Welcome to another edition of the Side Hustle True Stories series! This is always a fun post to share because I have earned extra income doing so many different side hustles over the years.
One of my favorite side hustles ever was working as a vendor at local farmers markets. I did this side hustle for a couple years and loved it!
Related side hustle series posts:
Do you have an awesome craft or baked good that you sell? If you are serious about turning your hobby into a part time or even full time job, you might consider starting with your local farmers markets.
This is a great way to test the waters, listen to customer feedback and learn more about what products sell the best!
Local farmers markets have become a staple in almost every community. They are a great way to bring people together and shop locally.
There are so many products that can be sold at a market. Aside from fresh fruit and vegetables, I have seen:
- Fresh seafood, meat and poultry
- Cheese, eggs and dairy products
- Baked breads and pastries
- Pot luck type foods
- Crafts, jewelry, clothing
- Pet treats and pet products
- Books, puzzles, toys
- And more!
How to determine if farmers markets are a good fit for your product
Was the market thriving or sleepy? Was the market crowded and full of excitement, or was it quiet and boring?
Products being sold
I did not apply to any markets that was selling my product. I preferred being the only vendor in my niche. For markets that have a high number of booths, duplicate categories were allowed and quite common.
What were customers buying?
Were customers coming in to buy fruits and veggies and leaving right after? Or were they browsing every booth and purchasing other products? If customers were coming to the market to solely buy a few vegetables and leave, the market was not a good fit.
How much were customers spending?
I wanted a market where customers did a lot of shopping and also purchased non-essential items. If a customer was willing to spend money on non-essential items, such as cupcakes, jewelry or dog treats, I knew I was in the right market.
How to apply at your local farmers markets
Most markets have a website where you can apply. Otherwise, attend the market and ask to speak to a market manager. Most vendors require you sell your own product, and it be handmade and/or local.
Weekly rental spots can vary greatly depending on the location and the attendance of the market. I have paid anywhere from $10 to $50 for a booth spot.
The application process usually includes:
- Submitting a short description of what you would like to sell
- Copy of your tax and license information
- Picture of your product
- Picture of how you would display your booth.
Submitting a photo of your booth setup can be a little tricky if you have never sold at a farmers market before.
I chose to set up my entire booth display in my driveway! I set up my display space the same way I would if I were at the farmers market. This includes setting up my folding tables, my tabletop decor and my product. I also hung my banner and weighed down my tent.
Doing a practice run is really beneficial for a number of reasons. First of all, it might be a necessity if you need to take photos of your booth set up.
Second, it takes some practice setting up and taking down your booth. When I first got my pop-up tent, it took me forever to figure out how to open it! Now it is much easier and can be done quickly.
Third, you want to be efficient with how long it takes to set up and take down your booth. When I first started out, it would take me almost thirty minutes to get set up. Once I mastered the art of being efficient, I was able to be set up in 10 minutes!
What you need to set up your booth
You need to have a complete set up for your booth. This includes:
- 10×10 pop up white tent
- Weights to hold down your tent so it doesn't blow away
- Heavy duty folding tables & tablecloths
- Folding chair
- Custom banner
- Cash bank and/or credit card app to accept credit cards
How to become the manager of local farmers markets & what it involves
I originally started with one farmers market. My product started doing well and I eventually expanded and participated in multiple farmers markets a week.
I was really active in promoting my markets, which included reaching out to other vendors via Etsy and word of mouth. Eventually I became the farmers market manager!
Once I was manager, my duties expanded. Not only was I still running my own booth, but I was now in charge of all the booths at the market.
This included collecting the rent from each vendor, assigning booth spaces to vendors as well as assisting with setup and tear down at the end of the day. I also had to review applications and assist new vendors.
One of the perks included free rental booth. I was able to sell product for free of charge. On top of this, I was also paid a monthly salary for being the market manager.
Becoming a market manager is a lot of work, so if this is something you are interested in, you will have to be ready to commit and never miss a market.
Selling your product at your local farmers markets is a great side hustle and an amazing way to earn extra income. If you are just starting out your side business, farmers markets are a great stepping stone to take your business to the next level.
Ebates is my absolute favorite company to use when I’m shopping online. Hello, it’s free money!
Every time I shop online, I always start at Ebates. They have a list of all the places you normally shop at and you just click on the store you want to visit online.
After you make a purchase, you earn a percentage of the sale! They literally give you cash back on every purchase you make. The cash back ranges from 1% to 14%. The money is then deposited into your PayPal account.
I’ve made over $700 from shopping online and earning cash back. Join Ebates here!
This cell phone app helps you make money off your grocery receipts. Yup, for real! You use it after you go grocery shopping and use your receipt. It’s basically a rebate app, so you can earn anywhere from 50 cents to $5 off everything you buy.
My favorite part about Ibotta is that it’s not always brand specific, like a lot of coupons are. So you’ll be able to scan “any brand of bread” for 50 cents off, etc. If you do coupon – you can STILL use Ibotta and get a rebate.
For the diehard couponers out there, this will often result in getting an item for FREE. When you sign up, you will receive a $10 cash bonus when you make your first scan. Join Ibotta here!
I have made thousands of dollars over the past few years from taking surveys online!
There are a handful of companies that I love to use and earn cash back into my PayPal account, as well as reward points that I can use at places like Target, Walmart and Macy's.
Start a blog
I went from making $40/month to over $4,000/month in the span of six months. That’s crazy! Here is a tutorial that walks you through how to start a blog.
Blogging has totally changed my life. I even share my online income reports so other people can see how I got started and how I am growing.
Become an Uber or Lyft driver
Work your own schedule and make mad cash! I know plenty of drivers that work all kinds of different time shifts, whether it's working during rush hour, happy hour or in the evenings. Uber even offers bonuses and extra incentives all the time.
Start saving, even if it’s only a few dollars a week
Whether you want to start an emergency fund or a vacation fund, you have to start setting some money aside. If you’re like most people and struggle with saving, you should consider using Digit or Qapital.
Qapital is a totally free app that let's you decide how much money you want to save every time you make a purchase. You can pick from $1 all the way up to $5.
So let's say I spend $24.05 at the grocery store. Qapital will then transfer $1 to my savings account.
You can link as many debit cards or credit cards as you want to Qapital. So even if you use a credit card to make a purchase, you can pick one bank account to transfer the $1 to your Qapital saving account. Click here to learn more about Qapital.
Digit lets you save money each week from your checking account. What I really like about Digit is that it analyzes my bank account and determines how much I can really save per week.
Some weeks it might be $5 and other times it might be $20. You don’t have to worry about overdraft and can contribute less or more if you need to. You can learn more about Digit here.
The only downside to Digit is they charge $2.99 per month to use their service. I don’t mind the fee though since it’s helping me save money every week. If the fee stressed you out, use Qapital!
Rent out your space on AirBnB
Over the past couple of years, I have stayed at a handful of AirBnB's and saved a ton of money. I've been able to rent an entire house, condo and apartment instead of a room at a hotel. Have you ever thought about renting out your home for a weekend?
You can learn more about how to use AirBnB here. Using the link, you will also get a coupon for $40 off your first stay anywhere!
Do you shop at farmers markets?
Kristin, is the creator behind Believe In A Budget. She teaches others how to start a blog and how to side hustle. Her course, Pinterest Presence, helps bloggers + businesses drive traffic to increase their website's profitability. Click here to learn more!