Today, I’m going to show you the BEST strategies to filter the many side hustle ideas and find your IDEAL side jobs.
Follow these 5 steps to learn which side jobs are worth chasing after, and which ones to avoid, and exactly how much you should be making.
Last but not least, I’ll share my favorite side job that pays me $250/hour for talking about things I already know! And guess what? You’re qualified.
In this side jobs guide, we’ll cover:
- Step #1: 3 factors that make a side gig ideal
- Step #2: exactly how much you should charge
- Step #3: 6 high-paying, fulfilling side hustle ideas
- Step #4: 5 popular side hustle ideas to avoid
- Step #5: 3 foolproof ways to
high-value customers find
BONUS: How I got paid $250/hour via GLG and Guidepoint to talk with investment professionals about my regular work.
Ready? Let’s go.
Step 1: 3 Factors for Ideal Side Jobs
Let’s face it: you’re doing the side job for the money.
Yet money alone isn’t enough.
I’ve analyzed hundreds of real people and their side job stories by compiling data from message boards across the internet…
Here’s what I learned: there’re 3 major factors that lead people to LOVE their side jobs, and they are:
Factor #1: side hustle should be fulfilling
First, an ideal side job makes you feel fulfilled.
If you don’t like your full-time job, fulfillment through side jobs can be particularly life-changing.
We human beings want to feel appreciated and valued. And if we can’t get that from our full-time career, we won’t be happy.
Side jobs are opportunities to do something you love, help someone out, and do something meaningful.
“I earned $20K last year in freelance writing and editing; it was more fulfilling than my FT job, AND I get 3x the hourly rate of my FT work.”.
side hustle should make you learn and grow
Second, a side job can start a second career that,
Most people are too scared to quit without backup plan. Side jobs are great at gently easing you into a transition.
Perhaps you don’t care about a second career; you want to learn or be social. Side jobs are great ways to sharpen some new skills and meet some new people
Look at David:
“My side income from web maintenance is now higher than my day job income. I do a little bit of everything and it ends up being a lot”. DK.
Factor #3: side hustle should be healthy
Let’s be real: working 40 hours
You don’t want a side job that deteriorates your already tired body and mind after a full day of work.
Considering a side job that adds considerable stress to your busy life? Not worth it. What about one that forces you to sit for a long time? May not be ideal to your back.
Ideal side jobs improve your health and mood. Find a gig where you’re moving around,
“I was working a side job at a gym, low pay, but got paid to exercise! I go a few nights a week.” SK.
Step 2: Side Job Hourly Rate
Now let’s talk money. Your side job should never fall below 2x the hourly wage of your full-time salary.
If you make $20 an hour on your full-time salary, find a side job that pays $40 an hour, or more.
2x is the minimum you should aim for. Your side job’s “fair wage” is 3x your full-time
First, a full-time job gives you benefits like subsidized health insurance, 401K match, year-end bonus. If you add these benefits to your base salary, your true salary usually doubles.
Second, you’re working beyond 40 hours a week, taking away increasingly more valuable time. Your side job is overtime work, which is another 2x that of your regular pay.
Together, your side job wage ought to be 3x your regular pay.
Side Gig Rate = 2 * [Full-Time Rate] / 2087
Now, let’s do some example calculations.
To find your hourly rate, divide salary by 2087 because a typical American worker works 2087 hours a year.
If you make $30K, your salary’s hourly rate is $14 >>> find a side job that pays $28 to $40 an hour in your side hustle.
If you make $100K, your salary’s hourly rate is $48 >>> aim to make $100 to $150 an hour
This calculation is exceptionally accurate if your side gig is in the same industry as your full-time job.
In fact, companies use this formula to pay contract employees compared to their full-time employees all the time.
If you do take on a side gig, make sure it’s worth your time. As the numbers show above, your overtime pay is not and should never be cheap.
Step 3: Consider These Top 6 Side Hustle Ideas
There are hundreds of side hustle ideas out there – it can be overwhelming just reading through them. These six side hustle ideas are my most recommended side jobs.
Idea #1: Standardized Test Tutor: $60-$100/hr.
Are you super good at taking standardized tests?
