6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Morning Commute

Unless you work right down the street from your office, or you work from home, then you are forced to suffer through a daily commute. If you commute by car, you're probably spending a decent amount on gas, as well as adding wear and tear to your vehicle. And if you're convinced that car commuting is the only way for you, then calculating the cost of your commute might just be enough to make you change your mind.

Commuting via public transportation isn't that much fun, either. It might save you gas money, but you're swapping that for longer travel times and being surrounded by crowds of strangers. But what if you could make some extra cash during that travel time?

Here are six smart ways to boost your income, as well as saving on the equivalent journey by car. (See also: 10 Financial Moves You Can Make During Your Commute)

1. Buy and Sell on eBay

You've got clutter or unwanted items to clear away. You're thinking of selling them through eBay or a similar site, but getting around to listing sales is exactly the sort of fiddly task that often gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.

Switch your mindset and use listing your spare stuff as a way to turn dead commute time into an earner. Make sure you have quality photos of your items taken in advance and use the commute to research the market, perfect your listing, and respond to bidder questions. For bonus points, use the 10-day listing option on a Thursday, and bidders will have two full, high-traffic weekends to view and bid.

2. Write

If you enjoy writing, then why not use your commute time to develop a freelance writing side hustle? Online magazines and blogs frequently look for freelance contributions from subject matter experts, so pick your niche and find the sites that fit. Many have a "Write For Us" page which explains their freelance contributor policy, to help you figure out how to move forward. Don't think too hard about how to commercialize this sideline, though, just get writing to perfect your craft and find your voice.

Scoring paid work is easier if you have already developed an online presence, which can be done by writing your own blog or contributing articles for free to high traffic sites who will credit you. It's not going to turn you into an overnight millionaire, but can be a fun way to explore your creative side while making a little cash.

3. Coach Online

The advent of digital coaching means that not only can you access the services of a coach much more easily, you only need a smartphone to become a paid coach in your area of expertise.

Coach.me is a goal tracking and coaching app that is forging a new future for digital coaching. And people who have already succeeded in achieving a particular goal can coach others to replicate their success.

After taking a digital coaching certificate, you can get started in text-based coaching, creating a profile page to attract clients, and getting access to the platform's marketing support. In return, Coach.me takes a cut from coaching earnings. Check out the competition, as some goals have many active coaches already. But with app users wanting support with everything from diet advice to language learning, you could cut your own niche here, and communicate with your clients during your commute on the bus.

4. Craft and Sell

This one might not work so well for you if your chosen creative expression is monumental masonry or cordon bleu cookery. However, if your passion is knitting, crochet, embroidery, graphic design, manga drawing, cartoons, or anything else that can feasibly fit in your bag, then use your commute time to create and sell.

Etsy is the classic marketplace for crafted goods, although eBay or similar sites could also be good places for selling your stuff. Start small and sell to family and friends, or attend a craft fair where you can get feedback from your customers and nail down your pricing and packaging. Then widen your market by putting your goods online and building a customer base using social media — which you can also attend to while sitting on the train.

5. Get Qualified

If the creative side hustle isn't your thing, then how about using your commute to achieve a relevant qualification that you can use as leverage to get a pay raise? Or take a course in something completely different that could be a springboard for a whole new venture?

Even if you're still stuck driving your car to work, you can use the time to stretch your brain by listening to podcasts. Try financial information podcasts to help you manage your money better, or business and leadership topics to help you make a real impact in your day job. If a podcast can give you the negotiating tips you need to score a raise, then it's time well invested!

6. Do Your Homework

Some people simply can't get enough of homework — even when they finish up their education. Because for some people, helping others with their homework is a lucrative sideline.

If this is up your alley, you could try advertising as a homework helper at a freelance marketplace like People Per Hour, or a semi specialist agency like The Pensters. If you have a degree yourself in the subject you want to work with, you could try All My Homework or Ace My Homework. These platforms all work slightly differently, often with students posting the homework assignment they need help with, for writers to bid for the work. The student then leaves feedback, such as the grade the work achieved, for others to review. Check out the individual site terms if you're tempted by this commute money spinner.

How do you stay busy on your commute? Share with us in the comments!

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Guest's picture
Kamal Awan

Hi Claire Millard,
I really get amazed to read this., you were absolutely right , If we commute by car, we're probably spending a decent amount on gas, as well as adding wear and tear to our vehicle, and Commuting via public transportation isn't that much fun, either. It might save you gas money, but you're swapping that for longer travel times and being surrounded by crowds of stranger. you told us about Buy and Sell on eBay, Coach Online, etc Given so much info in it, i really appreciate you for sharing this post.

Guest's picture

Take these with grain of salt. Commutes are usually most, bumpy, crowded ( elbow smacking), interrupted by the train /bus operator slamming the brakes, and other excitement. I hope that you didn't need what you were holding, because it just slid down the aisle of the train car.

That said, I can usually get email, Facebook posts, and some Lynda.com videos done during my commute.