3 Kinds of Side Hustle

There is a lot of chatter out there about “The Side Hustle.” But not all hustles are created the same. Depending on your season in life and goals, there are 3 kinds to consider. The Quick Cash, Profitable MultiTasking or Professional Growth. If you know the difference between the 3, you can find the right hustle to get you where you want to go.

One isn’t necessarily better than the other. Each meets a different goal. The trick is finding your desired outcome so you can find the hustle that best suites your needs.


Quick Cash


This works best for people in low earning jobs, or jobs where you can’t trade more hours for more money. Of course they would let you work more, but they won’t pay you any more for your time. It can help meet a few goals.

  1. Pay down your debt faster
  2. Help max out your IRA
  3. Build up your emergency fund

These are the kinds of jobs you aren’t interested in doing forever, but they can bring in some quick cash to help you hit your goals faster. You don’t want to transition them into a career or hobby so it’s important that the pay per hour is lucrative for you.


  1. House cleaning
  2.  Seasonal work
  3. Odd jobs
  4. Trade work in the evenings like hanging drywall. Ugh drywall. I hate you drywall.
  5. Delivering food

Profitable Multi Tasking


These are the jobs that you are either 1. Already doing. Or 2. Don’t take much more effort to adjust to be profitable.

This is a way to take tasks that are already part of your life and tweak them a little bit to bring in some extra cash. It might not be as profitable as the Quick Cash option, but it takes very little additional effort and puts some cash in your pocket. The Financial Panther outlines how he alters his life slightly to add impressive extra income every  month. Here are some examples of how this works:

  1. You make jewelry as a hobby, but you start putting in on Esty to bring in cash to cover supplies plus a little. You don’t want to do this as a living, but you love it as a hobby.
  2. Dog sitting when you already take care of your own dog. Or adding one or two dogs to your daily walk with your dog and charging a small fee.
  3. Picking up groceries for an elderly lady when you are doing your shopping. You can charge a small delivery fee.
  4. Beings you are going to be home on a Friday night with your kids, you watch a few other kids so their parents can have a date night.
  5. You love shopping yard sales in the summer, and you pick up a few amazing deals you can turn for a profit on Ebay.

There are so many apps and companies to help take tasks you are already doing and make them profitable. In a  few weeks, I will be highlighting a brand new app geared towards more rural areas!


Professional Growth


Maybe you are considering a career transition. Maybe you have interest in turning a hobby into a steady stream of income. Perhaps you want to build a platform that you could leverage into other opportunities. Or you want to build your skills in one area so that in a few years you could make an income from it.

This kind of side hustle is the least profitable at first. Often your day job will pay better per hour, but you are more concerned about building something for the future than earning $20 today.

This is the kind of hustle that can eat up hundreds of hours without giving you a $1 in return. So if you are looking to quickly pay off your car loan, the other 2 options are a much better fit.

Some examples of this:

1. Building an app, software, business model or product (digital or physical.) It can takes weeks or months to create these. You earn $0 dollars during this time, but then have the chance to launch what you created. Set up an online store to build a platform.


2. Taking small side jobs (maybe free jobs) in a field you find interesting.  Organic farming, graphic art, designing logos, editing, baking, public speaking, writing, coaching, home building with Habitat for Humanity, photography.  You build your skills and knowledge of that industry paid for with just your time.


3. Building a platform that you can leverage into other opportunities. Your platform could be in any field that interests you. Bookkeeping to beekeeping. Herb gardening or music. As you grow that platform and connect with that audience, you will learn what they want. This will provide the inspiration for a product or service later. If you build a platform around herb gardening, you might learn how to grow and ship small herb gardens as gifts. Or create an herb garden consulting business. Don’t laugh. Landscape design is a real thing! You could be the one to show folks how to landscape with herbs. Books, coaching, classes, physical product, whatever your platform tells you it needs. You might not ever sell to people on platform you build. After months or years of writing about herb gardening on a blog or newsletter, you might start local consulting. Or use that platform as social proof to get hired by a landscape designer. What better way to land your dream job as an herb gardener to the millionaires? Are you laughing again? Ok, dead serious. I am friends with a guy who funded his kids entire college degree by being the indigenous plant expert for a high end subdivision looking for those plants. He was the expert and the only one selling them. Huge money.


4. Volunteering in an organization that builds your skills, contacts or knowledge. For example: Volunteer to do grant writing for animal shelters. After a few years you might find yourself with requests from other animal shelters with paying jobs. You might write an ebook for animal shelter grant writers. You might create a course to help animal shelters train volunteer grant writers. Um, how much would an animal shelter pay for a course that trains volunteers to write the grants bringing in $10-$50k every year? Sounds like a heck of a deal for a $300 online course. That idea is free chicken dinner to whoever wants to run with it. 😉

This kind of side hustle builds your skills, tests your interest, and builds a base that you can leverage in the future.


Knowing what you want from your side hustle will help you find the perfect option.

There are no wrong answers, just a wrong fit.


Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever tried a side hustle?
  2. Have you ever started one then realized you picked the wrong one for your goals?
  3. Which kind would best meet your goals in your current season of life?



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20 thoughts on “3 Kinds of Side Hustle

  1. I dabble in a lot of different types of side hustles – including the little things like pay-per-click websites and doing surveys to earn a little extra cash (or gift cards). Even small amounts help when you’re paying off debt. Blogging is a great platform that you can use to build a variety of different side-hustle ventures. It has really helped me with freelance writing jobs. My newest side hustle is crocheting items to sell. I started this hobby a few years ago and decided to try out a craft fair this coming weekend. It is partially an experiment, to see what sells (hopefully all of it) and for how much. My results will be detailed in a blog post.

