One of the keys to reaching Financial Independence faster is making more money. When you increase your income, especially with money not intended for bills or other obligations, it can be a straight boost for your savings rate.
We have heard that a side hustle can be a secret weapon for increasing your income. But how do you find the time? Life can be busy, but here are some ideas on how to find some time you may have missed.
The question of “How to make more money on the side?” is often behind “How can I squeeze in one more thing into my day?” And both have do-able answers.
- Have a plan for your time.
- Invite, include, and involve the significant others in your life.
- Be realistic: Work Regulations, Burn-out, Balance.
- Start with side-hustles that don’t take much time.
Plan Your Time
It’s almost cliche. But when you have a plan, a purpose, and a focus… you spend your time more wisely.
How many of us sit down to watch one episode of the new favorite show, only to realize three episodes later, dinner is late and everyone is starving?
When we set some boundaries for ourselves, we actually set ourselves up for opportunities and success, not restrictions and limits. For example, set the timer for the length of one show. Then break the spell by getting up and doing something productive for 15 minutes. Speed clean the room, do some physical stretches or a one on one conversation with a loved one.
This exercise in monitoring your time allows you to have the downtime that might be needed, but not get sucked into hypnosis of binge-watching.
This can be applied to anything; to allowing yourself 15 minutes on social media with a timer set, to knowing which nights it’s going to be easier to have a crockpot meal ready for when you get home. Even letting friends and family know that you will answer all the various texts, messages, and emails throughout the day during limited hours.
It takes some decluttering, self-analysis, and communication with your loved ones. But it brings about extra time. It moves us away from frantic and wondering where the time went, to having things together and able to roll with life as it comes.
Related: Why A Side Hustle Is FI’s Secret Weapon
Time: Chunks Or Snippets
It’s easy to say “I’ll get up early.” or “I’ll burn the midnight oil.” in order to think we have more time, but sacrificing sleep or time with loved ones, may not have the best result in the long run.
However, for some, it is those particular times of the day when they are most productive. So how can that be used to your advantage? If you are a morning person, can you make arrangements to shorten your “beauty routine” to give yourself an extra half hour of time?
If the evening hours are when you get hit with creativity, make a focused evening once a week for a chunk of time, instead of bits through the week. For example, one night a week, with focused energy from 7 pm to midnight, would likely yield better results than one hour a night for 5 nights. (After all, the setup and clean up of any project, including side hustles, is wasted time.)
When you know what kind of side hustle you want, you’ll be able to determine if snippets of time through the day will help you obtain your goals. Some snippets that regularly show up are the most useful, for there predictability of length and time of day. But look for opportunities wherever and whenever they arise.
- Commute time (as a passenger)
- Kid’s sport practices
- Waiting in the kid pick-up line (parked)
Related: Make Extra Money With The 10 Best Side Hustles For Teachers
Include Your Spouse And Family
The time for a side hustle is a sacrifice. Often it can be for the greater good and goal of Financial Independence. But when it has a higher cost of relationships, it may not yield the results you were hoping for. When your side hustle can be seen as a benefit to those you love, and it can incorporate more time together, then it’s an even bigger win-win.
With the support of your spouse, then that one night when you are focused on the side hustle and all the cleanup and kid’s bedtime is left to the other, it’s do-able. It has a purpose other than building resentment for “your escape into hobby land”.
Some family-friendly ideas are pet sitting, traveling and blogging about the family experience such as The Bucket List family, creating and selling products. One example of this is John’s Crazy Socks. John’s Dad supports John’s love of fun socks and they create socks to sell.
Side hustles are amazing at bringing in extra income. It is important to keep a realistic viewpoint of the time and energy sacrificed to make it successful and only you know what you want out of it. Perhaps it is just a short time idea, to add extra punch to get out of debt. Maybe it is a life goal and purpose that is to become your sole source of income.
Keeping the communication open and on the table for adjustments and improvements will result in long term financial gains, as well as strengthened relationships.
Plus, a side benefit is teaching your children about Financial Independence in an up-close and personal way. Can you imagine a generation not tied to 9 to 5?!
Related: How To Get Your Spouse On Board With FI
Regular Employment Obstacles
Be aware of your current employment regulations.
Make sure your company has no rules against moonlighting or side hustles. In some cases, companies have policies that state you can’t work outside of your employment with the company. If your company has one of these policies, side hustling during your lunch break isn’t a good idea and could even get you fired.
You’ll also want to read through your company policies carefully. Look to see what happens with anything you create while employed by your employer. Some companies get to claim patents or other creations you make while employed by your employer.
If they do, working on your side hustle during work hours could result in a nasty legal battle on whether you or your company owns what you’ve built with your side hustle. Sadly, this may even be true if you work on your side hustle after hours.
Fantasy Vs. Burnout
If your side hustle is getting serious, it may be worth considering using a week of paid time off to work on your side hustle. This is especially true if you’re getting to the point where you’re thinking about taking your side hustle full-time.
Taking a day or a week and working on your side hustle full-time can give you an idea of what it’d be like to shift from being an employee to being a full-time business owner. If you’re going to do this, make sure you have a plan for focusing solely on your side hustle and what you’ll do each day.
Keep in mind, working for a day or week on your side hustle will probably be more exciting in the beginning because it is new. However, after months of working on your side hustle full-time, it can begin to feel like any other job.
Make sure you’re objectively evaluating whether your side hustle is something you want to take full-time during these days off from your main job.
