What is a Side Hustle? 9 Ways to Make an Extra $1,000 a Month


what is a side hustle 9 ways to make an extra

Money is perhaps the only thing that pretty much no human can have enough of – even if they make millions of dollars every year. When income levels increase, most people do not save or invest the excess money – they instead find out or invent new ways to spend that extra cash. This invariably ends in a cash crunch or deficit, forcing most to do a job on the side or create multiple income streams through side hustles.

A side hustle is working outside of regular working hours to make extra money. The motivation to make the extra cash could be the freedom needed to pursue certain passions, live a dream life, etc. Financial crunch is invariably the reason why the freshly employed do a side hustle.

Keep reading to learn the significance of a side hustle and how it could help explore new opportunities, the ideal side hustle jobs, and lots more.

side hustle letters

Side Hustle: A Brief Overview and Significance 

A side hustle is any job or commercial project done in addition to a full-time job. The secondary job could be carried out after work, on the weekends, or during spare time. Some people also work on their side hustle projects during lunch breaks at work or while commuting. A side hustle job could be carried out offline or online and can be in any line of work, which includes consulting, freelancing, babysitting, and online teaching.

A side hustle could be a short-term thing or a long-term pursuit. Kindly note, not all people toiling hard in addition to their regular working hours are in it to become an entrepreneur one day or have goals to set up their own business. Quite a few take up side hustle jobs to earn some extra money, and they are quite content with just that.

Potential to Earn More Money 

Most people consider a side hustle to earn additional money. There are also people who pick up a side hustle to save money for a vacation or pay off debts. The amount of money you could earn with a side hustle vocation depends on:

  • The kind of job you take-up
  • The amount of time you dedicate to it
  • How successful you become at it
  • Your skills and experience level

For instance, online tutoring would fetch you more than a babysitter job. If you have years of experience behind you or are extremely skilled at a particular thing, it’s quite possible to make money equivalent to what most people earn doing a job full-time.

You Get to Follow Your Passion 

A side hustle is more than just a part-time job for making some extra money on the side. In fact, more than one-fourth of the folks who pursue such projects are more passionate and into their hustles than their day jobs. Also, almost 41% of side hustlers do it primarily to fuel their passion. Making additional money is not their primary motivation. If you have a passion you never found time to work on, maybe you should make it your side hustle.

There is, however, a correlation between money and the so-called “passion” behind all the hustling. In other words, people who earn less doing what they do for a living are likely to identify or inject more passion into their side hustle than folks who are already making a decent amount of money from their regular jobs.

A side hustle could be a great opportunity to test out new waters or explore an unfamiliar industry. For instance, if you always wanted to bake cakes, starting a bakery or working for one would give you real-world exposure to the industry. Your perspective could change once you gather insights or get to know how things really work. 

Testing the Entrepreneur in You 

Besides the prospects of generating additional money, a side hustle is your perfect launchpad to grow your own business.

Starting a business and succeeding at it is an extremely tall order. This is true with people who quit their regular jobs and start their venture from their basement, hoping to become the next Jobs or Gates. The truth of the matter is 90% of these fresh beginnings are doomed to fall flat on their faces.

A side hustle, on the other hand, could be done without having to quit a day job. And even if your moonlighting takes a bit too longer than expected to mature into a real business and realize decent money, you would still be able to continue with it as you won’t be dependent on your side hustle income to pay your bills. This increases the likelihood of you continuing with your hustling longer and turning it into a real business eventually.

Here are nine legitimate side hustle options to realistically make $1,000 or more a month:

P.S. You will not be making $1,000 monthly during the very first month of your hustling. Based on the effort you put in, the nature of work, and also the niche you are in, it could take at least a few months to start pocketing an additional $1,000 a month.

Blogging 

girl with laptop and blog sign

If you have a computer with an Internet connection and are passionate about a particular subject and also have writing skills to boot, blogging should be the first thing you must try for a side hustle. Blogging lets you create your personal brand and generate your own digital assets. As a blogger, you can write about anything and everything under the sun. However, to make blogging meaningful and impactful, it’s important you choose a niche and focus on it completely.

