What’s your side hustle?

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My friend’s teenage daughter informed her the other day that she was enrolling in a nail technician class at high school.

The friend, who has been prepping her daughter for a good college education since she was a toddler, was less than thrilled.

“Why are you taking a beauty school class instead of an advanced placement academic class? Wouldn’t that be better for college?”

“MOM,” she said in an exasperated tone that only teenagers do perfectly, “Doing nails is my side hustle to help pay for college.  I can do it anytime, in the dorms, and there is a ready market if I need some extra cash.”

My friend went from worry to admiration for the enterprising spirit of her daughter.

We all need a side hustle.

If you are still working in a corporate job, a side hustle is a great way to test and try new business ideas. It can also be part of your backup plan in case you lose your job.  Examples of side hustles I have seen from corporate employee clients and friends over the years:

  • Web design
  • Home organizing
  • Writing and editing
  • Coaching
  • Computer maintenance
  • Massage
  • Tax preparation
  • Personal training
  • Yoga
  • Consulting
  • Catering
  • Photography

A good side hustle will have the following characteristics:

  • You like it
  • You are good at it
  • You are very clear who your market is (for example, if you are good with computers, you could offer your services to other homeowners in your neighborhood on your community bulletin board or in a newsletter)
  • You can generate a decent amount of quick cash in a short period of time
  • It does not require an extensive website or ongoing brand-building efforts like a more substantial small business. But more substantial businesses can and do emerge from side hustles.
  • It will not get you thrown in jail (dealing crack, while profitable and possible from your home, is not recommended)

The side hustle does not only apply to corporate employees, it can also be a great backup for small business owners affected by shifting markets or slow sales.

So what’s yours?

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117 Responses to “What’s your side hustle?”

  1. […] Slim talks about having a “side hustle” in her previous book and in her new book, Body of Work.  Slim says, “If you are still […]

  2. Alison Moxley says:

    My side hustle is planning group cruises. I started it as a hobby so that I could cruise with my friends. Now I earn more from my side hustle than I did from my full time job.

  3. […] a list of possibilities. A good place to start is Pam Slim’s original post, “What’s Your Side Hustle?” Be creative, and add your own ideas – even if the seem esoteric. Who knew there was a market […]

  4. […] want to create their own business. It’s intimidating knowing where to start. Here are a list of ideas for you if you’re […]

  5. […] including on the site Budgets are Sexy and Yahoo News. I first heard the term myself from Pamela Slim, a great resource on establishing a legitimate (and successful) […]

  6. […] either happily live within your means on the money you make doing the work you love, or you pick up a side hustle which allows you to meet your financial […]

  7. […] nearly two years, Blue Kite Marketing was my “side hustle” while I worked full time as a government spokesperson. I decided that if I wanted to start my […]

  8. Andrew Kelis says:

    I have a simple philosophy regarding this. If the feeling of satisfaction you have from your job is not above a 7/10 then it’s best look for something else. This was personal development and career becomes rewarding.

  9. […] finding fulfillment with the old 8-5 thing, start finding fulfillment with a side-hustle. I believe Pamela Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation coined the phrase “side-hustle,” basically it’s that thing — that idea, […]

  10. […] you’ve been doing the Side Hustle thing for a while and are ready to make your little sumthin’, sumthin’ on the side a […]

  11. […] take a while: Conventional wisdom has been around forever. To change it will take time. Just like starting your own business, getting back into shape, and getting our of debt (damn school loans) it’s going to be a low […]

  12. […] great to see an article on CNN that addresses the need for a side hustle although Thurman and other popular blogs have been addressing this issue for quite […]

  13. […] been working on your dream project on the side for awhile. It’s now a viable, or very nearly viable, option. You jump from corporate and […]