Dear Sam: I keep hearing about side hustles as a way to earn extra income. I’d love to have one, but I don’t even know where to start! What are your thoughts on them? — Alex
Dear Alex: I am an avid supporter of side hustles! According to a 2018 Bankrate study, nearly 4 in 10 (37%) American workers have a side job making about $8,000 annually. So you most certainly are not alone in seeking out a source of supplemental income.
Here are some steps I recommend taking as you seek some side opportunities.
Consider your reasoning for wanting to pick up what is typically called a “side gig.” Are you looking for a creative outlet or is money your main motivator? Are you wanting to turn your side job into your full-time job? Are you seeking more flexibility in the future? These questions can help you narrow down what sorts of gigs you are looking for.
Now it’s time to research possible gigs. If you are wanting to explore new interests, it helps to document your hobbies and interests. What are you already doing? Can it be monetized? For example, I recently worked with a client who works full-time at a law firm. Outside of work she loves cooking different dishes and decided to start teaching a cooking class for people interested in improving their cooking skills. Now she earns extra income from her weekly classes doing something she already was doing!
If you’re mainly looking for extra income, try exploring side hustles that are known for paying well and perhaps a little more consistently. Some of the most popular ones are rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft, TaskRabbit, Fiverr, Airbnb, and so many more! Examine the rates people earn where you are located because it varies. Maybe even see if there is someone you can speak with currently working in the side gig you are interested in so you can get a feel for what it’s like.
Perhaps you are looking to create something of your own that will replace your full-time job. Be aware that there are some specific obstacles you will need to consider and overcome. Leaving your full-time job means you will be responsible for many things that your employer likely already provides. Consider your healthcare, retirement, and disability options if you decide to make your side hustle your full-time job, and how you will ensure you are covered. Make sure you are prepared for fluctuating income and have enough money saved so you are financially stable as you transition.
Check out the website sidehustlenation.com to explore an extensive list of possible side gigs; when selecting options for yourself, be sure they align with your current goals.
If you are motivated by something, try it! The beauty of a side hustle is that they let you explore other avenues of income while not acting as your main source of income. If you don’t like something, or don’t find enough value in it, you can move on to trying something else. The gig economy is always evolving, so the opportunities are limitless!
I’d love to hear about any side hustles my readers have. Email me to share your side hustle successes!