When you start trying to achieve Financial Independence, everything seems exciting. You start to make progress, pay down debt, and see quickly how your finance change for the better.
But inevitably, you hit a wall. You’re unable to cut anything more from your budget, your kids want new smartphones, and your partner desperately wants to take a vacation. Not a staycation, a real vacation.
When you’ve cut everything from the budget that you can, but financial freedom still isn’t coming fast enough, what do you do? You have to increase your income.This is our ultimate guide on how to make more money. It involves increasing your income both at work and through a side hustle. It’s everything you need to know to make more money in less time so you can achieve Financial Independence sooner.
Table of Contents
- Why You Should Increase Your Income
- How To Increase Your Income At Work
- Increasing Income Through A Side Hustle
- Side Hustle Ideas
- How To Actually Get Started With A Side Hustle
Why You Should Increase Your Income
Most personal finance blogs and books recommend cutting expenses as the first step to building wealth and increasing cash flow. And we agree that cutting costs is a big part of reaching Financial Independence, however, there’s a finite amount of things you can cut, and some of those will only have a small impact on your budget.
If you cut your Netflix subscription, the maximum you’ll save is about $200 a year. Even with compound interest, that’s not enough to build a nest egg.
People who truly want to reach Financial Independence should focus on increasing their income as well. There’s no limit to how much you can earn, and every extra dollar made can go straight to your savings goals.
How To Increase Your Income At Work
Increasing income at work should be the first step to increasing your income because it usually doesn’t require working any more hours, unlike a part-time job or side hustle.
Ask For A Raise
Getting a raise at work is one of the easiest and best ways to earn more money. But it can be daunting to ask your boss for a raise, especially if you’ve never done it before. The first thing you need to do is get into the right mindset. People ask for raises all the time. Your boss is used to this, you won’t be the first or the last.
It also won’t ruin your relationship if you ask in the right way. You’re not demanding more money, you’re starting a discussion on what you can do to earn more.
Step one: Be prepared. Do some research on what others are making in your position. Use sites like Glassdoor and Payscale for third party information. But you can also ask others you know in the industry. Asking former employees of your company is a good idea because they won’t feel as much pressure to keep this information private.
If asking “How much money did you make?” seems too bold. You can ask “Did you make more or less $X.” Or even “How much do you think this position should pay?”
Step two: Make a case for your raise. Start off by letting your boss know how much you enjoy and appreciate your job. Be sure to show data that you helped the company increase profits or expand their mission. Also, include compliments from clients, customers, supervisors, and peers.
Go into the meeting with the attitude collaboration with the aim to be compensated fairly–not in conflict. Remember, if you leave and need to be replaced, the company is going to have to pay market rates to the new person. So they should be paying you market rates too.
Step three: If your request is denied ask what you can do to earn a raise in the future. Leave the meeting with concrete written action steps on what skills or performance metrics you can meet that will earn the raise. Write them down, refer back to them, and when you have met the requirements, ask again.
Here’s Tori Dunlap discussing how to negotiate your salary.
Download: A Script Template To Negotiate Your Salary Without Burning Bridges
Listen: Negotiate Your Salary With Tori Dunlap
Get A Promotion
Getting a promotion is another good way to increase income without starting a side hustle or picking up a second job. You may consider letting your boss know you are looking to move up in the company. If this could cause conflict, reach out to someone else above you who you feel would be open to helping you.
Some companies have mentoring programs that will pair you with someone higher up in the company who can help you improve your skills and introduce you to the right people. You can discuss your career goals and they can guide you towards achieving them.
If your company has training programs or continuing education, take advantage! Not only will these skills help you land that promotion taking the classes will also show that you are serious about your career with the company.
If your company doesn’t provide training, find it on your own. What skills will you need as you move up? If you’re not sure, ask someone who is doing the job you want what skills have been most useful to them. Or ask “What skills do you wish new hires already had?” Then get those skills!
Related: Career Hacking: Speed Up Your Path To FI
Look For A New Job
If you keep getting denied a raise or promotion at work, it may be time to switch jobs for a company that will appreciate your efforts.
Identify some companies that you’d love to work for and hunt down the email addresses of the people you need to contact. Either the founders themselves or the heads of the departments you want to join. Email them and introduce yourself, let them know why you are excited about the company and their mission. Work to get a call or meeting.
