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12 tips of Christmas #10 – Use your skills to make extra cash

Whether you're a designer, coder or pet sitter, you can earn money putting your skills to work.

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The lowdown

If you have a little more time to spare, or if you are looking for something more regular, there are heaps of opportunities to use your skills.

Maybe you love to drive, work in a specialised field or just love animals. Choose something you are good at or enjoy – or even both. It might be something as simple as walking dogs or as highly skilled as writing code. Either way, if you're good at it, you'll likely build up plenty of work. If you've got a little spare time, you can make some extra cash on the side putting your extracurricular skills to use.

Here's how you do it

  1. Pick something you enjoy, are good at or are qualified in. Are you a great writer? Photographer? Do you speak another language? Play the guitar? Or do you have a hobby that could turn into something more? Do you make candles? Can you paint? Or are you a dab hand at building IKEA furniture? Think big.
  2. Work out how much time you need to invest. If you're spending a lot of time doing something for very little cash in return, it's probably not worth your time and effort.
  3. Plan ahead. Determine exactly when you'll have the hours to invest time into your side hustle gig. Set aside time in your week when you know you can get it done.
  4. Check out websites such as Fiverr, Upwork, Airtasker, Uber or even LinkedIn. They regularly have people looking for freelancers in all kinds of industries. For pet sitting, Mad Paws can help you find jobs. It also lets you choose when and how long you look after people's pets. As you're exploring, look at your new competitors to see what they're charging to help you set a price.
  5. If your side hustle involves making something, consider opening a shop on marketplaces like Etsy. Although you may pay a small fee, it will open you up to a much larger audience of shoppers than you'd otherwise be able to find.
  6. Put yourself out there. Set up your online profile and reach out to friends or people in your network letting them know you're looking for work.

Don't miss these tips

Get qualified. If your skills are in a competitive area, getting some additional qualifications can be a good way to stand out.

Build trust. Whenever you complete a project, get feedback and publish your reviews. This can help new people know that you're great at what you do.

Check back each day in the lead-up to Christmas to get our latest expert personal finance tips.

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