Side Hustle Ideas

Side Hustle Ideas

Joseph Darby

Increase your income with these 13 side hustle ideas

A side hustle, which might instead be called a side job, side gig, or side business, is additional work that a person takes to supplement their income from their primary job. Side hustles may be done out of necessity, when a person’s income from their main job is insufficient to support them, or simply out of a desire to generate more income. Working a side hustle can also be called moonlighting, usually when it is performed after traditional working hours of nine to five. A side job could be a part time job, a business, or freelance work.

A person can have more than one side hustle.

Side hustles (“side jobs”) have become markedly more popular over recent years, which is probably due to increased living costs, and the internet and digital platforms – which have made it much easier to connect those with a need to those with the skill or capability to fill it. Additionally, it’s sometimes portrayed as fashionable or desirable to be an entrepreneur.

Side hustles can morph to become a person’s primary source of income.

What to Watch Out for When Starting a Side Hustle

Before we get to the list of the best side hustles, here’s a couple of things to watch out for.

Do the Sums

It’s been suggested the average ridesharing driver (such as Uber or Lyft) probably earns less than minimum wage once all costs are accounted for – including wear and tear on the vehicle, taxes, running costs, time, etc.

So what?

Do the maths to ensure that whatever you’re doing is worth it, including all costs.

This includes having a full understanding of all tax implications of your chosen side hustle.

Know Your Rights – New Zealand Worker Misclassification

Several large corporations have been critiqued for classing employees as independent contractors, alleged to save on employer costs and responsibilities. In some cases, especially overseas, this has included corporations that many people might associate with the “gig economy”, such as Uber, being forced to fight several court battles in the USA and UK about this. Uber is far from unique in this regard though.

In New Zealand, and in most developed countries, there is a distinct difference between contractors and employees. This is important because:

• Employees have a range of protections such as sick leave, minimum wage, annual leave, employer KiwiSaver contributions, and other rights.

• Contractors, including those who are self-employed, don’t have the rights and protections employees do. This means they don’t get things like annual leave or sick leave, they can’t bring personal grievances, they must pay their own tax and ACC levies, and general civil law determines most of their rights and responsibilities. In New Zealand, businesses don’t even have to hold records related to past or present contractors.

Is Not Starting a Side Hustle at All a Better Choice?

There may be good reason for you to avoid a side hustle altogether:

• Many professionals might be better off if, instead of a side hustle, they focus on doing their best at their primary role. This might be by developing their primary skillsets first, rather than working a second job or side hustle at night. This may include working longer hours in their primary role – resulting in a pay-rise and/or promotion. Over the long haul, this can pay off many times over.

• Other people, even in low wage roles or roles with limited opportunity for advancement, may be better off taking night courses or extramural studies so they can increase their employability and skills, perhaps in preparation for a change in career path to a better career.

• Someone who starts a side hustle because of concern about losing their main job may turn that concern into a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if their part-time night job means they start showing up to their day job exhausted and unable to give it their all!

• If you have a day job or have connections that could lead to a conflict of interest with your potential side hustle, then it is not a good idea to continue with it.

Be Careful: There Are Plenty of Side Hustle Scams

You might have seen adverts online of people promising flows of money without having to do much at all. The catch is always the same – you need to pay an upfront fee to a ‘guru’. These ‘gurus’ promote themselves heavily on YouTube and social media sites, selling everything from foreign exchange trading platforms to ‘education investments’ where you become a management consultant.

Unless you are comfortable with losing the money upfront, side hustles that seem too complicated and heavy in upfront fees are probably best avoided. In fact, these are just modern variations of get rich quick schemes.  

The Top Side Hustle Ideas

So, now we’ve covered a few carve-outs, here’s a quick-fire list of 13 great side hustle ideas.

1. Handyman/Woman

If you’re good at fixing things or using your hands, this could be a great fit for you.

Demand for renovations, landscaping, painting, installing new appliances, and all manner of home projects is skyrocketing as many middle- and upper-class Kiwi’s spend less money on international travel and spend more time at home.

It could be as simple as just moving something heavy, there are a huge variety of needs to be met.

2. Freelancer

Freelancing is perhaps one of the most popular gig economy jobs and hence there are many options to find work. Freelancing is particularly popular now because in most cases it can continue to be done from overseas. Fancy working online from Bali, anyone?

Depending on skills and preference, there are a variety of freelance job boards you can browse to find freelance work in the gig economy. Here are a few of the most common freelancing jobs:

• Writer

• Graphic designer

• Web designer

• Social media manager

• Developer

• Proof-reader

• Marketer

There’s a wide range of global websites in this area. Most have catchy names, such as; Fiverr, Task Rabbit, Toptal, UpWork, Unicorn Factory, solidgigs and Flexjobs. On nearly all these sites, you explain what you can do, have packages of how you offer it and how long you take etc., and name a price for each package. A good “sales copy” is needed to explain and sell your services. With time, reviews of your work will build up giving you increased credibility and probably increased reach. Each platform takes a cut of each purchase, perhaps twenty percent, and as most of these sites operate globally, usually prices are in US Dollars.

Or, if you’re skilled on crafts and not so much design services, Etsy is a popular platform to sell homemade craft items in addition to Trademe.

3. A Part Time Job

Part-time jobs can be split into two groups:

Self-employed roles. This might include many of the other ideas on this list, and also; babysitter, dog walker, pool cleaner, car wash and detailing, party planner, gardener or lawnmower, pet minder, house cleaner, house-sitter, and so on. To find customers for a lot of these roles, you might try community Facebook groups or even leaflet drops around your neighbourhood.

An actual part-time job as an employee. This could be as a receptionist, restaurant server, administrative assistant, barista, etc. You might also be able to find part-time jobs within your industry – maybe you’re a full-time marketer who takes on a part-time social media gig.

If you’re still working full-time, of course you’ll need something to fit around your primary role.

4. Social Media Marketer

Social networks have become an integral part of both our private and business lives and, for some, are now a lucrative source of gig economy jobs.

Being a keen Instagrammer is not only fashionable but, for some, can be quite profitable in a gig economy environment. Many Instagram users sell products through their feeds, which the product providers pay for in some way, perhaps by a commission on sales.  

To land this job, you need to be quite proactive to develop a large following and be classed as an “influencer”.  

Even if you’re not experienced with social media, building a personal social media presence can be a great way to advertise another side hustle on this list, for instance, advertising your professional services.

5. Photographer

If photography is your hobby, then now could be the perfect time to turn it into a profession. If you have a decent camera and love taking photos, you could become a freelance photographer and take pictures at social events like weddings, or pictures of scenery and nature.

You also have the option to sell your photos to sites such as Shutterstock, Bigstock, or iStock and make a decent living. Once your name gains popularity, you can start charging higher prices and pick your clients.

6. Sell or Resell Goods Online

Even at times when the economy is down, people continue celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other personal milestones, and they use these events as opportunities to treat themselves or others. There will always be people willing to spend money.

So, why not sell people things they already want to buy? This can be either:

• Selling household and other items you no longer need. This can be a great way to obtain some quick cash, and build some positive reviews on a site like Trademe

• Buying bulk items from websites such as Alibaba, then reselling individually on NZ websites such as Trademe. If you’re going to try this, then start small!

• Buying old items such as furniture or clothing, spending time and energy to improve it, then resell it. You can source items from resale shops and garage sales, which are full of stuff priced well-below market value

7. AirBnB

With the borders now opening up, this summer there should be plenty of international travellers and Kiwi’s alike exploring our beautiful country!

If you own property or a sleepout that you don’t utilise all the time, AirBnB could be a great gig economy option. AirBnB allows consumers to search for rooms, apartments, or homes they want to stay at during their vacation or trip. The app connects consumers with property owners and allows a safe, secure transaction between the two.

8. IT Roles (Information Technology)

For those who are tech-savvy, there’s a nearly endless list of roles that can be performed from the comfort of your own home. This might include:

• IT developer

• Blockchain architect

• Deep learning / artificial intelligence developer

• Programmer

• Virtual and augmented reality developer

• Robotics engineer or designer

• Ethical hacker

• & more!

9. Driver or Deliverer

Its little surprise delivery rates are steadily trending upwards as more of us shop online.

Both ridesharing and delivery driver tasks depend on your free time and willingness to share your car either with people or goods. Of course, having your own car is a must, and you’ll nearly certainly need commercial vehicle insurance.

Uber is hard going for drivers most of the time, but can be good at surge times, when public transport may not operate, and people are willing to pay higher prices. For example, at 1am on Saturday in the CBD, when it is raining, or after a concert or event – that’s when there’s a lot more work so the Uber app applies surge pricing – which means prices skyrocket.

10. Tutor or Teacher

Teaching is a broad category that refers to several side hustle possibilities. If you are skilled in a particular academic field, you might tutor students on that topic, or teach an online class. If you play an instrument, consider teaching music. Are you passionate about fitness? Consider teaching yoga or other fitness classes. The benefit of these side hustles is that they are very flexible. They also allow you to share your passion with others.

11. Sports Coach

School teams and even clubs are sometimes in need of coaching help, and this can be a fun and active side hustle.

12. Author

Publishing a book traditionally is difficult to say the least, but, thanks to self-published platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, you don’t need to wait for one of the big publisher houses to come calling. Now, you can write the next great novel in your spare time, self-publish, and wait for your cheques to roll in – admittedly, most royalties are small unless the book sells in large numbers.

13. Rent a Spare Room

If you rent or own a home, and there's a spare room, you can earn up to $40,000 "tax-free" by deducting the costs from the income. Yes, you will have people in your house, sitting on your sofa, using your kitchen etc., but the extra money can be considerable.

For flatmates, you can deduct the allowable rental expenses incurred when you live with your flatmate(s). While your income will be boosted from a spare room revenue, you can minimise the tax you need to pay by calculating what you incur as a percentage of the total use. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) explain how in this step-by-step guide.

Renting out a room to boarders or homestay students offers up to $40,000 per year of tax-deductible costs. The IRD lets you deduct up to $194 per boarder per week under its standard cost method. There is a maximum of four boarders, so the total allowance is just over $40,000 per year ($194 X 4 rooms X 52 weeks). However, this method assumes you'll include expenses such as power, phone, internet, food, streaming subscriptions etc. You'll need to pay for these from the income you receive.

The Bottom Line – The Top 13 Side Hustle Ideas

Whatever you might choose to do, ensure you challenge what your own time is worth and price your services accordingly.

You’ll also want to ensure your side hustle fits with your life and routines, so you can stick with it when (inevitably) the going gets tough. Ideally, it would be something you enjoy too.

Side hustle choices are nearly unlimited, it’s just a case of first determining if you should be considering a side hustle at all – versus focussing more wholeheartedly on your main profession – then figuring out what suits your lifestyle, skillsets, and of course is it going to be worth doing!

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