Believe it or not, you can earn an extra $5,000 (or more) with only a little bit of dedicated effort. All you need is a side hustle.
I’ve always been a big fan of the side hustle. In fact, being self-employed is the first time I’ve ever held only one job instead of two or three (and I’m still getting used to it).
A side hustle is a small extra or part-time job you take on to increase your income to reach your financial goals.
Everybody should have one.
Why bother with the side hustle to earn an extra $5,000?
Because you like money, duh.
Jk. You will bother with the side hustle because you did the math on your goals and realized you’re not going to hit your targets within the next decade unless you take drastic action. If you want to compare your chances of winning the lottery to getting a job at a local cafe that will let you work two shifts per week, I’ll let you work out which one has a better chance of giving you the cash you need.
Side hustling is exhausting, but it’s also cool. Here’s how to do it wisely.
Monetize a hobby or skill
General labor can always generate income, but typically a specific skill set generates more. For this reason, I suggest leaving the jobs anybody can do (like dog walking or shoveling snow) as last resorts. Instead, focus on a specialized talent you can charge at least $25 per hour for. For example:
- teach a second language
- tutor a high school or college subject
- teach a musical instrument
- try freelance writing
- create and sell something on Etsy
If you can find something that nets you $25 each, you only have to do it 200 times (less than once a day) to earn an extra $5,000 this year.
If this is an hourly tutoring gig, that’s only 4 hours per week. If you’re creating and selling art, double the price and sell 100 pieces — that’s only one every 3 days.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out one of my favorite books, The $100 Startup
One time I went on a date with a guy who scoured estate sales for underpriced antiques, particularly photographs. He told me he once sold a box of train photos that he bought for $25 (yep, just a bunch of pictures of trains) for almost $6,000 on eBay. I don’t know how, or why, I only know he had found a bizarre super niche that required little more investment than the time it took on a Saturday morning to hit up three or four estate sales. And it made him hundreds, often thousands, of dollars richer each month.
If you can spot an opportunity no one else sees, jump on it and exploit it for every penny it’s worth.
Get creative to find a short-term side hustle
Surprisingly, websites like Craigslist or Kijiji are a goldmine for finding short-term side hustles. People are usually looking for able bodies to do mundane but essential tasks at one-time or short stint events, like cleaning out their garage or manning the gates at a music festival.
Be safe and bring a friend if something looks suspicious, but otherwise don’t turn your nose up at something that isn’t quite as fun as spending the day watching Netflix from your couch, but will put $100 to $200 in your pocket by the end of it.
Take on a second or part-time job for the short-term
Working 60 hours per week sucks, but being in debt six years longer than you have to sucks even more. Most part-time job roles are underappreciated and unglamorous, but their payoff never is.
Serving tables is the only reason my student loan debt was $21,000 and not $41,000. Did I like spending a good part of nearly every weekend of my early twenties bringing people their dinner? No. Do I regret it? Not one bit. Very few things in life can be a salve for the wrath of an irate customer, but a fat bank account is one of them.
You only have to earn $100 per week at a part-time job to make an extra $5,000 this year.
Put your side hustle income into a dedicated savings account
Once you secure a second income stream, open a dedicated bank account to catch the funds. If you’re working a part-time job, have your paycheque go directly into this account. If you’re simply grabbing cash on the side, be diligent and disciplined about depositing it into this account on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
If you let your side hustle income into your regular chequing account this will cause two problems:
- You’ll spend it, defeating the purpose of using it to reach a financial goal.
- You’ll get accustomed to spending it, so if it ever goes away, you’ll find it next to impossible to downgrade your inflated lifestyle without pain.
Make sure to save yourself from yourself and put your hard-earned dollars where they belong.
I’m curious: what’s your side hustle and how has it helped your net worth over time?
YES to the separate account. Too easy to let it get caught up in daily spending otherwise.
Freelancing + blogging have been my largest side hustles, but I’ve done so many others things from tutoring to mystery shopping, focus groups, waitressing, etc. I hear ya on always having had 2-3 jobs at once.
Ooh mystery shopping and focus groups are a great idea! I love side hustles that are more interesting!
Side hustles are far too underrated and not nearly enough people appreciate how helpful they can be in accruing extra money! I recently picked up tutoring as a side hustle and I’ve found that it can be a lucrative side hustle even with very few clients. Thanks for sharing, it’s always nice to be reminded of the power of side hustling 🙂
Nice!! It’s true even as few as 4 clients can be hundreds of extra dollars per month for only a few hours of work!
Wonderful ideas. Honestly, I am amazed at how quickly you can earn extra money with a side hustle and how much even $100 extra a month can help your financial goals.
Amen!! $100/mo seems small but $1,200 is NOT.
