By Lee Sherman
If you’re like many Americans, the pandemic changed the way you view work. Perhaps you’ve discovered that you really like working from home where you are your own boss (sort of), make your own hours, and get to spend more time with the family. You certainly don’t miss the commute. Even if you’re not currently working from home, you may want to consider a side hustle in order to stay-in-work, either while you continue to look for something else, or in order to see if an entrepreneurial idea might be commercially viable. You could decide that you want to go all-in on your investments, managing your portfolio and becoming a venture capitalist (VC) yourself. As long as you limit your side hustle to outside of your normal business hours, and there aren’t any conflicts of interest, it is entirely ethical.
Ideas for side hustles run the gamut. Perhaps you are thinking of starting a blog, becoming an affiliate marketer, an Instagram influencer, or joining the gig economy. According to a survey done by The Motley Fool’s “The Ascent,” the average monthly income for a side hustle is $746 for men and $507 for women, enough to help pay the bills. If things go well, you might even be able to turn your side hustle into an actual business.
Writing and influencing
Writing is a good side hustle that will work for just about anyone who is in an expert in their field (which assumes almost everyone) and has a proven ability to write. Even if you can’t put a sentence together, you can bring in a ghostwriter to do the writing for you. Unless, you’re looking to change careers completely, achieving thought leadership within your chosen profession is something you should be doing anyway. And this is one side hustle that even your current boss will approve of. Writing platforms like Blogger, Medium, Substack, and WordPress make it child’s play to start a blog and begin to make a name for yourself on social media. Consider starting a newsletter that goes out to a narrowband audience. Are you an expert in alternative energy, healthcare, technology? Are there lessons to be learned from your career experience? Ultimately, you may be able to charge a subscription fee and earn a living.
Join the gig economy
Platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Guru make it easy for you to sell your services to others. While they may have started out by specializing in areas like graphic design and engineering, they now offer a full range of expertise in business. These services simplify such things as customer acquisition (sales and marketing), invoicing, and human resources, letting you concentrate on the exact service you are providing.
If you’ve always had an entrepreneurial bug (or have just seen too many episodes of Shark Tank) now might be a good time to explore it. Before you go through the painstaking exercise of coming up with the right idea, establishing product-market fit, and coming up with a product, you should discuss your personal finances and the financial model for the business with your financial planner. You ’ll need to ensure that you have a runway in place that can cover expenses (yours and the business) for six months to a year before you even start to try to raise money.
These days, side-hustles are becoming more the norm than the exception. But before you start your own business, remember that nine out of ten new businesses are doomed to fail.
Lee Sherman is a contributing writer to MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. Lee is an experienced journalist and editor with over 30 years of expertise with a significant history of writing in the personal finance and technology arenas.