I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship — well before I ever started Catena Media. After failing to make any real money on side hustles like DJing and reviewing local restaurants, I eventually found my way with affiliate marketing.
I found passion in learning the world of affiliates and building relationships. You see, one of my best skills is networking — and this side hustle of running an affiliate marketing Bingo site was the first time I was able to really turn a profit doing something that aligned with my skills.
Side hustling has come a long way since then, and today’s entrepreneurs have no shortage of opportunities to earn extra money on the side. Best of all, you aren’t just limited to part-time jobs at restaurants or call centers. Thanks to increasing technologies, you can find a side hustle that is profitable and aligns with your skills — and passion.
Here are four tips to help you find a side hustle that fits your interest and expertise.
Ask For More Work From Your Employer
It might sound boring, but a great way to pick up extra work is to start at your full-time job. If you enjoy what you do for a living and your work has extra tasks to complete, consider picking up some additional hours for extra money.
Ask your employer if there are opportunities to take on more work — even potentially outside your day-to-day role. Not only can this technique help you earn some additional money, but it might open more doors and show your company that you are committed to growing with the business.
Most employers are willing to contract work to their employees; especially those who are performing well.
If your current job doesn’t have any available opportunities, you may want to reach back out to previous employers to discuss contract work. As long as your full-time job doesn’t have any restrictions for working with competitors (assuming your old job was in the same industry), you may be able to leverage past working relationships to find a side hustle.
Look at Going Rates For Different Gigs
One of the major caveats to finding a side hustle is that you want it to be worth your time. While you might love playing poker, it can be hard to turn that into a legitimate side hustle.
Instead, you want to find a way to actually earn real money from your side hustle. A great place to start with knowing whether a side hustle is profitable is to look for going rates online for that task or job. You can research pricing through freelancing platforms like Upwork or look for rates on other websites or research reports.
Most side hustlers tend to find work online. While you could become an Uber driver or Airbnb host, the majority of freelance workers are turning to online skills like writing, web design, or helping as a virtual assistant.
When you’ve narrowed down a few gigs that you like, start researching that job and determine whether it’s something that you can legitimately earn revenue doing. While money isn’t everything, if you are deciding between two jobs that you enjoy and one earns more than the other, that could be enough to sway your decision.
As with everything in life, if the time you’re putting into it isn’t reciprocated with an equal or greater value, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Knowing the rates for work can help you as you grow your side hustle — and even if you do decide to start out doing free work (which is a great way to land leads), you should always know the value of the work you do and be willing to stand by it whenever necessary.
Be Honest About Your Skill Set and Commitment
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not the most organized person. Knowing that I struggle with an organization means that I would make a pretty lousy virtual assistant. However, I love networking and talking to others — so sales is right in my wheelhouse.
Before you pick a side hustle, take a few minutes to reflect honestly about your expertise and your pitfalls. You may even want to write them down or answer questions such as:
- How many hours a week do I want to work on this side hustle?
- What are some activities that I enjoy doing?
- Can any of these earn me consistent income?
- Is there a demand for any skills or expertise that I have?
- If not, are there ways for me to learn a new, profitable skill?
- What am I willing and not willing to sacrifice with this side gig?
Equipped with this information, you can now take a deeper look into what side hustle makes the most sense. It’s important to remember that when you take on a side gig, you are taking yourself away from other activities. This opportunity cost should not be taken lightly, and it — along with many other considerations — are important for you to weigh when deciding on a side hustle.
The more honest you are about side hustling, the more you’ll enjoy it.
Know-How to Get Started
Most of the tips above are focused on research and self-reflection. However, now that you’ve decided on what side hustle you want to do and you’re confident that you can earn money doing it, it’s time to get started.
When it comes to landing side work, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Start by researching the most accessible platforms for your skill. For most side hustlers, this will mean joining a freelancing site like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer. These, and many other platforms, allow you to sign-up, create a platform, bid on projects, and manage work directly within their system.
While these freelancer platforms often take a percent of your pay for the convenience of their service, it can be an excellent option for those who are just getting their feet wet with freelancing. Eventually, after you have built a portfolio of work and established a consistent client base, you could try branching off on your own and starting a website for yourself.
Regardless of how you get started with your side hustle, the important part is that you jump right into it. Don’t be afraid to join Facebook groups, scour job boards, or pitch companies (including your own) for work.
Starting a side hustle is a great way to build your financial stability and professional expertise. While you may be completely satisfied with your traditional 9-5, what could you do with an extra $200, $500, or $1,000 a month? My guess is that most people wouldn’t mind putting in a little extra work for some disposable income.
If you do decide to take the plunge and become a side hustler, keep the four tips above in mind so that you can not only find freelancing work that is profitable, but you can also make sure that it aligns with your skills and interest.
Erik Bergman is an entrepreneur that made his name through his marketing company Catena Media. Today Erik’s big passion is Great.com which he also founded, with the idea that all profit will go to charity. Learn more about Erik.
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