In today’s economic climate, earning an extra income is becoming more and more essential. The significant rise in the cost of living we’ve all experienced in recent years, from utility bills to food prices has put some of us in genuine financial difficulty – to the point there are many people having to work multiple part-time and sometimes even full-time jobs in order to keep food on the table, a car on the road, and a roof over their head.
That said, in recent years, the amount of people who have started to make a considerable income working from their dining room table has grown exponentially; indeed, the internet has created an incredibly cost-efficient platform that has levelled the playing field for people of all backgrounds and circumstances – significantly reducing the financial barriers to entry associated with setting up a side hustle.
Today, there are many empowered solopreneurs making vast amounts of money leveraging their skills and abilities, particularly when it comes to craft businesses, such as those found on Etsy.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to make extra money it can often be tempting to get caught up in the next fad; whether that’s an online business model offering wildly unrealistic rewards… a network marketing company which might be credibly but is unlike to deliver a return on your investment for several months, if not years… or even a market research company that promises to compensate you for your time filling in a plethora of forms; to only receive a few worthless vouchers!
The reality is there’s no ‘free lunch’… and if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is. In truth, if you are looking to make a sustainable income from a side hustle, the most reliable way to go about this is to set up your own business that you have complete control over. This is sometimes known as a side-hustle, due to the fact it’s a lifestyle business designed to make a bit of extra income rather than a high-growth business that’ll turn you into the next Richard Branson!
This article provides a few side hustle ideas and then addresses the fundamentals of what you’ll need in order to set-up shop.
It’s very possible to sell handmade jewellery nowadays on sites like eBay and Etsy. Whether you wish to make the jewellery yourself or import it from countries such as India and China, there’s a significant amount of profit to be made in selling handmade jewellery. You might want to check out Alibaba.com as a possible supplier for wholesale products such as wooden beads of necklace clasps.
There’s also the option to personalise items of jewellery such as a bracelet or an infinity necklace to the customer’s specific requirements; as people tend to pay a premium for items that are customised to reflect their name or personality. There are all sorts of options with selling jewellery online… the challenge, as with any business, is finding customers – however there’s plethora of options for this too from online marketing to more traditional activities such as attending a local craft fair.
If you’re pretty nifty when it comes to papercraft then making handmade greeting cards can be a pretty lucrative option. Within this, one growing market are companies looking to provide company birthday cards for employees, in order to make them feel valued and recognised. If you can get in with a few large companies to provide handmade greeting cards, or better still, personalised greeting cards this could be a fantastic money-maker as you don’t have to hunt for customers (or spend money trying to get them to find out about you)… it could be as simple as a company’s HR department providing a database with their employees birthdate, and you sending a card on the company’s behalf. This way, the company gets a full service solution, meaning they don’t need to organise any logistics – and pay a flat fee for you to send a handmade greeting card to each employee.
Let’s say it costs you $1 to create the card. You sell the card, and associated service for $5 per employee. You might have to pay an additional $1 for postage and so on; but this is still a profit of $3 per card. If a company has 500 employees – that’s $1,500. Imagine you find five companies that would like this service; that would be $7,500 with no additional marketing costs.
If you’re naturally talented in the kitchen, you’ll be surprised by how much people are willing to pay for a decent celebratory cake. You don’t need anything more than what you probably already have lying about in your kitchen and if you were to consider catering special events such as weddings, engagement parties, and even children’s birthday parties… you can make a surprising amount of money simply baking cakes!
You can find a variety of cheap second-hand items on eBay and Craigslist or in garage sales and thrift stores that you can then upcycle, or simply sell on at a profit by marketing or packaging the item better… and it’s not limited to furniture or craft based endeavours, simple side hustles such as buying jeans in thrift shops and selling them online can deliver $500 per month.
WRITING AND EDITING
If you’re good with words or simply have an eye for detail there are plenty of opportunities to work as a freelance writer or editor in a way that fits around your existing commitments – as an example, many people work remotely with complete time freedom but also a regular stream of writing gigs by signing up with a reputable online copywriting agency. The pay varies on ability and specialist knowledge but it’s easy to generate an additional $200 – $400 per week if you put the time in. This, along with other digitally focused ideas such as managing people’s social media profiles is a great thing to do if you have a job where you have ‘dead time’ – as an example, if you were to work in a hotel on a night shift when it’s very quiet.
GETTING YOURSELF OUT THERE
- SET UP A WEBSITE OR PLATFORM FOR YOUR CREATIVE BUSINESS
You don’t need to necessarily build your own website, as there are a variety of platforms such as Etsy that do all the hard work for you, and not only do they allow you to tout your wares and promote your products – they also do a marvelous job at connecting you with a self selecting audience who are naturally looking for what you offer. The beauty with having an online marketing platform is that people are coming to you, rather than you having to go out and chase customers.
- GET ON EBAY
Don’t underestimate the power of eBay. It might not be as ‘current’ and trendy as platforms such as Pinterest and Etsy, but don’t underestimate the humongous user base eBay has. eBay is particularly good if you were to utilise your DIY skills and upcycle some creative furniture; just remember to list your items as “buy it now” in order to get the best results.
- LEVERAGE OTHERS
Have you ever been to a boutique hotel and seen some quirky furniture or artwork and wondered where the owners sourced such interesting creations. Many times, hotel owners are working with local solopreneurs in a contradeal where the hotel or restaurant are provided with “free” furniture in return for advertising their business.
- OFFLINE MARKETING
The tip above outlines a very effective example of offline marketing that captures the power of both personal recommendation and social proof; however, simple traditional approaches such as flyers, posters, and handing out business cards to promote your business remain effective ways to generate awareness.
- ONLINE MARKETING
Online marketing methods, particularly in terms of social media, are one of the most effective and most cost efficient ways to build awareness of your new brand. There’s a lot to consider within this realm; from content marketing such as blogging and vlogging to online advertising such as Facebook and Google Ads. Then, there’s the main social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – all of which require a decent following in order to get traction and momentum to be noticed as a brand.
In summary, there are a number of ways you can generate money through setting up a creative side hustle but the real challenge is found in getting customers. If you are able to find a customer base that are willing to commission your creative items according to their specific tastes and preferences – rather than you make creative items in the hope that someone, one day, will purchase them – this will make for a much more efficient and financially rewarding business model.
That said, a creative side hustle isn’t purely about money… it should be a fun and passion based venture that allows you to express your creativity in a way that benefits you and others.