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The term “side hustle” is a relatively new one, but the idea has been around for decades. Your full-time job likely supplies you with the income you need to stay afloat, but if you had a secondary part-time job, you could explore a passion, build wealth or just live a more opulent lifestyle.
With more than 44 million Americans now engaging in at least one side hustle, the concept is more popular than ever. But if you’re one of the millions who hasn’t yet adopted a side gig, there’s probably one factor holding you back more than any other: time.
Do you think you’re too busy to start a side hustle? Once you see what kinds of side gigs could help you turn a profit, you might find something that fits into your packed schedule.
The elusive appeal of the side hustle
There are three main benefits to adopting a side hustle, though there are peripheral benefits beyond these:
- Additional income. Who doesn’t love more income? Revenue is one of the biggest motivating factors for entrepreneurs starting businesses, and it’s certainly the primary motivator for most career paths. Getting involved in a side gig can instantly multiply the bottom-line dollars you pull in every month.
- New career opportunities. Starting a side gig could also open the door to new career opportunities; if things go well at your part-time gig, you could easily transition to full-time. And if you don’t, you’re bound to meet tons of people through the networking opportunities your side hustle provides.
- Income diversification. Getting income through a side hustle also provides you some degree of protection; if things go wrong with your business or your full-time career, the side hustle income can keep you afloat in the meantime.
How busy are you, really?
Those benefits must sound juicy, so are you really so busy that you can’t put in the extra hours to achieve them? The truth is, most of us often overestimate how busy we are. Consider the following possibilities:
- True overestimation. If you feel you’re busier than the average person, it could be that you’re genuinely and innocently overestimating your obligations. Try to objectively analyze how much time your responsibilities are really taking, and compare those numbers to your subjective expectations. Think about how many hours you spend relaxing, watching TV, and hanging out with friends and family, and how you could be using some of that time more productively to dedicate to your side hustle.
- Electives as necessities. You could also be overestimating how busy you are by considering the electives in your life—such as going out to dinner with a friend, or organizing your kitchen pantry—as true necessities. These items take up valuable space in our schedules, so it’s easy to think of them as contributors to how busy we are, but in reality, they’re unnecessary, and could easily be cut from our schedules. Take a few of those away, and you’ll instantly find yourself with a few extra hours of time each week.
- Making excuses. Be honest. Has a part of you convinced yourself how busy you are as a convenient excuse to avoid pursuing a side hustle? Or have you used your level of busyness as a way to get out of extra work and social responsibilities in the past?
If you’re truly as busy as you think you are, perhaps you can look into ways to become more efficient. One way to do so is to optimize tasks you probably already spend a lot of time on – such as email. Consider implementing one or more of these Gmail plugins to optimize your productivity.
How much time does a side hustle take?
Chances are, after reading the last section, you can drum up at least a few hours of time each week to dedicate to a side hustle, either by eliminating an optional responsibility or by recognizing and harnessing the unspent hours that were already there. So let’s take a look at the other side of the equation: how much time does a side hustle really take?
Herein lies the beauty of side hustles. In general, you can work as many or as few hours as you want. It might take several dozen hours to get set up and running—but you can spread those hours over the course of weeks, or even months. In some cases, you could work less than an hour a week and still see some of the “side hustle” benefits listed above.
Side hustle ideas for the aspiring entrepreneur
If you’re still skeptical, I present to you these 10 profitable possibilities for your next side hustle. Each of them has the power to provide you the additional income you need to balance your career goals, but can be done in as little as one hour a week.
- Rent. Renting a property as a side hustle takes a lot of upfront work, but from there, is mostly hands-off. As long as you stay cash flow positive by charging more in rent than you pay for the mortgage, you’ll end up ahead of the game. And if you don’t have the capital to invest in a new property, you could always rent a portion of your existing property through Airbnb.
- Write. Contribute a handful of articles a month and nab yourself a few hundred dollars in extra income. Alternatively, start a blog, and once you reach a certain level of popularity, make money through advertising income or affiliate links.
- Craft. Etsy and similar sites have revolutionized art and crafting as potential side gigs. If you’re a creative type, with a skill in painting, woodworking, sewing, or anything else that produces something physical, you could spend an hour or two a week making new goods and selling them online.
- Repair. If you’re a skilled handyperson, you could volunteer your services to residents in your neighborhood on the weekends. Small fixes would only take a couple hours, and could help you pull in a few hundred extra dollars.
- Pet-sit. Are you an animal lover? Pet owners are in constant need of assistance, whether it’s walking dogs during long workdays or checking in on cats during an extended vacation. This hustle might require some specific availability, but it wouldn’t have to eat up much of your time.
- Advertise. If you don’t mind getting a few strange looks, you could wrap your car with advertising—which requires only a one-time investment of time and could increase your regular income for the foreseeable future. Find a service like Wrapify, keep driving actively, and collect your extra money.
- Teach. Do you have a skill you’re willing to teach? It could be anything from changing bike tires to fixing plumbing leaks—if you advertise your expertise, you could make some extra cash by hosting lessons. And, since you can choose your own clients and set your own hours, it should bear little to no impact on your schedule.
- Coach. Along similar lines, you could serve as a professional coach for whatever your main industry of expertise is. This side hustle has the added benefit of expanding your professional network within your main career, so it might be worth pursuing even if you aren’t in need of the extra income.
- Cook. Do you have a talent in the culinary arts? You could bake desserts and sell them online, or cook food as a part-time, independent catering business. You might need some extra licensing for this one, but you’ll stand to make decent money for just a few extra hours of work.
- Drive. Assuming you have a functional vehicle, you could always drive for Lyft or Uber. Reviews about the pay schedule are mixed, so you probably won’t get rich this way, but you can set your own hours and drive as much or as little as you like—even if it’s just on your way to and from work.
These side hustles could be the next step on your path to being your own boss—and chances are, you aren’t too busy to take them on. Experiment with one or more of these dynamic, easy-to-launch side gigs, and find something you like and have time for. It’s easier than you think.