11 Rocky Mountain Ways to Make Extra Money in Colorado
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If you live in Colorado, you’re lucky for many reasons.
First, you live in a beautiful state.
Second, you’re surrounded by some very nice folks.
Third, you’ve got plenty of ways to make extra money right in your backyard.
We found 11 ways to make money in Colorado. (These don’t include marijuana-related gigs because that’s a whole other green monster.)
1. Satisfy the People’s Munchies
Or cater to the people’s determination not to leave their couch. (That was me this past weekend.)
You can capitalize on laziness by delivering folks food through UberEATS.
If you’re in Denver, you might deliver from hot spots like The Delectable Egg, Black Eye Coffee or Brider. Or maybe someone just wants something from McDonald’s. You might pick up that order, too.
Then, you’ll deliver it.
The nice part about this side gig is you can work on your own schedule. You can deliver via vehicle or get some exercise by breaking out your bike.
Right now, UberEATS is available in Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs.
Bonus: If you don’t live in those cities — and don’t mind people — see if plain ol‘ Uber is available in your area.
2. Share Your Space — and Your State
Whether it’s ski season or hiking season, outsiders flock to your state. If you’ve got extra space, capitalize on it.
If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.
And there's no reason you can't be creative. We even found a guy that earns $1,380/month renting out a backyard tent on Airbnb!
Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.
Here are a few tips:
- Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events in your area.
- Be a good host, and make sure your place is stocked with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
- Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
3. Strike Up a Work-From-Home Business
There are tons of perks that come with working from home, including hanging out with your dog, wearing pajamas (or only a nice-looking top if you have a video call) and having a more flexible schedule. (Quick run at lunch? Why not?)
You can check out a ton of work-from-home jobs on our Facebook jobs page — or you can start your own business.
Take notes from Daniel Honan, who took online courses through Learn to be a Bookkeeper and then started his own bookkeeping business. He works about 40-hour weeks, but likes that he can spend more time with his wife, and makes about $50,000 a year.
You can check out the Learn to be a Bookkeeper course for free.
4. Hang Out at Your Favorite Brewery
Have you ever tried mystery shopping? Basically, it’s your job to go out to a grocery store, gas station, restaurant or, in this case, a bar and provide anonymous feedback. (Our founder, Kyle Taylor, used to make bank by mystery shopping.)
Now, you can get paid to mystery shop — or drink — at breweries in your area through Secret Hopper. (Clever, right?)
The company is looking for detail-oriented beer-drinkers to hop around to different breweries and objectively rate and review their experiences.
All you have to do is sign up with your information, then it’ll contact you when you’re needed.
5. Place a Bet on Your Health
The American College of Sports Medicine ranked the fittest metropolitan areas in America, and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood came in seventh place.
Not bad, right? (I’m looking at you, you insane hikers, climbers, skiers and mountain-bikers.)
If you haven’t joined the movement (get it?) and need some motivation, try signing up for HealthyWage. Basically, you place a bet on how much weight you can lose and, if you meet your goal, you get paid.
For example, Angie Richards bet she could lose 40 pounds in six months. She ended up losing 52 pounds and won $1,200.
Colorado makes for the perfect backyard gym, so take advantage of it!
6. Walk Some Friendly Pooches
Disclaimer: This is how my boyfriend used to pocket extra money when he lived in Denver.
He signed up for Rover, an app that makes it easy to advertise your dog-walking services. He charged $10 per visit, which was on the low end, and had about three furry customers per day.
You can also take note from this stay-at-home mom, who earned an extra $6,000 a year through Rover.
There are other apps you can try, too, like DogVacay, which also caters to feline friends if that’s more your style.
7. Sell Your Unwanted Gear — or Anything, For that Matter
Did your kids outgrow those ski pants? Or did you finally invest in new camping gear?
You can sell almost anything on a platform like letgo. It’s free to post the items you want to sell and connect with locals who are looking to buy.
It’s the perfect way to declutter — and make some extra money.
8. Earn Money Back After Each King Soopers Trip
Or Trader Joe’s. Or Whole Foods. Or, chances are, whatever grocery store you shop at, Ibotta will have you covered.
This certainly isn’t a side gig, but you can earn some good money back using Ibotta, a Denver-based app that offers cash back for anything from groceries to Amazon orders to hotel stays.
All you have to do is download the free app, choose your favorite retailers, then add cash-back opportunities. (Not to brag or anything, but in about four months, I’ve earned $70 back.)
If you download the app now, you’ll earn a $10 bonus after your first rebate.
9. Monetize Your Instagram Account
If you’re into Instagram, photography or even fashion, Colorado serves as the perfect backdrop to a successful Instagram account.
You have several options in making money from Instagram. A successful social media influencer, Shelcy Joseph, wrote about how she makes $1,600 a month on the side.
10. Rent Your Unused Stuff to Your Neighbors
Nope. You don’t need to go knocking door-to-door to see if your neighbors want to rent out your mountain bike for the weekend.
Denver-based app, Fluid Market, makes it easy to monetize all the “stuff” you don’t use all the time. (In fact, some people refer to it as the “Airbnb of Stuff.”)
Vehicles are the most popular rentals. Think: Folks come to town and want to drive up to FoCo for the day, taking the long way home through Estes Park. (sigh… memories).
Pickup trucks are also a hot commodity for landscaping projects, big moves or IKEA treks.
You can also rent out gear like tents, paddleboards and kayaks, as well as tools like a pressure washer or ladder.
Fluid Market’s million dollar insurance policy protects your items from damage, theft or loss, so no worries there.
Lenders can easily bank thousands of dollars a month, according to the app’s representatives – top users are even making over $20,000 a month while still working their day job
Got something someone else would want to borrow? Peruse the app, and post your goods for free.
11. Self-Publish a Book and Make Money Over Time
Got a hobby? Consider yourself an expert of something?
Consider self-publishing an ebook on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform (KDP). That’s what Penny Hoarder Steve Gillian did when he lived in Colorado.
He decided to take a break from exploring the mountains and wrote an ebook about ultralight backpacking. He has a background in writing, and it only took him a few days to write.
He didn’t have to pay a thing to get it published, and he made as much as $350 some months. In all, he made about $2,000.
If you think you could do something like this, read Gillian’s guide to self-publishing.
Hope these strategies help!
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s waiting for The Penny Hoarder to open a Colorado-based office so she can go back. But she’s not holding her breath. 😉