Ultimate How to Start a Side Hustle Guide: Make $1000 a Month (or More!)

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Last Updated on January 5, 2021 by Rebecca Lake

How to Start a Side Hustle and Make Extra Money

Learn how to start a side hustle and make an extra $1000 every month or more!

And if you need a quick and easy side hustle to start now, get paid to take surveys with Swagbucks and Survey Junkie!

Need to make some extra money to pay down debt, save a little cash or just cover the bills?

I hear ya!

Having a side hustle can help you do all those things and then some. And nearly half of Americans have at least one side gig!

Before I became a full-time freelance writer, I was running a part-time writing hustle. And one reason I started this blog was to help other moms figure how to start a side hustle of their own.

Because there are some amazing benefits to starting a side hustle:

But it’s intimidating when you have no idea how to get started.

I’ve been there!

So to help you out I’m breaking down everything you need to know about how to start a side hustle that makes real money!

What Is a Side Hustle?

make money with side hustles

A side hustle in the traditional sense is something you do to make money on top of your regular 9 to 5 job.

But with so many people wanting to know how to start a side hustle these days, it just means finding ways to make extra money.

If you’re wondering, is a side hustle right for me? the good news is that almost anyone can start a side hustle!

Side hustles can be great for:

  • Students
  • Stay at home moms
  • Working moms (or dads)
  • Teens
  • Retirees
  • Full-time workers

Really, anyone who wants to find ways to make money can start a side hustle. That’s what’s so great about having a side gig!

You might also like:

37 Creative Side Hustles That Can Help You Make $100 a Day (or More!)

How Do Side Hustles Make Money?

woman holding cash

Great question!

The short answer is there are lots of ways to make money with a side hustle.

How you go about making money with side gigs depends on:

  • How much time you can dedicate to your side hustle
  • What kind of skills you have that you can monetize
  • Whether you want to try to make extra money from home or online

Some side hustles let you make money using your skills. For example, you could make money by offering freelance services online.

Other side hustles make money by performing a service, like delivering food or shopping for groceries.

And some side hustles can end up turning into a full-time business if you find something profitable and go at it!

So as far as how do side hustles make money goes, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Which is great if you’re looking for ways to make money online!

You might also like:

100+ Legit Side Hustle Ideas to Help You Make Money in Your Spare Time

How Can I Make an Extra $1000 a Month With Side Hustles?


hand holding cash

This is another great question!

Because the reality is that some side hustles can make a lot more money than others.

And sometimes those side hustle ideas require more work but sometimes they don’t.

When it comes to popular side hustles, there are ones you’ll hear about more than others. For example, some of my favorite side hustle ideas to make $1000 a month or more include:

All of these are amazing ways to make money online without having to get a real job! And some of them can help you earn a full-time income working part-time hours, which is even better. 🙂

Starting a blog is another popular side hustle idea. (I have three!)

And it can be a money-maker, but it can take a little time to get going. But if you can stick with it, a blog is another amazing side hustle option.

If you want to learn more about how to start a money-making blog, check out this guide!

You might also like:

5 Legit Business Ideas for Moms You Can Start to Earn $5,000+ Monthly

What Makes a Good Side Hustle?

woman holding cash

Some side hustles are better than others, at least in my opinion.

And it’s worth doing some research because you don’t want to waste time on something that isn’t a good fit.

So for me, a good side hustle:

  • Has great money-making potential
  • Doesn’t require you to pay any money upfront
  • Offers flexible hours so you can work around your schedule
  • Is fun or at the very least, is something you enjoy doing!

Remember, you don’t need a college degree or any special skills to start a side hustle, though those things can help.

The most important thing to keep in mind about how to start a side hustle is that it should be something that fits YOU specifically.

how to start a side hustle

How to Start a Side Hustle and Make $1000 a Month (or More!)

Okay, you know what a side hustle is and how side hustles make money.

And hopefully, I’ve given you some solid ideas on which side hustles make the most money.

Ready to learn how to start a side hustle?

Then here we go!

1. Figure out what starting a side hustle means for you

Do you want to start a side hustle just to earn a little extra money?

Or, do you want to start a side hustle that you can eventually turn into a profitable business?

There’s a difference between working as a VA and driving an Uber on the weekends. Both can bring in extra cash but only one has the potential to be a stand-alone business.

Think about your long-term vision for starting a side hustle. Obviously, you want to make money but what else?

I assume that if you’re here reading this, it’s because your ultimate goal is to be a mompreneur. If that’s the case, you’ll need to treat your side hustle like a business from day one.

And if not, that’s okay. But it’s important to know exactly what purpose you want your side hustle to serve.

2. Brainstorm some amazing side hustle ideas!

woman counting cash

If you’ve been thinking about starting a side hustle for a while, you may have a clear idea of what you want to do.

