Introduction to Side Hustling

The art of extracurricular work

The gig economy is becoming increasingly popular. Maybe you already have a hobby or side job that you devote your spare time to like knitting macrame, designing friends’ websites, or pet sitting neighborhood pooches. If you haven’t started capitalizing on these hobbies and talents, it might be time to start. We sat down with Farnoosh Torabi, host of the popular financial podcast, So Money, to find out how to master the art of the side hustle.

WHY SIDE HUSTLE?

A side hustle isn’t just a gig for extra cash flow. It can be an excellent way to work towards starting your own business by doing more of what makes you happy. “If you’re feeling stuck at your day job, a side gig can be a great way to dip your toe into entrepreneurial waters. From there, you might find a career you’re more passionate about, or it can lead to a more fulfilling full-time job,” Torabi explains. If you are feeling less than fulfilled at your current job or considering changing career paths, a side gig is a great first step to exploring your options and challenging yourself. If you’ve always dreamed of being a writer, start freelancing or blogging in your spare time. Many gifted writers have found themselves getting paid for it a few years down the road.1

THE ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A SIDE HUSTLE

“Because wages have been stagnant for the last four decades while the cost of living has only grown, many people are turning to side gigs for additional income. Side hustles are also becoming increasingly popular because many are looking to eventually become their own boss. A side hustle is a great way to flex your entrepreneurial muscle, as well as grow your network,” says Torabi. Benefits of side hustling include:

  • More money—It isn’t always like Biggie said, sometimes more money doesn’t mean more problems. Sometimes you need more money to live! If you want eliminate student loans more quickly, get on the side hustle grind and begin paying them off.
  • A wider network—A side gig opens you up to meeting a whole new host of people you wouldn’t usually come into contact with at your day job. You never know when you might meet someone who could lead to your next career or a big break.
  • New skills—A side hustle may allow you to build and hone new skills, whether they be creative or practical. “You also might learn new skills through your side hustle that you can then apply to other gigs or your full-time job,” says Torabi.

WHERE TO BEGIN

It’s okay if you feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of getting a side gig. Deep breaths. Here’s the best way to start:

  • Identify your skills and interests. “This is the first step in identifying what type of side hustle best suits you,” says Torabi. “Evaluate your talents and interests, and pursue a side gig accordingly.”
  • Don’t take on more than you can handle. If the side gig begins to interfere with your career, take a step back. “It’s best to start small and add to your schedule as you become more comfortable with your plan and figure out what you can take on,” Torabi says.
  • Be smart about taxes. Yes, you will have to pay taxes on your side hustle.2 Torabi recommends that “if you feel as though your side hustle could become a full-fledged small business at some point, creating an LLC (Limited Liability Company) or S-Corp could be a wise choice.”

"A side gig can be a great way to dip your toe into entrepreneurial waters."

HOW TO GET MORE WORK

If you’ve already mastered the art of the side hustle and just want to increase your profits or expand your client base, there are some great ways to secure more work. Utilize your network. Combing through your contacts and networking is the easiest way to get more work and put yourself out there for new opportunities. As Torabi states, “Good old fashioned networking is always key. Create case studies with your existing clients and let them know you’re looking to take on more work. Creating a website or profile that showcases your talent and the work you can do is also a great way to show off your services to prospective clients.”

Don’t forget about apps. This is the 21st century, remember? There are many useful online tools for finding work. Consider a few of these:

  • Moonlighting: It’s the first nationwide mobile marketplace for side gigs. Torabi explains, “The app breaks down skill sets, and you can look at available jobs from there.”
  • TaskRabbit: If Kimmy Schmidt can do it, so can you! Being a Tasker is a great way to earn extra money on your own time. Torabi recommends TaskRabbit because “you can pick up a task when you have free time, so it works with your schedule.”
  • Gigwalk: Make some extra money while running errands! Brands will pay you to scope out how their products are presented on store’s shelves. Torabi describes how it works: “Once you download the app and become a member, you’ll find tasks to do in your neighborhood that won’t take up much of your time.”
  • Rover: If you love animals, try pet sitting and dog walking. Simply set up a profile on Rover and pet parents book you for your services.
  • Airbnb: Are you fortunate enough to have an extra bedroom? Put it up on Airbnb and begin seeing the money roll in. Torabi cautions that “this does require you to be comfortable having a stranger for a roommate or allowing strangers to use your home.”
  • Turo: If you have a car that you don’t need to use daily, you can put it up for rent on this app. Torabi explains, “The app connects you with neighbors and travelers looking to rent your car by the hour, day, or longer.” Turo provides insurance too, so you can feel safe using their platform.
  • Etsy: Fancy yourself an arts and crafts person? Set up an online shop on Etsy’s marketplace, and sell your wares online!

Feeling motivated to make some extra money? Just remember Torabi’s parting advice: “If you want to start a side hustle today, begin by identifying what it should be. Make a list of your skills, what you’re interested in, what you’re most comfortable taking on, and what your schedule allows for.” Now go forth and prosper.

KEYS TO SIDE HUSTLING

Choose a side gig that uses your skills or personal interests

Don’t take on too much at first

Apps are your friend—find one that’ll get you more work

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