Updated: Aug 31
A side hustle is a great way to earn extra money and get ahead financially. It can also be a significant time commitment, and there are many different types of side hustles. It’s critical to make sure you choose the best side hustle for your situation.
Here are three reasons why writing can be a fantastic side hustle.
It is completely flexible. You can choose what you want to write about when you want to write and where you write.
It can provide you with scalable income, which is exactly what you need to increase your income dramatically.
Surprisingly, it can make provide you valuable skills that could make you better at your day job.
This article serves as a guide to understand the two different types of side hustles and why writing can be the perfect side hustle for your spending on your situation.
Why I’ve always had a side hustle
When it comes to investing, anyone who has looked at the evidence would agree that diversifying the investments in your portfolio is a smart idea.
Diversification is simply a way to manage risk. If one investment is losing value, those losses can be offset by another investment that is increasing in value.
Your income is the most important investment you will ever have. All other savings and investments are made possible by the income you can generate for yourself.
Given these two truths, it has always confused me that so few people choose to diversify their income.
If you only have one source of income, you are putting all of your eggs in one basket. For most people, if they lost their job, it would not be long before they would be unable to pay their bills and begin experiencing financial hardship.
On the other hand, if you had a side hustle that generated enough income to cover your necessary living expenses, you could lose your job and potentially avoid any significant hardship.
If our income is the engine that moves our finances forward, it makes sense to manage risk by diversifying our income. That is one reason why I have had a side hustle my entire adult life.
How a side hustle can help you build wealth
One of the reasons so many people struggle to save money is because they have a tendency to spend based on their paycheck and only save and invest if there is any money left over after the bought everything they wanted.
There are ways people with one paycheck can increase their savings, like automating their savings and then spending what is left. However, it is much easier for most people from a psychological perspective to save money they earn from a side hustle or second job.
Since side hustle money is independent of their paycheck, they find it easier to look at that money as separate money and dedicate it to productive uses like paying down debt, saving, and investing.
Put simply, it’s easier to use the money earned from a side hustle to increase your wealth. That is precisely what I do with my side hustle money, which perfectly compliments my primary job.
I have a job that provides a nice paycheck, excellent benefits, and a defined benefit pension.
My paycheck and benefits cover my retirement income (through the pension,) any medical or dental expenses (through my benefits,) and all of my living expenses with a healthy amount left over to save and invest (through my paycheck.)
Given everything, I can cover through my paycheck and benefits, I am able to direct every single penny I earn from my side hustle into investments.
Over the years, as I earn more from my side hustle, and my investment returns begin to compound, my side hustle will allow me to generate substantial personal wealth.
How much money do you want to earn from a side hustle?
I recently conducted a poll of my readers and asked them How much money they would need to make from a side hustle to consider it worth their time?
Here is how they responded:
78% said they would need to earn at least $500 from their side hustle to make it worthwhile.
That makes perfect sense to me. By definition, taking on a side hustle will mean you are working two jobs. I can understand why most people would want to make enough money to make a dent in their finances if they are going to invest that type of time and effort.
The two types of side hustles
When it comes to choosing a side hustle, you have two options.
A second job
A side hustle with scalable income
The first type of side hustle provides you with relatively predictable income based on the number of hours you work. In that way, these side hustles are more like having a second job that has flexible hours.
The most common type of second job side hustles can be found in the “gig-economy.” Driving for Uber or Lyft would be a prime example of side hustles that are really just second jobs.
According to a report from Ridster, the median hourly wage for Uber drivers in the U.S was $14.73 in 2018.
Using Uber as a proxy, If you are like most of my readers and want to earn $500-$2,000 per month on a side hustle, you would expect to work 34-136 per month in the gig economy.
Second job side hustles are great for people who want to earn a little extra cash each month.
However, if you want to earn more significant money, you could be looking at a 100+ hour monthly time commitment. If that is in addition to a 9-5 job, consider if that type of workload is sustainable?
Side hustles with scalable income
The other type of side hustle is one that has no set hours and the money you earn is based entirely on the quality of your work and your ability to market that work.
