Getting A Side Hustle Going - Part 1
Updated: Jan 13
Whether you're on your FIRE journey and want to make a little extra cash to get to your early retirement number more quickly, your already in your early retirement and want to earn a few extra shekels to allow for a little "lifestyle creep", or like so many people in the current environment, there is too much month left at the end of your paycheck and you need to generate some extra income to keep your head above water, you may have considered starting a little side-hustle of your own.
Whatever the reason you want to make some extra cash, your own personal side-hustle is not only rewarding, working for yourself is empowering and educational. good for your self-esteem, and best of all, the pay is great!
However, I meet sooooo many people who make comments like:
"I'm so jealous of you, I don't have any skills I could charge people for! "
"It's all so complicated, I just don't have the time and wouldn't know where to start, I'd end up in trouble."
"I can't take the risk of working for myself, as much as I'd love to, I need the safety of a regular salary"
I hear those kinds of comments all the time and I have two answers to them (prepare for some tough love...)
Bullshit (Pardon my french)
Those, are self limiting beliefs. They are not true and you are just afraid of failure so are not willing to try in case you have to stare failure in the face.
Everyone has a skill that someone else would pay for , everyone, without fail, everyone.
It's not complicated in 2021, in fact it couldn't be easier, Google is your friend. If you have a phone and a wifi connection you can answer any question that comes up on how to run a business. A side hustle doesn't have to take up much time, I have one side hustle that takes about 1 hour per week and this week so far (and it's only Thursday) has made me R1,000 / $63 / £48.. It's not a fortune but it was 1 hour out of 168 hours this week and it has paid the electricity bill for the month. Whoever told you your job is safer than working for yourself in the current environment is lying to you and is probably your boss and possibly works for himself. Who do you trust most when the chips are down between yourself and your boss. Let that sink in for a moment.
OK, rant over, you get my point.
I have 4 sayings that I use constantly:
100% of unstarted projects never get finished.
I prefer to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!
It's almost like we know what we're doing!
Those sayings pretty much sum up my approach to side hustling. There is no magic instruction manual to making money, you do or make something, you get paid for doing it or selling it, you pay your tax, you repeat. You do that for long enough, you make a profit. You make enough profit, you can then choose whether to continue doing it.
Of course there's accounting and tax returns and all that good stuff but you can literally do that stuff online for next to nothing these days. If you don't believe me, check out Taxtim.com. Tim is a robot that will do your tax return for R284 / $18 / £14 (South Africa only but I'm sure there's equivalents in the rest of the world) . That's the price of a bottle of whisky, taxes done.
The one area I do admit is a bit of a learning curve or requires a certain kind of person is sales. I don't like sales people, I'm not a salesperson, I'm a bit of an introvert and I'm never going to be the kind of guy that would cold call people trying to make sales, it's just not me. But there's even solutions for that these days.
So putting all of that aside, the only decision you need to make is not if you could or should do a side hustle, it is more of what will you side hustle at.
Well fear not, we're going to crack that nut right here.
You may still be thinking "I don't have a skill I can get paid for" and to that I say; Poppycock!
Can you walk a dog? Could you house sit for somebody? Drive uber? Can you sew? Can you fix computers? Can you speak a language, even English? Can you Cook? Are you physically fit? Can you repair something? Can you teach somebody something they don't know? Could you write a speech? Can you read? Are you good at PowerPoint? Are you an expert in something? Can you speak on the phone?
If you answered yes to any, even just one of the questions above, then congratulations, you are prime side-hustle material.
And if you already have an idea of something you can do and how to do it then crack on, do it, do it today, you will wish you started earlier.
If however, you're still convinced that whilst you want to do it, you don't have the capability; I am going to show you a way to get going, today, almost instantly. If you show a bit of enthusiasm, allocate a day and throw yourself into it with an open mind, I can pinky-promise that you will generate some form of income in no time.
You may or may not have heard of Fiverr. Fiverr is an online marketplace for people to sell their skills.
Go take a look around Fiverr and you will find thousands of people offering to do some things you can't but might need at a bargain price. Need a Celebrity Impersonator? Fiverr. Looking for a life coach?, Fiverr. Want someone to set-up an online shop for you? Fiverr.
