"The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way."
Let’s change that.
I put together this introduction to side hustles to bring you into the 21st century. And to introduce you to the best side hustle available. Read on for a definition of side hustles, how they work, examples, the pros/cons, and, most important, the ultimate side hustle.
Side Hustles DefinedA side hustle is any type of work for pay undertaken in addition to regular employment (hence the name side hustle). A side hustle is often a freelance or piecework gig (see what I did there?), and it provides an additional income stream to the earnings from your full time work. A side hustle can be something you’re passionate about, but, as you will see, it certainly doesn’t NEED to be a passion of yours.
There are those who say a side hustle is not the same as a part-time job. They claim that since a part-time job still entails someone else (your employer) calling most of the shots (including hours worked, your assignment(s) and what you’ll be paid), it doesn’t rise to the level of a side hustle.
Who would argue that performing the same task as that required by your full time job for another business for extra money isn’t a side hustle? It definitely IS a side hustle… It’s just not the ultimate side hustle.
Alternatively, you might be doing something completely different for a different employer after your normal work hours. Before I enrolled in graduate school many years ago (none of your business how many years), I was a paralegal during the day… and a nightclub bouncer at night. Bouncing was fun for the most part… but it was definitely a side hustle.
At any rate, with financial concerns being a problem for many Americans (and, I would argue, citizens all over the world), side hustles are trending. They can prove to be a viable (and valuable) option for many people looking to get out of debt, build up a nest egg, fund a startup or simply lessen the pressure on a single income stream.
How the Side Hustle WorksA side hustle is work completed outside of your day job... As such, the work tends to take place during evenings, on weekends, or during vacation breaks. It provides additional income while offering the required flexibility to complete work outside of your traditional work hours.
The beauty of a side hustle if you have an in-demand skill or talent, you can start your own side hustle business, complete work on a freelance basis, contract your services out, or work part-time for a company.
A word of caution. While it might seem ideal to engage in your “passion” for pay, be careful about turning your passion into a business. For example, if you’re a talented creative (artist, singer, etc.) it might seem like the perfect marriage of skill and work to be paid to do that which you love (and would do for free anyway). However, if you don’t structure it properly, the business will turn what was once a creative outlet into an obligation… and maybe even sour your desire to engage in said passion.
What Makes A Good Side Hustle?So what makes for a good side hustle? They are, by definition not all created the same, so what are the components of a good side hustle?
Opinions vary… sometimes widely, but here are my thoughts. Do note that hey’re not all required, but the more of these you can stack up, the better your chosen side hustle (NOT in order of importance):
Flexibility - you already have plenty of obligation(s) with your full time job. Do you really want to lock yourself into the requirement that you be in a certain place doing a certain thing for a certain amount of your free time?
Control - This is related to flexibility… but it deserves its own category since there’s a bit more to it. Control means you get to say no… to a particular job, assignment, client with the only repercussion being that you don’t get paid for that task or by that client.
Lucrative - This is where most side hustles fall down in my opinion. There are plenty of side hustle lists all across the internet...but most of them fall woefully short of providing any REAL additional income. A few hundred bucks a month never hurts, but it’s not likely to make a dent in your wall of financial worry.
Non correlated - This one is tricky because the best thing many people have to sell is the expertise that they use on their day job… However, having your side hustle be in the same field as your employment can be a dangerous since demand for your skills can take a hit at the same time depending on your field. That makes much of the point of having a side hustle (a hedge against job loss) moot.
To be sure, this is not an exhaustive list of side hustle requirements. But if yours meets these, there’s a good chance it can deliver the cash you want… and be fruitful for a long time to come.
Benefits of Side Hustles
A side hustle can offer you the opportunity to explore your passions or pursue your dream job, without sacrificing the steady paycheck of a day job. Not only does a side hustle provide an injection of extra cash flow to your bank account, it can also help to boost overall life satisfaction.
Another benefit of having a side hustle is that they allow for flexibility in workplace and working hours. Often, side hustles are solopreneurial or entrepreneurial endeavors, and when you’re the boss you get to call the shots – including when and for how long you’ll work. This can be appealing to those who feel weighed down with the rigors and expectations of a traditional 9-to-5 job.
The increased financial freedom that a side hustle provides can not only help with getting out of debt, but it can also help with saving for a rainy day, building a nest egg, or taking care of large purchases or maintenance required around your home. It can also provide for a bit of discretionary spending in your monthly budget.
A side hustle typically does not require a large financial investment upfront. Some side hustles focus primarily on providing a service, while others involve the sale of goods you make yourself or procure from a third party and resell. Many of these gigs don’t require formal education or a specialized skill in order to be profitable. In fact, some people find their side hustles end up earning them more than their full-time gig.
Since there is no minimum requirement to put in a set amount of time at your side hustle, you’re free to take on two or three – or even more, as time permits – at any given time. This can help open up an unlimited stream of additional income. And, in case things ever take a turn for the worse at your day job, you have the security of knowing you won’t be completely without a paycheck until you land your next full-time gig.
Sample Side HustlesThere’s no shortage of side hustles. Google it and you’ll find tons of lists, many of which will suggest they offer secret/undiscovered side hustles… they don’t. At any rate, here are some of the most popular side hustles I found listed as of this writing:
Selling items on Ebay
Selling handicrafts on Etsy
Publishing Kindle books
Start a blog
Teaching online and off
Selling baked goods or home cooked family meals; catering
Cleaning (homes and offices)
Providing lawn work or maintenance services
General labor or warehouse work
Providing delivery services
Brand ambassador or product demonstrator
Rent a spare room (home if you have it) on Airbnb
Generate leads for small local businesses
Sell your skill/service on Fiverr
All of these ideas are great ways to earn a little extra income on the side, without having to give up your day job.
