If you’re like most Texans in today’s economy, you’ve likely considered the benefits of starting up a side hustle — creating a secondary source of income to supplement your primary career. It can be a great way to earn extra money and build up new skills while creating new possibilities for yourself, but it’s also usually a major investment of your time and talents.
There are a lot of different reasons for starting a side hustle, but it usually boils down to one or two basic elements: needing extra income, wanting low-risk wages, or giving back to the community. Truth be told, not all side hustles are created equal and as such it’s important to look at these elements to help potential entrepreneurs find something they can succeed in.
The most common reason people start a side hustle is to bring in extra income. This may be to help with expenses, to save for a vacation or to plan for the down payment on a new home or vehicle. But to make the income you’re aiming for, it’s smart to figure out how much you can realistically bring in on a regular basis. One of the best ways to find a successful side hustle is to find something that involves solving a daily problem around necessities such as cleaning or meal prep to ensure that your services are needed year-round.
5 Side Hustles to Consider
- Sell your stuff online
- Drive for Lyft/Uber
- Manage small business social media
- Become a personal chef
- Create online courses
When I say low-risk, I’m referring to a situation that doesn’t require a large investment upfront, either in terms of money or time spent training. A meal prep service business or an independent consultant business can provide low start-up costs and are services that people are already familiar with, so you may be able to earn income faster. There are a lot of avenues to income that don’t require much up front, but it really depends on what you know how to do and what you believe you can do. If you’re not confident in your abilities, your customers won’t be either. But if Donald Trump can become president with no prior political experience, you can take up meal prepping for a few clients.
Work with purpose
Texans in general love to do work that gives back, considering that the state boasts more than 20,000 non-profits according to a 2012 report from the Center for Nonprofit Management. If you’re motivated to improve the lives of others or giving back to your community consider offering up your talents to local efforts where possible. This work isn’t always as financially rewarding as other options, but it is often more fulfilling. If you’re wanting to maintain a more financially secure side hustle, look for an opportunity to teach important skills or solve problems. One way to do this is to create online courses through platforms like Teachable that allow you to reach a much wider audience on their time. You don’t need a bunch of high-end video equipment to make high quality videos, but a little know-how can go a long way.
One element that doesn’t get talked about much is the work-life balance that so many many people seek. All too often, people find themselves in the circumstances of wage slaves — working day in and day out just to earn enough to rest, refuel, and come back to work the next two weeks to repeat the cycle. The sad truth is that, chances are, your employer doesn’t care about your personal goals and ambitions, especially if those dreams deter from producing for them. The bulk of employers see their staffs as expendable cogs in the money machine, expendable and replaceable at a moment’s notice. The School of Life offers a great examination of capitalism through the teachings of Karl Marx that gives concise insight to the world we live in today. I’m not saying you should become a Marxist, but I think you’d look at your lot in life a bit differently if you took a moment to better understand his ideas.
Many hopeful entrepreneurs envision a path that gives them the freedom to decide when they work and take more time for family, but seldom do they get a peek behind the curtain before following that yellow brick road. Depending on the side hustle of your choosing, you may find that you have certain high-traffic times that can take away from your freedom, whether that be by literally driving in traffic for companies like Uber and Lyft during holiday weekends or getting overloaded with baking work around Valentine’s Day.
As you contemplate the possibilities of starting up a side hustle, take these factors into consideration and do your research. Consider your strengths, weaknesses, abilities and opportunities as you map out your goals. Financial freedom could be within your reach, but you get out what you put in.
Nick Bailey is a forward thinking journalist with a well-rounded skill set including writing, design, and photography. Nick now resides in Austin, TX after earning a degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on journalism from Texas A&M University—Commerce.