Opportunities for people to start side hustles have exploded over the last decade. Platforms like Trade Me, Facebook Marketplace and Student Job Search now allow people to post jobs under a dizzying array of categories, meaning there’s an almost limitless number of things you can do to earn a bit of extra money on the side. Canstar has rounded up some of the more popular options, as well as some you might never have thought of.
In this article we cover:
- What is a side hustle?
- Side hustle ideas in New Zealand
- How much money can you make with a side hustle?
- How can I succeed at my side hustle?
- What risks should I watch out for?
What is a side hustle?
A side hustle can be any type of job you do in addition to your regular employment. The aim is to bring in extra income, ideally by doing something you’re passionate about.
Side hustles can also allow you to test out an idea, to see whether it brings in enough cash for you to be able to turn it into a career. A side hustle could also be a passion project that you want to explore, just for the fun of it.
A side hustle could also revolve around what you own, rather than (or as well as) what you can do.
Best savings accounts
If you’re currently considering a side hustle, you may also want to consider a savings account. Finding the right savings account for you can keep your hard earned money safe and even earn you more, through interest. The table below displays some of the regular saver accounts on our database (some may have links to lenders’ websites).
This table is sorted by total interest (including bonus) (highest to lowest), followed by company name (alphabetical). Products shown are for savings of $10,000. Before committing to a particular savings account product, check upfront with your financial institution and read the applicable documentation to confirm whether the terms of the account meet your needs. Use Canstar’s savings account selector to view a wider range of savings account products. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.
Side hustle ideas in New Zealand
1. Dog walker or pet sitter
Platforms like Pawshake and PetBacker allow people to advertise their services to dog owners who need someone to look after their pooch while they’re away, or want help maintaining their dog’s exercise regime. Rates vary depending on your location, the number of dogs and their size. But any platform fees charged should be factored into your potential income. You may also be able to turn it into a regular income stream by charging a weekly rate for multiple walks, or adding pet sitting to your range of services.
2. House sitter
Now that people are travelling again, there are more opportunities available for those looking to earn cash by house sitting. Some services that a house sitter may offer include watering plants and feeding pets. The Housesitting Company and Kiwi House Sitters are among the popular sites where house sitters can set up a profile.
3. Car rental
If you have a spare car or one that’s not used often, you could occasionally rent it out to earn extra income on the side. But if you do decide to share your car, be mindful of how it can impact your car insurance policy. YourDrive and My Car Your Rental are two options available in New Zealand.
4. Parking or rental space
If you live in a busy area and have an unused car park or just an extra room or garage, renting out the space could become an easy side income stream. There are plenty of apps and websites dedicated to renting and leasing out car spaces, including Anyspace and Parkable. There are also similar platforms that allow you to lease your space to those looking for storage, such as Heybarn. It is important, however, to be aware of any strata scheme restrictions if you’re on a property that’s part of a strata title.
5. Transport people
With ride sharing apps now commonplace, it’s likely you’ll find that most rideshare platforms are looking for drivers. So if you have a car that meets the criteria and spare hours to work, signing up to become a rideshare driver could be an easy way to earn extra income. Something to note is that most rideshare platforms, such as Uber and Ola, consider their drivers as independent contractors. It’s always good practice to carefully read through job contracts and fully understand the content before signing. If you plan to become a rideshare driver, you need to investigate how it will affect your car insurance policy.
6. Food delivery
If you’re less keen to transport people and engage in small talk, but still want to drive around, you could consider becoming a food delivery driver. Food delivering apps such as Uber Eats and DoorDash have become popular in recent years. These types of jobs are very similar to rideshare drivers and most platforms will also consider food delivery drivers as independent contractors. If you’re less keen to deliver for a massive conglomerate, you could always look to become a driver for your favourite local restaurant or shop.
If you have a particular hobby that produces excess creations that you’re willing to part with, you could take advantage of this and use your hobby to bring in some extra cash. Items such as jewellery, knitwork, woodwork, pottery, homewares or even handmade clothing are commonly sold at local markets or through online platforms like Etsy, Facebook Marketplace and Instagram. You may even want to build your own website for your store through platforms like Shopify and GoDaddy.
8. Professional ‘flipper’
If you have the necessary skills and time to spare, you might be able to bring in some extra income by restoring or refurbishing old or unwanted items – either ones you own or can acquire at no or low cost – and then selling them on at a profit. Popular things to ‘flip’ include furniture or other household items, cars or even property.
