5 unique side gigs you’ll probably enjoy more than your day job

  • Mary Caldwell
  • For the AJC
10:43 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 Things to Do in Atlanta

Whether you're looking to make some extra money or want to pursue another career, side gigs can help you reach your goals. They can help you broaden your skills and experience while giving your budget a nice infusion of cash.

Ideally, a side gig won't feel like drudgery but will instead be something you'll look forward to doing.

Photo courtesy of Doug Stenroos via The Penny Hoarder/For the AJC
Doug Stenroos spends his time conducting ghost tours in Florida.

If you're in an unfamiliar city, you probably don't know your way around or how to find all the highlights that fit your interests. If you live in metro Atlanta, you can share your knowledge of the area with visitors by offering tours through a company like ToursByLocals. The time can be tailored to the clients' interests, or you can specialize in themes like food and wine, history or film locations.

If you're looking for something even more out of the box, The Penny Hoarder profiled a man who has a great-paying, interesting side hustle of leading ghost tours in his city.

As a mystery shopper, you'll pose as a regular customer at businesses like restaurants to evaluate their food, service, premises and more. Most restaurant jobs reimburse for a meal plus pay a little extra, so if nothing else, you'll be able to eat out without worrying about the hit to your budget.

Although there are many reputable mystery shopping companies, scams do exist. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true or that require you to pay money up front (other than the cost of a meal or purchase). Volition.com maintains a database of mystery shopping companies and also hosts a forum where you can check for feedback on a particular company.

AP Photo/Ciaran Fahey
In this Nov. 16, 2017 photo, Bibiana Steinhaus, the first female referee to officiate in the soccer Bundesliga, smiles during an interview with The Associated Press at the German soccer federation’s headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

If you have technical knowledge of a sport like football, basketball or soccer, becoming a referee can be a good way to pick up some extra cash in the evenings or on weekends. After receiving training from an organization like the Georgia High School Association, you can look for jobs with high schools, local colleges and recreational leagues.

Sure, you may have to put up with some grumpy parents, but being a referee can help you get on the field or return to a game you once played.

TaskRabbit is a site that connects people who want to hire out a task with someone who's willing to do it. Gigs are available in 39 metro areas across the U.S., including in Atlanta.

NerdWallet outlines how to best present yourself on the site, and you can match the tasks you're willing to do with your abilities and interests. Jobs are varied, including everything from marketing and cooking to photography, so you'll be able to work on skills that could lead to a full-time gig down the road.

In today's world of online shopping, you don't have to own a brick-and-mortar store to sell your wares. Amazon and eBay let you operate an online store where you can sell a wide variety of items or specialize in a specific area, like comic books or vintage clothing.

If you have items lying around the house, you can start with those and build your inventory from there. Over time, you'll learn more about what sells and for what approximate price, and you'll enjoy the thrill of finding items to flip for a profit.

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