Every Wednesday, we will look into different side hustles as a way to make more money. Today we will see how you can make a little cash from parties.
Help plan the party
This is pretty self explanatory. Your friend is throwing a party and lamenting she is overwhelmed with the planning and running all the errands. Offer to take that burden off her hands for a fee. Your help can be targeted, printing the invitations, booking a clown, taking care of the food or hiring a caterer, or if you know about the different aspects of party planning, you could offer to plan the whole event. Your price should take into account the time you are saving the person, and the quality of the service you will deliver. For $100, no one will expect a state of the art party, but for 10% of the total costs, they will have higher standards. Start low, build your clientele and raise your rates as you go.
Finding party planning gigs: You can ask the moms at school once your kid is invited to a birthday party, or if they just had another child and are talking about baptism. Baby showers, weddings and Bar Mitzvah are also typical events that will welcome extra help. Maybe they already got a quote from a party planner that was too expensive for them, lower it by 30 or 40% and you should still get ahead, since you have no staff, no office, and no marketing fees.
You can also find party planning gigs on Taskrabbit.
Bake a cake
I have previously talked about my friend who started to bake cakes for kids after she baked an awesome Spiderman cake for her kid’s birthday. All the kids who attended came back home to tell their parents they wanted the same for their birthday. She bakes the cake and covers it with a custom glaze, like a cupcake. Her clientele grew from birthday cakes to wedding cakes and now she even makes training sessions to teach the moms how to customize their cakes.
You can start with a cake from a bakery that you just decorate with the person’s name and number of years he or she turned, and learn from there how to do more elaborate decorations. Another friend even bought a cake topping printer and ships the toppings so you can put them on top of your own cake or cupcake.
Finding a baking gig: Again, most of your customers will come from word of mouth. As most events are held on the weekends, this is an easy side hustle to start on top of a day job. Go the extra mile for your first customers and try to attend the party if possible, so you can give your number to potential clients.
Rent your space
Is your house set on a beautiful piece of land? You could consider renting the garden for events. Even better if you have an empty barn that can host the meal in case of rain. Many people do not have the space for their big gathering and are ready to rent one. You can either rent your place as is, or team with a company that will provide chairs, tables, and other party gear. They may take their share of profit but can also refer some of their customers to you, increasing your business.
Finding a renting gig: Put an add on Craigslist, and try to take beautiful pictures, even better if you have pictures from a personal event you already hosted there. Give details about the rate per night, whether you offer rooms for the wedding party to sleep afterward, and how much cooking they will be able to do on site. You can also try to list your site on Airbnb, some luxury mansions rent for company events at a rate that is almost that of a monthly rent.
Make a show
If you have any artistic skills, you could try to find gigs at parties. Magicians, clowns, balloon artists, makeup artists, story-tellers… the list goes on. There will be some setup time, even some preparation at home if you are required to perform in a specific way, but you can make good money out of your passion skill.
Finding a show gig: The local school is a great place to start from. If you manage to organize a show at the school, the children will talk about you to their parents and you could get hired for a birthday party. Having your own little website can be useful too, with a name like magiciankansascity.com, you can be sure parents will find you easily. Lastly, Craigslist is once more the go to place, as well as the local ad board.
Play music or DJ
Professional DJs and bands are pretty expensive. If you have an iPod, you can rent amps for the night and with a couple of playlist plan the music for a whole event.
Same thing if you enjoy playing with your band, many couples will be happy to have live music at their weddings if your rates are reasonable. As the wedding party often travels to attend the wedding, it can be more complicated to score recurring business from the event but any exposure is good to get.
Finding a music gig: Offer around, to your friends getting married or throwing a party. Even if it is a small gathering, people don’t want to be bothered by changing the playlist and may be happy to pay you a few bucks to take care of it. One of my friends was a DJ at his brother’s wedding, and lamented not being able to enjoy the event. Take that off their hands, and offer your services. Once more, it would be good to have your own personal website so people can find you online as well.
Catering doesn’t have to be a big deal with the finest finger foods, it can be a simple meal of burgers and salads, but you are making people’s life easier by doing it yourself. Edward got married for less than $200 including food, that is proof that you can setup a meal for the guests with a low budget. If your cooking skills are ok but not amazing, especially in the plate decoration department, offer to set up a buffet. With a few salads, cold cuts, maybe roasted chicken and mash if they want something hot, or something fun like a DIY burrito bar where the guests can assemble their burritos out of several fillings.
You can charge the price of a local buffet, say $10 per person, and if you shop carefully, make a decent profit. Find recipes that can be prepared at home the previous day and eaten cold, or easily heated on site. When I have a group of people over, I often make quiche, or Spanish tortilla, and cut it in small pieces on toothpicks. You can buy a cauliflower, keep it whole and put dice of mozzarella and cherry tomatoes on it.
Finding catering gigs: You will need to check the food regulations of your councils, or work for friends and family first if you are unsure. You don’t want a customer with food poisoning ruining your business. If you cook Mexican, you could go to a nearby Mexican restaurant and add catering to their food options. Have a photo set ready to send via email if you get inquiries.
I have been a waitress at several weddings and enjoyed it because it pays quite well (I got about $150 per night) and is held on Saturday night so you can perfectly do it on top of your day job. It will leave you tired, and will end late so don’t plan anything ambitious on the next day.
Finding waitressing gigs: I worked with a catering temp agency. The organized the whole food catering and staff, and you could choose what dates you were available or not. If you know a friend of a friend who is getting married, it doesn’t cost anything to ask, since you will not be invited, if you can work as staff.
It is also common to have a baby-sitter at weddings so parents can enjoy the party without their kids. You get paid a fixed rate for the whole night, but make sure you agree on a time limit, so you don’t end up with hyperactive kids still dancing around at 5am.
How else can you make money with parties? Have you ever tried?