Side hustling. Sidepreneurism. Multi-careerism. According to personal finance blogs, your co-workers, and even an article in Forbes entitled “How Millennials Are Redefining Their Careers as Hustlers,” this is the future.
What does it mean to side hustle? While there’s no formal definition, it’s basically the act of taking on a second (or third, or fourth) job in order to bring extra money into your household. Often, the work is not only flexible, but fun — it’s done in your free time (when you have it), doesn’t encroach on your other responsibilities, and is relatively painless (even if it doesn’t always bring in the big bucks).
It’s also a product of the dismal economy. When one job doesn’t cut it, what else is there to do but take on extra work? Unlike past generations, however, young workers are turning increasingly not to a part-time job they take after work, but flexible freelance-type employment. This turns out to be ideal for the military lifestyle — not only for spouses, who often struggle to find jobs as they move from base to base, but even for the active-duty servicemen and women themselves, who may need to supplement their income to make ends meet for their families these days.
Air Force reservist Erin Carpenter has approached “side hustling” from a unique direction. A special education math teacher, Carpenter had always been supportive of veterans and had a desire to serve her country, but she assumed the time for military service had passed her by. “I always figured it was ‘too late’ for me, as I had invested time and money into my current profession, and enjoyed what I did,” Carpenter says.
Eventually, Carpenter realized that joining the reserves — a job she considers a very important “side hustle” — could give her the best of both worlds. As far as having two such demanding jobs, Carpenter says, “I am fortunate to have the support of my family, to live nearby both workplaces, and to have the respect of my employers… My recommendation to everyone juggling such a load is to keep open communication between all of your supervisors, as well as your family, and give them advanced notice of commitments whenever possible. I find that having different careers is beneficial for keeping things fresh for me.”
1 Selling what you don’t need (or what other people don’t need) on Craigslist, Ebay, or Etsy. Old phones, collectible figurines, your own homemade soap — you’d be surprised what people will pay for. (This is great for people who are PCSing and have to go through their homes anyway.) Even if there are no personal possessions you’re willing to part with, it might be worth it to ask friends or relatives if they’d like you to try to sell some of their “stuff” online — it can be time-consuming to take photos, write descriptions, and run to the post office to ship sold items, so many people would be happy to offer you a commission from any sales you bring in.
2 Freelance writing/editing/composing/designing/photographing. Confession: this article is a side hustle. While freelancing in any form requires more initiative than some of the other items on this list, it can be a profitable and fun way to earn some extra cash.
3 Doing odd jobs online with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. This website allows you to complete short “human intelligence tasks”. While the pay is low (each task has its own monetary reward, ranging from a penny to several dollars), it’s one of the easiest ways to earn a little extra dough. You can work as much as you like, and it’s very low-stress — there’s no interview process, and you can do it in your pajamas. Just go to the website (www.mturk.com), add a profile, and search for jobs you qualify for.
4 Renting yourself out as a go-fer with TaskRabbit. TaskRabbit (www.taskrabbit.com) allows people to outsource their to-dos to people in their community. You create an account, go through a background check, and then once you’re approved, you can bid on any task that interests you. One week you might choose to make a Target run, the next help someone book their next vacation. TaskRabbit is available in many metropolitan areas, but not all — check online to see if your nearest city is covered.
5 Driving people around. Lyft (www.lyft.com) and UberX (www.uber.com) have been getting a lot of attention recently, and for good reason — they’re shaking up the urban market when it comes to transportation. With both Lyft and UberX, you can use your own car to transport riders (who hail you with a smartphone app) around town. Be forewarned, though: agreeing to be a Lyft driver requires you to slap a giant pink mustache on the front of your car. Also, some cities are cracking down on the companies, declaring them in violation of city taxi ordinances — so stay tuned for developments in that area.
6 Teaching a fitness class. Becoming a certified yoga instructor is easier than you think, and with the enduring popularity of such exercise programs, you can now market your services pretty much anywhere. Think beyond the gyms, and you might find yourself offering classes in a your local nursing home, church, or elementary school.
7 Tutoring. Did you ace the SAT? Major in math or science? Do you speak a second language? If so, you are bound to be snapped up quickly as a tutor for a local student — no teaching certificate required. Advertise around colleges, libraries and in coffee houses, or sign up to tutor online with one of the many tutoring websites.
8 Walking dogs. If you love animals, fresh air, and are free during the middle of the day (when other people worry most about letting their dogs out), dog walking is the perfect way to pick up some extra cash while getting some puppy love.
9 Signing up to be a mystery shopper. This one can feel a little sneaky sometimes, but if you enjoy shopping, it might be a good side job for you. Register for a notification service online, and you’ll be informed when companies are searching for secret shoppers to hire. All you do is go into a specific store, make a purchase (you’ll be reimbursed up to a certain percentage), and then file a report about the level of service you received for about $5-$20.
10 Maintaining neighbors’ lawns. A great side gig for those who like to get their hands dirty, offering your services as a lawn mower/gardener/tree branch remover not only is valuable to your neighbors, but it can be lucrative for you as well.
Don’t let this list hold you back — almost anything that you can think of can be a side hustle! Use your imagination and put yourself out there. At the very least, you’ll gain a new experience and perhaps a few dollars in your pocket.