Have you noticed that more and more of your friends are taking on side hustles to pursue passion projects or to earn extra cash?
Then you may not be surprised to learn that 43 percent of the U.S. workforce is projected to be working freelance by 2020. According to the Freelancers Union, 55 million Americans currently work as independent contractors or moonlighters, a statistic that’s grown by 2 million over the last two years. A major factor in this change is the millennial generation that prefers freelance work more than any other, opting for work that is flexible and suits their lifestyle.
Do all these statistics have you scratching your head and wondering what side gigs you might want to take on? I chatted with a few friends on all the creative ways they’re making money on the side — here’s how they’re hustling.
Nicole // At Home Beauty Consulting
“I began working from home as a consultant for Beautycounter — a high-performing brand of personal care products for the whole family with safer ingredients because we deserve better beauty. The direct retail business model allows me to fit my work into the free pockets of my day — like when the kids are asleep — and make residual income for my family. I love how this company provides a framework for me to grow and challenge myself, but also gives me the freedom to scale my business, which is just what I need as a homeschooling mama.”
Janet // Instagram Clothing Sales
“Ever Thrift is simple space on Instagram I created to sell curated thrift store clothing. Whenever I’d drop off donations at the St. Vincent DePaul Society store, I couldn’t help but peruse the racks. I’d keep grabbing things wishing it was in my size and hoping I could get it into someone else’s hands. Early this past December, I did a little trial run selling thrift store items on my personal Instagram stories and was astounded by the response. I jumped up and down when a girl sent me a picture of herself in the dress I thrifted. I couldn’t believe how happy it made me to know she loved it. I’m actually more energized as a mom of three little ones having this small creative outlet.”
Megan // Online Teaching
“I’m an adjunct instructor for two sections of a research and writing course for a major public university. Most universities have rolling applications for adjunct positions. That means you can apply anytime and whenever they have a spot to fill, they look at the pool of applicants. I applied for it on a whim and totally forgot about it. About six months later, I was contacted about the position — I did a phone interview and got hired. It’s work I can mostly do at any time. I try to check university email a couple times a day, but the bulk of the work (curriculum planning and grading) is done on nights and weekends, outside my regular work hours. I like it because it gives me some diversity in my thinking. I get so bogged down in my full-time job that sometimes working with college students brings a nice, new perspective.”
Peter // Acting Workshops
“I’m an actor in New York City. Most actors get a side job as a waiter or caterer to survive, but I wanted to see if I could use my previous teaching experience to turn acting workshops into a side hustle. So, I created the Adeo Center, where I offer acting workshops to schools and universities. My goal is to use my acting background to spread the use of theater as an effective teaching tool in schools and universities, especially Catholic ones. Teaching through theater challenges students to connect what they’re learning to their own life. Schools, universities, and parishes have signed up and I’m excited to see what we can offer students and teachers this year. I hope to turn the Adeo Center into a nonprofit, allowing schools to hire teaching artists like myself to facilitate acting workshops, coach school theater productions, or aid teachers in teaching whatever their subject matter may be through a theatrical lens — be it biology, mathematics, literature, or language.”
Allison // Nannying + Babysitting
“I love side gigs. Aside from the fact that it’s impossible for me to say no to anyone who asks for work — whether it be commissioned articles or babysitting — it’s kind of how I’m able to stay comfortable. After I quit my big full-time job, I nannied here and there until I found my next full time (position). Now that I’m salaried in a career, I still take babysitting gigs. My nights aren’t as packed as they used to be, so why not make extra cash when you can? I get to hang out with children, and I’ve been able to meet really incredible families in the city.”
Chenele // Front Desk Rep
“My side hustle is being a front desk representative at my local rec center two days a week. It fits really well into my lifestyle because my gym shift is from 4 a.m. until 10 a.m and then I work in my full-time parish office job from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s really good because I have to train myself to go to bed really early the night before. It’s not really tons of work because my shift is so early — I really just sit there and I watch people swipe themselves into the rec center. Initially, I was looking for something at a retail store, but working at a gym is awesome. If you look into your local rec centers or gyms, they usually need a lot of people in the morning. Check out Google or just give them a phone call. I would definitely recommend it as a side hustle.”
Chris // Food Delivery
“Surprisingly the best side gig I ever had was delivering pizzas for a local, family-owned pizzeria while I worked full-time as a general foreman. It wasn’t very physically demanding and the tips were great. I have also done various manual labor gigs. I’ve learned that people pay you handsomely for things they don’t want to do and if you have a good work ethic and are efficient, you can basically name your own price. But if there is any advice I can give, it’s to humble yourself before you even search for a job. Don’t ever think that you’re too good for any particular task. And no matter how much you know about a particular subject, always enter that job with an open mind.”
Kathleen // Commissioned Calligrapher
“As a mom of three young kids, I didn’t have a ton of motivation to start anything new. In the last year, I finally decided to make a cheap investment in an introduction to a hand-lettering workbook and some brush pens. I have a hard time sticking to new projects, so I was surprised when I continued looking forward to calligraphy every day. What surprised me even more was when friends and family began commissioning me. I still very much consider myself a novice, but I am accepting commissions and requests from those closest to me. To have something that fits perfectly into my schedule, relieves stress, and allows me to dabble again in creativity has been a blessing and I’m excited to see how I end up developing it more with time.”
Lauren // Author Consulting
“I’m currently a grad student at Oxford University and my side hustle is now more my ‘main hustle’ as I work as a collaborative writer for authors. I consult authors on how to make improvements to their book manuscripts before they go to print. This gives me a creative break from academic work and an outlet to explore ideas I’m curious about. Working with a diverse group of authors also means that projects are always new and changing. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a traditional nine-to-five if I can help it.”
Whether it’s a side hustle that you want to make a full-time job or a simply an additional way to earn cash on top of your traditional job, finding the drive to juggle numerous gigs at once is admirable, to say the least. There’s a cost to investing your time and energy in a side hustle of course, but it might just pay off if it gives you new opportunities or allows you to develop interests and passions that make you a happier, more well-rounded person.