What you need to know about side hustles

Do you want to earn some extra money doing what you enjoy on your own time? Consider pursuing a side hustle, which can be defined as any type of work undertaken in addition to a full-time job. Generally, side hustles are freelance or piecework in nature. Depending on how much time and energy you put into a side hustle, you could earn a significant supplemental income.

Think about your side hustle options

Do you have any hobbies or special skills that have earning potential? Think about turning them into income-generating opportunities. For example, if you enjoy baking or cooking, you might be able to find catering gigs for local events or organizations. If you're talented at knitting, making jewelry, or crafting another kind of item, you could look into selling your goods using an online e-commerce site.

Perhaps you'd like to work a side hustle that doesn't involve formal education or specialized skills. In this case, you have plenty of options that are still profitable. Some ideas include dog walking/pet sitting, running errands, driving people around/making local deliveries, secret shopping, taking online surveys, tutoring, renting out property, caregiving, cleaning, and blogging. Consider searching for and downloading apps on your smartphone that are designed to help you find small tasks you can do locally at various rates. Research online for more side hustle ideas: You might be surprised to discover just how many money-earning opportunities are available to you.

Know the benefits...

Side hustles are different from part-time jobs worked at night or over the weekend. Working a side hustle means turning your interests, talents, and skills into potential sources of income. Since you are your own boss, you have the flexibility to determine when and for how long you'll work.

Working a side hustle also gives you the opportunity to explore your passions without giving up the financial stability that your full-time job provides. So not only will your bank account benefit from extra cash flow, but you can pursue your financial goals faster. And your overall life satisfaction might get a boost from knowing you're doing work that you care about and/or fills your time.

...and the drawbacks

Working a side hustle (or multiple side hustles) could conflict with your day job. Some companies have policies that prohibit moonlighting, but this is typically true only in cases when you're performing work that is similar to what you do for your employer. Avoid potential issues by checking with your company's HR department to find out whether your employer allows you to pursue outside work.

You should also be wary of overcommitting yourself. Jumping into a new side hustle requires that you invest a portion of your spare time to bring in extra money. Between working your primary job and your side hustle(s), you could easily end up having less time for yourself to relax or socialize at the end of your workday. This can take a toll on your physical and mental health, so it's important to find balance. Don't take on more work than you can realistically handle.

Consider the potential for growth

If you're dreaming of growing a side hustle into your primary source of income, you'll need to be prepared to commit to it. Set a time frame in which you'll dedicate your energy to growing your side hustle. Research your competition and establish your unique edge. Come up with a business plan that will serve as a roadmap as you move forward. It will take time and hard work, but you might be able to turn your side hustle into a full-time job.

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