Money Matters Team

Real people who made extra money in their spare time

By Money Matters Team 16/12/2015

If you've already sold all your unwanted bits at car boot sales, it might be time to think outside the (money) box.

To help you along the way, Cherry Casey asked three ordinary people how they turned their interests into extra income.

Yorkshire-born Becky Lupton (pictured above) tells us how her search for perfect pyjamas led to a whole new business venture

‘Alongside my regular job as a marketing manager, I sell maternity pyjamas at pjmamma.co.uk. It started in 2013 when I was pregnant with my little boy, Tate, and couldn’t find any nice pyjamas. I asked my pregnant friends and saw there was a gap in the market, so I decided to make and sell some myself.

‘When you’re on maternity leave you can lose confidence in your work abilities, so it was partly a way to prove I could do something for myself. I was also going back to work part-time, so I wanted to find a way to make some extra money that I could fit around Tate.

‘I’ve always been into making my own clothes, but there was a lot I had to research, like how to find a manufacturer. There was a bit of a financial risk initially as I had to pay for the first batch and just hope they sold, but luckily it was pretty successful quite quickly. I remember about a week in thinking, “What have I done?” then I checked my emails and I’d made about 10 sales that day! A baby blog in Australia had seen my product on Etsy and featured it on their site.

‘It can take a lot of my time and emotional investment, but it’s something I really enjoy and it’s provided a nice steady income to subsidise my regular wage.’

Mark Elliott from Kent explains how his love for 80s music provided him with an unexpected side income

‘I work as a publishing director full-time, but I’ve been writing reviews and interviews for music magazine Record Collector since 2013.

‘My background is in journalism, but over the years I ended up doing less and less writing, so my New Year’s resolution was to get back into it. I enjoyed reading Record Collector magazine so contacted them to see if they’d be interested in a piece on my record collection, which was mainly mainstream 80s pop. They did and the editor liked what I wrote, so he suggested I do some reviews for them.

‘It was quite nerve-racking as I hadn’t written in a long time, and I also kind of thought I wasn’t really worthy of a job like that! But I suppose writing is like a muscle that you need to use to make it stronger, and I’m much more confident now. I’ve recently started doing interviews, one of which was with Pete Waterman, a hero of mine, so I feel like I’m getting paid to do something I love. I try to make sure that I don’t spend more money on my love of music – by buying records, for example – than I make writing reviews. It doesn’t always work out that way, though!’

London-based Rachel Walder found her love of Thai cooking allowed her to make money from the comfort of her own home

‘While my weekdays are spent working as an account manager, many of my weekends are taken up with The Tiniest Thai – a pop-up supper club I host at my flat.

‘I’d started blogging about Thai food (my favourite), and how easy it can be to make. I wanted to bring it to life a bit more, so I launched the supper club last year. There’s a lot of prepping involved but I need to be really organised for my job so that side of things came easily, as did making sure people feel welcome and are having a good time.

‘The finance aspect was something I had to get used to. It’s quite strange charging people to come to your home – in the early days I was charging so little I was actually making a loss! I now ask people to pay a week before the event so no money is exchanged on the evening, as that changes the atmosphere.

‘I’ve started hosting the Tiniest Thai at my sister’s in Cornwall every few months too, but otherwise I don’t have any specific plans for how I want it to grow, although I would definitely like it to. I’ve always loved cooking, so it’s really nice to have a hobby that not only pays for itself but brings in a little extra, too.’

3 simple ways you can make a side income

Think about what can you offer

Making money doing something you love is the dream for many, so have a think about what it is you genuinely enjoy and how that could benefit others. Love gardening? Why not see if some people in your area, particularly the elderly, could use your help?

Or maybe it’s a particular skill set you have that could be of use to others? Plenty of people will admit to having no idea how to sew a button on, for instance, so if you’re handy with a needle, you could take up a few mending jobs.

In the age of social media, it has never been easier to let people know your services are up for grabs. You can set up a WordPress.com account for free – although you will need to pay for your own URL. Try godaddy.com for competitive rates.

Share and share alike

Today is the Golden Age of the sharing economy, so if you have something you can rent out, now is the time to take advantage. If you have a spare room up for grabs, why not list it on airbnb.com? It can be smaller things, too – hire out those skis you barely use on spinlister.com or see if someone can help with fuel costs on your next long journey via blablacar.co.uk. For more sharing economy ideas, head to the latest issue of Money Matters magazine .

Penny for your thoughts

In order for companies and services to ensure their product is on the money, they need opinions from real people like you. And they’re willing to pay for them. There are all kinds of research projects and surveys, from broad areas such as online shopping to more specific topics such as what it’s like to work in your profession. Head to researchopinions.co.uk to have your say for pay!

Remember: any extra income you earn should be declared to HM Revenue & Customs.

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.

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