The side hustle is a mysterious beast. It’s been defined many times over the years, but in short, it’s something you do outside your normal job to make money. I’ve had a lot of side hustles in my day — sometimes out of necessity, other times just because I have a slight entrepreneurial streak and I was bored. I’ve done everything from reselling computers and phone cables to mowing lawns and catering. Side hustles have helped me get out of tight money spots more times than I can count on one hand. They can help you, too, if you’re struggling with money. You just have to find your niche.
Choosing a Side Hustle
Finding a side hustle can be both frustrating and intoxicating. There are hundreds of ways to make some extra money, but not all are easy, and not all are viable. You have to sit back, do the math, and figure out whether your ideas will work in your favor. If you’ll end up earning less than you would by picking up additional hours at your main job, it’s probably not worth your time.
One side hustle that a lot of people do is driving for Uber or Lyft. These ride-sharing services, whose popularity is growing exponentially, allow almost anyone with a clean record and a relatively modern car to earn some extra money in their spare time. My roommate actually drives for Uber once or twice a week.
He generally makes from $100 to $150 per night in the Cincinnati area while only using a quarter of a tank of gas.
Another side hustle you can pick up is reselling items that you’ve bought on eBay or other sites for cheap. If you can find a good enough deal on eBay, you can sometimes resell that same item locally for two or three times the money by using services like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace or apps like OfferUp and LetGo. This is pretty easy to do. However, it does require some cash up front to make that initial investment (unlike driving for Uber or Lyft, which is free to do).
What to Watch Out For
The biggest issue to focus on when attempting a side hustle is your expenses. If you’re driving for Uber, keep track of maintenance and gas costs for your car. If you’re reselling things, pay careful attention to what you buy them for. Also make sure that you can earn money by exploring the marketplaces in your area to see what similar items are selling for. Try to go with products that are in high demand, but not readily available, and you’ll be successful in reselling.
These hustles can help a struggling family to escape poverty, or allow a rough-and-tumble college student to make some extra money for his or her tuition. I’ve done it, and I’ve seen it done. It’s really not that hard. Find something you’re good at or interested in, analyze the numbers to see if it will be worth your time, and then dive in. Remember that even a few extra dollars a month make a big difference when you’re living on the edge.