If you aren’t getting anywhere with email, see if you have any mutual contacts. Ask any mutual friends to reach out on your behalf. If you get the opportunity to speak with them directly be prepared with a presentation on why they should hire you.
Here’s Chris Hutchins, the founder of Grove, talking about how to actually get a job:
In the meantime look for jobs in the traditional way such as on job boards like Indeed, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn and contact people individually. Not all jobs are posted publicly and the only way to find out is to be proactive. Reach out to former coworkers and other people you know in your industry to see if they know of any job opening.
Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and professional. Reach out to people in your industry and introduce yourself, especially if you have a few contacts in common. Let them know your skills and see if they know of any job openings.
Consider Changing Industries
If you’re in an underpaid industry, it might be time to switch careers entirely. This can be difficult, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time in one role.
A lot of times we fall into a job or industry without much thought. Long ago, we needed a job and took the first one that came along. Then we had a certain set of skills which translated easily into another, similar job. And so on, until we’ve spent 10 or 20 years in an industry we never consciously chose.
This might be the perfect time to make a new choice. What do you really want to do? When you have an answer, look into what skills you’ll need to make it work. Talk to people you know working in that field. Ask them for advice and an introduction to their company. Having a personal connection can make it easier to find a new gig.
If you are going to change industries there are a few things to do in your interview that will make the transition a bit smoother.
First, focus on the similarities between your old industry and the new one. The hiring manager may not know anything about your old industry or may have some preconceived notions. Go to the interview prepared to show how your skills will translate.
Also, prepare for the new industry by getting used to the lingo. Using the common phrasing of the new industry on your resume, LinkedIn profiles, and in the interview will shrink the gaps between the old and the new jobs.
Lastly, if the gap between industries is just too wide to jump all at once, consider an interim job that moves you closer to your goal–even if it isn’t your ideal job.
Related: 7 Careers With Six-Figure Earning Potential–No College Degree Required
Resume And Interview Tips
Your resume should state actual results you’ve gotten for your employers in the past, not just skills you have or duties you’ve performed. It’s not enough to say what you did on a day-to-day basis. You have to show how your accomplishments helped the company’s bottom line.
Consider including your desired career path and show how the job you are applying for fits in with your overall plans. If the job you are applying for isn’t a perfect fit for your current skills, try to show how your experience aligns and how employing you will be mutually beneficial.
Lastly, have an impartial friend look over your resume for glaring typos and mistakes. If you’ve looked at your resume a lot, you may be numb to its errors.
Resumegenius.com has templates and guides to help you write the best resume possible. Check it out if you are struggling in this area.
You should also concentrate on your interview skills. Plenty of qualified people have perfect resumes but lose the job during the interview process. If you suspect this applies to you, practice doing a few interviews with a friend.
Before you go into the interview, take a few deep breaths and be yourself. Listen to your favorite playlist beforehand to get excited and feel confident. Maybe even try some power posing in the bathroom before the interview. Sound weird? Check out what Amy Cuddy has to say:
And remember, a potential employer wouldn’t invite you to an interview if they didn’t feel you were a good candidate. Plus, this is your opportunity to interview them as well–make sure that they are a good fit for you as well. Go in with a collaborative mindset.
Listen: Career Hacking With ESI Money
Increasing Income Through A Side Hustle
Side hustles are a wonderful fit for the journey to Financial Independence and they do double duty on that path. Not only do they increase your income right now–giving you more money to save–but they can also be used to provide some income in “retirement.”
That means you both build your nest egg quicker and need less overall because you’ll have some money coming in after you quit your regular job.
Related: Why A Side Hustle Is FI’s Secret Weapon
How To Choose A Side Hustle
Choosing a side hustle can be a tough decision. Some have start-up costs, some don’t. Some can be done at home and some can’t. Picking the right side hustle means aligning your financial goals with your lifestyle. If you have kids and a full-time job, driving for Lyft probably isn’t a good idea, but pet-sitting a couple of times a week may work.
Try to market any expertise or skills you already have. If you know how to speak Spanish, find Spanish tutoring gigs. If you know how to make apps, look for app development gigs.
Some side hustles are faster to start than others. If you want to drive for Uber, you can get started almost right away. But if you want to become a freelance writer, it can take months to get your first paid gig. And even then, you may have to spend hours doing unpaid work to build up your portfolio before you turn a profit.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! What can you help people with? It can really be as simple as that.