In a similar vein to a ‘flipper’, you can also simply go on the search for lightly used items, such as clothing, accessories, or furniture, to resell online. You can also start by simply selling anything already in your possession that you no longer need or use but might still earn you a few extra dollars. You can list your items on traditional online websites such as Ebay and Trade Me, but social media platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and Instagram are also becoming popular places to list items for sale. Just beware that in-person pick-ups come with their own potential dangers that you may want to take into consideration when selling an item online.
10. Rent your wardrobe
Do you have any clothes in your wardrobe that other people might want to borrow for a special occasion? Facebook Marketplace and Instagram can be used to advertise any clothes you want to rent out. It’s a good idea to take lots of pictures of your items before lending them out, in case they come back damaged. Consider how much you think is fair to charge for various pieces of clothing, and if you’ll charge extra for “renter’s insurance” in the event of any damage.
11. Streamer or ‘influencer’
Through platforms like YouTube, Twitch and its competitors, you may be able to earn money by live streaming or uploading videos. From funny animals, gaming, how-to guides and or hobby videos, you can stream or upload whatever you’re interested in. Fashion, beauty, gaming, travel and lifestyle are popular categories you could focus on. The income from streaming generally comes from fees paid by subscribers to your channel, advertising revenue from the platforms, donations from fans or from merchandise sales related to your content. And if you gain enough of a following, companies may also reach out to work with you and offer a sponsorship.
12. Freelance writer
If you have a flair for words, you may be able to make some cash by writing for websites, blogs or other publications as a freelancer. What you may be able to earn from this can vary significantly, with some writers charging per word and others per article. If you have specialist knowledge or experience within a particular niche, you may be able to command a higher price for your work. Platforms such as Upwork, Jora and even LinkedIn can be useful in sourcing writing gigs.
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and the outdoors, you could try gardening as a side gig. As a gardener, you could offer services such as mowing, hedge trimming, weeding or even landscaping if you have a skill for design. Airtasker is a popular platform for advertising gardening services, but you could also advertise through pamphlets or notices on local community boards at the library, supermarket or social media.
14. Urban farmer
Do you have space for a veggie garden and green thumbs? Well, you might be able to turn your fresh produce into another source of income. This could come from simply selling fruit and veggies, or perhaps even eggs, to friends, colleagues and neighbours. If you produce food in larger quantities, you could also consider taking things up a notch by setting up a stall at local farmers’ markets.
15. Succulent and cacti grower
You might even be able to make some side-coin by growing and selling the very ‘now’ succulent and cacti variety of plants. These plants are generally small, so they don’t necessarily require too much space, and can be propagated (split to form new plants) to help keep your costs down.
16. Fruit picker and pruner
Agriculture is New Zealand’s largest sector of the tradable economy. Therefore, you’re likely to find fruit picking opportunities almost year-round for regional farms. But be mindful that fruit picking work can be physically challenging. If you’re worried about finding a gig yourself, you can also find opportunities via registered recruitment providers.
17. E-scooter collection and charging
Electric scooters are an increasingly popular mode of transport in cities across the world. The popularity of e-vehicles comes from their convenience and ease of access, and you could be paid to maintain that. Micromobility companies hire people, often called van or foot marshals, to collect e-vehicles, swap batteries, sanitise and redistribute them back onto the street. But it’s not necessarily easy work, as it requires some heavy lifting, and some e-vehicles weigh more than 25kg.
One of the results of the coronavirus pandemic is that many people and businesses have become more hygiene conscious. For those of us looking to earn some extra money, this may present an opportunity to offer cleaning services on the side. Many businesses require cleaning services outside of regular office hours, so it may even be something you could fit in alongside your regular job.
19. Paid market research
Some companies looking for a business edge pay consumers to test or provide feedback on their products or a new idea they are looking to launch. This is usually run through market research companies, so it may be worth researching firms who do this to see if there are any paid opportunities available. Examples of companies who pay people to assist with market research include Prime Research, Valued Opinions and Reid Research.
20. Language teacher
If you speak a language that’s in demand, which can include English, you might be able to teach it to others and make some extra cash in the process. This could either be through a formal language school, where you may need a qualification to become a teacher, or more casually for ‘students’ who simply want to improve by practising with a fluent speaker. There’s also language learning companies that offer their services purely online, providing more opportunities to teach or tutor from anywhere in the world. These types of online learning companies include English Hunt, iTutor and Learnlight. But keep in mind, similar to traditional language schools, it’s likely you will still require teaching qualifications to become a formal teacher. If you wish to be just a tutor, certain requirements may also apply, such as being a native speaker in the language.
