A side job is typically just that – a part-time gig people use to earn some extra cash. But some side jobs come with the possibility of bigger returns, provided you’re willing to put in the work. In that case, chances are good that your side business will eventually become your primary business.
The first thing you need to make it big where other people are just scraping by is an entrepreneurial spirit. That’s what will let you make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. Here are just a few of the side jobs that can become so much more when you go all in.
Driving your own car for cash. You can work as much or as little as you want with companies like Uber and Lyft, setting your own hours and taking rides or not. The challenge is figuring out how to balance your fuel and maintenance expenditures and taxes against your fares – a great lesson in basic DIY business accounting. More important is the opportunity to talk to your fares. You never know who you’ll connect with!
Become an artisan. Solid photography or painting skills are almost always in demand, or if you make a product that’s out of the ordinary, it doesn’t take much to set up a retail website. Creating fine art or artisanal products on a commission basis can be a rough road but there’s the potential to be picked up by big buyers. For inspiration, just imagine your product becoming a household name.
Start a company. If that sounds too simple, that’s because it is. Lots of enterprising college students have paid for everything from books to spring break by banding together to create painting and housekeeping companies. Just make sure the opportunities you’re exploring have low or no startup costs – not just when it comes to money, but also when it comes to time. Sometimes working with an established company like Amway (which retails everything from skincare products to B2B products through consultants) is the best way to get started. Just keep in mind that in many states, selling online requires you to get a business license.
Create content for others. Brands need content to succeed in the modern market and so there’s usually steady work for freelance writers who are skilled and can work fast. It’s one of the most flexible gigs around and the only cap to how much you can earn is your research and typing speeds. But don’t get mired in the swamp that is sites like Fiverr and Craigslist. Instead, try to develop relationships with small and midsized businesses who need help with blogging, website content and marketing materials.
Go old school as an apprentice. This is one of those long-term strategies that seem crazy at first because you’re working for free but consider the networking opportunities. Long a staple of the construction trade, the apprenticeship system is being used by more industries. The key is to look for any and all chances to help out in the industries that interest you, and if you find a formal apprenticeship make sure you’re clear about what you’re looking to get out of it.
Teach or tutor independently. There are plenty of agencies that match up students in need of help with tutors – some experienced, some not. Truthfully, experience is not as important as the ability to attract clients and to stay one step ahead of where they are in the curriculum. You can make as much money as you have time to earn plus you get the satisfaction of doing something good for someone else.
Organize for others. You don’t have to be super organized to organize the lives of people who need help getting their businesses or personal lives in order. In fact, sometimes it’s actually easier to calm chaos when the chaos in question is not your own. Even if you’re starting small it makes sense to create a professional looking online presence because word of mouth will likely be your biggest driver of new business.
For better or for worse, side jobs are the new norm. All of the jobs above can be done in your spare time if extra cash is all you need, but they also offer the potential to grow into something more if you hustle. Just remember to keep your life goals in mind as you look for new opportunities and never, ever pass up a chance to connect with someone in your industry.