Perhaps you're a student who needs to make cash so you can have extra spending money. Or maybe you just graduated and are still waiting to land your first corporate position. You might also be a mother who really wants to be around for her children and needs a flexible way to earn money.
Whatever the case might be, in 2020, it’s never been easier to make extra money on your own schedule.
In this post, we will discuss how you can make money on your own schedule to suit your lifestyle.
This article is sponsored by DoorDash. We love DoorDash because it offers a flexible way to earn money on your own terms - by simply delivering food when it’s convenient for you in the comfort of your own car - or even via bike or scooter. Check out DoorDash here and sign up to be a Dasher >>
What You Need To Make Money On Your Own Schedule
Since you will be making money on your own schedule, chances are you are going to be self-employed or actively involved in the gig economy.
This could mean:
- You deliver with companies like DoorDash
- You drive for ridesharing companies
- You rent out your extra bedroom on Airbnb
- You charge scooters
- The list goes on and on...
If this is the case, you will need to have the following:
- A working smartphone
- The corresponding app
- Transportation (car, bike, scooter) - if you are going to go the ridesharing or delivery route
- Time in your daily schedule to make the money you need
Typically, when people start out setting their own work schedule, they will work a combination of these “gigs” to be able to make a solid income.
However, it is possible that with a little bit of creativity, you can focus on one gig and make a full-time income.
For example, if you focus just on DoorDash, you could be strategic about the times you choose to Dash. Focus on peak times like lunch and dinner when you can maximize the number of deliveries you can make in the shortest amount of time. Check the app regularly for bonus offers to put a little extra in your pocket. And, of course, deliver awesome service to earn tips.
Check out DoorDash here >>
Important Considerations When Making Your Own Schedule
To make “gig work” worth your while, you will have to take into account what it costs you to live.
How much is your rent?
How about water, electric and/or gas?
If you are going to be using an app, you will most likely need to be on an unlimited data plan or risk paying substantial data overage fees.
If you are paying off student loans, how much do you expect to pay off each month?
In this case, it would be a good idea to sit down and create a spreadsheet of some sort to nail down exactly how much you need to live on per month.
Once you have the dollar amount required to live comfortably, you will have a target number to work towards each month.
Once you have this number, simply divide it by 30 days to get an idea of how much you will need to make daily to reach your goal.
For instance, let’s say you have a goal to hit $4,000 in income each month.
If you plan on working 7 days per week, and assuming an average of 30 days per month, you will need to make $133 per day to reach that goal.
If you plan on working just Monday through Friday, that raises your daily number to $200 per day.
Having this in mind, let’s use DoorDash as an example of how you would make money on your schedule while hitting your money goals.
Example: Delivering For DoorDash
DoorDash is a popular delivery service that delivers food and drinks from local merchants straight to people’s doors.
To become a "Dasher," you will need a smartphone, a car (or bike, scooter, etc.) and a DoorDash driver account, which you can create through the DoorDash app or on their website.
If driving by car, you will also need to have car insurance and a clean driving record. Associated costs of being a Dasher (which you’re responsible for) include gas, vehicle maintenance, and potentially parking.
Once you have signed up with DoorDash and they have approved you to become a Dasher, they will send you an Activation Kit. This kit will contain several items including a “Hot Bag” that you will use while delivering food.
It is highly recommended that you carry this bag with you always so you can keep food deliveries hot and fresh for customers.
According to the DoorDash website, the busiest times on the DoorDash app are 11am-2pm (lunch time) and 3-5pm (dinner time). Therefore, if you were trying to catch the most deliveries, it would be best to Dash around these times.
The DoorDash website advertises that you could make up to $25 per hour using the app. If you live in a busy city like New York or Los Angeles, you may make a more competitive rate.
With this in mind, if you were to make the average of $15 an hour on DoorDash and had to make $133 per day, this would mean you would plan to deliver for about 9 hours each day.
Now of course, you would be able to break that up so you don’t have to work for 9 hours straight. Like I mentioned above, you can schedule your time to work around those busy lunch and dinner peaks.
For example, you could check in the morning and deliver for 1-2 hours. Then at lunch from 10am to 2pm. Then again hit the dinner rush from 4pm to 8pm.
Here are a few tips other Dashers have provided on how you can maximize your earnings with DoorDash.
- Plan or schedule your availability to “Dash” around the busiest times of the day. This also means you will have downtime in between and can get things done for yourself if need be.
- If you can get multiple orders within the same area, this is helpful because you will be able to cluster your deliveries and make more per hour.
- It might be a waste of your time and gas to try to Dash around 8am in the morning or at 10pm at night. Your best bet is to study your city’s eating trends so you can make the best use of your time.
- When you’re on the clock, hang out close to busy areas in the city. Most lunch orders are put in by people who work in offices, so your best bet would be to hang out in downtown /business districts for instance.
- Don’t be shy about texting or calling customers to keep them informed about the status or whereabouts of their delivery. You will deal with fewer angry customers this way when something doesn’t go according to plan.
- Be on the lookout for bonuses in the app which can really incentivize you to drive.
In addition to making money from the DoorDash app directly, you get to keep 100% of any tips you receive, so great customer service can go a long way toward helping you to hit your daily income goals.
Another way to make money with DoorDash is to refer other “Dashers” to the service. DoorDash promises to pay you $300 for every person you refer who makes 50 deliveries in their first 30 days.
If you can get a bunch of your friends to sign up for DoorDash, this could be a great way to earn money and meet your goals as well.
So, to re-cap, you can make money from DoorDash via four primary ways:
- Delivery fee directly from DoorDash for each delivery you make
- Bonuses in the app
- Customer tips
- Referral program
By being smart about how you leverage these streams of income, you could very well hit your daily income target and make a decent income on your own schedule.
Common Money Making Questions?
Here are some questions we routinely get about making money on your own schedule:
Can you really make money on your own schedule?
Yes! You absolutely can make money on your own schedule in a lot of ways. We gave some examples in the article, but there are honestly limitless ways to earn.
Can I make money working for myself?
Yes! Even if you don't use an app-based service or tool, you can start your own business or gig and make money working for yourself. There are over 30 million small businesses in America today, that means 30 million people are working for themselves.
Can I make money using one of these apps?
It's possible! There is no guarantee, but many people are doing it nationwide and there is a decent earning potential - especially considering you are doing it on your own time.
How much money can I make?
This completely varies by how much you work, when you work, and how you manage your time and work.
Does this make sense to earn for myself?
Once again, it can - but everyone has their own circumstances. If you have the time and drive to, go for it. If not, there may be other things better suited to your lifestyle and values.
In this post, we used DoorDash as an example of how you could make money on your own time.
But you could use this same strategy for any of the gig economy programs.
You could even apply the same ideas to flipping items on Craigslist or eBay.
The key is to be creative and strategic. If you can do those two things, you will be successful at making money on your own schedule.
Ready to start earning? Check out DoorDash today >>
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.