For instance, if you’re passionate about cars, write about cars only. Do not mix it up with beauty or fitness-related content, for instance. With a singular focus, building an audience that shares your interest becomes easier. Once you’ve created a follower base or a healthy number of people visit your site every month, you may monetize your blog through ads, product links, sponsored posts, etc. 

The money you make is commensurate to the number of visitors to your site. Making $1,000 a month with 20k visitors, for instance, should not be that difficult. The niche you are in also ascertains how much money you end up making. Generally, blogs that talk about business, finance, and tech tend to make significantly more ad money compared to blogs that discuss gardening, cooking, yoga, etc.

Virtual Assistant 

Business owners, notably Internet entrepreneurs, are constantly on the lookout for virtual assistance with a range of tasks. From website updates to social media management, business owners usually don’t have the time and even skills needed to manage these important tasks. Virtual assistants lend a helping hand to such business owners and make some decent money in the process.

A business could need virtual assistants for different responsibilities. For example, a virtual assistant for a blogging business helps with pieces of work that include website graphics, social media postings, podcast show notes, drafting emails, etc.

Virtual assistants can work during evenings and/or on weekends, as most online business owners are not very particular about when the assigned tasks are done and sent in. They are more concerned about how well the job is completed. And in case you were wondering, virtual assistants, make $15 an hour on average.

Freelance Writing 

Freelance writing lets you make money writing content for other people’s sites and blogs. As a side project, freelance writing could make you an additional $500 to $3,000 per month or more, based on how much you charge your clients by the hour or per article. The pay is usually by the article, or the number of words written.

There is no dearth of freelance writing opportunities online. From content marketplaces to individual clients, the options are aplenty. However, finding the right job or the one that pays decently is not that easy as there are too many freelance writers willing to write for spare change. Then there are platforms where writers bid on the projects posted. No prizes for guessing, writers who offer to write for lesser money invariably bag the project.

If you’re just starting out as a freelance writer and do not want to bid for projects that pay offensively low money, content mills such as The Content Authority may be worth a look. These platforms liaise between clients and pre-approved writers. There is no pitching involved; and if you happen to write well consistently and impress a client, you could receive direct assignments via the site. 

The pay at The Content Authority is tier-based, like with most content writing platforms. The higher your tier level, the greater your pay. At Tier 3 and 4, there is the potential to make more than just decent money. And if you happen to do well at those higher tiers consistently, you will be considered first for the bigger projects, which could pay even more.

If you want to make even more money and do not mind applying/pitching, consider platforms such as ProBlogger and Craigslist. And if you would like to create a writing portfolio online and want potential clients to come to you instead of you reaching out to them, try writing for sites that provide you a byline. Getting approved to write for such sites, however, could be difficult and some may even not pay initially. Everything, however, shall pay out in the long run.

Online Teaching 

Online teaching/tutoring is a great side hustle to explore if you are academically sound enough to help school and/or university students with a range of subjects like writing, math, foreign language, etc. As an online teacher, you could tutor students across the world and also those who live in the same region as you. If you’d like to reach out to local students, put up ads in local newspapers.

Unlike a regular teaching job, you can work around your schedule and choose your working hours as an online teacher. Thanks to the growing popularity of the Internet in developing countries and the ubiquitous smartphone, the need for online teachers has been constantly on the rise in lesser developed regions in the last few years. The demand for English teachers is certainly high. Those who have already tapped in are comfortably making more than $1,000 a month.

Sell Goods on Etsy 

Etsy is the place to sell handmade and vintage pieces. If you have some craft supplies handy and can creatively spin them into commercially viable goods, you could be making some serious dough selling them on Etsy. To sell on Etsy, however, you will have to do more than just create great products. 

Here are a few things that you must do to increase your likelihood of grabbing potential customer attention:

  • Know what sells well before making the items and putting them up for sale
  • Take attractive pictures of your goods
  • Write clear and concise product descriptions
  • Include the right keywords in the descriptions so that your items are more search-friendly
  • Communicate promptly with buyers and shoppers

You may sell handmade goods like knitted items or jewelry. You could even sell digital goods. Quite a lot of people sell spreadsheets and printables of all kinds on Etsy.

