How to Choose a Side Hustle

Hi! I’m Sasha and I blog about budgeting to financial freedom, frugality, side hustles, and reaching goals over at Your Frugal Friend Blog. Today I am sharing how I decided to start my two side hustles: my Etsy shop and blog. I hope that you are inspired to start your own side hustle to reach your financial goals!

Choosing a side hustle can be overwhelming. There are so many ways to make extra cash in our gig economy! These are the questions I asked myself when deciding which side hustle I would do to make extra income.

  • What kind of side hustle appeals to me?
  • What are my goals with my side hustle?
  • How much money am I comfortable putting into my side hustle initially and continually?
  • How much time do I want to devote to my side hustle?
  • Do I want to do more than one side hustle?

What kind of side hustle appeals to me?

When I was in college for accounting I simultaneously worked full time as an accountant and part time as a bookkeeper. I worked 60 hours a week and was in school full time. It was exhausting. Having gone through this experience made me realize that I did not want a side hustle where I had to actively work for money.

I wanted a passive income side hustle. A passive income stream is one in which it takes little to no effort to earn money. An example of this, is a real estate investment that is managed by a company who you receive rental incomes from.

A passive income stream can entail doing work on the front end and then waiting for the sales to occur, like it does for my Etsy digital printables business. This side hustle works great for me since I divide my time between working full time and caring for my family.

You may want a more active side hustle, such as delivering pizzas or babysitting children. There are many active and passive side hustles you can choose from!

Side hustle ideas I looked into were:

  • Shipt: deliver groceries to people during a requested time frame
  • Door Dash: deliver items to people as requested
  • Uber Eats: deliver food to people as requested
  • AirBnB: list a room or home for rent to make rental income
  • Babysitting: watch other people’s children
  • Etsy digital printables: create printables to sell to people through Etsy
  • Ebay flipping: buy items at a low cost and flip them on Ebay for a profit
  • Blogging: write about topics that appeal to you
  • Drop shipping: you store items for a retailer and then when a customer requests the item you ship it to them

Brainstorm ideas for your side hustle and determine which appeals to you!

What are my goals with my side hustle?

I had always wanted to do a blog, but I knew that having a nice blog would take upfront cash. I also had no idea where to start! This led to “paralysis by analysis” and I gave up before I even began.

When the opportunity to start an Etsy side hustle presented itself, I jumped on the chance. I determined that my goal for my Etsy shop was to turn a profit with it and then use those proceeds to bank roll my blog.

I set measurable goals for my Etsy shop, and was able to scale my micro-business into a profitable venture within four months. I started my blog month five and haven’t looked back!

The measurable goals I set were in two week to three month intervals. The various goals I set were to launch a certain number of products within a timeframe. Also, I would focus on one marketing strategy at a time and see if it gained any traction over a three month period. Finally, I targeted how much money I wanted to have in net profits so that I could start my blog.

Once you have decided what your side hustle is, set some goals for yourself and then put measurable metrics around those goals.

How much money am I comfortable putting into my side hustle?

Deciding on which side hustle was good for me was challenging, because I didn’t want to spend any money up front and I didn’t want to use a lot of my time. I knew that I had a certain set of skills that could help others, and if I could put in sweat equity instead of money, I would be comfortable with that arrangement.

Sweat equity is the non-monetary investment that owners or employees contribute to a business venture.

The accounting skills I possess have been used for creating a digital products passive income business. Other skills I possess are quilting, sewing, organizing, and project management. I determined which skill would yield me the highest return and focused my energy on turning that one skill into a business.

Write down the skills you possess. Then determine which ones would bring you the most income for your time. You want to maximize your income. This is the best way to make your side hustle something you want to continue doing.

How much time do I want to devote to my side hustle?

Working 40 hours per week, while commuting three hours a day, does not afford a lot of time for a side hustle. I decided that I wanted to spend no more than 10 hours a week on my side hustle.

Upon starting my Etsy shop, I realized that it would take a lot of upfront work to get the business rolling. I was fine with this though, because I was having a lot of fun working on it!

After three months of working around 15 to 20 hours a week on my Etsy shop, I was able to make it a passive income business. I now put in, at most, 3 hours a week for my business. For that time investment, I make $500/month in net profit.

Now that my Etsy shop is passive, I have been able to focus on my blog for 5-7 hours per week. I have found that focusing on one side hustle’s success at a time leads to a better result.

As my blog is new, I haven’t set a concrete schedule for blogging. This works for me though as I am still in the learning stage. Once I have been blogging for three months I will know what it takes to maintain its success with the least amount of effort.

Figure out how much time you want to devote to your side hustle. This is important so that you don’t get overwhelmed and give up. Talk to your spouse or family when making these decisions so that you can work as a team towards your goals!

Do I want to do more than one side hustle?

As a natural busy bee I tend to do ALL THE THINGS AT ONCE. Over the years, I have learned that this isn’t the best approach to finishing projects and meeting deadlines. When deciding if I wanted to do more than one side hustle at once, I had to remember that I am most successful doing one thing at a time.

Knowing that I wanted to eventually blog, I had to have a realistic plan for making this happen. I knew that blogging takes a ton of work, so before starting, I had to ask myself if I had the time to put into the business. At that time I did not, but I promised myself I would revisit at a later date.

My Etsy shop was something I could start during that time, and so I did! I am happy that I set realistic goals for myself, because the small wins I made propelled me forward towards my ultimate goal of blogging.

After you decide how much time you can put towards a side hustle, ask yourself if you could do more than one during those hours. You may be able to do more than you think!

Are you ready to start your side hustle? Do you already have a side hustle? Let us know in the comments!

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Sasha is an accountant, frugal fanatic, and mom, who has used her budgeting tools to pay down $65,000 of debt and counting! Join her to budget to financial freedom!

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