A side hustle is any work that you do outside of your main job that brings home extra money. There are tons of benefits to starting a side hustle. You get the benefit of earning more money on top of your salary, as well as a more diverse stream of income for you and your family. Many people choose to take on a side hustle because the hours are much more flexible than a full-time position. Typically the most successful side hustles also incorporate something you enjoy. Chances are you know someone that has a side hustle that you could learn the basics from, and you might have multiple such connections depending on the type of person you enjoy spending time around. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Bankrate showed that as much as 14% of the US population may currently have some sort of side hustle.
Passion into Paychecks
Doing something you find enjoyable is definitely the easiest and often the most beneficial type of side hustle to start. To get some ideas, first write down all your current hobbies. Next write down all your past hobbies, going all the way back to childhood if you can. Finally, write down things that you consider yourself good at. It could be a certain aspect of your job, a chore you’ve been asked for help or advice on before, or a miscellaneous skill that you happen to notice you really excel in.
Now that your brainstorming session is done, cross out anything you really hate doing, or you could not imagine doing for more than hour at a time. If either of these statements are true it just wont be a good match for a side hustle. You may love painting other peoples nails, but if you get bored after 15 minutes, then your at home nail salon is toast before it ever even started. Additionally, cross out anything that does not and could not relate to money in any way. Sure you might have enjoyed staring at the ceiling and imagining what animals would look like if they were different colors, but its not a very good business proposition. If your list is still looking rather long, become pickier with your qualifications and cross out anything you mildly dislike or that you don’t see a direct way to earn revenue off of.
Now you should have a short list of hobbies and skills. Order them from most to least favorite, and put a star next to ideas that get you excited, that others in your social circle are involved in, or that you’ve seen succeed in your area. The star means there will be less resistance to starting one of these side hustles, and that they should be given extra attention.
Making Your Hobby Profitable
Next, write the top 3 ideas on your list on separate sheets of paper. Do the same for at least 3 starred items if the ideas at the top of your list don’t have a star. The next step in our side hustle discovery process is to figure out how to monetize.
On each of your sheets of paper, write out all the possible ways you could make money on the idea. If you love model trains, maybe consider buying locally and selling globally or vice versa. Taking advantage of disparities in regional markets is often called arbitrage or “flipping” and is as old as time itself. However in today’s world it’s easier than ever. As a high school student, i started buying gently used name brand golf clubs off old timers at the country club, second hand shops, and through craigslist, then sold them on eBay. I made so much money I was able to quit my life guarding job because my effective earning rate was 10x what I was making getting sunburned and staring at people splashing around in the pool.
If you have a hobby that doesn’t produce a good, I think the best way to monetize would be to teach others who are also interested in what you are doing. Not only will you be paid for doing something you already love, you also get interact with others who have the same interest as you. As an added perk, you expand your network with new friends outside of your job, which will come in handy if you retire. Obviously this is just one man’s opinion, and each person’s situation is different. If you have crippling social anxiety, teaching might not be the right course of action.
At the same time though, never rule out an option too early. You might be thinking to yourself that you wouldn’t make a very good teacher, because you’re an introvert, or you don’t like meeting new people. Just remember this, a side hustle takes a lot of ingenuity and effort. Maybe in person teaching isn’t right for you, but instead, recording courses on a skill could be a good fit. Sure it takes a ton of time and effort to setup, but that product is yours forever now, and could be a great source of recurring income that grows over time as you establish yourself in the niche.
Once you run out of ideas, or if you’re not particularly creative, don’t be afraid to google around, or ask family and friends for help coming up with ideas. Something simple and obvious to them (or a stranger on the internet) could be something you’ve never even heard of.
Finally, do some extra research around each of your topics. You’ll get a better idea for how other people are approaching your niche, or become aware you’re the first one to the party. Maybe you’ll read that others tried the same thing as you and failed, and that reason would likely make you fail too. Mostly you’re just searching for ideas and tips, chances are someone is out there is already doing what you want to be doing. Maybe even consider writing down name ideas if you want to be official!
Picking the Right Side Hustle for You
You’ve now got a good base on which you can narrow down and make some decisions. I can’t tell you how to pick which hobby, all I can do is help you get to a better position to make an informed choice. Any criteria I gave you would have a counter-point because each person is different. Picking the thing you love most might be the right choice for passionate people. For the logically driven one, it might make more sense to pick the idea with the highest likelihood of success, or the one option that could be most profitable. Each and every person is different.
One attribute I like to think about is scalability. Growth of a business (or side hustle) is what really gets me excited, but I know that I like to micromanage everything as well. That’s why its important for me when weighing ideas that I pick something where I can outsource or automate the easy stuff as my hustle continues to grow.
One extra thing to account for is that in the future your side hustle may grow large enough that it can take the place of your current job. If you manage to pull this off, then congratulations, because you’ve accomplished the main goal of fire; doing what you love all day rather than what you have to in able to support yourself.