How To Side Hustle- Answers To The Most Common Side Hustle Questions

You all know that I love side hustling and learning how to make extra money. Here on Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about making extra money, especially through side hustles. After all, having side jobs changed my life and allowed me to pay off $40,000 in student loan debt. My side jobs…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: July 8, 2024

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Having a side hustle is great for many reasons, like helping you pay off debt, save more money, test out a business idea, reach financial freedom, and more. Here are your common side hustle questions. #sidehustleYou all know that I love side hustling and learning how to make extra money.

Here on Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about making extra money, especially through side hustles. After all, having side jobs changed my life and allowed me to pay off $40,000 in student loan debt.

My side jobs even turned into my full-time business, which is something I will always be grateful for. I love my business, I earn a good income, I travel full-time, and I have a great work-life balance.

Side hustling is one of my favorite topics due to the fact that it positively changed my life, and I truly believe it can improve the lives of others.

Luckily, many are seeing the benefits of side hustling. More than 44 million Americans have a side hustle and 50% of millennials have a side hustle.

And, while I love talking about and helping people cut back their expenses, I believe that earning more money can be extremely helpful too. This is because there is no limit to how much money you can make.

Making extra money is great for many other reasons, like helping you pay off debt, save more money, test out a business idea, reach financial freedom, and more.

Related content:

Below are some of the many side job related questions that I am often asked.

How do I choose a side hustle?

Because there are so many different side hustle options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when choosing one to start with.

Some questions you’ll want to ask yourself include:

  • Are you passionate about your side hustle idea? While, you don’t need to be passionate, it may help you decide between a side hustle you hate and one that you love. Or, you may just be passionate with the fact that this side hustle will allow you to reach your goals! It all depends on your mindset and what you want out of it.
  • Can YOU earn money with it? Someone else may be able to earn an income from it, but can you?
  • Do you have enough time? Does the side hustle fit into your schedule?
  • Are you skilled in the area, or can you become skilled? It’s better to know this before you waste too much of your time and figure out that you don’t have the skills needed. Sure, some skills can be taught, but others may not be worthwhile, they may be too much effort, etc.
  • How much money do you need to start? Do you need a lot of money in the beginning in order to start the side hustle idea? If so, can you afford that?
  • What is your dream side hustle idea? What do you picture yourself doing? What is your goal with the side hustle?
  • Will your day job allow you to have the side hustle? Some day jobs may have restrictions on what exactly you can do outside of work to earn an income. If you are questioning it, then you should do your research before you move forward. An example may be if you work as a financial advisor⎼ your employer may not want you giving financial advice on the side because that could be seen as competition.

Answering these questions will help you narrow down the side hustle ideas you are thinking about. I recommend creating a pros and cons list too, if you are stuck between a few different side hustle options.

How much money can I make from a side job?

The amount of money you can make from side hustling will vary. You may only make a few dollars a week or you may find yourself making hundreds or thousands of dollars a month.

It can vary depending on what exactly you are doing to earn side income, the amount of time you are devoting to it, the effort you are putting towards it, and more.

Below are some estimates and ranges of what you can make with some different side hustle ideas:

  • Teaching English – $14 – $26 an hour.
  • Picking up trash – $30 an hour.
  • Becoming a virtual assistant – $500+ a month
  • Taking surveys online at home – $1 to $10+ per survey.
  • Blogging – $0 to millions of dollars a year. Yes, there’s a personal finance blogger out there who makes over $10 million a year. Yes, a year! I was earning around $10,000 a month on the side of my day job. Now, I’m earning around $100,000 a month from blogging.
  • Writing articles online for others – $15 to $1000+ per article. Usually, new writers start out at around $15-$25 per article in the online world.
  • Renting a room in your home – $300 to $1,000+ a month. This can vary widely depending on your location, whether you are renting it on a monthly or daily basis (such as with Airbnb), and more.
  • Mystery shopping – $3 to $100+ per mystery shop. Usually, whatever you are shopping for is free, plus a small payment for your time.
  • Mowing lawns – $20 and up per lawn. Of course, this depends on what work is being done, how large the yard is, and more.
  • Dog sitting – $25 to $100 per day. This all depends on the area you live in, the amount of work you are doing (walking the dogs, administering medication, cleaning up, etc.), and more.