While there's lots of things you can buy on Fiverr, you can also become a seller on Fiverr for free and when you sell a service, you get paid 80% of the sale price and Fiverr keeps the other 20%. They pretty much do everything for you though, they give you the site to advertise on, they take the payment from the customer, they pay you. All you have to do is register, create an ad then do the job.
What could be easier?
Let's try a random example. I write a blog post on personal finance every week. I wouldn't claim to be great at it but if someone needed a finance blog post writing they could do worse than ask me to do it for them.
I searched Fiverr for "Finance Blog Post" and picked the first ad in the list.
A gentleman in the United States is offering to write a finance blog post of 300 words (by way of comparison, this post is currently around 1000 words at this point) and he will deliver it to me in 3 days for R317 / £20 / £15. He also offers 600 words in 4 days for R791 / $50 / £38 or 900 words with some graphs and stuff for R1,581 / $100 / £77.
Let's think about that for a second. I could write a 600 word post in around 30 minutes but I do come up with my own post ideas, so lets say someone asks me to write a post on their idea and let's say it takes me 45 minutes. Then say my customer wants a few amends and I spend another 15 minutes doing rewrites and amends.
Then let's say over 12 months I repeat this process and I get 50 customers per month:
I've spent 1 day getting the whole thing setup and I spend 50 hours per month writing finance blog posts (don't forget, the more you create, the less effort it will be as you can recycle what you did
for one client and re-create it for another) and I spend 1 hour per week doing the admin work that goes with that. Fiverr takes care of everything else and keeps 20% commision for its services.
That all turns into a side-hustle that takes around 660 hours per year, which is a little less than 2 hours per day. I choose my own hours e.g. some days I work a full day and then don't work for a few days. My costs are effectively zero as I already have, fingers, eyes, a laptop, electricity and an email account.
That little side-hustle after I've paid Fiverr, gives me an income of R379,680 / $23,730 / £18,253 a year or R31,640 / $1,977 / £1,521 per month. That's the equivalent to a full time junior management salary in South Africa.
For doing something I truly enjoy and having no boss for 2 hours a day (or 2 days per week).
How about them apples? This post is now at 1200 words, that must mean it's worth R1,280 / $80 / £62 already. That's the internet paid for the month!
Hopefully I've landed my point. Fiverr makes it super easy to start side-hustling today, no sales skills required, no technical set-up, no complicated contract. Just plug & play (or in my case write & get paid). I chose blog posts because it's what I do but there's hundreds of categories, you could:
The list goes on and on and on. In fact, if starting a side hustle is something you're interested in, I have an easy exercise for you. Think of three skills you have that you might be able to get paid for. Then search for those skills in the box below and see if there's a market for it and get an idea of how much you could earn:
You must believe by now that it's easy to start a side hustle?
Still don't think you have a marketable skill?
Well, you don't get away that easy, Fiverr has even thought of that and created Fiverr Learn (it's like they actually want us to work for ourselves or something!) Fiverr Learn lets you go and learn a skill from a pro that you could also sell yourself on Fiverr. Boom!
So let's now say my blog posts are rubbish (don't you dare) but it's what I want to do and I need to go and get some blogging skills. I went to Fiverr Learn and searched for "Blog Post Writing" and picked the first result.
Ian Cleary who just happens to be in the Top 50 content marketers globally and created a blog that has 1,000,000 visitors and has been shared 400,000 times is willing to teach me how to do the same for the very reasonable sum of R600 / $38 / £29. Now as skill hacks go, that's got to be right up there.
And it's the same deal, there's a myriad of choices. Always wanted to be a photographer? A quick search for photography and I found a "Launch a Successful Photography Business" course for R380 / $24 / £18.
Could I make this any easier for you? aside of actually doing the work for you, I doubt it.
I'll leave that there. If you did have yearning to start a little thing on the side or was worried about making ends meet now or in the future, there's a bona fide way to get going without a minefield of hurdles to jump. And if you think Fiverr hasn't caught on, did you know that a gig is sold on Fiverr every 4 seconds and they've had 50,000,000 transactions to date.
That's not a flash in anyone's pan.
Hopefully this has been useful, I intend to do a part 2 (and possibly a part 3) to this story. This one was more about selling your own skills, the next one is about selling stuff to make a little income, a similar idea but a slightly different approach.
One more saying before I go:
Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can start today.
Until next time, keep living.