Bookkeeping 

Bookkeeping doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but there’s some potential to make some serious money offering the service. The best part is you need not be a certified accountant to offer part-time bookkeeping services. Basic knowledge and a decent amount of experience should be good enough to get started. Not to mention, you should be good at math or at least be comfortable with numbers.

As someone with bookkeeping chops, you could either offer services through an organization or start your own virtual bookkeeping business. Virtual bookkeepers help small businesses and bloggers to manage their books. To get started with a virtual bookkeeping business, however, you will need the right bookkeeping software and some online bookkeeping knowledge.

bookepers with paperwork

Affiliate Marketing 

There are people who’ve become really rich as affiliate marketers, and there are many others who have made next to nothing. 

Affiliate marketing is not just about selling the right product but also partnering with the right brand. Doing affiliate marketing for e-commerce stores won’t earn much in the form of commissions. If you, however, are associated with tech companies, you could earn some serious money for having brought new customers to their platforms.

To help you make more sales, the affiliate program you sign up for could provide you with suitable marketing tools. For instance, there could be a free tool or lead magnet that you could use to incentivize individuals who buy the product. Quite often, an article or similar piece of content is good enough to convert a lead into a buyer.

Dropshipping 

Dropshipping is selling a product to a customer directly without having to purchase inventory. This means your starting costs are minimal and your risks are low too. The producer carries the inventory and also ships the product to the customer directly. You would be responsible for product promotion and customer service. If you have a marketing background and/or are good at marketing, dropshipping is your ideal side hustle. Not to mention, it helps you scratch the entrepreneurial itch in you.

You could drop-ship any or different kinds of products. If you love to stock your kitchen, your dropshipping business could be selling kitchen equipment online. If you like makeup, you may sell beauty products. You could also sell a product you found or an assortment of goods. The money you make as a dropshipper depends on how well you market yourself and your products. Making more than $1,000 a month dropshipping won’t take too much effort and time.

Upload Videos on YouTube 

Creating and uploading videos to Youtube is an excellent way to make money on the side. Many, in fact, have erected business empires doing so. Most of them started Youtube with a concurrent job. And quite a few of them are still holding on to their day jobs despite having made it huge on YouTube. This speaks volumes of how flexible and accommodating YouTube can be for side hustlers.

Youtube has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds over the years, and it still continues to rack up more number of views each day. You can find all kinds of content on Youtube, and on pretty much any topic. Despite the heavy traffic and the influx of hundreds of videos every minute, YouTube is nowhere close to being saturated.

Therefore, do not assume or let anyone make you believe that it’s too late to become a YouTuber. If you have something unique to offer, YouTube will afford you your rightful space. As far as the amount of money you could make, the sky is truly the limit.

Things to Ensure/Check Off Before and/or After You Pick a Side Hustle 

The biggest challenge for most people who are keen on working on the side is ‘getting started’. Here are a few things to consider or know beforehand before you venture out to convert your passion, hobby, interest, or skill into a meaningful side hustle. These are things that’ll ascertain how successful you become with your side hustle.

Do Not Start from a Point of Chaos 

Launch your side hustle when you’re calm, composed, and have taken complete stock of your current situation. Do not begin from a point of uncertainty, chaos, or desperation. If your decision to hustle is primarily to make more money, thoroughly review your existing cashflow. Review how much money you make, the amount you have in your bank account, and your monthly expenses.

Once you’ve assessed your finances, learn how your side project could fill in the gaps (if there are any) or contribute to the accumulation of funds. After you’ve got a clear picture, try to answer the following questions:

  • What productive work can you do during your free time?
  • What ideas are you looking forward to launching, but were not able to due to your everyday grind?
  • What tools and resources do you need and/or have to realize your ideas?

During this phase, evaluate whether there are smaller variants of the large dream you could attain at the moment and expand later once you have the required resources and time.

