Year after year, side hustles continue to be a popular way for Americans to make money to cover basic expenses, pay down debt, or have extra cash to spend. More than 1 in 3 Americans, or 34%, have a side hustle, and nearly 1 in 4, or 24%, plan to start one in 2021, according to a recent Zapier survey of 2,001 U.S. adults.
Before you decide which side hustle to go for, consider your potential pool of customers.
"A lot of folks are focusing on B2C side hustles," says Angelique Rewers, founder of The Corporate Agent, a consulting firm that helps small businesses land corporate clients. Business-to-consumer, or B2C, side hustles connect you directly with consumers, whether you're selling on Etsy or teaching kids a course online.
While these may seem like the best options, "there are a lot of folks who have been professionals who should really look at a business-to-business side hustle," says Rewers. A business-to-business, or B2B, side hustle, is one in which you serve a business directly. Depending on which B2B side hustle you're considering, you could be getting as much as $15,000 in one sale, she says.
Here are three "highly lucrative" B2B side hustles she recommends considering.
While people often think of virtual assistants as virtual administrators taking on tasks like calendar management and data entry, there can be a lot more to virtual assisting than that, says Rewers. "There's an entire category of virtual assisting that's in that tech and online marketing space and it's very lucrative."
Video by David Fang
In those kinds of specialized assisting roles, tasks could entail "working with businesses on helping them manage their content on their blogs or their social media channels, helping them to set up their email marketing campaigns, building their websites, managing all of their online subscriptions and all the stats tools that are out there," she says.
"You're often talking at least $100 [per hour] and up" for this gig, she says.
Coaching can help businesses improve their performance in a range of areas. "One is leadership coaching," says Rewers. If you've been a manager or a director in a company, "you can coach on things like executive presence, decision-making, managing conflict, and emotional intelligence," she says. "You're talking $125 to $450 an hour to be a leadership coach."
Another option is business coaching, she says. "Say you were a restaurant manager. You can coach other [restaurants] on how to be successful. If you worked inside of a store, you can coach other boutique owners."
Think back on your work experience and consider what you might have the right expertise in for business or leadership coaching. Then look online to see how much coaches in those fields are charging and how they're going about it.
A consultant gives businesses advice on their activities. "You're really coming in as a strategic partner and problem solving," says Rewers.
"Anyone who is leaving their professional role can be a consultant on the exact thing that they were just doing," she says. "If you worked in customer service or you were a customer service manager, you can be a consultant around customer service. If you worked in corporate communications, human resources, or facilities management, you can be a consultant on that very thing."
You might not even need to be on site. Consultants often do virtual workshops, Rewers says. "Companies are bringing tons of outside experts and speakers, sometimes just to join a Zoom session for as little as 30 minutes," she says.
"You can charge $2,500 to $5,000 for a half day workshop on something that you know," she says. Plus, "you build it once and you sell it over and over and over again."
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
If you feel like you might have what it takes to dive into one of these B2B side hustles but want some extra guidance, Rewers recommends looking into online certifications and training programs that can help you hone your skills. "A lot of these coaching programs out there allow you to get a coaching certificate in even one weekend," she says.
As you build your hustle, make sure you "treat it like a business," she says. Set boundaries around your side job and the rest of your life. "Set up a separate bank account," she recommends, and "give yourself a dedicated workspace, use a dedicated email."
"I think for a lot of folks it does start out as something that's just a necessity and it ends up growing into something they really love," she says. "But you're not going to love it if you don't have any boundaries."
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