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I’ve decided that October is now officially the ‘Month of Money’. It’s after the summer holidays, with all the holiday and bbq expenses that entails. And it’s before the Christmas season kicks into high gear, with all the related present and food expenses!
My goal this October is to save/earn £500+ that I can put back into my emergency fund.
This week we are going to look at how to earn money on the side aka ‘side-hustles that don’t suck’.
Before we start: a public health warning about ‘side-hustles’
There’s a weird mentality you can get stuck in, where productivity and money is everything. Spoiler alert: they aren’t.
Earning cash on the side is one of those things that will not work for everybody. If you have a reliable main income, and/or you feel like you spend more than enough hours working – you don’t have to take up another job. If you do have money issues, you may prefer to focus on cutting back on your expenses.
With that said, with zero-hour contracts on the rise, and precarious employment the new norm, having a side income can reduce risk and diversify your income. Earning money on the side can also speed up debt repayment, or give you the ability to save more money faster.
However, I think it’s fair to say that ‘hustling’ is not for everybody. Don’t feel like you have to spend every waking moment being productive and working. It’s okay to just chill out sometimes.
I recommend that if you do take on a side-hustle, you think carefully about how it aligns with your overall life goals. Make sure that you’re happy that whatever you are doing is a: worth it and b: fits with your ethics.
Okay, on to the side-hustles 🙂
Earn money on the side
Side-hustles fall into two categories: quick money and slow money.
Slow money is beyond the scope of this article. It typically includes things like writing a novel, starting a blog, or investing.
There are a lot of scams out there, but I will be focusing on the side-hustles that don’t suck. Generally speaking, you should always avoid putting any money down at the start. The company should pay you, you don’t pay them!
Week 2: How to earn money on the side (side-hustles that don’t suck)
Teach English as a Foreign Language from home
There are at least two places I know of that will let you teach English as a Foreign Language via video classes. You need a degree, a decent internet connection, and preferably some experience of teaching.
The two places that I know of are:
I applied to iTutorGroup and whilst the application process was somewhat intensive, it seemed professional.
You can earn around $14-20 an hour, and you set your own schedule. You can teach as little or as much as you like.
There are many sites where you can earn cash on the side by freelancing. This is appropriate if you have design, writing or artistic skills.
- Fiverr*. I earned over $1000 with Fiverr in two months. I’ll be writing a full guide to what I did and how I earned that money later this week!
- Upwork. I haven’t used Upwork, but other people have talked about it as a good place to find work.
Selling resources is a slower set-up, but can continue to earn you money over time. Resources you can sell include stock photos, fonts, templates, and even teaching aids. Here are a few options:
- Sell teaching resources and lesson plans on TES.
- Sell stock photos or illustrations. If you are a good photographer, you can sell your stock photographs in a number of places. Illustrators can also find a market for their work. Three sites to try are Dreamstime, Shutterstock, and BigStock.
- Sell design content. Fonts, website themes, resume templates, powerpoint templates… you can sell almost any design content via CreativeMarket.
This will only work if the quality of what you produce is high, and you create products that fill a need. There are at least a billion beautiful, high quality photographs of flowers out there – you won’t earn much (or anything) however good they are. But dramatic action shots that can be used for book covers are much harder to find!
Be a model for a life drawing class
If you’re comfortable with nudity, and don’t mind sitting or standing in an awkward pose for a couple of hours, you could earn around £15 an hour as a life model. You don’t have to be ‘conventionally attractive’. In fact, most artists prefer to draw a variety of body shapes, as well as people of different ages, ethnicities etc.
- Find jobs at the Register of Artists Models (UK)
- Contact your local college or arts organisation
Become a Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistants typically handle admin tasks for a business or a professional. (In effect, it’s a PA that works from home).
I have no experience or advice about becoming a VA, but there’s lots of people out there who have made it work!
- Start by looking at TimeEtc. which will find you VA work (starting rate is £11 p/hour)
Become a transcriber
Transcribers listen to audio files and type out a transcript. You might need a foot pedal to pause and play audio files. Typically they earn $10-20 per hour, but can get more if they have specialist knowledge e.g. for medical transcription work.
Sell crafty stuff on Etsy
There are a few options for selling things on Etsy. Got beautiful handwriting? You could sell handwritten place cards or similar. Nifty with a needle? You can sell clothes, scarves, knitted goods and the like. Artistically inclined? You can sell custom illustrations.
As with freelancing, you need to produce quality goods and know how to market yourself if you want to succeed.
Join Mechanical Turk
Amazon’s ‘Mechanical Turk’ service effectively pays people to do ‘human intelligence tasks’ which mostly seems to consist of answering surveys, recording videos, or writing articles. The pay starts low (really low), but as you successfully complete jobs you’ll get access to higher paying ones.
This is a low-skill, low-wage job – but if you want to earn a few bucks while watching TV this is an option.
Earn money on the side: what I’ll be doing
We’ve established that I want to save or earn £500 over the course of this month to top up my depleted emergency fund.
Now, I’ve done a lot of side-hustles in my time. I’ve been a freelance webdesigner, I’ve earned money on Fiverr, I’ve illustrated books, I’ve sold art, I’ve been a freelance comic book colourist, and I’ve even participated in Kleeneze.
This month I’m going to do two things. I’m going to re-open my ‘SEO articles’ Fiverr Gig. And I’m going to sign up to Mechanical Turk.
The truth is, my blog is already eating up a lot of my spare time. I want something reasonably straightforward and that doesn’t need a lot of brain-power.
Goal: Earn £100 in side-hustle money