What do you think of when you hear the word side hustle?
Chris Guillebeau defines a side business well: “It’s not just about avoiding financial uncertainty, it’s creating something for yourself and owning it, which is a very great thing.”
I take this view so much that I decided a long time ago that working for myself is my real job. During my entrepreneurial years, whatever work I did was a side hustle—including regular 9-to-5 jobs.
For me, doing a side hustle is about creating a way to support your life, your goals, and your dreams. Of course, it can also bring you financial income.
A side business is a source of income. In times of rapid change, it is a shield against an uncertain economy. Side jobs are generally divided into six categories. Once you know what a side hustle is, you’ll find opportunities everywhere.
I promise you to know how to do things that others don’t. You don’t need to be an expert to teach something, you just need to be a few steps ahead of everyone else.
When my daughter was in college, she made money by teaching children how to play the piano. She doesn’t know how to play the piano, except that she played the clarinet in high school and can read music, but she understands the piano well enough to teach a 5-year-old.
You can make a list of things you are good at and list the skills you already have. Don’t feel like you’re not good at it, and don’t feel like no one will pay you to teach them. First, make this list.
Think about specific skills you have, like baking a cake or playing the flute. You also need to consider skills that are less easily defined, such as are there things that other people often ask you for advice on?
Once you have your list, you can decide if there is anything on it that you want to turn into a side hustle. There are many ways of teaching.
Teaching is my favorite source of income, I write every day, I run a membership community, I teach non-credit courses through the community education department at my local university, I also tutor and coach.
Here are some tips to help you start a teaching side hustle:
- You might consider blogging
- Write an ebook (or a series) and self-publish it on Amazon.
- Contract with local colleges to teach non-credit courses through their community education departments.
- Connect with local community centers and senior centers, which usually have a roster of classes per season.
- If you can teach something parents to want their little one to learn, offer a class to a local homeschool organization.
- Create a membership plan, which means charging a monthly fee, to provide ongoing education for those who want to learn from you.
- Service sideline
“The more you understand and respond to the needs of others, the richer your life will be.”
One of my favorite side jobs is learning how to prepare divorce and bankruptcy documents, and I run some ads locally. For a while, I lived a decent life this way.
Service-type part-time jobs are meant to give your skills to people who will pay you (rather than letting them learn how to do it themselves). Anything people can do on their own if you’re willing to do it for them can also become your side hustle.
Service jobs are often either labor-intensive or time-intensive. Or just because the workbench is boring. People can clean their yards, change their oil, dig their gutters, and scratch their paint on the siding, but they’re usually more than happy to pay someone else to do them.
Also, consider whether you have a tool or resource of any kind. For example, if you have a truck, you can generate income by providing transportation services. In this type of work, you can both serve old clients and acquire new clients through referrals. Great work is the best advertisement.
In addition to preparing documents, I also worked part-time as a notary and wrote resumes.
Here are some tips to help you start a service side business:
- Looking back at what you can do, is there anything you are paid to do?
- Think about the things people are afraid to do, any of which is a service you can offer.
- Great place to start building a customer list while on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
- Considering a seasonal service job, I know a guy who makes a lot of money by hanging Christmas lights for people during the holidays.
- Fill in the blank side hustle
“I’ve been thinking about a simple question: What are my strengths? Where can I help others?”
One of the best ways to have a successful side hustle is to pay attention to the people around you – looking for needs that you can satisfy.
This is a bit like providing a service, but with one difference. It’s more about filling in the gaps left by existing careers.
When I was preparing legal documents as a layman, I offered to go to court to file these documents for my clients, earning a second sizable income. Ultimately, some clients just want me to do the filing for them. There were a lot of people preparing documents in my area at the time, but none of them offered filing services.
A few weeks ago, I found out there were career gaps that people could fill to make good money. Example: No one in my town cares for large dogs, so I had to take my dog to another town for grooming. A friend of mine desperately needs a regular driving service and we don’t have one locally. I also have a friend who is a nurse and she has been looking for night care for her baby.
Here are some tips to help you start a gap-filling side business:
- When your friends and neighbors complain about not being able to get a certain service, think hard about filling the void.
- Filling empty part-time jobs isn’t usually difficult, just time-consuming, so think about what’s consuming your client’s time.
- Provide traditional services in a non-traditional way.
- Temporary work-type side jobs
The gig economy is a euphemism for freelance or short-term work. I’ve driven an Uber, I’ve rented out rooms on Airbnb, and I’ve been freelancing as an adult.
A gig worker is a contract worker, and your salary is based on the specific job. The difference to a regular job is that what you’re doing is renting out a room on the weekend, rather than having a sure job at a Hilton. Or, when you feel the time is right, you can open the mobile app to take orders instead of finding a stable job in a taxi company.
About ten years ago, I blogged for a company for $25 apiece. It’s a no-brainer job of writing articles that I don’t care about, I just need enough money to encourage me to get them done as soon as possible. In other words, this is not art. One way to get a little bit of income when I need it is to look for “gig jobs” on Craigslist, and you’ll often find people in great need of people doing one-time jobs.
Here are some tips to help you start a temporary work side hustle:
- We live in a gig economy. There are many, many signing opportunities at companies that offer gig jobs, such as driving, delivering, running errands.
- Look for opportunities to use your resources to work part-time. For example, you have something that other people want to use, but it’s too expensive for them to buy.
- Gig jobs are usually basic jobs, not high-level jobs, so it’s best to look for companies that hire people on a freelance or contract basis.
- Sales sideline
The world is full of material things, and if you have the discerning eye to pick out the good stuff from the trash, you can sell the good stuff to those who don’t.
I used to resell antiques I found at thrift stores. I once bought a vintage Yves St. Laurent coat from the 1950s for $10 at a thrift store and sold it on eBay for $800. It was a gorgeous Russian princess coat, just too small for me, or I wouldn’t have sold it.
If you enjoy shopping and are willing to learn how to spot treasure, you can make some extra money by selling things.
Here are some tips to help you start a temporary sales side business:
- If you like thrift stores, try shopping for items that can change hands. If you are selling antiques, the Etsy store is great for selling anything on eBay.
- You can also keep an eye out for some clearance events, or look online for discontinued items for resale.
- Follow Facebook Marketplace to sell in your community.
- Creative side hustle
The last core idea has to do with selling, except that instead of selling a finished product, consider creating something yourself to sell, and all art falls into this category—from fine art to music to writing.
I used to make notebooks from book covers and album jackets and also made printable notepads for writers, which I sold to Ninja writers Etsy. I’m not particularly artistic, but creating something tangible is a fun thing to do and make a decent income.
Here are some tips to help you start a temporary creative side business:
- If you have certain technology, you can create something to sell.
- Consider upgrading something like I used to make notebooks from book covers and album covers.
- You can sell your creative work on online platforms like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay without the need for a physical store.