Side hustles to earn extra money this holiday season

Being low on cash during the holidays is tough. If you overspend, you might have to dip into savings. But if you underspend, you might feel like you’re missing out. The solution? Find a way to earn more!

With fewer COVID-19 restrictions, people are dining out, traveling, and going to parties. As a result, this holiday season will be a big one for hospitality. Given the labor shortage, though, businesses are in serious need of staff. To attract employees, hospitality wages are rising at a record pace. And on Instawork, wages tend to be even higher than average.

If you’re looking for a way to earn more this season, consider signing up for hospitality shifts. The extra cash you earn can help you buy gifts, visit family/friends, or just treat yourself. Here are a few of the most common hospitality positions available now — read on to see whether they’re right for you.

1. Bartender

It’s hard to imagine a better side hustle for social butterflies than bartending. In this job, you’ll get to interact with customers while serving them beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails. You may even get to come up with your own specialty drinks. Depending on where you live, you may need certification before you can serve alcohol. But there are many affordable bartending schools, and you can often quickly offset the cost with tips.

2. Dishwasher

If you’ve never worked in hospitality before, this is an ideal role to start out in. You often don’t need experience to be a dishwasher, and the work is very straightforward. All it takes is some elbow grease to scrub fast enough to keep up with the kitchen. It may not be the most glamorous job, but there’s a high demand for dishwashers right now. And companies are willing to pay more than you might think!

3. Line cook

As a line cook, you’ll manage a particular stage of the cooking process, like grilling, frying, or sautéing. Usually, you'll need kitchen experience to get hired as a line cook. But because it's a skilled job, it usually pays more than beginner hospitality roles. And if you’re passionate about food and cooking, it may not feel like work at all! As a bonus, the sense of teamwork and community in back-of-house jobs like this is strong.

Related: What does a line cook do?

4. Server

Like bartending, serving is another good fit for outgoing people. Whether you work for a caterer or restaurant, you’ll meet plenty of new people as you bring them their food. You might even get to know them. And if you do a good job, you might just get a generous tip at the end of the meal. Besides having good people skills, servers should be able to multitask. You'll have to work quickly and collaboratively with the rest of your team to keep all your tables happy.

5. Busser

Busser is another great role for anyone new to the hospitality industry. Often, you can get hired as a busser with no previous experience. Bussers' main job is to clear tables of used dishes. But they may also refill water glasses, set tables, replace silverware, or do other tasks as needed. Bussing can be good for shyer people since it doesn't involve as much guest interaction as other front-of-house roles. Of course, you should still be friendly when you do interact with them!

6. Food runner

Speed and attention to detail are the two keys to success as a food runner. You’ll need to move quickly from the kitchen to different tables so that dishes arrive fresh and on time. But you also need to keep track of which dishes are going where, and whether any items are missing. You'll have to be quick on your feet the whole shift, but that workout can help offset holiday treats!

The positions above are just a few examples of in-demand hospitality roles. Check out Instawork, and you’ll find many more. With high pay, flexible scheduling, and a variety of roles, there’s something for everyone.