A Few Side Hustling “Cons”There are many benefits to having a side hustle, but that’s not to say there aren’t a few thorns on the rose. 1 major issue I’ve already mentioned… if it’s your passion you’re working on the side, you just might kill the joy of that activity. And that’s even if you’re doing it exactly the way you want (i.e., not compromising). There’s just something about “must do” versus “want to do”, that removes some joy.
Another thing to keep in mind? How will your day job feel about your extracurricular income? “Uh oh” is right… Most companies have anti moonlighting policies. That said, the rules often apply only if the moonlighting work is the same or sufficiently similar to your full time work. For example, if you’re a software coder, it’s unlikely that your company has a policy against selling on Ebay, but you might be in complete violation by doing coding on the side for another company.
To be safe, be sure to find out your company’s policy on outside work to avoid problems with your employer. Depending on the company size and organizational structure, you can ask the Human Resources Department or your direct supervisor.
Finally, you should also carefully avoid spreading yourself too thin. Taking on more work than you can realistically handle will usually result in poor quality work and disappointed clients which will, ultimately, destroy your ability to secure additional side hustle work.
More Problem(s) With Most Side HustlesSo now that you’ve heard about some of the pros and the cons of side hustles, let me share a few more problems that I see… and suspect you notice as well.
Time For MoneyMany (I would argue most) side hustles do a poor job of divorcing time spent from money made. While that may seem to be not such a big deal, the inability to leverage your “free” time and generate substantially more income (as opposed to just a little more) is one of the reasons to get into the side hustle game in the first place. Whether you want to pay down debt, accumulate a stake or just add to your retirement stack, a side hustle that delivers small money is arguably not worth the time away from friends and family.
ScaleablityThis issue is closely related to the time for money issue. Many side hustles lack the ability to easily scale (generate ever more $ from the work that you do) and thus further limit your ability to generate substantial income. Whether you drive for Uber (can only drive a certain number of fares at the capped rate), are a successful affiliate marketer (EVERY product eventually loses demand), or you make crafts (how many widgets can you consistently produce and sell in your free time), most side hustles are inherently limited to and by the realities of time and space.
Sales/CollectionsYet another problem with most side hustles is the difficulty of sales (and the eventual problem of collecting payment for said sales). This problem actually extends to a much bigger problem with most work and that is the need to constantly be chosen. We tend to miss this issue because most societies impose this little “necessity” quietly through the indoctrination process also known as traditional “education.” Almost from birth we’re told we need to be chosen for friendship… to be on teams… to attend certain schools… to join certain professional organizations… for mating (I think marriage is only really compelling to some folks because it supposedly means that you’re chosen for life)… and to have our product purchased. Most side hustles extend this dilemma by requiring that you be chosen by an employer or by customers (who do so by choosing to purchase your product).
BossMake no mistake, if you work for someone else as a side hustle, you STILL HAVE A BOSS. Whether hourly or on contract, your boss has to continue to choose you. People often confuse starting their own business as a side hustle with the idea of no longer having a boss. If you own virtually any kind of business that provides a product, you have a boss… and her name is Customer.
CashflowSo I’m guessing that even with all of the failings noted above, you’d be willing to endure if your side hustle delivered mucho dinero to your pocket. Problem is, most don’t. On the list above, you’re lucky if the side hustle can deliver an extra $1,000 (net and consistently) to your pocket each month. Real estate and internet marketing are definitely possible exceptions in dollar terms, but according to friends of mine in both spaces, the consistency of cashflow is a big problem.
Introducing The Ultimate Side HustleWhat if I told you there’s a side hustle that:
Has low startup costs -- you can get started down the path to day trading for less than $5,000 if you do it correctly
Is time and space flexible - all you need is 1 proper laptop or desktop and a wired internet connection
Gives you ultimate control - you trade when and if you want
Minimizes the time for money trade - you still need to commit time… but unlike the myth, you don’t need to sit in front of a computer all day… and it’s definitely time well spent.
Requires no sales/collections - just might be the best aspect
Truly makes you your own boss - this is not quite true… you must view the market as boss and take direction accordingly. But the market is the most fair boss you will ever have
Is incredibly lucrative - I have personally doubled more multiple accounts starting at the smallest level possible (for security that I trade) in a single month. If you’re interested, I’ll give you a chance to see the actual trades of one of these “challenges” below
Is the one true meritocracy left - I often say if you have a little money, the right emotional makeup and the right skill, you can make money in the market.
How does that sound?
Well welcome to day trading my friend.
Day trading almost never shows up on “best of” lists for side hustles. Hell, I rarely see it on ANY list of side hustles. I’ve made it a habit to check these lists when I see them and I’ve only once seen anything even related to day trading listed… and that was “investing.” It had a huge asterisk beside it (because it’s “risky”). and yet it meets/exceeds all of the requirements for a good side hustle.
So why does short term trading get no love from the folks so fired up about side hustling? I don’t know for sure, but my guess is people think day trading is risky. Well here’s the truth about that…
It is… for most people anyway. But only because they do it incorrectly.
My way? You take no more risk than you would take with your standard brokerage account. Far less actually. With far more potential return.
But I’m getting ahead of myself… I don’t want this to turn into a sales pitch.
I'll close by saying this… You would do well to investigate day trading if you’re looking for a good side hustle. There are tons of people who do a decent job of teaching the basics online. Join my email list and continue the conversation with yours truly.