The Beginner’s Guide to Remote Side Hustles: Everything You Need to Know
Have you ever thought about making some extra money on the side?
Side hustles are not part-time jobs in the traditional sense, which means they don’t involve clocking in at the local fast food restaurant or department store. Instead, side hustles are a division of what is often referred to as the gig economy, and it’s taking hold of a whole generation.
The “gig economy” refers to people who don’t work full-time, 9-5 positions. Instead, they most often work a collection of jobs or gigs that occur at a varied frequency. Many of these “gigs” can include side hustles!
The benefits of a side hustle include making your own hours, being your own boss, and being more in control of your finances. Plus, they can also be a nice financial support if you enter into a job loss situation as well.
This side hustle revolution has steadily gained more traction with the recent focus put on remote-anything: writing and editing, retail sales via bulk ordering, and website proofing are just a few common examples. The remote aspect not only adds a wide variety of types of side hustles that are profitable, but it also gives you flexible options to diversify your revenue streams and bring in some extra income!
If you’re thinking about a remote side hustle, this is your guide. We’re exploring how to start side hustling in this article, as well as touching on a variety of side hustles to help you identify which one might be best for you.
How to Start a Side Hustle
Side hustles are a great way to earn extra income because they are, by design, not supposed to take up all of your time. But just because they aren’t full-time doesn’t mean they don’t require effort. If they all were purely easy to do, there’s a good chance more people would be doing them.
However, with enough time and work, they are a great way to take control of your finances and reach new monetary goals!
As you prepare yourself to start out on your side-gig adventure, be sure to keep in mind that they demand a focus on prioritization. You want to maximize the time you spend on your side hustle and still allow yourself time to decompress before getting back to your main job.
Side hustles take an almost ruthless commitment to prioritization. Since you are generally working your side hustle after your full workday is over or on your time off each week, you’ll need to decide almost daily what is most important to you at that time. This can include forgoing drinks with friends to work on building your new gig or spending one full weekend day dedicated to your side job. When you work multiple jobs, you occasionally have to sacrifice “free time” so that you can give your side hustle the attention it deserves.
Another important aspect of side hustles is managing realistic expectations. Working on the side probably won’t change your life overnight, and it might never even replace a full-time job.
Not only does it take time to find customers when you’re starting a side hustle, but it also takes as long, if not longer, to do the work that runs the business, whatever it may be. Whether it’s social media creation, website design, or product/service preparedness, all of them take effort.
However, don’t let the hustle deter you from side-hustling — with enough effort and dedication, a side hustle could provide you with enough money to save for a financial emergency or maybe even a luxurious vacation!
Prepare for a Marathon When Building Your Remote Side Hustle
There’s a common saying that states overnight success takes at least ten years. When you start thinking about picking up some work on the side, that same mentality applies.
The stories of simple side hustles that quickly made people millionaires are inspiring, but you shouldn’t bank on leaving your full-time job immediately after finding a remote side hustle. At the same time, though, you shouldn’t start with a defeatist attitude. In fact, your mindset should be exactly the opposite.
Understanding the challenges any business has of getting started will help keep you focused on progress, not profit. If you realize that massive success is possible, your mindset will arm you with the resilience, determination, and patience to make that dream a reality.
Before diving into your new side business head first, take some time to plan on how you will build your brand and what progress looks like to you!
Define Success for Yourself
Even with limited weekly hours to focus on your potential side hustle, you need to plan the time you will spend. Remember that the more time you spend working on your side gig, the more you take from some other part of your life.
So, before you journey further down the side hustle path — ask yourself if you’re ready to work to make it successful and what success looks like! Are you envisioning a side hustle that will turn into a full-time job? Or maybe a side hustle that will provide you with some extra savings for a mortgage?
Keep in mind that side hustles don’t have to turn into million-dollar ventures. Yours might be a success if it covers your rent, credit bill, or some other bill in your life. For someone whose side hustle is built upon a particular creative passion or endeavor, success might look like something as simple as actually generating sales from your creations and putting your work out into the world!
Define success, then make sure you can say, “Yes, I’m ready to dedicate time, resources, and anything else to make that mark.” Once you do that, you are ready for the next stage!
Identify the WHY Behind Your Side Hustle & Your Skills and Interests
A lot of side gigs are generated from a person’s particular skill or interest. Think about passions you have, such as playing music or gardening, then take time to consider ways in which you can monetize that.
When considering a side hustle, don’t get hung up on having the most original or clever idea. Think about what problem you can help people solve, and then develop your business around that.
For example, if gardening is your passion, you might want to consider starting a garden design or consulting business. With a simple website, a client referral or two, and a portfolio of your work, you could be on your way to helping people make functional gardens in small spaces.
Your Side Hustle Doesn’t Have to Be a Passion Project
Don’t be afraid if you don’t have a particularly marketable passion or you simply don’t feel like you need to turn every aspect of life into money.
There are plenty of side hustles that are purely transactional, in the sense that you don’t have to love it, but it works simply as a functional business. There is nothing wrong with your focus being on turning a profit instead of monetizing something you already do.
(Don’t worry — we’ll explore those types of side hustles later in this guide.)