Consider becoming a standardized test tutor, they’re the highest paying tutoring jobs and are easy to teach.
And it can be fulfilling to see your students conquer the test and get into their dream schools.
Pro tip: you should avoid working for a tutoring company and find students on your own. I’ll show you how in Step 5.
Tutoring companies like Wyzant take up to 40% of your pay as a cut. Don’t give someone else your hard-earned money!
Idea #2: Adjunct Teaching: $50-$100/hr.
Got knowledge? Become an adjunct teacher.
An adjunct teacher’s pay is decent. Like tutoring, once you prepare the materials once, you can teach it year after year.
Becoming an adjunct teacher can improve your communication and presentation skills.
Plus, the position is
I work in law enforcement and teach a night class at my local university for $5000/semester, or $100 per lecture. EH.
Idea #3: Sports Coaching: $25-$100/hr.
Get paid to get healthy? Yes, please!
If you play sports, consider becoming a sports coach, fitness instructor, or soccer referee.
Tennis Coaching can easily earn you $25 to $60 an hour. Similar rates apply to fitness instructors and soccer referees.
Pro tip: many coaches and instructors can double their hourly rate once they get certified or get additional training.
With the right type of side job that allows you to have fun and work out, this is almost like stealing money!
“I make $40-$60 per game refereeing teenage soccer 6-8 games per day for a weekend. I run along the fields all day long and getting qualified is completing a weekend course.
Idea #4: Airbnb Rental: $90-$200/hr.
Consider renting out your spare room or the entire place when you’re out of town if you live in a high cost of living area,
After subtracting costs such as toilet paper and extra utilities, rental in Chicago nets on average $1,800 per month in income
An Airbnb host works 20 hours a month to clean and email guests on average, which means the Chicago rental on average earns $90 per hour.
Idea #5: Musician/Photographer: $50-$400/hr.
You can make a profitable side gig out of performing and practicing your creative skills from music, photography, to dance and drawing.
Playing drums in a local band can get you $60 per show. Playing a bagpipe for weddings and funerals can pocket you $250 a pop in most cities.
DJs at weddings make anywhere from $250 a night for a novice to $2,000 for a professional.
You could make hundreds of dollars an hour if you’re talented AND good at marketing. I’ll teach you the latter.
“I’m a software engineer, and I shoot photography for $250/session. It’s something I love to do.”
Idea #6: The IT Guy: $50-$200/hr.
IT consulting for residential and small businesses has a minimal pay of $50 per hour and could go to $200 for complex work.
The best part? IT work is a lot of routine maintenance and sitting around on weekends and off-hours waiting for things to update!
You don’t need an IT degree or programming experience either. Many people’s IT knowledge is 100% self-taught.
“I do Website maintenance for over a hundred an hour, it takes time to pick up the knowledge but easy after.”
See the pattern yet?
A perfect side job for you is one that you’re already good at.
Figure out what you’re better at and don’t be afraid to charge people for it.
Step 4: Avoid Wasting Your Time on These 5 Popular Side Hustle Ideas
What side hustles should you avoid? The vast majority of them.
But these five side hustles below are popular. I see people raving about them all the time.
Here’s why you should avoid them all:
Avoid #1: Write a Book ($10/hour)
Look, I’m not saying you should squash your writing dream.
But expect to not make money if you want to chase after your dream.
An average e-book on Amazon with 20,000 words costs $2.99. In a great month, you might be making $50.
The result? A writer’s book deal makes him on average $10 an hour.
Publishing is a brutal industry where the top 1% takes 80% of the profit. So d
Avoid #2: Flip Things on eBay ($10/hour)
In the early 2000s, a lot of people made quite a bit of money flipping things on eBay, from clothing, housewares, decors, to vintage books.
But gone are the days when buyers don’t know how to use the internet.
There may still be some niche opportunities but they’re scarce
On average, flipping things today gets you $10 an hour and you’ll spend a lot of time searching around.
People brag about the gems they find, but when you dig into their actual hourly profit, it’s not enough to justify the time.
Avoid #3: Gamble / Poker Player ($8/hour)
Similar to becoming a published author, don’t treat playing poker as a side job. Most people lose money.
Making money as a poker player is an exception, not the norm.
