5 Side Gig Ideas To Get You Started
You’ve decided that you want to earn some extra money outside your day job, which is awesome. You’re excited, but maybe you don’t know what’s out there to try.
Or maybe there are so many opportunities that you feel overwhelmed. Where do you start?
In all the years I’ve been creating little side gigs, I’ve realized that there are so many possibilities, I needed a way to pare down the ginormous list.
If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t really do it
The way I do this when thinking about starting a new venture is that it absolutely must be something I will enjoy doing. If it’s not, I know it will feel like a grind and I won’t get very far.
For example, some people really enjoy selling third party products through the Amazon marketplace or their own website. It can be a great way to not only make extra cash, but some people build up their stores so it’s their sole source of income.
That sounds like a big ol’ snooze fest for me. It just doesn’t light a fire, you know? As much as I would enjoy making that (vegan) cheddar, I probably wouldn’t make much because I wouldn’t be driven to work at it.
When you’re looking for a side gig, consider that you’ll be working on it after your day job at night or on weekends. If it doesn’t light you up, it’s going to be really easy to push it off until the next day. And the next day. And the day after that, and so on.
Feeding your soul is key for success. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to take some hard work, but if you’re really into it, it won’t feel like drudgery.
5 side gigs to try
Below I list some of my side gigs. These may not all resonate with you, but they may help spark ideas to explore.
I’m a freelance illustrator, which is one of my “day jobs” along with our screen printing business. I love illustrating and so it made sense for me to explore other, more passive ways of making money. One of those is by selling patterns on spoonflower.com.
It works like this. I upload a repeat pattern and make it available for sale in their online marketplace. When sewers and crafters buy the fabric with my patterns, I make a small commission, or royalty.
There’s a small outlay of cash in that to make something available for sale, you need to purchase a test swatch, which is about $5. Once you do that, you’re good to go.
If I don’t do any promotion at all, I make about $5-$10 a month. In months where I’m more active, I can make $30 or more. Some Spoonflower artists say they make thousands every month, but these are artists who have hundreds of patterns for sale. I’m okay with my small bit of cash flow for now, because it’s all passive. If I want to increase my revenue, I can get more into promoting my work and create new patterns.
This is another outlet for my art. I create paintings on wood, boxes and skateboard decks and sell them in my Esty shop.
This one costs a little money as well. It’s .20 cents to list an item (per month) and then they charge a 5% fee on a sale.
If you like to make stuff, Etsy can be a great place to do it. These days you’re also competing with larger sellers from China, but if you promote your shop well and you have something truly unique, you can still earn good money.
Hubrunner is a company that creates and maintains WordPress websites for customers all over the world. I’m a WP geek and I spent so much time setting up and maintaining my own sites that I thought I may as well do it for extra money. I signed up with Hubrunner to help maintain their customers’ sites.
It works like this. I get notified by email that someone needs help with their site. I log in to my agent account and take care of whatever the client needs. I get paid an hourly rate, but typical tasks only take about 15-20 minutes. When I get a bunch I can earn a few hundred bucks a month doing something I enjoy doing and doesn’t take a lot of brain power (for me).
There are other gigs like this out there. For example, if you like to write, there are companies who work with copywriters in a similar way. It’s worth looking into because it’s work you can do from anywhere with a laptop (I’ve done it while watching Netflix at night).
Check out this list of 12 Best Freelance Websites for Copywriters.
Self-published and Kindle Ebooks
I love writing (you may have gathered that by now). I’ve written several books, all self-published. My go-to platform has been lulu.com, but recently I’ve been publishing books through the Amazon Kindle store.
The best part about publishing on these platforms is that it doesn’t cost anything to get your book into the world. You can also order author copies at cost.
For the most part, your earnings will depend on how well you promote your book. I promoted my last book to an email list and sold about 100 in the first day or two. Sales dropped significantly after that, mostly because the book doesn’t really have a big market outside of my particular audience. I mostly use it as a way to promote my screen printing business.
However, the great thing about the Kindle store is that with the right keywords and market-specific content, you can earn regular income from publishing on that platform.
There’s a great site with tons of free content that I highly recommend: Kindlepreneur
Little Side Gig
And of course, there’s this blog you’re reading right now. As I write this, I haven’t made a dime from Little Side Gig. It’s pretty new and right now everything I provide is free. In the future I’ll be adding some courses and products that will cost a little money.
If you decide to put up a blog, know that it takes time to build an audience. You’re not going to start earning money from day one (unless you do, then awesome). It takes patience and a lot of work. Think about something you love to do or talk about and put up a blog. It doesn’t cost very much to get a domain name and set up a WordPress site.
For example, if you like wine and you have some knowledge, think about starting a wine review site. If it becomes popular, you may find wineries who want you to review their wine and will send it to you to sample. You can give classes on pairing and tasting. You can publish a book about wine. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.
There are so many more side gigs and ways to earn extra money outside your day job. If you expand on these five, you can probably come up with many more.
I want to hear from you! Ask a question or add a comment below, or send me email at dj at littlesidegig dot com.