How to Figure Out What Your Side Hustle Should Be

Written by

Does it seem like everyone you know is suddenly working more than one job – usually a full-time job plus a side gig?

If the answer to this question is yes, you’re definitely not imagining things: according to a 2022 survey, a staggering 93% of adults in America are working a side hustle to make ends meet.

Chances are, you’re also thinking about getting in on the action and starting your own side hustle. But what kind of side hustle is right for you? It goes without saying that what works for one person might not be right for another.

There are a ton of great side hustles that you can do in 2022, and narrowing it down can be overwhelming.

To help you figure it out, I’ve created this guide to finding the right side hustle for your skills, personality, and lifestyle.

Summary: How to Find the Right Side Hustle?
The best way to find the right side hustle for you is to carefully consider factors such as:

  1. Your interests, hobbies, and strengths
  2. How much time you can devote to a side hustle
  3. Whether there’s a demand for the service or product you’re offering
  4. What your short- and long-term goals are

What Is a Side Hustle?

What qualifies as a side hustle?

Well, a side hustle can be any kind of part-time job, monetized hobby, or informal gig, so long as it’s not your day job (on that note, if you already have a side hustle and are looking to turn it into your full-time job, check out my guide to how to turn your side hustle into a business).

To put it simply, a side hustle can be anything you do in your off-work hours that earns you some extra cash.

Most people cite financial concerns as their primary motivation for starting a side hustle, such as paying off debt or saving up for a big purchase like a car, house, or luxury vacation.  

The coronavirus pandemic put further stress on many families, but sometimes hardship can breed creativity: according to a CNBC report, the year 2020 saw a 42% increase in new business formations in the U.S.

While some start side hustles to supplement their income, others, however, say that they simply work because they enjoy their side hustle or they’re using it as a chance to develop their skills and experience in a different field.

Regardless of your motivations, if you’re like the vast majority of American adults, chances are you’re looking to start your own side hustle.

Now, let’s explore how to find the right side hustle for you.

Things to Consider When Looking for a Side Hustle

Here are the most important things to think about when trying to figure out what your side hustle should be.

1. Your Interests & Hobbies

It goes without saying that we all have our own unique interests, hobbies, and preferences when it comes to the kind of work we do. 

The right side hustle for you will ideally be one that aligns with at least a few of your interests, and – perhaps even more importantly – doesn’t involve anything that you dislike too much.

For example, if you can’t stand being around children, then babysitting is probably not the best choice for you.

But other than avoiding what you don’t like, how can you narrow down what you do like?

Your hobbies are a good place to start when it comes to brainstorming your ideal side hustle. Are you an amateur artist or crafter?

You could sell your creations on popular creators’ marketplaces such as Etsy or Redbubble or even create your own eCommerce website to sell your work.

Are you a musician? You can offer online or in-person music lessons in your free time. Are you a whiz at a particular academic topic?

Consider offering your services as a tutor for middle or high school students, or sign up to teach ESL online through a service like VIP Kids or Cambly.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box: with a little creativity, pretty much anything can be turned into a lucrative side hustle.

Do you have a green thumb and a little extra space in your garden? You could be able to make a profit off of your hobby gardening by selling plants like Craig Odem, a Tennessee pastor who earns $10K a year from his backyard nursery side hustle.

No matter what your skill or interest is, you can build a side hustle as a freelancer by advertising your services on either a freelancing site like Fiverr or a social media platform like Nextdoor or Facebook.

If you aren’t feeling the spark of creative inspiration when it comes to having a side hustle, don’t worry: you absolutely don’t have to turn into an entrepreneur overnight to make some cash on the side.

Have a car and a few hours to spare on nights and weekends? Sign up to drive for a ride-sharing app.

Sure, this last one is probably not your hobby or passion per se, but it is a reliable side hustle that can earn you up to $32K a year, depending on where you live.

2. Your Strengths & Weaknesses

Here’s where you have to be honest with yourself: what are you good at? And what are you not so good at?

Your strengths and weaknesses are super important factors when it comes to choosing the right side hustle because by understanding them, you can avoid setting yourself up for an unnecessary failure.

find your niche

Let’s look at examples of two things that many people struggle with: organization and time management.

If you have a hard time staying organized, particularly with your time commitments, you may want to avoid side hustles that require a high level of professionalism, such as freelancing with multiple clients.

The same goes for time management: taking on independent projects as a freelancer requires you to be able to manage your time on your own, without a boss looking over your shoulder. This is, frankly, not something that everyone is good at.

However, if you’re one of those lucky few for whom organization and time management is a breeze, good for you! Did you know you can even turn these skills into a lucrative side hustle?

A professional organizer is a growing career option that can be done full-time or part-time and offers you the chance to put your organizational strength to use and earn money by helping clients achieve some order in their living and working spaces.

A similar (albeit trickier) potential side hustle could be to offer your services as a life coach and help guide people towards better habits and decisions in their lives.

All in all, it’s best to be honest with yourself from the beginning and don’t take on a side hustle that goes against the grain of who you are and what your lifestyle looks like. And this brings us to…

3. Your Time Commitment

Time commitment is another area in which it’s important to be honest and realistic with yourself.

There are only 24 hours in a day, and most of us have a slew of other commitments and responsibilities in our lives, from family and friend obligations to housework, errands, and – of course – our day jobs.

With all of that going on, do you really have the time to start a side hustle freelancing as a web developer and take on six clients at once?

Maybe you do – that’s something only you can know. Regardless of what your side hustle is, just make sure that you have the time and mental bandwidth you need to make it succeed. 

