Side Hustle: How I make a little extra money on the side; successes, failures, and lessons learned

Over the years I have tried several different ways of making a little extra money outside of my day job. This is called a Side Hustle and it is quite a popular term used in the last decade or so. I guess the side hustle has always been a thing, but the advent of the internet has really made it an accessible option for many and the ways in which you can start a side hustle are practically endless. The internet is full of “ideas” on how to start a side hustle and pros and cons of various options. A quick internet search for “side hustle” churned out 75,100,000 results with the following as some of the top results:

  • 99 Side Hustle Business Ideas You Can Start Today
  • Side Hustle Nation: Make Money in Your Spare Time – Part-Time
  • 50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle
  • 10 Best Side Hustle Ideas to Make an Extra $1000 a Month
  • Epic List of Side Hustle Ideas
  • Side Hustle Ideas: 176 Ways to Earn Money Right Now

A similar search on Amazon will load, coincidentally, at last count, 751 books on the subject of side hustle. Some of the top results are:

Full disclosure: I have not read any of the above books nor have I clicked through to any of the above search results. I have, however, researched other money making ideas and schemes over the years and have nominal levels of success and failure. As long as we are being honest, this blog is one way that I hope to eventually make some additional money. I am not naive to think that I can throw a few posts up here, add some links, and watch the money roll in. I know that I will need to provide valuable content, lots of it, and also learn best SEO practices, social media marketing and all kinds of other stuff if I hope to even see $100 in the first year.

Besides this blog, here are some ways that I have either tried in the past or am currently making money with:

  • Auctions: Buying clearance or open-box items in bulk at a local auction house and reselling on websites like Craigslist, ebay, Amazon, and OfferUp.
    • Success 1: Recently I bought an open box kitchen table for $75, brought it home, assembled it, and sold it on Craigslist two days later for $200. Total Profit = $125
    • Success 2: A few years ago I bought 36 Honeywell programmable thermostats for about $2 each. I sold them on Amazon for an average of about $18 each. Total Profit = $500
    • Failure 1: I recenlty purchased 4 cases of construction sealer for approximately $68. After a couple weeks and almost zero interest I sold them for $35. Total Loss = $33
    • There are many more successes than failures, but my profit for the amount of work I have put in has been quite pathetic. I do plan to continue buying and selling though because it is fun.
  • Thrift Store / Garage Sale Flipping: Similar to the above process, I have bought a few things at thrift stores and garage/yard sales and turned around and flipped them for a profit. I have not done this too often but, I have one notable success. I purchased a vintage water ski at Goodwill for $6 and sold it through Craigslist within a week for $80.
  • Day Trading: This one is dangerous and it comes with the disclaimer that it is only advisable for someone who can afford to lose 100% of their investment. I have had varying levels of success doing this through Robinhood. As of the writing of this post I have zero dollars in the stock market. That is not advice as to whether or not you should be in the stock market it is just where I am at as of this writing. I still have credit card debt that I need to deal with and I have no business playing stock broker when I should be using every available resource to attack my debt. I suspect that I will be back in the stock market eventually, but more likely not day trading. I will be looking for long-term holds of index funds and high-dividend stocks.
  • Multi-Level Marketing: A long time ago I got signed up for a multi-level marketing company for internet and long-distance calling. This was early in the dial-up internet days. As I recall I did not spend much on this, less than $50. I put zero effort into it and got $0 out of it. Lesson learned.
    • Fast forward to today and I am currently a distributor for ADVOCARE, which I believe to be a very reputable company. I really like and use their products personally…but I have not actively pursued making a single omission through them as I mostly signed up as a distributor to get a discount on my personal purchases. That said, some folks make pretty healthy amounts of money through them and I may ramp up (or actually start) my efforts with them
  • Consignment Selling: I fancy myself as being pretty good at creating on-line listings and talking to potential buyers. I actually enjoy it. There are many people who do not want to deal with the hassle of fielding calls and do not have the technical savvy to list their items for sale. If I come across a situation like this I may offer to go 50-50 on my selling services.
    • I have one notable success in taking on a consignment. I recently came across two old Honda CT110 trail bikes on a farm property. After inquiring of the owner whether he would like to sell them or not he said he had no idea what they were worth and had just been sitting there for years. Long story short, I loaded them up in my pickup, listed them on Craigslist, and sold them a week later for $500. I kept $250 for my services and sent the original owner the other $250. Everyone was happy.

So those are the 5 key ways that I have made some extra money, side hustling if you will. This blog is an attempt at a sixth way and here are a few more that I have not tried:

  • Offer your services on sites like fiverr and upwork
  • Write an ebook
  • Create an online class for something you are an expert in
  • Start a YouTube Channel
  • Build an App
  • Start and Etsy Site
  • Use a drop-shipper and open an online store
  • Drive for Lyft or Uber
  • Airbnb a room in your house
  • Affiliate Marketing / Sponsored Posts through social media

These are just a few of the myriad ideas out there. And if you have a little money to invest you have a slew of more options, but will safe that for another post as this post is about hustling.

Eventually I may make a video or two. For now here is a decent video of a couple that gives a brief summary of 16 ways that they actually made money. Some of their ideas are good and seem to be fairly practical. Other ideas maybe not so much.

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