Though challenging, the COVID-19 pandemic left more people to take a shot at the gig economy and start their side hustles. Whether it’s for supplementing their earnings from their 9-to-5 jobs or starting a new career, one thing’s certain: side hustles, when done right, make ends meet.
Having multiple jobs isn’t something new. Baby Boomers have had side hustles in the 70s. Yet, younger people have become more attracted to part-time and freelance gigs in the past decade, thanks to how digital technology has changed the way we do work.
In 2019, the Bank of Canada released a survey that revealed 30 percent of Canadians, mostly youth, are part of the informal work sector, which includes ride-sharing services, online selling and virtual tech support.
If you’re not part of this growing industry yet, I suggest you better think of what side hustle ideas that’ll fit your skills (or motivate you to learn about it).
Working nine to five (yeah, I hear you, Dolly Parton) limits your chances of earning various income streams to support your expenses. But with a side hustle, you have the flexibility of choosing your working hours (depending on which job you take) and the kind of project you want to do.
Side hustling has also paved the way for “free agents” (a term coined by McKinsey & Company to categorize gig workers who have transitioned to full-time independent work and depend on their primary income from it).
Most of these workers started as “casual earners” or those who supplement their primary source of living by getting a side hustle by choice. After all, leaving your 9-to-5 role can be risky if you’re not sure that a new side business will work out.
Getting a side hustle these days has become a lot easier too. Despite quarantine restrictions, many opportunities are advertised on online job search platforms. Some online jobs allow you to work anywhere in the world as if you’re part of an office-based workforce.
And if you work hard enough, you can pay off your debts just like many other hustlers do and help you find your way towards financial independence.
But be warned though. Freelancers often fear that their contracts can be cut short anytime soon. That’s the risk of doing full-time gigs. One day you’re in, the next day you’re out. So, while it helps to pay the bills, there’s no job security attached to it.
Bear in mind that you won’t also receive any health insurance, paid time off or holidays, and pension when you get into these contracts.
Before clicking that SUBMIT button to land your first gig, consider the following first:
What makes you unique? Can you solve problems such as poor marketing copy, dwindling sales or lack of industry information? Are your skills in demand? What pain points can you address?
Money should never be a motivation for working in your side hustle. It’s important to find something that you love so that it won’t feel like an extra job. Before signing up to a gig, ask yourself, “Can I commit to this project and will it make me happy?”
A side hustle is just like any other job. You need discipline and routine to keep you in check. Set your daily working hours and stick to it even if it means less pay (at least at first).
Do you have the mental tenacity to extend your work days to start up a side hustle? This could mean working long days , even on weekends. It’s important to be ready for such a commitment because a successful side hustle requires hard work and dedication.
Is it worth your time and effort relative to your potential earnings? Can you commit or will the extra hours compromise your health, relationships and personal wellness? I know balancing your work and personal needs is easier said than done, especially when you need money. But your extra dollars won’t make up for poor health and lost relationships.
Side hustlers typically engage in jobs that they’re good at. However, you may need to upskill to catch up with the advances in technology in your niche area. Don’t be afraid to invest in learning new skills and training. Clients might also ask you take refresher courses or workshops that they’ll pay for in order to stay competitive in the market.
Some jobs require you to work with a team. Do group projects make you uncomfortable, or are you more productive working by yourself?
I’ve categorized these popular side hustles in 2023 according to digital and other services.
There’s never been a better and easier side hustle, in my opinion, other than affiliate marketing. For starters, it just requires you to help brands sell their products and services by promoting it online. You’re paid a commission for every successful referral, and all you need is a computer and a stable internet connection. Sounds easy, right?
But to truly profit from affiliate marketing, you need to be authentic when it comes to promotion. The more genuine your content is, the better it will be in attracting leads that will convert into paying customers.
This gig sounds complicated but it’s pretty simple. You send your products to Amazon, the company stores them in their warehouse, and they’ll handle the packing, shipping and tracking should there be any orders of your product. It’s a rewarding side hustle when you know the secrets to a successful Amazon FBA business.
