Side hustles have long been popular in America, and people pick them up for many reasons: Nearly half (48%) of people start a side hustle to make extra spending money, 27% do so to help pay for regular monthly expenses, 11% do so to help pay off debt, and 10% do so to save up for a major purchase, according to a May 2020 DollarSprout survey of 698 U.S. adults.
If you're considering a side hustle, whatever the motivation, it may be hard to pick out a direction. From dog walking to teaching online to selling your art, there are many ways to earn extra cash these days. Nearly a quarter of side hustlers (24.4%) make an average of $500-$1,000 per month, according to DollarSprout.
If you're considering starting a side hustle, here are a few expert tips on where to start.
When considering what side hustle to pick up, "it starts with spending time with yourself and getting clear on what matters to you," says Hannah Genton, founding partner at law firm CGL, who is currently training to become a death doula on the side. Death doulas help the dying and their families through the emotional journey of their loved one's final months.
One way to go about it is to "find something you're interested in, so it's not going to drain your energy reserves," says Genton. Ask yourself what you're passionate about and enjoy doing and see if there's a way to base your hustle on it. If you love and are well-versed in American history, look into teaching a course about it on sites like Udemy or Outschool. If you're great at and enjoy crafting, look into selling your work on Etsy.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
If you're more focused on making as much money as possible, "find something you're really good at so it's not going to drain your time," says Genton.
Get clear on your motivation for starting the side hustle and let that guide your decision-making going forward.
Once you've figured out what your side hustle direction is, ask yourself, "is it B2B or is it B2C?" says Angelique Rewers, founder of The Corporate Agent, which helps small businesses land corporate clients. That is, is it business-to-business or business-to-consumer?
Often when people start side hustles they think B2C: They think about selling used clothing to the general public, for example, or answering people's questions about a popular topic like RV ownership.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
But "rule No. 1 in business is follow the money," says Rewers, so it's possible you could make more if you focused your hustle on businesses instead. If you've been working in HR your whole career, for example, and have a lot of expert advice to share about the field, consider picking up a side hustle in HR consulting to big businesses. Or if you've started a chain of successful local coffee shops, consider launching a business coaching food entrepreneurs.
Training others is "a fantastic side hustle," says Rewers. "You can charge $2,500-$5,000 for a half day workshop on something that you know. You build it once and you sell it over and over and over again."
Even as you home in on what your side hustle is going to be, remember that it's going to be one more part of the bigger whole that is your life, so "map out your days and have a plan for how much time you're going to dedicate to each thing," says Angelina Darrisaw, a career coach and founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach.
"Maybe you say, 'I'll work an additional three hours per day,' but at 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock you say, 'I'm going to cut it off, and I'm going to watch some Netflix, I'm going to do something with my friends, a Zoom happy hour' ― whatever," says Darrisaw.
Your mental health and well-being are still important. Leaving time to relax and do something for yourself will not only help you recharge but also make you that much more able to tackle your various workloads.
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