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30 Side Hustles for Active Duty Military

Side hustles have become the norm for people from all walks of life. They offer people a chance to make extra money using their knowledge, skills, and extra time. Active duty military members can do the same, and this article will help you understand your options!

There are plenty of military side hustles you can choose from. Some involve working directly on the base, like working at the commissary or PX. Others, like car detailing, freelancing, and more, can be done on or off the base in your free time. Whatever it is, get your leadership’s permission so you can take on a side hustle without any problems.

Key Takeaways

  • To start a side hustle while on active duty, it's best to get permission from your leadership. This ensures you can focus on your side hustle without issues.
  • Side hustles allow you to monetize your time and skills, save for emergencies, pursue financial goals, and prepare for civilian life. They take time to generate income, so it's important to manage expectations and stay dedicated.

What Is a Military Side Hustle?

A military side hustle is a way to make extra money in your free time while serving in an armed forces branch or as a military spouse.

Military side hustles are more than just about earning money. Choosing the right one can also help you develop new skills and sharpen existing ones. 

On top of that, it’s an excellent way of preparing you for when you want to return to civilian life.

Can You Have a Side Hustle on Active Duty?

Yes, you can have a side hustle and earn extra money while on active duty. However, it’s best to do so with your leadership’s knowledge and approval.

Consulting with your leaders first will help you avoid unnecessary problems later on. Doing so also enables you to focus on developing a side hustle with total peace of mind.

Note: Just remember that side hustles take some time before generating money.

Why Start a Military Side Hustle?

As you saw earlier, many reasons exist to start a military side hustle. Money is usually the motivator for many people, but there are plenty of other benefits.

Here are 5 reasons to start a military side hustle:

  • Monetize your time. Side hustles give you a way to turn your free time into cash.
  • Monetize your skills. Aside from time, you also turn your skills and knowledge into money. That’s especially true if your side hustle requires technical knowledge, like plumbing.
  • Save for emergencies. Side hustles also give you a way to strengthen yourself against financial emergencies.
  • Pursue financial goals. The money you earn could speed up your pursuit of a financial goal, like getting married, buying a home, or starting a family.
  • Prepare for civilian life. A military side hustle can prepare you for your return to civilian life. That way, you’ll have the skills to start a business or begin working for someone else as soon as you leave the military.

Your motivation for starting a military side hustle is likely a combination of the above. Take some time to understand what drives you so you can perform better at your side hustle.

How Can I Make Extra Money in the Military?

You’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of different ways you can make extra money in the military. Your options are aplenty, but they’ll differ depending on whether you live and serve on a base or out as a civilian.

The following sections will help you understand how to make extra money in the military.

Military member planning a side gig

Active Duty Military Side Jobs That Are On Base

You can take military side jobs during your free time to make extra money on base. Remember to consult your leadership for their approval before you start any of them.

1. Work at the Commissary or PX

You don’t have to look far to find your first military side jobs. Instead, check with the commissary or postal exchange (PX) if they have any available positions. Depending on your base or facility, you could get paid for your help and earn tips simultaneously.

2. Food Delivery

Maximize your free time by providing a convenient food delivery service to fellow service members. Particularly on larger installations, where the distance to food sources can be substantial, your service can be a time-saving and appreciated solution. Whether it's a quick lunch or a late-night snack, your efficient delivery service can help your colleagues focus on their duties without the hassle of leaving the base.

3. Grocery Delivery

In addition to food delivery, offering grocery delivery services can be a game-changer for busy military personnel. By transporting groceries to those who are unable or prefer not to shop themselves, you're not only saving them time but also providing a valuable service. This can be especially beneficial for those with limited mobility or tight schedules, ensuring they have access to essential items without leaving the base.

4 Ways To Make Extra Money in the Military While on Active Duty

The side hustles mentioned above are helpful but require a significant time commitment. If you want something that doesn't take up much time, consider the following:

5. Online Surveys

Engaging in online surveys is a popular method for earning additional income. As a member of the military, you have a unique advantage, as there are surveys specifically designed for active service members. These surveys often focus on military-related topics or products, providing you with opportunities to voice your opinions and influence decisions that affect your community directly. By participating in these surveys, you not only earn extra income but also contribute valuable insights that can shape the products and services available to military personnel.

6. Small Tasks

Another way to earn money while on base is by doing odd jobs. Tasks like washing someone’s car or helping with their laundry can quickly add up to extra cash. These small tasks are often in high demand, especially among busy service members, making them a reliable source of additional income.

7. Rent Out a House or Room

If you have accommodations on base but also own a house or have a room elsewhere, consider renting it out for extra cash. Many service members travel frequently or are deployed, leaving their homes unoccupied. Renting out your space can be a mutually beneficial arrangement, providing extra income while helping out a fellow service member in need of temporary housing.

Civilian Side Hustles

So far, you’ve seen the military side jobs you can do to make extra money. However, you or your spouse might also be interested in the many civilian side hustles available.

Related: Side hustles that pay weekly

8. Handyman

If you’re skilled at fixing things around the house, consider offering your services as a handyman for hire. Many service members and civilians alike often need someone to help with home repairs and maintenance, making this a lucrative side hustle option.