Find Ways to Stand Out with Your Side Gig
After you have your idea, it is time to start looking at your competitors. Do a quick Google search, scroll social media, and check out blogs — look anywhere where there might be others doing or selling what you want to do.
See how they are succeeding or failing, then determine how you can differentiate yourself from them. Your niche could be as simple as your product being completely hand-sewn or designed. It could also be developing a better way to handle orders or customer requests — maybe through an online portal!
Examine your competitors to understand better how and where you’ll fit into a marketplace. Then, find a way to make your vision fill in the blanks they are missing.
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Validate and Promote Yourself as Your Side Hustle Grows
Any step forward is still a step ahead — keep that in mind as you settle on an idea for your side hustle. Once you think you have it ready to go, it’s time to put the wheels in motion and take action.
Let’s say you’ve decided to start a t-shirt selling business. After you have your designs finalized, you’ll need to locate a company to press the t-shirts for you, unless you plan on investing the time and money to do it yourself. Many businesses like TeeSpring or Redbubble will print your t-shirts on demand and send them to your customers, so you don’t have to deal with unused inventory and shipping details.
After you have a design and printer ready to go, it’s time to start chasing that first sale. Use social media, word of mouth, or anything you may think of to drive sales. That first sale will probably be your most memorable and validating, but the task of consistency and repetition come next, so be ready.
Validation is the first step to building an audience and a customer base, and the sooner you build your customer base, the sooner you start making a profit through your side gig!
Side Hustles for Creatives
One of the benefits of certain side hustles is that not only can you do them from home, but they often don’t require a lot of startup funding. That means that you will most likely already own most of the tools needed to do the side hustle.
If you have any skills with the written word, an eye for design, or a deep understanding of grammar, there are opportunities to earn money with your talents as a copywriter/editor or freelance graphic designer.
Build a Portfolio
This type of work will require a portfolio for you to really reap some financial benefits, which can seem like a daunting task. However, the good news is that if you are just starting out, you can often barter your skills to customers for their work in order to build up your portfolio.
To get started, think locally. Look for brands and businesses that are local or nearby and see what is missing from their website. Offer to create that content in exchange for using the finished piece in your portfolio.
Once you have some credibility, you’ll be much more likely to secure jobs with your creative skills!
Grow Your Freelance Business
Once you have some pieces in your portfolio, regardless of the type of writing, designing, and editing you are focusing on, it’s time to start increasing awareness. There are multiple websites where you can offer your services for a price, but one of the most popular is Fiverr.
All you need to do is create your account by choosing what it is you are offering and at what rates you want to charge. Then, ideally, the thousands of people and businesses who use the service will locate you, and your freelance side hustle will begin to take root.
One of the best aspects of these freelance opportunities is that every business requires some form of writing or graphic design to be successful.
So, even if you only start out as a long-form blog writer, for example, you could find potential opportunities to add marketing emails or website copywriting to your skill tree and offerings over time. The same goes for editing and graphic design; start by focusing on one or two types of work and expand as you grow.
More Digital Side Hustles You Can Do from Home
If you’re not a writer, designer, or editing wizard but you’d still like to earn some extra income online, there are plenty more options. These three side hustles earn you extra money online without needing to flex your creative muscles.
Website testing isn’t the technical job that it sounds like. It mostly involves clicking through and around websites and apps to make sure everything works properly.
Website testing is crucial to businesses because when sites don’t deliver a quality user experience, it costs the business money in lost sales. The most important aspect of a website is its functionality. This includes all the sub-pages loading correctly, any search boxes returning proper results, and hyperlinks working correctly.
Once you finish the required testing, all you’ll need to do is report back to the project manager or website about your experience. It may also involve logging areas of the website that didn’t function properly so they know what to fix!
To get started in this side hustle, take advantage of Google and search for website testing opportunities. BetaTesting and Usertesting are two great websites where you can find these types of job opportunities and manage your assignments.
This side hustle is the closest to being an online retailer without needing an actual store or brand to succeed.
Dropship businesses are run right from your home. Essentially, you buy products in bulk from a discount site and then sell them on a popular digital platform. This allows the bulk site and sales platform to integrate so that when people buy from you, the entire ordering and shipping process is handled using automated integrations.
The clear difference between a dropship business and other online stores is that you are buying products that are sold on sites like Amazon. You’re just buying products and setting up product pages on a Shopify site instead of making products you can call your own.
There’s a method to finding what products sell best, and the best way to succeed rapidly is to learn from where others have failed. There are plenty of dropshippers willing to share not only their experience but also tips for locating the highest-selling products.
The biggest challenge and the largest cost comes with picking and choosing which products you will dropship.
Side Hustles Are About Maximizing You!
There are many, many more side hustles out there that you can turn into profitability, but the key to any of them is you.
You get to decide what you want to focus on and attempt to earn money from. You can take the long road and try turning a passion into side hustle money, or you can look for something that requires little creative effort and offers a more direct line to income.
The power and the choice are yours. Side hustles shouldn’t take over your life, but that doesn’t mean they can’t improve it.
If you’re ready to give it a go, take a few minutes and think about how much extra money you want to make from your side gig. Then turn inward and decide what type of work you’d do to get that money. From there, it’s only a matter of will.
Side hustle success isn’t as far away as you might have thought!