Are you always wishing you could find a way to make extra money? When your budget is tight, and it’s harder to stretch just for essentials, making extra money can feel like a pipe dream.
Where do you find the time and opportunity? Seriously, how can you really go about making extra money?
A lot of people would say “Get a second job“–but that means more hours away from your family and hobbies, and besides, it can be hard if your first job doesn’t have a set in stone schedule. Other people might say “Ask for a raise.” But honestly, even if that works, it’s unlikely to bring you in more than an extra hundred or so a month.
If you want to make extra money, try turning a hobby into a paying gig. Also, don’t let the fear of failure keep you from pursuing money-making ideas. Finally, you’ll want to set clear goals and surround yourself with a supportive community of mentors, peers, and friends.
Money-Making Tip #1: Turn a Hobby into a Paying Gig
What’s your passion? Do you fly-fish? Crochet? Take photographs? Cook? Blog?
The things you choose to spend your free time on are the things you are passionate about. All you have to do is figure out how to turn that hobby into a money-making business. Here are three great ways to do that.
Monetize Your Blog
Have a passion you blog about? Set yourself up as an affiliate website. You could make extra money by recommending the products you already love.
If you blog about products that are sold on Amazon, you can create an Amazon Associates account. That way every time someone buys an Amazon product using one of your links, you earn a commission. It’s really a win-win. Your readers use your knowledge to find dependable and useful products. And you’re able to make money too!
Products aren’t the only thing that you can get paid to recommend on your blog. Tons of software and services companies will pay you a commission for referring traffic their way too. How do you find companies that have affiliate programs? One of the easiest ways is by joining an affiliate network.
Here are a few popular ones:
One word of warning with affiliate marketing, though. Always put your readers’ best interests first. Don’t ever recommend a product if you don’t truly believe it’s the best option for your readers. Not only is that unethical, but you’ll eventually lose credibility.
And once that happens, you’ll no longer have an audience to market to in the first place.
If you’re looking for a great hosting service for your blog, you may want to check out Bluehost.
Start an Etsy Shop
Is your key to relaxation a pile of yarn and a crochet hook? Come up with some unique designs and sell your wares on Etsy. In fact, just about anything artsy or crafty has a chance to sell well on Etsy.
If you do decide to start an Etsy store, it’s important to get great pictures of your products. Find a good camera and make sure that the room you use is well-lit.
A little “staging” couldn’t hurt either. If you sell custom-made pillows, take a picture of them on your bed so customers can get a real sense for what they would look like in their own home. And if you sell art, take pictures of them hung on your wall.
Also, make sure to take full advantage of keywords and tags. If you sell purses, for example, mention the color, fabric, or other design specifics. Imagine what your ideal customer would search for and make sure that you include those keywords in your item description.
And don’t forget, that you can sell digital products on Etsy too. For instance, downloadable art, templates, and patterns are all very popular on the platform.
Create an Online Store
Depending on the type of things you enjoy doing or making, you may want to consider starting your own online store. If you love fly-fishing, for instance, try setting up your own fly-tying business and sell them online.
Starting an online store would involve more up-front work than an Etsy shop, but it could also result in more profit. Plus, if your product or service is niche enough, people may be able to find you with a simple Google search.
Are you a fan of retail arbitrage (finding products that have been marked down and reselling them)? If so, you may use websites like Amazon or Craigslist to sell your wares. But with an eCommerce store, you may be able to make even more. And if you use an eCommerce platform like BigCommerce, you could have a beautiful store up and running fast.
Become a Freelancer
No matter what you’re good at, there’s a good chance that someone may be willing to pay you as a freelance for your services. Here are just a few of the skills that lend themselves well to freelancing:
And freelance virtual assistants are always in high demand!
Depending on your job and skill level, you could make great money as a freelancer–possibly even more than you’d make doing the same work as a W2 employee.
To get started, try to connect with other freelancers on social media. Ask questions and learn as much as you can. You may also want to consider taking a course if there are any good ones available. Finally, you may want to list your services on sites like Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr or Thumbtack.
Looking for more tips on how to a hobby into a paying gig? Listen to the audio below for more ideas.
