Customizing a summer side hustle is almost as easy as sipping a big glass of lemonade.

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Side hustle opportunities are in bloom all summer long if you’re bold enough to go out and find them. I learned this do-it-or-die way one year when my former employer suddenly cut my salary, reducing my income by $1,000 a month. I needed to find cash work to get me by until I could replace those earnings.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to find side work, and I stayed afloat with the extra money I earned. Are you looking for ways to earn extra money to pay off debt? If so, think about creating your own summer side hustle. It’s easy. All you have to do is think of something that people hate to do (or can’t do) themselves. Then offer to do the work for a fee.

Here are my favorite ideas for summer side hustles.

Lawn work

You can hit your debt hard if you mow several lawns a week, or you can chip away at the balance with what you earn mowing just one or two yards weekly. What about trimming hedges? People will also pay you to clean their gutters. You could even pull weeds in a neighbor’s flower garden. It’s all hard work but the cash adds up.

Pet sitting

What’s easier than tossing dog food into a bowl and sipping your morning coffee while watching little Cosette do her business in the backyard? If you walk the dog, charge more. Cats are even easier. Feed, pet, purr. Maybe scoop a little poop. You’ll find plenty of pet sitting work during summer vacation months.

House cleaning and organizing

When I cleaned a friend’s house and drove her stuff to a thrift store, I earned around $300 in a couple of days. Or, if you’re a neat freak, earn money organizing closets, offices, basements, garages and kitchens. You’ll probably even enjoy the work.

House sitting

Neighbors on vacation need someone to retrieve their mail, water plants and switch lights off and on. This job takes less than 15 minutes a day.


Parents will pay you to improve their child’s math, science and reading skills before the kid heads back to school. Depending on your specialty and where you live, tutors can charge anywhere from $20 to $85 an hour.

How to find clients

Before you can earn any side hustle income, you’ll need to line up some work. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Stay close to home

I only do side hustles within a one-mile radius. There’s no point in driving all over town, burning up my profits in gas cost.

2. Create fliers and business cards

You can find free business card and flier templates online or use Microsoft Publisher, Mac publishing software or a program you already have on your laptop. I designed pet sitting business cards with Microsoft Publisher and paid around $15 for several sheets I copied and cut myself at a local printer.

3. Meet your neighbors

I like to be out in the yard watering plants or sweeping my driveway during prime dog-walking hours. When someone strolls by with a dog, I introduce myself, explain that I pet sit for people in the neighborhood and hand the person a card. Also, take a walk around the block and hand out cards or fliers about your services to people working or socializing in their yards.

4. Put up fliers

Post fliers with detachable contact info at coffee shops, grocery stores, community centers or your apartment complex clubhouse.

5. Don’t advertise on Craigslist

If you’re looking for clients close to home, don’t compete with 50 others offering the same service when you can simply get your neighbors to hire you.

6. Socialize

Tell people about your side hustle at parties and other events. Bring along some business cards. I met my favorite dog sitting client when I forced myself to get out and attend a birthday party on a bitterly cold December night.

Now that you know how to get a side hustle going, set a goal for how much you want to earn this summer. Then commit that amount toward paying down debt. Who knows? Your summer side hustle could lead to winter work too.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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