How to make $500 in a week

Posted on December 14, 2022
6 min read

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Side hustles are increasingly becoming the norm. Due to uncertain market conditions and rising costs, more and more professionals realize they need more than one paycheck to get by. No longer just a buzzworthy term, side hustles are very much a reality—with 44% of Americans working at least one extra job, according to a 2022 survey. The same survey found that the top motivators for a side hustle were income-driven and filling up their time. Looking for extra income isn’t unique to the United States either, with 25% of UK adults taking on a side hustle, according to a 2018 study. 

So, what are the options? Whether your goal is an extra $50 or $500 a month, there’s no shortage of platforms or ideas, or organizations in need of help, to kick things off. 

What are ways I can make money online? 

1. Usability testing 

Platforms like UserTesting allow you to share your perspective on products and experiences while making money online in your spare time. All you need is an internet connection and a desktop or mobile device, and you can begin influencing top brands’ latest products while getting paid. Another advantage? You don’t need a special background or education to take this on. 

“UserTesting is really interesting and enjoyable when I have spare time and helps pay some bills too! It feels good being a part of making a site or app better and more user-friendly. It’s great that people like to hear my opinion,” says a UserTesting contributor based in the United Kingdom. 

You can earn between $2-$20 for standard and short unmoderated tests and $15-$120 for Live Conversations. 

2. Selling secondhand or original items 

Another popular option is selling secondhand items you no longer use, allowing you to earn some extra cash while decluttering your space. You can use platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Amazon to list your items. Though competitive, the ecommerce space is booming, with eBay reaching 135 million users and 1.7 billion active listings as of 2022. 

Tori Zhou, Content Marketing Manager at UserTesting, has sold secondhand items on online marketplaces for about six years. She offers some advice, “Be patient and do some competitive research. You likely won’t be able to sell everything in one week or even a few months. If you sell on multiple platforms [also known as multichannel selling], this can maximize your chances of sales. Also, know your audience. Some platforms are better suited for specific product categories and price points than others, so it’s best to figure that out before you invest time into creating accounts and listings.” 

Or maybe it’s not secondhand items you want to sell but original creations. You may have a talent for photography, painting or drawing, woodworking, or designing handmade items. Etsy is also a popular marketplace for creatives with a passion for creating. 

Although the ecommerce platforms listed above offer certain seller benefits and protections, once your business grows, consider creating your own website. This will require some heavy lifting but also cuts out any required fees or guidelines associated with platforms. 

3. Freelancing

Exceptionally skilled in writing, developing, or designing? Consider freelancing. You don’t need to start from scratch either in finding clients or building a portfolio, thanks to a wealth of platforms that can help you get started. These platforms take the guesswork out of the process and create a space where you can create a personalized profile and set your own rates, and chat with potential buyers. While many have turned freelancing into their full-time career, it’s also doable on the side as you can decide your own schedule and how much you’re paid. 

Depending on your service, the platform you use, and how many hours you put in, you could make between $50 to $2000 monthly or even higher. As you establish a reliable reputation and history of high-quality work, you’ll become more confident to set a higher rate over time. 

Fiverr is a common marketplace for freelancers and offers services like graphic design, marketing, videography, and creative services. As of December 2021, its active buyers reached 4.2 million, while its revenue hit almost $300 million in the same year. 

4. Create and conduct online courses 

If you’re an expert in a high-demand skill, there’s no shortage of customers looking to learn from you and your knowledge. A wide variety of online course platforms provide a space for creating and selling and take care of payment processing and video hosting.  A common choice is Udemy, which as of 2020, has more than 35 million users and about 57,000 expert instructors. And no matter where you are, you can find an audience. Udemy’s students are based in more than 180 nations, and you can create a course in any language. 

Another perk of this side hustle is that it can also be considered passive. Once you’ve set up your course and done all the hard work, you can still expect income as long as you have interested customers. While the growing online course industry is competitive, it’s also rewarding, with the potential to earn $500 a month to start and even $50,000 a month for top performers.  

5. Take surveys 

A 2022 survey by Insuranks found that 95% of its respondents took online surveys as either their only or partial side hustle. No doubt an easier option compared to starting a business, taking surveys is a more leisurely side hustle as it only requires a device and an internet connection, is less time-consuming than other options, and typically doesn’t require any talking like with usability testing

While surveys don’t pay as well as a freelancing business or other services, with some offering as little as $1 or $3 per study, this amount can add up. Depending on how many you take and the platform, you can expect to earn between $40 and $250 per month or even gift cards as payment. 

Keep in mind that surveys aren’t always available when you are. Most platforms feature a screening process so that you’re matched with studies that fit your demographic—or only have a limited number of spots. To get around this, keep an eye on study availability and stay consistent. 

One option is OneOpinion, a survey aggregator platform, which pays an average of $2.03 per hour. Similar to some but not all survey services, it’s formatted so that have to reach a certain minimum of points before they can be cashed out into actual rewards. 

What are the benefits of a side hustle? 

Side hustles are more than another avenue to making extra income or paying off debt. You can: 

Discover creative potential

Only some occupations allow for complete creative freedom. If you’re an entrepreneur or working under your own guidelines, you’ll be able to create a creative outlet that’s under your own reigns. 

Diversify skills

This is especially beneficial if you’re dissatisfied with your current career and are looking to pivot—but need more experience or time to create a portfolio. While there may exist barriers to what you can learn on your 9-5, there’s no limit to a side hustle’s learning potential.  

Work towards giving up your 9-5 and begin working for yourself

While both paths have pros and cons, one route may not fulfill you as much as it does someone else. Getting a feel for both can give you more clarity before you take the plunge into one over another. 

Be more productive in your free time

Having a slow period at work? Or are you looking for ways to fill up your weekends? If there’s a side hustle you enjoy and can learn from, this is a way to take back control of your time and boost feelings of productivity. 

Want to learn more?

See, hear, and talk to your customers first-hand to understand how they experience your brand, products, services, and in-person experiences.

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