19% of adults want to start a side hustle but haven't yet: How to overcome the barriers

One in four Americans who would like to start a side hustle don't know where to begin.


Side hustles can be a great way to earn extra income to put toward your short- and long-term financial goals, but it can be challenging to figure out how to begin. About 1 in 5 workers (19%) say they'd like to start a side hustle, according to a new survey from savings and investing app Acorns of 2,000 U.S. adults. Even so, many report facing obstacles.

What's holding would-be entrepreneurs back? Uncertainty around what kind of side hustle to start, concerns about time commitments, and not knowing how to begin were among the common barriers people face.

If you want to start a side hustle but haven't been able to get going, here's some advice.

How to find the right side hustle for you

If you're not sure what kind of gig to try, Grow's side hustle quiz can help you find one that will fit your skills and schedule. If you need more inspiration, try this list of 20 ways to make money on the side.

Think about what talents and skills you have and the type of people you like, or don't like, working with. If you're an expert in a certain subject matter and enjoy working with kids, online tutoring could be good for you. Prefer furry four-legged friends to humans? Dog walking or pet sitting could be good options.

"If you're trying to figure out what kind of side hustle you want to start, you can begin by mining your skills and asking yourself two questions: What do I enjoy doing? And why do people usually come to me for help?" Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire, told Grow earlier this year.

How Amobi Okugo turned a side hustle into a full-time business

Video by Courtney Stith

If you don't think you have any skills you can monetize, you still have plenty of options. You can get paid to take surveys online or by phone, drive for a ride-share company, or deliver groceries.

You can also look into seasonal side hustles if you find yourself with more free time during certain periods of the year. Here are seven side hustles you can do during the upcoming winter holiday season, and 10 more you can do during the summer.

How to set up your side hustle

Three in 10 women and 16% of men reported that they didn't know where to begin in trying to set up a side hustle. For many gigs, getting started is as simple as creating an account on a website. But even if you're looking to start a side hustle that functions more like a business, it's not as complicated as you may think.

Vix Reitano, who built a six-figure digital marketing business in just weeks, tells Grow she has three pieces of advice for people who are starting out:

  • Get a website to boost your credibility and secure your business platform
  • Treat yourself like a client by prioritizing your side hustle like you would someone you're serving through it
  • Make your service personal in order to better connect with clients

All of this doesn't have to be expensive. Glantz started her business with just $250, which she used to build and host a website and on several marketing tools. "Yo Quiero Dinero" podcast host Jannese Torres-Rodriguez tells Grow she found free and low-cost tools to help her start the food blog that launched her company.

Once you start your side hustle, don't forget to set aside money for taxes. Experts recommend putting away 30% of what you make so you have enough to cover your tax bill. Be sure to collect all of your 1099 forms when it comes time to file.

How to pay taxes as a freelancer

Video by David Fang

Side hustles that don't take a lot of time and energy

Time and energy concerns are major barriers to starting a side hustle, according to the Acorns survey. Roughly 20% of respondents said they were either too tired from their regular job to pursue one, and another 20% said they were worried it would take away too much time from their family. An additional 15% were worried a side hustle would distract from their main employment.

If these concerns apply to you, try looking for a side hustle that doesn't require a large time commitment. This can be as simple as selling items around your house that you no longer use or renting out your own possessions.

There are also several side hustles you can do that require less than an hour of commitment at a time and can be done in your pajamas. For example, try becoming a virtual mock juror, testing websites, or reviewing books you would have read anyway.

Barbara Corcoran: How your hobby can become a side hustle

Video by Stephen Parkhurst

Alternatively, you can look for ways to monetize hobbies you already have. If you're a musician, look into teaching an instrument or giving voice lessons on a platform like Lessonface, which connects kids with virtual music teachers. If you're an artist or enjoy doing arts and crafts, look into starting an Etsy shop to sell your creations, or create an account on Fiverr to start doing work commissioned by clients. If you have a special skill or talent, chances are there is someone out there who can benefit from your services.

Don't let a perceived lack of time discourage you. College student Aleah Mazyck made more than $40,000 in three years selling secondhand clothes online despite being busy with classes. Her advice is to let your side hustle schedule "work with what you have to do."

Grow is produced in partnership with Acorns and CNBC.

More from Grow: