It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from: there’s a good chance that you could use some extra income.
This is especially true for those who might live in a small town and lack the opportunities that often exist in larger cities.
The United States might be a first-world country, but there are millions of Americans that are still a paycheck away from poverty and have no idea how to get rich in a small town.
While it’s easy to get down on yourself and feel like there aren’t any real ways to make money in a small town; the fact is that there are plenty of gigs and jobs in small towns that you might not have considered.
Here are some small town business ideas, side hustles, gigs, and jobs that can mean some real money in your pocket, and a potential new income stream in your life.
Our Favorite Side Hustles
Download these apps to make extra cash in your spare time. Get paid to complete surveys or take photos around your town.
- Survey Junkie
- 20M+ members
- Average survey payout is $.50 – $3.00
- Make money in your spare time
- Trustpilot rating of 4.5/5 from more than 30k+ reviews
- Premise Data
- Earn money for simple tasks
- Take photos of places in your city and get paid
- Over 10M users
- Get PayPal cash and free Bitcoin
- 11 Ways to Make Money in a Small Town
- 1. Food Truck Business
- 2. Camera Rental Business
- 3. Flipping iPhones
- 4. Get Your “Own” Money Back
- 5. Download Beer Money Apps
- 6. Get Paid to Lose Weight
- 7. Build a Phone Farm
- 8. Take Surveys
- 9. Get Paid to Walk into Local Stores
- 10. Get Paid to Walk Dogs
- 11. Farm Sitting
- Jobs in Small Towns: Finding What Fits
11 Ways to Make Money in a Small Town
One of the best ways to make money in a small town is to take on side gigs near you that you might actually enjoy. An obvious example is to consider driving for a ridesharing service, like Uber or Lyft.
If you enjoy driving, you will not only make money – you may actually end up meeting new people, expanding your network, and having fun at the same time.
If you have some extra time to drive on the nights and/or weekends, you can easily make an extra few hundred dollars a month.
But you probably already know about those kinds of jobs in small towns, so here are some refreshingly new small town business ideas and side income options.
1. Food Truck Business
Starting a food truck is a great business idea for a small town, as word will travel fast if your food is trendy and delicious.
You would benefit best from speaking with somebody in your town who already owns a food truck in order to learn more about the business. They can help you learn about startup costs, foot traffic, busy areas, and income potential.
If you’re not quite ready to invest money in a truck, this small town business idea is possible to start with a low-cost, used cart of a trailer and start selling at farmer’s markets or pop-ups.
An investment of less of $1,000 can probably pay off big if you stick with it.
2. Camera Rental Business
Depending on how small your town is, you can earn some money by renting your electronics to people.
If you have a fancy drone or DSLR camera lying around, then consider renting it out to people in your community who would pay you cash (cha-ching!).
Worried about having to market your services? Just list your goods in different free Facebook groups.
You can also consider buying an inflatable bounce house and rent those out. There is no limit to what people are willing to rent out and the market for it.
However, this isn’t a risk-free method how to make money in a small town. You’ll want to look into ways to insure your goods to protect yourself from damage or theft.
3. Flipping iPhones
I did this back in college and was profitable even in a small college town. I flipped 10 iPhones at an average of $103.44 of profit per cell phone.
The premise was simple: buy cell phones at a discount online and sell them for a profit using selling apps or Craigslist. That netted me a profit of $1,137.39 for one month’s work. For a college student, that’s not bad.
You can see how I did it in my cell phone flipping guide.
You don’t just have to stick with cell phones either, just take a look at the best items to flip on eBay.
4. Get Your “Own” Money Back
If you live in a small town, you might want to find every possible way to make some extra income. How about getting your OWN money back?
While it might sound strange, there are now plenty of apps that will actually refund/pay you money from your own purchases.
It should be noted that some of these apps do cost money, even if they can make you money in the long-term.
Earny, for example, has a subscription fee of $7.99 a month; it gives you money when prices drop on Amazon or deliveries are late.
You should also consider taking a look at Cushion, which helps you get money back from banks and other financial institutions that you are dealing with.
There are also ways to make money by doing things that you would already normally do.
Ibotta gives you cash back on groceries, and Rakuten gives you cash back for shopping online.
Honey automatically tests coupon codes for you at checkout.