Related: 7+ Ways To Make $500 By The Weekend

How do you get paid?

This is one of the most common questions I receive about side hustling. The way you get paid depends on who your client is and how you want to get paid.

So, you may choose to get paid via check, cash, PayPal, credit card, direct deposit, etc. This may also include setting up a seperate account for your side hustle to help keep track your expenses and how much you are making.

And, speaking of getting paid, always make sure you set some aside to cover your taxes.

How can I find time for my side hustle idea?

Everyone has at least a little bit of time that can be devoted to making extra money. It all just depends on how bad you want it.

If you don’t think you have time, I want you to add up the amount of time you spend watching TV, on social media sites, hours that you can’t even remember what you did, and so on.

Whether you only have a few hours each week for making extra money or if you have a few hours each day, every little bit counts. And, yes, there are side hustles for those with hardly any extra time, and side hustles for those with tons of time (see below).

If you are having a difficult time finding time in your day for a side hustle, here are some ways to start:

  • Wake up earlier or stay up later. Yes, this may mean less sleep.
  • Use your lunch hour for side hustling.
  • Take vacation days at your work just for side hustling.
  • Waste less time with TV, social media, and so on.
  • Strategically use any breaks during the day for side hustling.

Read more at How To Squeeze Side Hustles Into Your Busy Schedule.

How can I manage a good work-life balance?

Work-life balance is very important when you are trying to make extra money. Due to the fact that you will be holding down more than one job, you may find that other areas in your life are suffering.

While side hustling, you never want the quality of your work to decrease, for your family to be negatively impacted, and so on.

There are many ways to work side jobs and still lead a great life. You can:

  • Outsource certain tasks that will allow you to make more money.
  • Try to focus on one task at a time if you are not good at multitasking.
  • Leave work at work.
  • Be organized – Being unorganized can waste a significant amount of your time and leads to late fees, stress, lost items, and more.
  • Eliminate time-sucks like TV, social media, etc
  • Create a schedule that flows together smoothly.

Read more at How I’m A Work-Life Balancing Master.

How can I grow my side income? How can I find clients?

There are many ways to grow your side hustle idea. Whether you eventually want to turn it into a full-time business or if you just want to start making more money, growing it is possible!

Some of the things you can do to grow your side hustle idea are listed below. Of course, different things can be applied to different industries and types of side hustles.

  • Ask around. You can start off by promoting your side hustle service to those you know, such as friends and family, on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and so on.
  • Place ads for your side hustle in your local community, such as by handing out business cards, posting flyers or billboards, and more.
  • Attend networking events. There are networking events for writers, bloggers, crafters, side hustlers, the list goes on and on. Find one!
  • Start a website so that potential customers can search for your service/product.
  • Reach out directly to those who may be interested in your service/product.
  • Ask past customers to spread the word about your side hustle.
  • Post on Craigslist. Craigslist is a great place to advertise your side hustle service as it allows you to reach people that may not normally be in your network. You can also search job listings on Craigslist to see if any match your services.

And the list goes on and on.

What types of side jobs can you have?

There are an endless amount of side hustle ideas. You could work online, offline, for yourself, for someone else, sell a product, sell a service, and so on.

Here are some of the many side hustle ideas, plus links to other blog posts of mine that may help you out.

