Whether you’re a stay at home mom or commute to an office everyday, you might want to earn a little extra money. The rising cost of raising a child or the need to build a little buffer into your savings account might be your motivating factors. Whatever’s caused the spark, a side hustle might be an option for you.

I’m a podcast junkie and a bit of a nerd so I subscribe to a variety of podcasts because I want to learn more about things I normally wouldn’t be exposed to. I recently discovered a new one, it launched on Jan 1 and it’s called Side Hustle School.

Just the title alone had me intrigued because I’m always looking for ways to make a few extra dineros.

If you’re interested in starting a side hustle, I recommend starting with this podcast. It was created by Chris Gullebeau. He wrote “The $100 Startup” and “The Art of Non-Conformity.”

Anyway, I’m loving this podcast right now because the episodes are all under 10 minutes long. This is a huge benefit because I very rarely have the time to listen to an hour long show in one sitting. They’re short but Chris offers up lots of juicy tidbits and did I mention shows are published daily!?

We’re a few episodes in and I wanted to share some tips with you. I’m a freelance writer on the side so I’ll share some of what I’ve learned so far.

Find a Problem to Solve

Is there something that bothers you, like a process, a service or even a product that’s lacking? Or do you wish there was a better solution for something you encounter on a daily basis? Chances are someone else might feel the same way.

Solving a problem is key to creating a successful side hustle. You’ve identified a need, now all you have to do is fill it and get the word out. You’ll have an audience ready to go and depending on how big it is, your idea will take off.

Do Something You Love

Have you been working on a passion project only a select few know about? Are people constantly complimenting your baking skills? Are you creative and like crafting trinkets, jewelry or art work? Now might be the time to get it out front of more people. What’s great about side hustles is you don’t need hundreds or thousands of dollars to get started. Pair this with a project you’re excited about and you can take your hustle far.

To start freelancing my only financial output was the hosting fees for my website. For about $70 a year I’m covered. Plus writing is something I love to do so putting in the extra time needed doesn’t feel like hard work. In fact, it’s something I look forward to doing.

Do something you love and your passion will push you forward.

Do Some Research

Before you jump in, do a little research to see if there’s already a solution to the problem you’ve identified. If there are other solutions, how can you make your idea different? Put your own spin on it to stand out from others. If you’re into crafting perhaps you can add a personal hand-written note with each order about how it was made or the story behind your hustle.

There’s no shortage of freelance writers out there but in order to differentiate myself from the masses I’ve found a niche that appeals to me but still fills a need. Now I write for lifestyle blogs like Readers Digest and Baby Gaga.

Launch a Website

Once your idea’s ready to launch you’re going to need a way to tell people about it. A website is one of the quickest and easiest ways to do that. There are tons of sites out there that let you throw up a simple website. I use WordPress but there’s also Wix and Squarespace. You don’t have to be a designer or developer to create a site that showcases your hustle, these sites make it super easy.

Side note: my website’s hosted by Green Geeks but other popular hosts are GoDaddy, HostGator and Blue Host.

If you’re a social media wiz, add that to your list of ways to promote and market your business. Start with friends and family and branch out from there. Consider starting a Facebook page to go along with your new website.

To help your site rank well on Google, do some keyword research and add blog content to your site. Based on the words or phrases people search for, you can add these in to build your sites credibility and ranking. As you get higher in rankings (that is, move from the back pages to the front page of searches), your site’s visibility increases which = more visitors which = more potential income.

Invest in Marketing

You don’t need much money to start a side hustle. But you might need to invest a little time to get in front of the right people. Follow blogs or other companies in your niche. Make comments on blogs that link back to your site. Join Facebook groups and leave comments.

You can even get business cards made and hand them out when you’re out and about. I use Visita Print because they’re affordable and offer tons of paper and graphic options. You can even go beyond business cards and create giant magnets for your car. This is great advertising as you drive around.

Monetize

Do the math, how are you going to make money? If you’ve launched a website with content, consider advertising as a way to make passive income. Find an affiliate marketing program to add to your site. If you write reviews about products for newborns then find affiliate marketing programs that match. Every time someone clicks on an ad for baby clothes, you get a small percentage of the sale if they buy something.

If you’re selling a product, find the best options for sourcing your materials. Are there local manufacturers or will you have to go international to get your materials? You need to find a reliable company that respects your business. Even if it’s a side hustle your customers depend on you and deserve quality.

Now It’s Your Turn

The main takeaway I’m getting from the Side Hustle School podcast is that no idea is off limits. Markets may be small but if there’s something that bugs you or you see a problem worth solving, chances are you’re not the only one wishing for a solution. Just be the first to offer it.

The amount of effort you put into your hustle is up to you. You decide how much it grows. You may have a full-time job or a long list of responsibilities and can’t invest hours into this and that’s just fine. An extra few hundred dollars a month can go a long way.

If you want to transition your side hustle into a full time gig one day, keep in mind that some hustles take longer than others to get traction. But don’t get discouraged, keep at it. Give yourself a reasonable time frame to get from A to Z and pocket reasonable profits.

What type of lifestyle do you want? Financial freedom? The chance to spend more time with your family? More time to travel? Whatever it is, you can do it. If it takes a year to see the fruits of your labour, it’ll be worth it in the end.