Big State, Big Opportunities: 11 Flexible Ways to Make Money in Texas

Young woman brushing her horse
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Yeah, yeah. You’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it.

Everything is bigger in Texas.

If that’s the case, why aren’t your savings bigger? We get it. Saving money is no easy feat, especially when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. One way to break the cycle is to find ways to earn extra money.

How to Make Money in Texas

Because everything is bigger in Texas, the money-making opportunities should be bigger, right?

We put together a list of ways to earn extra money in the Lone Star State.

1. Find a Work-From-Home Job

One of our favorite ways to earn a little extra money (without leaving the comforts of home, sweet home) is to land a work-from-home job.

You can find one of these opportunities in almost any industry — from customer service to graphic design to health care. If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend searching for work-from-home jobs at ZipRecruiter.

ZipRecruiter automatically geo-targets your search, meaning it pulls up opportunities available in your area. (Yes, even work-from-home jobs have state restrictions.)

Spend some time perusing the listings. If you want even more options, scroll through our list of work-from-home job search sites.

2. Invest in Real Estate (Without Playing Landlord)

Real estate is booming across the country, but who wants to play landlord to rowdy college kids? Or cough up a huge down payment?

You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. A company called Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).

(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

Interested? Get started with Fundrise here.

3. Stop Doing Favors, and Rent Your Truck out Instead

Remember how proud you felt when you bought that truck? You were on top of the world — until your family and friends started asking for favors: Can you help me move this weekend? Make a Home Depot haul for me? Tow that trailer full of trash to the dump?

That big, empowering truck you bought has backfired (not literally, we hope).

Instead of feeling committed to all these favors for family, friends and friends of friends of friends, why not let someone rent your truck — and pay you per hour?

Through the online peer-to-peer truck share marketplace Fluid Market, you can lend your truck to community members. Earnings on pickup trucks and cargo vans range up to $12,000 a year, according to the platform.

Here’s how Fluid Market works:

  • List your truck. Be sure to have the VIN and some quality photos available. If you do, the process takes about 10 minutes tops.
  • Promote your listing. Use anything and everything — from Facebook community groups to Nextdoor. Fluid says earnings are notably higher when someone self-promotes.
  • Manage your listing. Opt into the “instabook” setting, where users can automatically book your truck without pending your approval. Set up a lockbox for the keys, and bam. Passive income.

Let’s address some concerns real quick: When you list on Fluid Market, the platform covers all vehicles with $300,000 in car rental liability insurance as well as coverage against theft and physical damage. You can also feel at ease because each renter’s identity is verified with a DMV background check. Payments come weekly, via direct deposit.

And hey, no heavy lifting required. Now when everyone flocks to you — err, your truck — nudge them over to your listing on Fluid Market.

4. Rent out Your Extra Room (or Tent or Couch)

Have a spare room? Might as well use Airbnb to make some money by renting it out.

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 found a guy who earns $1,380 a month renting out a backyard tent on Airbnb.

A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.

Here are some tips:

  • Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events.
  • Be a good host, and stock your place 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.

Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

5. Find Unclaimed Money

Did you know state treasuries throughout the U.S. have more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds? Just sitting around!

In 2017, one South Carolina man hit the jackpot. He got a phone call from his state treasurer letting him know he was entitled to $763,000 in unclaimed money. That’s, like, 63 years of rent.

We advise you to be careful of calls like this. Chances are, it’s a scam. But you can take matters into your own hands and see if you have any unclaimed money floating around.

Start by checking with the Texas Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property site. You can also check with Missing Money.

6. Save a Horse, Drive a Lyft

Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?

Try driving with Lyft!

Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

We talked to Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $750 a week as a driver.

Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!

Because it’s simple to switch between apps, many Lyft drivers also sign up as a driver partner with Uber.

As a partner driver with Uber, you’re an independent contractor. You set your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.

If you want to give it a try, here are a few things to keep in mind: You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (three years if you're under 23 years old), have a valid U.S. driver's license and pass a background check.

Finally, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state and be cover

7. Become a Taco Journalist

OK, this one might be a bit cliché, but you guys have the best tacos, so why not write about them? Ever heard of a taco journalist?

According to Eater, Texas has a designated taco journalist, Mando Rayo. Fun fact: In 2017 Rayo, along with state representative Gina Hinojosa, crafted a bill that’d make tacos the official dish of Texas (instead of chili).

If tacos aren’t your thing, trust us when we say you can get paid to write just about anything. Plus, as a freelancer, you can work as much or little as you want, so this makes a nice side gig.

Here are some of our favorite freelance writing resources.

8. Start Your Own Business

If you have a passion, why not monetize it?

Take notes from Dallas-based calligrapher, Lyndsay Wright. She started practicing calligraphy while in graduate school and eventually struck up business: Lyndsay Wright Design.

In addition to designing wedding and baby shower invitations, she also caters to one of her more prominent clients, the Dallas Mavericks.

Of course, Wright’s calligraphy fame didn’t happen overnight. She shared a few tips on how to start your own calligraphy business, which, really, could apply to any creative side gig.

9. Get Paid to Go to Football Games

Or attend concerts, conventions, plays and other public events.

Mystery shopping company BestMark is recruiting “shoppers” to attend “sporting events, concerts, conventions, plays and many other public events.” As a mystery shopper, it’s your job to pose as a consumer and to take notes of the products or services you’re reviewing.

To qualify as a shopper at BestMark, you must:

  • Be 19 years old or older.
  • Have reliable transportation.
  • Have good written communication skills.
  • Be detail-oriented.
  • Have full access to internet (at work or home).

“If you’re fortunate enough to snag an assignment where you get to cover a concert, football game or another public event, you’ll be tasked with making note of how facilities are operated from the perspective of a patron,” the company says.

Check out other mystery shopping opportunities (including test-driving cars).

10. Work With Horses

We get it: Not everyone in Texas is a cowboy who saddles up a horse and rides to work each morning. Loud and clear (though it is fun to picture that). But according to the American Horse Council Foundation, Texas leads the herd in horse-count, with about nearly 800,0001 million in population.

You can get creative and capitalize on these beautiful creatures in a number of ways. One of my former roommates, who’s a Dallas native, suggested cleaning stalls. And, sure, that’s an option. But you can also earn good money as a horse braider.

Take notes from Kat Tretina. She wrote about her experience braiding horses’ manes and tails before shows. In her first attempt at the gig, she made $500 in about six hours. From there, she worked her way up, charging up to $150 per horse. She averaged about $1,000 a month in profits, which helped her pay off student loans.

11. Find a Job Through Amazon

If you follow our work-from-home job opportunities, you’ve probably seen the ever-so-popular Amazon work-from-home customer service listing that pops up every few months.

You’ve also probably seen that it has state requirements — and Texas doesn’t make the list. Womp, womp.

That’s OK, though. There are plenty of other ways to make money though the retail mogul. Here are all your options for how to make money on Amazon, including selling items, delivering through Flex or self-publishing a book.

Plus, hey, Austin and Dallas made the shortlist for the company’s new headquarters, so even more opportunities than you think might be coming your way.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her brother attended the University of Texas at Austin and was probably (definitely) one of those rowdy tenants landlords didn’t want to deal with. (See: Fundrise.)

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