What Is a Side Hustle?

The fact that you are on this website indicates you are looking for ways to get paid. If you have been looking for some time, you probably have heard of the term 'side hustle'. But, what is a side hustle?

Side Hustle

You can figure out that it is somehow has to do with part-time work. It's a way for you to get paid. However, unlike a part-time job, many side hustles don't require you to physically appear at the job location. Some may, but people often look for ones that don't.

A part-time job could be consider a type side hustle. But, a side-hustle tends to more flexible than a traditional part-time job. 

NOTE: Site owner may receive compensation for purchases made through the links and banners on this web page.

FYI - The video specifies to click on the link in the description. However, it comes from YouTube and the link in the description from YouTube would bring you to this page.

Reasons for Side Hustles

You can imagine there are several reasons for side hustles. The biggest reason is obviously to make extra money. But for many, it goes much further than that. Here are some reasons that people may choose to go this route:

  • They need extra cash for bills and expenses.
  • They want to try a new career but don't want to quit their current one.
  • They want to freelance full-time eventually, but want to build up their business while still working.
  • They want to test a concept for a business before committing full resources.
  • They want to learn about unfamiliar business processes to enhance their current careers.
  • They want their kids to have enough money to go to a good school.
  • They want a down payment to a second home.
  • They enjoy the challenge of something new.
  • They want to make sure their kids have enough to go to college.

You could probably come up with a completely different list, but you get the idea. There are many reasons why people choose to get a side hustle going.

What Are Your Reasons?

Maybe you would like to earn extra money. But, if you are like many, maybe you want to build up an empire online, one that has the potential to replace (and exceed) your current job. 

Is your career panning out the way you had hoped? Are you simply tired of all the BS that goes on in your company, or any company for that matter? If you've had enough of that nonsense, you could be a great candidate for getting a side gig going.

You could find a part-time job or two. But, then you have to physically be there to get paid with these. Besides, those jobs will have just as much BS as your regular job. So, you'll have two or three times the BS.

I don't know the last time you checked, but the pay for part-time gigs is rather on the low side. You'll bust your butt all for a few measly extra dollars. It could even knock you into a higher tax bracket, which means you'll pay most of the extra money in taxes. YIKES!

A Better Alternative

Side hustles truly are a better alternative to part-time work. As you'll read below, you can do most of them online and you get to control how much (or little) time you put in. Usually, you're the boss, too. You may have clients to deal with, but you can always drop the ones that give you too much trouble. 

After reading this, are you ready to get your slice of the side hustle pie?

How to Get Started

It's exciting to start a new venture. The internet makes it easy to create something online, too. But, you should learn the ropes before you take action. Otherwise, you'll take the wrong steps, get frustrated, and quit too early in the process.

The following should help you get started with this:

Sign with the Words Start on It
  • Figure out what type of side hustle you want to try. List out your skills and strengths. 
  • List your interests. Don't worry if you don't have experience at this stage. Just get them down on paper.
  • Research any costs that may be associated with the side hustle. When searching online, be cautious of claims made by the information your find. These usually come from people trying to sell you the latest and greatest on the side hustle you are considering.
  • Be realistic. You won't be doing the side hustle full time. Therefore, make sure you are realistic about how much time you can commit. The key is to make a commitment.
  • Become a lifelong learner. Even if one side hustle doesn't pan out, learning anything is a positive step. The process of learning can help you find new opportunities, too.
  • Never run your business while at your regular job. Even if you think your boss or company is fine with you doing it, if your job suffers in anyway, it will be attributed to you working on your side hustle. Try to keep quiet that you are doing a side hustle.
  • Determine if you'll need help from others, like outsourcing, freelancers, etc. There is a trade-off in doing this. When you hire others, you'll have to spend time managing their time. But, you can have multiple people working which helps to leverage your time.
  • Finding good workers can be a challenge. When you get lucky, be sure to treat them right.
  • Determine if you'll need clients for your side hustle. If so, you'll need to spend a portion of your time to find more work. Conversely, you can find work that is passive, such as blogging.
  • Be sure to take time off from time-to-time, and don't neglect your family. If possible, get your family on board by getting them involved in your side hustle in some way. The more involved they are, the more supportive they are likely to be.
  • Don't approach a side hustle as though it's easy money. It takes work just like anything else. Others are doing it which means high competition for many of the tasks.
  • Speaking of competition, how will you differentiate your business to find more work, get more traffic to your blog, etc? For example, have the best customer service possible.
  • Treat your side hustle as a business because that is what it is. Make sure you stay compliant wherever necessary and pay the appropriate taxes that you're on the hook for. Just because it is not a full-time gig does not mean you can skip these essential tasks.
  • If you find one side hustle that isn't working out as planned, don't be afraid to shut it down and start up a new one. You want to find something you love and will stick with. If you do this, you should follow the steps again in this article.
  • Don't bite off more than you can chew. It's better to get started with one side hustle and build that up than to try to accomplish multiple ones. If you take on too much, you will get overwhelmed and burnt out.

Ideas for Side Hustles to Get You Started

If you aren't sure of what to start, let this idea guide give you a head start. Sometimes, one idea can branch out to multiple ideas. Note: this list is by no means exhaustive.

Side Hustles on Street Sign
  • Create an online course. Sign up as an instructor on a site such as Udemy.com and create courses. Some people make full-time incomes from this website. This has an upfront time commitment to create the course, but once it's created, it can earn for months or even years. Create multiple courses for even bigger results.
  • Create a training website. This is harder than becoming an instructor at Udemy (or other training websites). But, you have full control of the content and the earnings. You could try to find other instructors/trainers to generate the training modules for you. You give them a cut of the profits.
  • List jobs or skills on Fiverr.com. People have mixed feelings about using this site to generate income. The biggest problem is how competitive it's become. However, if you can become established on the website as a seller, you'll get a lot of work. The site used to only allow jobs costing five dollars. However, they have changed their policy to allow for higher dollar amounts.
  • Become an Uber driver. Although this one requires being away from your home, you can select the hours you want to work. It is becoming more competitive as more drivers are signing up. But, it is something to consider.
  • Publish a book on Amazon. Much like the online courses at Udemy, this will take much upfront work. However, once the book is written, and you have it edited and a professionally made cover, the income is residual on this. Be sure to research books that are in demand but isn't saturated with other books. Writers usually find fiction harder to write but easier to sell, all equal. Be sure to follow Amazon's guidelines.
  • Publish a book on Amazon but only to use as a giveaway. Treat your book more as a marketing tool rather than trying to sell the book. Sometimes, just publishing a book impresses people although due to market saturation, the effect of this is less. Still, you can use your book to give to potential clients to show them your knowledge for their niches.
  • Create videos on YouTube and monetize using advertising. You can make tutorial videos or simply create tips videos and have YouTube display ads. You receive a portion of the ad sales.
  • Create YouTube videos to drive traffic to your blog or sales page. If you have an offer of some sort (your Amazon book?), you can create a video with the focus being the product. This video could be testimonial of customers, or it could be something that shows how your product solves a problem your audience may be having. Be sure to follow YouTube's guidelines.
  • Sell on eBay and other auction sites. Back in the early turn of the 21st century, selling on eBay was sizzling. Everyone got into the fray and several people made serious money. The fervor has died down since that time. However, you still can sell your items on the platform. If you sell your existing items, eventually you'll run out. To make this side hustle last, you'll need to find ways to replenish your products. This task can be a challenge and is beyond the scope of this article.
  • Become a freelancer. If you have a trade or skill, you can use it to freelance. For instance, if you are a good writer, you could create content for bloggers. Another option is to ghost write a book for someone. Other forms of freelance work include graphic design, photo editing, advertising music jingles, website design, etc. Any skill can often be turned into a freelance gig as long as there are people willing to pay.

Side Hustles You May Want to Avoid

Guy Giving the Thumbs Down

The following side hustles are probably best for you to avoid. Some are illegal while others may be legit, but won't make you money for one reason or another. Each describes why it's not a good choice to pursue as a side hustle.

Ponzi Schemes

If you don't know, the business model for a Ponzi scheme is to recruit other members who pay the recruiter a fee (usually monthly). Each of the people referred will also try to recruit others under them which covers their fee plus any extra. The biggest problem with this scheme is it's illegal and most get shut down and police often make arrests.

