When I was young, we called it moonlighting. My English teacher worked part-time at the mall, and the weekend waitress at my favorite restaurant was a secretary during the week.
People still moonlight on second jobs for extra cash, but more people are doing it as an entrepreneurial part-time business, or side hustle.
Side hustles always have at least the intention a bottom-line profit, but they're often more tapped into passion than money, and more about long-term possibility than immediate paycheck.
For some part-time entrepreneurs, income isn't even high on the list, at least at first. Side hustles are the perfect way to ramp up an entrepreneurial idea without giving up the stability of your day job.
Sure, a business you start on the side will grow more slowly, but that's part of the appeal.
Jk Allen from The Hustlers Notebook, a website for personal and professional development, said it this way: "It's not a race. The side hustle is the crock pot version of developing a business…not the microwave version."
There are real advantages to being a part-time entrepreneur:
- Extra money (if you turn a profit, that is).
- You're the boss. Having the freedom to it the way you want feels good.
- You have a Plan B in case something happens to your regular job.
- You get to do things you like but that aren't part of your regular job.
- A new venture is exciting and fun.
- You can get something you want more of in your life; for instance, if you want more art, you can open a painting studio.
- You're too busy to fall into a boring TV-and-fall-asleep habit.
- Best of all, a side hustle gets you started on building a new venture slowly with whatever time and resources you have, without giving up your day job.
Here are some ideas for side hustles:
- Make and market something that's in demand. I know people who have side businesses making hand-tied bass fishing jigs, hand-drawn pet portraits, hand-felted hats, shirts made for surgical patients, custom furniture and a line of homemade salsa. Make sure people want what you make before you get too far in. If it doesn't sell easily, try something else.
- Start a yard or handyman business. Our handyman is an office professional by day, and a hammer-wielding fix-it problem solver nights and weekends. He's got the best of both worlds, and his side hustle is continuing to grow. If you love being outdoors, you could create a lawn service business to fit your schedule or the things you like to do best.
- Create an Etsy store. Etsy.com is the place to go to buy and sell handmade crafts. Some are astoundingly good, and some odd enough to have spurred the hilarious website Regretsy. If you have a good eye, Etsy and eBay are both places to have a business selling vintage items, too. Start slow until you know what you're doing, and if you can find or make the right products at the right price, it can be lucrative.
- Be a dog walker or errand runner. Busy people happily pay reliable people to walk their dogs and pick up their clothes from the dry cleaner. The key is to find the right clients and keep them. An active part-time side hustle can be a great counterpoint to a sedentary regular job.
- Start a blog or website. If you have an expertise, a passionate hobby or a strong point of view, create a website to share it with the world. You'll do better if you focus on something dear to your heart, and if you want to be successful, you'll need to educate yourself about online marketing, but that's part of the fun, because you'll continually grow and stretch.
- Be a virtual assistant or bookkeeper. Many small businesses conduct most of their business virtually, and the market for reliable and competent virtual assistants and bookkeepers is growing. If you're experienced with administrative or accounting work, you could offer your services part-time.
- Invent something. Don't do this expecting a financial return, but if you have a great idea and the ability and means to try to make it happen, go for it.
For more ideas, check out the website Budgets are Sexy, where you'll find a series of articles about peoples side hustles, including tutoring and selling high-end clothes on eBay.
So what's your side hustle?
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