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12 Ideas For a Successful Side Hustle

When I was in law school, it was hard to find the time to do anything other than study, let alone start a side hustle. But, we had to make ends meet.

My wife worked during my first year of law school, but we had decided to go ahead and start our family. After the baby was born, she decided to quit her job. This created some problems when it came to cashflow.

I’ve written before about my ill-fated summer internship, but that summer was also the summer that I decided to put my all into my side hustle: web design.

A successful side hustle is one that brings in a nice supplemental income and has a flexible or manageable schedule. You might not be a web designer, and that’s okay! By evaluating your skills and experiences, you can find a side hustle that works for you.

You can also try researching local markets. You may find a potential side hustle that was under your nose the whole time. And who knows? An extra source of income can be the difference between being stuck in a job you want to quit and finding your passion.

Below are 12 ideas for inspiration.

1. Teaching Online

If you have a graduate degree, then this could be very lucrative. Teaching an online class for a university may only require a few hours a week, but can have a large payout.

If you do not have a graduate degree, you can still tutor online. Services like Wyzant offer tutors an increasing cut of their tutor costs, and the tutors can set their own appointments, market themselves, and accept or deny clients.

And regardless of your level of education, if you have a unique or creative skillset you can still be successful teaching online. Through sites like Teachable, you can offer courses for everything getting into Virtual Reality to making buttercream flower cake decorations.

2. Flipping Thrift Items

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If you’re fashion-savvy, you might turn your love of vintage finds into a small business. Thrift shops and yard sales often times have hidden gems, and clothing items from notable brands are often sold there at low prices. Labelling them as vintage and using outlets like Craigslist or eBay can earn high returns.

If you enjoy getting your hands dirty every now and then, consider refurbishing secondhand furniture. Furniture is easier to find at low prices, and brand knowledge is often not required.

A cheap piece of furniture may look unappealing in its worn state, but a little refurbishing can turn it into a beautiful piece that will create demand. Amateur carpentry can seem intimidating, but through practice and online tutorials, it can be manageable.  Services like Etsy can allow you to create a following for your creations.

3. Answering Questions Online

If you have professional experience in areas ranging from law to IT to auto repair then you may qualify to answer technical questions on JustAnswer. It may not pay much, but this side hustle offers a lot of flexibility—and could even help you hone your knowledge of your field.

4. Flipping Real Estate

Believe it or not, flipping real estate isn’t just for peppy couples on HGTV.

Lots of houses with high potential hit the market for low prices. Buying low and renovating can result in a highly sought after house. This requires a lot more work than most side gigs, but the payout can be huge. Plus, if you find that you love it, flipping can easily turn into a full-time job. If you’re nervous about starting out, consider working with a more established flipper to develop your skills.

5. Offering Consulting or Independent Contracting

Do you have significant experience in business, law, medicine, or some other professional field? Offer your services as a consultant for young or local companies. Your insight and industry knowledge can be invaluable to these companies that are just starting out or looking to elevate their work.

It’s hard to keep up with ever-changing tech. If you are computer savvy, then local businesses may need your help setting up their systems. Private individuals can also offer quick cash for a repair job. If you know social media and marketing, then you can help local businesses increase their reach with social media marketing.

These are only a few examples, but there are tons of untapped skills that businesses are willing to outsource. If you know you have a skill that local businesses need, or can help private individuals, then you have a potential side hustle.

6. Bookkeeping and Tax Services

We all know that filing our taxes is a hassle and a chore. But if you have accounting experience, the most stressful time of the year could be the source of your new side hustle. Private individuals will pay for tax assistance, and if you prove yourself to be an attentive and helpful resource, you could have return clients every year.

If you’d like a more general accounting gig, you could be a bookkeeper for a local business. These services are sought after, especially at affordable rates.

7. Seasonal Lawn Care Services

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Everyone knows you can make money mowing lawns–probably the first side hustle for many people when they were younger, including me. But mowing lawns isn’t just for neighborhood kids.  If you don’t mind doing yard work, seasonal lawn care can be a nice side hustle, even after you are all grown up.

If you have a truck, a snow plow could also be a lucrative investment. Getting a few contracts for local businesses and private individuals can provide quick cash after a snowstorm.  After you have a client base, lawn care and leaf management in the fall can be a reliable source of income.

8. Renting Out Your Property

If you’re considering purchasing real estate for the purpose of renting it, consider starting out by renting on a smaller scale. If you have an extra room or a vacation home, then you can rent it out on Airbnb. Set your own rates and advertise your space for the price and time that works for you.

This may help finance other real estate purchases down the road, and will give you a taste of what it’s like to be a landlord or manage a property (which could easily become a full-time gig).

9. Be an Uber or Lyft Driver

Uber and Lyft allow regular people to offer taxi services. Uber also guarantees that you will earn $1000 dollars over the first 150 trips, otherwise they will reimburse you. These services provide the opportunity to work whenever you want and price surges ensure that you’re rewarded for working when demand is high.

10. Freelancing

If you have solid writing skills or are fluent in more than one language, freelancing sites like Upwork or Freelancer could be the key to flexible, regular side jobs. Sites like these allow individuals and businesses the opportunity to post jobs ranging from translation to research to content marketing. Freelancers then bid on the jobs, crafting offers and naming a price and timeframe of completion.

If you snag a gig, the site typically will take a cut of your profits. But the convenience of these sites more than makes up for the cost. As you gain experience and adjust your pricing accordingly, you’ll be able to account for the site’s fees.

11. Coaching or Reffing

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Did you play a sport through high school or college? Working for a parks and recreation league can offer a decent side income. A travel league can offer better compensation at the cost of a larger number of hours and higher expectations for team performance (you also will likely have to travel to tournaments on weekends).  Most leagues are set-up to work around work and school schedules, so coaching can be a great side hustle for the hours when you’re not in the office.

Reffing can offer a little bit of flexibility because many organizations allow you to make your work schedule. Some people are also able to move up to a semi-pro reffing gig after accumulating some solid experience.

12. Creating A Gig

We have discussed some general ideas, but you may not have found a side hustle that is right for you. If this is the case, then some brainstorming can help you create a potential gig.

Take these questions into consideration:

What skills do you have? What do businesses or individuals in your area need? Can you do something quicker and cheaper than a company can?

If you take the time to brainstorm and answer these questions, you may find a side hustle waiting to be developed. Everything from professional dog-walking to flower arrangements to freelance photography can help you capitalize on the extra time in your week.

The possibilities are nearly endless, just take the time to look!

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    JACOB TINGEN

    LAWYER & ONLINE ENTREPRENEUR

    After graduating from law school and passing the bar, I struggled to find work, pay my bills, and make ends meet. That's when I decided to take control of my future and start working for myself. Now, several years and a handful of companies later, I'm sharing how I launched a successful business, and how you can do it too.

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