Side hustles serve as sort of a side business for you to generate income. In our case, we also regard skills that allow you to create those side businesses as a side hustle. While they can replace your main job, you should never leave your main job until you are sure that your side hustle is really taking off!
Side hustles are useful as they allow you to reach your financial goals faster by supplementing your income sources. They also help you to gain new skills by trying out new things and learning, allowing you to grow as a person.
In lieu of the lock down due to COVID 19, there has never been a better time to upskill and upgrade yourself. Make your time more productive at home by learning new things, and who knows, they may even generate an additional stream of income for you in the future! Find out why you need multiple income streams here.
In the future, your side hustle may even replace your main job so that you can end up doing what you love all while making money. With that said, let's get into the top 5 side hustles that you can consider starting or learning about during the lock down.
Learning to invest
Did you expect something else as the first suggestion? This entire blog is about investing and self improvement, so you bet we're putting this one first! Investing can totally turn from a side hustle to a full time job due to the snowball effect.
Once you have a sizable sum of money accumulated in the market, it can effectively replace your main job as your main income source. Of course, while that's the end goal, it takes quite a while to get there and it can be risky, so don't just give up your job quite yet.
There are generally two types of investors - the long term ones and the short term day traders. We recommend being a long term investor, because 80% of the market these days are controlled by algo-traders with high speed trading algorithms and more often than not, you will lose out trying to out trade them.
For a long term investor, there are two main ways of accumulating wealth - through capital growth or through dividends. Basically, capital growth is the increase in intrinsic value of the investment product, and dividends are cash payouts every so often.
If you're new to investing, check out our beginner's guide to investing! It will help you get started in understanding more about why you need to invest and how to start investing.
The best thing about investing is that it truly is passive income. The only work you have to do is research on what and when you want to buy things, and then your money will work for you, hopefully forever. Just sit back, and watch your money grow (or fall). It's risky, but very, very worth it.
Nowadays, there are robo-advisors and regular saving plans that take all the hassle out of investing. Or you could just dump your money into an index fund or ETF and forget about it, and collect the earnings years from today. You decide how much effort you want to put into investing. Either way, it truly is a great source of passive income, and you should get started as soon as possible. In this way, you give your money time to grow itself!
Learning to code
I know, this is said literally everywhere. You have probably heard all the buzz about big data, artificial intelligence and how they are going to take over all our jobs. Well... some parts are true. There is indeed a huge boom in these industries recently as almost every company is striving to digitize their workflow in order to improve automation and drive down costs. Today, knowing how to code is considered to be one of the most useful skills to have in modern society.
Why is coding important? Even if you are not looking to get a job in coding, knowing how to code can be a useful tool to have. Learn how to automate excel sheets, or even tasks like your taxes! Who knows, you might even be working a job that you can automate completely, freeing up your time at work to do... something else.
If you ever want a career switch, knowing how to code will fit you in a lot of places. And if you're ever feeling ambitious, you could code an application yourself and perhaps grow the next unicorn company! Well, of course, it isn't that easy to just "build an app", but it is definitely one of the most useful skills to have - and it's actually not as difficult to pick up as you might think especially if you're just looking to automate your daily tasks. Remember, time is money, so freeing up your time means a lot!
What programming language should I learn?
According to Github (a popular code hosting website), the top programming languages in the world today are:
Pick a language, and start on a beginner course in your free time. We suggest starting with Python, since its syntax is almost like English and is very easily understandable for beginners. It also offers the most usage in terms of automation. We might even release a course on that soon... but first, take a look at its syntax!
name = "Tom" age = 32 print("My name is", name, "and my age is", age)
It literally is English. Okay, well, maybe this is just a super basic example, but don't get intimidated by "coding", and just start. You might surprise yourself! Automate your work, your chores, businesses... the sky's the limit!
Write a blog
Yes... exactly like this one. You could totally make money off blogging. In fact, there are a lot of people that do so. The main perks of creating an income stream using a blog are:
- You get to be in control of your own business and life.
- You can blog literally anywhere with an internet connection. This means you could blog and travel at the same time.
- You could write about something you enjoy writing about. This means that you do research on the things you already enjoy, and by writing it, you gain a deeper understanding of that subject as well. Or, if you just want a blog to vent your thoughts, feel free too!
Blogs may seem like a lot of active upkeep as you have to post regularly to keep the income steady, and even then, your income may be very fickle (due to varying page views). Yet, blogs are often regarded as passive income as you can make money from visitors on your web page even when you sleep.
Honestly, maintaining a blog isn't that hard if you ever reach the point where it becomes your full time job - you just have to write an article every few days or so. Even then, you can travel or do other things while doing it, making it a dream job for many.
That said, don't expect to make money from blogging immediately. It can take months (but usually years) to even start making money. That's why you should regard it as a side hustle, and make sure you have a passion for what you're writing. Writing about things you don't enjoy will burn you out before you even come close to making any money off it!
