A side hustle–an extra gig you explore during your downtime from your main job– is a great way to flex your skills, earn extra cash, pursue your passions, and more. And since “launch my side hustle” is on more than a few 2019 goal lists, Joy will be bringing you articles on side hustles each week for the first few months of the year. Get ready to get inspired!
People start a side gig for lots of reasons, but a big one (especially for millennials) is to earn extra money. A study from Bankrate reports that 61 percent of younger millennials say they earn extra money on the side weekly, and 96 percent of them say they do it at least monthly.
But before you join a rideshare program, start selling your ceramics online, or offer to run errands for cash, how much can you really make? Loan provider Earnest crunched the numbers, and they reported that 85 percent of side gig workers earn less than $500 a month. Joy asked six women to share their not-so-glam experiences trying to make an extra buck—and their bottom lines.
“My side hustle became my main hustle.”
—Lyz Keating, a yoga instructor in Oakland, California
My story: I worked for four years for a health care company reporting to the CEO. This involved crazy hours and travel. I taught yoga on the side as a way to compartmentalize and for fun. It was something I could do on evenings and weekends to tap into my creative energy. Then, when the CEO left in January of last year, I got laid off. Now I am freelancing in policy work about 20 to 25 per week and teaching yoga about 18 hours per week.
How much I make per month on my side hustle: Between $1,500 and $2,000.
Side hustle #goals: When my student loans are paid off, I’d like to spend a year abroad teaching somewhere exotic! I couldn’t afford to go abroad as an undergraduate, and I’m hoping my side hustle gives me this opportunity before I’m 40.
Advice for aspiring hustlers: Networking is everything. I am a successful yoga teacher in the most saturated market in the country and shockingly, I have never actually auditioned for a class. All my jobs have come through my network from people who know I’m both good at what I do and reliable.
“My side-hustle is basically a hobby with benefits.”
–Chasten Harmon, owner of the knitwear shop Plush Armour on Etsy
My story: I started Plush Armour while I was studying at Yale School of Drama. I was in a touring production of Les Miserables, and there was a copious amount of knitting time backstage. A classmate asked to buy a scarf to give as a Christmas gift, and I thought maybe others would be interested as well. So I posted some listings to see what would happen. People were interested!
How much I make per month on my side hustle: It’s such a seasonal endeavor, since people shop the most in the winter and for gifts, so I’m mostly breaking even. I have a yarn addiction problem—I just keep buying it! But I do make some money during the busy season. I call it a hobby with benefits. It either pays for itself, or I make something every now and again.
Side hustle #goals: I just want to make money doing what I love. I would love to grow my audience and build more interest in my own designs over custom orders. My dream is to collaborate with Free People or Anthropologie to mass-produce a design here and there while keeping my Etsy shop mostly handmade and operated and releasing 2 to 3 collections a year for sale.
Advice for aspiring hustlers: Don’t compromise just to make money—you will burn out. Take time to draw the audience that is into what you’re doing, instead of conforming to your audience.
“I want to make my side hustle my main hustle.”
–Ashleigh Sterr, founder of Cold Cup Consulting in Kansas City, Missouri
My story: My day job is as an Account Executive/Assistant Vice President at Lockton Companies, an insurance brokerage firm, doing reverse flow, which is a fancy term for incoming international business. My side hustle is freelance administrative consulting. My ideal clients are solopreneurs or up-and-coming entrepreneurs who need additional administrative support but cannot or do not want to make a full-time hire. I help them out with website design, branding, marketing, content writing, social media management, and organization, as well as traditional administrative type work such as invoicing and receivables, customer service and other similar tasks.
How much I make per month on my side hustle: I am on track to earn 30 percent of my annual day job salary.
Side hustle #goals: That my business will allow me the opportunity to live and work on my own terms. I have two beautiful, tiny humans (ages 2 and 8 months) that call me mama, and I want to create something that will give me the freedom to spend as much time with them as possible while continuing to contribute to my family financially.
Advice for aspiring hustlers: Step one is that you need to commit. Step two is that you need to execute. If you can do those two things, you will surprise even yourself.
“My side hustle helps me pay for extra expenses.”
—Christina Pierce, Lyft driver in Buena Park, California
My story: My day job is as an in-home caregiver for elderly patients, but in 2014, I started driving for Lyft about 16 hours a week to make extra money for Christmas. I drive whenever I need to supplement my income—for example, if I lose hours from my main gig because I’m volunteering at school events for my children.
How much I make per month on my side hustle: $2,000 a month with tips.
Side hustle #goals: That demand stays high.
Advice for aspiring hustlers: Do the math first and make sure it’s worth it. I spend about $500 per month in expenses like gas, car washes and tires. For potential drivers, make sure you enjoy driving since you are in the car a lot. Take breaks, get out of the car and walk. Be safe, make sure you drive smart and be aware of your surroundings.
“I have two side hustles.”
—Michaela Idhammar-Ketpura, Arbonne seller and freelance graphic designer
My story: For my main job, I am the Executive Director of a youth non-profit called Aspen Youth Center. We provide free after-school and all day summer programs for kids in 4th through 12th grades. My two side gigs are as a district manager and independent consultant with Arbonne, a multi-level marketing company that sells vegan skincare and supplements. I also do freelance graphic design and basic web design.
How much I make per month on my side hustle: I make between $500 to $1,500 a month right now on Arbonne, and about $1,000 a month on graphic design.
Side hustle #goals: I hope it can replace my income so that I can spend more time with my daughter and travel overseas to Stockholm, where I am from. I also hope to be able to give back to the causes I care about.
Advice for aspiring hustlers: Do your research first. A lot of personal finance sites will say things like, ‘Become a graphic designer or photographer!’ to make extra cash, but those things take a skill set that not everyone has and that does, actually, take time to cultivate and study. Be smart about your choices.
“My side hustle and main hustle are basically the same.”
—Nicole Price Fasig, content strategist
My story: In my main job and my side gigs, I write and do content strategy for a number of sites, agencies, and brands. The #freelancelife helps during dry spells and can also be more fulfilling than my day job.
How much I make per month on my side hustle: About $1,000 to $4,000.
Side hustle #goals: I used to wish it would turn into a full-time thing, so I’ve sort of worked my way into that. For the most part, I use my side projects to scratch a particular itch. If my day job is really strategy-heavy, sometimes it’s nice to come home and spend some time going back to my journalism roots and reporting and writing. Or if I’m spending a lot of time managing a project at work, it’s a nice change of pace to actually get to dig in on strategy and do the real work in my side hustle.
Advice for aspiring hustlers: Stay organized. I get compliments from my accountant all the time, but I mostly learned the hard way, when it took me 12 hours to prepare all my documentation for my taxes the first year I was freelance. Doing it as I go is so much less painful. I don’t necessarily update my documents every day, but I will go into my spreadsheet and update it with income whenever I agree to a project or send an invoice, and monthly when it comes to expenses.