A side hustle is pretty much what it sounds like – a source of income that you earn on the side, or to supplement your primary source of income.
Maybe you just need to pay off a credit card bill or save up for a vacation or holiday gifts. Maybe you’re a college student who just wants some extra spending money (that was my situation when I first started getting into side hustling).
No matter what your situation is, if you find the right side hustle, it can be a great way to earn some extra cash and actually do something that you enjoy.
If your side hustle really takes off, it could even turn into a full-time business. That’s the great thing about side hustles: flexibility and potential for growth. It’s really all up to you.
I also want to emphasize the word “hustle.” Some side hustles are a bit easier and less demanding than others such as taking surveys, something you can do more at your leisure. Others are going to require more time and effort if you want to see more money coming in.
Whether your goal is to just make a few dollars here and there or to eventually scale your side hustle into a full-time business, one thing is for sure: if it’s not right for you, it won’t stick.
There are a million different ways to make money out here — here’s how to find out which one is best for you.
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Think Smarter, Not Harder
One of the quotes I always keep in mind throughout my entrepreneurial journey is “do what you love and the money will follow.” You have to truly be honest with yourself about what you like to do or what you’re passionate about.
In creating Take Back 9 to 5, my goal isn’t only to establish multiple streams of income and live life on my own terms, but to also genuinely enjoy what I do whether it’s a side hustle or a full-time business.
When trying to decide on a side hustle that’s right for you, the key is to think about something that you already do, something that you’re already interested in and monetize it.
For example, let’s say you’re really into social media (interest). And because you’re so active with your own accounts, you know the ins and outs of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
How can you can use that knowledge and interest in social media to make you money? How about virtual assistance offering social media management services to entrepreneurs?
If you can make money from things that you already do or have an interest in doing, why not do that?
Here are some examples:
- If you crochet as a hobby and your friends are always coming to your for your hats and scarves, open an Etsy shop to start selling your items there.
- If you spend all of your free time on the computer playing games and browsing the Internet, get paid for your time by taking surveys or completing tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk.
- If you’re already commuting everyday, pick up a few extra passengers and make some money on your way home by driving for Lyft.
Is the lightbulb going off yet?
Remember: Think about the regular, everyday things you already do and what you’re good at, then think about how you can monetize that. Using that ideology is what’s going to lead you to the side hustle that’s right for you.
Make Sure It’s a Good Fit
Of course, you won’t get a true feel for something until you actually do it, do some research on the idea that you’re thinking about. Before you even get started, you should at least be able to get an idea of what the , and even read some first-hand experiences from people who have done it.
Word of advice: while it can be good to read about other peoples’ experiences, don’t get caught up in those stories. Your experience may not be the same as the next person’s.
It’s so easy to get pulled in by the blog post headlines that are like “Read how this stay-at-home makes $10,000 a month by selling homemade lemonade!” and say, “That’s so easy, I can do that!”
Not only have most of those people been at their side hustles for a while, sometimes even years, but some of these results aren’t typical. I wouldn’t even go so far as to say unrealistic (unless you really do see a claim about making $10k/mo. selling lemonade, then I’m calling BS), but just that you shouldn’t go into it looking for those kinds of immediate results. Set your own goals and avoid expectations.
For example, this woman has earned $100,000 by reselling her clothes on Poshmark. Impressive? Absolutely. Typical? Eh, probably not so much in the beginning.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t pursue a side hustle reselling clothes, but to do your research and find out what it takes to make the income you want and consider things like how much time you have to invest in your side hustle.
Now if you didn’t read that full article, I’ll tell you that she said she spends 60 to 80 hours a week shopping, posting listings, and fulfilling orders. So while she’s definitely doing her thing, it comes at a price.
Two of my favorite side hustles right now are Amazon Mechanical Turk or mTurk and blogging. mTurk has made me a very nice chunk of change over the years, but I don’t foresee it being something that I will pursue full-time. Blogging is my primary side hustle with a goal to earn a full-time income, so stay tuned for that!
Take the Quiz!
If you’re still looking for some ideas for your side hustle, I created this fun, 5-question quiz to help you figure it out. Give it a try and be sure to share your results!