A mother and daughter work on homework

Smart talk on side hustles

Jun 7, 2022
Empower Insights

Tips on how to make money on the side

The current economic environment (rising inflation, high gas prices and market volatility) has many people wondering if their current income can keep up. In fact, our recent Wealth & Wellness Index survey shows over half (56%) of Americans have already explored or plan to look into multiple income streams — or a side hustle.1

What exactly is a side hustle?

A side hustle is a second job, often freelance in nature. For some people, side hustles are a way to pay their monthly bills. For others, they’re gateways to satisfying new careers, boosting their savings and even building successful businesses.

Some side hustles, like babysitting or delivering takeout food, promise immediate income. Others are more entrepreneurial — requiring an initial investment of time, money or both, with the hope of profit down the line.

Skills and interests should intersect

The most satisfying side hustles apply your existing skills and experience to a personal passion, interest or hobby. For example, let’s say you love motorcycles and know how to do digital marketing. You could create a blog or podcast dedicated to reviewing bike gear.

If you’re hoping to provide any kind of personal service, from party planning to graphic design, you can advertise yourself on sites like Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr, where people go to find qualified side hustlers in every field.

Interested in learning more? Below are five side hustle ideas to get started:

1. Drive for dollars

Earning extra cash behind the wheel is a popular side hustle. If you want to be a rideshare driver, you’ll need a clean late-model car, not to mention a clean driving record. If you drive a beater, you can still work for food delivery apps. Flexible hours are a big advantage, but current high gas prices have cut into driver profit margins.

2. Teach what you know

Maybe you’re the world’s greatest (undiscovered) rock guitarist? Are you bilingual? Or a math genius? An excellent writer? Consider using your skills to help others as a freelance teacher or tutor. A great way to find potential students (and they you) is by searching and posting on Facebook groups. A big plus: You can often do video lessons from your sofa, which makes this a great remote side hustle option.

A guitar teacher works with a young student

3. Sell what you make

Are you an accomplished craftsperson? Consider selling your knitwear, leather belts, jewelry or ceramicware on websites like Etsy and eBay. You might also look into exhibiting at weekend craft fairs, which can boost your reputation and also be a lot of fun.

Another option – sell what you don’t need. Facebook marketplace and sites like Poshmark make it really easy to sell apparel and goods that you don’t use or want anymore. Maybe you no longer hit the slopes every weekend and no longer need those skis and boots. Maybe there’s a piece of furniture, like a crib or a highchair, that could go to a new home. In addition to earning some extra cash, the act of decluttering might give you a great sense of satisfaction.

4. Be handy

Do you have a knack for fixing things? A green thumb? Maybe plumbing is your passion. Homeowners are always looking for help with tasks they aren’t sure how to accomplish, don’t have the time to do or may be too physical. Sites like Nextdoor make it really easy to advertise your services locally, and before you know it, you might build up a strong reputation for fixing leaky faucets, hauling away junk or painting the perfect wall.

A man pushes a wheel barrow with tree

5. Manage social media

Even small businesses need a social media presence, but often their owners don’t have the time or skill to manage Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and a website. They can’t hire a big marketing firm, but they might be able to pay you, if you have the skills — and you can work remotely.

Taking it a step further, you could be the star of the show. Successful homemade YouTube channels — everything from cooking shows to washing machine repair demos — can earn thousands of dollars a month in advertising and product sponsorships. You can shoot with your phone, but the most successful channels feature competent camerawork and editing.

Determining if a side hustle is right for you

Before taking on any side hustle, adopt the mindset of a businessperson. Balance how much money you stand to earn against expenses, and consider how many hours you can realistically devote to a side hustle.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s the financial investment? Maybe you need to get your car detailed or buy video editing software.
  • What’s the time investment? Starting a blog or YouTube channel takes a lot of work, and you will need thousands of regular viewers before advertisers are interested.
  • Is this a pyramid scheme? Watch out for multi-level marketing pitches. Do you need to enlist more sellers before you start making money? That’s a flashing red light.
  • How much can I save? It’s fine to use your side hustle to pay the bills, or pay off debt, but your ultimate goal should be paying yourself — meaning saving for your future.

A side hustle is hard work and could make for long days and busy weekends. It can also be fun. If you approach it with passion and a well-considered strategy, it might even change your life.

Want to check out an even longer list of potential side hustles?  Read this article, “Ultimate List of the 50+ Side Hustles That Are Trending in 2022” on Entrepeneur.com

1  Empower, Wealth and Wellness Index Mid-Year Survey, May 2022.