Most entrepreneurs start out with a side hustle.
For three reasons:
- It allows you to stick with your job until you can make enough to quit.
- It allows you time to decide if it’s something you want to do.
- It gives you some extra cash to pay off those bills before becoming self-employed.
Of course, the beauty of side hustles is that you can keep your day job forever if it’s something you want to do. But many entrepreneurs start with a side hustle with the intent of becoming self-employed at some point.
About the Side Hustle
You might be thinking that there are two types of side hustles – online or physical – but the truth is there are three:
- Online Side Hustles – obviously, these are jobs you can do online, whether working for yourself or for someone else.
- Local Side Hustles – these are jobs that you will do in person, usually locally, such as cleaning, pet-sitting, landscaping, etc.
- Hybrid Side Hustles – believe it or not, these are possibly the most common ways to start a business and include things that require both an online aspect and a physical aspect. Think retail arbitrage and eBay.
Online Side Hustles
Today, we are going to talk about online side hustles and include some hybrids. We are going to start here because these types of side hustles really are the easiest way to get started when you have a full-time job because some of it you can do while sitting on your couch after the 9-5. Or, you can pick up a few things while shopping with the family to sell online.
The great thing about online side hustles is that you can choose to work on them as many or as few hours as you want to, and you can choose how fast you want them to grow. You can also choose more than one if you’re game!
Alright, let’s stop talking and get to work!
Retail arbitrage is where you source physical products from physical or online retail stores and then flip them for profit on sites like Amazon or eBay. Where you decide to flip your product really decides on what type of merchandise you’re selling.
Most of the time, Amazon will offer the biggest profit margins for new products, but occasionally, you will come across something that does better on eBay or that you can’t sell on Amazon. Some categories on Amazon require approval in order to sell in them, such as DVDs and beauty.
If you decide to try this side hustle, download the Amazon app on your smart phone and start scanning products as you’re shopping. Start with the clearance aisle and see if you can find some things that could turn a profit. There are a few other factors to consider, such as sales ranking and the number of sellers, but start small and do some research. There’s a lot of great information available to help you out. You’ll get the hang of it!
Here are some articles that you might find helpful about Retail Arbitrage.
Ecommerce encompasses a lot of things in online retail, but basically, deciding to start your own eCommerce business would mean opening up your own online store instead of using a platform like Amazon.
There are several ways to do this:
You can sell products on your own website, using software like Gumroad.
You can open up an eCommerce site on a platform such as Shopify. This is the ecommerce platform that I recommend.
You can set up shop on Facebook.
Using any of these methods, you can find retailers who will dropship for you, you can carry physical product, or you can do a combination of both.
Dropshipping is the best method to use if you’d rather not store and ship products yourself. It can also be less expensive upfront because you’re not having to purchase items before you sell them. You simply place the orders as you receive them and your wholesaler does the rest.
Another type of eCommerce business is one in which you sell your own products.
The sky’s the limit!
Etsy is another selling platform, but the difference is that most products here are handmade or vintage. This is the perfect marketplace for crafters, artisans and graphic designers. Getting started is crazy easy on Etsy. You just set up your store and put up some great photos of your products. Look around and see what others are selling well if you need some ideas.
Here is a Etsy success story, that will help inspire you.
Freelancing is another one of those side hustles that encompasses a whole lot of different jobs, but it basically means that you are offering your skills on a part-time basis to more than one person or company. This is a way to get paid for your services while remaining self-employed.
Some of the different things you can do as a freelancer are:
- Graphic Design
- Social Media Marketing
- Coding and Programming
- Web Design
- Virtual Assisting
The great thing about freelancing is that you can showcase as many of your skills as you’d like and there are lots of marketplaces for offering them.
Some of the freelance marketplaces available are:
And that’s just to name a few! And these are all great markets to get started with and find people who are looking for freelancers, but you can also branch out on your own and find your own work. Most freelancers I know, including myself, have their own websites to house their portfolios and services.
You can go with either option, but using your own website can make you stand out as a professional and give you a place to direct potential clients when they want to know more about your work.
In addition to the platforms listed above, there’s also a whole slew of sites and different places to find people who are looking to hire freelancers for one-off jobs or ongoing work:
The Write Life also posted this helpful article earlier this year, listing 10 Online Gold Mines for Finding Paid Freelance Writing Jobs.
While I listed virtual assistant under freelancing, it’s a job title that really needs a category all its own. Virtual assistant jobs have grown tremendously in the last few years. With all the new blogs and online businesses popping up, business owners have discovered that they can make more money doing what they do best and allowing virtual assistants to take care of some of their day-to-day tasks.
There are lots of classes available on how to become a virtual assistant, but the best thing to start with is to evaluate your skill set.
A virtual assistant can do things like:
- Project management
- Website maintenance
- Phone calls
- And much more!
One of the things you might notice is that a lot of virtual assistant jobs can lap over with other freelancing jobs. For this reason, a lot of virtual assistants get their jobs by offering their “employers” extra services.
For example, as a freelance writer, I often offer my clients Pinterest management services because it’s something I excel at. But there are other ways to get clients as a virtual assistant. Most of the other freelance websites will have various listings for different types of work that would fall under this category.
Holly at The Work at Home Woman posted a very informative article about becoming a virtual assistant here.
Final Thoughts – Side Hustles
My recommendation is always to start with one side hustle to see how it fits with you and your lifestyle, but don’t be afraid to branch out and take on another if you’d like to diversify. I, myself, have about 3 side hustles and piece together a living, mostly online. It gives me a little variety and keeps me from getting burnt out on any one thing.
It’s also up to you to decide whether you’d like to keep your side hustle on the side or work toward taking it full time.
Whichever type of entrepreneur you are – the perpetual side-hustler or the eventual ship-jumper – there’s a side hustle out there for you. You just have to take the leap and find one that you like doing and can make you an income worth the work. You might have to try several, or you may end up loving the first one.
Whatever you do, don’t stop dreaming!