This is particularly important if your side hustle involves working with clients who expect you to produce high-quality work and finish their projects promptly and professionally.

Failing to do so – producing shoddy work, or constantly extending deadlines – will earn you a bad reputation and can quickly damage your side hustle enterprise.

Remember: for a freelancer, reviews and recommendations are everything.

In addition to not letting your clients and customers down, you also don’t want to drive yourself crazy trying to balance everything. Remember that no side hustle is worth sacrificing your sanity

In short, if you think a particular side hustle will be too time-consuming, either find a way to scale it back or find something more manageable.

4. Market Forces

It’s basic economics: if there’s too much competition in a given field, it will be harder for any one competitor to achieve success.

market forces

It’s just like your childhood lemonade stand: it was successful when you were the only business on the block, but when all the other kids dragged their own lemonade stands out to the street, suddenly, things weren’t so easy for you.

The same logic applies to adult side hustles, too. If the market in your niche or area is too crowded, you may have a harder time breaking in.

On the other hand, a crowded niche could indicate a high demand for that particular service or skill – it takes careful research before diving in to figure out whether there’s a demand for what you’re offering, which will tell you whether you’ll be able to make a profit from your side hustle or not.

5. Your Monetary Goals

It stands to reason that some side hustles are more lucrative than others, and this is something that you should consider when looking for your perfect side hustle.

If your goal is to just earn a bit of extra spending money each month, that can be accomplished with a relatively less time-consuming and/or specialized side hustle, like driving a few hours a week for a ride-sharing app or starting a small pet-sitting business.

On the contrary, if you’re looking to earn some serious cash – maybe you want to pay down your student loans quickly or reach a financial goal before the end of the year – then you’ll need to find a side hustle with more lucrative potential. 

Accordingly, you’ll also likely need to spend more of your time outside of your day job working at your side hustle. Hey, time is money, after all. If you want the big bucks, you’ll have to put in the hours.

Advice: What to Look for When You’re Looking for a Side Hustle

If you pay attention to these factors and put in some careful thought and consideration, you should be well on your way to finding the right side hustle for you.

To help you along with this process, here are a few more words of advice.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Let’s say you try to start a side hustle selling your baking creations online, only to find that it’s a flop.

Maybe you weren’t able to put in as much time as you thought you could, or maybe the customers just weren’t biting. In the end, you had to scrap the whole idea.

That’s okay! You may not always stick the landing on the first try, and it’s important to be able to learn from your failure, let it go, and move forward.

Try to take a critical look at what exactly went wrong and use that information to your advantage with your next side hustle idea.

Just make sure that you don’t get too attached to any one idea, particularly in the beginning. 

The things that seem brilliant and visionary in our heads don’t always turn out that way in reality, and knowing when to cut your losses and move on to something new is an incredibly valuable business skill.

Start Small, Then Scale Up Sustainably

This relates to my earlier point on being realistic about how much time you can devote to your side hustle.

It’s easy to get too excited about your new side hustle and imagine what it could look like as a full-blown business venture.

This isn’t a bad thing – it’s good to have big visions for the future! However, starting too big and scaling up too fast can majorly put your side hustle at risk of failure.

This can come in the form of burnout (i.e., biting off more than you can chew and getting overwhelmed) or even in the form of devoting too many financial resources to your side hustle before you’re sure it will be profitable.

It takes money to make money, but that doesn’t mean that you should spend all your hard-earned cash right at the beginning.

Creating a budget and sticking to a strict work schedule can help you avoid these pitfalls and allow you to expand your side hustle in a responsible, sustainable way.

Get Online

smitten kitchen

Ever since the early 2000s, the internet has been a goldmine for side hustlers of all kinds.

Although there are some obvious, tried-and-true ways to earn money on the internet (such as selling products on eBay or other auction sites), did you know that it’s also possible to make money through blogging and other forms of social media?

If you already have a blog or even just a great idea for starting a blog, there are a bunch of different ways to monetize it and turn it into a lucrative side hustle.

Take Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, who turned her food blog devoted to easy, no-fuss cooking into a successful business complete with two published cookbooks.

Earning money by blogging, or earning money on social media, are some of the most fun side hustles since you can work from pretty much anywhere and make a profit from sharing the things that interest you with your audience.

While the amount of money bloggers and social media content producers make varies a lot (and you shouldn’t expect to earn much, if anything, at the beginning), it’s worth looking into since it can be an enjoyable, rewarding, and sustainable side hustle.

If you’re interested in other ways to make money online, check out my article on how to make $100 a day on the internet.

The Bottom Line: How to Find the Right Side Hustle

At the end of the day, what the right side hustle is for you is a question that only you can answer.

When it comes to finding inspiration, consider your strengths, skills, and hobbies. Try to find a way that these could be monetized, or at least incorporated into a lucrative side hustle.

Think practically, and make sure you carefully consider factors such as your time constraints and your pre-existing responsibilities to ensure that you’re not taking on more than you can handle. 

Do your research into whether there’s a market for the product and service you’re selling, and if so, how to best market yourself and connect with potential clients and customers.

Finally, stay positive and don’t worry if the first thing you try is a flop. Life is all about trial and error, and if you put in the time and energy, you’re sure to find a side hustle that’s right for you.

References

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly roundup newsletter and get the latest industry news & trends

By clicking 'subscribe" you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.

I truly enjoyed this course! Most things you may have heard before, but some were new or delivered in a new way of thinking. It's more than worth it - Tracey McKinney
Learn how to create revenue by getting started with 40+ ideas for side hustles.
Get Started With Your Side Hustle (Fiverr Learn Course)