Resource: What If It Does Work Out?: How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life
The magic of Financial Independence is freedom. You are no longer tied to restrictions on your time and energy. You have the choice of how to spend your money and your time on your passion or life purpose.
Don’t wait until you are completely financially set before practicing this way of living. Practice making active choices about how to spend your time and money now. Question what activities will bring you closer to the goals you have set. If there is a greater pull in one area of life, is it temporary or habitual? What could be changed to achieve greater balance? When the overall balance of your life feels in harmony with your relationships and financial goals, that’s when there is true magic.
Finding the time for a side hustle is worth it. The pay-offs can be so much more than just financial. Take a look around, include your loved ones for ideas and support, and get busy with your side hustle idea!
Some Ideas To Get You Started
These ideas can be done with a relatively small time commitment. Renting out things you already own but aren’t using, is a great way to make some extra cash without taking up too much of your time.
If you have an unused spare room in your house, this side hustle is right up your alley. The “Airbnb of storage” can help you get a cut of the $38 billion storage industry by renting your spare space.
It’s straightforward to get started. Clean your spare room (garage, basement, etc.), note its dimensions, and take pictures of it. Post the space for free on Neighbor.com, set your requested rental fee, and get hooked up with people looking to rent space in your area.
As the storage space owner, you can meet a potential renter in person and ask to see what they plan to store in your home. You can also ask for government-issued ID as proof of identity. Then you make the arrangements for the storage through Neighbor.com, and you’re ready to sit back and collect your money!
Payments come monthly via Stripe, and Neighbor.com guarantees them even if a renter stops paying. As a host, you have $2 million of insurance from Neighbor.com against damage or loss of your property.
What you charge for your space depends on several factors. They include where you live, the size of your space, and any additional features your space offers. The amount of unused space that you have limits the amount of money you can make, but this is an easy way to earn some extra cash with minimal effort.
Get started with Neighbor here.
Airbnb has quickly become the way to vacation near your home or in exotic locales around the world. As a host with Airbnb, you rent your home out for days or weeks at a time.
It’s appealing for a lot of people because you can set your own schedule as to when your home is available. You can also choose your own rates and set the guest requirements for your home. Guests must agree to those rules before getting approved to rent your space.
People who live in desirable locations (homes on the beach, lake, or mountain) can make a lot of money, especially during peak tourist seasons. You can also make money if you live near a major sporting event. Is the Super Bowl, World Series, or U.S. Open is being held near your home? List your house with Airbnb before the event, and you can make a nice chunk of change.
Airbnb protects you and your property with $1 million in property damage insurance and the same in accident insurance. You have several ways to get your money from Airbnb after they take their cut, which is usually about 3%. Additionally, you can work to become an Airbnb Superhost. Getting this honor gives you a badge by your listing to tell people you’re a trusted and experienced host. Having that badge can help you to attract more guests and potentially earn more money.
This side hustle is excellent for people who have a second home, or those who have a free place to stay while they rent their house.
Related: How To Become An Airbnb Superhost
This option requires a little creativity, a little design, and a little marketing. Then you can sit back and let the passive income collect!
Etsy is a marketplace that allows users to sell their unique homemade goods. While other products like jewelry or furniture may need to be made regularly, thereby requiring more effort from you, printables are different. You create them, upload them onto Etsy, and then watch while people download them through your store with very minimal work from you.
The question that often gets asked is what should you create? Ask yourself what are you passionate about? If it’s financial responsibility, maybe you create your own budget template or strategies for debt reduction. If it’s food, maybe you create downloadable menus.
You’ll also want to do some research on Etsy before you get started. See what sells well, how things are priced (so you can be competitive), and determine how you can set your printables apart from others. If you want to get people’s attention, make sure that your printables look as clean and professional as possible. Spelling errors and unreadable fonts won’t get you sales.
You do have to pay a fee to Etsy depending on the cost of the item you sell. If you’re the creative type an Etsy shop can be the perfect way to earn passive income.
Related: How To Start An Etsy Shop To Build Passive Income
Rent Your Car
This option shouldn’t be confused with Uber or Lyft, which has you taxiing people around. Instead, services like Turo, Maven, and Getaround are here to help you rent your car to others.
For each of these companies, you can create your listing, set the schedule as to when your car is available, get help setting your rates, and coordinate when and where you meet up with your renters. Rent-your-car services can take 10-40% of your profit for their fees. In turn, most offer insurance in case something happens to your car while a renter is driving it.
A company called Hyrecar does something different. It’s still a car rental service, but this one allows other people to rent your car so that they can then drive for services like Uber or Lyft.
There’s even a rental service for RVs! If you have an RV and can spare it for a week or two at a time, why not rent it out instead of letting it sit? Outdoorsy.com takes 20-25% of your profit for its fee, but the rest is yours to keep.
If this sounds like a good side hustle for you, consider the following things. Do you want to rent your car for days at a time, weeks at a time, or only for occasional days? Is it important for you to gain “extras” from the company through which you rent your car, like them turning on Wi-Fi or providing OnStar?
Make sure you read up on each service so you can decide which company makes the most sense for you.
Related: How To Earn Money With Your Car (Without Driving!)
Even those of us who think we are too busy to side hustle can make some extra cash. It just takes a commitment and some ingenuity to make it work.
- 6 Types Of Side Hustles You Can Start Today
- Podcast Episode: Finding Your Side Hustle Idea With Nick Loper
- How To Start A Successful YouTube Channel