If you’re a bit in the red this month then you may be looking for a way to earn some extra cash and pay off your debts.
The internet is aware of this, and there are all kinds of dodgy-looking schemes that promise we can earn X amount in X days, but how do you separate the sensationalism from the real deal?
A good side hustle can become your best friend
This is where a good side hustle can become your best friend, helping you to gain a little more financial independence, as well as some new skills.
Here are five side hustle ideas for anyone looking to jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon.
Recommended reading: Should Freelancers Charge Per Project or Per Hour?
1. Affiliate Marketing
With an affiliate marketing website, you refer visitors to buy products online – through reviews or guides, for example – and earn a commission on each sale.
Some websites, like TechCrunch or The WireCutter, make a lot of money this way. While you may not reach quite the same dizzying heights, affiliate marketing can certainly earn you enough to be a legitimate and low-maintenance side business.
Here’s a tip: don’t feel compelled to buy into any slimy affiliate marketing ‘programs’. Do your research before you get started, so you don’t get taken for a ride. Influencer and entrepreneur Neil Patel has a great step-by-step guide to affiliate marketing that covers all of the basics.
A final tip: choose a subject or product range that you already know about or are interested in, since you will spend a lot of time researching and writing about it.
2. Virtual Assistant
In a similar vein to online freelancing, another great side hustle opportunity is becoming a virtual assistant – or VA. The entrepreneurial lifestyle draws in more and more people every year, but many of these entrepreneurs become overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks they have to complete on their own. Instead of doing the thing they love – whatever that may be – they find their time swamped with admin tasks.
This is where you, the virtual assistant, can help, providing administrative, technical, or creative help, all from your own home or coworking space. Most VAs work on a contractual basis and have a background in IT, personal assistance, or admin roles.
3. Blogging and Freelance Writing
It’s pretty hard to find a business nowadays that doesn’t have a blog on its website. There’s been something of a blogging boom in the last 10 years, and there’s certainly no harm in it, since there are many ways to monetize a popular blog – from advertising to affiliates.
If you have a passion and are able to craft a sentence, you may be surprised at what you can achieve with a well-kept blog. I know a man who paid for his entire house extension through advertising revenue, simply by blogging about it as he went along.
Here are some examples of successful blogs that have since become full-time money-making ventures:
- Bike198.com – mountain bike reviews
- Digital-photography-school.com – digital photography tips
- Lifehacker.com – tips for getting things done
- Smashingmagazine.com – art and design articles
If this sounds like the side hustle for you, check out this guide to starting a blog for your business.
But while blogging is a popular way for you to monetize your gift for words, it’s not the only way that you can do so: working as a freelance writer is a side hustle that more and more people like you are turning to.
Through blogging and freelance writing share many qualities, there is one key difference and crucial difference: blogging is all about you and freelance writing is all about the company, or individual, you are writing for.
As a freelance writer you will pitch your ideas to websites, editors, and heads of content. You’ll need to be disciplined, adaptable, and resourceful. But if you have all of these qualities then you could make some serious money – this helpful article gives you an idea of the rates well-known organizations will pay for 1,000 words of well-written copy.
4. Sell Your Wares Online
Got something you can sell? Then an eCommerce store is one of the best ways to get it moving.
Creating a successful online store is not easy – it takes a lot of planning, research and maintenance – but if you do manage to get a reasonable amount of traffic and sales, it makes for a fun and highly satisfying side project. As a writer, you will be pleased to know that your writing skills will help you sell.
My first tip with eCommerce is to go niche. Everyone is realizing the money to be made in selling online, and with giants like Amazon and eBay covering the ‘general store’ angle, you’re more likely to be successful if you take a specialist approach. What’s more, it enables you to focus your content strategy around this one area, improving your chances of ranking for high traffic keywords.
Perhaps you’re an artist or craftsperson with unique pieces of work to sell?
Or perhaps you have a passion for freshly roasted coffee and you want to set up a dropshipping store?
Whatever your eCommerce ambition, you can create a store for free (for the first 14 days) with no web design or coding experience whatsoever to see how you could start to make money through online sales. Etsy, the marketplace for creative people, is another great option for the talented artisan, and getting started with Etsy selling is super simple.
Hiring a private tutor is becoming more and more popular among people of all ages, from young children in school, to college and mature students. If you’re a math whizz, have a way with words, a musical ear, or a talent for technology, then you’re likely to find individuals who would happily pay you for your time and expertise.
Tutoring is a particularly popular side hustle for students to make money as they study, and what’s more, it makes you a more attractive candidate for future jobs.
To become a tutor doesn’t take much in terms of startup investment. It helps to have qualifications in the subject you hope to teach, that’s for sure.
Aside from that, you will need to work on getting your name out there, whether that’s advertising through Craigslist, or volunteering for a short while until you’ve built up a reputation.
Hopefully, this article has helped you generate some ideas for starting a side hustle of your own.
Each of these options requires very little money, and we’ve barely scraped the surface of what’s possible. Have you tried any of these options, and did they work for you?
If so, what did you use the extra money for? We’d love to hear your stories and side hustle ideas – please share them in the comments below.
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