    I’m interested to hear about the new app. While we’re not really in a rural area, our metro area isn’t huge, so new options are always helpful.

    • You might want to start saving those crocheted items for your new additions! The app is launching in a few weeks, and I like it because it can really shine in communities 0-100k. Almost none of the cool sharing economy services are in our community. No Uber for me. =(

  2. Which category would you file my bank account bonus chasing under? 😉

    I actually bought and sold a lingerie web store. Not one of my wiser endeavors. I learned how to kill SEO and lose $$$. If I can find something that I can pick up and drop on demand, that would be great.

    • Hum, maybe stuff you are already doing? =) Credit card points might fall under that as well. I’m not sure I even want to know what inspired the lingerie store! If you make it through Montana on your trip, I want to hear that story.

      • It’s not that exciting of a story. I was searching flippa.com for websites to buy and it was in my price range! Drop shipping is easy right? Not so much… 😀

  3. I used to be all about quick cash. I would do anything to make an extra buck without any thought as to the money I was actually making per hour and whether or not it was worth my time. In reality, cutting my spending would have helped me generate “extra” cash faster!

  4. Hmmm. Right now, I tutor and I work for Tip Yourself. They’re both my passions — teaching and writing (and connecting with other super positive people!). It’s quick cash (as much as either can be considered quick), but it definitely aligns with my professional goals. Most importantly, though, it’s something I’m passionate about!

    • It is awesome if you can take a passion and professional goal and add some cash to that! That sounds like the ideal situation. Although all your education up to this point could be considered the long side hustle that brought you to this place! =)

  5. These are great ways to think about the various types of side hustling! (And thanks for the shoutout!).

    Admittedly, a lot of the sharing economy/on-demand economy stuff I do is only really available in urban areas, so will be interesting to see what this new app is all about!

    • It really meets a rural niche and felt need, which I love. Our community is about 80k and would be perfect here. But I grew up in a town of less than 1000, and could work really well there too. That is something rare. =)

  6. This is a really good breakdown. I had always been more heavily interested in the professional growth type side hustles, but felt like I was messing something up because I wasn’t making quick cash type money off of them. Breaking them up into these distinct categories with different goals helps put my mind at ease.

    • That was the inspiration for this post. I think a lot of people become discouraged because they want professional growth or to create passive income but that doesn’t product a quick return. I think about it more like a planting season. Or creating a customized college education. We understand that we won’t be making more money 3 months into college. Nope, it takes 4 years before we start to see any return on that investment of time and money. But I think a lot of people start down this path and then quite because at 6 months or 12 months they haven’t made money. I planted raspberry bushes and the first year, got nothing. The second year a week crop. And this year the crop was HUGE. More raspberries than we could eat every day.

      So people just need to figure out what their goals are. They really need $1000 by Christmas? They want to add something simple to their lives to bring in more income? Or they want growth. I hope it helps people figure out what they are looking for so they can find the right fit.

      They guy who grew local plants lost money on that the first 2 years and everyone said he was crazy for growing those “weeds.” “Why would someone ever pay for those?” But because he was the only expert in the market, he landed the highest paying contract of his life.

  7. I’ve tried many side hustles that fit into the “quick cash” category. I particularly love to flip yard sale/thrift store finds. The profit margin always fascinates me.

    “In a few weeks, I will be highlighting a brand new app geared towards more rural areas!” I’m very interested in what you have to share here. I’ve been reading about FP’s awesome side hustle doing deliveries on his bike, but that won’t work where I live (I live on a gravel road, if that gives you any indication).

    Now, I feel like the blog fits into the professional growth category. I never thought I’d work so hard for so little and love it so much. I’m in it for the long haul and I love the learning challenges. Hopefully it will open up some doors down the road.

    • The yard sales flips are super interesting. I have no eye for that kind of thing AT ALL. But had a friend that did that as her full time job! I think it’s a cool way to start as a fun hobby with some easy cash, and then take it wherever you want it to go. I let my 7 year old (at the time) do that with a great dollar store find. He found a toy that normally retails way higher, bought 4 with this own money then sold them on Ebay for a good profit. It was a great lesson for a kid about the new kind of economy that is emerging. Even 7 years old can have a real side hustle (with a little bit of computer help from mom!)

      I want to do a full write up about the new app because it is just about to launch and no one knows anything about it yet. I thought about just adding a link here, but a small post would make more sense. =) I think they are going to be ready to do a full release in the next month. Right now they have been testing it in a small market.

  8. Great breakdown of the three types. I agree you can’t do #1 forever but it helps for short-term goals.

    We haven’t focused on side hustling since having kids, in part because we spend 15-20 hours per week in volunteering/church work. However, I do view blogging as a platform and also write the occasional freelance article. I enjoy both, and when my kids are in school I’d like to have these both as a side hustle option. So #3 for me!

    • Blogging totally falls into number 3 for 99% of blogs. It is amazing at opening up new opportunities. But it takes SO many hours, and there isn’t a direct monetary payback at first. But if you don’t need an extra $100 right away, it’s a great option. I have been in both seasons in life. Sometimes I just really needed the extra 100 bucks, and now I am willing to sink the hours into a professional growth project.