Side Hustle: PHX

August 22, 2019
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By Jessica Dunham & Craig Outhier

5 Side Hustles for the Valley

From retired Boomers to peaking Gen Xers to motivated millennials, every generation could use a little something on the side. Here’s a guide to creating your own alternate revenue stream.

Tips for Getting Started 
“In a side hustle, you’re trading time or expertise for money,” explains Jennifer Ward, Arizona president of the Employers Council. “Generally, expertise-based side hustles are more lucrative, so think about your interests or expertise. You might be an expert gardener, an avid knitter or know everything there is to know about Pokémon. Next, think about how you can sell the product of that expertise to those who don’t want to do it themselves, consult with someone on how to improve their skills in that area, or teach someone how to be an expert.”

1. Rent gear to visitors.

“The Valley is a popular vacation destination, and parents who travel don’t want to lug strollers or playpens on an airplane,” Jennifer Ward says. “Rent that equipment out on BabyQuip.”
2. Host your home.

Ward offers a fair point. Side gigs that cater to the Valley’s tourism market can be successful. Take advantage of the lodging needs of travelers during the high season by becoming an Airbnb host. Fun fact: ranked Scottsdale as the No. 1 city in the U.S. for short-term rental profitability, based on average daily rate ($301), occupancy rate (81 percent) and home appreciation.
3. Breed Arabian Horses

You’ve heard of flipping houses? Try flipping horses. Founded in 1955, the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has made the Valley an international capital of equine breeding. Startup cost: $2,000 and up for a broodmare, $1,000 and up for a stud. And whatever they charge for a stable, of course.
4. Drive for rideshares.

Our city’s geographic vastness can be your income source. If you have nights or weekends free, earn extra cash by driving for Lyft or Uber. You can even adjust your setting to Destination Mode to make money on your regular commutes by accepting riders along your route, so that daily Downtown-to-Buckeye drive isn’t so costly – or lonely.
5. Serve beverages to golfers.

We enjoy our share of golf courses in the Valley, and golfers enjoy their share of cold drinks on the greens. Fill up free Saturdays with a part-time job as a beverage cart attendant. Great for social side hustlers who like being outside.
Courting Impact Investment:
Why & How

Impact investors – individuals, foundations and corporations – assist companies whose aim is to generate a positive social or environmental impact on the community. Good examples of businesses that might appeal to impact investors include a sustainable urban farmer or nonprofits like Desert Botanical Garden. 

Impact investors support the company’s socially driven mission, offer expertise as advisers and help organizations raise capital, all with an expectation of a financial return on investment. For side hustlers and small businesses with value-based missions, impact investors or other fundraising organizations are a big help. Check out these local and national resources: 

Arizona Community Foundation

Crowdrise by GoFundMe

Double the Donation


The Phoenix Philanthropy Group

Social Venture Partners Arizona

Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

Side Hustler: Iain Lundy

Twelve years ago, Scottish-born Iain Lundy began tracing his family roots, uncovering ancestors whose life stories rivaled that of fiction. Lundy became hooked. Today, the self-taught genealogist — who earned a certificate of achievement in genealogy from Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde and is a member of the Arizona Council of Professional Genealogists – spends his free time mapping family trees for others.  

Describe the journey from passion project to side hustle.

Through the Caledonian Society of Arizona, I helped staff the genealogy tent at the Phoenix Scottish Games, and took part in genealogy sessions at local libraries. These events provided me with clients, and I realized this was a viable sideline. Scottish genealogy is my specialty, but I don’t limit myself to just Scotland. I will research genealogy from anywhere.

How much time do you spend on your side gig?

It varies. Genealogy can be time-consuming, especially when you hit a brick wall. The addictive nature of the work means the hours mount up. I probably do 20-30 hours a week.

What is your day job?

I’m a journalist. I worked in newspapers in Scotland for 40 years, and since moving here in 2015, I’ve worked full-time as a website content writer and handled freelance assignments. I also completed a book, Between Daylight and Hell: Scots who Left a Stain on American History.

What is your favorite thing about your side hustle?

The names on the tree are interesting enough, but what gives life to the “skeleton” are the stories. Some are good, others not so good, but every family has a little bit of a scandalous past.

Find Lundy at

Local Resources for Side Hustlers

“At its core, a side hustle is a business,” Ward says. “Organizations like the Arizona Small Business Association and the Better Business Bureau can provide training and resources to help you develop the business acumen to succeed.”

Arizona Small Business Association

Better Business Bureau of the Pacific Southwest

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