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What You Need to Know About Side Hustles

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Welcome (back) to the WLI Blog! We’re always happy to have you here. Right now, we’re feeling pretty darn good, having reached our 25,000th reader! Check us out on Quora, too, by clicking here. The author of this article is now one of the most viewed writers in several finance topics! Enough about us, let’s make you some more money.


Today, we’re talking about side hustles. A side hustle is something you do to earn money outside of your traditional job. Side hustles are often the bread and butter of personal finance blogs, because they’re good for students, full-time employees, and everyone in between. Money flows from faucets around the world: you just have to hold out your hat.


As you may already believe, and as you should start believing, there’s no shame in making an honest day’s pay. We don’t all have the luxury to pick and choose our money-making endeavors with unlimited time horizons and negotiating power. Most people don’t have anything close to that privilege. We like making money. When we know that the power of compound interest can make us millionaires with very little effort on our parts, we’re pretty eager to take even small amounts money wherever we can find them.


So, as you can guess, we are encouraging you to get yourself a side hustle, or several, and we’re going to offer up some examples of lucrative hustles. It may help to not think of these as extra work: rather, these are opportunities for you to more effectively use the twenty-four hours in your day to achieve your goal of buying a phone, taking a trip, quitting your job, funding your startup, whatever.


Let’s hustle, baby.


Credit card promotions: It’s obvious- and we explain it all here. Basically, signing up for credit cards often entails earning a sign-up bonus worth anywhere from $100 to $675 within a few days or months, with a minimal amount of effort. Strategically earning these bonuses can earn you thousands of dollars a year in the form of statement credits, gift cards, and money for travel.


A concrete example? Sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Spend $4,000 in three months and you’ll get 50,000 points- worth a minimum of $625 in travel costs. Add an authorized user who makes a single purchase, however small, and get another 5,000 points. Then, add what we believe to be the most under-recommended credit card: the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards card. Sign up, swipe the card at least once per month, and then pay off the card in full. You’ll get a $25 statement credit every quarter ($30 if you bank with Bank of America). Enough free money to cover your Netflix subscription!


Pay off your cards in full each month and you won’t pay a cent of interest. You’ll also build a kick@$$ record of on-time payments, which allows lenders down the road to offer you credit cards with  more lucrative bonuses and loans (including mortgages) with lower interest rates.


Other promotions: Every month or so, Amazon seems to shoot out an email offering a $15 bonus when you purchase a gift card worth $100, or something like that. If you’re anything like us, you’re buying more than half of your stuff on Amazon (after extensive comparison shopping, of course). If you know you’ll spend that money anyway, why not take the deal? When stock market returns can average about 8% per year but are volatile in the short-term, we’ll take an instant, guaranteed, non-taxable return of 15% any day of the week.


Recently, TransferWise, which we recommend highly, offered a $200 reward to customers who referred three friends who then made transfers worth more than $300. With a little bit of effort (we won’t explain this too much), someone could transfer money in circles, paying tiny commissions to TransferWise, and get $200 deposited in her account within a week. This deal has since been ended, but keeping an eye out for things like it is always a good idea. Just remember: if you break the rules, be ready to lose the reward. Don’t go breakin’ no law, neither.


Be the subject of an experiment: If you live anywhere close to (or attend) a medical school or research hospital, check out the bulletin boards. You might be offered a good meal and $200 bucks to participate in some painless tests over the course of seven hours (about $30/hr!), or $40 to nap in an MRI machine for an hour, or maybe just $10 to take a ten-minute survey. This money adds up and, again, there’s no shame in hustlin’. Just read this website or listen to a rap song, any rap song, and you’ll be reassured that Hustlin’ is OK.


Be a TaskRabbit: Earn money in your neighborhood or city by assembling IKEA furniture, running an errand, repairing a bicycle, or a bazillion other tasks. TaskRabbit isn’t available everywhere, but if you want money, have a little time, and like to be useful, check it out.


Fiverr: Offer a product or service for $5. The options are endless. Think about it.


Craigslist: Sell your crap. Easy.


Craigslist (again): Have any skills? Offer them up on Craigslist. Proofread, translate, mow a lawn, haul a washing machine.


Craigslist (last time): Every heard of being a brand ambassador? Venture to the ‘gigs’ section of Craigslist and poke around. Use your good judgment, though. Brand ambassadors are paid well to attend events and promote products. The link above will offer you all the info you need. You can also try finding Facebook groups for similar-minded people in your area: take Kenny’s advice and, on Facebook, search for ‘Brand Ambassadors of {your city}.’ But you don’t write your city, you write your city. OK?


Drive for UberJoin the ranks of people who either want to quit their jobs, make a little extra on the side, or just love being their own boss and meeting new people.


Those are just a few options that are, quite frankly, obvious. We really believe that for people with a certain set of privileges in their lives, money runs from faucets– you just have to open your eyes, find the tap facing your direction, and hold out your hat. (John D from Atlanta, are you reading this? You’re the inspiration for this article!)


Easy Recap


  • Embrace the truth that there is no shame in earning an honest wage. A job can be your life, your career, or simply a means to an end. Each is fine. Each brings you money. Each brings you happiness in its own way.


  • Keep your eyes peeled. When you see a discount, a bonus, or promotion that you deem to be valuable, take advantage of it. Our affinity for accepting Amazon’s email offers to buy gift cards at a discount is a pretty decent example. Look around online for inspiration.


  • Take the time to research product prices and any financial decision. We often do that for you on our blog! Like here. Or here. Research is a side hustle if it optimizes your spending or earns you more money!


  • Use your extra money to reach your long-term goals. There’s no use in trading your time for money in the present if you’re going to squander it. Have you paid future-you? Optimized your travel plans so that you can go farther, see more, and pay less?



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What’s your side hustle? Let us know in a comment!


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