Related: 6 Types Of Side Hustles You Can Start Today
How To Find Time To Side Hustle
Not having time for a side hustle is a key roadblock for many people. In between working a regular job and caring for children, it can be hard to find the hours necessary to earn more money.
However, most of us have more time than we realize. Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the average American adult watches about two hours of TV every day. Social networking sites take another two hours.
If you think you don’t have time to side hustle, do a personal time-tracking study. Track your time in 15- or 30-minute increments and see what you actually do all day. Are you actually playing with your kids for a few hours a day? Does cooking dinner take half an hour or an hour? Does binging episodes of “The Office” take time every night?
Tracking your hours can show where to find the time to side hustle and help you realize that you’re not as busy as you think. If you do a time tracking report and find you’re still busy, try to find a side hustle that you can do in the pockets of time you have. Many side gigs have flexible schedules, and you can work on them in small bursts.
Notice when you have time and how consistent that is. Some weeks may be busier than others. You have to find a side hustle that works with the schedule you have.
For example, if you’re only free in the morning, then driving for Lyft may not be the most profitable idea. If you have a regular schedule, then finding a part-time job might be suitable.
Related: How To Make More Money On The Side With The Time You Have
Seasonal Side Hustles
Seasonal side hustles can include working at a big box store during the holidays or being a lifeguard during the summer. These can be perfect for people whose regular jobs also follow a seasonal schedule. A friend of mine is a teacher so she spends her summers bartending at local festivals. I knew a man who worked installing pools. When work died down in the winter, he did odd jobs as a handyman.
They are also great for those who want to side hustle but the thought of being so busy “forever” is overwhelming. It may be easier to get used to the idea that you’ll work extra hard for the next few weeks and then you’ll go back to your normal schedule.
If you’re not opposed to manual labor, consider shoveling snow during the winter or mowing lawns in the summer. Post in your neighborhood Facebook group or on the NextDoor app. Once you have a solid list of clients, they’ll refer you to other people and your business might take off.
Because seasonal side hustles start and stop quickly, this will not be a steady source of income. Still, it will boost your overall income–especially if your day job is seasonal as well.
Related: Short Term Side Hustles: Get The Financial Boost Without The Commitment
Side Hustle Ideas
Still not sure how to get started making more money? Want to find a flexible side hustle you can do at home? Take a look at the ideas below.
Monetize Skills from Your Full-Time Job
Driving for Uber or dog walking will never make you as much as monetizing the skills you already have. Anybody with a decent car can deliver food for Postmates, but think about what you only you can do.
If you’re a Spanish teacher, tutor Spanish on the side. You can charge between $30 to $85 an hour. If you are a mechanic, fix cars on the weekends for your neighbors. Maybe you’re in one of the many industries where you could sell your knowledge as consulting.
Make a list of all the skills and hobbies you have and then consider what you can monetize quickly and easily. Include anything you’re good at it, even if you’ve never made a dollar from it.,
Some businesses and side hustles require more time to get off the ground. Finding a bartending job may be easy; building an Etsy store will take longer. Reach out to your network and ask them if they know anyone looking for someone with your expertise.
What to know: If you’re thinking about starting a side hustle in your industry, check with your full-time employer and make sure it’s ok. Some companies will be fine with it, others will consider it a conflict of interest and won’t allow it. Don’t risk your job for some extra money on the side.
If you love working out and staying in shape, this is a great side hustle to consider. This one can be done either locally in person, or you can set up an online presence and train people using Zoom or other communication tools.
Get started by helping a few friends get in shape for free. They can be your guinea pigs so you learn how to train people. They can also give you positive reviews and refer you to their friends and family.
Sites like Findyourtrainer.com works to connect people who want either a personal trainer one-on-one in their home area or sessions done virtually. Their costs are minimal. They add a small service charge to the fee you charge your clients, and that’s all they make off of your booked sessions. However, they’ll do all the marketing and promoting for you, and they’ll even pay for a background check for you so clients know you’re safe.
What to know: There are some start-up costs for this side hustle. Possible expenses include the purchase of some equipment. You will want items that are in good shape whether you’re meeting your client in person or online.
