There is magic in the side hustle. If you’re on the path to FI like most of us are, and you’re not already making six figures with three rental properties already under your belt, side hustling can be a lever to FI you’ll want to pull.
Honestly, there’s only so much you can do to cut costs, even with awesome ways to cut recurring expenses like house hacking and going carless, you’ve likely spent ample time in your FI journey cutting costs. So, what’s an aspiring FI’r to do? Earn more.
Now that we live in the internet age, making money is easier than ever. We are surrounded by a breadth of knowledge in the form of free podcasts, YouTube videos, blog posts, and Facebook groups.
Our libraries are chock full of free books, and if that weren’t enough, we also have the ability to network and reach a vast pool of potential buyers and clients once we’re armed with new skills we’ve acquired.
If you have an internet connection and a desire, you too can side hustle.
You may absolutely love your day job, and it can be chock full of perks and fabulous health insurance–but you realize you’ve hit a ceiling. Even in the best of circumstances, a nimble and loyal careerist is still competing with an array of other employees who are vying for promotion.
If your progress isn’t chugging along quite as fast as you’d like, you realize you have two options: get promoted or get a slight raise to help keep pace with inflation. You could also consider job hopping (which can be fruitful) but you’re still going to find the same slow and steady pace year after year.
Day jobs are great because they’re reliable. But when you’re looking to reach FI income growth can be frustratingly predictable at your “real” job.
Side hustles are awesome because they can be just about anything and you can choose how much or little time you want to commit to it. Now that the internet has taken away the middleman of traditional employment, you can work for yourself, if only for just part of the time.
If you’re even vaguely interested in taking the entrepreneurship route for a spin, spending time with a podcast or YouTube video means that you can pick up skills in short order, and often, get paid while you learn and fine tune those skills.
Side hustlers have earned income quickly by picking skills up online and working nights or weekends. With a basic understanding of how you want to collect money, track money and how you will report this money to the IRS and be in compliance (perhaps by setting up as an LLC), you can get started with a solid financial footing.
Related: Books To Kick Start Your Side Hustle
Side hustles can be grouped in two types: virtual (sales or service) and in-person (sales or service). Choosing one or the other has drawbacks and perks, just like anything.
Luckily though, if you have even a basic understanding of how to level up on your skill set and how to manage your appointments, cash flow, and expenses–you’ll be off to a great start.
With a plethora of Facebook groups and blog posts out there, you literally can research the best fit for your schedule, natural skills, and financial goals.
Virtual gigs can be done in your off hours, in the comfort of your own home. It also means you can cut overhead without having transportation costs or a storefront to maintain. It can be expensive to start a virtual gig if you need a new computer, or need to take a few courses–but if you’re resourceful, you can scrape by with what you have.
A drawback of the virtual side hustle is that it can be hard to get noticed as a freelancer or service provider in a cluttered digital landscape. Yes, you can work in your underwear, but so can thousands of others trying to get the same freelance writing gig. How will you stand out, and how will you stay accountable with this flexibility?
Virtual side hustles include gigs like photo or content editing, website maintenance or graphic design, being a freelance writer or other digital services. Taking online surveys or creating your own digital product like a course or e-book to sell on Amazon can also bring in some passive income.
Being a pro-blogger has recently seen a spike in popularity as you can be paid for your influence, but you can also work as a virtual assistant for other folks who are doing exactly that. If you don’t want to build your own blog–you can help maintain one and get paid for it!
In-person side hustles traditionally have more startup costs and are far less flexible in that you have to be somewhere and do something at a given time. Some side hustles involve a need for appliances, gadgets, vehicles, and your greatest asset–time.
In-person side hustles are more constricting in how you use up your free time. If you’re a photographer, precious daylight hours for portraits and treasured weekends for weddings will be key times to work–which sometimes can be a struggle to balance.
The same goes for anything with an appointment. You can fetch top dollar to be reliable, but you simply cannot reschedule when your day job gets in the way. You will need to factor in costs of being an in-person side hustler, like car maintenance to show up for appointments or the cost of certifications to do the type of work you’re after (like taking food handling classes, CPR training or any licenses you need to operate.)
In-person side hustles include being a handyman (or woman), driving for Uber or Lyft, making deliveries for Instacart, Postmates, DoorDash or Uber Eats, running Airbnb from your home, teaching English online to kids in China, dog walkers or babysitters, fitness instruction, house cleaning, and other in-person services that require some face time and are less flexible.
So, are you ready to side hustle your way to FI-freedom? There are endless side hustle ideas out there on how you can earn more money in your spare time on nights and weekends, even while you work. Take advantage of the free podcasts and YouTube videos out there and get started today!