It’s no secret that the cost of living is going up in many parts of the country, and salaries are not rising to match. Maybe you’re in this boat and feeling financially strained, or maybe your lifestyle has changed recently, and you have more time on your hands. Whatever the case may be, perhaps you’ve heard about side hustles and want to give one a shot.
In this article, we’ll talk about what a side hustle is and help you determine whether or not a side hustle is right for you. Then, we’ll go over some of the best side-hustle opportunities available right now.
What is a Side Hustle?
A side hustle is work you do for income that is secondary to your primary income. Generally, this includes freelance work or other irregular, often piecemeal work that provides supplemental income. Many side hustles involve activities that people are passionate about, but this isn’t always the case.
Taking on a side hustle is not the same as working a part-time job in addition to your main job. If you get a part-time job, that employer is still the one managing your payroll, telling you when to work, what to do, etc. With a side hustle, you are your own boss. You say when you’re going to work, what you’re going to do, and you are in control. Having that level of independence with a side-hustle can be liberating and rewarding, but it’s not for everyone.
Should You Take on a Side Hustle?
Side hustles require you to invest your time, effort, and in some cases, capital to get them off the ground. Many people find that working a side hustle requires more work than their primary job. However, it can also be infinitely more rewarding.
So, how can you know if taking on a side hustle is a good idea for you?
1. Financial stagnation
Wages in the United States have been stagnant for quite some time, and we don’t expect them to increase significantly any time soon. If you are experiencing the effects of income stagnation, taking on a side hustle might be worthwhile to explore.
2. Increasing cost of living
As we said at the beginning of the article, the cost of living is going up in many places around the country. If you’re finding it increasingly difficult to stay on top of your bills, then you should consider a side hustle. According to Forbes, 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. An additional revenue stream can help you stay on top of things and prioritize savings, so you can be in the 22% of Americans who don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. The last thing you want is to dip into your retirement funds.
3. Two is better than one
There is a reason why many of the most successful corporations always have a backup plan ready. It is risky to go all-in on a single endeavor. Being heavily invested in one enterprise means that the entire system comes crumbling down if that venture loses profitability. The same is true for your income. For this reason, the wisest investors spread out risk. With a side-hustle, you can mitigate the potential risk of losing your primary income.
4. Financial pressures
Do you have mounting debts that are giving you trouble? When you owe money, there is inherent financial pressure that comes with that. Are you behind in your retirement savings? Finding additional sources of income is a nearly guaranteed way to pay off debt faster, improve your savings, and ultimately ease that pressure.
The Best Side Hustles Available Right Now
Now that you have identified whether or not taking on a side hustle is in your future, let’s explore some of the best freelance and side hustle opportunities.
The list below isn’t exhaustive by any means, and it’s in no particular order. However, it’s a good starting point to help you consider your options and make the best move.
1. Drive for Uber or Lyft
Driving for services like Uber or Lyft has become a popular way of earning additional income in the last decade. As long as you own a vehicle that qualifies and have a clean driving record, you can drive. Simple! Uber and Lyft allow you to work whenever you want, though certain areas and times of the day are more profitable than others, as many drivers will tell you. For that reason, it can be tricky to maximize profits if you have other obligations during rush hour or you live in a less populated area. However, if you can be flexible, driving for Lyft or Uber can be quite profitable.
2. Take on tasks with TaskRabbit
TaskRabbit allows people to hire you to complete various errands and jobs for them. It can be a great source of side income if you have a knack for handy work and you have some extra time on your hands.
As you might have guessed, the number one requested task on the platform is assembling IKEA furniture, but it doesn’t end there! Other common examples of listings on TaskRabbit include picking up groceries, taking clothes to be dry cleaned, and even walking dogs.
3. Provide teaching services
Digital learning is becoming an increasingly popular method for acquiring new skills and improving existing ones. If you have highly technical skills that others are looking to learn, you can try to capitalize on opportunities to teach these skills.
Sites like VIP Kid and Wyzant are online tutoring portals where you can quickly sign up and set your own hours and rates. These sites are helpful because you don’t have to create your own curriculum. They provide you with resources. You just teach. However, if you do want to create your own online courses, you can do that on sites like Skillshare and Udemy.
Whether you use someone else’s curriculum or make your own, the best part about these platforms is that you don’t have to worry about filling your classes or looking for students. They take care of all of that for you. That means you are free to focus on the quality of your content and the value of your educational material.
4. Sell used items online
If you, like most people, have a bunch of stuff sitting around the house that you don’t use anymore, you could take it to the local thrift shop, or you could try selling your things online. Selling used items is no longer the daunting process it used to be. Now, there are several sites where you can effortlessly market and sell things online.
You can sell just about anything on sites like Craigslist, Mercari, OfferUp, or Facebook Marketplace. There are also more market-specific sites like Reverb for music gear or Poshmark and Depop for clothes. If you have a collector’s item and you like the auction format, try eBay.
While it’s free to list items on many online marketplaces, be warned. If they offer any sort of e-commerce or shipping options, they will most likely take a cut of whatever profits you make from the products you sell.
Another aspect of selling used items you should consider is that you will run out of items to sell at some point. For this reason, used selling should not be your preferred side-hustle in the long term. However, as a yearly spring cleaning ritual, it can be profitable if your items are priced well.
5. Sell artwork and crafts
If you are a designer, artist, crafter, or builder, you should consider selling your homegrown items on online shops like Etsy and Bonanza. These two popular e-commerce sites make it extremely easy to set up an account, create an online store, and start selling your items right away. These sites allow you to get your products in front of a much wider audience than what you might find as a vendor at your local farmer’s market.
Some common items you’ll find on these sites include print material (posters), stickers, shirts, bags, pillows, blankets, house decor, and more.
6. Dropship products
Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method where instead of shipping products themselves, a business passes sales orders along to a third-party supplier. This third-party supplier could be anyone, including you. They keep the business’s items in stock and ship the order directly to the customer.
Dropshipping allows online stores to maintain their presence and decrease shipping times without worrying about keeping physical stock or maintaining multiple warehouses. For you, this means that if you have some extra space for inventory, you have an excellent opportunity to make some extra money.
7. Renting your properties through Airbnb
Whether you have a destination home you can use as a vacation rental, or you just have an extra room in your house where people can crash as they pass through, Airbnb is a well-known way for property owners to increase their passive income. Essentially, your property or a room in your property becomes a hotel. You create a welcoming environment, and Airbnb helps you find guests. If you’re not confident on the business side of things or you don’t live near your rental property, you can hire companies to manage the entire rental process for you.
While it takes some effort to maintain your property and get it up and running, you might be surprised at how much you can earn.
8. Other additional sources of income
If none of the methods above interest you, here are more than 80 ways you can earn additional income this year.
A side-hustle isn’t necessarily for everyone. If you feel good about your income, you might consider a side-hustle as more of a passion project. However, if you have been experiencing financial stress or want to get ahead on your savings goals, I hope you feel empowered by this article to try something new and improve your income.
If you are interested in starting a side-hustle to improve your financial situation, this is also a great time to take stock of your long-term financial goals. Sign up for a financial plan with Savology today to learn if you are on track to meet your financial goals.