Multilevel Marketing (MLM)/Network Marketing

This is often confused with a Ponzi scheme. What separates this business model from being a Ponzi scheme is that MLM businesses sell products or services along with recruitment. This makes MLM a legal business. However, just because it's legal doesn't mean it's a good business model to base a side hustle on. You need to be good at recruiting and the people you recruit need to be good at recruiting. The dropout rate is believed to be over 90%. There are other problems with the business model that you can read about here.

Pay-to-Read (PTR), Pay-to-Watch (PTW), Pay to Play (PTP) 

There is nothing technically wrong with these types of sites. You can get paid to read emails or to watch videos. You can get paid to play games or to search. Sounds great, right? The trouble is you only get pennies for each action. In several cases, the actions are timed so you'll have to wait until the timer finishes before moving onto the next task. Imagine getting two cents to read an email and then waiting 30 seconds (or more) before being allowed to view the next email. Some tasks, like viewing videos, you need to watch the entire video (several minutes) to get paid. You'll make more than a few pennies for the videos but not much.

It's possible to recruit others into these types of websites. You will receive a portion of their earnings. Theoretically, that has the potential to boost your earnings significantly. However, what you will find is after a few days, you'll get tired of these actions for pennies. And, if you get tired of these actions, you can bet the people you recruit will get tired as well. You can do much better than these website.

Rebate Websites 

I have nothing against saving money. Sites like Rebates.com can be a great way to save money and get cash back. However, in either case, you aren't making any money. While that may be a plus with respect to the IRS not taxing you on your rebates (at least, not yet!) it does nothing in the way of earning money from a side hustle.

How long do you think it will take to become broke when you buy $1,000 worth of goods to "earn" $20? Can you see how you are not getting paid under this scheme? You should think of it as getting a $20 discount on the $1,000 purchase. Nothing more!


I know people who do well with sweepstakes. They enter them constantly, mostly for free. They win often. Sometimes, the amount they win is significant. One person I know won an all expense paid trip to New York City. He also told he's won thousands of dollars using sweepstakes over the years. So, why shouldn't you take advantage of this way to make money?

The biggest problem is the amount of information they require to enter these. With all the problems with identity theft and other crazy scams, do you want to increases exponentially hackers getting your information? It's up to you. Remember, it could cost you thousands of dollars getting your identity back. That wipes out all the gains using this business model. 

Another downside - you often don't win!

Mystery Shopping

There are some legitimate mystery shopping sites. There are also plenty of scam services. But, even with the legit ones, you'll get low rates for the jobs they ask you to do. They can request you to travel an hour away, make a purchase, and write about your experience. The mystery shopping company will give you an allowance or purchasing the product. But, you can do all this for $5 to $10. Some may give you a gas allowance but many don't. You travel an hour and purchase a product (something you probably don't need) and make $5 to $10. The time doesn't included the write up that you need to submit to the company. This write up can be long which means more time spent for the same $5 to $10.

Admittedly, I have not researched these companies lately, so it's possible things have changed a bit for the better. Just make sure you know what you'll be doing and for how much!

Paid Surveys

How'd you like to spend the next 45 minutes answering excruciatingly personal questions and receive $2 or $3 for your efforts? Then, for the next 20 years, you'll get bombarded with offer after offer after offer from a bunch of vendors? If this seems like something you'd like, then knock yourself out with paid surveys. All this, only if you are lucky to find the survey companies that pay money. Many will give you the "privilege" of being entered into a sweepstakes and maybe you'll win. If you don't win, you get nothing. Nice!

Traffic Exchanges

This is less about direct pay and more about getting traffic to your websites. Hopefully, when you get traffic to your website, your visitors will buy whatever you're selling. After all, don't you simply need traffic and they'll whip out their credit cards and all your financial worries are over?

The way traffic exchanges work is you view other members' websites for a number of seconds (usually 30 to 60). At the end of the timer, they ask you to solve a puzzle or answer a question to prove that you were watching. If you pass the test, you get a few credits that can be used for other members to view your website. After an hour of viewing other websites, you'll have enough credits for about 10 members to view your website. Some services more, some less.