But if you’re totally clueless, I’ll help you figure it out!

Here are five questions to ask yourself to help you brainstorm some side hustle ideas:

  • What am I passionate about or interested in?
  • What am I good at?
  • How much time do I have to put into starting and running a side hustle?
  • What do other people always ask me for help with?
  • What’s something that has the potential to make money?

Answering these questions can help you come up with a list of side hustles.

The last question matters because you don’t want to waste your time learning how to start a side hustle that’s not profitable.

You don’t have to aim to make a ton of money right out of the gate, but if increasing your income is a priority, you have to be purposeful about where you put your time.

That’s especially important if you’re a busy mom.

When I first started doing VA work, I only worked about two hours a day. This was fine because I had a toddler and a newborn and my husband worked out of town 21 days of the month.

When I became a single mom, I had to put in a lot more hours in the early days to grow my freelance writing business.

In between homeschooling, spending quality time with my kids and doing all the mom things, I was working 8 to 10 hours a day.

These days, I work about 20 to 25 hours a week but I hustled HARD in the beginning.

And you have to be realistic about how much time you can (and want to) invest in growing your side hustle.

3. Narrow it down and find your side hustle sweet spot

Go back to your big list of side hustle ideas.

Which ones stand out to you the most?

Which ones look most interesting?

Get rid of anything that you’re just feeling meh about or doesn’t pique your interest.

Now, think about your time commitment. Some side hustles are more time-intensive than others.

Blogging, for example, can up a HUGE amount of time if you eventually want to make money from it.

>>And if you want to start a blog, then Siteground is hands-down my top for hosting. Click here to get hosting with Siteground for as low as $6.99 a month!<<

If you can’t put a ton of time into starting a side hustle right now, strike it from the list.

But, keep it on file so you can come back to it when you’ve got more room in your schedule to commit to that particular hustle.

Finally, look at the side hustles that you think could be most profitable.

Cross off anything on the list that doesn’t have the potential to deliver the kind of income you’re looking for.

Ideally, the equation for choosing your side hustle should look something like this:

Awesomely interesting idea + Realistic time commitment + BIG profit potential =

Your perfect side hustle idea!

Eh, but what if there’s more than one thing on the list that fits the formula?

That’s okay. I’d be surprised if you weren’t able to come up with more than one side hustle idea.

If you think you can manage both, then, by all means, you can work on starting both.

But if you’re like I was back when I started hustling, you probably only have time for one.

So pick the one that’s speaking to you most right now and save the other for later.

4. Spend some time learning more about your side hustle idea

When I first started as a freelance writer, I was clueless.

I knew how to write, which was important.

And I had some knowledge about the topics I was writing about (budgeting, saving money, credit).

But when it came to promoting myself and finding work and treating it like a business, I was completely in the dark.

I learned as I went and I’m still learning even now. But I could have made things a lot easier on myself if I’d done some research before just diving in blindly.

And that’s the same approach you need to take when starting a side hustle.

The simplest way to learn more about your side hustle and how to make it profitable is to look at what other people in your niche are doing.

If you’re starting a blog, for example, some of the ways you can make money include ads, affiliate marketing, offering services or selling products.

If you’re interested in offering VA services, look at what other successful VAs are doing.

Just make sure they actually are successful in their niche.

I studied other freelancers when I was first starting and I learned more from some than others.

At this point, you might also be thinking about whether you need to take a course or a masterclass to expand your side hustle knowledge.

The answer to this question depends on what you already know and what you think you still need to learn.

There are a ton of great courses out there that are worth looking into. (Like this one that’ll teach you how to make money as an online proofreader!)

Just make sure you’ve got the time and money to commit to finishing them before you sign up.

woman holding cash

5. Connect with other side hustlers

This step is really important if you want to learn how to start a side hustle or an online business.

When I decided to try my hand at blogging, I knew I had a LOT to learn. So I started joining Facebook groups for bloggers.

Joining these groups has been a huge help to me in a few ways.

While there are a lot of beginners in some of the groups I’m in, there are also experienced side hustlers and boss moms too who don’t mind helping out a newbie.

Second, it’s nice to have someone to commiserate with when I’m feeling frustrated about what’s happening (or not happening) with my blog journey.

I feel better knowing I’m not the only mom blogger who isn’t killing their Pinterest game or has yet to start building their email list.

Finally, hanging around other side hustlers, even if it’s online, is a great motivator to keep plugging away at my blog.

Because when I see other people making money from their blogs, it gives me confidence that I can do it too.

So if you don’t have a side hustle tribe, go out and find one!

6. Create your side hustle launch plan

You can only research your side hustle so much — at some point, you have to put what you’ve learned into action, right?

There are a few different things to consider here as you shape your plan.

First, how much time can you commit to working on your side hustle every day?

The more hours you can put in, the faster you’ll see results.

