“What on earth is a side hustle?” I hear you exclaim.
Is it like a side order of salad? No. Or a side car for your bike? Ummmmm no. Or a side chick for when wifey gets boring? Absolutely not but you can read about those over on my other blog.
No, a side hustle is something you do to make money away from your regular/traditional job.
So like having a second job? A part-time job for evenings and weekends?
Kind of. Only you’re the boss of your side hustle. This is about you and you alone and what you can do to earn some extra cash.
You have to have the right mind-set. Creating your own side hustle is not easy money or some pie in the sky get rich quick scheme. And if you’re the type of person who just loves playing the victim to life’s hardship, like you know, paying bills and having to actually work, then a side hustle just isn’t for you. Go back to playing the lottery and complaining every week that you don’t win. Also if you don’t see the value in learning to build and grow a small business from scratch with nothing but just want some easy cash then I’d suggest working in McDonalds at the weekends asking drunks if they want fries with that. And complain about the hardship of it all.
But why a side hustle and not a part time job?
Let me explain to you my reasons for having several side hustles over the years.
For quite a long time I lived in another country as a single parent. Not easy. I worked full time so that didn’t leave much time for anything else that also worked around childcare. Money was tight but we got by. Just. Until the day I was made redundant completely out of the blue. I turned up to work as normal and was told I no longer had a job. Out. Of. Work. Trust me, when you are far from home and on your own with a young child and suddenly told your one source of income is gone, the world around you becomes a really scary place.
I was out of work for three months and it was tough. Really tough. The benefits system was different to the UK and I felt like I was being passed from pillar to post constantly getting nowhere. I stretched my redundancy money as far as possible and was probably only weeks away from being homeless when I finally landed a job that fit perfectly with childcare, hours and pay. I was extremely lucky.
What this experience taught me though was that I had unknowingly placed myself in an extremely vulnerable position by only having one income stream. It was also the start of my self-employed journey as I vowed to myself that not only would I never end up in such circumstances again but I would also be the one in control in the future. No company or boss was going to dictate my financial circumstances. It was all down to me. Actually, that was probably even scarier.
Side Hustle to Therapy
Back then was the start of social media. MySpace was the big thing, Twitter had just got going and Facebook was on the fringes of it all. I discovered blogging by sheer chance, read a few, knew I could do it and started my own. There weren’t many bloggers back then and brands hadn’t gotten involved. It was purely about the quality of your writing. You were forgiven for not having a great looking site and technical errors here and there. There was no such thing as SEO and all this social media marketing stuff. It was all very different to what it is now. But I loved the writing side and chatting on Twitter and quickly grew a large readership. It didn’t make me money but it was certainly very therapeutic.
Like I said it didn’t make me any money, to start with, but it taught me huge amounts of skills and introduced me to all things internet. I learnt social media from its very beginnings and also some technical stuff about the backend of websites. I learnt about copyright and then eventually when brands did come knocking, creating content for a brand and what they expected. And I learnt business skills which crossed over to my day job as I worked in accountancy. Basically, I was up-skilling whilst doing something I really enjoyed.
Blogging wasn’t so much a side hustle for me but it set me on the path to having the skills and knowledge that has got me to where I am now. Which isn’t working in accountancy anymore thankfully.
Side Hustle to Better Things
Fast forward a few more years and if you’ve read any of my personal blogs or my about page then this bit you already know, but here’s the condensed version.
I was back living in the UK, hated my job, had been bullied by other managers, worked stupidly long hours and got to breaking point. I went to work one day and quit. Just like that. Luckily I wasn’t out of a job instantly as I had to work three months’ notice. On paper, this probably isn’t the smartest thing to do when you’ve no plan b. But nothing focuses the mind more than knowing you have a three-month deadline to sort your shit and step up your hustle. I was determined I was not working for anyone else. I was going it alone.
And I did. I fell back on my old skills I learnt whilst blogging. Then I turned to my trusted friend the internet and I hustled my arse off. I did loads of different things from buying and selling on Ebay, having a market stall, making soaps and bath bombs to selling admin services as a freelancer. And I used lots of different random skills I’d acquired along the way and eventually a natural path occurred.
