Is this the year to start a side hustle?

8 min read
Leighton Burley

In our modern world, with on-demand employers like DoorDash and WeGoLook multiplying overnight, it’s easy to find a side hustle to generate additional income.

Whether you’re a student, stay-at-home parent or even a full-time employee, you’ve probably wondered how to make extra cash at one time or another. Maybe you’ve dreamed about a new wardrobe, a Mediterranean vacation, or even that new car your friend just bought. And a side hustle could be exactly what you need to generate some extra cash flow.

Almost everybody can find a certain area where they have ability and turn it into a sideline.

In this article, we will discuss how to assess demand for your offering, package your talent into a viable service or product and avoid pitfalls of taking on multiple jobs.

How to make extra cash on top of your 9-5

There are a number of ways to make money on the side of an existing job. Here’s how to find one that will be profitable.

  1. List what you’re good at (and like to do).
  2. Identify consumer pain points.
  3. Define who will buy the product or service.
  4. Tailor your offering to that customer.

After you’ve learned how to choose a lucrative product or service, keep reading to learn how to make moonlighting work for everyone in your life.

How to choose a side hustle

Side Hustle Man Washing Car
Maybe on-site car detailing is a service busy executives in your area would pay for.

Choosing a side hustle shouldn’t be a quick or haphazard process. We’ll walk through the process of selecting one and ensuring that there will actually be a market for your product or service. After all, the market determines the value of any offering. You can be the best car detailer in your city, but if there is minimal demand, you’ll struggle to find clients.

1. List what you’re good at (and like to do)

There are many factors to consider when creating a collection of possible side hustle ideas. Perhaps chief among them is your expertise in a particular skill set.

It should go without saying that if you’re going to pursue an after-hours gig, you should at least be proficient — if not highly talented — in that area of expertise. Your ability to succeed at freelancing in any field ties directly to the quality of your work.

You should genuinely enjoy whatever you’re considering.

If you dislike it, then any negative feedback or extra effort required will only exacerbate your dislike of your chosen side hustle. Alternatively, if you genuinely love what you do, your passion will outweigh a bad experience or one long day.

What are your interests? Gaming? Sports? Teaching a skill? Writing? Any and all of these are good side hustle ideas that can be monetized by creating a viable offering.

2. Identify consumer pain points

Next up, you’ll need to do a little market research to assess which of your potential side hustles actually solve a real-life problem that people are facing.

Just because you have skill and interest in an area doesn’t mean people will pay you for it.

Side Hustle Women Looking at Tile Samples
Turn your eye for color and texture into a home decorating consulting service.

To find a lucrative side hustle, think about what many people need. For example:

  • Do people have trouble with interior decorating?
  • Will they pay someone to design a professional resumé?
  • What do people hate doing themselves — cleaning their cars or shoveling snow?
  • Is there a local shortage of people who can teach piano or how to speak a language?

This step is all about matching your skill set to market demands and assessing your capacity to fill a void in the market.

3. Define who will buy the product or service

In this step, you’ll want to create a customer profile for your typical customer. You can do this pretty easily by thinking back to what kind of people need your chosen product or service the most.

  • How old are they?
  • Are they married or single?
  • Where do they live?
  • What is their income level?
  • Do they have children?
  • Do they work outside the home?

Answering these questions will help you to understand your likely buyers and get a mental picture of them. This will help you in the next step when you decide how to appropriately package your product or service.

Related: Define your client persona to create marketing messages

4. Tailor your offering to that customer

Now that you know who your ideal customer is, and have knowledge about various aspects of their lifestyle, you can begin crafting your offer.

You’ll want to customize your product or service to completely solve the problem buyers face.

Customizing your offering to match your audience means thinking about your target buyer as you determine:

  • How much you’ll charge for the product or service.
  • What you name it.
  • How you’ll promote it and other features of your product or service.

For example, suppose you discover that there is demand for personal coaching in your town. How would you present such a service? What is the lesson format — one-on-one sessions or group meetings? Are your clients mainly business people or students? How much would each of those groups be able to spend on coaching? So on and so forth…

All of these factors require that you keep your target audience firmly in mind in order to create an offering that actually appeals to them. After all, it is possible to identify an unmet need and still design a product or service that fails to resonate with your target audience.

Maintaining your side hustle

Side Hustle Woman Driving SUV
Keeping a side hustle going takes commitment — on everyone’s part.

While the prospect of starting a side hustle and generating additional income likely sounds great to most people, it should be noted that effectively maintaining this effort over time requires some sacrifice.

Maintaining a profitable side hustle takes perseverance, motivation and focus.

Let’s cover a few of the things you’ll need to consider in order to maintain a proper work/life balance.

Coordinate work, lifestyle and relationships

First among the sacrifices is the notable decrease in the amount of time you’ll have to spend with family and friends. Running a profitable side hustle will eat into your evenings and weekends. If not properly managed, that money-making sideline can become a point of contention in your relationships.

One way to guard against this is to become hyper-organized in order to minimize wasted time. You should also outline what household tasks or chores you are responsible for and accomplish those to avoid conflict at home. Your free time is limited, so schedule and knock off menial tasks to maximize your time with family and friends.

Maintain consistent quality at your real job

If you choose to adopt a side hustle, you should be transparent with your full-time employer, and explain that this endeavor will not have a negative effect on the quality of your primary employment.

An employer who sees you putting in extra hours towards a side hustle will have a heightened sensitivity towards the quality of your work output. After all, they’re paying you to perform at your best, and they (rightfully) expect you to give them your prime focus and energy.

You should address this potential conflict from the very beginning, and purposely maintain the same high level of output as you always have done. Showing your determination to place your employer first, will go a long way toward your employer validating your new gig.

Don’t forget to relax

One point many entrepreneurs don’t take into consideration is taking regular time off to relax.

Nobody can work tirelessly.

Those who say they can work endless hours are either superhuman or have not yet experienced burnout.

It’s important to take time off to relax and recharge. This could be something as simple as:

  • Watching your favorite program.
  • Reading, exercising or listening to music.
  • Meeting a friend for coffee.

These all contribute to your physical and mental well-being and should actually improve your output and performance.

Wrapping it up

Whether you just want to know how to make extra cash or are exploring alternative career options, the tips above are the place to start.

If you undertake each of these steps in order, you should be able to successfully select, design and launch a product or service offering that generates additional income.

Side earnings can be used for vacations, education, a new car — whatever you choose.

Even though starting and maintaining a new endeavor takes time and effort, a side hustle can expand your skill set and give you the chance to do work you’re passionate about. Why not take a risk and give your side hustle a shot?

Promote your new product or service online with a website. See for yourself how easy it is to start a website with GoDaddy.

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