Sometimes clients would rather not have you in their home, but want to meet at a gym instead. There may be fees associated with using a gym that your client belongs to if you don’t already also belong there.
Become a Notary
According to notary.net, it’s a notary’s job to “screen the signers of important documents–such as property deeds, wills, and powers of attorney–for their true identity, their willingness to sign without duress or intimidation, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction.”
Notaries are used in all different places, including offices, courts, churches, and schools. You can get your notary certification and then advertise your services online. In addition to becoming a regular notary, you can also become a notary signing agent. This entitles you to notarize mortgage documents, for which you can usually charge more money.
Notaries often charge per document and the fee depends largely on the area where you live. In western Pennsylvania, for example, the average fee is $10-$15 per document. It may not sound like a lot, but people often come with two or three documents, so you’ll be paid for each one. This work also doesn’t take very long to complete so it’s quick money.
What to know: There are some start-up fees associated with becoming a notary. You have to get certified in your state. Depending on the state where you live, you may have to take a course and/or pass an exam. Click here to see what your state’s notary requirements are.
You’ll also need to be bonded and insured, and you’ll have to pay for your personal notary seal. Again, all of this is state-dependent, but shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars.
A virtual assistant (VA) is just what the name says: a person who completes administrative tasks for an employer online. Tasks can vary widely depending on the employer and their needs, but typically are in line with what an in-person administrative assistant would do. This could include answering phone calls, replying to emails, working on mailings, writing or editing documents, scheduling appointments, and more.
As a virtual assistant, you’ll need to decide what you want to charge and how you want to charge: per hour or per project. The latter will depend on what your potential employer needs from you. The former will largely be up to you. Payscale puts the average hourly rate for a VA at around $16.
Like with other side hustles, you need to be sure you’re charging what you’re worth and not undervaluing your services. We recommend using the average hourly rate in your area as your base rate and then working up from there as you gain more experience.
What to know: If you have real-world administrative assistant experience, you might be able to make the transition to virtual fairly seamlessly. You’ll have the skills to do the job well and will just need to work on marketing yourself and getting jobs.
If you don’t have that experience, you should consider taking a VA course online. Here’s a list of six VA courses so you can see which works for you. The price varies a lot for the courses as do the extras and perks for each one. Take a close look at each and see which will work well for you.
Whenever you change jobs, you need an updated resume. It’s generally a good idea to tailor your resume to the job you’re trying to get. There are often ways to tweak your experience and your education as they’re written on your resume so that they more clearly meet the hiring criteria for your new job. That’s where a resume writer comes in.
According to Glassdoor, resume writers make an average of about $51,000/year, but the potential is there to make a lot more. One resume writer made $320,000 off of resume-writing gigs on Fiverr in just one year! Even if you just do it as a side hustle, the potential is there to make some pretty good money.
You can also create your own website and build your clientele on your own. If you go this route, start with family and friends and ask them to let you critique their resume for free in exchange for a review on your site.
What to know: This may be one of the cheapest side hustles to start. If you have experience critiquing and writing resumes, you can start offering your services immediately. If you don’t have experience, you can join the National Certified Resume Writers Association and become a Certified Professional Resume Writer. Fees for that certification are about $500.
As with other freelance services, you’ll want to charge according to your experience. When you’re ready to start, search for what resume writers are making on other sites and price yourself accordingly.
Rent Out Baby Gear
Do you have baby gear in your house that’s in great condition but not getting used anymore? Don’t sell it for a one-time fee. Instead, consider putting that gear to work on BabyQuip.com. This is a baby equipment rental site whose target customers are grandparents and parents who need baby gear for a short amount of time. They’re either traveling and don’t want to lug a crib, high chair, stroller, etc. with them, or they’re having a family member with a baby to their house and they don’t want to spend a lot of money to purchase an item that will only be used for a few days.
BabyQuip claims that its “Quality Providers” (people who rent out their stuff on the site) make over $600/month on average. You’ll pay $100 upfront to join BabyQuip. That covers your website (that they help you make), administrative fees, and training materials.
You get set up, price your items, take pictures of them, and post them on your BabyQuip site. When someone rents your items, you are responsible for delivery to and pick up from your client’s home. It’s that simple! If you don’t have a popular rental item in your home, you can even consider purchasing one just to rent out. You’ll likely cover the cost of the item in a short amount of time.
