What is a side hustle and why would you want one?
Let’s talk frankly about side hustles!
Recently I have become quite passionate about side hustles; well I say recently and yet I have always been very passionate about the idea of creating a side hustle but actively trying to build them is more of a recent thing for me. I read a fair few blog posts that give advice on “how to make money doing this...”, “how to make “x” money...” or “creative side hustles you can do from home...” because I’m always looking for creative ideas for projects that I could do to move further away from traditional employment. This being said I keep finding myself to be very disappointed by the articles that I read. Many of these articles consist of regurgitated ideas from other articles, ideas for making money from whatever make money site that offers an affiliate link or ideas that completely miss the point of a side hustle. So we are on Vocal now; I am not going to add any affiliate links and there are no advertisements on this site so let’s talk frankly about side hustles!
What is a side hustle?
Ok so a side hustle is any sort of buisness or employment that doesn’t make up your regular main income. I would say that for a side hustle to be worthwhile it either has to be something that makes you a decent amount of money from the beginning (like if you were to take a second job that isn’t as important to you personally as your main income and allows you to pick and choose your hours in a flexible manner that suits you for example completing app based delivery in your spare time) or it has to be something that you can build.
What I want to talk about today is side hustles where you have the ability to build upon your earnings so that there is room for growth from that employment. Maybe that side hustle will always act as a mini buisness for you; maybe it becomes a success and your goal then becomes to make it your main source of income. That’s hypothetical future talk through because if you are here and reading this then the most likely scenario is that you want to create a side hustle and want to know where to start so... baby steps.
Just how do many articles make money articles tend to miss the point of a side hustle?
Well here are two common tips that often occur in the articles that I have read (about side hustles) which I feel are misleading...
- Join a survey site - with this idea you get paid usually pennies or indeed cents for every survey that you complete. It’s a one off fixed amount that unless you’ve found some amazing site that pays well (which I am yet to find) then you are likely to be screened out of surveys and with the small compensation for your time you are never even going to consistently make anything like a minimum wage for the time that you are attempting to trade. People affiliating for these sites on their blog however might make a commission for a sign up and so there is an incentive there to make it seem like a good earner so do bear that in mind if anyone presents that to you as an idea for a side hustle. Ok it’s pocket money and I do them for pocket money but it’s not a buisness idea.
- Sell your stuff online - This is a great idea to make use of unwanted belongings but... it’s not a buisness idea. If you sell your unwanted items then yes you will get some money for it but the likelihood is that you will get less than you paid for that item (if you originally brought it new, unless it was an investment piece that went up in value). Therefore it’s a way to recover money from what you do not need and declutter your house but it’s not a side hustle.
It’s important to understand what a writers bias and agender is before deciding to take their financial advice. I have written more about this in an article in my main blog which I will link below...
But why would you want a side hustle?
There are so many reason that you might want a side hustle. The obvious reasons that jump to mind are to gain more financial independence/ sercurity from traditional employment, to increase earnings, to create something that may eventually become your full time income or to gain more employment from an activity that you enjoy. For me the main push that I experienced tonencourage me to build a side hustle was when working within a company with low job sercurity.
The work didn’t inspire me, treated me differently due to my gender and offered 90 day contracts to new employees after which hours could be reduced or employment lost and in fact I could lose the job for any reason in those 90 days too. Potentially a very stressful scenario because the contract ended right after Christmas making the work extremely busy for new employees and leaving them to find new jobs at a time when less are available. This gave me some distrust for the idea of traditional employment.
I was working in a typically male role, lifting heavy items and having to prove twice as hard that I could. After the time had elapsed I was demoted to more fitting work where I found myself with hours cut to an unliveable amount; cleaning coffee stains off of office walls that people had been too lazy to clean up. I had enough savings and some income to help me find and transition to another job without having to put up with accepting this and getting away from it was far better to do for my mental health.
Working for myself I do not have to prove anything beyond delivering a good experience for customers and what I get from this work tends to represent the work I put in; in a fairer way particularly in online buisness. I also have some means of earning some income and making some savings from being able to work for myself and there are some freedoms that come with that.
So what can you do?
Well a side hustle can be any kinda mini buisness and when you look at the businesses that already exist it can be pretty much anything. There are some obvious types through. These types of buisness include selling a physical product to customers (such as in a market or an online selling site like eBay/ a website) offering a service (like referring customers or cleaning someone’s house) and offering information (such as writing how to’s in a blog, writing an ebook, offering people information about topics that you are knowledgeable on). I can’t teach you how to do every side hustle that exists out there... all I can do is list some of the things that I have tried to give you some idea of what you could do...
What I currently do...
The side hustle that I currently do instead of an extra days work at the moment is selling vintage items online. I buy these items in bulk lots and then split them up into individual items, describe, list, photograph, store, sell and post them to buyers. This takes time, storage, research and a good eye for detail. Currently it’s a very small part of my income but it is good to have. By buying these items and reselling them I am giving them a new home as many people do not want boxes and boxes of random items but instead just want one particular item and as I have to remain competitive with other sellers the items are usually priced at a value that is good for the customer but also justifies the time and money I have spent to get the item to them. The site I use to list them is eBay and they take fees from the percentage of sales, I also pay for storage, postage and bid against other sellers when purchasing items. It’s a recent side hustle which is easy to understand, requires gathering a lot of specialist knowledge and works for me. It’s not what I’d like to do on a large scale through because my passion is the environment and whilst I am recycling items I’m trying to build other income platforms within topics that I’m more passionate about; so far this has been significantly harder to do.
What I’m working on...
Recently I have began blogging. My blog The Bumble Life has around 50 articles and has been built up over many months. From social networking with Pinterest and twitter I have managed to bring in regular visitors but before I even attempt to monetise it properly; I personally feel that I will need to build both the blog and my social networks to a greater extent. Right now that blog makes me about £0 and costs me about £25 a month in hosting fees (might have been better off with a cheaper hosting service) but it’s more about slowly building something for the future as like I say I’ve yet to actually try to use it as an income source.
With Vocal Media I have had more success so far with my last 6 articles (in comparison to my blog) with most of my my Vocal visitors coming from my 6th article which was featured as a staff pick. One of the great things about Vocal is that you can receive tips and I have had one $10 tip so far which is massively motivating. My featured (staff pick) article explains how you can use social media like Pinterest and twitter to reach out to a potential audience. It is worth a read if you are currently trying to work on building an audience within Vocal Media or indeed your blog.
I’d absolutely love to get to a point where I had time and equipment to make instructional videos for sites such as skill share. In this site you earn per time subscription holders have spent watching your videos. The payments come from subscription money paid for by people using the site to learn new skills. I love the idea and the ability to make long or short courses to help people learn a skill. People also earn through content sharing sites like YouTube however as this is an idea for the future I’m not that knowledgeable on it all yet.
At the end of the day...
Side hustles can be a great option for earning extra savings. There’s no guarantee of success but I think the beauty of a side hustle is that you do not have to be successful. If it’s not your main income then you do not have to invest more money or time than you are comfortable with. You may have less pressure in regards to meeting your basic needs with this income and so may feel less inclined to accept low earnings (say if you were selling a product online) and it’s not as bad financially to invest time in building something that say if it does works may pay off a lot longer down the line (like a blog). So approaching a potential buisness as a side hustle may mean taking a lot longer to actually build that buisness but it also reduces your dependence on it working so can be a less risky way of approaching a buisness idea.