If the goal of your side hustle is to turn it into your Full Time Hustle, then one thing is certain, you’ve got to make money. Ten years ago the savvy Pinterest Moms (they weren’t called that then but you know the kind I’m talking about) out there started these little online diaries called blogs and the world wen’t nuts. Now some of those women are Internet Influencers and making six figure salaries because they got on the blog boat early and figured out it could be a job.
Nowadays everybody and their brother’s dog has a blog, this author included (in fact, I have two). While that’s great because there’s so much awesome content on the internet and everyone has a voice, it also means its a lot harder to stand out and get your blog off the ground.
The other major way people make a little side money is usually Etsy. I love Etsy for being that place where we can go to find unique, handmade goods and support our brethren of the Side Hustle. But, Etsy has also come a long way in the last decade and there’s tons more commercial manufacturers and professionals there than there used to be, which again, means its harder to stand out and become profitable.
Personally, I think if you’re going to make your side hustle your FT Hustle, you really do have to have a blog presence and an Etsy shop, they are just too important not to. But since we already know they are tough to break into, there’s a need for some side side hustles in order to hold yourself over while you’re waiting to make it “big”. So I’ve taken the liberty of brainstorming 10 ways you can make money with your side hustle that aren’t blogging or Etsy.
Each of the 10 appeals to a different type of side hustle, from a physical good that you create, to a skill you can teach, so every one of them might not work for you, but at least a few of them will for sure. So lets jump in.
1. Guest Blogging
I know I know, but hear me out. There are some huge advantages to guest blogging over creating your own blog. For one, you don’t have to build your own brand and develop your own audience, instead you can borrow someone else’s. You’ve undoubtedly found likeminded entrepreneurs on Instagram, Facebook and various blogs that you love.
Reach out to them. They are probably super friendly. Send them an email (not a long one, they’re busy just like you) gushing about how much you love their content and why it speaks to you. Let them know what your passion is and a couple ideas for blog posts that you have that you think would be a good fit for their audience. If your pitch is good enough, you might get a response. Then you can send them a draft of what you’d like to write. You get exposure to an already built fan base, and they get a day off from creating amazing content.
Where the Money Comes In: Even if you don’t have a blog, you should have SOME kind of online presence, be it a landing page, a Facebook page, an online shop, something. So be sure to include in your guest post where people can find you and buy or subscribe. Like money in the bank, people.
Here is a great article from convinceandconvert.com that gives some great tips on how to pitch your blog post.
2. YouTube Reviews and Unboxing
I haven’t tried this one myself, but it seems like so. Much. Fun. The way this works is you get your hands on a new product related to your THING. Then you film yourself talking about the entire experience of the product, from purchasing it, time of shipping, the look of the packaging, the sights, the smells. This is great for you because you got a new product, for your viewers because they get a really good idea of whether or not this product is for them without having to buy it, and for the company (as long as you like it) because they get free exposure.
Where The Money Comes In: So granted, you will start out buying your own products but if enough people like your style (this is entertainment after all) you’re going to get subscribers, and the creators of products are going to notice. And if you have a very niche THING, it won’t be long before surprise packages from your favorite companies are showing up at your door. Even if you don’t like a product, if you’ve established yourself as an honest straight shooter, people are going to listen, and companies are going to listen too.
3. Local Shops and Stores
This is a great option if your THING is a real product, especially handmade or sewn items like jewelry, accessories and the like. Start in the trendy sections of town and visit locally owned and operated shops. Stay away from large chains, the people who work in those stores often have no control over what they sell.
Go to stores with a similar vibe to things you want to sell. If you sew handmade bow ties you probably don’t need to approach the local record store (or maybe you do if the crate diggers in your area like to be fancy). But the quirky consignment shop with handmade jewelry might be right up your alley. Once you’ve identified a few targets approach the staff, ask if they have ever sold, or thought about selling locally made items. Bring a business card with you, you can design and print your own at home or use a website like vistaprint, and leave it for the manager. Don’t forget to follow-up in a week or two so they know you’re serious.
Then get together a sampling of around ten of your best work and try to get five minutes of the owner/managers time. If you can’t, try to get an email address and send pictures of your work. Be persistent, but not pushy. Remember, it ain’t called The Hustle for nothing.
Where the Money Comes In: If your stuff is good, it will sell. It will bring the business owner customers, and it will bring you some cash. You will probably need to pay a percentage of the money to the owner for using the space in their shop. You should hash that out ahead of time and have a written contract signed by both of you, just so there’s never any confusion.
4. Flea Market/ Farmer’s Market/ Craft Fairs
Along the same lines as number three, but the difference here is you are putting in a lot more of the legwork. You need to find the local flea markets, figure out how to get a space, set up, tear down, do all the money handling and basically run the place. A lot of that stuff falls on the business owner in our last idea, makes a bit more sense why they’re taking a cut of the profits now doesn’t it?
The nice thing about this option though is since you’re doing all the work, you get all the profits, minus overhead costs like renting space from the flea market. Obviously this option again lends itself to certain types of hustles, like foods and handmade items, so if that’s your THING, do a quick google search for “flea market” or “farmer’s market” in your town and see what shakes out. It may seem hokey at first, its not the shiny 5th Avenue brick and mortar you envision in your dreams, but you’ve got to start somewhere. In fact, some really successful brands have started this way, like Carol’s Daughter.
Where the Money Comes In: I don’t really need to say it, do I?
5. Sidewalk Art/ Street Performers
Okay, lets end today with one that’s kind of out there. This one will really only work if you live in a big city or somewhere with a good sized tourist population at certain times of year. It also only works with specific types of hustle, but if you’re feeling saucy and want to give your Organization Consultant Course a dry run on a street corner in New Orleans who am I to argue? It would probably be a really interesting focus group.
But, on a more down to earth level, if you’re a designer, painter or other type of artist trying to drive traffic to your behance page or YouTube channel, print yourself up some contact cards and take the the streets to show the people what you’re made of.
Where The Money Comes In: This is probably one of the toughest side side gigs, at least for me, I’m not a natural born performer. But if your THING is really cool, and you truly believe in it, you’ll probably be surprised by how many people will be willing to jump on the train with you. They might buy your art on the spot, but if not, they will probably visit your website, more traffic = more money.
There’s your first five ways to make money with your side hustle that aren’t blogging or etsy. What did you think? Anything I missed, or an idea you’ve had that you want to share with the world? Comment below, or just shoot me an email or a DM on Instagram. The next five ides are up! Click here to read them.