What to know: In addition to the $100 fee to join BabyQuip, they also take 20% of every rental you secure. You keep the other 80% and any tips that your clients give you. That 20% sounds pretty steep, but when someone else does all the marketing for you, it might be worth it.
Become A Home Inspector
Home inspectors are always in demand. You’ll most often use one when you’re buying a new home. The inspector comes out to check everything in the house after you’ve made the sale but prior to your purchase. They then prepare a report based on what they find and present it to you as the buyer. If there is anything major (or even minor) in the report, you can use that report to go back to the seller and ask for additional money off the cost of the home to cover any necessary repairs.
According to HomeAdvisor.com, the average home inspection costs around $335. Obviously that means the bigger the job, the more money you can make. Even at the average rate though, if you do three inspections a month, you’re still earning $1000. You can set inspections on your schedule, so it’s a very flexible side hustle. You can get jobs inspecting homes through word of mouth. You can also get them through sites like HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List.
What to know: The qualifications for becoming a home inspector vary from state to state. Check out this guide on what you need to do to get licensed and/or trained where you live. Some states require licensing and insurance that might cost several hundred dollars.
Beyond that, you may need to purchase tools or home inspection software to do your job. You’ll also have to drive to the homes you’re inspecting, so mileage and wear and tear on your car should be considered.
If you love music, consider becoming a DJ. They’re hired for all different kinds of events. The most famous is probably weddings, but you’ll also see them at school dances, corporate functions, holiday parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, and birthday parties. You can choose to specialize in certain events or work all of them.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average DJ makes about $28/hour. Obviously the more gigs you get, the more experience you have, the more money you can charge. Many gigs are weekend events, which makes this side hustle very complementary with a regular, full-time, Monday through Friday 9-to-5 job. You can secure gigs through word of mouth or on sites like Gigsalad.com.
What to know: Your biggest hurdle in becoming a DJ will likely be purchasing the hardware and software to help make your business a success. Check out this extensive article on how to become a DJ. It lists the different costs associated with starting a DJ business. They can be fairly high, especially if you’re starting from scratch.
Because of all the things you’ll likely have to buy (music being the least of it), this is a side hustle that is really an investment. If you think this is going to be the side hustle for you, go for it. If you’re hesitant, reach out to other DJs in your area and get their opinion on how much you can make vs. the time and cost involved in starting your business.
If you enjoy attending sporting events, why not become a referee? Sure you won’t be doing it on a professional level (unless you want to step it up to a full-time gig), but you could turn it into a pretty decent side hustle and you’ll get to see games in a sport you enjoy.
What you’ll earn varies from sport to sport and location to location. Payscale figures that sports officials make about $18/an hour. According to this article about sports officiating in the Houston-based Chron, varsity football refs in Colorado make $58/game. If each game is two and a half hours long, that works out to be about $23/hour. You’ll also generally make less officiating at a lower level (JV instead of varsity).
What to know: All sports are seasonal, so if you want to make this a year-round hustle, you’ll need to become a referee in more than one sport. For instance, you could be a football ref in the fall and a baseball ump in the spring.
Investment in starting this side hustle is comparatively minimal. You’ll need a uniform and possibly padding, officiating tools (whistle, timer, etc.), comfortable shoes, and more. You’ll also likely need to be trained in how to officiate in your chosen sport. That can sometimes be free or sometimes have a fee, depending on where you live and what the requirements for refereeing sports in your area are.
Flipping Items On eBay
My parents work full-time as professionals, but on the weekends they sometimes go to yard sales. They buy underpriced items at the sales and resell them on eBay. Some weeks they don’t find anything, but other times they hit the jackpot. Once they found an old Gilette razor that turned out to be worth $50.
This is a time-intensive side hustle, but there’s a simple strategy for turning it into a money-making venture.
Download the eBay app on your phone and check prices when you see something interesting. Make sure to check the “Sold” box on the eBay platform to see how much the item actually sold for. That way you can gauge what a reasonable price is.
If you find a large item, consider reselling it on locally-based apps like Craigslist, OfferUp, or Letgo. Large items are a hassle to sell on eBay because you have to pack and ship it. Most customers don’t want to pay $40 for shipping, but you can still make a decent profit selling them via other apps.
