How To Make Money With Instacart: Is It A Great Side Gig?

Please Note: This post may contain affiliate linking. While these links don’t cost extra for you to use, a percentage of all sales made through these links will help fund future Side Hustle Mom content.

I am one of those weird people who does not mind grocery shopping.

Actually, let me rephrase that: I am one of those weird people who does not mind grocery shopping as long as I am ALONE and do not have my two busy boys in tow!

Since grocery shopping by myself is somewhat of a luxury in this stage of life, I have learned to utilize any help I can get, which includes Amazon Prime Now, Walmart Grocery-to-Go, and Instacart.

Speaking of Instacart, did you know that you can make either some extra money or a pretty decent living by shopping for/delivering groceries to others?!

Yes?

No?

Either way, let us dig in a bit more:

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What is Instacart? Instacart is a delivery service that guarantees orders in 2 hours or less!

What began as a small startup in 2012, Instacart has grown dramatically in the last 6 years, expanding from only a few California towns and grocery stores to nationwide service and exclusive partnerships with Kroger, Costco, Safeway, and more.

How does Instacart work?

To get started, buyers simply log-in to their account via computer or app (both Android and Apple), choose which store to shop from, place their order (big or small; Instacart does it all!), and schedule a delivery time.

That’s it!

Now for the important question: How can you work for Instacart and just how much can you make?

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Obviously, those using the app need someone to do the shopping and delivering, which is where we — the side hustlers of America — come in!

There are two ways to work for Instacart: As a full-service shopper and as in-store shopper, which vary in terms of hours and responsibilities. As per Instacart, full-service shoppers both shop and deliver orders (and are independent contractors), while in-store shoppers do just that — shop/compile orders in store.

Whichever route you decide to go, Instacart offers flexible hours and an easy way to make money either full or part time!

How much can you expect to make with Instacart?

This one will obviously vary depending on your hours and location (as you will probably make more in a bigger market than you would in a rural town less than 20K), but we have somewhat of an idea, thanks to a recent survey from Indeed:

Delivery Driver - $12.69/hr (plus tips)

Store Shopper - $12.72/hr

Shift Lead: $16.06/hr

Personal Shopper: $16.29/hr

Brand Ambassador: $17.32/hr

Let’s do the math: Say you work full-time as an Instacart independent contractor and work an average 40 hours per week. If you do the math ($12.69 x 40 x 52), you will make a base $26,395 per year, plus any tips you make.

Obviously, this doesn’t sound like a sustainable full-time job, but think of this: If you work as either an independent contractor or part-time employee and drive either in addition to your current job or around your kids’ schedules, you can make some great extra money for the holidays, vacations, savings, or anything else you may need.

Just 10 hours a week as a driver would give you an extra $126.90 a week (before any tips), which puts you at an extra $500 per month! That’s not a bad start toward your new car fun, is it?

Instacart is currently available in 38 states (you can see a full list here) and is available for anyone 18 and older who has a smart phone, a clean background check, and can lift 40+ pounds.

Does this sound like a perfect side gig for you? If it does, click here to learn more and to apply!

Have you ever worked for Instacart? If you have, please share your experience in the comments!

How To Rent Out Your Guest Room On Airbnb (And Make An Extra $1,000/Month)

Please Note: This post may contain affiliate linking. While these links don’t cost extra for you to use, a percentage of all sales made through these links will help fund future Side Hustle Mom content.

I have said it before (just last week, I believe!) and i will say it again: motherhood is one of the busiest, most challenging, yet most rewarding things you will ever do...

...and not only is it all of the above, but it is also pretty freaking expensive, seeing as though kids like to outgrow their clothes every week, eat multiple times a day, and eventually have the gaul to leave you to pursue their future at college.

Speaking of college, did you know that as of this publication, the average cost of school per year is $10,000+, which will only go up more and more by the time our kids and grandkids are ready to go? 

Now that I have got myself both worked up and freaked out, you are probably wondering why I am going off on this irrelevant tangent... well, one of the reasons I wanted to work on the side while staying home with the boys was to put more money into both their savings/college accounts and ours, and I know that I am not the only one, which is why I am constantly on the prowl for potential money-making ideas for busy moms like you. 

Enter Airbnb.

For anyone unfamiliar with the company, Airbnb "uniquely leverages technology to economically empower millions of people around the world to unlock and monetize their spaces, passions and talents to become hospitality entrepreneurs." 

In other words, your spare bedroom becomes a hotel of sorts and you take home the cash.

Obviously, this approach to making extra money is unconventional and not for everyone, but if renting out your spare room, home (if/when you are out of town), or second home sounds like a financial path you would be willing to explore, read on: 

How does renting your space on Airbnb work?

I'm so glad you asked! The first step in the process is to create or log-in to your account, in which you describe your space and location, and receive an instant estimate on how much Airbnb thinks you can earn by consistently renting it out.

Airbnb’s estimate if I rented out our entire house consistently.

Airbnb’s estimate if I rented out our entire house consistently.

Estimate for renting our guest room.

Estimate for renting our guest room.

Obviously, this is just an estimate and at the end of the day, you get to name your own price (also remember that Airbnb does take a 3% cut), but keep in mind that it's a competitive market, so you will want/need to price it fairly.

Once you have your Airbnb account set up, it is time to get even more in-depth about both yourself and your space, which is where you get a chance to tell potential guests a little bit about you (their host), build trust, and then explain the space even more in depth, including amenities, (towels, internet), perks (in-room snacks, breakfast in the morning), and nearby activities/attractions.

One of the great things about using a platform like Airbnb is that you have complete control over how often you rent, so if there is a particular time that does not work for having guests, you can simply block it out on your calendar! Another bonus? You can have as little or as much interaction with your guests as you would like, making this the perfect side gig for introverts and extroverts alike.

Now that you know the basics of renting your space on Airbnb, here are a few do’s and don’ts for getting the most out of your listing.

For visuals sake, the following are pictures of our downstairs guest room… if any of you reading this have an eye for design, please give me your tips for sprucing up this space!

Do: Make the space as clean and comfortable as possible

Whether you hire a professional cleaner or do the deep cleaning yourself, it is vital that your space be spick and span, as it may reflect on both you and your Airbnb rating! (You would hate to walk into a hotel room to find used sheets, dust, and an un-vacuumed floor, so don’t expect that to fly with your guests.)

Don’t: Make the space a shrine to you or your family

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As you can see, we display A LOT of old family photos on the guest room dresser, which is obviously fine when our parents visit, but may not be the best when Airbnb guests are using the space!

Do: Spruce up your space

Not the greatest shots/angles of our guest bathroom, but bear with me!

Not the greatest shots/angles of our guest bathroom, but bear with me!

A pretty shower curtain. Some art deco prints. A colorful bedspread. These little touches can add so much to a room (and are really affordable, if you look around!), and can make your guest’s experience all the more enjoyable!

Do: Add extra amenities

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As I previously mentioned, extra amenities are always a good thing in the world of Airbnb, so get creative with it! One idea: Our basement (where the guest bed and bathroom are located) has a really nice theater room, so I would advertise that as one of the perks of staying at our home.

As you can see, renting your space on Airbnb is a great way to make extra cash, so if you are comfortable with hosting, I highly recommend you look into it! (If one of your reservations is safety — as it would be with me — check out what Airbnb does to keep you, your home, and your guests safe.)

Now I want to hear from you: Would (or have) you host on Airbnb? Let me know in the comments!

How to Rent Your Room on Airbnb

Mom Boss Interview: Felicia Wright from The Social Media Fixer

If you have been out and about (and not living under a rock) the last 10 years, you know that social media is KING in terms of both marketing and consumption, so you may be wondering how to get in on the action and get a piece of that TRILLION+ dollar pie! 

Look no more folks, for I have just the person to turn to with these questions, which is none other than the super smart and talented Felicia Wright! 

Felicia is an Army vet (thank you, Felicia!), former 1st grade teacher, wife, mom, and marketing whiz who lives in Las Vegas and runs the successful Felicia Wright - The Social Media and Design Fixer.

I am so, so excited to have Felicia here today, so let's dive on into the nitty gritty: 

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Can you please give our readers a little glimpse of your background?

Yes, I am married with a 4 and a 2-year-old. I have 2 girls named Karina and Charlotte.  I served in the United States Army Reserve for 6 years. During that time I went to school to be a teacher. Shortly after I left the Army I became a teacher. I taught for 4 years. Now I run my online business. 

How did your time in the army and as a teacher lead you to start your own business?

What really changed was having my children. I had my first when I was still in the military. When I had her my priorities changed. My daughter needed me and I hated being away from her. This was compounded by the fact that I was nursing at the time. I would be gone for 8 to 10 hours and she would barely eat the whole time. It was heart-breaking. So I left after my time was up and began teaching.

Teaching afforded me more time with my baby and I loved it. In my second year, I had my second baby. Life changed again. Juggling 2 kids and teaching was difficult, but I made it work. Eventually, I started to realize that teaching was not a complete fit for me.

 I knew that when my kids started school I would miss the big events. As a teacher, we can't miss certain days, and I got 1 day of personal leave each year. That meant that I would miss out on their first day of school, award ceremonies, and anything that popped up for them. This is when I decided to start my own business.

What kind of services does Felicia Wright (your business) offer? How did you decide on your niche?

I offer social media strategy, management, and ads. When starting I had to find something that I loved and could do from home. I always loved social media so I started researching what I could do with it. Social media management was the perfect fit for me. Plus I really enjoy it!

Can you give our readers any tips on how to start an online business?

Honestly its not an overnight thing. It takes lots of research and hard work, but it can be done. These are my top tips.

1. Find something you love and find a way to package it.

2. Make sure there is a demand for what you want to do.

3. Find the platforms you want to use and optimize those platforms with your information and what you do. 

4. Start to offer your services to people. 

5. Stay consistent with your outbound marketing efforts. (Keep the ball moving)

How do you go about getting new clients? Do you have a preferred way to market your services?

When I was working and running my business on the side I had to use social media to find clients. In my spare time, I started looking for job postings and offering my services. I did this in the morning, my lunch break, and after work. It was difficult at times, but I made it work. I also used my social media accounts to post my services and give value in my industry.

I like this route the best. Networking events were hard to get to at times. Most were during the day and finding babysitting could be difficult. So virtual was the best option for me. 

What does a day in the life of a busy mompreneur like yourself look like? 

Its a bit of a rollercoaster until my husband gets home. I have to manage the kids and my business at the same time. I wake up before my kids. So every weekday I get up at 5:00 am. So that gives me an hour before they get up. I really enjoy that quiet time. It sets up my day for success. 

For the rest of the day, I have a google calendar. I schedule EVERYTHING. I have no choice. If I don't things slip through the cracks. I'm still working to improve in this area but it has helped out so much. I schedule time with my girls and work time. My husband also has access to my calendar. So he can see what I have going on. He also schedules things in the calendar so I know not to book anything during that time. 

Finally, do you have a business-related memory that stands out as being your favorite?

I do! My girls are a mess! (in a good way) 

I guess I am wearing off on them. Here is a conversation I had with my 4-year-old. 

Karina "Mommy I really need your phone"

Me "Why do you need my phone so bad?"

Karina "Well I have a podcast at 1."

Me "Really!?"

Karina "Yes, mommy!"

Me "Well can I get my phone back later"

Karina "No! I have to talk to my client"

Me - "........"

How cool is Felicia (and how adorable/funny is her 4-year-old?? I'm dying!)? To learn more about Felicia's services, be sure to visit her website, Facebook, and/or Instagram

Mom Boss Interview: Sharon Holck from Sharon Holck Photography & Blog

Alright moms (and dads) -- we've got a treat for you today! 

When you got engaged, married, had a baby, and/or hit any major life milestones, you probably hired a professional photographer to document the big moment, right?

If you are like me, you may have wondered what it takes to become a photographer (aside from gobs of talent and patience, of course) and whether or not it is a lucrative work-from-home position... well, today we are getting all of our questions answered, thanks to the amazing Sharon Holck! 

Sharon is a wife, mommy to a darling little girl, and photographer who lives in Hawaii (#goals), loves Fixer Upper (a girl after my own heart), and can always be found in a pair of mismatched socks :) She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Pratt Institute in New York and is THE person to go to for not only gorgeous photos, but also honest answers to all things business related. 

Cutest girls (and isn't Sharon's daughter the sweetest? I am dying over the pigtails)! 

Cutest girls (and isn't Sharon's daughter the sweetest? I am dying over the pigtails)! 

Sharon, please tell us a little bit about yourself: we know that you are an extremely talented photographer and busy mommy, but what else do you do in terms of either work or hobbies?

A little less than a year ago, I decided that it was time to get myself into better shape. I joined a local Stroller Strides group to get a chance to socialize with other moms as well as letting my daughter Riley play with kids her age. I know I'm not alone in saying staying at home can get isolating so this has really helped with me personally. We spend usually almost two hours with this group a few times week. I feel like I have this happy medium between stay at home and working mom because I work 3 nights a week at a restaurant being a photo host. They're short shifts that allow me to really only miss 3 of my daughters awake hours while still bringing in that little bit of extra money for bills or for building my photography business.

Have you always been in a creative line of work or is photography the first?

I have always been a creative person. I remember when I was little I was obsessed with making my own books. I would draw like as many zoo or water animals as I could and write little stories to go with my pictures. I also loved painting and drawing. I thought photography kind of came later but I was going through some old pictures and found that I've been kind of playing with cameras since I was maybe 7.

What got you into photography? Have you always had a knack for or interest in it?

 

My brother actually started me on my photography path. We are 10 years apart and so he was a big role model in my life. I wanted to be just like him. He always carried a camera around and when I was about 13 I told my parents I wanted a camera just like he does and they bought me this dinky little digital camera. I took a lot of pictures of animals and plants and my brother would always give me little lessons or projects for me to try and do. Over time, I started getting a lot of compliments from my family that my pictures were good but I had no idea I could make a living off of it. It was just a hobby. In college, I planned to go to veterinary school but I didn't get in. I didn't know what else to do so I took a photography class along side my other classes and fell in deep. I decided, this is what I wanted to do.