To start, you can get a cheap managed hosting and install Wordpress (NOT wordpress.com) on it to get your blog up and running for around $5/month. We recommend starting with Wordpress since it has a lot of plugins that you can simply add to your site to get functionality up and running without much thinking (we use Ghost, but we do not recommend it for the non code-savvy). Remember, your main purpose is to write, not spend time trying to get things working!
The difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com is that the former is hosted by you, meaning that you can make whatever changes like add plugins, add advertisements and such as you like. Wordpress.com, on the other hand, is a managed version of Wordpress, and you are generally much more restricted in what you can do with it on the free plan, while the higher plans that offer customization are usually much more expensive than just simply hosting Wordpress yourself. If this sounds complicated to you, do watch out for our guide to blogging!
Blogging actually has a lot of things you don't generally think about. If you're looking into making blogging a side hustle, do read up about search engine optimization (SEO), keyword planning, page speed and content delivery networks. That said, content is still king, so make sure to write good content!
If blogging is not your thing, consider writing web novels. Websites like Webnovel and Wattpad are actually really popular these days as more and more people read online media. If you have dreams of becoming a writer or love writing fiction, short stories, poetry or even novels, try your hand at one of these websites.
If your story gets very popular, you can consider implementing subscription based models for chapter releases and you can earn quite a lot from it rather than the traditional path where you have to get a publisher and do book prints.
There's quite a lot of material to go through, but if you're passionate about writing and sharing, why not make some money while you do it?
Be a Youtube star
In this day and age, Youtube is actually the second largest social network just behind Facebook, with over 2 billion users. That's a lot of people! No wonder some Youtubers are making tons of money off of this platform. And guess what? You can too.
Nowadays, you don't have to be a full on extrovert and a talkative person to be on Youtube. For those who have privacy concerns, you don't even have to show your face on videos to earn money! Just look at the amount of ASMR channels of people cooking meals or baking and getting upwards of 5 million views per video, or the people playing games with just their voice.
For the more outgoing folks, vlogging channels are also popular, but generally those require more upfront investment in terms of equipment for audio. Either way, you can actually make a lot of money off Youtube.
Of course, if you're thinking of doing Youtube as a side hustle, it's kind of like blogging, except that it actually requires more commitment. Making videos is way harder than writing articles, and you need to actually try to release at least a video a week to keep your subscribers flowing. If your video quality is too low, you might not get much views either.
Luckily, these days you can simply use your phone camera with a mini tripod stand and get pretty decent quality video and audio. You can even edit the video together on free software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. Just don't go overboard with the transitions. Simplicity is often the best quality!
Watch some of your favorite Youtubers for ideas and poach some ideas for video niches and editing tips. With Youtube, keyword research can also be important for the Youtube algorithm to recommend you! The starting is going to be really slow, but if you keep at it with consistent uploads, you should gain a sizable following quite quickly (depending on your niche).
As you grow, look into upping your video quality by getting specialized video cameras and/or microphones. The higher quality your videos are, the more people will appreciate them. Of course, content is still king, so make sure that your videos are entertaining!
A good way to make extra money is to offer freelance services. If you like designing or drawing, try Fiverr! You can offer your services and build up a customer base who like your designs. Perhaps you are bilingual, or even a polyglot! You can even offer your translation services, perhaps translating webnovels or other texts to get commissions.
Either way, if you have a skill that's in demand, put it to good use! You'll rack up more experience and get to hone your skills, all while earning money from the comfort of your home. Website design, IT services, anything can be a freelance job.
Of course, the hardest part is in building up your customer base. On Fiverr, for example, you have to rack up pretty good reviews from a large number of customers before you will turn up in the search results.
Therefore, for the initial grind, you might need to turn to social media and advertise your own services to your friends and family first, before trying to build up a reputable businesses on such sites. You could also "cold call" people to see if they require your services!
Either way, freelancing is "active income", meaning that you have to keep working to earn money. It may not be for everyone, since it could mean working a day job and then working again at night, but if you're looking for some supplementary income, or just want to polish your skills, give freelancing a try!
This list of side hustles is certainly non-exhaustive. There are many other methods of generating supplementary income out there, and these are simply some of the most fun, as well as things that you can do while the lock down is happening.
If you're hesitating as to whether a side hustle takes up too much time, that is certainly a valid concern. In lieu of that, you should pick up a side hustle that you truly enjoy doing as a passion or hobby. View side hustles as a way of improving your own skills in that hobby instead of simply "a way of making money". That way, you won't get burnt out or demoralized.
Of course, it is going to be tough to continuously invest your effort into some of these side hustles, but perseverance is key to seeing any significant results. So keep at it, keep hustling, and stay safe out there (or in your home)!
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