From your friend delivering for Uber to your aunt selling crafts on Etsy, it seems as if everybody has — or wants to have — a side hustle these days.
That said, not all side hustles are created equal. If you’re going to invest extra time into earning money outside of your existing work hours, why not make sure you’re choosing from the most profitable side hustles out there?
Freelance writing is one of the most common and most lucrative side hustles available today. In fact, many of the blogs you read, the news sites you visit and even the corporate communications circulated at your office are written by freelancers.
The key to success as a freelance writer, however, is specialization. Take Wendi Weiner, a resume writer who operates under the business name, The Writing Guru. In her article for CNBC’s “Make It” series, Weiner explains, “As I became more invested in The Writing Guru, I discovered how untapped the resume writing market was.” After just a few years in business, she was bringing in $5,000 per month.
Many would-be side hustlers immediately gravitate towards the idea of selling physical products. But selling physical items adds complexity to your side gig in the form of raw materials, inventory management, and shipping.
These complications make selling printable products an attractive alternative. Simply create a valuable, downloadable resource, arrange to sell it through popular marketplaces and earn a passive income by selling your printables multiple times.
You might not hit $5,000 per month overnight, but it is possible. Julie Berninger sold more than $5,000 in printables through her Etsy shop, The Swag Elephant, while teacher Lori Maldonado reached the same sum selling lesson plans to other educators.
Have a special skill set or unusual hobby? Many lucrative side hustles come from finding commercial demand for uncommon services.
Artist Julia Kelly, profiled on Business Insider, was able to charge $150 to $250 per hour drawing caricatures at private parties and corporate events, eventually earning enough to turn her side hustle into a full-time business. Voice-over artist Redd Horrocks featured on the same site, took a side business from startup to earning from $9,000 to $11,000 per month between 2013 and 2015.
As in Weiner’s case, specialization was the key to Horrocks’s success. In her profile, she advises that, “It’s definitely worth taking the time to figure out what you’re strong at. Choose what you want to do carefully to make sure that you stand out and provide an excellent product. It’s better to be really great at one thing than to scatter among different categories.”
House flipping almost certainly comes to mind when you think about some of the most lucrative side gigs. But homes aren’t the only assets you can turn around for a profit. Ben Pryor makes up to $5,000 per month flipping motorbikes in the summer, per his MSN feature. A blogger who writes under The Money Wizard claims to have earned $5,000 flipping high-priced softball bats.
As a note, it’s always important to do your due diligence before investing in a new side hustle. Several of the stories featured here include self-reported income, and the degree of vetting done by the publications linked to is unclear. Evaluate claims made carefully and within the context of your circumstances, rather than making decisions based solely on them.
As you consider good side hustles to make money, keep the following tips in mind:
- Focus on profitability. An extra $5,000 per month might sound great, but not if you’re spending $4,950 to earn it. Raw materials, equipment, training courses, travel, web hosting and software subscriptions are just a few of the costs that could transform your potentially lucrative side hustle into a barely-breaking-even hobby.
- Reaching $5,000 per month takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your side hustle success story won’t be either. If you’re sure you’ve hit on a good idea, invest consistent effort and focus on getting better as you go. Not confident your concept is a winner? Don’t be afraid to move on or change things up if your initial idea doesn’t get the traction you’d hoped. To paraphrase Kenny Rogers, know when to both hold and fold ‘em.
- Your mileage may vary. Just because one person makes $5,000 a month writing resumes, drawing caricatures, selling courses or flipping motorbikes doesn’t mean you will, too. You can’t replicate someone else’s exact skill set or market conditions, but you can learn from the factors that made them successful.
Follow these tips, and you could be well on your way to adding a second (or third) source of income to your budget.
But even if, through your efforts, you discover that side hustling isn’t right for you, there are still plenty of ways to get your budget in shape. If you have high-interest credit card debt, for example, Tally may be able to help lower your interest rates and avoid the fees associated with late payments.
For even better results, combine the two. A second income, plus decreased debt — it’s a winning combination.
Take control of your credit card debt, with or without income from a side hustle, by exploring Tally.