Before you list the item, click here for how to clean it up and make it look great in a posting. Respond to buyers quickly and be honest about any imperfections. If you lie about the condition, they may leave negative reviews which can affect your sales for a long time.
What to know: Staying organized is key for this side hustle, especially because you’re usually buying items in cash. Record how much you spend for each item, how much it sells for, how much shipping costs are, and any other related expenses.
Tracking how much each item sells for also helps you figure out how much of a profit you make on each item. If you analyze the data regularly, you can figure out where most of your money is coming from.
You can deduct shipping, packing, and driving-related expenses, so remember to track how much mileage you spend driving for garage sales. It will mean more money in your pocket come tax time.
Dog Walk And Pet Sit
If you love animals, dog walking and pet sitting might be the perfect side hustle. You play with dogs, get some exercise, and make money all at the same time.
You can start out by offering your services to friends and family, but if you are really serious about making money this way, check out Rover. It is a dog-walking and pet-sitting site that connects owners with providers. It takes between 20-25% of the fee so price your services accordingly. For example, if you’re charging $15 for a dog walk, you’ll take home between $11.25 and $12. That doesn’t include the cost of driving to the location.
Dog walkers generally get paid between $15 and $30 for each walk. Pet sitters make more, usually between $45 to $75 a night. This side hustle is flexible and can work around your schedule.
What to know: Watching a cute dog and getting paid for it sounds perfect, but there may be hidden costs. Because you have to drive to the dog’s house each time he needs to go on a walk, you’re losing money in gas.
Animals can be destructive. Rover doesn’t replace any of your personal items that an animal you’re watching or walking might destroy, nor does it require the animal’s owners to replace them.
Babysitting isn’t just for teens looking to make a few extra bucks. Nowadays you can make between $15 and $20 an hour babysitting, depending on the number of children, where you live, and your qualifications.
If you provide extra services like tutoring or have a degree in Early Childhood Education, you may be able to command a higher rate. Parents will generally pay more for a babysitter that can also help their child get better grades.
Look for jobs on sites like Care.com, Sittercity.com or UrbanSitter.com. You can also post on social media or neighborhood groups. Ask people to refer you to others and offer a discount for each referral.
What to know: Like any side hustle, getting started in babysitting can be hard if you’ve never done it before. Who wants to hand over their child to a complete stranger with no reviews?
That’s why it’s good to start with friends or family members. They can leave you positive feedback that will help you get other clients. As you get more reviews, you can gradually increase your hourly rate. You can also charge more working on weekends, holidays or very late hours.
Tutoring or Teaching English
If you love teaching certain topics, consider tutoring as a side hustle. You can teach subjects like algebra, English, science, history, or a foreign language.
The hourly rate for tutoring can vary depending on the topic, the student’s age, and the demand. Parents of elementary school children will likely pay less than parents of kids studying for the SAT. If you’re in a college town, you can try to tutor in advanced fields like economics, finance, or psychology.
You can set up your own site for tutoring or work on a platform such as Course Hero, Care.com, or VIPKid. You can decide if you want to tutor or teach from home, have children at your house, or travel to their homes.
What to know: VIPKid involves teaching English to Chinese children online. The site claims you can earn $20 an hour, but because of the time difference, you’ll generally end up working in the late evening or overnight.
Tutors who specialize in exams like the SAT or LSAT can make the most money, sometimes up to $250 an hour. Once you start working with students, collect positive reviews to prove your worth. Parents will pay more for tutors who have positive results.
Making logos, posters and other materials can be a steady side hustle for people talented at graphic design. This side hustle can be lucrative if you’re talented. The average freelance graphic designer charges $45 an hour, while an experienced one can earn $150 an hour.
If you’re new to this field, use a site like Fiverr that’s designed for beginners. Fiverr is a site where you can charge between $5 to $995 per gig. You choose which services to offer and how much to charge. It tends to skew more on the low end, so don’t use it if you’re already an experienced graphic designer.
High-tier graphic designers can sign up with a service like 99Designs, which matches individuals and businesses looking for logos and other projects. Basic logo creation starts at $299. Keep a portfolio of all your designs to show potential clients.
What to know: Fiverr charges sellers a 20% fee on all projects, and 99Designs charges between 5 to 15% depending on your status, as well as charging an introductory $100 fee every time you work with a new client. These are huge fees that can cut into your profits. If you have your own site, you’ll have to find, market, and promote yourself to clients more, but you’ll keep all the revenue.
