It’s no secret that we’re shifting gears into a “gig-economy.” The typical 9-to-5 workday is slowly becoming a thing of the past as skilled freelancers are able to generate six-figure incomes around multiple side-gigs and a flexible work schedule.
If you’re looking for work or a full-time employee looking for extra sources of income, I strongly suggest picking up a side-gig. Before I started working at our start-up, Due, I juggled four or five different projects at a time. I was able to work at my own pace and had direct control over my potential income. Even though I’m working full-time now, I’ll never cease to explore new opportunities.
If you’re seeking alternative means of income, take a look at these four unique side-gigs that anyone can start today.
1. Start a blog.
One of the most popular ways to earn additional income is by starting your own blog. Earning a significant income from a blog -- or any income at all -- takes a hefty time investment. If you’re looking to make a quick buck, this probably isn’t the best place to start. If you’re willing to put in the time though, it’s well worth the investment.
To start, I recommend choosing a topic you are extremely passionate about. This way, you can produce meaningful and amazing content. Next, choose a domain name and purchase a server to host on. WordPress offers plenty of options when it comes to creating and customizing your own blog.
It’s best to focus on content that’s both helpful and engaging to your audience. If you’re writing a travel blog for example, focus on the best sights to see or places to eat instead of how much you miss your dog back home. Here are a few ways you can profit off your blog:
- Find sponsors. Whether it’s a logo in your footer or a dedicated page, sponsorship is a great way to create a steady income stream from your blog. For example, if you own a fitness blog, seek sponsorship from up and coming fitness brands as you gain more traction.
- Sell ad space: This is a tricky one since you don’t want to deter your readers by cluttering your blog with ads. Try to use native advertising strategies to work the ads into your content.
- Guest posting: Other bloggers in your industry may want to pay for guest postings or paid content. This is a good way to earn some extra cash and produce more content at the same time.
2. Equity crowdfunding.
Unlike rewards based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding allows investors to acquire real securities for their investment. So why don’t more people invest? Well, prior to Title IV of the JOBS act being passed in March of 2015, only accredited investors were allowed to participate in equity crowdfunding. An accredited investor is an individual with at least one million dollars in assets, excluding their current residence. Now that Title IV has passed, anyone can participate.
I suggest checking out a few equity crowdfunding platforms to get familiar with the process. Crowdfunder is a platform that acts as marketplace for both investors and startups. Indiegogo offers equity crowdfunding opportunities as well. Both of these platforms also provide tons of informational material so you can educate yourself before investing.
If you already work for a startup, this is a fantastic way to learn about other companies. Additionally, it gives you perspective on both sides of the fundraising process. As an entrepreneur you need to constantly expose yourself to new facets of business. Equity crowdfunding is a great learning experience and potential income opportunity.
3. P2P lending.
Peer-to-peer lending allows individuals to secure loans without having to deal with banks or other institutionalized lenders. Platforms like LendingClub and Prosper allow nearly anyone to become a lender.
These platforms are highly coveted by individuals and businesses looking to secure a quick and easy loan. That being said, interest rates are typically higher on these platforms. The average interest rate for Lending Club in 2016 was about 12 percent, with more than $300 million in interest payments received. If you have some extra money laying around, peer-to-peer lending is a great way to put your money to work.
These platforms also assist lenders by vetting and grading the borrowers. The general rule of thumb when investing is to hedge your bets, so never put all your eggs in one basket. Take a look at some statistics offered by LendingClub before you get started.
4. Outsource a microbusiness.
This is one of my favorite side-gigs since it puts your true entrepreneurial abilities to the test. Being an entrepreneur is all about being resourceful and creating opportunities out of nothing.
I remember when I was working on my first startup. I had a friend ask if I knew how to develop a website. Knowing nothing about web development I gave him the short answer of, “yes, of course I can.” I ended up finding a developer and helped my buddy get his website built. Since this was a good friend, I didn’t charge him, but I realized I had created a potential opportunity.
Whether its web development, graphic design, or even marketing, there are plenty of opportunities to connect buyers and sellers for a profit. Platforms like Fiverr and UpWork give you access to tens of thousands of freelancers with diverse skill sets and expertise. Once you’re able to lock in a few projects, I suggest looking for a designated virtual employee so you can delegate the majority of the work. You could create a virtual development shop without ever leaving your home.
No matter what your current financial situation is, it’s always important to seek new income opportunities -- especially those that can make you money while you sleep. If you’re an every day entrepreneur, try one of these side-gigs so you can get ahead and uncap your earning potential.
Renzo Costarella is an entrepreneur, avid learner, and startup enthusiast currently living in Silicon Valley. He is one of the first employees and VP of Sales and Business Development at the online payments startup Due.