Ever wished you could make more money? Okay, dumb question. After all, who couldn’t use a little extra cash burning a hole in their pocket? The question is: how?
“Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Sound familiar? Well, the same goes for your income. Why rely on just one source of income when you could diversify with several different income streams? That’s where side hustles come in. Whether your budget is feeling a little tight, you want to earn more money, save up for a trip or retirement, pay off debt faster, or work towards self-employment, a side hustle could be just what you’re looking for.
Curious about diving into the side hustle life? Lucky you. We’ve brought you some master tips from the ultimate side hustler, Nick Loper.
Nick is the blogger behind the personal finance blog, sidehustlenation.com. He’s also an accomplished author and runs a podcast called The Side Hustle Show. Nick is now a self-employed hustler, but he started by building his business in his free time. Now he works to help others create job-free income, so if you’re ready to start earning more income, check out his expert tips for finding your perfect side hustle.
(Note: Want to get the full “How To Find Your Perfect Side Hustle” interview, plus the exclusive “How To Find Your Perfect Side Hustle” worksheet from this post? Sign up for a free trial of our Four Percent Club and get this exclusive interview & many more. Click here for more information.)
What Exactly Is a Side Hustle?
A side hustle is anything that you’re doing outside of your day job to earn extra money. This could be anything from walking dogs, driving for Uber, selling products on Etsy or Amazon, running a blog to running your own business. We’ll dive into specific side hustles a little later.
Why Have a Side Hustle?
There are generally two reasons people get into side hustles. They either want a little extra income for one reason or another, or it’s a low risk gateway into entrepreneurship. Since you’re here reading this blog, it’s safe to assume that you’re interested in finding a way to make extra money, but some people want an outlet outside of their cubicle or want to eventually quit their day job. Saving up with a side hustle or starting a side hustle that could grow into something that produces passive recurring income is lower risk than just starting a business without the safety net of your day job.
How Profitable Can They Be?
The profitability of side hustles ranges vary. The profitability of a side hustle is really what you make of it. It will depend on your goals, how many you have, and what kind of hustle you go into. Nick has anywhere from 8-10 hustles at any one time. You don’t necessarily have to be that ambitious because, again, it depends on what you want out of your hustles. Generally, choosing a side hustle where you can leverage your time can have exciting results. Also, many side hustles don’t require any overhead costs, which means you’re making pretty much pure profit. Some people sell things or services too which can produce recurring income and can be super profitable.
If you’re picking up a side hustle, you have the advantage of a day job income which means you can take a longer-term view when building your side hustle. You invest however much time per day you want, so whether it will take 5 hours or 500 hours to complete something, it’s still per your discretion because you’re not relying on it as your sole source of income. If you want to create something that will eventually produce passive recurring income (which we know usually takes a lot of upfront work), you can do that slowly over time. That’s the beauty of the side hustle though. You can afford to invest that time over a longer period if you need to,oOr not. It’s up to you.
Okay, so by now hopefully we’ve convinced you that getting a side hustle is nothing but a good thing. But that begs the question:
“How do I find one?”
Let’s break it down.
Start With The 3 Buckets
These are the 3 buckets that the most common side hustles fall into according to Nick.
1. Peer to Peer Commerce
These include hustles like AirBnB, Uber, Wag, TaskRabbit, online tutoring services, or basically any platform that connects you to people looking for your services.
- This bucket includes some of the most appealing side hustle options because there’s a huge diversity of options to choose from. Having so many platforms enabling this type of work makes it easy to find a side hustle that works for your interests and lifestyle. There’s also a low barrier to entry, meaning you can get started right away. The con of this type of hustle is that there is a natural downward pressure on how much you can earn simply because of that low barrier to entry. Because anyone can do it, there’s a lot of saturation within the market
2. Buy Low, Sell High
This bucket involves an older business model where you acquire items and then turn a profit by selling them at a higher cost than what you purchased them for. You can do this through online marketplaces such as Amazon, Ebay, Craigslist, or any other selling platform.
- A pro of this bucket is that using online retail giants like Amazon allows you to capitalize on their high traffic by selling on their site. This bucket is open to everyone and just depends on what you’re comfortable investing in. Some people do flea market flips, others resell acquired items or wholesale purchases for higher amounts. However, this may be perceived as higher risk to some because it requires investing in items to sell. You have to invest and rely on market sales to make that money back and turn a profit.
- This is one of the best ways to get started making money because there are little to no overhead costs. You’re selling your services and your skills, so you’re working with your own expertise. There are really no, or at least very few, expenses or investments required to get started. You do need to spend time identifying a marketable skill or expertise that you can offer. Although this can potentially be anything, it’s important to choose something that people need or that is in demand. Think, “What problem can I solve?”
Go Where The Cash Is Already Flowing: No matter which bucket you feel most drawn to, go where the cash is already flowing. Find markets where people are already buying things. That eliminates part of the marketing burden. For example, “Zazzle, if you Google ‘baby shower invitations', Zazzle is on the first page. If I was to setup my own website, my own shop and try to stick my flag in the sand and say ‘I'm your baby shower invitation person,' that's a huge battle for discoverability, for visibility. These platform have kind of solved, they've made it like a smaller pool to swim in instead of competing with the entirety of Google for attention.” Instead of spending time competing for visibility, just pick something people already have demand for or are already using.
(Note: Want to get the full “How To Make A Budget You Don’t Hate” interview, plus worksheets from this post? Sign up for a free trial of our Four Percent club and get this interview & many more! Click here for more information.)
Start With Your Skills And Your Interests: Nick recommends starting with the basics. Look at your resume and identify what your interests are, then see which skills you have that can be used to offer services or make money. You want to make sure that the skill is something you’re excited about or interested in. You do not need another job that you dread. That defeats the purpose of a side hustle.
Make a List
- Make a big list of those skills and don’t sell yourself short. Something small could have just as much potential as a side hustle as something big. Something that comes easily to you might not be as simple for someone else. To narrow this down, ask yourself what do friends and co-workers ask me for advice on most often? What do they consider my expertise to be?
- Find where those skills and interests fall within the 3 buckets. Choose your platform and your method. Maybe you have awesome writing or online marketing skills that you decide can be best offered to clients through freelancing, or maybe you’re a great instructor and want to offer tutoring services through a peer to peer site like Wyzant. Once you identify your skills, it’s easy to figure out how to offer them.
If you’ve identified your skills and are looking for a little inspiration, here is Nick’s list of the 15 most popular side hustles.
Now there’s really nothing that should be holding you back from using your time and skills to diversify your income and start hustling your way to making extra cash. No matter what your goal is for your side hustle income, or what your skills are, just know there’s a side hustle out there for every kind of hustler.