Count yourself lucky if you make $8 per hour in profit.
Plus, playing poker is stressful. The highs are high but the lows are low.
Don’t get a side job that gives you this much psychological control and stress.
Avoid #4: Any Side Job from Task Rabbit, Fiverr, Uber, Lyft ($20/hr.)
This is a big one so listen carefully:
Avoid doing side jobs on websites that pit sellers against each other to drive down the price.
These sites treat sellers like robots, that you are interchangeable from the next person. The buyer or customer ends up winning, but you lose.
I love going on Fiverr to hire graphic designers or Task Rabbit to hire movers or Lyft to catch a ride because I’m paying next to nothing.
I even wrote a guide on how to hire freelancers on Fiverr to 10x your business for 1/10th the price: Fiverr Review: How to Hire Top Freelancers for Less. But as a freelancer? You should avoid Fiverr at all cost.
So where should you advertise yourself to find high-paying customers? I’ll tell you below!
Avoid #5: Mystery Shopper ($15/hour)
Considering mystery shopping? Don’t bother, it almost never pays as much as it advertises.
Mystery shopping is not a scam. But contrary to lots of reports, you’ll never make $90 an hour or mystery shop your way to a 5-star hotel.
Most mystery shoppers make at best $10 to $15 per hour and you have to do a lot of work before, during, and after to earn it. It’s time-consuming, not as easy as it sounds, and most importantly, nets you little to nothing.
Noticed a pattern yet? What do these side jobs to avoid have in common?
They do not allow you to create an unfair advantage for yourself, otherwise known as customer loyalty!
To create an unfair advantage for yourself, find clients directly and build trust and brand.
How do you do that? It starts with picking a side job where you’re significantly better than others out there. Then, you have to convince your customers to pay for your premium services and talent.
Which finally brings us to my next and final point…
Step 5: 3 Foolproof Ways to Find Customers for Your Side Job
The top 3 ways to find high-paying customers are:
1. Friends and Family Referrals
Sometimes the easiest way is right in front of you.
Let your friends and family know that you’re open to doing some side gigs. You never know who they might know or who needs your service.
Plus, they are your best advocates and testimonials when you first start.
2. Local Bulletin Boards
In the internet age, sometimes the old-fashioned works best.
One of the most effective ways to advertise is to stick a paper ad on your neighborhood’s bulletin board.
These bulletin boards exist in grocery stores, coffee shops, libraries, YMCAs, on lighting poles, and anywhere people gather.
Someone at your gym could see your flyer when they’re looking for a trainer, guitar teacher, or a tutor for their kid.
3. Side Jobs on Craigslist and Nextdoor
Next, you can connect with potential customers via Craigslist or Nextdoor, where there’s plenty of demand but not a structure for sellers to price each other out.
Think of Craigslist as your neighborhood classified ads and Nextdoor as your neighborhood bulletin board: both allowing you connect one-on-one with those looking for help.
Here, you can make the connection, show your value, and ask for the pay you deserve.
BONUS: My Highest Paying Side Job ($250/hour) Revealed
My favorite side job has made me thousands of dollars with minimal effort. I get paid to talk on the phone and chat about what I already know.
You see, when investment firms invest, they seek out “experts” or “advisors” to understand their investment topic. And boy, they’re willing to pay A LOT.
How do I know this? I’ve done it. I was a consultant and frequently paid experts between $200 to $1,000 an hour to talk about their work. And I’ve been paid $250 an hour to talk about products and industry trends.
Surprised? Don’t be. In a decision on whether to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, your hourly wage is really pocket change to these guys.
If you want to get interviewed, create a profile on these two websites:
You don’t need to be an executive or hold a Ph.D. Anybody can be an expert.
If you’re serious about joining Guidepoint and GLG, write to me and ask me for a direct invite.
That’s it. I hope you find this guide helpful. Do you know any other high-paying side jobs? Got any tips I’ve missed? COMMENT below, I’d love to know!
Want to see how much those side job income have grown your net worth? Check out Personal Capital Review: the Ultimate User Guide.
Looking to learn more about managing your money by Reddit’s popular r/personalfinance? Read Reddit Personal Finance: Only the Best Stuff
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