I’ve always been a bit of a side hustler. From a young age I was keen to work, keen to have something I could do to earn extra money or learn new things, and I’ve really carried that into my adult life. The way I describe side hustles is this: having one is like having a little lever you can pull when you need to activate a bit of extra cash flow. Operating one isn’t as simple as that, of course, but I’m a firm believer in setting yourself up to be able to access multiple income streams. It doesn’t mean you need to be hustling morning, noon and night – it’s about having the tools and plan of action set up to pull that lever when you need to.
I did a lot of side hustling when I was navigating a long distance relationship with my partner. I was earning minimum wage working in a restaurant in London, so to be able to fly back and forth to see each other in two corners of the world, I kept my eyes peeled for ways to earn extra cash. Here are all the side hustles I’ve had over the years (that my almost-30-year-old brain can remember!).
Delivering the Yellow Pages
I always used to keep my eyes peeled for short term jobs like this, and I once got a gig delivering the Yellow Pages in my local area. I think it paid about £150 for the full day of delivering, which was pretty amazing compared to my £6.20 per hour wage at my waitressing job!
Field worker for Trip Advisor
This was one of my favourite side hustles of all time, and I think I spotted it on Gumtree. Trip Advisor was hiring field staff to go out and manually verify addresses, photos, phone numbers and names of restaurants in local areas. So, everyday before I went to work the evening shift at the restaurant, I’d head out for a few hours visiting the restaurants and cafés on the lists they sent me. I think it paid something like £1 per location verification and a bonus £1 for an accompanying photo with location tags turned on. The absolute jackpot was if the place had closed down, because you got the full £2 for just marking it as closed.
This is of course one of my most enduring side hustles as I’m still doing it now, and it’s grown into more of a business in its own right. But, in the early days it was a true side hustle, as I’d write anything and everything from product descriptions for car parts sellers, to bulk writing Facebook post captions and blog posts for a homewares store in the US.
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Selling costume jewellery on eBay
This was a short-lived side hustle, but I once bought some costume jewellery that looked identical to the stuff that Zara would sell for upward of £30 a pop. I bought a few units and sold some on eBay for a small profit. I ended up stopping because I found the commercial side of eBay really confusing (I was only 17!) and I got scared I’d do something wrong and get in trouble.
Again, another more enduring one, but (pre-COVID of course) I still do cat sitting in my local area, and can see myself continuing with it for quite some time. I love hanging out with cats and it’s super flexible around my schedule, and I visit the cats in their own homes so I don’t have to worry about having them in my house (cats prefer their own environment, usually). Plus, I find it really rewarding that I can reassure people that they’re cats will be well cared for while they’re on holiday!
Reselling second hand clothing
For almost a year, I had an online store selling second hand clothing for midsize ladies that I’d pick up at thrift stores and markets. I love clothes and seemed to have a good eye for what people like, but a number of complications meant I shut it down earlier in 2020.
Selling cult fashion on eBay
This really shows my age, but in the UK when I was at uni, it was common for certain items of high street fashion clothing to sort of become a cult piece. It would usually mean it had been featured in a magazine or on the very, very early iterations of ‘influencers’. It would sell out incredibly quickly and people would then turn to eBay to try and get their hands on the item. I could quite often spot items that would go bonkers in advance, or get lucky and find one once the hype had already started, so from time to time I’d grab it and pop it up on eBay for a small profit. It was more of a hobby than anything, but I made a little cash on the side sometimes, too.
Market research sessions
When I was working in London in a restaurant, it meant I sometimes had weekdays free because I’d start work at 4 or 5pm, so I signed up to all the market research companies and asked to be notified of focus groups and research sessions in my area. A few times I was able to take part in research studies and get paid £50-£100 to do them.
Selling other people’s stuff on eBay
My Dad is a pretty serious golf tragic, and had a long obsessive phase of Hugo Boss clothing, and some other golf brands that did well on eBay. Because he was so dreadful at technology, he’d give me his stuff that he wanted to sell, and let me take a cut for doing the heavy lifting. If you’re a savvy online seller, doing other people a favour and listing and posting their stuff for them can be a tidy little earner.
Making media kits for bloggers
A few years ago I had a small side hustle making media kits and rate cards for micro-bloggers (essentially a document with your readership and following), and sometimes helping them take their photos for content. I was able to offer services at a much cheaper rate than a super professional photographer or designer, too, which was great for my clients as many of them didn’t make money from their blog, but just enjoyed it as a passion project. I still do the media kits from time to time, but I really, really, really suck at photography, so I ditched that after a while!
COMING SOON: Side Hustle Consultations: this feels like a good time to announce that I’m shortly going to be offering 1:1 side hustle consultations. I’ve realised this year that one of the main areas that I add value when chatting to people in my DMs and in comments is with nutting out ideas. Whether you’ve got an idea for a side hustle and want help working out how to formalise your offering or market yourself, or you know you want to start creating a side hustle but aren’t sure what or where to start, these power hour sessions will help you get that all important clarity. You’ll leave the session brimming with excitement and ideas and a hunger to make that shit happen. Sign up for updates and be the first to know when sessions start booking.
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