Real Estate for Income
Real estate can provide a source of income through house hacking or owning rental properties. If you own a property, rent it out to people for a profit. You can use that income to pay down debt, invest, or buy more rental properties.
If you can afford it, consider buying an extra property to rent out. The key is to buy a property that may be undervalued or outdated, make minor upgrades, and rent it for a profit. If you’re not sure where to look for a good property to rent, look for units close to universities. Students will always need a place to live and most would rather not live in dorms.
If you can’t afford to buy a property, consider renting out extra space in your house on Airbnb. The amount you earn depends on the size of the room, location, and amenities such as air conditioning or a private bathroom. Learn when you can charge more, like when there’s a major sporting event or convention in town.
A 2017 survey found that Airbnb hosts made $924 a month on average. If you’re going to rent your space on Airbnb, take good pictures, offer plenty of amenities, and respond quickly. You’ll need to build positive reviews in order to raise your rates.
Listen: How To Get Started Making Money With Airbnb
What to know: Being a landlord may sound easy and can be a mostly passive source of income, but it’s a major financial investment. It can turn into a major time suck if you buy the wrong property or have bad tenants. Those bad tenants can ruin your profit margin and destroy your property. Always run a credit check on tenants and keep enough of an emergency fund to cover repairs until you can charge the tenant.
Listen: Real Estate Investing Strategies With Paula Pant
Rent Out Storage Space
If you have extra space in your house but Airbnb is not for you, consider renting out a room in your home as storage space for people with extra stuff. Sites like Neighbor.com connect homeowners with consumers who need to store bikes, furniture, or just extra boxes. If you have more room, you can also let people store their RVs, boats, or cars.
Rates on Neighbor.com are cheaper than traditional storage units so it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Rates vary based on the space, location, and term length. The site claims you can make between $360 a year renting out a closet to $2,364 for a basement. Plus, it’s less invasive than having a person stay at your house.
What to know: Neighbor.com lets you set your own prices and inspect anything that might be stored. You can also decide how long you’re willing to store something. The site also provides liability insurance coverage in case the items damage your property.
The site charges a 4.9% processing fee for each reservation and a 30-cent fee every time you receive a payout. Hosts are paid each month automatically.
Related: Turn Your Unused Storage Space Into Money With Neighbor.com
Freelance writing for companies and publications can be a good way to make money from home. You can earn more if you’re a talented writer or have expertise in a certain area, such as technology, finance, or healthcare.
If you don’t have a portfolio, start blogging on the topics you want to write about and use those as your clips. You can find freelance writing gigs on job boards like ProBlogger and CopyBlogger, but those openings will have hundreds of writers applying for them. The best way to make more money is to contact companies directly.
What to know: Some publications don’t pay anything, especially for a new writer. It’s okay to take a few unpaid gigs until you get more experience. But as you gain that experience, make sure you keep increasing your rates steadily or you won’t make money.
Related: Side Hustle Series–Freelance Writer
Blogging can be a fun way to express your thoughts, connect with like-minded people, and have a creative outlet. But for some people, it’s a reliable source of income.
To start a successful blog, pick a niche that can make money. Writing about your life as a stay-at-home may not be as profitable as reviewing the latest laptops. You can also create courses or digital printables or offer one-on-one help.
What to know: Blogging isn’t a quick way to make money. It can take a while to start seeing a profit. That’s why it’s important to love what you’re blogging about. Otherwise, it’s better to pick a different side hustle if making money is your only goal.
Related: How To Start A Blog: A Complete Step-By-Step Guide
Like blogging, starting a YouTube channel isn’t a quick way to make money. It can be a fun way to share knowledge about your hobbies and earn money on the side. When you create a YouTube account, make sure to allow ads so you can collect extra revenue.
Cross-promotion can also help your channel. When you post a new video, share it on your social media profiles to draw more traffic. Look at what your competitors are doing to build a following.
Posting regularly on a set schedule will show followers that they can rely on you. Some also believe YouTube favors accounts that are active. It’s better to post one video a week than posting three at one time and going dormant for a month.
