The way we work is changing.
There are more opportunities than ever to find a side hustle. Whether you want to earn a few extra bucks with ride-sharing, pitch your skills to businesses in need, or start your own online shop, there’s plenty to choose from.
The good news is that more and more companies are shifting toward relying — at least in part — on independent workers, especially to fill labor gaps. A 2022 survey revealed that nearly 28% of the workforce is a non-permanent worker, or somebody who isn’t employed directly by the company. While some dedicate all of their time to working freelance or independently, this also means that there are also lots of chances for others to pick up extra work when and how they need it.
“We don’t see this trend going away any time soon,” Miles Everson, CEO of MBO Partners, which offers services to freelancers, said in a recent interview. “There’s a human capital scarcity challenge in this country. With that human capital scarcity challenge, the balance of power has shifted to the employee—from the employer to the worker.
Now employees are realizing they can work for multiple companies on their own. There is such demand for those that are highly skilled that they are choosing to work as independents. This is not just because of the pandemic. The pandemic perhaps accelerated it. It’s not the root cause.”
Finding the right fit in a side hustle is important, especially when you’re dedicating the time and effort. Here’s how to find the best gig for you and what to consider before you dive in.
What is a side hustle?
The name itself pretty much explains it! A side hustle is a job or work that you do in addition to your full-time job. For the most part, it’s reduced hours and fits into your free time.
This job might be hourly contract work or it might be your own project, like an online store where you sell products you make. There are lots of options when it comes to finding a side hustle. Just don’t expect to put as much effort or time into it as you do your day job.
There are lots of ways a side hustle might be labeled:
- Freelance: Somebody who sells their work or services to clients. Typically this is paid by the hour or by project.
- Contract: A job, project or work that is assigned by the company. This may be part or full time, but it’s only temporary.
- Consultant: Providing expertise or advice in a professional setting.
Choosing a gig
Side hustles can come in many forms, from driving for Uber or Lyft to making and selling art. What you choose doesn’t have to reflect your passions, but if it’s something that’s going to make you miserable, you might want to steer clear. In a lot of ways, a side hustle is a second job, but it can also be so much more.
Some questions to consider while weighing potential options:
- What do you want to accomplish? If it’s making money, figure out how much you want to make and start considering options that might bring in that amount of income. Side hustles can also help you develop skills (like photography or writing) or allow you to pursue a passion outside of work (like teaching or fitness).
- How flexible are you? While some side hustles are fluid and can mold to your schedule, others require more scheduling and planning.
- What skills and experience do you have? It might be helpful to make a list of what skills you have that lend themselves to a side hustle. For example, working with kids or web design. Your expertise in a certain subject matter may help you land something more easily.
You’ll also want to consider how you’ll do your side hustle. Is it with an established company? They will most likely have their own procedures and processes for work. On the other hand, you could build something completely your own through freelancing, consulting or selling products you make.
Side gigs don’t have to be obvious jobs either. Coaching, tutoring and house-sitting (and so many other jobs) can all be viable side hustles.
Deciding if it’s worth it
Everybody has a different reason for wanting a side hustle. For some, it’s the need for more income, and for others it’s to do work that’s fulfilling or driven by a passion. Sometimes these side hustles lend themselves to bigger opportunities and sometimes they’re short term.
Whatever your journey into gig life looks like, you’ll have to weigh some factors to decide if it’s even worth it.
Probably the most important aspect of a side gig you’ll have to consider is how much time you have to dedicate to it. If your primary job is pretty stable, you’ll have an easy time squeezing in other work, whether it’s fluid work or not. A more hectic job might require you to make some sacrifices.
One of the downsides of side hustles is that it leaves you with less free time and adds more hurdles to your scheduling, so it’s worth exploring how much you’re willing to commit before you do.
Primary jobs take a lot of energy, especially if you’re working full time. By the end of the work day you might not want to put in a couple more hours of work, or at least the same amount of energy you have for the past eight hours. Brains can be pretty fried by the end of a shift.
Of course, not all side hustles require time every day. Effort goes hand in hand with how much time you have. Some side hustles require more effort up front and others are pretty consistent. It all varies from job to job.
Not all side hustles are about the money. Sometimes it’s more about pursuing a passion or dedicating time and effort to a cause you find worthy. Whatever the reason, you’ll still want to consider how much money the work is worth and whether you’ll need to put in any funds up front.
- Will there be start-up costs? If you’re offering services, you may want a website or business cards. There’s also time associated with reaching out to potential clients. This is all work that is essentially unpaid, which is worth thinking about before you start.
- Who sets the price? In some gigs, you set the price. But in others, an outside source does. There may be room to negotiate and there may be a sliding scale of payments. Unlike 9-to-5s, side hustle money can vary much more greatly, so it’s important to know what to anticipate.
- Is there room for growth? This may be determined by how much time and effort you’re willing to put toward a side hustle, but many have the ability to turn into full-time work and bigger payments.
Written by Kara Mason.