Did you know that nearly four in ten Americans, or 37 percent, have a side job? Data from Bankrate shows the average “side hustler” can expect to earn around $8K a year. Millennials are more likely to have a side job than older folks in an economy where more people are freelancing and working part-time jobs in the so-called “gig economy.” In fact, up to 43 percent of the U.S. workforce may be under the gig economy umbrella in 2020.
Although tight budgets are often the primary motivation, you also benefit from exploring what excites you. For a few, a side hustle can eventually become a full-time gig. However, for most, their hobby can provide supplemental income as well as a creative outlet. You don't have to commit any more time than you want, although it helps to be consistent.
When it comes to your side hustle, there are endless opportunities. It's up to you to decide where your strongest skills and interests are and then determine if there appears to be sufficient demand. If you don't try, you will never know, so why not go for it?
Find Your Niche
Host for guests
Craft and fine art
Web and software developers
Translators and interpreter
Delivery or transportation driver
Social media manager
Social media influencer
Even if none of these options speak to you, consider what hobbies currently take up your free time. Chances are, there’s a way to make a profit.
Getting off the Ground
As you rely on your primary income from a dependable, if less desirable source, you can get started slowly. Keep in mind most side hustles will take plenty of time and practice before they get off the ground. With realistic expectations, you can begin by offering your product or service to the public. Perhaps you'll start through friends, or online on Etsy or eBay.
At first, you can expect a slow response. Don't be hard on yourself if that happens to be the case. Give it some time and investigate affordable ways to promote yourself. There is no more affordable or effective option than creating a website and social media sites. Although digital, these platforms can serve the purpose of marketing, generating sales and interest, and customer service.
As you develop your online presence, set aside a little time to regularly update potential viewers. Post new photos and perhaps videos, and get your friends involved to drive initial feedback and interactions. As you go, you can respond to constructive criticism and also field questions from new customers. As you learn, you'll be inspired to try new ideas and find what works and what doesn't work.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests reaching out to or researching what others are doing in your niche. Read blogs and search for websites and social media accounts to see how you compare and what makes you potentially stand out. Is your service unique or in particularly high demand? If so, use this information to market yourself.
Then, you could try networking locally with community associations or the chamber of commerce for ideas. These days, the easiest way to get your name out there may be through third-party companies and apps for those seeking jobs. Since they tend to take a small cut of your profits, you might be better off going on your own. On the other hand, it's a good idea to collaborate with other individuals who have similar side hustles.
Keep at It
If you love what you do, then it won't feel like work, unlike a 9-to-5 that leaves you stressed. As with your regular job, a side hustle won't take off without your serious determination and focus. Those who have succeeded in transitioning a side-gig to a full-time job say it's imperative to maintain a strong work ethic and maintain a flexible schedule as you gain valuable experience.
To succeed, you'll need to do your research to establish yourself as an expert in your chosen niche. Then it will take patience and preparation if you expect to say goodbye to your full-time job. But, only when it becomes financially viable should you quit your day job. For those who are lucky, work hard, and remain consistent, it's entirely within reach.
Sharing With Kindred Souls
As you network with those who share a passion for what you do, you'll form a supportive community of kindred souls. Those contacts can inspire new ideas and could lead to new valuable sources of work. Being a part-time entrepreneur can be isolating, but having these professional contacts will help when you experience inevitable setbacks. Likewise, they can help you celebrate your successes and milestones.
The main reason to pursue a side hustle is the satisfaction and happiness it brings to do what you enjoy. You can have your cake and eat it every day. Besides, you'll make extra income that could eventually mean letting go of a less desirable job. As you delve more into being your own boss, you can build an escape plan. After all, we all only have so much time, so why not spend it more wisely by pursuing what makes us the happiest?