Do you have a “side hustle” – a way of earning extra money in addition to your regular paycheck? If so, you’re not alone.
Some 44 million Americans report having a side hustle, according to a Bankrate survey. The majority are Millennials -- adults aged 18 to 34 – and more women are side hustling than men, according to a Harvard University study.
For many, a side hustle earns more than just a few extra bucks here and there. Bankrate found that, among the 86 percent who say they earn extra money from a side hustle every month, about a third are making $500 or more.
Whether you're selling used clothing or handmade items online, doing freelance work after hours, house-sitting or joining the ride-share brigade, side hustles can generate extra coin beyond your day job. Follow these tips to make the most of your extra earning activities.
Invest, don’t spend. More than half of the people who do earn money on the side use the cash for expenses, rather than saving or investing it. That’s better than going into debt, but it’s a gamble to count on extra income that may be irregular for everyday expenses. A better strategy, if you can swing it: live within your means on your primary income, and put everything else to work for your future self through a savings account or investments.
Turn passion into profit. If your day job isn’t challenging you, a side hustle can offer a good outlet for creative energy. It could even give you a leg up on your dream job. If you aspire to a job in the music industry, for example, creating a successful music blog could become a big selling point on your resume.
Seek variety. Say you sit at your desk all day. You’re less likely to get burned out if you choose a more active side hustle – like dog-walking or teaching yoga.
Pace yourself. Working too many hours can lead to burnout, and that can affect your performance at your day job. If you really need to moonlight just to pay expenses, working on getting a better-paying job (or getting training for
a better job) might be a better investment of your spare time.
Hustle for a great goal. Your side hustle can speed up your progress toward key financial goals. Don’t have an emergency fund? Saving to buy a car? Deposit your extra earnings into a separate, designated account.