If you're looking to earn some extra cash on top of what you make in your regular day job, you're likely considering a side hustle. A side hustle is different from a part-time job, in which you must work a set number of hours. Instead, the best side hustles can be done casually during your off-hours with no set schedule, offering you flexible opportunities to work as much or as little as you like during any given week.
Rather than diving in with the first opportunity that comes your way, however, you should first take time first to consider the types of side hustles that might be right for you.
5 Steps to Choosing the Right Side Hustle
Thinking through these steps could help point you in the right direction.
Step One: Consider your natural skills and passions.
Because side hustles will be done during your spare time, they're most enjoyable when they involve doing something you love.
Taking a look at your hobbies could be a good place to start. While not every hobby can feasibly be transformed into a side hustle, many people have found that they can bring in hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars a week by ramping up something they're already doing.
- Playing games
Because side hustles don't bear the full weight of your financial support, you're free to indulge as much or as little as you like, enjoying your extra cash flow along the way.
Step Two: Decide how much you can handle.
One of the dangers of a side hustle is that if your goods and services prove popular, your hustle could wind up taking off. Though it's unlikely to immediately become successful enough to bear the weight of full-time employment, it's easy for things to get out of hand fairly quickly. The next thing you know, your side hustle has taken over all your spare waking hours. You're now working all the time, and something's got to give.
Burnout is real, and it's shipwrecked many a successful side hustle. To ensure that doesn't happen, take some time at the start to evaluate how much you can handle. With that in mind, set limits on your side hustle so that you don't become overwhelmed.
Step Three: Consider going digital.
Some side hustles can only be done locally and in-person:
- Cleaning houses
- Pet grooming
- Detailing cars
- Playing games
Because these hustles require your physical presence, your customer and/or client pool is naturally limited.
Many other types of side hustles can benefit from going digital. Not only does the internet already teem with scores of digital side hustles available for you to explore, but it can also help you curate an online sales base for your own unique hustle.
Step Four: Reach out for mentorship.
As with all business ventures, side hustles require expertise. While you may be skilled in the work of your actual side gig, you may not have much experience with all the other aspects involved. Finding someone who can mentor you in best practices (particularly when it comes to marketing and finances) can ensure a greater chance at long-term success.
Step Five: Set a future evaluation date.
At many professional jobs, employees face yearly performance evaluations. These are key to measuring their work against the expected standard. Though they can be nerve-wracking, they can also prove helpful, offering necessary feedback and perspective.
By nature, side hustles are open-ended arrangements. Most people enter into them thinking, "Well, I'll get started, and then we'll see how it goes." We advise that when you start up your side hustle, you also put a future evaluation date on our calendar. Decide on some benchmarks you hope to meet before that time, and then factor those in as you evaluate your side hustle experience and decide whether the arrangement is working out as you'd hoped.
That's the beauty of the side hustle. If the one you've chosen isn't working out quite as you'd hoped, you're free to go back to the top of this list, start over, and change it up.