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What are the best side hustles for seniors?
If you’re looking to earn extra money in retirement (or nearing retirement), you’re in the right place.
And you’re not alone — roughly 1 in 4 baby boomers already has a side hustle.
Side Hustle Nation has been covering side hustle ideas and case studies for over 10 years, and these are our top picks for side hustles for retirees.
Ready? Let’s do it!
1. Flea Market Flipping
Do you have an eye for a deal? This classic buy low, sell high side hustle is a good fit for seniors with a flexible schedule.
And it can turn into a substantial income stream as well.
When we spoke, Jack and Joan Ferrell of Florida had sold around $17k worth of inventory in the previous 30 days, and had plans to scale up to $250k in total sales for the year.
They source inventory from classifieds apps, estate sales, and liquidation closeouts, and resell those items for a profit — usually on eBay.
Can multiply money quickly
Can be time-consuming to source inventory
Difficult to store and ship bulky items
2. Pet Sitting
Having a canine companion around can be great for mobility and your mood.
Sites like Rover.com connect pet owners with caring households, with typical boarding rates ranging from $30-60 a night.
3. Backyard Nursery
Pastor Craig Odem of Tennessee always loved gardening, so starting a backyard nursery was a natural side hustle.
With a little learning and a lot of patience, the idea paid off. He typically sells around $10k worth of plants a year — usually by advertising locally and on Facebook Marketplace.
He even started a YouTube channel called Savvy Dirt Farmer to share about his business.
Both my dad and father-in-law did a bit of consulting after retiring.
Do you have some subject matter expertise? A process you had success with during your career?
One popular side hustle is to “piggyback” on the popularity of a particular software tool, and provide training and support for it. My friend Brad Rice does this with Salesforce and earns over $200k a year part time!
As more people and companies use the software, there’s a growing demand for qualified training.
(Plus, new software comes out all the time.)
5. Product Licensing
One of the best side hustles I’ve come across is product licensing.
In a nutshell, how it works is you sell your product ideas to large companies, who in turn pay you royalties for every sale they make from that idea. You don’t have any upfront manufacturing or marketing expense, and can tap into the huge distribution of existing brands.
For example, Nate Dallas earned $300,000 from Mattel after licensing them an idea for a Pictionary spin-off! All on the side from his day job as a dentist.
6. Rent Out a Spare Room
For some, being an empty-nester is a dream come true. Finally, some peace and quiet!
For others, it’s an income opportunity. If you’ve got a spare bedroom or two — and don’t mind the company, renting out that space on Airbnb could be an interesting side hustle.
A friend of mine would host business travelers coming into town for meetings, at around $100 a night!
Plus, if you live in a tourist destination, you could meet fun people from all around the world.
7. Online Business
Starting a helpful website can be a profitable side hustle for seniors. Yes, there’s a lot of technology and marketing skills to learn to make it work, but the results can be incredible.
For instance, Debbie Gartner began answering questions related to paint colors, decor, and flooring on her site, TheFlooringGirl.com. When we connected, she reported earning around $20,000 a month from advertising and affiliate partnerships.
Similarly, Katie Emery runs KatieGoesPlatinum.com, a website all about ditching the dye and going gray naturally. She reported earning around $6,000 a month from her site!
8. Real Estate
Real estate investing comes in a lot of different flavors, from buying rental properties to fixer-upper projects.
Even though houses are expensive, real estate can be a way to preserve wealth in retirement and generate cash flow at the same time.
My friend Dustin Heiner actually retired at 38, thanks to the income from his rental property empire!
But I understand you might not also want the headaches that come with being a landlord. Thankfully, new platforms like Arrived make it easy to passively invest in income-generating properties—with as little as $100.
The company pools money to buy rental properties, manages them, and then distributes the cash flow every month.
9. Walking Tours
If you have a passion for your city and love meeting new people, a unique local tour could be a hit.
My friend Alex hosts hundreds of “urban hiking” tours a year on the side from her day job — at $49 apiece!
What unique experience can you offer travelers? It doesn’t even have to be a tour.
For example, Michele Mattix makes money hosting guided meditations through Airbnb Experiences. You can create your own experience, set your price, and Airbnb markets it to travelers.
10. Part-Time Remote Work
If you don’t want the struggle of starting your own business from scratch, a part-time remote job could be just the ticket. This option gives you some additional earning power, without sacrificing your entire day.
FlexJobs is the leading work from home jobs site. With over 50 career categories, FlexJobs has jobs ranging from entry-level to executive and freelance to full-time.
There is a nominal monthly fee to access their listings, but you’ll earn that back (and then some!) with one job. (Save 30% w/ promo code FLEXLIFE.)
11. Acquiring a Business
One way to reduce the risk of starting a new business is to buy one that already has a track record of profitability.