What inspired you to start Sharon Holck Photography? Can you share with us what it takes to start your own photography business?

 

When I actually started, my dream was to be a landscape and travel photographer for National Geographic. I kind of had this idea that I would shoot portraits for money but inspire to one day work and travel for them. That really changed though once I had my daughter. She was a complete surprise and honestly really scared me, but the idea of photographing her really got me through those first weeks and really helped my connection with her. I changed my focus completely to kid and family photography but my why was still missing. I knew I needed to figure out why my passion for photographing families was so strong in order to make me as a photographer stand out. It wasn't until one day at my restaurant job that I came across a man who I photographed a picture of him and his grandson. He loved the picture and wanted it but his wife didn't want to buy it. I couldn't bear to let him leave without it and printed him a small version of it before he left. I returned to my station knowing one day that little boy is just going to love that picture of him and his grandpa. I thought about my mom who passed away when I was a teenager and how I cherish every picture I have of me and her together and it all clicked. I photograph because I want to create a treasure that will only get sweeter as time goes on for every family.

There is obviously a lot more to being a photographer than just pointing the camera and clicking, so can you share what the process looks like and how much time you devote to most clients?

I think what it takes to start your own photography business is really knowing your why and your goals. It is one thing to love photography because trust me, I stayed there for years. Even when I already knew I wanted to be a photographer, my work still seemed flat until I figured out what drives me. You really need to take time to think about what makes you tick, what makes you special enough to make people want to hire you. You can take good pictures, but if you aren't passionate about the work you are doing, there will be always someone better they could work with.

 

I'll admit, that I am still in the beginnings of my photography business. So there has been a lot of testing the waters on my exact client experience. So far, I try to first bring all my clients through a small set of questions designed for me to get to know them, searching for at least something in common with them. We talk about locations, reasons for the session, and all that good stuff. While my packages all come with a time limit, I don't actually set a timer for these. My goal in the end is to create the best gallery of pictures possible for my clients. If I can get that done in 20 mins, that's cool. If it takes me an hour and a half then that is awesome too. After that I quickly edit 3-5 pictures as a sneak peek to deliver to them within 24 hours of their session and then depending on how much my daughter naps and sleeps, will depend on how fast I get through their editing. I give myself a 2 week turnaround but most times I'm done in a few days which equals probably between 10-15 hours of editing per job.

How do you market yourself and your business? Is there a certain platform (your website, FB, Instagram, etc.) that you would recommend to other mom bosses?

For the longest time I mostly used a facebook page. My business has had a lot of false starts so the page never did really well. I am really a little over a year of hardcore working on my business every single day to start getting it somewhere. I have been working really hard on my instagram and figuring out how to use instagram stories for people to get to know me. My brother and I are currently working on a full rebrand for my business and will be launching a new website hopefully in the next month or so through Showit.co.

Lastly, I started a blog a little under a year ago and since publishing it and keeping up with it, I have noticed a real build in my client base. I try to keep it pretty casual. On Monday's I try to focus more on mommy life going over what we've been up to as a family, or sharing tips, funny stories and all that jazz. And then on Thursdays I post photography related posts that deal with my photo sessions or thoughts on photography.

And now for my favorite question: Do you have a favorite work memory that you can share (whether it be sweet, funny, etc.)?

I am totally like the most clumsy and ditzy photographer ever I swear. I think in front of almost all my clients I either will have a time where I am about to start photographing and I forget the lens cap is on or I just don't watch where I'm stepping and trip or fall into something. It's a miracle I haven't broken any bones or equipment yet. But perhaps one of my most recent fun photo memories was I recently did an even through Stroller Strides where moms could donate toys to a children's hospital and I would take some Valentine's Day pictures. I had 12 back to back photography sessions in my home cause we got rained out. I had set up a studio in our dining room and set up a play room so kids could play and wait. My daughter (she's 2) has been photographed so much she is becoming my little mini me and it cracks me up. As families would walk in, she would greet the kids and tell them to come. She would bring the to the back drop and tell them where to sit and then to look at me and say "cheese!" Which I don't even know where she got that from cause I don't even tell her to say cheese but just to smile or look at me. At one point, I'm photographing a family and she comes and grabs her play camera and sits next to me and starts calling them and taking her own pictures. I really wish someone would have snapped a picture of it cause it was so darn cute! If any kids were a little scared she would even jump into the photos and hold their hands or pat their back and try to make them see it was okay. I just love how much of a little helper she is becoming and I wonder if one day we might become a family business.

If you want to get in touch with Sharon and/or just enjoy her beautiful work, be sure to visit her website, Facebook, and Instagram