You might have heard of some ways to earn an income online. So today I’m going to talk about how to make money through side hustles. Here’s my honest take on the ones that work.
If you are thinking if the side hustling thing is for you, here are a few reasons you might be fit for this:
- You’re a millennial and you go to work for more than a paycheck.
- Change, meaningful work, and/or making a difference all matters to you.
- You question and challenge authority.
- You have your own independent thinking.
- You are knowledgeable about a topic that your friends always go to you for.
- You’re impatient with the status quo and how systems are.
- You’re curious, experimental, and that stubborn soul of yours would rather learn through trial and error than through authority, your boss, or your parents.
- You have your own vision of how certain things should be.
#1 Make money and passive income with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is no new concept, but it’s still a proven way to make smart passive income on the side. The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t even need your own product to make a sale.
If you’ve built up enough traffic that comes through search engines and queries, you can get commissions from affiliate sales on autopilot. From my experience, reviews of a product and how-to posts (or a blend of both) were my highest performing posts.
Pros of affiliate marketing
- You don’t need your own product
- No inventory or overhead expenses
- You don’t have to worry about customer support if the product breaks
- Once your evergreen article is optimized for SEO, click-throughs, and conversions, you can make affiliate commissions on autopilot
Cons of affiliate marketing
- You’re selling someone else’s product
- It’s only effective if you can get your articles to rank on the first two pages of Google
- Your article must be of immense value, engaging and more in-depth than everything else out there in order to make sales
- It’s not very effective as a full-time business, but good to have in place if you have other revenue streams
- Some niches have better affiliate commissions than others. For example, for physical products, the payout commissions are usually only 2-5%. For digital software products, the commissions can range from 30-50%. That’s because the cost of goods sold increases for physical products, but remains the same for digital products. For example, for every backpack, North Face manufactures, it has to pay someone to make an additional backpack. For software products, however, once the product is completed, the labor costs remain the same and the company can have 200 or 2000 customers, but they don’t need to pay for each additional unit of software sold.
#2 Make money through brand sponsorships
Not everyone can or wants to land huge sponsorships and one-year contracts with big brands. But even small bloggers with an engaged audience can be chosen for smaller brand sponsorship packages. Like affiliate marketing, you don’t have to deal with the conception, creation, and inventory of having your own products. But you do, need to share your audience with the brand you’re working with because ultimately they want to maximize their reach to get more customers as well.
Pros of sponsorships
- You don’t need to create or inventory your products.
- Brands are willing to work with small engaged audiences as well; it’s more about being the right fit.
- Through collaborations, you really get to understand how business partnerships and dynamics work without having to run a full-time business
Cons of sponsorships
- The influencer selection can be long and tedious and the brands usually make the ultimate decision on who they want to collaborate with
- You don’t have a lot of control over your income
- It takes time to build up an engaged audience.
#3 Make money by offering a service or consultation.
If you’ve ever worked for a boss at any level, you’ve had a taste of being in a service business. The only difference between freelancing and employment is that you get to set your own fees, work hours, and reap all the profits coming in as a freelancer. You also have to go out and find your own clients as well.
Pros of services
- Working with clients is the fastest route to adopting the skill of empathy and understanding people’s problems. If you’re a content marketer or course creator, your empathetic skill is going to set the foundation for your content and products.
- It’s relatively easy and low-cost to start. The only pre-requisite is to have a skill that others desire or need.
Cons of services
- Your time isn’t scalable. For every client you take on and work with, you can’t spend your time elsewhere.
- Clients are people and people can be unpredictable. It can be draining to work with desperate and temperamental clients.
Offering a service to an established online entrepreneur is probably the best side hustle idea to start with. A lot of skills I learned as a copywriting freelancer really helped me in blogging and eventually writing my own launch emails. The great thing about services is that your packages can grow as your own skills grow.
#4 Make money by selling digital products.
While most people don’t start a side hustle to create e-products such as e-books, e-courses, and membership sites, it’s still another form of revenue-generating activity. Simply put, it takes a lot of time upfront to write an e-book or create an e-course. It’s much easier to collaborate with brands and promote other people’s products.
Pros of e-products
- You have full control of how much you want to sell and how you want to position yourself
- It’s scalable. You only have to create your product once and resell it over and over again.
Cons of e-products
- It takes a lot of time upfront to create.
- You need to have a marketing and launch plan. Build it and they will come isn’t a strategy.
Digital products take more time to create but aren’t completely impossible if you want this to be your first make money with side hustles idea. You do need to understand your market a bit more. I’ve seen it happen though it can take a few months to come to fruition.