3 tips for side hustle success from Kevin Ha, whose gigs bring in over $33,000 a year

Kevin Ha.
Courtesy Kevin Ha

Kevin Ha picked up his first side hustle in 2015, when he began delivering food by bike on his way home from work. Two years later, the 32-year-old left a law career to become a full-time blogger and side hustler.

On his personal finance site, Financial Panther, Ha documents his monthly income from side hustles including renting out spare bedrooms in his home, walking and boarding dogs, and delivering food. In the past year, he earned more than $33,000 from about a dozen such jobs.

Here are three of Ha's best tips for side hustle success:

1. Take time to build your side hustle

Ha began doing side hustles while working at a big law firm and making $125,000 a year to pay off his $87,000 in student loan debt as quickly as possible. Once he was debt-free, he tried different jobs in law in search of a more fulfilling career, taking pay cuts along the way when necessary, before deciding to give self-employment a try.

Between his blog and side hustles, Ha now earns anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 a month — about what he was making at his last full-time job at a nonprofit. "It didn't happen overnight," Ha says, noting that he has more than four years experience with delivering food and walking dogs.

Ha says he "can live just on this gig stuff" for a while, but he recommends people starting out to dabble at first until they find a side hustle they like and understand how to scale it up. "If you're miserable where you are, these [side hustles] are an outlet" and can help cover expenses while you think about your next career move, he adds.

Courtesy Kevin Ha

2. Find side hustles that fit into your life

Ha's side hustling has inspired his friends and family, who, he says, have picked up some of the same jobs. That's because they come to realize that many of these side hustles can be incorporated into normal activities, like commuting to and from work.

One of Ha's longest-running side hustles ranks among his favorites: walking dogs. Back when he worked in an office, Ha took the same dog for a 20-minute walk during his lunch break — and he says other office workers could do the same.

This stuff is so easy. There's money out there if you're just willing to try it.
Kevin Ha
The Financial Panther

Plus, it's a side gig that can be done pretty much anywhere. In April, Ha traveled to Dallas with his wife back and walked dogs there. "The way I look at it: I want to walk around the city, and I can do that while I'm walking a dog," he says. "I was exploring the city while getting paid."

Ha has discovered that his latest hustle, shopping for groceries for other people, has also helped him become a more efficient shopper. Other people could easily incorporate this side hustle into their normal grocery shopping routine, too, he says.

3. Look for side hustles that are easy — and fun

Ha's most consistently profitable side hustle is renting out rooms in his home, but his current favorites require more activity.

"I really enjoy doing food delivery on my bike," Ha says. "I think people underrate that one. They see it and think it's just food delivery, but I'm making $20 to $25 an hour doing it."

Ha likes delivering food for a few reasons: There's no associated cost, it benefits his health, it's good for the environment, and, when he sat at a desk for eight-plus hours a day, the stress relief was "very valuable."

While some low-effort side hustles don't pay as much, like taking pictures of hiring signs, Ha says others are a lot of fun — or just too easy to pass up.

For example, Ha made more than $600 in June by charging electric scooters, and finally convinced a friend who was looking to make some more money this summer to do the same.

"This stuff is so easy," Ha says. "There's money out there if you're just willing to try it."

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