Could A Side Hustle Supplement Your Slowdown?

Do the hustle! That was the rallying cry of disco-driven dancers in the 70s. But in 2020, the term is making a comeback as a way to supplement your income. It’s called the “side hustle.” Could this be a way for small business owners to supplement lost income due to slowdowns in this pandemic-driven economy? Take a look at this trend and how people are hustling up some extra income.

Who Side Hustles?

According to, the term “side hustle,” actually dates back to 1950. It refers to work that someone performs in addition to their fulltime job or business. Bankrate reports 45% of working Americans had a side hustle in 2019. Three out of ten did it because they needed the extra income.

Side Hustle Nation distinguishes it from a part-time job saying it has a more entrepreneurial component. It’s income driven by your own initiative, not whether someone hires you. They also differentiate it from a hobby, which costs you money. A side hustle makes you money.

What Are People Side Hustling?

The range of side hustles are as varied as the people who do them. Side Hustle Nation suggests taking a knowledge or skill you have and developing it into a small but viable side business.

For small business owners, that might be something related to your current business. For example, a hardware store owner who has plumbing skills might offer a side business doing home plumbing repairs. A home decorator who sews might sell designer-fabric face masks. Each could be done during non-business hours.

One caution about related side hustles, don’t short change your current business. Your main business is your primary income source. The side hustle is supplementary. So allocate the time you spend on each accordingly.

Another option is to follow a passion you have. Doing so ensures you sustain the motivation needed to make a side hustle viable. For example, a restaurant owner who plays guitar might offer virtual music lessons to adults who’ve always wanted to learn how to play. Since many people are working from home, that could be an income-diversifying side hustle when the restaurant is closed.

4 Side Hustle Ideas

Does side hustling pique your interest? Here are some ideas. While these may not be right for you, they might spark other ideas that fit you better.

  • Dropshipping – Sell products without having to buy inventory. For example, if you like cooking, you can sell kitchen products while providing how-to videos on your blog. This video from Shopify illustrates how it works.
  • Dog walking – Get your exercise and earn money at the same time. You have the flexibility to schedule walks on your own time. There are no start-up costs and once established, it provides a recurring source of income. The apps Wag or Rover connect walkers to pet owners.
  • Sell your photos – Here’s a way to monetize your photo-taking passion. Third-party  websites allow you to upload your photos for sale. They already have an audience of customers so you don’t have to market them, but you may pay a commission on each image sold. This Medium article reviews some of these sites.
  • Sell a business skill – Know how to write a business plan? How to fill out a loan application? Can input data like nobody’s business? Websites like Fiverr will match you up with people who are looking for help in these areas. You select the jobs and they facilitate payment.

A side hustle can be one way to supplement the income you’ve lost from a business slowdown. Whether it’s a spinoff of your existing business or a passion you want to share with others, side hustles can help you fill the income gap in a pandemic business environment.

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