can start as well.

I remember when I started scrapbooking. I went to Creative Memories class with my sisters and I had such a hard time cutting my pictures. Once I got it through my head that it was okay to cut them I was able to create some fun pages. One of my favorite layouts is of a trip to a petting zoo over 20 years ago. I took my kids, my niece, and my mom and we had a blast. I got some amazing pictures and created the scrapbook pages while the outing was still fresh in my mind.

Now, what does scrapbooking have to do with card making you may be wondering.

First of all, if you’re a scrapbooker you already have a lot of the supplies needed for making cards. You’ll have cutters, adhesive, stickers, cardstock in a variety of colors, paper punches, washi tape, and more.

If you’re not a scrapbooker that’s okay too. You can get started with your card making adventure for less than $50. All you’re really going to need is some cardstock in a variety colors, some good paper cutting scissors, (which you most likely already have), a ruler, markers and some stencils. (Once again, something you probably already have.) If you have a steady hand you can even forego the stencils and write the message freehand.

You can finally put the boxes of pencil crayons and geometry sets to use that are left over from kids school days. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose kids had to have new sets every year. Even though the one from the previous year was just fine. I swear I have at least a half dozen geometry sets in my house. I recently dumped a bunch of pencil boxes into large freezer bag so I am also set for crayons for the rest of my life I’m sure.

If you find you’re enjoying the card making process you can invest in some additional materials such as a good paper cutter, an envelope maker, pop dot adhesives, embossing tools, glitter glue, calligraphy pens, and the list goes on. There are thousands of items you can use for making cards. A quick search on Amazon will show you just how big a variety there is, or even walk through the papercrafts selection of your local Michaels or your craft store. Most dollar stores also have a fairly decent selection of paper, paper glue, embellishments, and so forth.

Now that I’ve covered some supplies, it’s time to decide on what types of cards you’ll make. You have several options here depending on how much time you have or want to spend on making cards.

First of all, there’s the holidays and celebrations. You might decide you want to only be busy a few times a year so you concentrate on Christmas, Easter Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Canada Day (for us Canadians), Fourth of July (for our southern neighbors), Halloween, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

You can pick and choose whichever holiday or celebration you want to make cards for. If you personally don’t celebrate Christmas, then it really doesn’t make sense to do something you don’t have an interest in.

Second are the special occasions. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, baptisms. The list goes on and on. You can pick and choose here too, because there are so many options.

Third, there’s the everyday cards. The sympathy cards, get well soon, thinking of you, welcome to the neighborhood…you get the picture. If you’re not sure of all the reasons people buy cards, just go to your local pharmacy or department store and peruse the card selection, make notes, get ideas, and then go home and start with one type. It can be whatever you like because as a card maker, you have the flexibility and the creativity to do as you wish.

Did I mention greeting cards are a multimillion dollar industry?

Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are probably the two most profitable occasions for card makers. If you make cards, then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll sell some of these two dates come around. Add in a few other occasions, and you can keep busy all year round if you so choose.

But what if I don’t want to spend hours making cards that no one may buy you ask. In that case, you can do one of two things.

A, you can make the card after your customer orders it or, B, you can create printable cards. With printable cards you design the card on your computer using clipart, fonts, and even photos (which you must have the rights to). You then export it as a PDF which a customer can print at home or take to a local print shop. This method works well if you don’t want to create ready to ship cards or even as a sideline to handmade cards. You pick the occasion, design the card, then list and upload the digital file to a platform such as Etsy, Shopify or even to your own website.

When it comes to cards, I’m for Etsy all the way. I like it for ideas and inspiration plus the customer base is already there. That doesn’t mean you can’t list your cards elsewhere. But if you’re just starting out, it’s an ideal platform. When designing digital cards, be sure to make the file in the finished size for ease of printing. Use a 300 dpi (or dots per inch) setting for the best quality and include instructions on how to print the cards in a separate download for your customer. You may choose to indicate cut and fold lines which I highly recommend. You should also indicate whether the card is best suited for cardstock or photo paper.

