Most people are used to working a 9-to-5 job to keep the bills paid. This used to work just fine and often lead to a comfortable lifestyle. These days, it’s more common for a college graduate with a respectable job to still have trouble making ends meet each month. If this sounds like you, a side hustle may be your solution.
A side hustle can really be a wide variety of different ways to make extra spending money. Growing up, if you wanted money beyond holidays, there’s a good chance you had to get creative to figure out a way to earn it yourself. Running a side hustle as an adult can work in a very similar way. Your job is your allowance, but it doesn’t pay enough, so you find extra work to boost your monthly earnings.
Many of the topics covered in this post will likely be covered in more detail in other posts elsewhere or at a later date on this website. However, the intention of this post is to help you get started by brainstorming ideas for a potential side hustle business. Before you can focus on starting a side hustle and putting plans into action, you have to know what kind of business you will attempt on a small scale before you can move on to other steps.
Side Hustle vs Full-Time Business
Running your own business can be a great path to financial freedom, but many different factors can stop most people from achieving this dream. It takes a lot of time and usually a lot of money to start and run your own business. Without years of planning ahead and saving, it can be out of reach to make it a reality. Even if you can manage to start your own business, how do you know it will be successful enough to pay your bills and allow you to survive financially?
Simply put, opening a new business can be a risky venture. However, there is a way you can dip your toes in to test out the water, so to speak. A side hustle doesn’t require you to work full-time and it likely won’t require a large start-up budget either. A side hustle is still technically running your own business, but you don’t put all of your eggs into one basket with a part-time business either.
By still working a job and simply trying to make some extra money, you’ll find that it’s an easy way to test different business ideas on a small scale. After all, if you can’t make money doing something a few hours a week then you likely won’t do much better if it’s your full-time job. If you find a successful method to make extra money and demand for more work is there, then you can consider expanding into a full-time business that you run yourself and quit your real job if it makes financial sense to do so.
Simple, Everyday Needs
Unless you’ve always had an idea rolling around in your head, you may be confused where to begin to come up with an idea for a side hustle business. The easiest place to begin is your everyday life and your local community. What do you do each day, and would you pay someone else to do those things? Simple things like running errands, cooking, babysitting, handyman, landscaper, work / school driving, house sitting, cleaning and other ordinary, daily life can all become a side hustle.
Some of the things may be simple jobs that a teenager might do for extra spending cash, but money is money and there’s nothing wrong with an adult doing these jobs. Besides, an adult can offer services that teenagers can’t, such as driving, or they can do a better job and be more responsible, so these extra abilities can translate into a higher rate of pay.
If you’re not looking to build a real business and want a more informal way to make extra money each month, these everyday needs can be the perfect candidate since many of them are short-term jobs and will allow you complete flexibility to continue doing it at your own pace.
Consulting / Selling Services
Consider your current skills. This could be a hobby of yours or even something you already do for a job. You may be able to apply these skills towards some type of part-time freelance work to do for others. For example, an accountant can likely get a position at another business for a couple of days each month to earn an additional paycheck since all businesses need an accountant, but often small businesses cannot afford to hire one full-time. Teachers can offer private tutoring. Policemen can work private security. Most jobs could be applied in other ways such as these to help make a few additional bucks each month.
For some people, the ideas and opportunities here may be very clear and noticeable. For others, you may have to get creative and really think about how your skills could apply to other industries. Some of these side hustles may just be part-time jobs, but many of them could run as independent contractors and become a real business too.
One of the easiest and most versatile methods to have a side hustle is to start an online business. This could something as simple as writing a blog like the one you’re reading now. You could also start an e-commerce business that sells and ships products. Anyone can make money online, but it really comes down to how much do you want to make and how quickly do you need to make it?
Most business startup ventures are also restricted by cost. This is almost always true in the online business world. You can create an online business that makes thousands each month and do it in just a couple of months, but to do it reliably will cost you money to get it started and the expense may be in the 10s of thousands.
A perfect example of this business model is e-commerce. You have to put money into buying products. You can sometimes start small and cheap, but with certain industries this just isn’t possible to do. Free advertising can work but usually takes time to do it right. Fast website traffic and quick sales can be brought to your new e-commerce venture, but it will cost you to advertise and also won’t guarantee results.
The opposite is also true. You can create a business online from scratch and never spend a penny upfront or very little money to do it. The bad news with this scenario is that it won’t happen overnight. Some very profitable businesses, such as a blog, can be created for very little or no money, but these online businesses require time and patience to make them successful. If you have a few spare hours each week to burn on a new hobby for a couple of years and hope to eventually make extra money from it (with a chance to make big money in the future too), then something like a blog may be the right business model for you.
The Passive Side Hustle
Certain side hustle options can actually offer the capability to generate passive income. Passive income can really have multiple meanings. A landlord might consider themselves to earn passive income, but if they have to take time to collect the rent or provide maintenance services, then it may not be truly passive. Blogs can offer passive income, but truly good blogs are continually updated, so they still require ongoing work to continue generating the best profits.
If you write a book to have published or even to self-publish online, it can generate passive income for you. However, you still do work to obtain this income – all of the work is simply done upfront for no pay. Some activities like buying a stake in a business as a silent partner or paying another company to run bitcoin mining machines for you can offer truly passive income, but all of these zero-work options will likely require considerable startup funds to be able to do them.
Investing is one final option that is a possibility. This can be done very gradually with small amounts of money over time or sped up if you have a lot of savings to utilize. Stocks, cryptocurrency (holding or trading) are both good options if you spend the time to research these investments before you make them. Take a look at the Investing section of this website for more detailed information.
In general, you probably noticed that all passive income side hustles require some kind of work or a lot of money to really utilize. Work to achieve a passive income can be a very smart form of working that allows you to break free from a direct exchange of your time for money. Working to create an online business is still work, but it offers a potential to make money while you sleep and also the potential to make much more money than is possible working a job.
Even if you don’t have a lot of money already in savings, you can still take baby steps to build some passive income by contributing a small amount each money to a dividend paying stock or an interest-bearing cryptocurrency, but this method will take patience to see real results.
See our Side Hustles category for much more information about making extra cash by creating your own business: Side Hustles.