A simple look at the hashtag #sidehustle on Twitter will yield a variable mezlca (mix) of answers ranging from something you might find on UrbanDictionary.com, to dance moves, to what us PF bloggers consistently strive to find and make time for in our busy schedules.
Almost every PF blogger has posted about it. Michelle at Making Sense of Cents has a whole page dedicated to extra income. Melanie at Dear Debt talks about the lifestyle of side hustling. Michelle at Shop My Closet Project talks about what brought her extra income in 2013 and Art of Manliness gives us 37 very creative ideas for earning some extra dough. I’m not going to try and re-invent the wheel with this post, but I will give you my strategies for making time for some side hustling and what side hustles are currently helping me pay down my debt.
the tried and true
I have been waitressing for a local restaurant for over a year now and it has been my main source of side hustle income. Waiting tables at the restaurant looks a little different depending on the day and time that I’m working because the restaurant is also a sports bar. During lunch and dinner, I wait tables, just like at any other restaurant. After 10pm, the place turns more into a “club” type atmosphere and I run cocktails until 2am. Waiting tables/running cocktails is something that I typically only do on the occasional Saturday/Sunday lunch shift or when I am on breaks from school (Christmas and summer), because we also share a patio with another building that our owner also owns and employs that houses a murder mystery dinner theater. So, on Friday and Saturday nights, I wait tables at the dinner theater (and I get to enjoy all the shows!). I prefer to work Friday/Saturday at the theater because we get off at 10:30pm instead of 2am at the bar and we make the same amount in tips! To top that off, working at the dinner theater I make $8 an hour, so I also receive a check every two weeks for about $100.
Right now I work every Friday and Saturday night at the dinner theater and will pick up occasional Sunday afternoon shifts at the restaurant. I am SO thankful for this job because it has been a steady source of income this past year. Plus, since I’ve been there for so long (there is a pretty high turnover rate for waitresses) they essentially let me work whenever I ask. HUGE plus.
My advice: I had no waitressing experience prior to getting hired, so don’t let that hold you back from trying to wait tables. My biggest advice in this area is to find a local “home owned” type place. These places are nicer than the big chain restaurants because you get to know the staff/management/owner a bit better, have more “regular” locals and (in my experience) they are much more willing to work with your schedule.
Being an Arbonne Consultant
Last February, a friend invited me to attend an Arbonne holiday party with her. She had no intention of getting me to become a consultant, but needed a friend to attend the party with her because she would be the youngest one there by about 20 years and was a little nervous. After attending the party and learning about the company, I was hooked.
Arbonne works much like Mary Kay, except we specialize in clean, botanical skin care products. There is a network marketing side to the company (where you can get others to “sign up” under you), but Arbonne is a very open and honest company that I fully believe in. I do not use the network marketing aspect of the company, but I do sell the products and will occasionally have parties.
On months that I host/throw parties, I earn upwards of $100 while on months without parties I make between $30-70 from clients re-orders. For the time that I put into Arbonne (hardly any) I think it is very worth my time.
My advice: **Please note- I know that many people have mixed feelings about network marketing companies. I am not advocating that everyone go out and join some type of company. If you like it, great. If not, that’s okay too!**
in the works
As of Saturday, I am now a Spanish Tutor with a local tutoring company. The company has told me that I can take as many or as few hours as I would like each week and that I am starting at $20 an hour. Not too shabby! My goal is to tutor for 5 hours each week which would bring in an extra $400 a month. For me, that is a worthy time investment.
My advice: If you have extra time and like working with students, try going the tutoring route. You can tutor in almost any subject and even SAT/ACT/GRE test prep. Most tutoring companies pay in the $15-25 range. Several popular and nationally known companies to work with are WyzAnt, Varsity Tutors or Sylvan.
At dinner theater, we go through about 10-15 bottles of wine a night and we simply throw away the cork and empty bottle. This past weekend it hit me- why not save the bottles and corks and make something crafty like wine cork wreaths/bulliten boards or wine bottle lamps? The investment in making the craft would be minimal as the bottle and corks are free. Selling on Etsy seems like it could be a fairly lucrative side income, but I do not know of anyone personally who is selling on the site. If you sell on Etsy or have friends who do, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
My advice: Why not give it a try? It only costs 20 cents to list an item which will not break the bank. Etsy does charge a 3.5% transaction fee on the listed price of the product, but you can easily adjust to include this in your shipping and handling price. I will keep you posted on my Etsy adventures here in the upcoming weeks.
Just like when investing, diversify your side hustle! That way, if one side hustle falls through, you still have other sources of extra revenue coming in until you find another side hustle to replace it. Side hustling is not always easy. It requires you to put in time and effort, so when deciding on a side hustle, make sure the income you’ll be receiving will be worth your time and energy. With that being said, make sure that no matter how many extra hours of work you put in a week on your side hustle, you have to have some “me” time. Whether it be reading a book, catching up on your favorite TV shows, cooking with friends or a game night. Schedule your “me” time in your calendar if you have to and fight to keep it. You need personal time to run at 100%.