How To Make Money Like A Millennial


Cindy Diffenderfer is the CEO of Orion Haus, a leader in the home sharing industry – turning everyday renters into real estate investors.

There are certain generational differences we may never overcome. It is harmless if you stream a show while your parents plan to tape it, but if your folks are looking for an escape from the 9-to-5 grind or simply want to pad their retirement portfolios, it may be time to help them rethink their earning potential.

Millennials may get a lot of grief for being social-media obsessed, but typically it’s the younger set who drives much of the innovation when it comes to building wealth. Unlike boomers, the path to financial comfort is no longer defined by working for the same company from graduation until retirement, or buying a house and living in it for 20-plus years.

While sharing gigs and crypto economies are all de rigueur for digital natives, it’s likely that those of an older generation may not understand how things like job-hopping or house-hacking can benefit their bottom line.

If you’re looking to help your parents or other boomers in your life explore some new ways to boost their bottom line, here are some ways to make money like a millennial.

Think like an entrepreneur.

Approximately one in three Americans has a side hustle according to a survey of over 2,000 people by Zapier. A mindset shift can reframe your prospects. Instead of thinking about what someone might want and how you can tailor skills to fit that need, turn that idea around. What are you already good at and who can use those talents? For example, someone who is an ace at woodworking may not find that talent useful in an office job, but that kind of handiwork has spawned thousands of cottage industries and side hustles on sites like Etsy and Handmade at Amazon.

Outsource your expertise.

Office job? Who needs one when the new connected economy has given nearly everyone the ability to work anytime, anywhere. With the demand for in-person work shrinking, the need for part-time or freelance work remotely has risen. According to a 2020 Upwork Freelance Forward report, 65% of freelancers who left an employer to freelance earn more than they did at their previous job. The opportunities for contract work may have shifted over the course of a generation from personal referrals to freelance marketplace sites, but the bottom line is that the opportunities are still there. Look to sites like Fiverr, Upwork or whatever site focuses on the appropriate area of expertise.

Turn free time into money time.

Even if you don’t have a skill set that translates to freelance work, if you’re able-bodied and willing, you can assist those who may be in need of help with light tasks or companionship. Look to a company like Papa or Naborforce that aim to place helpers with older adults who may need extra support. If you own a car, driving for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft may also be a palatable option.

Look into house hacking.

If the idea of renting out your house or even a room for a short term is unpalatable, there are other workarounds. A finished basement with a separate entrance or a convertible space over a garage might be possibilities. Or consider renting out unused spaces for storage, like an attic or garage. The goal is to think outside the regular four walls for a way to monetize some of the lesser-used spaces at home.

Teach a course.

A 2021 Gallup survey commissioned by Amazon found that 48% of American workers would switch to a new job if offered skills training opportunities. Sites like Udemy and Skillshare provide the framework for anyone to get started teaching to an online audience, letting your years of experience in any field become a starting point for someone else

Make your stuff work for you.

A 2015 PwC study projected that the sharing economy will rise to $335 billion dollars by 2025. The sharing doesn’t just apply to how you reside or ride. If parking is scarce in your area, you might rent out space in your driveway or rent out your car for a few hours via a site like Turo. Typically, a car-sharing company will also provide liability insurance for additional peace of mind. Lawnmowers, snowblowers and electric saws can also be put up for short-term rental via a site like Rent My Equipment.

There’s no one “right” way to make money in an ever-changing economy. But embracing the newest profit-making concepts can be a win-win for all involved. Millennials don’t get enough credit for pioneering the out-of-the-box ways to make money that in turn, have created tremendous opportunities for income outside of the traditional day job.


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