You might also opt for a credit card that gives you a certain amount of cash back or travel rewards.
5. Download Beer Money Apps
Have you heard about beer money? It’s a community on Reddit with over 369k money makers who strive to earn extra cash on the side for their habits and needs.
They all have their own favorite beer money apps of choice, but this extra money is for non-essential payments, so don’t expect to get rich quick.
By using different beer money apps and websites you can definitely spend it on your different hobbies, luxuries or a pint of your favorite draft.
Survey Junkie is an easy way to earn some extra couple of bucks.
6. Get Paid to Lose Weight
There are other ways to make passive income, as well. Let’s say that you are looking to get back in shape – HealthyWage is an app that will actually pay you to lose weight!
This is a win-win situation, considering that you are actually improving your health while making passive income in a small town.
It works by setting up a HealthyWager, which is a personal weight loss goal, and striving to meet it so you can get your prize offer.
The prize calculator gives you a prize offer based on your states (current weight, weight loss goal). If you meet your goal then the prize is yours, if you don’t then your money goes to support HealthyWage.
7. Build a Phone Farm
If you have a bunch of old phones lying around you can start generating a decent amount of money with a phone farm.
It generally works by using old phones and downloading money making apps that’ll pay you passive income for watching videos and other odd tasks.
You just run these apps in the background and earn real money, so it works as a way how to make money in a small town or really anywhere.
Some of the most popular apps people use are Swagbucks and InboxDollars.
The bottom line is that you can really make passive income with phone farming even if you’re living in a small town.
8. Take Surveys
If you have free time, you might want to consider filling out surveys to make some money.
One of the advantages of taking surveys is that you don’t need to invest anything to start profiting and signing up for the top survey sites is always free.
There are many side gigs out there that might require some money upfront, but this isn’t the case when it comes to taking surveys.
Survey Junkie is a free survey app that will pay you through Paypal, and many consider it to be the best way to make money through surveys. Survey Junkie also pays users to try new products and participate in focus groups, as well.
You can also make money through Swagbucks, one of the most well-known “rewards” websites in the world.
Other good survey sites include My Points and Opinion Outpost.
9. Get Paid to Walk into Local Stores
You also might want to look into Shopkick, an app that will pay you to walk into certain stores in your village, town, or city. This is definitely a passive income idea that works.
Once you download the app, you’ll get “kicks” for walking into different stores in your small town and scanning items.
For example, for some stores, you can claim 25 kicks just for scanning any item. 500 kicks is the minimum needed to redeem a gift card, which you can earn in two weeks or so.
10. Get Paid to Walk Dogs
If you love pets, you might consider taking a look at Rover, an app that will pay you money to walk dogs.
Rover also happens to be the largest network of dog-walkers and pet-sitters in the nation.
You can end up doing something that you love while also making money at the same time.
One reason why Rover might be a good choice is because even part-time walkers can earn thousands of dollars per month.
According to Gigs Done Right, rover sitters and walkers can earn an average of $1,000 per month or more.
When you consider that 44% of Americans have a dog; it’s easy to see how there is money to be made from Rover even if you don’t live in a city that has millions of people living in it.
11. Farm Sitting
Similar to pet sitting. People need somebody to feed their animals and water their gardens while they are gone.
Older folks need help with milking cows and doing odd jobs. Sometimes people need a helper for projects around the barn.
Tell everyone you know, post on Facebook, and hang signs on bulletin boards around town.
It can be a super profitable business for someone who grew up on a farm and knows agriculture.
Jobs in Small Towns: Finding What Fits
It’s important to remember that you should choose an easy side hustle idea or gig that fits your personality if you want to have a successful side hustle.
If you genuinely love driving and meeting people, it makes sense that you might consider Uber the best choice.
If you have always loved taking care of dogs and have done it for free for your friends, Rover could potentially be a real source of income to help you with your long-term financial plans.
Just because you don’t live in a big city, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of ways to make money in a small town and help create passive income to help improve your quality of life.
Brian Meiggs started My Millennial Guide, a personal finance blog, after beating $30,000 in student loan debt within 12 months of graduating college. He now shares tips for beating debt and helping Millennials make smarter money moves. If you are a Millennial who wants to earn more money or save more money, My Millennial can help.