21. TV or movie extra
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” people may ask you, but if you’re okay with that, then you could consider trying your hand at being a film or TV extra. Opportunities to become an extra in a movie or TV show may be more likely than you think. On top of the traditional big budget Hollywood films, more streaming platforms are also producing original works in both film and television that you could potentially participate in as a side hustle.
If your skills lie behind the camera, selling photos could help you snap up some extra income. Stock photo platforms, such as Foap and Twenty20, pay contributors for pictures they can sell to brands and businesses. Depending on the platform, photographers may be paid a one-off fee for their content or a commission each time it’s sold on. Alternatively, you may be able to sell prints directly to buyers online.
23. Flyer distributor
If you don’t mind long periods of time on your feet or lots of walking, you may be able to earn some money handing out flyers or dropping them through letter boxes. You can find such roles with companies such as oppizi, whose distributors are paid for distributions plus a bonus for every sign up.
24. Secret shopper
A secret or ‘mystery’ shopper is paid to visit businesses and pose as a customer in order to assess and rate the service offered. There are a number of secret shopper providers in New Zealand with the rate of pay likely to depend on who you work for. As a secret shopper, you might also be required to make a purchase, for which you’ll be reimbursed.
25. Hair seller
If you have long hair and are considering going for a shorter look, you may be able to put that surplus hair to use. Wig and hair extension makers sometimes pay people for the real hair they’ve had cut. This sometimes comes with requirements, such as the hair being a certain length and without any chemical colouring.
It’s important to note that these are not recommendations. If you’re thinking about taking on casual work to earn extra money, you should do your own research on the jobs and platforms mentioned here, to find out if they’re right for you. It’s also important to think about the risks involved and the financial implications.
How much money can you make with a side hustle?
How much you might be able to earn really depends on what you choose as your side hustle or hustles, what demand is like for what you are offering and how much time you are able to devote to your job on the side. When assessing how much you may make, it could be helpful to also factor in how much tax you may need to pay and costs such as platform fees, materials, travel expenses and insurance.
Incomes made through side hustles can vary significantly, though. So it pays to calculate how much you’ll be earning vs. how much time a side hustle will take up.
How can I succeed at my side hustle?
They say a goal without a plan is a wish. But how do you create a plan to help your side hustle become a success? Here are some key steps to consider.
- Research and choose your side hustle, taking into account your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats that might contribute to or take away from your success.
- Develop a business plan that maps out your roadmap to success, including aspects such as:
- The problem your business will solve, and for who
- How you will promote what you are offering
- The costs for delivering your product or service
- What success looks like for you
3. Think about marketing – for example, what makes what you do better than your competition and how will you demonstrate that to customers?
4. Sort out the mechanics, such as registering for an New Zealand Business Number and business name. Think about how you will receive payments too. Will you need a merchant services provider to help with that?
5. Launch your side hustle, evaluate, learn and modify as you go
What risks should I watch out for with a side hustle?
While earning extra cash can be appealing, casual or contract work through digital platforms is not regulated in the same way as other forms of employment. As a result, workers wear the risk.
For example, side hustlers aren’t typically getting superannuation or sick leave, and don’t necessarily have the same entitlement to a safe work environment that an employee would.
The extra money and flexibility that tempts people into this kind of work doesn’t always materialise. For example, you might not be able to get the hours you want, or can end up putting in too much time and effort for a small return.
As well as these factors, there are some other financial and personal considerations to think about if you do decide to take on a side hustle. These may include:
Any income you earn will be subject to taxation, according to the IRD. Bear in mind that your total annual income for tax purposes would include your side hustle earnings, plus the income from your other paid employment.
If you register your side hustle as a business and it meet IRD’s tax criteria, you will need to register to pay goods and services tax (GST) on your sales.
It may be a good idea to seek the help of a registered tax adviser to make sure you’re aware of what tax you need to pay and what deductions you may be able to claim.
→Related article: NZ Tax Rates: What Are NZ’s Tax Brackets?
There are several forms of insurance you may want to consider to protect you financially from certain risks that could crop up as part of your side hustle work. These could include vehicle insurance, public liability insurance and income protection. It could be worth checking what insurance, if any, is available through the platforms you use for your side hustle.
As you are likely to be classified as ‘self-employed’ for the work you do as part of your side hustle, any platforms you use for that work generally won’t contribute to your super. Instead, you may want to consider making voluntary contributions to your existing super account using the money you have earned.
Choice of platform
If you use a third party platform to advertise your services or arrange jobs, it’s important to understand their terms and conditions, fees and what protections, such as insurance and security features, they offer to users. It may help to research a number of platforms, look at reviews and speak to other people who have used the platform before signing up.
About the reviewer of this page
This report was reviewed by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.