I have printable word search Valentine cards in my take on life after 50 printables Etsy shop, which I have included files for in three sizes. That way my customer can choose whichever size works best and print accordingly. And because the words are everyday vocabulary, the smaller sizes also work great for class parties.

The benefit to digital downloads is your customer can purchase, download and print the card all within a few minutes. I have found this to be a necessity at times simply because I live in a rural area and I don’t have access to the card aisle at the pharmacy 24/7. When I shop on Etsy, I do have access 24/7. I can print my purchase at 3am if I so choose, and I have done that.

Granted, the cards aren’t three dimensional, sparkly or handmade, but it’s the next best thing when you need a card right away. Plus, you can add your own embellishments if you so choose.

You’re also going to have to come up with pricing your cards. When mailing physical cards I suggest no more than $10 each, which should include shipping. Browse Etsy to see what others are charging and what they charge for shipping. Remember to look at listings shipped from your country, as all pricing and shipping is not created equal. With digital files the price can be less but don’t sell yourself short. It takes time to create digital products too and your pricing should reflect that your time is worth something.

Now for a little bonus.

If you decided making cards is something that you are interested in you can use the same skills and materials to create customizable invitations. I personally wouldn’t suggest committing to creating 100 handmade wedding invitations, but it’s a service you could provide on a smaller scale for perhaps a baby shower, or birthday party. This is where the digital files would come in handy because your your customer could take them to a local print shop and have them done much quicker than if they ordered from a specialty shop.

If taking the invitation route, you’ll collect the information required from your customer, edit your invitation template, and deliver the file via email. Be sure to specify in your listing that they will not receive the file as soon as payment is processed as it takes time to key in their information. Encourage them to review the file when they receive it to be sure there aren’t any errors before they have it printed. Even the most careful typist can end up with a typo, which is often, in this day and age, related to autocorrect.

I recently designed and printed baby shower invitations which will be going out in the mail within the next couple of days. I will be listing them in my Etsy shop but not until mid to late February as the ones printed are for my daughter’s baby shower. And I really can’t have family and friends seeing them on Etsy before they arrive in their mailbox now can I?

As I wrap this up, I want to say this. It doesn’t matter what your skill level, whether you do physical or digital cards and/or invitations, or which platform you use. The point is to have fun with it. You’ll get better and faster as you go along, and the ideas will naturally start coming to you. Use those cards you see online for inspiration, but don’t copy someone else’s work exactly.

When it comes to pricing stay competitive no matter how fast you get. Undercutting other creators hurts everyone. In the end, you’re a creator, and your time is worth something. If you want to make a profit, you can’t be selling your cards for $1 apiece.

Next week, I’m going to switch gears a bit and talk about writing ebooks and publishing on KDP (or Kindle Direct Publishing). Publishing an ebook can become a great side hustle which provides passive income. Join me next week to learn more. I’ll see you then.

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 take on life after fifty.com and get your copy of three side hustles to fill your piggy bank. Also, if you have questions that you’d like me to answer in either personal email or podcast, you can email me at info at take on life after 50 dot com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Afterthoughts:

After I finished recording and uploading the episode to Buzzsprout I had a couple of thoughts I should have included.

  1. You can use photos in your cards and invitations, as long as you have permission (in the case of customized items). If you took the photos, then you have the right to distribute as you see fit. Something like this would be ideal for birth announcements or family Christmas cards.
  2. If you’re serious about card making and want to invest in some specialized equipment, a Cricut would soon pay for itself. If you already have one, you know the possibilities are endless with it. I’ve been wanting one since I worked at the library and used it there. It’s now on my Amazon Wish List, along with some other accessories. I do have an older style but its design and cutting capabilities aren’t near what the new ones are. (Cartridges and a 6″ mat.)
  3. Have a storage system for your supplies. Clear plastic totes with lids are great for stacking items such as washi tape, scissors, punches, adhesives, and more. I suggest the hinged lid 12″ X 12″ for your 12″ sheets of cardstock.

Let me know your thoughts on card making. Do you foresee it as something you might try?


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