9. Mowing and Yard Work

If you have the necessary equipment and enjoy working outdoors, mowing lawns and doing yard work can be a profitable side hustle. Many people are willing to pay for help with yard maintenance, especially during the busy spring and summer months.

10. Car Detailing

Car detailing is another side hustle that can be quite profitable. With a few essential tools and high-quality supplies, you can offer car detailing services to your fellow service members and civilians, helping them keep their vehicles clean and well-maintained.

11. Babysitting

If you’re good with kids, babysitting can be a rewarding side hustle. Many service members live on base with their families and may need occasional childcare. By offering your babysitting services, you can earn extra income while providing a valuable service to your community.

12. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

Similarly, your fellow service member might need help watching or walking their pets. You’d be providing a valuable service by caring for their beloved pets.

13. House Sitting

House sitting is another side hustle that can help you earn extra income. Many active-duty military members travel frequently and may need someone to look after their homes while they’re away. By offering your house-sitting services, you can earn extra cash while providing peace of mind to your fellow service members.

14. Photography

You often hear stories of people turning their hobbies into lucrative side hustles. You can do the same with your interest in photography.

Many service members are deployed to foreign bases in exotic locations. You could take snapshots during your downtime and sell them for money.

Alternatively, you can offer to take photos of your colleagues during special events like weddings and birthdays.

15. Mechanic

Sometimes, you can leverage the skills you pick up in the military and turn them into side hustles. For example, mechanics and engineers in the service likely know plenty about servicing and fixing cars.

Those skills can benefit more than just the car in your driveway. Instead, use it to help others with their car problems and make money!

16. Cut Hair

Another side hustle that involves working with your hands is cutting hair. This is an in-demand skill, no matter where you go. So if you’re good, people will be eager to get your help.

17. Start a Blog or Niche Website

Hard work is essential, but not all side hustles require physical labor. For example, you can flex your creative muscle by writing for a blog or niche website.

Remember: your experiences in the military are unique. Many people would be interested in learning about them, like those aspiring to join the service.

18. Start a YouTube Channel

Some people prefer speaking directly instead of writing about their experiences. If that sounds like you, consider starting a YouTube channel instead.

These take some time to monetize, but they’re free and easy to start.

19. Start a Podcast

You don’t have to sit in front of a camera to tell your story. Instead, you can start a podcast. Better yet, you can start alone or have a few friends with you sharing thoughts on a particular subject.

People make money off of podcasts by selling merchandise and taking on advertisers.

20. Create and Sell Printables

Suppose you’ve found a way to organize your life with custom-made worksheets or similar items. In that case, you can make them into printable files and sell them online.

Other examples include workbooks, journals, and more.

21. Create Online Courses

Your service in the military has taught you many valuable skills you can share with others. One way to do that is by creating online courses and selling them for a small fee.

Common topics you can build courses around are things like leadership and personal development, among many others.

22. Print-on-Demand

There’s a misconception that writing and selling books requires a large upfront investment. That’s not true. These days, you can self-publish books through print-on-demand services.

As the name suggests, you’ll make your book available on a print-on-demand platform. The platform will print and ship that book to customers only when they place an order.

Turn your military experiences and life lessons into books and sell them to interested readers this way!

23. Translation

Some people enter the military knowing multiple languages, while others pick up a foreign language in the service. Whatever the case, that creates an opportunity to make money by doing translation as a side hustle.

24. Virtual Assistant

Remember: some side hustles can be done remotely. A perfect example is being someone’s virtual assistant. You’ll help clients make calls, set up appointments, and more from the comfort of your home office.

25. Write a Book or E-Book

Of course, writing a book the conventional way is still a valid side hustle option.

You can start by producing an ebook first, then printing them into physical copies if there’s enough demand.

26. Freelancing

You can turn almost any skill into money through freelancing. Creative skills like graphic design and writing are common examples. However, other skills like accounting and coaching are also popular freelancing options to make money.

27. Printables

People are often unable or unwilling to design their own templates. That’s an opportunity for you to create printables they can use immediately after purchase.

28. Babysitting and Pet Sitting

Conventional side hustles that don’t involve tech are still quite popular and lucrative. Take babysitting and pet sitting, for example. People prefer hiring someone to take care of their children and pets instead of leaving them alone, and that’s an opportunity for you to earn!

29. Donate Plasma

You can make money by donating plasma in some locations. Still, remember that you can only do this once every 28 days to give your body time to recover.

Still, it’s an excellent way to supplement your income, especially if you’re doing other side hustles simultaneously.

30. Start a Clothing Brand

Lastly, starting your own clothing brand could be a fun and lucrative side hustle. It’s an excellent business to start small with the possibility of long-term growth!

How Long Does It Take for a Side Hustle To Pay?

The most important thing to remember is that all side hustles take time to generate money. For example, a cash-based side hustle like babysitting might pay as soon as you complete the first job.

However, others might take weeks or months before you see your first dollar. These side hustles are still worth considering. But it would help if you managed your expectations before you began.

More ways to generate money:

Sell used appliances for extra money
List of items to pawn for up to $500
20 side jobs if you don't have a car

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