Starting a side hustle has been one of the best decisions of my life — right up there with marriage and “splurging” on chips and queso appetizers (you with me?).
A side hustle can give you:
- financial flexibility
- leverage at your day job
- A quicker path to the Rich Life
Here’s how it happened for me:
After leveraging my side hustle to land two incredible jobs right out of college, I needed a change and, even after following Ramit’s process for asking for a raise, my boss refused to pay me what I was worth.
So I left.
My side hustle then got me a 50% pay increase and a new job at a tech startup. (Score.)
Eight months later, they laid-off half the company—including me. (Doh.)
I was suddenly unemployed. And pumped!
Without even taking time to go home and talk to my wife, I went straight to the library and got to work because my side hustle was now my full-time job.
I had waited eight years for this moment, and I was ready!
I made an extra $2,000 that day, took it home to my wife, and haven’t looked back since that moment. I’ll never work another “regular” job again. My side hustle has literally changed my life.
Why most side hustle advice is wrong
I can almost hear you now, though: “I don’t have eight years to build a side hustle!” You need extra money now, or you’re ready to quit that job you hate today.
Meanwhile, all the big sites give advice like “write an ebook” or “sell online workshops” … I mean, that’s not helpful at all. You read tips like “start a blog” or “become an influencer” (oh, geez). But these can take years (and TONS of luck) to bring in meaningful money on the side.
So today, I’m revealing the 5 best side hustle ideas to make extra money right now and in the long-term.
These aren’t “get rich quick” ideas. They’re ways to make extra income and get you closer to your own rich life.
5 best side hustles to start today
1. Start freelancing (get your first client)
You can literally become a freelancer overnight in two steps:
- Decide what services you will offer as a freelancer.
- Get your first client to pay you money for those services.
Brainstorm services you could offer. These should be things you’re already good at and won’t need much training to offer professionally.
If you’re not sure, ask your family and friends. They’ll have ideas, I can almost guarantee it.
Learn how to get quality clients. Without freelance clients, your side hustle is still only a hobby.
That means the next important step is to find your first paying client by leveraging CraigsList, searching high-quality freelance job boards, or tapping into your own personal network.
2. Start consulting (find your first consultee)
Like freelancing, you can easily become a consultant by tapping into what you’re already good at.
If there’s something you’re exceptionally good at, chances are there’s someone else out there who outright sucks at it and needs your help.
In an interview we did with expert consultant Pamela Slim, she explains the basics of actually getting started on your consultancy side hustle.
First, brainstorm your niche. Your niche will be found in the intersection of these two things:
- Stuff you’re really passionate about
- Stuff people are willing to pay for
Would you be surprised to learn that some people get paid to consult on:
- Planning the best Disneyland trip for your family
- Which outfits to wear to work
Then find your first client(s). Once you’ve decided where you’ll focus your consulting side hustle, it’s time to find some consulting clients.
For starters, try using Craigslist and our powerful framework, seeking out referrals and sending cold emails.
3. Sell a simple service (pet walking, window washing)
If you want a successful side hustle, you need to simplify and start selling.
I learned this lesson from a friend who started a window-washing business. He sold over $18,000 during his first summer with zero help from social media.
That’s the power of simple selling.
To sell simple services, you don’t need official training. Here are a few ideas that’ll work quickly and well:
- Pet Walking
- Window Washing
- Snow Removal
- Lawn Care
“But I’m not a salesman!”
So what do you do if you’re turned off by sales? Frankly, anyone who wants to grow a nice side hustle should have at least a basic understanding of what it takes to sell something.
For starters, try these scripts that earned one reader thousands.
If you’re not willing to put yourself out there to make a sale, maybe starting this side hustle isn’t for you.
4. Sell physical products (make or buy wholesale)
The DIY, handmade movement is in full swing, and selling stuff on Etsy has never been easier.
Consider this: millions of makers all over the world hock their wares at marketplaces, flea markets, and farmer’s markets to bring in some nice additional cash.
To start selling handmade products:
It’s never been easier to get started selling things you make.
- Sell online in marketplaces.
- Sell IRL (in real life) at markets and fairs.
Selling online on sites like Etsy can take some learning and patience. You’ll have to learn the search algorithm to appear at the top of popular searches.
Selling online on Facebook Marketplace can be much less expensive, but be sure to build in a cushion for hagglers.
Selling at markets and fairs IRL (in real life) can be a lot of fun if you enjoy interacting with your customers. You’ll need to do your homework, walk the show, start small, and price fairly.
Selling in boutique shops can be a great way to sell. But convincing picky boutique owners to carry your product can be a challenge.
Consider visiting the shop as a customer, learning the owner’s taste, and making friends with them before finally pitching your product.
A word of caution…
Many artists spend too much time creating and not enough time selling. Don’t fall for that same trap. Remember: sell, sell, sell.
Can’t make stuff to sell? No problem.
Of course handmade items aren’t the only physical products you can sell. There are a number of ways to make extra money on the side selling physical products.
To start with physical products:
Since we’ve already discussed online marketplaces and real-world shops or boutiques, let’s focus on the types of products you could sell.
Here are two simple paths you can choose from:
- Sell your used items on eBay
- Sell new or used items on Amazon
You might be shocked just how much “valuable” junk you have sitting around. Try filling up a box, checking prices, and listing a few things on eBay, FB Marketplace, or Craigslist.
Once you run out of your own stuff, level-up to flipping (see idea #5 on this list).
Stock and ship items to customers via Amazon
If you’ve got a lot of gently used books in your home, then you’re sitting on some quick cash.
There are lots of ways to make money selling things on Amazon including retail arbitrage (buy low, sell high), book publishing, or selling products with Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon).
5. Flip stuff (buy low, sell high)
Flipping has become a super popular side hustle in the last few years. Sure, some people choose to buy and sell real estate, but for your first go-round, maybe think a bit smaller.
Research items that are easy to flip. There are lots of items that will work but here are just a few I recommend:
- Clearance items at stores like Target.
- Discounted name-brand items at stores like Ross.
- Collectible/Vintage items at garage sales.
Experiment with low-risk items. You can take risks later on, but for now, you need to start small. Buy $25-50 worth of stuff at a garage sale AFTER you’ve done a fair amount of research. Then, make money selling those items on eBay.
Graduate to bigger ticket items. Once you’ve got the hang of it, go for some big wins by identifying items that you can buy at a huge discount and sell quickly online.
The #1 “secret” to starting a side hustle
When I tell people how I built a side hustle to achieve my Rich Life, they always start in about their own side hustle ideas.
But guess what? Almost none of those people ever actually take action.
So the secret? Just start.
Get up off the couch in the evening for an hour or two and put some real work in. Just like interest in your financial investments, slow and persistent work adds up to quite a lot over the long-haul.
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