It wasn’t easy but what I learnt was that there are loads of things you can do if you want to make a bit of extra money on the side which if need be you can then upscale if you ever find yourself out of work. With a side hustle, you never need to lose your income again.
Is a side hustle right for you?
Although I truly believe that everyone should have either a side hustle or at least an idea of how to start one or what they could do, for their own best interests, I do get that not everyone is cut out for it. You have to have that level of time, energy and commitment to be able to get something started and have the momentum to keep it going. That is where most people fail. All the old excuses come flooding in and they go back to relying on someone else to pay their wages every month.
The business economy is changing and more and more companies are outsourcing to freelancers or small businesses. People are placing more value on doing business with people over large faceless corporations. We live in an age when it is easy to do business all over the world and communications are easy. In times gone by when there were no simple methods of communication people stood in the street to do business. They used the people that lived on the same street to do business with. Now we can choose who we do business with from anywhere in the world. We can search and find those we want to work with at the click of a mouse.
Now, on the flipside to that, I do also strongly believe that we have lost our sense of a local sharing economy and that is something we all need to re-examine in the way we do business. However, that is another post for another day.
If you are prepared to put in the time, effort and willing to try something different, chances are you can and will create a thriving side hustle.
10 Side Hustles You Can Start Today
There are loads of things you can do to earn a bit of extra cash. I’ve compiled a list of ones I know enough about to share with you and that I think are easy enough to get off the ground. Just one tiny little thing before you start counting your hard-earned cash; keep it legal! Please stay on the right side of the tax man and any other authorities you may have to register with or declare to. It’s all income even if it’s a small amount so there’s nothing surer than taxes in life, unfortunately. And be aware of your fellow traders. Don’t undercut or charge ridiculously low prices just because you can as it’s not your main income. Nothing says unprofessional and disrespectful more than undercharging and not respecting your own value. As well as the value of your fellow professionals.
Make, Mend and Handmade
Handmade items have had a huge surge in popularity in recent years. People have started to see the value in something that is handcrafted by an individual with effort, skill and a whole lot of love for their craft. If you can make anything, and it’s pretty enough that folks will want to buy it, then off you go get crafty!
Get ideas by visiting local craft fairs and looking at sites such as Etsy to see what seems to be popular and selling. You don’t have to just limit yourself to craft fairs as these can sometimes be quite disheartening if you end up taking a stall at a rubbish one. There are quite a few websites now for crafts and handmade items and you can always set up your own website, although that’s another element to add later down the line once you’ve homed your craft. But to start with stick to plugging your wares on social media (plug I said not spam, please don’t spam) and you’ll quickly pick up sales if what you make is what people want and its good quality.
Likewise, if you can mend things, especially clothing you are on to a winner. There is a huge demand for people that can alter clothing. Spread the word!
Word of warning – you won’t get rich doing this. Sorry. It is more for people who genuinely enjoy making things and have a passion for crafts. But you will make a bit of extra money and you’ll enjoy doing it and meet some great people along the way.
Another word of warning – see my previous points about keeping it legal. It may be a hobby to you but there are still rules to play by.
Can you type? Know excel inside out? Proofread? Edit? Bookkeeping? Power point like a pro? Photoshop imperfections away? Create mind-blowing graphics? Edit videos? All these skills are in high demand by small businesses that don’t need someone full time or even justify employing someone part-time. They just want someone to do the odd bit of work here and there and they will pay you a fair rate for doing this.
Take a look at sites such as People Per Hour. You can list your services and wait for people to contact you or you can browse the available work and make bids for it. You may have to do a few low-cost jobs first to get your ratings up but once you’ve got a few good reviews then don’t feel like you have to take every bit of work you are offered on those sites. Pick and choose what you want to do and don’t be afraid to say no.
These sites are great for this type of work but they do also attract people that want to pay next to nothing and expect the world to be delivered to their door. Just find your own way of weeding out the potentially difficult ones.
Food glorious food. It’s a booming industry and there are plenty of ways to make money in it. From cake making, to meal planning to creating recipes to reviewing restaurants. If you love food and know your couscous from your chipolata, then you will find something in the foodie world you can do.
Talented cake decorators are in high demand especially for kids’ birthday and wedding cakes. If you can pipe up a storm with your royal icing, then this one’s for you. Just remember to register with the local council and make sure your kitchen is up to scratch and you know all your health and safety and hygiene requirements.
Diet planners are also often sought by people who literally don’t know how to meal plan or what to buy when they go shopping. Honestly, it’s actually a thing! If you can plan someone’s diet, give them a weekly meal planner and tell them exactly what to buy in their shopping then there are people out there who will love you and pay you! Seriously!
The other foodie topics also fit into my next topic………..
Before experienced bloggers start threatening to string me up or the wannabe YouTube sensations start seeing pound signs, here’s a warning. DO NOT START BLOGGING JUST TO MAKE MONEY. End of warning.
If you believe that blogging is the path to untold riches then you are going to be sadly disappointed. However, what it is and should be used for is showcasing your talents. And for the purposes of this, we will class blogging, vlogging, podcasting or any form of content creation all under one umbrella. Could podcasting be your thing?
So using food as an example. Take a look at She Who Bakes. I quite literally love Britt’s stuff so excuse me if I fangirl a bit. Look at those cakes, aren’t they just absolutely amazing. She’s combining blogging with creating video for YouTube and Facebook, creating amazing and unique recipes and demonstrating cake decorating. Can you see how she uses a whole range of media skills to demonstrate her talents which she then uses to sell her range of courses and ebooks. Blogging (in a very multi-platform format) is what she uses to drive traffic to her website to then create the sale.
To take this approach you firstly have to be uber passionate about what you do, because you are not going to make any money starting out. But if you have a long-term vision and can cope with making pennies off Ad Sense that you can plugin to your videos and blog posts then this is a great way to follow your passion and eventually turn it into an income stream. I’ll write some more on this another day as there are lots of different methods.
Last word of warning – blogging, vlogging, content creating is about a million times harder than it looks. It takes time, dedication and huge amounts of consistency which is basically showing up (online) every single day with something to offer.
Sharing Your Creatives
Are you a keen photographer? Or videographer? Can you create cute little graphics? There is a huge demand for stock photos and graphics now we are living in a digital, visual, copyright aware world. You don’t even have to do the selling yourself. Just upload your great shots to one of the many stock images websites and you’ll get royalties every time someone downloads one. Simples.
This is kind of covered in the freelancing stuff but goes a bit further. If you are any good at anything tech-related, be it just setting up a PC, file sharing, syncing various machines to the cloud, making the wifi work, to more advanced stuff like coding and creating websites, then people really do need your services. Check out the previously mentioned freelancer sites in point 2 and you’ll see a lot of the more advanced jobs listed. The basic stuff you will likely pickup in your local area so let it be known that you’re available and how you can help.
Share Your Space
Airbnb rents out rooms or whole houses to people that don’t particularly want to stay in a hotel. If you live in an area that someone, anyone, just people, in general, are likely to visit, and you have a spare room, then you can rent it out by the night or by the week, whatever suits you. You can choose to only have people stay on the weekends or at different times of the year. But if you have space why not utilise it.
Uber is like a taxi service but more on-demand and you pick and choose when you want to work and what jobs you want to do. It’s all app-based and you don’t carry cash as users pay via card on the app. So if you have a nice enough clean car and fancy driving round for a few hours a week then Uber could be an easy option for you.
This one is probably more for those with a bit more time and more knowledge of websites, social media and marketing. But potentially a very lucrative option.
Drop shipping is basically when you sell goods, via your website, and the wholesaler ships them direct to the buyer. You don’t touch any stock and all you do is sell and deal with the customer service side. So no cost in buying stock to get started.
There are literally hundreds of drop-ship options from clothing, accessories, pet products, gadgets, just about anything you can think of. You’ve just got to find a good reliable supplier and set yourself up with a good website. Make sure you do your research about wholesalers first though.
This route is pretty low cost to set up as your main outlay will be website related to start with, but there are plenty of very low-cost options available through the likes of Shopify or a Woocommerce plugin. The rest then is just your own time to set it all up and make it look great and actually work. And then promote it all via a super kick-ass social media marketing promotion.