For example, Hannah Ingram bought a self-service car wash in Tennessee with no money down. Then she set out to improve the business and now earns around $5k a month — in exchange for about 30 minutes of work a day.
Business owners are retiring every day, and may be looking for someone to continue their operation. Sites that list businesses for sale include:
With SBA financing, you can acquire a profitable business with as little as 10% down.
12. Loan Signing Agent
A mobile notary side hustle is best if you have a strong attention to detail and reliable transportation. As far as earning power, you can make up to $100 an hour completing loan signings for new home buyers.
For each signing, you’ll walk borrowers through their stack of mortgage documents, explaining each one and making sure they sign and initial in all the right places.
It’s a good fit for seniors because it gets you out in the community and you can pick and choose which appointments you accept based on your availability.
Check out the resources at Loan Signing System to learn more.
No list of side hustles for retirees would be complete without an old favorite: online surveys. Power users of these apps earn $30 a month or more.
Here are some of Side Hustle Nation’s favorite options:
- Swagbucks – Earn up to $35 a survey with this mega-popular app, and get a $10 bonus just for signing up!
- Survey Junkie – Earn up to $40 a month and cash out beginning at just $5.
- Branded Surveys – One of the best-rated survey sites with millions paid out.
- Pinecone Research – Earn $3 for each 15-20 minute survey. They’ll send you a $3 check after your first one.
- InboxDollars – Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
- American Consumer Opinion – Join millions of free members and earn up to $50 per survey.
- YouGov – Long-running survey panel, with data often cited in the media.
Your hourly rate won’t be amazing with these options, but you can earn gift cards, cash, and other rewards by answering surveys, watching videos, playing games, and shopping online.
Millions of listeners tune into podcasts every week, and there’s still lots of room for growth. As a side hustle in retirement, podcasting:
- has low startup costs
- can build strong relationships with guests and listeners
- can turn into a significant income source
For example, Scott Johnson started the What Was That Like podcast on the side from his computer repair business. Today it generates thousands of dollars in sponsorship revenue every month.
The best way to feel young is to experience the world through the eyes of a child! And many working parents need childcare support.
So far, 4 million of those families have turned to Care.com for help.
As a service provider, you can use the site to connect with nearby jobs. Typical rates range from $15-25 an hour.
16. Grocery Deliveries
Another “plug and play” side hustle that may be a good fit for seniors is delivering groceries through Instacart. You can pick and choose your shifts or accept orders based on your availability and proximity.
Check out our full Instacart Shopper review here, with insights from a side hustler earning an extra $450-500 a week.
17. Virtual Bookkeeping
Bookkeeping is one of the first tasks new business owners look to outsource — which is where the side hustle opportunity comes in.
Remote bookkeeping is a great side hustle option, especially if you have a finance or accounting background from your career. In fact, my mother-in-law kept her a tax prep side hustle going years into retirement.
Plus, you can earn $20-70 an hour for your work.
Here’s a free training on how to get started.
18. Handyperson Service
Sadly, basic repair and building skills are becoming a lost art. If you’re good with tools and the various systems of houses, this could be a no-brainer side hustle.
Typical rates are $40-100/hr, which means it may not take much work to make a meaningful income in retirement. Sites like TaskRabbit could be a potential source of customers.
Important Note: Some states require a license to do business as a handyman.
19. Become a “Granfluencer”
Of course I had to choose a fun one to round out this list of side hustles for retirees.
It probably comes as no surprise, but there are a growing number of seniors who’ve taken to social media to share their life and wisdom.
These “granfluencers” share recipe tips, fashion advice, and travel ideas — some with over a million followers. The typically monetize their accounts with brand sponsorships.
What Side Hustles Should Seniors Avoid?
I believe just about any side hustle can work under the right circumstances, but there are a few I’d be cautious about.
- Network Marketing Companies / Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Companies — The vast majority of participants in these ending up losing money.
- Low-Paying Microtasks — Several platforms pay you pennies to complete quick tasks online. While the work can be quick and easy, your time is probably better spent elsewhere.
- “Done for You” E-Commerce Stores or Websites — Building the website is the easy part; figuring out how to drive profitable traffic is where these programs fall short.
When you’re starting a side hustle — especially in retirement — ask yourself, “What if it works?”
We tend to focus on the negative — “What if this fails?” — and while it’s important to not put your nest egg at risk, be sure to consider the upside as well. And if it does work, would that be a win for you?
What’s the Best Side Hustle for Seniors?
The best side hustle for seniors depends on your unique interests and goals. Are you looking to earn a little extra spending money? Are you looking for a fun, creative outlet in retirement?
Or do you need to earn some serious cash to make ends meet?
Which path you choose will depend on those factors, but I’m confident no matter where you’re at, you can find inspiration in this list and in the huge library of case studies on Side Hustle Nation.