how to find a side hustle that is actually right for you

Monday, October 16, 2017

I am all about side hustles. At any given time, I probably have two or three side projects (or am attempting to make a fourth or even a fifth work out for me). If you were wondering, on top of my full-time job with McClatchy, I also sell Lularoe with my mom and run this blog and my accompanying Instagram. Lularoe consistently makes me a small amount of money each month, and my blog is more inconsistent but it is still some income and some free products – all of which I'm happy with, because I enjoy blogging as a hobby, too.

As we read more and more about how millennials are crippled by student loan debt, forced to work for very little (or even no) pay for internships or entry level jobs to break into their desired field and struggling with rising rent costs, healthcare and, you know, feeding themselves. I know that as far as millennials go, I am lucky – I live in a more affordable city and have a job and no debt to worry about – and I am thankful for it. But I push myself to increase my income however and wherever I can and save that money, so if I ever lose my job or have to take on debt, I am prepared to handle it.

A quick note as we begin: I do not have a bad taste in my mouth for companies like Lipsense, Lularoe, Stella & Dot and other multi-level marketing companies like that. If you do, that's fine, but I've sold Lularoe for more than a year and I can truly tell you that if you look at it like a business,

When I say side hustle, I mean things like...

• Dog-walking or sitting services, like Wag or Rover.
• Blogging and using affiliate programs.
• Drive for Uber or Lyft.
• Deliver food for Postmates or DoorDash (depending on where you live).
• Offer your various services on Fiverr or Upwork.
• Transcribe audio files and videos for companies using websites like TranscribeMe.
• Open up an Etsy shop to sell your wares. 
• Sign up to sell a product with a company like Lularoe or DoTerra or Lipsense.

There are so many options out there!

Question #1: What are you interested in? What do you absolutely hate?

Do you love dogs – or hate dogs? Do you love to write, are you a fast typer, do you do excellent design work? Or are computers the bane of your existence? Do you spend a lot of time in the car or like to drive? Or are you a terrible driver? Do you love grocery shopping? There's a service for that!

Question #2: What is your ideal investment, of both time and money?

Ask yourself if you need a flexible schedule or if you can dedicate a specific amount of time each day. Do you want to make money consistently or as you need it?

As far as time goes, you'll spend far more time each day going to someone's home to watch or walk their pet than you might writing a blog from your computer or transcribing, and some side hustles are more flexible – you can drive for Uber or Lyft whenever it works for you, but it's less flexible than opening up an Etsy shop where you work on your own schedule, whenever you can.

And as far as money goes, there are certain side hustles that require more time investment than others. Lularoe, for example, is a $10,000 investment. Dog-sitting might not require an investment at all, other than time. Blogging might require you to pay $20 for a domain. Every side hustle does have a very different time and money investment, and be aware of what your limits are.

Question #3: How much income do you want to bring in?

When I was selling Stella & Dot, a multi-level marketing company that sells truly adorable jewelry (by the way, I stopped because of my own time commitment to selling, not because of any issues with the company; it's really great) my sponsor told me to visualize how much money I wanted to make each month and then do the work to get there. So, be aware of how much money you want to make and how much work/time it will require to make it. Do some math.

And be aware that you may have to wait. Although I make a little bit of money each week from affiliate programs like ShopStyle and the Google Adsense ads that I run on my blog, I only get paid when those accounts reach $100 – so it can take a while. If you need more instant gratification/payment, look towards avenues that pay out more quickly. If you're not OK with paying fees or only earning a percentage of what you actually make, be aware of what you're getting into.


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Do you have a side hustle? What tips do you have for others who are seeking some extra income?

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