What to know: You may need to buy a decent camera and lavalier mic to get started. Find someone you know who has a set you can borrow. That’s a good way to see if you like making videos before making a huge investment. Use free software like Lightworks and Hitfilm Express before switching to expensive Adobe products.
Related: How To Start A Successful YouTube Channel
Etsy is a site where you can sell new, vintage, and used items. It started as an outlet for crafters, but now you can sell almost anything on Etsy.
One of the best ways to make money on Etsy is to sell PDFs or printables like photos, images, quotes, or craft patterns. Because these are digital purchases, you only have to make something once to sell it. Instead of making a new piece of art and hoping it sells, you can make a downloadable print that can be sold over and over again.
Find customers by building a following outside of Etsy. If you make Marvel character coasters, post images on social media profiles and use appropriate hashtags. Link to your Etsy store to your Instagram profile or link to it in your captions and stories. Make it easy for people to find you. When they have to do more than click a couple of times, they may get impatient and forget about you.
What to know: Etsy has become a huge marketplace. You may be competing with people who source materials from China. Do research on the items you want to sell before you decide what to sell. Etsy charges $0.20 to list each item and a 5% fee when it sells.
Related: How To Start An Etsy Shop To Create Passive Income
How To Actually Get Started With A Side Hustle
Decide What You Want To Do
The hardest part of starting a side hustle is often deciding which one to do. Some are easier to start than others. For example, becoming a dog walker on Rover can be as easy as setting up your profile and accepting jobs that come your way. Others, such as graphic design, are more involved. They may require setting up a website, creating a pricing structure, advertising your business, and keeping track of all your business finances.
Here are some tips on how to get started.
First, look at what other people charge in your area for the same side hustle. This will be your gauge so you’re not charging too much or too little. If you know other professionals in the field, ask them what a fair rate is.
A good way to start pricing services is to start low, build up good referrals, and slowly increase your rates. Once you have a solid portfolio, don’t be afraid to stick to your prices even if it means losing out on potential clients.
You don’t want to get burned out or exhausted from your side hustle. Better to have a few high-paying clients that value your work than many lower-paying ones that are just looking for a deal.
When you have a regular 9-5 job, someone else is responsible for managing the company’s finances. But when you’re the one in charge, it’s your job to track income, cash flow, and expenses.
A simple spreadsheet may work if you don’t have many moving parts. But once you have multiple clients, it can be confusing to manage it manually.
Software programs like Quickbooks or online systems like Freshbooks are helpful for people with robust side hustles. Freshbooks sends out invoice reminders and can accept payment through PayPal, credit card, or ACH. It also lets you create estimates and track time spent if you charge on an hourly basis.
Related: Freshbooks Review–The Perfect Accounting Software For Freelancers
Many people know they have to pay taxes on side hustle income, but many are surprised at their tax rate. When you work a W-2 job, your employer pays half of your Social Security and Medicare taxes and you pay the other half. When you’re a contractor or doing a side hustle, you pay 100% of those taxes. That’s 15.3% of your profits right off the top–before you even pay income taxes.
That means people with side hustles need to set aside between 20 to 30% of that income for taxes to account for Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes.
Depending on how much you earn, you may have to start paying estimated taxes on a quarterly basis. If you only drive for Uber every few months or so, filing taxes every quarter is probably overkill. But if you drive every weekend, then you may need to.
This doesn’t apply to people working a second job where they’re a W-2 employee. If you’re not sure which you are, ask the payroll representative or accountant.
You can set money aside every time you get paid or automatically on a monthly basis. Pick a savings account, like the CIT Savings Builder, just for taxes.
Related: Earn More Interest On Your Emergency Fund: CIT Savings Builder Review
Applicable and relevant deductions can decrease your tax burden. For example, if you drive for Uber, log your mileage and deduct it on your taxes. If you sell crafts on Etsy, keep receipts for materials and supplies. You can use an app like MileIQ to log miles or keep a spreadsheet where you record all tax-deductible expenses.
Related: How Estimated Quarterly Taxes Work
Earning more money is often a key part of the journey to Financial Independence. Earning more money at work is usually the easiest way to increase your savings rate and reach FI faster.
A side hustle may mean more effort now, but it’s something that can produce income even after you quit your regular job. This may just be the catalyst you need to quit your job sooner, live on a smaller nest egg, and supplement your investment income with money earned at a side hustle.