How to Find the Perfect Side Hustle: 4 Things to Consider

Jul
08
2013

hustlingThe following is a guest post by Pauline Paquin, you may know her blog Reach Financial Independence, Pauline has just launched Make Money Your Way to help readers diversify their sources of income with real estate, investing, entrepreneurship and online endeavors. Born and raised in Paris, Pauline writes about how she has been traveling the world for the past 10 years, while trying to build wealth and achieve financial independence, and how you can follow your dreams and reach your goals too. You can follow Pauline on Twitter @RFIndependence.

We would all love to earn a little more money, be it to pay debt faster, save for a nice holiday or a down payment on a house, or simply have some fun money to spend freely every week. But how do you start earning more? Do you look for a job, create your own? How about conflicts with your day jobs? Here are four things you should think about to determine the perfect side hustle for you.

Your skills

What are you good at? What do you do effortlessly? What are people praising about you?

It can be your gift for music, how fast you run, how good you are at fixing up computers. Until now you were doing those things for free. How about you get paid to do what you like? Sounds more appealing than working extra hours at your day job, right? You could be a physical trainer, a yoga teacher, cater meals for your friends’ parties, maintain the local school’s computers…

Start by making a list of the things you like to do and then think about people who do that for a living. Sure, it will be hard to train as a professional tennis player, but if you have the level to teach your own kid, why not bring a couple more friends over for a weekly lesson, and charge the kids? Most of the time we are unaware of the way we could market our skills, but there is almost always a way. You can make money tutoring someone who is struggling in your class, painting your neighbor’s living room, mowing lawns and cleaning pools, cutting hair or driving an old person to the supermarket every week. Think outside the box and there has to be something for you.

Your time

How much time are you ready to dedicate to your side hustle? That question will determine what is the ideal job for you. If you can only work one night a week, few businesses will take you in for one shift only. Although I know some retail stores recruit students to work 8 hours on Saturdays.

We are all busy, but if you have read this far, I imagine you are motivated and want to earn more money. So think hard and make a schedule of the hours you could free up to get a side hustle.

How reliable are your working hours at your day job? If you are out at 5pm on the dot, you can start your side gig at 530pm, otherwise plan for some wiggle room.

How bad is traffic? Ideally, you will find a job close to home or close to your day job to cut on commute time and cost.

Can you do EVERY Tuesday? Before you take on anything, look a few months into the future. If you will need a week off to prepare for your college finals in a month, you will likely get fired before your probation is over. Be straightforward with your recruiters about your availability.

If you are unable to free up a set day and time during your week, you will have to look for temporary work. Temp agencies are great because you can say yes or no to an assignment. But if you say no too much they will stop calling you. Check out the local ad board for baby-sitting gigs, or people looking for an extra hand on a project (moving house, DIY jobs, …). You will be able to earn money around your busy schedule. Freelance work could also work, although while you build a clientele, look for work, follow up with clients, payments, etc. you won’t get paid. So a couple of hours a week worth or freelancing will be hard to get, unless it is a recurring gig, like writing a weekly article for a magazine.

Your energy

One of the biggest barriers to get a side hustle is people think they won’t have the energy to work more on top of a day job. Most of the time, it is true that after 8 hours looking at a computer in your cubicle, you won’t be in the mood for another 4 hours of computer time. But there are a couple of solutions to that.

Find a side hustle that boosts your energy. You love running, or cycling? How about offering to train a neighbor for an upcoming race? You will get paid to workout, go back home energized and push yourself more since you have to exercise with a buddy, even on days you wouldn’t have gone on your own. If you are extroverted, you could pick up a shift at a local bar or coffee shop, and entertain yourself while you tend to clients. You will have social interactions as if you had gone out for a beer, except that you will earn money and avoid a hangover.

Find a non demanding side hustle. If your day job is really demanding, find a job where you are not required to think much, or even do much. Baby sitting some kids who are asleep while their parents are out is one such gig. You only have to stay on the couch until they get home, some won’t even mind if you fall asleep. You could be a night clerk at a hotel, and spend entire nights without seeing a customer. Cleaning offices at night allows you to plug your music and just let your thoughts wander as you do your job with no one around.

The perks

Unless you go freelance, you will be hired by a new company, and eligible to company perks. As you want the extra work in order to earn more, choose the company carefully, those added perks can help you save quite a bit of money.

Work in a restaurant. And get a free meal after your shift.

Work at the supermarket. And snag free products that are lightly damaged or about to expire.

Work on campus. And get free credits, or even free housing if you are the house’s supervisor.

Work where you shop. And enjoy the employee discount on items you buy regularly.

Work for a tech company. And get a free cellphone, maybe a laptop.

Work late. And get extra money and a free cab fare home.

Those perks, especially the ones related to free food and housing can more than make up for the apparently low salary the company is offering.

Do you have a side hustle? How did you find or create it? If you don’t, but would like to earn more, what is stopping you?

Comments

  1. Great points Pauline! The biggest things is proving you are good at the said side hustle, making sure there is a need and one I think you left out is pricing. Sometimes people just are willing to pay the price you are asking. You can either stick to your price or adjust until people are begging for your services and you can increase as you feel needed. I am working several side hustles but need to get more out about what I offer so that people know I offer it. Forums and a page on your site or blog helps with this on the online world. Craigslist and word or mouth helps as well.
    Thomas | Your Daily Finance recently posted…June Stats, Updates, Goals, and Future PlansMy Profile

  2. Good advice! This is the beauty of a good side hustle: Finding something that you do already so that it doesn’t feel like extra work or just another job. That’s what I love about blogging. Writing just comes naturally so I get a lot of fun out of doing it.
    My Money Design recently posted…Niche Website Update 7 – Site Number 2 Launched!My Profile

  3. Love this post! I am always looking to add additional side hustles :)
    Michelle recently posted…We’re Bike People and $1,975 in Extra IncomeMy Profile

  4. Wish I had this list when I was in my 20s. It is a good and thorough list, Pauline. My guitar studio began as a side hustle while I taught music in a school. Now my studio is my main source of income which allowed me to quit the far less desirable teaching gig. Now I can look at other side hustles and investing since my work hours were cut in half while maintaining income. Side hustles can become more than what they started out as and give us freedom to explore even further.
    cj recently posted…Why I No Longer Eat CheeseburgersMy Profile

  5. Great list Pauline! I am working to discover the best hustle for me as my day job does not have a consistent schedule year round.
    Blair@LifeDollarsandSense recently posted…A Happy 4th FarewellMy Profile

  6. One job that I have occasionally done on the side is substitute teaching in public schools

    It’s a job that is flexible and fairly well paid.

    Occasionally, you have to grit your teeth when you get a tough class, but any job has some drawback.
    Terry recently posted…“Turn Your Home into a Rental House” to be topic on “The Morning Blend”My Profile

  7. Great pointers; I seem to be breaking quite a few since my side hustles are all very high intensity and build on competencies from ym usual job. As to the perks section, I did wash dishes in an Indian restaurant 25 years ago and got free dinner – still never did it again. Analysing data was easier I suppose and I am lucky I was able to do that.
    maria@moneyprinciple recently posted…One needs an emergency fund after all!My Profile

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