How to earn money online with a side hustle? Let’s talk about that for a bit.
First off, what is a side hustle?
A side hustle is something you do in addition to your main method of earning a living – a way to earn supplemental income.
Face it, there are many side hustle business ideas you’re probably familiar with: Cutting lawns, placing and managing ATM Machines, working in retail, driving people around town, building online businesses, delivering packages, working at restaurants, renting out rooms in your house… the list goes on.
Did you see the one in the middle there? “building online businesses”? This is one side hustle that is extremely popular, can be done remotely from practically anywhere, and allows you to set your own schedule. Beware, though: unlike some of the other side hustles listed, if you need money in short order then blogging/online business is not the side hustle for you. If you can accept that, then read on!
Still here? Good!
First, let me teach you something you’ll need to know about selling online (more on why later):
(Disclosure: this page contains affiliate links, which means if you buy from those links there is no extra cost to you, but I do get a small commission)
Let me show you why earning money with an online side hustle is one of the best ideas
- Amazing Reach: you are speaking to the population of the internet. Notice I said speaking. The key is you need listeners. How you build your business, how you treat your readers and nurture them into being customers, and what you offer to solve people’s problems are what will grab the internet’s attention.
- Business “commandments” that guide and serve you: In MJ DeMarco’s book “The Millionaire Fastlane“, he speaks to the “commandments” of Need, Entry, Control, Scale, and Time. You’ll see how important these are in building your business and how well they serve you.
- Low Barrier to Entry: Most everyone has a computer and internet connection. Add to that a WordPress host, a domain name, and a WordPress theme and you’re set to go (technically speaking – more on that later). If you want to build an email list (and you’ll want to) to keep in touch with your site visitors, you should also consider an email service provider like MailerLite, or ConvertKit.
- Content that Converts: To make money, you need to sell. To sell, you need have customers. To get customers, you need visitors to your site. To get visitors, you need content that speaks to their problems and interests.
- So Many Ways to Make Money: Learn how to start a blog, then you can write and sell e-books that address problems. You can sign up for affiliate programs and get commissions for selling products that address your readers pain points (and according to the FTC, you must disclose that you are doing that – that’s why I have the Disclaimer above). You can sell your own products through storefronts like Gumroad, Shopify, and Amazon. You can make and sell your own courses on Teachable or conduct webinars and sell yours products that way. You can also augment your website sales by creating “Gigs” through Fiverr – there are many ways to bring solutions to your readers and ethically make money doing so.
So you get it so far, right? But wait, there’s more!
If you really want to do this right, you need to be a business, not a hobby. You need to form something like an LLC. You need to consider a number of other things that actually go into making a business. Luckily, I’ve captured many of these things in a free cheat sheet that I’ll email to you.
When you walk through that cheat sheet, it’ll uncover things you probably wouldn’t have thought about, and make the job a lot easier.
Here are some examples of how to earn money online with a side hustle
Here are some of the more popular topics (also called niches). These niches are fairly steady and “scratch the itch” of a lot of people year in and year out:
- Building Courses
- Frugality and Personal Finance
- Home Decor
- Specialty Topics (for example, flashlights of all things!)
- How to Make Money Online
- Food and Recipes
- Beauty and Fashion
- Personal Development
- Tech and Gaming
So how do you pick a niche that you will be interested in AND that will eventually result is sales?
Well, the answer to that is fairly standard. Typically it falls in line with these points from Entrepreneur.com
- Pick a topic you enjoy talking about – you need to enjoy the topic and be able to sustain it with content over time.
- Do market research. Make sure your topic is something that will translate to sales. Try typing your topic into Google Trends and see if it’s steady or growing. A topic that is faddish and declining is probably something to avoid. For example, blogging today about fidget spinners is not likely to translate to sales
- Niche down (pick a smaller niche). Making your blog and business about hiking is probably too wide and saturated in coverage. Try drilling down to something like hiking in the Adirondacks or hiking boots for kids.
- Make sure it’s profitable. There a a lot of ways to do this but an easy quick check is to enter your topic in Google and see if brands or businesses are advertising for your keywords (see the word “Ad”)
Is this making sense? So, let’s recap:
- Pick a niche that you can stick with
- Work to understand the problems that people are trying to have solved within that niche
- Do some basic checks to see if the topic is viable (trends over time and advertisers competing for that topic)
- Get your site online with a hosting company, choose your domain and theme
- Setup your business (structure, finances, etc (see my cheat sheet))
- Begin writing your content, publishing it, starting an email list, using social media to promote your content
Be aware that it can take several months of work before you start seeing any appreciable income
If you’re strapped for cash at the outset, the hosting and setting up of your business could set you back several hundred dollars. When you weigh that against other forms of side hustle where you trade your time for money and get a paycheck within a week or two, you might be better off doing that. The downside is that when you stop working, the income stops.
A key difference with your online business side hustle is that if you have time on your side and the desire to see it through, earning money online with a side hustle is challenging, fun, rewarding and a great way to earn passive income!
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