A global pandemic in full swing, unemployment at its highest in years and movement restrictions unheard of in generations. These are unusual times fraught with limitations, cut backs and control. How will you let this chapter in your life define you? Will you take a risk on a side hustle in these uncertain times?
Humans are hardwired to be negative. We relied on this primal instinct to keep us safe early in our evolutionary history. Yet today it can reduce our motivation to complete tasks or pursue new goals. How do we overcome this negative bias? We need to reframe the situation and look to where opportunity can present itself. A wise person once said, “don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
There has never been a better time to start a side hustle. Finding a suitable one can be challenging and it may take a few wrong turns to get you to the right place. However, who said that the search needs to be dull.
Here are 10 fun ways to look for the best side hustle for you.
Host Zoom Trivia Nights
We all miss the lively atmosphere and cosy familiarity of our local sports bar or pub. More importantly, it’s been a while since we indulged in our weekly boozy cerebral exercise a.k.a. trivia night. Social distancing rules in many cities have made it difficult to host large gatherings. It’s no longer safe to squeeze groups of people in a small bar to enjoy a game of trivia. Many of us have turned to virtual gatherings to meet this need for social activity.
Here’s how you start a Zoom trivia hosting gig. The good news is we don’t have to teach anyone how to use video conferencing these days. Many of us have become very familiar with how it works. However, as a host you will need to figure out how to coordinate the trivia event online.
Firstly, you need to know how to host a trivia game on Zoom. You will need to know what are the mechanisms available on Zoom to allow teams to breakout into private groups during the event. You also need to know what are the best ways to present your trivia questions and the media files you plan to use. Secondly, you need to figure out how much and how you want to be paid. Finally, you will need trivia questions. Go have some fun!
Relive your favourite childhood memories
Everyone has happy memories from their childhood. The “good ol’ days”, a simpler time when life was easy (and pandemic free). We’re all suckers for nostalgia and that’s not always a bad thing. It’s our security blanket and our coping mechanism. A simple way during difficult times to tell ourselves that we were once truly happy. It’s therefore no surprise that we’re seeing a rise in “nostalgic consumption” of everything from music to hobbies since the outbreak began.
This nostalgia revival is definitely an opportunity for a decent side hustle. Take a walk down memory lane. Think back about the things that made you happy when you were a kid. It could be trading basketball cards withs your friends, spending time in the great outdoors or enjoying a refreshing ice lolly in summer. Put down your favourite in a list. Think about how you can recreate these experiences and the sense of happiness you felt. Of course, to make money you will need to consider what are the unique ways you can help others rekindle the same feeling.
Create your own brand of soda pop
Studies have linked the consumption of soda with loads of health problems. According to a report, sugary drinks like sodas make up the single largest source of calorie consumption in the US. A regular 12 ounce can of soda contains anything between 8 to 13 teaspoons of sugar. Bottomline is drinking all that soda is not great for you.
However, to many people there’s nothing like a cold glass of fizzy soda on a hot day to pep up their mood. In fact, there’s a scientific reason why we all enjoy carbonated drinks. The opportunity here is for you to create healthier alternatives to the store bought sodas. The biggest difference between the two is – for homemade sodas, you get to control what goes into it.
You need to start with buying a home seltzer machine. The Sodastream is by far the most common in the home-fizz market but there are a few other alternatives. Secondly, you need to experiment with healthier added sugar substitutes like raw honey and stevia. Remember, reducing the amount of added sugar is probably the single most important factor in making it healthier. Finally, the flavours! This is where you get creative. You can experiment with fruits, herbs, teas and even different types of spices. Once you’re convinced of your flavours, then you can start thinking about sourcing for bottles, labels and branding etc.
Celebrate your heritage
With a global pandemic at our doorsteps and fresh shelter-in-place orders being issued, musing about one’s heritage is probably not that high in our to-do list. Yet, it’s important now more than ever to remind members of our community, many who are living in isolation, of our collective identity and purpose. We need to celebrate our heritage because it helps to breathe new life and meaning to who we are.
Every culture is steeped in rich traditions, values and practices. Look at what makes your culture and heritage particularly special to you. The things that make you proud to be from your community and how it reminds you where your roots are from. It can be old stories your grandma used to tell, the delicious traditional meals you prepared with your dad as a kid or the music that transports you back home. List them down and think about how you can put together something which can help people in your community share this experience.
Be someone’s virtual personal stylist
A personal stylist is someone who helps their clients make fashion choices by putting together outfits and advising them on new trends. Independent stylists do not act on behalf of fashion brands. They focus solely on coordinating their client’s visual aesthetic to make them look as appealing as possible. Celebrities and Hollywood A-listers almost always work with stylists to help them with their red carpet looks and craft their signature fashion styles.
The good news is that this service is not only reserved for the uber rich and famous. Average wage earning women and men have been using stylists to help to create a personal style for themselves and improve their wardrobes. These stylists also help their clients save money buy making sure the items that their clients purchase match and hence get worn more frequently. It’s generally acknowledged that most people only wear about 20% of their wardrobe regularly.
If you feel you’ve got a great sense of style, here’s your chance to dive into the world of fashion (sort of). All you need to get started is to open up an account with a freelance marketplace platform like Fiverr. Figure out how to set up a digital outfit board (a document with individual fashion pieces making a complete outfit laid together) via any presentation software like Google slides or Canva. Start reaching out to any of your stylishly impaired friends and… boom, you’re in business.
