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If “Mo money, mo problems” is your mantra, this isn’t advice for you. More money means more cash to pay down your bills, round out your savings, save for a rainy day, go on spontaneous trips, purchase gifts for loved ones, and spend on the latest semi-pricey beauty items. As the cost of living steadily rises, sometimes having one stream of income just won’t cut it. A side hustle gives you financial security for unexpected occurrences, like moving costs…or a pandemic. As the impact of COVID-19 worsened last year, many people lost their jobs or were furloughed indefinitely; however, having a side hustle might’ve saved the day for some since they had the ability to stay afloat while on the job hunt.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know a few people (at minimum) who boast about their side hustle. A side hustle, or side gig, is any employment you take on besides your full-time or part-time job. A side hustle gives you the power to call the shots. You can deny clients one week but work on a few projects for a range of clients the next. When working your side hustle, you can choose how much you earn and when you work. You can work on your side hustle early in the morning, during your lunch break, in the evenings, or on the weekends.

What Are Some Examples of Side Hustles?

You have plenty of options when it comes to work you take on in your free time. Sometimes, your side hustle can give you more experience so you can eventually get a full-time job doing what you love. Better yet, you can even turn your side hustle into a lucrative self-owned business.

Profitable examples of side hustles include:

  • Starting an Etsy shop
  • Baking and catering
  • Landscaping
  • Childcare
  • Pet care
  • Decorating
  • Music gigs
  • Hairstyling
  • Freelance copywriting, proofreading, transcribing, content writing, blogging, editorial writing, graphic design, photography, videography, fashion styling, etc.
  • Becoming a social media influencer
  • Tutoring
  • Personal shopping
  • Selling courses or lesson plans
  • Selling services on TaskRabbit

Now that you know what examples of side gigs are, see a few tips for making more money from having one.

1. Build Your Portfolio or Social Media Brand

These days, it’s nearly impossible to go far without some online portfolio or professional social media profile for yourself or your business. A professional, visually appealing portfolio is a golden ticket for more gigs and more prominent clients.

Not everyone needs a massive following on Instagram. However, if you’re trying to make money as a social media influencer, building your following online would help. If you’re not trying to become a social media influencer, creating an Instagram to display your artwork, jewelry, hairstyles, and so forth is invaluable. You can find potential clients and customers online, keep up with the latest trends, reach people outside of your city, and have a place where people can instantly read all of the great things your fans and past clients/customers have to say about you. If you’re selling classes or have a catering business, consider starting your own YouTube channel where you can show off your teaching or cooking skills. You have plenty of options when flaunting your skills online.

2. Get Certified

Consider getting certified to become more competitive. If you’re into copywriting, get a digital marketing certification. If you’re into graphic design, maybe consider a UX design certification. With so many choices, do your research to see what’s worth the investment.

3. Work on Your Professional Image

Look the part. If you sell baked goods or jewelry, invest in beautiful, affordable packaging. Have a business card handy or a professional email signature. Make it easy for your potential clients and customers to find you online and elsewhere. Update your headshots. And use a professional email address.

4. Network

Ask around and mention your side hustle to friends and family. They may know of people who need your services. Consider joining online groups based on your interests where they consistently post new gigs. Interview with multiple recruiters who can assist you in finding lucrative gigs down the line. Googling “recruiting agencies” or “staffing agencies” followed by your city is just a start. Some recruiters even offer online gigs working with companies and brands remotely across the world. Keep in touch with the recruiters you vibe with the most throughout the year. They’re people too! And they’ll remember you first whenever they come across great opportunities.

5. Try Out Multiple Online Platforms or in-Person Events

Rarely will you find all the gigs you want on one website. You may need a profile on Upwork, LinkedIn, Fiverr, and more. If you’re a photographer, you may have to shoot at a range of events, such as weddings, baby showers, and music events, to build your portfolio. Artists can sell their work at art fairs and on Etsy. Know your way around your city and online to figure out the multiple areas where you can make your presence known.

6. Know Your Worth

Research to figure out how much you should be charging. Recruiters usually ask for your rate upfront. If you’re a newbie, you may have to start on the low end, but don’t let anyone take advantage of you. If needed, you can take on an internship or even volunteer your services to gain exposure in your desired industry. If you have the experience and the evidence to prove your skills, don’t be afraid to charge what you know you deserve.

7. Don’t Give Up

It’s easy to get discouraged at first by the sheer amount of competition out there. Plus, working a side gig means more work beyond your 9 to 5. However, there are plenty of pros (um, more money, for one) as opposed to cons. Working a side gig can be exciting, too. Your recruiter may hook you up with a freelance writing gig for a magazine you love. A friend of a friend may ask you to cater an exciting event. You may end up styling on set for a high-end client. Keep grinding and working toward more financial freedom through your side hustle.

Alicia Ivory: Copywriter by day, writer for life, Alicia Ivory has loved writing and storytelling for as long as she remembers. She has written copy, blog posts, website content, and more for a range of fashion brands, including Foot Locker, Lands’ End, Century 21, Nautica, and TJ MAXX. She also writes fantasy and science fiction for kids, primarily with African American characters, and volunteers with organizations that promote the voices and varied experiences of African American authors and writers. Some examples include the Black Children’s Books & Authors (BCBA) and the Free Black Woman’s Society. Through BCBA, she edits articles written by underrepresented authors and coordinates with authors and their representatives for local events.

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