Totally worth doing a little bit of work for.
I’ve just scratched the surface of side hustles. My blog has started to bring in a liiiiittle bit of moolah, so that’s been nice, but I reinvest those funds back into the blog’s development. I do like to take on freelance projects via UpWork for both marketing and writing. It’s a great way to build my portfolio and make some cash on the side. Not too shabby!
I’ve never heard of UpWork before!! Great resource, thanks for sharing it!!
I’m a strong believer in the side hustle. I’ve used all the income from my second job to pay off my student loan. I could use the money from my 9-5 and been debt free faster but I decided not to and it still took me less than 2 years to pay off $21,000. The extra bonus to a part-time job is the sweet discount I get!
I wish people would look at second jobs differently. I can’t even tell you how many people have told me how ridiculous I am for wasting time on a Saturday or Sunday working a part-time job. At the end of the day, I’m over here laughing because I’m debt free and they might never be!
That’s amazing! Great job Devon!!
I 100% agree. I got a lot of criticism for burning myself out working 7 days/week but it’s WAY easier to be stressed for a short time working hard than stressed for years carrying a big debt!
I’ve had 2 jobs most of my life. I’m a Child and Youth Care counsellor by day and by night lol. I work my day job and then used an evening relief job in the same field to help me pay off my student loan in a year back when I was 24. I’m 32 now and still have my side hustling job as that’s how I’m catching up on my retirement savings, going on awesome trips and living how i want to live! Also starting up my own business- Dog Jogs, which is a side hustle now, but hope it will lead to full time work in the future.
That’s so awesome Nikki! Well done on all your hard work and good luck with your business!
I seem to be addicted to the side hustle. I have worked 2-3 jobs most of my life. At first, it was merely to survive by working two part time jobs to accrue full time income. Now that I am a full time teacher, I still don’t want to lose that extra income! I work part time as a bank teller and tutor on the side as well. Sometimes I miss my free time and sanity, but it’s helped me save thousands of dollars, and the staff bank rates are pretty great too!
Wow! That’s great Emilia!
When my full time job as a fitness coach was cutting back hours last year I jumped at different side jobs. Which was great experience seeing what I did and didn’t like without ever going to school. My favorite was picking up a couple of private caregiving clients (without any experience) for a brief period of time, and then I landed an account receivables job (again without any experience), and now I am being trained more and more within it. My newest job has turned full time, and I am still working part time as a fitness coach. Always keeping my ears to the ground for more opportunities. Every few months I jet off multiple resumes, get interviews and then either pick a temporary job or get some networking in even if its not a match. I have 3 interviews this week, one as a fitness advisor regarding nutrition, one for a midnight key holder for a shipping/receiving company & another as a children’s softball coach. I think its an awesome opportunity to put yourself out there, try something new and make money. I’ve always been high-energy, I’d much rather make money then spend it 🙂
Monica that’s great! That’s a good thing to remember, that your side hustle can develop new marketable skills.
Hell yeah this was useful! I home-brew and sell beer as a side hustle. I want to grow it into an actual business though. So my question for you is: How can I transform this side-hustle into a legitimate business? Do I begin by seeing how much licenses are and go from there?
Ha! That’s amazing!
I would say business licenses are the next step after you make your business/revenue plan. Figure out how much you need to invest to get started, and how much you think you can earn before you start pursuing it as a full-time opportunity. After that, the paperwork is the boring part =p If you can find a small business advisor in the local start-up community (or even ask another bootstrapped brewery) you’ll be able to find what hoops you need to jump through!
I thought about it but have some reservations.
teach a second language – but I can barely speak English even though it’s my first language.
tutor a high school or college subject – I only graduated because the teachers didn’t want to see my mug back in their class another year. Once in college I was failing so I dropped out. Who am I to tutor others?
teach a musical instrument – too noisy. Besides the last time I touched a saxophone was in grade 8. I learned some power chords on guitar just to get girls. How do I turn that into full hour lessons?
try freelance writing – I’m worse at writing than I am at speaking.
create and sell something on Etsy – what is an “Etsy”? Sounds weird. The only thing I’ve “made” for myself in life is a bowl of cereal.
Any other ideas? Am I doomed?
A lot of people turn their noses up at restaurant work, but it is a great way to make some extra money. When we were saving for our wedding, I was substitute teaching during the day, and waitressing at night. I definitely hated being a server, but I knew it was only for the short term, and it really helped us meet our savings goals.
100%! It’s fast, easy (well, relatively haha) money and at the end of the day, a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. It has the same power earned serving tables as it does at any desk job!
I prepare taxes for a side hustle. I generate $75 per hour, but it’s seasonal. I’m looking for opportunities after tax season now.