Seek to Do Something You Like 

If you want to be successful at a side hustle, you should do something you like or are good at. As you are likely to work on your second job after regular working hours, you may not be able to give it your complete self that your primary job gets. To stay motivated and maintain the energy levels, it’s imperative to look for a side job you are pumped about. If you don’t like your side hustle job, you are extremely unlikely to stick with it for long.

Therefore, before you start looking out for part-time gigs and applying, list out your skills and things you’d love to work on. For example, if you’re a mobile-tech enthusiast and you get excited every time a new smartphone is released, a part-time sales executive job at a consumer electronics retail shop such as Best Buy would not feel like work at all.

A Side Business or a Salaried Part-Time Employee? 

A side hustle could be working for another organization or starting your own business. If you’re considering a side hustle with entrepreneurial dreams, you may have to consider the costs to get started. For instance, if you’d like to start your own blog, you’ll have to pay upfront for things such as hosting, web design, branding, and other tools. If you’d like to sell products online, advertising costs should be factored in as well.

Regardless of the kind of business you plan to launch and the growth trajectory you’re looking at, you should know the costs beforehand. Also, the expenditures must be planned and kept track of so you could ascertain when you are likely to break even, your return on investment (ROI), and/or whether the venture is worth the time and effort after all.

Clearly Define Your Goals 

You would not achieve anything or make any real progress if you don’t have small, clearly defined goals in place. In other words, you should set yourself targets or milestones to achieve within the first few months or year of your project. Besides having proper goals in place, you must also dedicate quality time to achieving them. 

blackboard yellow chalk figures

Set Aside Quality Time 

If you would like to make a full-time career out of your side hustle, give it the quality time it deserves, and be consistent with it. If you’ve started a blog, for instance, you cannot just buy hosting, do web design, publish a few blog posts, and not touch your site for the next month or so. Your side hustle, in fact, needs a lot more focus and attention than your regular job since it’s in its germination phase.

If you work 9 to 5, give at least three hours every day during the week. It could be early in the mornings, later in the evenings, or you may split the hours between the two time periods. You may work a few hours extra during the weekends. Long story short, your side hustle certainly isn’t something you do when you have spare time or nothing else to do.

Begin Small 

Start small. It’s not that difficult to be motivated by big ideas. But pursuing those large ideas right off the bat could be overwhelming – particularly if you do not have the money, time, and/or resources needed to make big plans and bold moves when there are taxing employees and vendor negotiations to take care of.

Small steps result in big actions. No modern-day, successful business started big from day one. Therefore, tap into your pragmatic and creative self through fun, small hobbies or assignments. That could be baking cookies with unique ingredients, a fresh technique, and/or new flavors; or just learning to write a simple piece of code.

During this phase, you are bound to make mistakes and fail. It’s critical to not get bogged down by your initial shortcomings as they will help you evolve and become better at what you aspire to do full-time.

Be Willing to Toil and Sacrifice 

If you are getting into the side hustle game with the intention of starting your own business someday, you would have to work extremely hard and make quite a few sacrifices – at least during the initial few months of the initiative or till your efforts have started to bore fruit. For instance, you may have to reduce or completely quit spending leisure time with family and friends.

For a lot of people, such sacrifices may not be realistic. This is why it’s so important to pick up a side hustle you love. Doing what you like to do can make it easier to give up on certain pleasures in life. If you are okay with making the sacrifices, you then have the psychological foundation needed to create a successful business out of your side hustle.

Hone Your Skills and/or Acquire New Ones 

If a side hustle warrants a certain set of skills, which you believe you do not have, start building those skills first. A side hustle shouldn’t be treated like a hobby or some activity that you do during your spare time. Besides setting aside quality time for the vocation, you should also be well-equipped to carry it out to your complete satisfaction. In other words, back it up with relevant skills, industry knowledge, and/or experience.

You can excel at your side hustle or actually enjoy doing it only if you’re good at it. Just having an affinity for it won’t be enough. For instance, if you are contemplating online teaching as a side hustle because the potential to make money is good, you cannot make it if you don’t possess teaching skills. Even if you are knowledgeable about the subject, you may not be able to pull it off if you don’t know how to communicate and engage with an audience.