But you may have to go the slow way and build your side hustle in the cracks of your days. If that’s the case, go ahead and acknowledge that up front.

Create a schedule that lets you maximize the time you do have.

I set up a blogging schedule with specific things to do on specific days. I don’t have 40+ hours to commit to blogging each week, so working with a schedule helps me tackle my most important tasks.

Next, think about your specific side hustle goals.

If you’re not sure what the big picture looks like yet, focus instead on what you want to achieve in the next three, six, nine, twelve months.

The most important thing with goal-setting is to be realistic about your expectations.

Once you have a list of realistic, achievable goals, set a timeline for reaching them. Then, break those goals down into specific action steps.

For example, if you’re starting a freelance writing hustle, one of your goals might be to connect with three clients in your niche in the next 30 days.

Your list of action steps might look like this:

  • Send connect invitations to five editors or content marketing managers on LinkedIn every day
  • Cold pitch three brands or businesses that fit your ideal client profile each day
  • Apply to three jobs via freelancing job boards daily

These are all things I did in my first six months of transitioning my side hustle to a full-time business. What goes on your action list should reflect the most critical actions you need to take to achieve your goals.

7. Decide how to promote your side hustle

people excited about money

Knowing how to start a side hustle won’t do you much good if no one knows about it. The whole “if you build it, they will come” approach doesn’t really apply to how to start a side hustle.

There are a lot of ways you can make your side hustle visible. Some of the tools I used to promote my freelance business and now my blog include:

Those are just some of the things you can do to get attention for your hustle.

Above all, when you’re promoting your side hustle remember to emphasize the value you have to offer.

Being that person that a client can depend on is what will set you apart from other side hustlers. If you can consistently deliver the goods, people will want to hire you or buy whatever it is you’re selling.

8. Grow your side hustle

Learning how to start a side hustle and launching it are the easy parts.

The next step is figuring out how to grow it so you can eventually turn it into a business if that’s your goal.

The early months of starting a side hustle are one HUGE learning curve.

During the first three to six months, you want to pay attention to what’s working and what’s not. You should also be aware of how your goals or feelings about your hustle might have changed.

For example, you might start off wanting to blog but find that coaching is your real passion. Or you might be creating logos on Fiverr when what you want to do is design websites.

That’s the truly awesome thing about side hustling: It can evolve as you evolve.

Right from the start, be sure to track your progress towards your goals and your income. If you’re not making as much money as you expected to, revisit your goals.

Ask yourself if the goals you’ve chosen are the right ones, and whether you’ve chosen the right steps to achieve them. You may need to tweak your plan to get the results you’re after.

9. Keep expanding your horizons

Running a business is a continuous process of learning and improving. As you grow your side hustle, remember to set aside time to polish your mompreneur skills.

That could mean reading blogs that focus on the side hustle life or investing in some killer productivity tools. For example, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg was a total game-changer for me.

Or it could mean taking a course or a workshop that teaches you something new.

You should also be thinking about ways to grow in your niche.

Offering new services or developing a product of your own, for example, could open up an entirely new side hustle income stream.

The sky is the limit if you’re committed to learning how to start a side hustle and make a legitimate income from home.

The key is being tuned in to what you really care about it and open to exploring new opportunities when you find them.

woman side hustling

Watch Out for Side Hustle Scams

One thing to know when it comes to how to start a side hustle and make money: not every opportunity is legit.

There are so many scammers out there who are unfortunately all too happy to take your money or at the very least, waste your time.

For example, here’s a pretty common scam I’ve seen as a freelance writer. You see an ad that offers what looks like a great rate. You get hired for the “gig”, turn in your work and wait to get paid.

Only…it’s a scam. You’re never going to see a dime. Meanwhile, the scammer has made off with your content.

That’s just one kind of side hustle scam to be aware of. As you’re trying to figure out how to start a side hustle, watch out for these red flags:

  • Companies that ask you to do work while being vague on what you’ll be paid and when
  • People or companies that ask you to pay money to get started working
  • Anyone you don’t know who asks you to share your bank account or credit card details

When trying to find a side hustle to start, trust your gut. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Now you’re ready to start your side gig!

Yay, you made it to the end!

By now, you should know exactly how to start a side hustle and make $1000 a month or more from your side job.

Starting a side hustle can pay off in more ways than one so if you haven’t started one yet, what are you waiting for?

Now tell me, what kind of side hustle will you start?

Head to the comments and tell me about, then don’t forget to pin and share this post!

How to Start a Side Hustle That Makes Money

About Rebecca Lake

Rebecca Lake is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance, freelance writer and homeschooling single mom of two. Since 2014, she's paid off nearly $100,000 in debt and grown her net worth to seven figures. Her work has appeared online at top personal finance websites, including Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Investopedia, The Balance, CreditCards.com and U.S. News & World Report. Find out more.

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