Business Planning

What’s a Good Side Hustle?

A side hustle—work you do outside of your full-time job—can be a great way to make extra income and, in some cases, be the start to your own business. It’s not a magic pill to fix your money problems or a get-rich-quick thing. But a side hustle can be an honest way to make money to pay off debt, pay for a big purchase, save for retirement or just add to your income.

Unfortunately, when looking for a side hustle, there are a lot of scams you need to avoid. If someone tells you they can show you how to make easy money fast, and that you’ll make a ton of it, chances are it’s a scam.

For example:

  • You may see ads or get emails suggesting that taking online surveys is a good way to make money when, in reality, it only pays about $1 to $2 an hour.

  • Multi-level marketing jobs or direct selling (when you sell products to friends and family and try to get your friends to do it too) may sound like a great thing to do to make money, but it’s usually not. Not only will you probably not make money, if the company requires you to purchase product or pay upfront fees, you may even lose money!

When it comes to a good side hustle, there are no short cuts. It takes time to get started and it may be awhile until you make money, but there are several worthwhile side hustles. Some of them can even turn a profit pretty quickly.

  • Sell your stuff. There are tons of apps to sell things online.

  • Do one-off jobs. Check out the gigs section on Craigslist, do tasks on TaskRabbit, mow loans, shovel snow, etc.

  • Flip furniture. If you’re handy, take old, worn-out furniture, make it look good, then sell it for profit. 

The best side hustle ideas are flexible, pay well for the work you’re doing and can be built into a larger, and possibly full-time, business. Here are a few ideas:

  • Manage Facebook ads for small businesses: If you have a computer, are hooked up to the internet and have a Facebook account, you can learn to place Facebook ads to help small businesses grow.

  • Become a virtual assistant: Sites like Upwork and Fiverr will allow you to create a profile to market your services to potential clients.

  • Teach English online to foreign students: VIPKid is a website that connects its teachers with young Chinese students with the goal of helping them learn English. The hours are flexible, you work when you want, and you don’t have to be a certified teacher.

  • Walk dogs or pet sit: Let your love of animals become the base for your side hustle! Walking dogs and pet sitting is a flexible opportunity to make money.

  • Offer your services as a make-up artist: People want to look good for special occasions and if you’re good at make-up, this can be a great way to make some extra money.

  • Teach people how to knit or quilt: If you’re handy with yarn and a needle and thread, why not share your skills with others? You can give lessons in your home or even have a local yarn shop let you help their customers.

  • Give music lessons: Share your musical talent to earn some extra cash. You can give lessons at your home or go to your students' homes.

Whatever you decide, if you want to be successful, it’s important to remember that it is a business, and the hustle in side hustle means work! Find your motivation and start looking into side hustle ideas by thinking about what you’re good at, things you enjoy and your availability. If you have an idea you want to try, sign up to get support and find a mentor. With determination and the right tools, you can make your side hustle a success!