Maybe you need extra money to pay down some debt. Or maybe you're hoping to take a sweet vacation that your regular paychecks alone can't cover.
There are plenty of good reasons for getting a side hustle, and these days, an estimated 44 million Americans have one. But side hustles can be tricky to come by, especially when you've never held one down before. Here are a few ways to land a second gig when you're new to the game.
1. Figure out what you're passionate about
For some people, a side hustle means signing up to wait tables or work a cash register at a local retail shop. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that. But know that you don't have to take just any old job to earn extra cash. If there's a hobby or talent you're passionate about, you can turn it into a real moneymaking opportunity.
For example, if you enjoy crafting, you can create your own online store or look into selling your wares at local markets. If you're an avid cook, try landing a gig as a personal chef, or seeing if any local caterers want an extra hand during busy periods. The more you enjoy your side hustle, the more successful at it you're likely to be.
2. Decide what sort of schedule you're willing or able to hold down
Some sides hustles, like restaurant and retail shifts, make you agree to work certain hours or lock yourself into a certain schedule. And again, that's fine if it suits your lifestyle. On the other hand, if you're hesitant to commit to a preset schedule, or aren't sure how much time you can give to your side gig, then it might pay to find something that's perhaps less consistent but more flexible.
For example, if you know you'll be able to manage three evening shifts a week at a nearby cafe, once hired, you'll have a solid sense of how much money you can expect from your side hustle -- and there's a benefit to that. But if you don't want to make that sort of commitment, you're better off finding a gig that gives you more control, like freelance writing or designing websites from home.
It's one thing to want a side hustle, but it's another thing to actually snag one. If you're not sure how to find a weekend position or land clients, the best thing you can do for yourself is put the word out there that you're looking. Reach out to your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members, and see if anyone knows of an opportunity. Better yet, ask them to reach out to their associates and pose the same question. Networking is an extremely effective way to find work, whether on a permanent or part-time basis, so the more people you're able to connect with, the greater your chances of finding a job.
4. Set some financial goals
The amount of money you're aiming to earn from your side hustle will help determine what sort of gig is right for you. If you're looking to generate an extra $100 a month, you might agree to do some dog-walking at $10 per hour on weekends. On the other hand, if you're hoping to bring in an extra $500 a month, you'll want to find something with a more generous hourly rate. So figure out what you're looking to gain financially, and use that to help guide your search.
5. Be open to trial and error
You might think you'll enjoy bartending at your local pub but then realize you find the weekend crowds overwhelming. Similarly, you might think you have the patience for tutoring, only to discover you're not cut out for it. The last thing you want to do is force yourself into a side hustle that stresses you out, so if it's your first go-round, be prepared to dabble in a few different things before settling on a single ongoing gig. This way, you're more likely to find something you actually enjoy.
Having a side hustle is a great way to buy yourself some extra financial security and freedom. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you'll soon have a fulfilling means of supplementing your regular paycheck.