How to Start a Side Hustle

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How would your life change if you made an extra $500 per month? How about making an extra $1,000 per month or more?

If you’re interested in making more money, you have a few choices.

You could go out and look for a higher paying job. You could work overtime, if it’s available to you. Or, you could find a flexible side hustle that allows you to make extra money without impacting your current job.

A side hustle is anything that makes money outside of your job.

Starting a side hustle is a great option for making extra money, regardless of whether you work a full-time job, a part-time job, are a stay-at-home parent, or are unemployed. Side hustles are even a good choice for those who have retired but would like to bring in some money.

Sound interesting?

If you’d like some extra money but you’re not sure where or how to start a side hustle, this article is for you.

If you’re looking for specific ideas for a side hustle, please see my list of more than 150 side hustle ideas

Why Start a Side Hustle?

Before we look at how to start a side hustle, let’s look at some of the reasons why you might want to do it. This is important because (as we’ll see in a minute), knowing your motivation is an important part of choosing the right side hustle.

Here are some of the most common reasons people start a side hustle:

1. Extra Money to Pay the Bills

if you’re having trouble paying your bills on your current income, starting a side hustle could help to make ends meet. While side hustles are an option with any work or family status, they’re especially popular with stay-at-home parents. Sometimes just making a small amount from a side hustle is enough to allow a mom or dad to stay home with the kids instead of working a full-time job.

2. Pay Off Debt

The popular debt snowball and debt avalanche methods both involve throwing as much money as possible at your debts. Obviously, the more money you make, the faster you’ll be able to pay off your debts. In this case, the side hustle could be a temporary thing until your debt is paid off, or you could keep doing it and pocket the money after your debt is eliminated.

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3. Build Up an Emergency Fund

Saving for an emergency fund should be one of your financial priorities if you don’t already have a sufficient emergency fund. The emergency fund will help you to be pay bills if something unexpected happens, like the loss of a job, a health issue, or a family emergency.

How much you need in an emergency fund will depend on your family situation and how stable your income is, but as a general rule of thumb, you should have enough money in an emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of living expenses.

If you don’t already have an emergency fund, or if you need more money in your emergency fund, a side hustle is a great way to reach this goal.
The money in your emergency fund should be quick and easy to access. I recommend a high-yield savings or money market account. You’ll earn some interest, and you can access your money whenever you need it. My wife and I keep our emergency fund with CIT Bank (their interest rate is more than 20X the national average).

4. Work Toward a Savings Goal

If you’re trying to save for a goal like a vacation, a child’s education, a car, or anything else, a side hustle can help to speed up your progress. Having extra money to save every month can help to make any savings goal more achievable.

5. Start a Business with Hopes of Going Full-Time

Sometimes a side hustle can turn into something bigger. Starting a business as a side hustle allows you to minimize risk by not quitting your full-time job. As your side hustle income increases you can consider if/when you want to leave your job and pursue your business full-time.

6. Extra Money to Invest for Retirement

Side hustles are very popular in the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community because they can be extremely powerful for helping you to reach financial independence faster. If you are saving and investing the extra hundred or thousands of dollars you are making with a side hustle, your net worth can snowball.

If you want to see a breakdown of how this is possible, please see my article 9 Steps to Financial Independence (How to Retire Early).

7. Produce Small Income in Retirement

If you’ve already retired or reached financial independence, maybe you prefer to have a side hustle to keep you busy and to make some money, even if it’s not as much as you could make with a full-time job.

Many people who have reached financial independence and “retired” early are still doing something for income on a part-time basis. The benefit is being able to choose something that you enjoy and working a flexible schedule.

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My Side Hustle Story

I love side hustles because my life has changed as a result of my own side hustles.

Back in 2007, I was looking for some extra income so I started a web design blog. I worked on that blog for 1.5 years until I left my job (in 2008) and it became my full-time income. For the past 10+ years, I’ve been working full-time from home managing my own websites and blogs. You can read a few stories about this here:

Learn How to Start Your Own Money-Making Blog

Get FREE access to my course Blog Launch Breakthrough, which includes 14 video lessons that help you to start your blog on a solid foundation. The course will help you to choose the right niche, pick a blog name, get your blog set up, create a unique blog that will stand out, and much more.

How to Start a Side Hustle

Now, let’s move on to the steps you can take if you’d like to start your own side hustle.

1. Think About Your Goals

First, you need to know what you want to get out of a side hustle. This is critical because not all side hustles are equal. Some options will be a great match with certain goals, but a terrible match with other goals.

For example, working as a freelance writer is a side hustle with loads of potential. But if your goal is to make a few hundred dollars in the next two weeks, it’s probably not your best option. As a freelance writer, you’ll need to find clients, do the work, and then get paid. You’ll need a little bit more time before you start making money.

Another example… taking online surveys is a really popular side hustle. It can be a great option because it’s very flexible and requires no specific skills or experience. But if your goal is to turn your side hustle into a full-time income, it’s not the best choice.

As you consider your goals, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How much money are you hoping to make from your side hustle?
  • Are you looking for something that has the potential to turn into a full-time business?
  • Do you need to make money immediately, or are you able to wait a few weeks or months until you start making money?
  • Are you planning for the side hustle to be temporary (a few months or less), or are you looking for something long-term?

2. Consider the Possibilities

Once you have an idea of your goals for the side hustle, you can start to look at the different possibilities to see what would be a good fit with your goals.

I have a huge list of more than 150 side hustle ideas that you will want to check out. That list gives a brief description of each and it should help you to find at least a few possibilities that might be good options for you.

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