7 creative side-hustles to keep you afloat in Hawaii

So…you’re either planning to move to Hawaii, or you’re already here and you don’t plan on leaving. We totally get it — you’re addicted to Hawaii.

Obviously, one of the first things you’ll need is money. But unless you’re a really exceptional surfer, Hawaii is not exactly the place to launch an ambitious career.

Worry not, adventurer! There’s plenty of work here. You just need to know where to look and what to look for. The “secret” to making it in Hawaii is to have more than one hustle going on at once.

Here’s our short list of side-hustles, hand-picked just for you:

Food truck / shave ice shop

Food trucks (and shave ice stands) are everywhere throughout the Islands, and you can always find one that’s hiring.

Experience helps, but it’s not necessary. And you won’t get rich. But you do get to wear beach clothes all day while chatting with all kinds of interesting people.

Bonus: the food and shave ice are usually on the house.

Property manager / housecleaner

Hawaii is teeming with second homes — meaning homes people don’t live in full-time. Many second home owners offset their costs by renting out their space to vacationers on vacation rental websites like Sunny Maui Vacations, Airbnb or VRBO.

Because people come and go so often around here, property managers and their team stay busy all year round. If you’re looking for reliable cash, become a reliable housecleaner. A reliable housecleaner makes good money because they’re so hard to come by!


Got an interesting perspective and like to write, take photos or make videos? Hawaii is an endless source of irresistible content, and starting a niche blog from Hawaii might be for you.

A well-trafficked blog could net you some side cash, or better yet — position you into place of influence, connections and having fun. Popular bloggers often use their blogs to get exposure, better job leads and work on other awesome projects as well.


Being a bartender in Hawaii can seem cliche, but who cares? It’s all about fast cash, good times and meeting TONS of happy, good-looking people from all over the world.

Another great perk of bartending in Hawaii is that customers are almost never depressed — they’re either high on vacation or locals who get out to “talk story” and celebrate life, not drown sorrows in the bottle.

Tour boat deck hand

Let’s not forget that Hawaii is surrounded entirely by ocean, and that ocean is filled with boats that leave their ports — all day, every day.

You can choose anything from small fishing charters to snorkel tours to shark cage tours to leisure sails to huge interisland cruise ships, and everything in between.

Uber/Lyft driver

Yes, Uber and Lyft are in Hawaii now, and it’s a great way for car owners to make extra cash. The popular rideshare services haven’t yet saturated Hawaii, so you’re pretty likely to pick up some decent business.

You might even do better if you drive in a smaller, more remote town. Many smaller towns throughout Hawaii aren’t served by taxis, and both tourists and locals often need rides (i.e., to and from the airport).

Surfboard repair

Surfing is a year-round sport in Hawaii, which means that surfboard repair is a year-round gig — there’s always a need for it.

Board repair isn’t that hard to pick-up, either: materials such fiberglass, sand paper and resin are fairly cheap, and you can learn how to patch and seal board dings by watching or helping an expert (also try YouTube).

When you’re ready to start, just hang your sign on nearby coconut trees or telephone poles. Just make sure you have a clean, well-ventilated place to work — surfboard resin is toxic to breathe.

Photo credits: mauitime, hilkebo, Maui Yacht Charters, igods, Exploration Hawaiiramseyk, Yelp

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at info@sunnymauivacations.com or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui (chat with our in-house Concierge at extension 71).

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