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6 steps to make a side hustle work for you

In a bid to keep up with rising inflation, more and more people are turning to side hustles to earn some extra cash.

Compilation image of Australians walking down the street in Sydney with a pile of Australian dollar notes. to represent side hustles
The popularity of side hustles surges as the cost of living crisis puts pressure on Aussies to find extra cash elsewhere. (Source: Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

As the cost of living rises, more and more people are looking to make extra income in a bid to keep up with rising expenses. A side hustle can be a neat way to make extra cash in your spare time, but it’s important to know how to make it work for you.

As a seasoned side hustler, here are my six tips for side hustling safely, and getting the maximum benefit from your extra graft.

Also by Emma Edwards:

1. Is a side hustle right for you?

Before you commit your precious spare time to a side hustle, it’s important to ask yourself whether it’s really right for you. It can seem like earning extra cash is the quick fix you need when money gets tight, but it’s not right for everyone.

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Weigh it up against any other options available to you, including cutting expenses, getting more hours at your current job, or even asking a family member for support.

Then, look at your physical, mental and emotional capacity before you rush into anything.

2. Decide what your side hustle is for

If you’re sure you want to take on a side hustle, define exactly what your side hustle is going to offer you. ‘Extra money’ isn’t specific enough. What are we looking for exactly?

Is it an extra $500 a month to cover your rent or mortgage?

Is it an extra $50 a week to put towards savings?

Is it a certain amount towards a big expense like home maintenance or travel?

By defining what you need, you can look for a side hustle that’s going to provide you with that.

3. Decide how much time you can spend on your side hustle

When we’re stressed about money, it’s easy to overcommit ourselves with the best of intentions, only to wind up burnt out and exhausted.

Before you take on a side gig, look critically at your schedule and routine, and work out how much time you can afford to dedicate to earning extra income. This helps with boundaries if you’re taking on a second job with an employer, and helps with managing your workload if you’re taking on projects as a freelancer or contractor.

4. Choose a side hustle that works to your strengths

The key to side hustling safely and effectively is to choose something that works to your strengths.

Look at your skills, interests and passions. You might find ways to monetise something you’re good at, or find a second job that maximises one of your existing competencies.

The more you enjoy your side hustle, the less likely it is to drain you – and that means you can reap the rewards of extra income for longer.

5. Proactively plan time for rest

Earning extra cash on the side feels exciting and empowering – especially at first. But it’s easy to find yourself compelled to monetise every hour of spare time.

Proactively planning time for rest means you’re far more likely to take it. Plus, it can help you prevent burnout and give your side hustle efforts more longevity.

6. Make sure you stick to your plan

You should have already decided what the income from your side hustle is for, so it’s critical that the second you start bringing in that extra income, it is funnelled straight to your predetermined goal.

It’s really easy for extra income to get absorbed into your existing money routine, leaving you with little to show for your extra work. Make sure your side hustle income is actually doing what you need it to – it’ll make those extra hours all the more worth it.

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