5 Ways to Establish a Steady Side Income
Today’s post is a guest post from Ben Taylor, a freelancer who has moved from the UK to Portugal and back again in the past decade, making money on his own terms throughout. Hope you enjoy!
The last time I had a real boss was back in 2004. I can’t imagine having one again.
But as much as it’s nice to be the master of my own destiny, guaranteed paychecks at the end of the month are always something I’m always going to miss from time to time! Over the years, I’ve found that keeping multiple little streams of side income coming in at all times is the best way to level out the financial peaks and troughs that are all but inevitable for freelancers.
In this article, I discuss five of the methods I use to bring in extra cash on a regular basis. These are my “side hustles.” The great news is that they’re just a small selection of hundreds of possibilities for earning side income.
It’s worth noting that, for many people, side hustles are not about making a huge amount of cash. I recently interviewed several people for some home working case studies on my new website. Some were quite happy to make enough extra to merely pay for a meal out or a treat each week. It’s an individual choice as to how big the side hustles need to be.
Here are my five current favorite ways to earn side income:
1. Selling on eBay
When I tell people my wife and I have an ongoing eBay mission going on, it doesn’t mean we’re constantly listing and selling items.
In fact, sometimes months can elapse without us going near the auction site. However, we always keep eBay in mind. That way there’s always a stash of items to sell – if we hit a lean income patch, need to generate extra money for something special, or merely need to declutter.
Some of the strategies we do:
- Keep eBay in mind when buying video games, aiming for special editions and rarities.
- When treating ourselves, we buy items that hold their value reasonably well and then re-sell them during our next decluttering.
- Keep an eye on Gumtree and Craigslist for bargains.
- Throw NOTHING away that has value.
2. User Testing
User testing is a recent addition to my side gigs, but one I really enjoy.
Essentially, it’s all about testing websites and apps on behalf of companies. I use two services mainly. UserTesting.com gives out tests that take up to 20 minutes and pays $10 for each. UsabilityHub is for much shorter tests that only pay 10 cents a pop, but some take just seconds.
If I leave both of these windows open while I’m working at my laptop (which is MOST of the time!) I can make $40-50 per week extra for this, and it doesn’t feel like much effort. Please note that you do need a quiet and undisturbed environment to make this work.
Editor’s note: I’ve also read a lot about people completing tasks through the Amazon Mechanical Turk program and Fiverr.
To be frank, for years I turned my nose up at doing online surveys, thinking such things were a bit of a scam. It’s only because I had to review some of the options during my work that I thought I’d give them a go.
I’ve (to my own surprise) ended up sticking with IPSOS iSay, and do whatever surveys come through to me from them. Some of them are monotonous but others are quite interesting, and they’re easy to do as a background task.
Doing these will never make me rich, but work out to a free £5-10 Amazon voucher each month, which equates to a few books or a nice toy for my son.
Editor’s note: Be sure to research survey companies carefully. There are a lot out there, some are completely legitimate and some are scams. Make sure to practice due diligence and look for positive reviews from respected sites before signing up.
I’m a freelance writer by trade, and I also occasionally do content mill writing as well. While not the most lucrative form of writing, it’s still an option for making some side income.
Content mill writing is often dull and repetitive, and looked down on by many as being the lowest form of writing. I’m not going to deny that this is true, but when you find a mill that’s churning out content you can write quickly and paying a decent rate, it’s quite hard to resist banging out a couple of articles each week for some extra money.
5. Mindful Spending
It took me many years to get there, but I’ve recently figured out that saving money is often better than earning it.
As such the last item on the list of my current favorite side hustles is something I’m going to call “mindful spending.”
As well as consciously making sure I don’t spend for the sake of it, I also try to save money on everything I do buy by keeping an eye out for voucher codes and cashback offers. I then hang on to all the money that mounts up in my cashback accounts and save it for a special treat. There’s enough in one to pay for a weekend away for my birthday next month!
Related Reading: Why a Side Hustle Can Take Your Finances to the Next Level