Fancy writing a book and getting it published? Chances are, you’ll grow old after getting a boatload of rejection letters from major publishers. But thanks to KDP, you can self-publish for free and sell it to over 90 million subscribers on the platform. And the best part? You have the potential to earn more than a traditional book deal.
Do you have a valuable set of skills that can help others start their own gig? If you enjoy teaching people how to create impressive digital art, write superb copy, play the latest hits on guitar, or perform bookkeeping using online software, then start creating and selling online courses about it.
And if you’re good at English, sign up for any vacant positions on tutorial websites that cater to online language learners in China. You get to choose your work hours and how many classes that can fit your extra time for a convenient side business.
Believe it or not, many companies pay for survey respondents to answer short questionnaires about consumption habits. These surveys are used in marketing research that guide product development and sales strategies. The money you make filling out online forms with your honest opinions about products and services isn’t that much (with some sites paying you with points instead of cash). But hey, it’s more productive to spend two to three hours of easy online work than scrolling up and down on Facebook, right?
Many small and medium enterprise owners prefer focusing on what their business does best because of their full schedule. As such, they hire social media managers to create and schedule posts, reply to comments and inquiries, and run ads for lead generation. It’s a fun side business idea for those who like to spend lazy afternoons on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Converting audio files such as podcasts, instructional and tutorial videos, company meetings, medical and legal consultations, university lectures into text documents is a lucrative side hustle. Although many online transcription tools have emerged lately, which is a lot cheaper and faster compared to hiring human transcriptionists, the accuracy of their results still needs constant revisions by the latter.
Every day, there’s a new business that needs to launch an awesome website. If you’re interested in profiting from them, it’s time to upgrade your coding skills and launch that web development career. There are also massive opportunities in UX/UI design, graphic arts and video production.
Car owners who now work from home have fewer reasons to drive daily. However, given their busy schedule, they can’t do car wash by themselves. Here’s where you come in. You can offer door-to-door services and have a car care package that includes waxing, scratch removal, carpet and engine cleaning right in their garage.
Driving for companies such as Uber or Lyft allows you to set your working hours to earn extra cash. It’s common for office-based workers to do this hustle after work. Driving and meeting new people before heading home for these folks eases the stress they experience in their corporate jobs.
Got spare time during weekends? This gig lets you earn extra cash without investing a lot of your money. Just a few basic cleaning tools and you’re all set.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can easily learn this trade. Mowing, weeding and trimming bushes are always in demand in suburbs. All you have to prepare is a set of yard tools and you’re good to go. During winter, you may shift to snow shoveling instead to continue earning.
With more people wanting more convenient and safer shopping due to the pandemic, you can be of service to them by signing up for an on-demand grocery service or personal errand shopping sites. It’s one gig that allows you to earn doing what millions of people would love to do — getting paid to shop.
Do you have extra space or property that can be rented out? Airbnb started the craze of turning homes into profitable investments. If you have a passion for hospitality and providing wonderful experiences to guests, consider listing your home and highlight its unique features to start grabbing attention.
Do not get tempted on taking a loan to finance your side hustle unless you’re guaranteed an ROI. Why? You’d find yourself paying off debt for what could have been a supplemental income source to cover your current expenses.
Stick to a schedule. Like your 9-to-5 job, you need a work schedule to get your work done on time. While some jobs provide flexibility on when you’ll work and how many hours you put in daily, don’t treat it as an excuse to procrastinate.
Only spend your budget on what can bring in more money. Do you really need the latest iPhone to start working as an Instagram influencer? Will a new car change the way you drive ridesharing passengers? Side gigs are better started with limited capital, which you can grow over time.
Continue to invest in training. Consider yourself lucky when your client pays for your online courses, but if you don’t have such an opportunity, find time to learn to upgrade your current skills from free resources online.
Keeping your day job and starting a side hustle is possible but only if you put in the dedication and passion to grow your gig. It’s a great way to earn extra cash, but it can also drain you out if you can’t balance your commitments outside of work.
Most side hustlers who transition to doing it full-time are those who have learned to love and value what they’re doing. So, right from the start, choose a side hustle that you’d be willing to stick to for the long term.