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Improving your finances requires a two-handed approach. On the one hand, you need to save money where you can and reduce your expenditure. On the other, you want to increase your income if you can. The difficulty with increasing your income is that the only way to do so is find a new job with a better salary. You could feel reluctant to leave a job you’re happy with for the chance of a bigger pay packet, and it’s not always easy to find a job that you can do in the right location. If you’re stuck in this situation, there is another option: the world of the side hustle.
What is a side hustle?
In essence, it’s freelance work or a small business that you run in your spare time. It doesn’t interfere with your regular job, and you can devote as much or as little of your time to it as you wish. You can view it as a way to add to your existing income, in much the same way as a part-time job would. Or you could go for something that has the potential to become a full-time career. It’s becoming a popular choice for many people in all walks of life because you don’t have to give up the security of your day job or try and launch a business with no regular income.
Choosing your side hustle
First, you need to decide what you’re going to do. There are many different roles you could consider, so examine your strengths and think about what you are interested in. You may need to make a small investment to get yourself started, but you shouldn’t need to spend much to get your foot in the door. You’ll find lots of adverts online promising to turn you into a millionaire overnight, but don’t get taken in by them. You’ll pay for a book or an e-course, and then discover it’s just a recycled version of all the existing advice on working for yourself. There are no instant wins or secret tricks to hitting it big; these are just sales ploys – and in some cases out and out scams. On the other hand, you’ll also find plenty of websites run by genuine people who are full of good advice, know what they’re talking about, and can help you find the work you’re after.
Preparing yourself for your new role
You need to remember that although this is a job on the side, the work you do and the money you earn will all need to be accurately accounted for and declared, just like a full-time self-employed role. That means keeping records of all your income and expenditure, the hours you work, and any other information required by the IRS. In some cases, it’s possible that potential clients will do an internet search to find out more about you, so it’s worth checking what they would find if they are looking you up. If your social media pages or any other online presence is in your name, be careful about what you post. You don’t need to stop being yourself, but think about what might put prospective clients off.
Budgeting and forecasting
You should also take a look at your financial situation and make sure you are managing your money effectively. You’ll need to have a little in reserve to cover any expenses you may incur before you start making a profit, for example, if you need to buy stock to sell on or supplies for making your own products. If you are managing your finances but don’t have any capital, you could consider a small loan. Even if you have a low credit score, you can find lenders who will be able to help. You just need to make sure you can afford any repayments and don’t borrow what you don’t need to. This is best achieved by having a detailed budget and financial forecast, so you know how your finances will look going forward, and what you need to economize on to make ends meet.
Ideas for side hustles
Here are just a few of the wide range of choices:
- eCommerce: You can set up an eBay shop for a very reasonable rate per month, and then sell products straight from your home. You could start with your own excess belongings, then when you’ve made some money, invest that in buying products for resale. Alternatively, you could register with Amazon or a range of other suppliers and use their drop-ship method of selling, whereby the stock you order is delivered to Amazon, and they take care of picking and packing the orders placed on their website. It does reduce your profit margin, but it relieves you of all the hassle of dealing with orders and deliveries.
- Sell your own products: If you have a creative talent, you could use this to produce unique products and then sell them, either through your own website or by using a platform such as Etsy. The good thing about this kind of side hustle is that you’ll enjoy doing the work so much it won’t feel like work!
- Freelance writing, editing, proofreading, and administration: these are all good options for those with the necessary talents. They require little investment, just the ability to do the work, a determination to succeed, and the willingness to start at the bottom and work your way up. Training and qualifications can be undertaken without too much expense if you don’t have the skills, and you’ll need to be persistent in applying for jobs, but there are plenty of opportunities for people with the required talents.
There are plenty of ways to make some money on the side, and in fact, you can monetize almost any interest you have. For instance, people have made successful businesses out of such unlikely ideas as selling used designer sneakers! Internet connectivity and communication systems have opened up a world of new opportunities for freelancers and amateur entrepreneurs, and it’s a good way of safely testing the water if you’re considering a change of career or have a small business idea.