Money-Making Tip #2: Start Today–Perfection Will Come Later
As the saying goes, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” You have a choice–sit around in the planning stage forever, or jump in with both feet and earn while you learn.
Kimberley Palmer had an idea for digital planners created around specific life goals, and didn’t hesitate–she started her own Etsy shop and learned the ropes as she built her business. Sales didn’t sky-rocket immediately. In fact, sales were pretty sluggish at first. It wasn’t until she learned how to market well that sales really began to pick up.
But that’s ok. Don’t expect to be the ultimate small business owner when you’re just getting started. You’re going to make mistakes–plenty of them. But you can always iterate and improve your product. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from even getting the chance to succeed.
You can read Kimberly’s interview for more Etsy money-making tips. Then start thinking about ways you can turn your own passion into a money-making business.
Resource: Learn how to sell printables on Etsy
Money-Making Tip #3: Find a Mentor, ASAP
Someone is already out there, succeeding and making the mistakes you can learn from. Don’t blunder along all alone–find the people who have already figured out the hard stuff, and follow in their footsteps. If you can present yourself as an asset to them in some way, they’ll share their secrets, and you can improve each other’s businesses as you grow and learn.
Some of my best mentoring relationships have come from one simple habit. Whenever my life has been impacted in a positive way by someone (whether it be through a book they’ve written, a conference they’ve started, or a course they teach), I try to send them an email of appreciation.
No strings attached. Just a simple “thank you for the work that you do.” I don’t ever expect to get any response. But guess what I’ve surprisingly found? I often do get a response! In fact, many times the person I’ve sent the email to will ask about my story and my business.
And, thus, the relationship begins. Some of my best mentoring relationships have begun in this simple way.
Beyond that, surround yourself with a community of people who are making their own success. You’ll be able to crowdsource solutions for problems and absorb knowledge through osmosis.
Money-Making Tip #4: Planning and Goal Setting
I know I keep saying “Just do it!” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a plan or set goals. You shouldn’t get bogged down in planning phases so completely that you never get your business off the ground in the first place. But you still need a solid goal plan.
In his Ted Talk, John Doerr explained why goals are really the secret to success in every area of life.
Start with short term goals (think small, achievable) and build out to long term goals (reach for the moon–better to aim high and barely miss the mark than aim low and miss the chance to overshoot!)
I asked a friend and respected colleague to put me in the hot seat for an interview about goals for money mastery and side hustles. Find out how I determined what my real goals were, and what my plan was to reach them.
Money-Making Tip #5: Do the Work
If you’re here looking for a magic ways to make extra money, that’s not going to happen. There’s no get-rich-quick trick.
When it comes down to it, we circle back to your passion. Do you have what it takes to turn something you love doing into a money-making business? Success is only 1% work, as they say – the other 99% is hard work.
At the same time, you want to avoid burnout. What fun is living your dream if you’re too worn out to enjoy it? Check out this interview with LaTisha Styles. In it, she explains how she realized that it’s not all about working to make extra money, but having the time to enjoy it.
Also, in her guide to staying motivated for long-term goals, Sara Katherine says that accountability groups can be helpful. Joining Facebook groups with likeminded people might be a good idea. Or you may want to ask a few friends and/or colleagues if they’d be willing to help you form a Mastermind group.
Also, keep a list of things that you’ve already accomplished. It’s easy to get discouraged about the goals that haven’t been reached. But when take a moment to think about how far you’ve come, it can help you work up the gumption you need to keep moving forward.
How I Make Extra Money
For myself, the path to making extra money was to start my own blog and write about personal finance. It was easy–all I needed was a domain and a web hosting service like Bluehost.
PT Money started as a little side hustle, and I’ve grown it into a respectable secondary income. Does that mean everyone should blog about personal finance? Nope–I have a passion for it, which is why it works for me. I get to do what I love–talk to people about money-making and money management–and I get paid for it. I’m living my dream. What’s yours?
The key is recognizing your own passions and figuring out how to monetize them. In the end, it comes down to putting yourself out there, doing the work, setting goals, marketing, and avoiding burnout. That’s the path to real success!