The cost of living is steadily rising and jobs aren’t as stable as they used to be. In the past, you could expect to go to college, land a decent-paying job with benefits, and stay there until you retire and get a nice cushy pension.
Nowadays, pensions are rare, many full-time jobs don’t even offer benefits, and the average millennial employee will switch jobs at least 10 times during their career. Oh and did I mention pay increases aren’t always generous either?
One solution many people have been considering is getting a side hustle. A side hustle is basically any extra work you do on the side of your main job to bring in extra money.
This is not a new concept. I was side hustling before the term was even coined and I’m sure many other people have been doing the same as well.
I’ve made tens of thousands of dollars side hustling over the past few years and earning extra money this way has enabled me to pay off my debt faster, save more money for the future, and build an online business I love that replaced my 9-5 job for good in 2016.
My absolute favorite thing about side hustles: You can make money doing whatever you want and give yourself a raise instead of waiting around for an employer to do it.
Whether you’re looking to make an extra $100 or $5,000 per month, this guide will help you learn everything you need to know about choosing a side hustle and making more money efficiently on the side.
Finding the Right Side Hustle For You
There are so many unique side hustles out there. So how do you find the best one for you? Whenever people ask me what they can do to make extra money, I always tell them to start with their skills and interests.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or discover medical cures in your basement. Start with what you know, enjoy, and are really good at. People will pay you for your expertise if it provides value and convenience.
While you could totally get a part-time job at a restaurant or delivering pizzas, you can also choose to do something that’s flexible and allows you to have more control over what you can earn.
In this guide, I’ll be going over more flexible, creative side hustles since the traditional options are already pretty well known.
To learn more about finding the right side hustle for you, I’d recommend checking out my step-by-step guide in this blog post.
Carving Out Enough Time to Side Hustle
One thing that deters people from either taking that initial step to earn more money or even continuing to maintain a side hustle is lack of time.
If you feel you don’t have enough time to side hustle, you’re not alone. In a sense, we’re all busy whether you’re working a full-time job, have kids to take care of, errands to run, or other responsibilities.
This is why time management is key if you want to make extra money. Shifting your mindset can also help. If you change your perspective, you’ll realize you probably can’t afford to not side hustle.
How much time to spend worrying about money or pinching pennies? Having a side hustle may require a time commitment, but it can also free up some time and help you feel more confident about your financial situation as well.
You’re not going to just wake up one day and realize you have extra time for a side hustle. You need to be intentional when carving out time to work on your venture.
This can mean doing things like waking up earlier or going to bed later. It can also mean limiting your priorities and outsourcing some tasks to other people in your household. I find that I’m more productive and get important things done when I plan for those tasks and add them to my calendar.
Check out more of my tips for finding the energy to side hustle here.
Low-Effort vs. High-Effort Side Hustles
Not all side hustles are created equal. Some opportunities require more effort than others. This is why it’s important to think about how much time and energy you have to dedicate upfront.
Low-effort side hustles may not have a high earning potential, but they are often easy to do and don’t have many requirements. This is perfect for someone who already has a jam-packed schedule and can’t commit to much additional work.
Some of my favorite low-effort side hustles include:
- Taking surveys
- Earning cash back – Yes, this can be a side hustle. Learn how I do it with Ebates!
- Loyalty rewards sites like Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars
- Mystery shopping
- Attending focus groups – Here’s my favorite one!
- Testing Websites – UserTesting will pay you up to $30 per hour to do this
- Renting out space in your home with Airbnb
- Walking dogs
- Driving for Uber – You can work as little or as much as you want with this side hustle
- Selling your photos to stock image websites
High-effort side hustles require more of your direct involvement and time. However, they can be pretty lucrative. If you’re looking to earn hundreds or several thousands each month with a side hustle, it’s possible and more likely to do through a high-effort side hustle.
If you’re going to go this route, again, it helps to choose an income idea that compliments your current skills and interests.
The only way my husband and I have been able to successfully side hustle for so many years is because we enjoy it. We like what we’re doing and often find it fun.
The way I see it, if you’re going to be working on the side of your full-time job, this means you could be sacrificing mornings, evenings, weekends, and even other events or experiences.
You might as well spend your time doing something you love. This can also help when it comes to sustainability which is what I’ll cover never.
Some of my favorite high-effort side hustles include:
- Freelance writing
- Virtual Assistant work
- Delivering groceries with Instacart
- Selling items online or in person
- Web design or programming
- Car repair and maintenance services
- Selling scrap metal
My All-Time Favorite Profitable Side Hustles
When I was paying off debt, I wanted to make as much extra money as I can. To this day, I still don’t mind doing more high-effort side hustles that tend to pay well.
