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Get a Side Hustle and Retire Earlier

If your goal is to retire and never work another day in your life, then this post is not for you!

But, if like me, you think of financial independence as the freedom to finally do what you want to do, then keep on reading. When I finally retire from my full-time job, I plan to travel more, volunteer regularly, try gourmet cooking classes and a lot of other things but I also want to work! What? Why do you want to retire if you plan to keep working anyway? Well what I don’t want is an 8 to 5 Monday to Friday job anymore. I want to decide when I work and what kind of work I do. I may work for a month straight and then stop for a while or just work a few hours each week for months at a time, it will be whatever I feel like doing. Whatever I do, I will always have a side hustle. So I may never be FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) after all, FIRO (Financial Independence, Retirement Optional) may be the only acronym I will ever be able to use!

The Benefit Of A Side Hustle

And the good news is for every $1,000 I will earn in retirement, it is $25,000 less I need in my nest egg (using the 4% rule). So assuming I make $10,000 a year from a side hustle, I can forego saving $250,000!! That’s only $190 a week, how hard can it be? How many years did I just shave off my full-time work?

In my case, I am a little of a workaholic so I know I will want to keep busy and won’t be able to stop working overnight. There are also a few jobs out there that would have been fun to do over the years but weren’t the right fit at the time, once I retire from full-time work, I wouldn’t mind giving them a try. I think I should be able to make around $15,000 a year with one or more side hustles and enjoy it. Just with one of my current rental, I could make that much, I just don’t know if I would still want the headaches of being a landlord. So how much less do I need to save? $375,000 less! How many years of full-time work would you need to save that much? Assuming you save $50,000 a year, that’s 7.5 year closer to retirement! Are you thinking side hustles may not be a bad plan after all?

What To Do As A Side Hustle?

But what to do as a side hustle? There are a lot of options out there, some better than others. What you select will depend on your personality, skills and what you enjoy doing. You can try them all or maybe you already know which one will work for you. Here is my list so far of side hustles I am ready to try:

  • Dog Walking/Pet Sitting; 

    This one is great if you like pets. For dog walking you can just leave flyers in your neighborhood or post an ad, rates can vary so check what the going rate in your area is. You can also register at Wag (I tried but doesn’t look like it is in Canada yet). If you are already waking your dog anyway, you may as well get paid to do it. For pet sitting, in addition to flyers and ads, you can also register on-line at Rover.com. It is easy to register and you can add specific criteria (dog size, allergies).One of my daughter’s friends has been doing it for a while and she loves it. Also if you have been thinking about getting a pet but you are not quite ready for the full-time commitment, it may be a nice alternative.

  • Mystery Shopper

    Companies hire mystery shoppers to test the customer service of their stores. I just registered on Bestmark . Why wait until I retire, the entire experience sounds like a lot of fun. I may even get a few free diners and some great freebies. What’s not to like? But be careful of scams, a legitimate mystery shopping companies does not charge to sign up. Bestmark didn’t have anything available in my area yet but hoping they will soon.

  • House Sitting 

    Another easy one, you can do house sitting in your neighbourhood (boring!), people will pay you to check on their house or stay in it while they are gone. But you can also travel the world and get paid to look after someone else’s home and pets, or at least get free lodging. Sounds like a pretty cool gig if you ask me.

  • Rent a Room in Your House or Rent Storage Space. 

    If you have the extra space, rent a room, your garage, the basement or whatever you don’t use! Real estate space is expensive so don’t waste it. You can register with Airbnb and start renting a room. You can also get a boarder, easier to do if you live near a university or college. If you have extra storage (garage, driveway), just advertise it and rent it for people to store their RV’s or boats for the winter.

  • Travel Companion 

    If you love to travel, why not get paid to do it? If you enjoy helping people, especially seniors or families with young children, this would be a great side hustle. Check out  Flyingcompanions.com or Tripcompanion.com. 

  • Tour Guide Service. 

    One of my friends retired a few years ago and started working as a tour guide for a bus tour company. The trips are usually 3 to 4 days long, it includes all expenses on top of your pay. He gets to meet lots of people and enjoys the distraction.

  • Retail Part-time Work

    In my favorite stores! You get the discount, the paycheck, plus you get to interact with lots of people! I used to work retail when I was a teenager and really enjoyed it. As I got older I moved on to better paying jobs but always though it would be nice to do again. The pay is still not that great but as a side hustle I wouldn’t care as much.

  • Bookkeeper

    If you are good with numbers,  you can help small business with their bookkeeping. You don’t need much to get set up and you can do 99% of it from home. Small business owners like to focus on their business, not so much on the finance. As long as you are organized and enjoy numbers, it would be an easy job to do.

  • Server, Host or Bartender 

    Depending on how old you are, this can be a great side hustle. Both my daughters work part-time as waitresses and I can’t believe the amount of tips they make. Sometimes, they average $40/hr in tips. One of my tenants who is in her mid-60’s also does this as a side hustle, not for the money but because she enjoys the interaction. The hours are usually very flexible but you are up on your feet the entire time.

  • Be A Task Rabbit 

    I actually haven’t signed up yet but have been hearing a lot about Taskrabbit.com. You can sign up and start running small tasks for others. It can include anything from picking up the groceries to cleaning or helping people move. I think it is worth checking it out.

If you have any special skills or hobbies you enjoy, think of doing it as a side hustle (gardening, cooking, home repairs, making crafts – you can sell them on Etsy). You get to pick your hours and do what you enjoy doing while making money at it.

How about blogging? It’s not on my list because making money at blogging is a lot tougher than you think. In general, it takes a very long time to be successful and to make money at it and there is no guarantee you will ever get there. If you think you would enjoy it, then go for it, but don’t assume you will make money at it.

So how about you? Do you plan to have a side hustle when you retire from full-time work? What type of side hustle do you think may work for you?

Get a side hustle and retire earlier

10 thoughts on “Get a Side Hustle and Retire Earlier

  1. I’m FIREd but I have done very few side-hustles.

    I wrote an Android App that made about $40. I’ve also chased Bank Bonuses (the extra bonus money you get from opening certain bank accounts). I’ve made $1,300 and counting from Bank Bonuses this year.

  2. Which ones do you do or are planning to do? I just booked a Rover stay for my dog 🙂 I think it’s probably the funnest side hustle.
    Also another option is Door Dash or Foodora delivery person, I think you can earn around $15-$20 an hour riding your bicycle to deliver food!

    1. I registered for the Mystery shopper already but so far no gig in my area. I think that will be fun. I will definitely try the travel companion and house sitting abroad, just go wherever someone needs you. Bookkeeping will probably be my main gig, I love that stuff. The only one I am not 100% sure is the waitressing, I may just be getting too old. Rover is great mostly if you already have a dog anyway, you just get paid to watch another dog (as long as they get along).

    1. Hi Wealth Hound, I signed up with two reputable companies but so far most of the gigs are $10-$20, so not really worth my time. I think some cities are better for mystery shopping than others. I check the offers every week and hoping to try it at least once.

  3. Hey, you think like me! This is my retirement plan – except I am considering being a substitute teacher. I can pick the days I want to work!

    1. Hi Busy Mom, substitute teacher sounds great:) I couldn’t do it but it is a great side gig. I have been thinking of maybe doing consulting work in accounting or taxes (tax time could be very profitable) but I am not sure yet.

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