Best Side Hustles in Illinois

The cost of living in Illinois is on par with the national average. However, it’s always nice to earn some side cash, especially if you live in one of the more expensive areas of the state like Chicago or Springfield. If you want to pick up a side hustle to make extra money, luckily you have plenty of options. There are lots of gig opportunities throughout the Prairie State, including professional line sitting and selling stock photography. To help you generate additional income, here are the five best side hustles in Illinois. 

The 5 Best Side Hustles in Illinois 

Become a Professional Line Sitter 

If you live in Chicago, you may be able to start a side hustle as a professional line sitter. Many of Chicago’s museums, tourist attractions, and popular restaurants like Nutella Cafe have frustratingly long lines. Tourists who want to make the most of their vacation will often hire someone to wait in line for them so they don’t have to. Even if you don’t live in Chicago, you can still find clients interested in paying you to wait in line for new tech releases like the latest iPhone. 

You can earn up to $25 an hour just for holding someone else’s place in line. The best places to advertise your services are TaskRabbit, Craigslist, Facebook, and NextDoor. 

Sell Stock Photos 

Illinois has lots of unique landmarks from the Garden of the Gods to Millennium Park. If you’re a photography pro, you can take pics and videos of popular attractions and sell them on stock photography websites like Shutterstock and Getty Images. If you upload enough images, you can earn anywhere from $200 to $500 a month from this side hustle. 

Don’t have a fancy DSLR camera? No problem. Foap is an app that allows you to sell your smartphone photos and videos to brands that want authentic, user-generated marketing content. If your photos sell, you’ll take home about 50% of the profits. 

Start a Snow Removal Business 

If you have a snowblower or truck fitted with a snowplow, you should consider starting a snow removal business. Illinois gets an average of 22 inches of snow per year, so there’s lots of demand for snow removal services. You can earn $21 per hour or more as a snow removal technician, making this one of the best side hustles in Illinois.  

Become a Simulated Patient 

If you have good acting chops, you could become a simulated patient as your next side hustle. Simulated patients help medical students practice their bedside manner and diagnostic skills. You’ll get paid anywhere from $20 to $40 an hour to pose as a patient with a certain medical condition during a mock doctor’s appointment. The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois frequently hire simulated patients, so it’s worth applying to see if you can land this gig. 

Rent Rooms on Airbnb 

One of the best side hustles in Illinois is renting rooms in your home on Airbnb, especially if you live in Chicago. Every year millions of tourists flock to Chicago to explore the city and attend events like Lollapalooza. 

Because the demand for short-term rentals is high, you can earn a nice side income on Airbnb. Private rooms rent for an average of $50 to $80 per night. If you’re willing to rent your whole apartment and crash with friends, you could bring in $120 per night or more, especially when special events are happening downtown.

Before you list your place on Airbnb, make sure you’re complying with local laws for short-term rentals. If you’re in Chicago, for example, you’ll need to submit a short-term rental application to the city and pay an annual license fee of $500. You may also be required to collect taxes from your guests. 

If you live in the Prairie State, what are your favorite ways to make some extra cash? Share your side hustle tips in the comments section below! 

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