  • Find a part-time job. There are many part-time jobs out there. You can find a job on sites such as Snagajob, Craigslist (yes, I’ve found a legitimate job through there before), Monster, and so on.
  • Start a blog. Blogging is how I make a living and just a few years ago I never thought it would be possible. I made over $1,500,000 in 2017 and will make more than that in 2018. You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $2.75 per month, plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
  • Sell your stuff. There are many things you can do to make money by selling items. We all have extra things laying around that can be sold, or you can even search for items that can be bought and resold for a profit.
  • Rent an extra room in your home. If you have extra space in your home, then you may want to rent it out. Read A Complete Guide To Renting A Room For Extra Money.
  • Answer surveys. Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Survey Junkie, Pinecone Research, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. The more you sign up for, the more money you can make!
  • Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is a great way to earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough points, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up today!
  • Test websites. One company I recommend for virtual assistant work is UserTesting. This website pays you to test websites, and they pay fairly well.
  • Side Hustle Series – Read this if you are interested in hearing about the many side hustle ideas that my readers have shared.
  • 10 Things I’ve Done To Make Extra Money – If you are interested in finding a side hustle idea for yourself, you may be interested in one of the things I’ve done in the past to earn side income.
  • Ways To Make An Extra $1,000 A Month – Here are different ways to make an extra $1,000 a month.
  • 75+ Ways To Make Extra Money – This blog post has many, many different side hustle ideas for you to try.
  • 10 Ways To Make Money Online From The Comfort of Your Home – If you prefer to work from home like I do, then this is the side hustle post for you.

How do I make sure my side hustle doesn’t interfere with my day job?

As I mentioned earlier, some day jobs may have restrictions on exactly what you can do outside of work to earn extra income. If you are questioning it, then you should do your research before moving forward.

I used the example of being a financial advisor and providing your services outside of your day job, something your employer may see as competition. However, if your side hustle has anything to do with your day job (from writing, teaching, selling things, etc.) it is important that you find out your company’s policies, especially if you have a contract with your employer. Being in breach of your contract can lead to losing your job, side hustle, and more.

You also don’t want to work on your side hustle while you are on the clock, unless you are able to use your lunch time. I always used my lunch hour to side hustle, and this was a great way for me to put an extra five hours a week towards my side hustle.

Other tips to make sure your side hustle doesn’t interfere with your day job:

  • Don’t let the quality of your work slip at your day job.
  • Usually, it’s against company policy to take a side hustle client who is a competitor of the company you work for, as that can be a conflict of interest.

Here’s an interesting take on side hustling, Should You Keep Your Side Business A Secret?

What other tips should you know about making extra money?

Side hustling is something that I believe many people can find success and satisfaction doing. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Below are some of my tips to help your side hustle flow smoothly into your work-life balance:

  • Have your side hustle be something you enjoy and/or are passionate about so that you can enjoy the time you are spending making extra money.
  • Find a side job that is flexible with your current schedule. A side hustle with a flexible schedule is amazing because you won’t feel as stuck each and every day.
  • Take it slow if you need to. You don’t need to jump in and extend your work week to 60 or 80 hours. Easing into your side hustle may be the best way for you to find a comfortable balance, and you can always build your hours from there if need be.
  • Pay taxes and get any legal help that you need. Yes, you need to pay taxes on side hustle income!

What side hustle ideas are you interested in trying out? What do you think of side hustling?

Recommended reading: 24 Second Job Ideas


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. I think being passionate about your side-hustle is the #1 thing. If you don’t really like it, it’ll just be another job. Granted, another job with income is very helpful for many folks who want to reach financial independence, but doing something you’re not too happy with has an expiration date.

    I sell graphic designs as as side hustle. Even though it doesn’t make me much (maybe $100 a month) I love it, so it doesn’t matter to me. The pay per hour is horrible if I added it up, but the enjoyment factor makes it so those kinds of things don’t matter.

