How to start a side hustle

How to Start a Successful Side Hustle in the Gig Economy

As the cost of living keeps going up, many people are turning to a side business, or ‘side hustle’, to supplement their full-time income. According to the 2024 Gig Economy Statistics report from Tech Report, the gig economy was worth $455.2 billion at the end of 2022, and is projected to grow  86.5 million workers by 2027.

Chances are that you know someone who works multiple remote jobs, or perhaps delivers fast food in the evenings, or runs some sort of small business in addition to their day job.

If you are considering starting a side hustle we’ve put together this guide. Whether you’re aiming to pay off debt, save for a big purchase, or simply explore a new career path, starting a side hustle can be a rewarding venture.

How to start a side hustle: Understanding the gig economy

The gig economy refers to a labour market characterized by short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. The gig economy has seen huge growth in the years since the COVID pandemic, thanks to a combination of job losses, rising energy prices due to global events, and the sudden popularity of remote working. This gig model offers flexibility and the potential for higher earnings, making it an attractive option for many.

Step 1: Identify your skills and interests

The first step in starting a successful side hustle is to identify your skills and interests. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides valuable information on various occupations and their required skills, which can help you assess your strengths.

Step 2: Research side hustle ideas

Once you have a clear understanding of your skills and interests, it’s time to explore side hustle ideas. Here are some popular options:

  • Freelance Writing: Platforms like Upwork and Contena offer numerous writing opportunities.
  • Graphic Design: Websites such as 99designs and Fiverr connect designers with clients.
  • Tutoring: Online platforms like VIPKid and Chegg Tutors allow you to teach students globally.
  • E-commerce: Sell handmade crafts on Etsy or dropship products through Shopify.
  • Ridesharing: Drive for companies like Uber or Lyft to earn extra cash on your own schedule.

Step 3: Validate your idea

Before diving in, it’s crucial to validate your side hustle idea. The Small Business Administration offers resources and guides on market research and business planning.

Step 4: Create a business plan

A well-thought-out business plan can set you on the path to success. SCORE, a nonprofit organization supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides free business mentoring and education.

If you need help writing a business plan, use this guide from Quest News Group.

Step 5: Set up your online presence

In the gig economy, having a strong online presence is essential. Platforms like Wix, Squarespace and WordPress offer user-friendly website builders to showcase your services or products. Shopify is a popular service if you want to set up an ecommerce business without needing any technical experience.

Other free resources for promoting yourself online include:

  • A business profile on Google Maps – especially if you are targeting a specific local area
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Free online directories such as Yelp
  • Social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Tiktok and YouTube

Step 6: Manage your time effectively

Balancing a side hustle with your primary job and personal life can be challenging. Tools like Trello and Asana can help you manage your tasks and time more efficiently.

Step 7: Monitor and adjust

Finally, regularly monitor your progress and be prepared to make adjustments. Use tools like Google Analytics to track website traffic, and gather customer feedback to improve your offerings. By following these steps and exploring various side hustle ideas, you can create a profitable and fulfilling venture that complements your lifestyle. Remember, the key to success is to stay focused, be persistent, and continuously seek ways to improve and grow your side hustle.

Side hustle ideas

Below are just a few suggestions and ideas for starting up a side hustle:

  1. Freelance writing or copywriting
  2. Virtual assistant services
  3. Social media management
  4. Online tutoring or teaching
  5. Graphic design
  6. Web development
  7. Photography or videography
  8. Sell handmade crafts on Etsy
  9. Dropshipping
  10. Affiliate marketing
  11. Start a blog or YouTube channel
  12. Pet sitting or dog walking
  13. House cleaning or organizing services
  14. Lawn care and landscaping
  15. Delivery driver for food or packages
  16. Rideshare driving (Uber, Lyft)
  17. Rent out a spare room on Airbnb
  18. Sell items on eBay or Amazon
  19. Transcription services
  20. Translation services
  21. Voice acting or voiceover work
  22. Online surveys and market research
  23. Sell stock photos or videos
  24. Personal training or fitness coaching
  25. Meal prep services
  26. Virtual bookkeeping
  27. Resume writing and career coaching
  28. Event planning
  29. Proofreading and editing
  30. Create and sell online courses
  31. Podcast production
  32. 3D printing services
  33. Mobile car washing and detailing
  34. Rent out your car on Turo
  35. Furniture flipping
  36. Sell printables on Etsy
  37. Virtual interior design consulting
  38. Personal shopping or styling services
  39. Sell handmade soap or candles
  40. Offer tech support services
  41. Create and sell mobile apps
  42. Become a virtual recruiter
  43. Offer home repair services
  44. Start a subscription box business
  45. Sell custom t-shirts online
  46. Become a notary public
  47. Offer music lessons
  48. Rent out photography or video equipment
  49. Become a mystery shopper
  50. Offer resume and cover letter writing services

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