Side Hustles: what you ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ need to make money

5 min read
Chris Guillebeau

Did you ever hear the saying that money doesn’t grow on trees? Parents sometimes say this to their kids when the kids want to buy everything in sight. These parents are only half right. Money does grow on trees— you just have to plant the right seeds, in the right soil to make money. Each person who has a side hustle has found a money tree and made it blossom — simply by putting an idea into action. There’s a money tree out there waiting for you, too.

Whether you’re no stranger to side hustles or you’re brand- new to the concept, you can get up and running with a profitable project in a short period of time. Here’s what you need to know right now to make money with a side hustle:

  1. Everyone should have a side hustle. Even if you love your job, having more than one source of income will give you more freedom and more options.
  2. It’s not that hard to start one. You can do so in less than a month.
  3. To be successful at hustling, you first need to understand how to generate profitable ideas and then choose which one is best at any particular time.
  4. Side hustles are all about action! You need to launch your idea, usually before you feel totally ready, then regroup and refine after seeing the initial results.

Make money with a Side Hustle: the prerequisites

There are also very few prerequisites to side hustling. To be successful in using this model, mostly you need:

The right frame of mind.

Specifically, you need a willingness to learn and experiment. Even if you’re a long-time serial hustler, some of what you’ll learn here will be new to you. To get the most out of these lessons, you’ll need to be willing to open your mind to a different way of thinking.

The willingness to act.

Thinking about it, talking about it and reading about how to build your own side hustle is a start, but it won’t do much for you. You must be willing to put your ideas into action. If you want to be successful, you have unlock the potential of your idea and start to make money, converting it into profit.

make money side hustle
Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash.

What you do not need

As you can see, the list of prerequisites is pretty basic. The list of what you do not need is far longer. This is important, because many people think that the ability to make money outside of their day job is out of their reach. Luckily, these people are wrong. Let’s get this out of the way right from the start:

You don’t need much money. 

Put away your credit cards (at least the ones with high limits) and don’t worry about needing to raise capital or ask someone for a loan. The process I’ll show you in the days ahead, along with the vast majority of ideas and stories you’ll read about, do not require a large amount of money— and in some cases, no money at all is required.

You don’t need much time. 

To be fair, you’ll need some time. But the time required to start a hustle should be minimal. The twenty- seven day plan is designed to be doable alongside your existing commitments and take no more than one hour a day. If you want to work faster, or build your project to a higher level right away, that’s fine and you can spend more time doing so— but you won’t have to.

You don’t need a business degree, or any kind of specialized education.

Most business education teaches people how to be a corporate manager, which is fine if that’s what you do for your day job. But with a side hustle, you’re starting your own business, not running someone else’s. You don’t need an MBA. You won’t have to use complicated software or spreadsheets. Your financial forecasts can be written on the back of a napkin.

You don’t need employees, assistants, or business partners. 

You may want to get help at some point, but not right away. The initial goal is to start on your own, using your own skills and effort.

You don’t need experience starting a business. 

You don’t need to be an “entrepreneur” to start a side hustle. Even if you have zero experience working for yourself, with a little resourcefulness and the right frame of mind, you’ll have no problem taking your hustle from idea to profit.

In fact, some of these things (the money, the abundance of free time, even education) can actually be detrimental to your plan. If you have money to spend, you’ll spend it. If you have an abundance of free time to waste, you’ll waste it. Whatever you learned about business in school can sidetrack or prevent you from taking the simple steps you need to turn your idea into action. Last, at some point it may be wise to expand your team, but when you have to do everything yourself, you’ll have to stick to what’s essential.