Good morning this is a guest post from Richard Adams who is a UK-based frugality blogger. You can follow his experiments in saving money and reaching financial independence over at Frugality Magazine. You can also follow Richard on Twitter. Let me know if you would like to guest post on MMYW.
In the personal finance blogging world we talk a lot about “side hustles”. In essence a “side hustle” can be seen as a way to generate extra income from your free time, which you can fit around your “real” job.
The problem is that there are so many options available when it comes to side hustles – and so many tempting ebooks and products that promise easy riches – that it can be hard to figure out which side hustles are worth your time and which are really pipe-dreams that only a tiny percentage of people succeed with.
Over the last decade or so I’ve become obsessed with internet-based side hustles. There are many reasons for this including…
1) Time Flexibility
Physical side hustles like dog walking or lawn mowing typically force you to commit a certain amount of time to them on a regular basis. No matter what the weather is, how busy you are at your main job or what else is going on in your personal life, if you’ve promised to clean someone’s windows on Saturday morning you better stick to it or your reputation will suffer.
Compare this to an internet-based side hustle such as running your own website and you’ll find that online hustles have far more flexibility. You can work on your website when it suits you. You can write new blog posts when you’re feeling inspired and queue them up ready to be published even if you’re working solidly at your job for the rest of the week.
Many physical side hustles are service-based – meaning that you charge a set fee to clean someone’s house or tutor them in a foreign language. When you stop working, you stop earning.
While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, when it comes to online hustles there are far more options to earn extra income even when you’re not working. For example as anyone with a successful website will tell you – they’ll still earn revenue from articles they wrote months ago whether they’re currently online or are busy doing something else.
This means that the profit potential of online side hustles can be far greater than many physical alternatives.
3) Value Added
If I arranged to bath local dogs for a set fee I’ve really just created an extra job for myself. Unless I “go big”, take on premises and staff it’s not really a business – at least not one that I can sell in the future.
In contrast many internet-based side hustles *can* be sold in the future. For example there’s a buoyant market in buying and selling websites. If you’ve built a successful site then there are all sorts of people who might be willing to buy it off you for many times it’s monthly earnings.
This means that you not only build a regular monthly income while you’re growing your side hustle but additionally you can “cash out” in the future for a large one-off payday.
The long and short of all this is that I believe that for my own needs – and those of many others – having some kind of online side hustle is one of the most flexible and profitable ways to earn extra income from your free time.
Of course the next question is really what actually works. After all the internet is buzzing with new product releases, courses and software that promise to make you millions for no work.
So let’s cut through all the hype for a minute. You see over the years I’ve tried all sorts of things online. Some were raging successes but more often than not the results disappointed me.
I thought therefore that it might be useful to highlight some of the side hustles that have personally worked for me over the years. If you’re currently looking to increase your income with a new side hustle these are the “winners” from my own experience and will hopefully provide you with some hype-free guidance on where you might want to consider looking.
Affiliate marketing involves promoting another company’s products or service in such a way that when someone makes a purchase, you earn a commission.
At it’s simplest I’ve built a number of websites and blogs over the years that:
(a) Offer high quality information and advice to visitors
(b) Attract free visitors from the search engines thanks to all this content
(c) Include a handful of affiliate links to products/services that I truly believe in
My content attracts free visitors, and a number of these end up clicking my links and buying a product. As a result I earn commissions. Market your site well and promote the right products and it’s possible to do quite well from the process.
While it can take some time to learn how to do affiliate marketing properly I believe it’s within the limits of most people. Even better there is more information and advice around than ever before on what works.
Building & Selling Websites
Some years ago I launched a new affiliate website for ecommerce entrepreneurs. Over a few years the site really started to perform well and started to match the income I was receiving from my day job. Sadly, at the same time I was getting bored with the website and wasn’t giving it the love it really deserved.
As a result of this situation I eventually turned around and decided to try and sell it. Much to my surprise there was a lot of interest and I ended up taking a five-figure payday as a result of selling that one website.
Since that initial success I’ve built and sold a number of other websites to investors. And while the process takes time – you’ll need to build a website, promote it and wait until visitor numbers and income are reasonable before selling – it can lead to some nice income in the future if you’re willing to work on your site for some months before putting it up for sale.
The benefit of publishing your own ebook is that once the work of writing and producing the book are complete you can keep on earning profits from your work for months or even years to come.
Over the years I’ve written dozens of ebooks with varying levels of success though I’ve had a few “home runs” during that time. My most successful launch generated over $10,000 in 7 days though this is far from the norm.
These days I publish almost exclusively on Kindle – a process that removes many of the problems with promoting your book. By writing a top-quality ebook and using the various marketing tools Amazon provides you can quickly start to generate additional monthly revenue solely from writing about topics that interest you.
Freelance writing was really where I started my online side hustle journey. There are a range of sites like Odesk where business owners will pay you to create content for them in the form of articles, ebooks, PDF manuals and so on.
Over the years I’ve tried a number of these sites but always found I had greatest success at Elance which is where I would recommend you start looking for writing gigs.
The reason I put this hustle last is that I no longer do any freelance writing because it’s more of a job than a business. It can be a great way to earn some income from your free time but of course once you stop writing you also stop earning.
Many people do very well out of it – and some people even turn it into a full-time business eventually – but I decided to transition from writing for other people to writing for myself and creating my own network of profitable websites.
In this way my writing had the capacity to earn me revenue long after I’d actually written it.
None of these internet side hustles can be characterized as “easy”. In comparison to baby sitting for your neighbor there’s a far steeper learning curve so please don’t be under any misapprehensions.
I don’t want you to feel like these are necessarily “easy” ways to earn some extra income – it can take quite some months of learning and hard work (and some money to invest) before you really start to see your efforts pay off.
But they are the side hustles I’ve personally had success with. The question is what’s working for you right now? What side hustles are you considering? Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section below…
This post was featured on the Frugal Living Tips, thank you!