While working for a fast-paced accounting firm in New York City, Chelsey White began looking for a creative outlet. Curious about baking, she began testing recipes in her tiny kitchen—and discovered a hidden talent. She now spends her spare time making cakes and posting videos on her blog, Chelsweets. It’s a fun activity, and advertisements on the blog and video sponsorships bring in some spare cash.
White is hardly alone in creating an additional income stream. Fortunately, opportunities exist everywhere; all you need is a little time on the side and the drive to work for yourself. White believes Chelsweets is a product of her passion, but she understands the challenges of getting started. Here are her tips for getting your side gig off the ground.
Pick Your Passion
Choosing an activity you like is key when taking on a new gig. If you enjoy driving and meeting people, try working for a rideshare company. Love pets? Walking dogs may be for you. It’s easiest when the job is a labor of love, says White. “You’re going to be doing it after a long day’s work, or choosing it over hanging out with your friends.”
White attributes her side success to her joy in baking, and acknowledges the hurdles she faced to get things going. “The timing was never going to be right, so I just went for it,” she says. Take your skills seriously, she advises, and you’ll be surprised by what you can accomplish.
Try New Things
“I didn’t know the first thing about video editing,” says White, recalling her first step-by-step cake tutorial. She simply bought equipment and started doing it. Learning a new skill—or sharpening an existing one—can drive the success of your side business. Maybe it involves freshening up your algebra knowledge for a tutoring gig, or taking an online Web-design course. Consider the path you want your side hustle to take, and assess what you need to do to get there. “Just trust yourself and go for it—it’s worth the risk,” says White.
Strike a Balance
“You may want to give your all to your side business,” says White, “but you have to watch out for burnout.” White has learned the importance of maintaining a work-hobby-life balance. “Your support system not only gives you a social outlet to help keep you sane,” she adds with a laugh, “but can also help grow your business by letting them in on your plans.”
Other Easy Ways to Make Extra Cash
Not sure where to start? Give some of these a try for your next side gig:
- Share your skill in math, music, writing or a foreign language, and help others learn as you reel in extra money as a tutor.
- If you have a car and a smartphone, you’re halfway to becoming a rideshare or delivery driver. (And make sure you’re covered with GEICO Ridesharing Insurance before you get behind the wheel.)
- Break out the paints and canvas, and get serious about selling your original artwork or crafts online.
- Try a calligraphy course and consider creating custom signs and invitations.
- Homeowners are always looking for lawn-care and snow-removal services. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, roll up your sleeves and start knocking on doors.
By Ashley Skibicki