If you upgrade to a premium (monthly fee) service, you'll get several credits for each month you maintain your premium membership. Also, you usually get a multiplier on the credits for the websites you view. Either that, or the timer is cut in half, etc. By being a premium member, you'll be able to show your website to many more members.

Here's the problem. What would be your motivation for joining these traffic exchanges? Do you go there to buy other members' products? Or, do you go there to get traffic so that other members can see your website and buy from you? Most (if not all) members will state they are there only to get credits and not to buy. If nobody is buying, how effective do you think these traffic exchanges will be? Everyone is there to have others buy, which no one wants to do. Everyone is selling to each other.

Drop Shipping Business

I like the drop shipping concept in theory. If you aren't familiar with this business model, you make an arrangement with manufacturers to ship single products to customers. You don't have to worry about warehousing pallets of products. You sell a product to your customer for one price and you pay the manufacturer a lower price keeping the difference. Then, you tell the manufacturer where to ship the product on your customer's behalf.

On the surface, this sounds like a cool arrangement. Most people who try this, however, realize soon enough that you need high margin products. They don't factor in items like advertising and other marketing costs. They also learn that most manufacturers charge a fee for drop shipping. This fee eats into the margins. Shipping is a consideration, too. The website owner participating in drop shipping will need to charge shipping costs to the customer. This adds to the cost that could sway the customer towards looking for a better deal.

Another problem with the drop shipping business model is it's difficult to bundle purchases. When people buy online, they often buy products related to the main product they are buying. If these related products are from different vendors, the website owner will need to deal with each vendor and pay separate drop shipping fees and separate shipping. It can be a logistics nightmare. And if a customer is unsatisfied with the purchase and wants to return products, they will likely want to return all of them. This adds to the headaches with this model.

My Favorite Side Hustle

Hands down, my favorite online business model is the affiliate business model. It gives you the ability to earn within the niches that you select. For example, suppose you love fashion and would love to make money in this field.

The traditional method would require you to set up a brick-and-mortar store, find merchandise, hire employees, spend on advertising, set up payment processing,  deal with sales tax, and so on. 

Hand Pointing Up for Number One

A more modern approach is to create an online eCommerce store. While this is usually easier than a brick-and-mortar store, you still need merchandise, payment processors, sales tax, and the like. In both cases, you'll need to deal with returns from customers and problems that customers have with your products and services.

With an affiliate business, you don't have any of those hassles. You simply send traffic to the vendor, the vendor recognizes the traffic came from you through a special affiliate link, and if the traffic buys products, you get paid a commission. You don't deal with merchandise, returns, taxes, payment processors, or any of those annoyances. The vendor takes care of all of that for you. 

The concept of the affiliate business is easy. However, it's essential to learn how to do it right from the start to avoid making rookie mistakes. Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from others who have been through it before?

There are groundwork items that you will need to learn about to become successful with an affiliate business. Here are the most common items:

  • A Niche or Market - you'll need to learn how to pick the right market or niche (specialized market) that has the best chances of making money for you.
  • A website - although you won't need to worry about payment processing or installing eCommerce solution, you will need to learn how to set up a website properly. After all, that is how your visitors will click on your affiliate links 
  • Hosting - after you obtain a domain name (www.yourbusiness.com), you need somewhere to host it. This usually requires a monthly fee.
  • Content for your website. You need to learn how to create content that will attract and keep customers. You can create this yourself, or you can hire others to do it for you. When first starting out, you should write it yourself to learn how it's done and know what to expect when you're ready to hire someone else.
  • Content management - unless you have web designer, you'll want a system where you can enter the content you create. Luckily, these days, this is relatively easy to obtain.
  • Finding affiliate programs - you need to know how to choose the right program. They aren't all created equal. 

None of these items are difficult to learn, but learning them wrong will take you longer and cost you more money. When you take the proper steps to learn them correctly, you'll be well on your way to building a solid affiliate business.


Hi, my name is Jim. I am here to help you learn how to create your own online business. Never before has it been as easy as it is to do so. I will give you access to the necessary training to make it all happen. Just follow the training and perform the tasks as the come up and at the end of the training you will have a fully working framework with which to start earning money from your online business.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: