Whether you’re known for always driving the squad home after they’ve had a few too many, scoring the sickest secondhand threads or making the best brownies in town, everyone has a skill they could turn into a side hustle. A side hustle is a gig people pursue in their spare time to make some extra cash, and it’s a great way to simultaneously get paid and find your true passion.
1. PINPOINT YOUR PASSION & RUN WITH IT
The secret to a successful and sustainable side hustle is to seek out something you enjoy doing so it doesn’t feel like work. The idea is to still have the time and energy to focus on your full-time gig.
It’s important not to compare yourself to people who may be doing or pursuing the same thing as you. A successful side hustler hustles for themselves and sees the approval and opinions of others as a result of their success, not a reason to chase it.
Recognize what you are and aren’t good at and use your side hustle as a way to play up your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
2. WEIGH THE COST OF COMMITTING
The point of having a side job is to put extra money in your pocket, so starting a side hustle with resources you already have is ideal. It’s also important to pick something you know you’ll stick with and that you actually care about, whether you’re a huge cat person and you work as a part-time pet sitter or you have cool co-workers at your weekend bartending job.
Jobs where you can put in hours at your convenience are great side hustles for college students. Working for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft or delivery companies like Postmates are the perfect side hustles if you already have a car. If you have a spare room, try renting it out on Airbnb. Try out TaskRabbit if you’re a pro at mowing lawns or putting together IKEA furniture.
3. DON’T BURN YOURSELF OUT
Start slow and know your limits. Don’t dive in headfirst and start driving for Uber and Lyft and launch an Etsy and eBay account on day one. Assess your schedule and map out how much free time you actually have. Factor in your study time and social life (and sleep!) and strike an even balance.
4. SPREAD THE WORD THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
You probably won’t be able to afford fancy marketing when you’re starting out, so use a platform that’s easy and free — social media! Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the perfect places to give yourself a shout-out. Post links on FB and eye-catching photos on Insta if you own an Etsy shop. If you’re offering tutoring or homework help, invite your friends to share your posts or use hashtags to get more eyes on your page. You can even offer discount codes and coupons. If you want to try your hand at freelancing, make a website on a free site like Wix, WordPress or Squarespace to share your portfolio and give yourself a professional edge.
5. PATIENCE & PERSISTENCE ARE KEY
Keep in mind that a successful side hustle won’t happen overnight. Tenacity and trust in what you’re doing go a long way. You don’t need to work out all the details right away, either; everything will fall into place in the future. Right now, all you have to do is focus on taking baby steps to achieve your financial goals.