Could a “Side Hustle” Be Your Next Great Career Opportunity?

woman thinking at desk

The "side hustle" is really a corollary of the “gig economy,” in which employment is found not from a long-term, full-time position but through temporary positions or short-term contracts.

Gig economy jobs have their benefits and their drawbacks. Proponents cite the freedom to take as much or as little work as necessary; critics lament the lack of consistent work and security, along with low pay and lack of benefits.

A side hustle, on the other hand, is work that can be combined with short-term contracts or full-time jobs. It involves an individual providing something of value that can be made or performed, and that people are willing to pay for.

Profiles of successful side hustles are becoming more and more evident. A young woman in Toronto with a full-time job spends some of her time outside work sewing adult-sized Sailor Moon costumes, which she sells on Facebook.

Other articles have examined opportunities like tutoring, online consulting and the making and selling of various arts and crafts. In other words, successful side hustles involve identifying something of value that you can make or offer that other people are willing to pay for.

For many of us, that could be easier said than done. To get started on a successful side hustle, follow this self-assessment checklist:

  • Assess your qualifications: What is it that you can do or make or offer that is potentially marketable? Conduct research to assess the market potential for what you want to offer. Is your product or service distinctive? Who are your competitors? Who are your potential customers? What can you charge to ensure you’re profitable?
  • Identify challenges and formulate a business plan: Do you need capital to help you start a side hustle, or do you have all of the raw materials and support necessary to go directly to market? How much time will you have outside the demands of your day job to devote to a side hustle? How will it impact your family and personal life? Think of a side hustle as a mini start-up, and apply entrepreneurial sensibilities.
  • Build an action plan: How will you attract the attention of potential customers? Use personal networking—call friends and business colleagues to let them know what you’re doing. Use social media to promote your side hustle.

Be forewarned—a successful side hustle requires you to be good at managing money. And you’ll need the ability to be productive and self-motivated. Above all, you’ll need to be unafraid to fail. It may take several kicks at the can to find the right side hustle. But if you do, then a world of opportunities could open up for you.

Download the 2017 US Guide to Workforce and Salary Trends. Our latest research report offers strategies and insights on workforce developments to capitalize on today's job market, including salary data for full time-positions across major industries and functional roles.

Contact us to learn about career transition and outplacement.

  • I'm working on a business plan...with some marketing research and experimental approaches thrown in. It would be a real kick if I could make this a "side hustle."

    8/14/2017 2:34 AM
  • Very interesting. I think I have found a side hustle and I am looking for marketing type personal to join me. If you have anyone looking in the marketing area for a side hustle have them contact me, because I show people how to supplement their income, so they can do what they want to do when they want to do it, so they can enjoy life, that wouldn’t interest you would it? Thanks for the information you have provided. Now go make it a great day! TEVISTION101 AT G.

    8/14/2017 10:08 PM
  • Having a germ of an idea for the side hustle is not the hard part of developing a business plan. The most difficult part of this is getting started. I like the 3 steps identified in the article to focus the potential "hustler" on initiating the plan.

    8/11/2017 3:49 PM
Add a comment
Please confirm you are human by typing the text you see in this image: