About 2 in 10 Americans with a side hustle, 18%, say they started that job to diversify their income, according to an October survey from LendingTree. Experts say that's a smart move — and the current job market makes it easy to do.
"It's an amazing time now to develop a new income stream just because there's so much demand for workers and so much demand for help," says self-made millionaire and FIRE adherent Grant Sabatier, the author of "Financial Freedom."
Job openings hit a record high in May. The number of available positions rose to 9.2 million, according to the Labor Department's latest monthly report.
But adding another stream of income doesn't have to mean taking on a second full-time job, says Financial Panther founder Kevin Ha. He's picked up more than a dozen side hustles that collectively bring in up to $2,000 per month. There "are easy, low-barrier ways to get started earning extra income," Ha says.
Here are three steps you can take to add additional income streams.
Over the past six years, Ha has made $120,000 using gig economy apps. To find additional sources of income, he suggests asking yourself: "What are you already doing, and what can you do to monetize that thing?"
For example, one of his income streams is food delivery. Ha was already an avid cyclist, and now his rides do double duty to make deliveries. "With exercising, I was already doing that anyway so if I do deliveries [by bike] during that time, I don't lose that hour," Ha explains.
Ha applies the same concept to dog-sitting, using apps like Rover and Wag to find work. "Dog-sitting is useful for me because I already have a dog, so watching a second dog really doesn't add any additional work to my plate," he says.
If you're looking for a more passive income stream, "one easy thing to do is try to take advantage of the things you already have," Ha says. For example, Ha used to rent out a spare bedroom in his house on Airbnb to earn extra cash.
Real estate isn't all you can rent out. Some other items you can profit from renting out include your lawn mower, bike, surfboard, or car.
Video by Courtney Stith
Finding an additional stream of income doesn't have to mean taking on a huge endeavor. In fact, It's best to "start small," says Sabatier, who is also the founder of websites Millennial Money and BankBonus.com. "When you want to develop another income stream, think of something that you can make an extra $20 a day or $100 a day, you don't have to go crazy," he says.
Some earning ideas that don't require long work hours include taking surveys online or by phone, tutoring English online, or product testing.
If the time commitment is what's holding you back from finding an additional stream of income, try looking for work that can be done during gaps in your schedule, Ha says. "What can you do to make money during that time?" he says. "Or if you can't carve out that specific time, [ask yourself] what are you doing during that time and can you make money doing that thing you're already doing?"
When you're adding a new income stream to the mix, Sabatier suggests testing the gig out before you go all in. That's because aside from providing financial security, multiple streams of income can also help you find work you enjoy. "[It] allows you the opportunity to test out new ways to make money and have a number of irons in the fire," he says. "Then if one of them takes off, it gives you more options."
At one point in Sabatier's life he had 11 different side hustles, which included helping with his friend's moving business, dog walking, cat-sitting, website building, and running Google and Facebook ad campaigns for small businesses.
"I was just kind of testing out, 'Did I enjoy doing this?' 'Did it help me make money while learning new things?'" Sabatier says. "So, especially if you're in your 20s and early 30s, you're testing out a number of different areas and ways to make money. You just don't quite know what's going to work until you try them out."
The first gig you get probably won't be your ideal job, but it can be a great way to earn a little extra income while discovering your passion, Sabatier says: "Just being around people that are making money doing the things that you love, and just getting involved, is the most important step."
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