If you’re looking to earn at least $1,000 per month or more, here are my favorite profitable extra income options.
For those who read my blog regularly, this should come as no surprise that freelance writing is #1 on this list. Freelance writing is one of the best ways to earn money online because you can set your own hours, choose your clients, and charge what you’re worth.
Freelance writers also tend to earn more than traditionally employed writers. As a freelance writer, you can work in whatever niche you please whether it’s finance, travel, higher education, parenting, fashion etc.
Whatever you have an interest in, you can write about it and use your experience and research to enhance your articles.
I work full time as a freelance writer and mainly write about personal finance and small business topics. I write articles from 500-words to 1200-words on average and earn anywhere from $60 – $400 per article.
As a freelance writer, I’d recommend you set your starting rate at no lower than $50 per post. At $50 per post, you’ll need to write 5 posts per week to earn $1,000 per month. You can also set your rate at $100 per post and only do 2-3 articles per week to earn $1,000 per month. Learn more about becoming a freelance writer in these posts:
Virtual Assistant Work
Virtual assistants have become a growing need as more and more businesses obtain websites and operate solely or partially online.
A virtual assistant (VA) is an online work-from-home personal assistant who helps businesses and individuals manage a number of various different tasks.
Some of those tasks include (but are not limited to things like):
Social Media Management
Editing/Creating Images for Pinterest
Organizing and Responding to Emails
Book Speaking Engagements
Sending Out Invoices
Responding to Comments on Articles
Negotiating with Advertisers
Scheduling Blog Posts
Updating Old Blog Posts
Data Entry Work
Managing Online Shopping Carts
Live Chat Support
As a virtual assistant, you can also set your own rates and choose your clients or you could get hired by a company to work. There is no special training or certifications required to become a virtual assistant and according to PayScale, you can start out earning anywhere from $15 per hour to $30 per hour. Learn more about becoming a virtual assistant in these posts:
Driving For Uber
If you’re looking for an offline way to earn extra money and have a car, driving for Uber is a great option to help you earn $1,000+ per month.
My husband started driving for Uber last year and it’s the best decision for a side hustle he could have made. He prefers to drive at night and since he works during the day and he drives for Uber for about 3 days per week on average.
A common misconception about driving for Uber is that you need to live in a large city to make good money. The closest metropolitan city to us is Chicago and it’s about an hour away. My husband does get trips to Chicago sometimes but most nights he stays local. Learn more about driving for Uber in these posts:
Blogging is not for everyone, but if you have a topic you’d like to blog about and are willing to lay the correct foundation, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to monetizing your blog so you can earn money.
If you’re skeptical about blogging as a legitimate income stream, I definitely understand. Before I became a blogger myself, I would have been skeptical if someone told me I could earn $1,000 per month or more from a measly old blog.
The main misconception is that blogging for a hobby is not the same as blogging as a business.
If you start a blog, you can’t expect to write about your pets and your kids and automatically start making money. You have to take certain steps to monetize your blog like place ads on your site, work with sponsors, sell products etc.
It can be really fun, but it’s a lot of work and takes time to build things from the ground up so please don’t get under the impression that blogging will provide you with an instant income.
Yet and still, for the right person, it’s worth it to start a blog in my opinion because you can work on it on the side of your main job and earn a flexible extra income that could potentially be passive.
Can Side Hustling Be Sustainable Long-Term?
This is something most people don’t think about. When you start side hustling, the primary and often only concern is making extra money. If you’re making extra money, you’re winning right?
While it’s exciting to make extra money, you also have to determine whether what you’re doing is temporary or long-term. Some people grow to depend on their side hustle income regularly but tend to get burnt out. Then what do you do?
On the flip side, I’ve observed people who became obsessed with making extra money and didn’t know where to stop. Once they hit their desired income level, they kept working to earn more and more without a solid goal behind wanting to earn the money.
It’s important to realize that we all don’t have infinite energy levels. Our patience and endurance also have their limits. If you’ve been waking up at 5 am to side hustle each day for the past 6 months, you may very well grow tired of it eventually.
At that time, you can either choose to take a break or try another opportunity that better meets your needs and preferences. I feel that I’ve personally been able to side hustle for so long because I like to be flexible.
By choosing flexible work, I’m able to fit it into my schedule when I can. I also focus on properly managing my side hustle income and saving any excess so when I need to take a break, I can afford to and do it guilt free.
Your side hustle may even become your full-time career if you play your cards right. In order to do this, you’ll need to scale your efforts and treat it like a business.
Or, you can choose a low-effort income stream or build passive income to make it more sustainable long-term.
How Passive Income Works
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