Another variation of drop shipping is selling t-shirts that you design yourself and are sold as a print on demand. There’re several options to do this but all pretty straight forward. All you need to do is market your designs. Again, social media is the ideal place for that.
Sell Your Stuff
We all have stuff we’ve bought and never used. I’d say if I made the effort to sort through my wardrobe I would probably find that half the clothes in there have only been worn once if that. Even my handbags often wonder what daylight looks like as I tend to stick with just a trusted few. Potentially we probably all have a nice tidy sum of money literally hanging in our wardrobes or lying around the house.
Now I’m not good at sticking to this bit of advice, but in theory, it makes a lot of sense. If you haven’t worn it in the past 12 months then it goes. But goes where? Don’t just Ebay everything as you’ll only get rock bottom prices on there. Unless you are happy with rock bottom. But for clothes, if they are in good condition or even still have the tags on then use an app called Depop. It’s very popular with fashion bloggers and celebrities and you tend to get people far more willing to pay a fair price on there.
For other items Ebay can be good and if you really do have a load of junk that’ll clean up nicely then try your local car boot sales. It really is amazing what people will buy for £1 or less if they think they are getting a bargain.
You aren’t going to make bucket loads of cash doing this but it may just be enough to invest in next season’s wardrobe must-haves or go towards the holiday fund. And you’ll learn a few business skills along the way.
What do you know that others would love to know? What can you teach someone to do that they are willing to pay to learn about?
We all pickup skills in our lives that others may not know. From knitting, icing a cake, HTML, web design, graphic design or pole vaulting (I just threw that one in there to make sure you’re still paying attention). Whatever your skill is there are some really simple ways to teach others how to do it and get paid for doing it, without the need for a teaching degree.
You can pretty much learn how to do anything on Udemy. You can also create your own courses and lessons on there to sell. Either use the site a bit like hosting and do all the advertising and promotion yourself and get all the of sales fee or you can upload your course content and allow Udemy to market for you and they take a cut.
The beauty of using such a platform rather than creating your course on your own website is that you can upload it and leave it and just get paid when it sells. You don’t actually have to do anything once you’ve created it. Yes, it helps if you are advertising and promoting it and sending traffic to the landing page. But if you don’t have time for all that then you don’t have to.
If you do videos then try to make them look and sound as near professional as you can. Give your viewers a pleasurable learning experience and chances are you’ll get good feedback which will lead to more sales.
A Word About MLM’s
I didn’t include MLM’s in the list for a reason. I don’t particularly like them. They tend to make a lot of claims to make you rich, income levels, what you can achieve etc. But I see very few people ever actually achieving any of it. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about the pressure that is put on people from team leaders, uplines, managers etc. Some, well most of the marketing practices they teach are nothing more than spam. I hate spam. Spam to me, as an ethical social media marketing person, is the equivalent of someone scratching their nails down the blackboard. It’s also highly unprofessional and teaches potential business people some very bad ways.
It’s all very hyped up marketing techniques these companies use. They tend to prey on the vulnerable that need the extra money with tales of untold riches awaiting them. Chances are you will make more money following any of the 10 ways I’ve listed than you will in an MLM. With far less stress. And you won’t have to spam your friends and family in the process.
And besides, joining an MLM seems to turn people all Stepford Wives like. I seriously do not want to buy your dodgy crap no matter how much you ram it down my throat. Or my Facebook newsfeed thank you very much.
And even if you aren’t a side hustler then please don’t ignore those that are. If you see them post on Facebook, give it a little like and share. Help them out. It takes all of 2 seconds of your time but it means the world to them. It could even be the difference to them of the path they take in life. Don’t pass judgement because someone is trying to do better in their lives. Give them a helping hand instead. Sharing is caring!
So get hustling! And don’t forget to let us know how you get on!
After reading this do you feel like you need a bit more help with your social media strategy? It’s a good job you found me then! Just click the contact button below and we can have you socially devoted in no time with a kick ass strategy that will have brands begging to work with you.