Therefore, if you know what you’d love to do for a side hustle but lack the skills for it, spend time and effort learning and developing the required skills.

Acknowledge Your Weaknesses and Delegate 

If you’re hustling to build a business on the side, it’s critical to know your strengths and also your weaknesses. No human can excel in everything. Some of the skills needed to efficiently run your side hustle must be looked for in other individuals so that you could save time and continue doing only those things that you’re good at.

For instance, if you’re good at writing and research, but your web development or graphic design skills are not up to the mark or non-existent, hire someone who has the needed skills. Do not waste time and effort trying to learn web or graphic design as it could take serious time learning a professional skill from scratch. Even if you successfully learn the skill, your freshly developed competencies won’t be anywhere close to what a seasoned professional would be capable of delivering.

It’s even recommended to not learn new skills in the interim or for the short term unless they are something you are truly interested in or they directly correlate to your business’s core requirements. Outsourcing things you do not know is quite effective and easy to implement too. Also, it’s a lot more affordable over a period compared to the considerable amount of time lost in learning new things.

Ensure Zero Conflicts of Interest 

If you are leveraging your day job or touching base with your employer’s clients through your business, that’s a clear conflict of interest. It’s unethical and may also be prosecutable. An ideal side hustle is a vocation that has zero connections or similarities with your primary job or at least doesn’t steal away clients from your employer or use your existing company’s resources.

Do Not Let Your Primary Job Take a Hit 

Your day job should not be affected by your side hustle escapades. Because if it does, you might end up losing your real job, which could hit your finances hard. A lot of people struggle to balance multiple jobs and end up faring poorly in either and, at times, both vocations. To do it well, it’s important you do not multitask.

In other words, do not think about your side hustle when you’re at your day job. You must completely devote yourself to your regular job. Do not even think about your other job or get some side hustle activities done during the eight hours you’ve been employed to furnish full-time duties.

Doing so won’t just be unethical, but it will also violate the employment contract you signed at the time of joining your company. It’s critical to honor each and every employment contract term and deliver excellent performance consistently – even if your side hustle is showing promise or picking up momentum.

Moreover, focusing more attention toward your side hustle or compromising on your performance in your day job would leave a bad taste in your employer’s mouth and will likely hurt your chances of re-engaging with them once you become a full-time business owner. More importantly, not complying with employment contract terms could end up in disciplinary and also legal action.

dont quit do it sign

Don’t Quit Your Day Job Prematurely 

Create a solid stable of customers and sustainable cash flow before you even think of quitting your regular job. The general rule of thumb is to make at least 75% of the pay from your full-time job before contemplating quitting. Even if your appetite for risk is significantly strong, you must not plunge into any side activity full time before having ascertained a decent likelihood of success.

Also, have savings for the next six months at least for both business and personal expenditures – in the event your venture doesn’t grow at the pace you originally thought it would. Having excited customers during the early phases of your part-time venture is a good sign of future success. But it does not guarantee growth or revenue. And if you are the only person earning in the house, restraining the urge to quit immediately is absolutely important.

Conclusion 

A side hustle is not just a great way to make some extra cash on the side, but it’s also a conduit through which you could test your entrepreneurship skills and become your own boss one day. Perhaps, even more important is the avenues that open or fresh opportunities you get to explore when you try out something new. At your regular job, you wouldn’t normally stumble upon new things – particularly if you sit at a desk throughout.

However, to acquire those opportunities and gain those perks, a significant amount of hard work and commitment is needed. Besides being passionate and talented, you need to be disciplined and consistent with what you do on the side. Ruthless prioritization and the drive to erect a profitable side hustle, despite the limited time and resources, are required to make the hustling meaningful and worth it.

Past statistics may not paint a rosy picture of people who pursued entrepreneurship, but you shouldn’t prevent yourself from trying to do something new on the side. The right time to try something new is when you’re employed full-time, and the job takes care of all of your expenses. If you are in that stage of your professional life, nothing should stop you from trying out a side hustle.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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