I Tried 6 Side Hustles to See Which Ones Can Actually Make Me Some Extra Money

Some were the real deal; some just wasted my time.

In a world where salaries are stagnant and costs of living are swelling, an extra income stream is a necessity. Whether it's something you do to pay off your credit-card debt or go out to dinner once in a while, an extra gig can fund your goals. There are 1,001 options: Sell your plasma! Sell your skills! Sell your underwear!

So, which ones work and which don't? I wanted to see for myself. For the past two months, I have been working six different side hustles with a singular goal: a gorgeous bag I've been lusting over for years. These are my reviews and results.

Rover.com

Rover is a dog-walking and pet-sitting site. Pet owners are matched with potential sitters based on need and location. Signing up as a walker on the site was easy, and the background check is fast and free.

After adding my availability and rates, I started getting matched right away. I set my rates low at $10 per 30 minutes and made $100 in two weeks. Rover takes a portion of your earnings, and you can transfer the remainder to your bank account 48 hours after you complete a job.

I am an animal lover through and through, so this was my absolute favorite way to make extra money. The obvious pros are that you get to play with dogs and get a little exercise. A big pro for me personally was the opportunity to explore areas of my new city I wouldn't have otherwise visited.

I don't mean to brag, but I've touched a lot of poops in the past few years of my life, so it didn't bother me, but an obvious con to dog care is that you have to deal with their poops (and sometimes more). Another con is that most people need their dogs to be walked during the lunchtime hours, so if you aren't available then, it might not be that lucrative a gig for you.

All total, I made $500 in two months. My text messages would blow up on Sunday and Monday, and then I would just walk pups and get paid. Not too shabby!

Care.com

Care is a modern Babysitters Club. All parents need to do is log on and see the bazillions of people who are angling to babysit, nanny, run errands, whatever a family may need. Again, signing up was easy, and the background check was free. You can either opt to be paid in cash or through the Care site, and the money is available immediately.

I'm a married mother of two preschool-age children, and I offered my services as a "date night" sitter for the low, low price of $15 per hour. Honestly, I thought this would be a slam dunk. I got zero responses! Maybe I looked like a serial killer in my photo, or maybe no one in LA goes out at night? Who knows.

But if you're looking for extra money and genuinely love children, then I encourage you to give it a shot. Hopefully you have more luck than I did!

ThredUp.com

ThredUp is an online clothing resale site that offers a pretty hands-off process. You order a prepaid shipment bag and fill it up with your gently worn clothing. After your bag is received you'll get an email giving you an estimated date of processing. Clothing that is accepted will be put up for sale while unaccepted pieces go to a third-party recycler.

I sent a 17-pound bag of some pretty basic brands in good condition. It took five weeks for them to give me a pittance for the lot.

There are lots of places online that do resale business. A dear friend of mine had incredible success with PoshMark, but she has more clothing and better taste than Liberace. She's made over $400 in just a few months from selling (her shop is here). If you have slightly better brands than I did, you may have better luck with PoshMark.

The pros of selling clothes are that you get to KonMari yourself into a few dollars. The cons are that they don't pay that much, but if you were just getting rid of the stuff anyways? Then go for it.

All total, I made $25 (and tried not to be mad when I saw one shirt of mine selling for $28) for about 10 minutes of work. Though it can't be beat in terms of convenience, I personally won't be selling with them again.

uTest.com

uTest is a site where you sign up to test beta sites or apps and find bugs. There are always a lot of projects available, and once selected, you will be paid for your testing. The initial set-up on the site takes about 20 minutes. After that, you'll have to apply to several projects and perform a test cycle to assess your skills.

I found this to be very tim-consuming and confusing. After completing my test cycle, I was able to apply for paid projects. Over the course of two months, I applied for 50 cycles and was not approved for one.

The pros are myriad for people who enjoy coding, bug-zapping, and honing their skillset. The cons are that your email will explode with nonsense from community feedback newsletters.

I made $0 in two months. But if you're tech-savvy and enjoy a challenge, then this might be for you.

Fiverr.com

Fiverr is a freelance clearinghouse where entrepreneurs offer their services for just $5. The top sellers on Fiverr are logo designs and illustrations. Obviously, when the selling price is so low, volume is king. The highest sellers on Fiverr are doing 20-30 orders per day.

The pros are that you set your own rates and can add extras to pad the bill. The cons are that there is a lot of competition. Whether you're selling whiteboard comics or love spells, there's someone else offering it.

I tried my hand at selling a seasonal and diet-specific weekly menu plan for $5. I not only got zero orders, but only three people looked at my post in two months. Sad trombone.

However, if you're a designer and can handle a quick turnaround, this could be the side gig for you!

Writing

One of the best and most rewarding ways I've earned extra income is through writing. Articles like this and the two others I've submitted to xoJane were paying gigs; I also write a personal finance blog that focuses on the basics of money management. I've been approached by a few advertisers seeking to pay me for sponsored posts, but I didn't feel right about it. So, while I don't make money from advertisers, I do earn money by writing guest posts and essays.

The pros of freelance writing are that you can do it any time from any place — all you need is wifi and an accepted pitch. The cons are that it's tough to find outlets that will actually pay you. Additionally, establishing a voice and reputation take time, but are also fun to do. If you have a lot of interest in any subject and like to blab about it, writing could be your steadiest stream of cash.

I made over $700 with my experiments — not even halfway to my dream purse, but I'm getting closer! Dog-walking was my biggest and fastest money-maker, so I'll keep that up for sure, and writing is something that I hope to get deeper into.

There are so many options available beyond just these — find one that speaks to you and go get that money!