Money·4 min read

How to Live Your Best Side Hustle Life

side hustle
Illustration: Chanelle Nibbelink
March 19, 2021

The Story

A side hustle can be a great way to fill your free time and your bank account.

But what if I don’t have a business idea?

Dig deep. Think about what favors your friends and fam ask you for. Because that’s the stuff other people might pay you to do. A few ideas to get you started:

If you’ve got thoughts and aren’t afraid to share them...

Give your friends, fam, and IG followers a break. Instead, share your feedback on products and services with a focus group. Yes, that pays. Check out platforms like and User Interviews

If you can shop like it’s your job…

Make it, well, your job. Some companies hire mystery shoppers to pose as legit customers and report back on things like store cleanliness and whether employees were on their best behavior. Or to share your hot takes on a business's website aesthetics and how easy it is to navigate shopping online. Who said dream jobs don’t exist? 

If you’ve got a way with words...

Get paid to write...just about anything. Companies need freelancers to create marketing copy and informational content. People need dating profiles worth swiping right on. Your job-hunting neighbor needs cover letters and resumes custom-fit to each job she's applying for. Write on.

If you’re everyone’s go-to photographer...

Snap that money shot. All of us – from bloggers capturing that #OOTD to new grads seeking headshots – need someone on the other side of the camera. Because you can't always do it all by your-selfie.

If you're an organizational queen...

Use your power by helping others get their business in order as a virtual assistant. You might handle calendar management, data entry, and other administrative support tasks – all from a distance. Check sites like Fiverr, and Upwork for opportunities.

What about my day job?

Ask your company if they care about this kinda thing. Some don’t want employees to have side businesses at all. Others just want to know you won’t compete against them or do work while you’re on the clock. Best to get it all out in the open. Unless you enjoy uncomfortable HR convos.

If your company’s like ‘what’s in it for us?’ you can mention they’ve got skin in the game, too. Experts say a good side hustle pays off in more ways than one. It can be a creative outlet and provide experience with more responsibility. You might even learn some skills that’ll help your 9-to-5. Look at you, overachiever.

I'm ready.

Great. Once you get the green light, start strategizing. Research the best platforms to find jobs, how to advertise yourself, and the going rates. And don’t forget to save some of your profits for Uncle Sam. He’ll probably want his cut (sorry). Experts recommend setting aside 30 cents for every dollar earned in a separate account. If you expect to owe at least $1,000 in taxes, you’re required to pay a little every quarter. So put those due dates on your cal. Also keep receipts for any potential deductions.

OK, anything else?

Make a plan for all your extra income. Think: paying off high-interest debt, saving for emergencies, investing or putting it toward a big money goal. And of course, treat yo self (just don't go overboard). Not only do you deserve it, rewarding yourself has also been scientifically proven to keep you motivated about working and saving hard. 


A side hustle doesn’t have to feel like hard work. Investing your time and energy into a project you enjoy and comes naturally can boost your productivity. And your net worth. Double win.

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