Zoom Tarot card reading
With the busy city life coming to a halt, Covid lockdowns have inadvertently imposed on us a prolonged period of self reflection. We have become more aware of our inner-selves, emotional well-being and relationships. Many are looking for ways to make sense of these times and try to find new paths for personal growth. Can we find solace in a deck of cards?
The mystical art of tarot card reading has been used as a means of interpreting the past, present and future. Some believe that it is not about “predicting the future, but more mapping the client’s energy and helping them find their life path”. Others say that it can be used as a “creative means of re-interpreting and coming to terms with an uncertain present”. If you’ve ever been curious about the mystical world of fortune telling this is a perfect way to indulge your curiosity and potentially make some moolah on the side.
This is admittedly not something that will make you money immediately. It can take anywhere between weeks to years to fully understand what the cards mean and how to interpret their significance. The good thing is, at the very least you come out of this with a hobby.
The first step is to buy a deck of tarot cards, build up your knowledge of its contents and understand how to read them. Second, decide if you want to be a general reader or focus on certain areas of life like love and career etc. Thirdly, figure out the mechanics of how to run a zoom reading e.g. how to assist your clients in shuffling the deck and selecting the cards. Lastly, start hustling.
Embrace your inner tourist
The airports are shut, borders are closed and the travel industry has come to a standstill. It’s hard to imagine when we’ll ever hop on a plane to a faraway holiday destination again. You feel closed in, trapped and isolated. Every travel memento in your home reminds you of past holidays where your only guide was the sense of freedom and happiness. You might already be thinking how to satisfy this wanderlust of yours.
You’re definitely not alone. Many of us out there are experiencing a touch of cabin fever in some way or another. The good news is most of our borders are not closed for trade. We can still import things from far away countries. Make a list of all your favourite holiday destinations. Take a look around your house for travel souvenirs and flip through your old travel photo albums. Write down all the most unforgettable things you bought, drank or ate in each destination. Find out if you are allowed to bring in these products and what it costs. Find out where you’ll be able to sell these items. Start hustling.
Write a saucy online novella
I have four words for you. “Fifty Shades of Grey”. This best selling book series has topped charts and sold over 100 million copies around the world. Author Erika James originally published her story online as fan fiction for the highly popular vampire fiction series, Twilight. Her explicit twist on the already popular vampire love series made her writings viral. She then went on to change the names of the characters (to avoid any intellectual property infringement) before scoring a publishing deal with a small Australian publisher in 2011. Very soon after, she was getting calls from big publishers and movie studios. Vintage Books, a subsidiary of publishing giant Random House, bought the rights in 2012 and the rest is history.
Fifty Shades of Grey’s explosive success has redefined the entire publishing industry. It became the last decade’s best-selling book despite receiving mostly negative reviews from critics and award winning writers. The books went on to be a massive commercial success despite the author not having written any published works prior to it. This is because the author was able to channel her understanding of what stories her target audience loved onto her creative writing. She knew what they wanted because she was essentially writing for herself.
Merchandise your neighbourhood
Business experts have often said that we should never underestimate the power of niche communities. This is exactly how custom design t-shirt powerhouse Threadless came about in the 2000s. They started by hosting design competitions for a small group of graphic designers with the best designs being printed on t-shirts. Today they run one of the largest online custom t-shirt and merchandise platforms with hundreds of thousands of artists designing for different niche communities.
The key opportunity here is customising designs and serving a niche community. What better way to do that than to start with your neighbourhood or town. You can help to foster a stronger community spirit by building a line of unique products that shouts out your neighbourhood. The great thing about this idea is that you already know who to sell to… your neighbours!
Start by listing down all the places, stores, monuments, landmarks, local sayings, mottos, tag lines that make your neighbourhood special. Secondly, if you have a knack for graphic design, start putting together designs for your ideas. Thirdly, decide which types of merchandise you would like to sell and the print-on-demand platform you want to use. There are many options such as Threadless, Red Bubble, Society6, Cafepress and Merch by Amazon. Lastly, start hustling.
Build your own online marketplace
The pandemic has cemented online shopping in our daily lives. The previously uninitiated were not spared and are now routinely browsing through a variety of online marketplaces on their computers and mobiles. Even big ticket items such as furniture and home decor have seen strong uptick in online sales. Industry observers say that this trend is here to stay and will persist beyond this current pandemic.
This makes it a great time to explore building your own online marketplace. An Amazon or Etsy you can call your own. Don’t let your lack of programming skills or bucket loads of cash stop you. There’s an affordable out-of-the-box solution called Sharetribe which you can set up easily without hurting your wallet. There are two important elements to your success. One would be whether you can identify a good sustainable niche. Second is your ability to build a strong community of buyers and sellers. Some of the more interesting niche marketplaces already using Sharetribe are Studiotime (Airbnb for music studio), WheelPrice (automotive parts) and Quiver (surfboard rentals).
Start by thinking about the niches that excite you the most. The narrower the focus and the more fragmented the market the better. Basically don’t shoot for general areas like “groceries” or markets which are primarily dominated by big sellers or buyers like “concert tickets”. Then you need to scope out your community and identify where you can connect with them. Finally, set yourself up on Sharetribe. Lastly, bring your “A” game.
Below is a checklist of the 10 side hustle ideas and the pointers or steps you should take to get each idea to the next level.