    1. Sounds like a nice side hustle 🙂 How long have you been doing that?

    2. DNN

      My friend,

      If selling graphics designs is something you sincerely love to do, make a business out of it. Make a positive habit of using your smartphone and recording small snippets of video describing your product or service. Upload to your YouTube channel with a link in your header description to your site so you can boost your SEO and get free traffic. Blog about it daily. Post to Pinterest. The $100 you make now monthly can be entrepreneurial inspiration to make over $10k monthly in less than 2 years from now. Also, take thoughts of your past negatives and use that negative energy you experienced to build your business. Hope this helps. 🙂

    3. Hari | Parhelia Finance

      Passion is very important when you’re looking for a side hustle, but I think you can also start a side hustle that you might not be passionate about. Some people, like myself, aern’t really into one particular hobby or anything, so I researched some different side hustle ideas and decided to start investing and blogging! And although I wasn’t passionate about those side hustles/topics before, I am now! I really enjoy investing, researching companies and blogging about personal finance. So I think it’s a good idea to try some different things to see what you might be interested in and then see if you passion for them grows over time after you actually start doing it.

  2. I’ve been slowly building side hustles from dog sitting to blogging and it took a while to find the right balance while working full time still. Some weeks I have the energy to put in lots of extra hours and some weeks I feel drained. Having flexibility and working when I’ll be most productive is what has led to my success!
    Oh, and I totally took two weeks of vacation last year to build up my hustling!

  3. Very useful information! Thank you for showing us this:) I first started making funds online when I wrote for Demand Studios in Summer 2009. I then created my own website in December 2009. I did not have time for that website so the domain expired. Then I set other websites and still did not have enough time to dedicate. Now I am working on two websites and I have other ways I make money online.

  4. I’ve had a few side hustles over the years, and one of the things that I always try to keep in mind is what is my long-term goal with the side hustle? Is it something that I would like to transition into a full-time income, or is it something I just want to do a few hours a week for some extra money? A few years ago my wife and I started a business selling on Amazon, and we really just wanted to work a few hours a week and make some money without a ton of effort. The business took off quickly and did really well. We wound up making a full-time income from it for about a year and a half, but it wasn’t enjoyable for us because that’s not what we intended it to be from the start. So we sold the business and moved on.

    1. Yes, thinking about what your long term goals are is so very important.

  5. JJ

    Great post, very thorough!
    As you have demonstrated, it’s easy to find a side hustle the difficulty is finding one that is the right fit so you can sustain it. Like any job, if you dislike what you are doing or it doesn’t fit with your lifestyle then it won’t last.

    In choosing your side hustle you need to focus on more than just the money. Each hour you give to a side hustle that you don’t enjoy is an hour of opportunity cost. I think you really need to ask yourself, is it worth it for me to give up 15min – 1 hour of my life to do a survey that is going to make me $5.00 (I don’t know the actual cost here!) This answer will be different for everyone.

    The opportunity cost will definitely change over time. If you are a student with some extra time and desperate for any money then maybe doing a survey is worth it for you (not to pick on the surveys!!). If you are a professional making $100.00/hour with a busy job and family to tend to then you are probably going to find a more lucrative side hustle!

    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Great post Michelle. Very informative!

  7. Josey

    At this point, I survive off a collection of side hustles – lol.

    I took my interest in clothing, and started curating items for an eBay store.

    I do some freelance writing – but in a very unique way.

    And now I’m working on a blog.

    I also work part-time in catering. Plus, I’m a student…

    So yeah, I may be counter-productive by doing so many things. But right now, I enjoy each of them in their own way. I hope to eventually grow the blog so that can be the main focus.

    I’m going to post about what I do on eBay and how I freelance soon. They’re both methods that anyone can get started with the moment they finish reading the post. In the freelancing case – making money that same day. So, check out my website if you’re interested in another side hustle.

  8. My side hustles were created around my hobbies, like knitting and crochet. I would however warn people that balance is key because your hobby may turn into a source of stress. I didn’t knit for a whole year when I paused my Etsy shop. Now I’m slowly bringing it back by knitting what I enjoy rather than what I thought I had to keep up with like trends.

    1. Yes, balance is definitely key!

  9. Briana @ Finspirations

    Great post! I think side hustling can be a great way to start a business, supplement your income, and expedite your financial objectives. When it comes to side hustling – I wish I had discovered the possibilities sooner. The normal train of thought has always been – go to college, land your dream job, and happlier ever after.

    Briana

  10. Mr. MFC | Morning Fresh Cent

    Great post to remind others to always consider alternative source of income. If you have an additional source of income besides your primary job, the burden or stress if you ever lose the job will not go to no income. You have a bit more time to figure things out and get back on your feet.

    My interest is in real estate and to have a couple of investment properties to generate passive income. My latest adventure is to follow in your foot steps, so I recently started a blog called Morning Fresh Cent. I took your starting a blog course and decided to jump in the pool. I really enjoy reading your post so keep them coming. Thanks!

  11. MarLeigh

    I used to do medical transcription as my full-time business but when my wrists started hurting, I had to close it. Now my side hustle is transcribing for an online platform. Pay’s not much but because I’m fast, it works out. Anywhere from $200.00 to $400.00 a month that goes straight into our business savings (we’re self-employed) and that allows the regular business income to cover overhead, payroll, retirement contributions, etc. Plus I love how I can keep my skills fresh without burdening my wrists.

  12. Samantha

    Thanks for the informative article, Michelle! I especially liked the advice of taking it slow.

    I literally just started my side hustle with writing a blog and all of the information out there can get overwhelming. I can get stuck trying to learn everything all at once (SEO, WordPress plugins, etc.) and I need to remind myself to take it one step at a time.

    Thank you!

  13. There is no more job security in today’s world of regular employment. People will plan on your job right to your face, smiling your face, and continue looking you in the eye talking to you as if everything is normal. Side Hustle blogging, affiliate marketing, and working for yourself online is the way to go. There’s more than enough money for everyone to earn on the internet. Side hustles are a good way to earn stable money by working on your laptop or from home.

    I’m so glad my friend Michelle blog this wonderful post today about the side hustle. I put out a post a few days ago about the side hustle being more than a current business fashion trend. Side hustling is something people should take seriously because in my personal opinion, there’s literally no job security in America today despite your level of college education. I am a strong advocate for going to college and getting your degree. You will need it whether you’re working for someone else or for yourself and serves more of a purpose then just using it to get a good-paying job. However, the one thing that I do like about side hustling is there’s no college degree required, no employment references, and you can do it in your spare time without someone standing over your shoulder pressing you to achieve a monthly sales or advertising contract quota.

    I do believe since Michelle has been on sites like CNBC, Reuters.com, featured on YouTube videos and interviewed in various podcasts and possibly soon to be tapped for an interview on Bloomberg television, she’s quietly inspired thousands of people who were in a mental comfort zone or had no knowledge of how to side hustle to take side hustling seriously and go to the public 9th step with it. I like the fact that Michelle is consistent with her blogging, continues to emphasize how the side hustle is real and will reap Financial Freedom for those who sow the seeds of putting in the work from humble beginnings, and earned over a million dollars from her side hustling gigs. Way to go, Michelle. You have a supporter for life over here!

    When people really take the time to read this post and read over and over again the sentence where you mentioned there is no limit to how much money they can make, hopefully it’ll ignite something in their minds and hearts to take entrepreneurship seriously and stop being scared. I personally can’t believe that a majority of people are afraid of being successful by running their own businesses and swimming away from the safe waters of cushy day job employment. It’s a humbling experience when you don’t have to rely on a day job for income and solely believe in your ability to prosper as a side hustle entrepreneur by doing the transformation business work out of inspiration or desperation.

  14. The Curious Frugal

    Great post! I haven’t had cable in so long and haven’t missed it a bit. I did have Netflix though and I noticed I was sometimes watching as a habit, because I was paying for it. So I canceled Netflix and have been working on side hustles in the last year. Even though I wasn’t spending that much time watching shows, it still adds up and now I have that time for other things.

  15. Outsource, Outsource, Outsource. If someone can do something 80% as well, you must outsource. Learning to give up “control” and trust in others is a huge team cultural builder and will let you focus on the things you love.

  16. This is an interesting masterpiece, Michelle.

    That was how I actually started and today, blogging that used to be a side hustle is now a full-time business.

    I will keep adding more side income so that they will help me boost my income continuously.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Emenike