These types of side hustles have scalable income. That simply means there is no cap on the income you could earn. There is also no guarantee you’ll earn any money.
Writing and blogging perfectly fits the description of a side hustle with scalable income.
Writing can be a great scalable side hustle
Suppose your goal is to build a scalable income that could generate $500-$2,000 per month, and you are comfortable with the reality that you won’t earn much money at the beginning (or potentially ever). In that case, a scalable side hustle like blogging might be a great choice.
There are three factors that make writing or starting a blog a great side hustle.
The potential for scaling your income.
The complete freedom to write about what you want, when you want, and where you want.
You’ll develop or hone an essential skill that can increase your productivity in the workplace.
If you want to learn how to turn writing on Medium into a scalable side hustle you will want to enroll in my course, "A beginner's guide to writing on Medium." You can enroll for free and get 2-free months on Skillshare here.
How writing can scale your income
There are a number of ways writers can monetize their blog.
Recommending products to readers and receiving affiliate commissions.
Putting their writing behind a paywall.
Selling a digital product like a book or course.
Licensing out your articles and receiving royalty income.
How much money you can make as a blogger is entirely dependent upon four factors;
The type of monetization you choose.
The subject you choose to write about.
The country that most of your website traffic comes from.
How much traffic your blog can generate.
It’s difficult to nail down an exact income per page view bloggers typically make. I have looked everywhere, and the best I could find is bloggers spitballing.
Luckily Google has created a calculator that can estimate how much you might earn from your blog using Google display ads.
A blogger in North America who writes about finance and generates 50,000 page views per month can expect to make $18,720 per year or $1,560 per month. That works out to be 3.12 cents per page view.
I’ll use 3.12 cents per page view to illustrate how scalable blogging income can be.
The key to making money through blogging is to bring in as much traffic to your site as possible.
When you’re just starting out you won’t earn much money at all. However, as your traffic increases, so will your income. That’s what it means to have scalable income. If you want to make six-figures per year from your blog, you would need to bring in 267,083 page views per month. That is no easy feat.
Go ahead and play around with Google’s ad revenue calculator to see how much you could expect to earn based on where you live and what you want to write about.
Writing is completely flexible
Working a full-time job, a side hustle, and having any kind of social life means you will have to be efficient with your time.
I recently polled my readers on this issue and I asked them what is more important when it comes to side hustles:
Flexibility to work when, where and how they want
Earning the most amount of money per hour worked.
79% of people said that they value flexibility more than money when it comes to taking on a side hustle.
I can’t think of a side hustle that is more flexible than writing for your blog. You get to choose:
When you want to work.
What topics you write about.
Where you do your writing.
All you need access to a computer and wifi (and lots of coffee in my case.)
How my writing side hustle has made me better at my day job
I have been writing as a side hustle for over two years. During that time, the most pleasant surprise has been how much my side hustle has helped me in my 9-5 job.
I work in public policy and the majority of my workday involves writing.
The best way to get better at writing is to put in lots of repetitions and writing as often as possible. All of the extra time I have spent writing blog posts and sales pages and newsletters has made me a dramatically better writer than I was two years ago.
That, in turn, has made me more efficient at work, which has led to less stress and more freedom.
If you have an office job or any job that requires you to write anything, starting your own blog as a side hustle can not only help bring in extra money, it can potentially make you better at your day job.
I call this the “vertical integration of side hustles.”
Who should not pursue writing and scalable side hustles
If you are in desperate need of reliable cash in the short term, writing is not the best side hustle.
If you need some cash coming in ASAP, you might want to consider a second job type side hustle in the gig economy. It is a much more reliable source of income, even if it does not have the potential to scale.
What to write about
You can write about anything you want. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down, think about what subjects you are passionate and knowledgeable about. If you use those two criteria to pick your writing topic, you are more likely to be successful and enjoy yourself along the way.
Writing can be a profitable and meaningful pursuit
Taking on a side hustle is a great way to diversify your income and build financial security.
Generally speaking, there are two types of side hustles:
Sise hustles with scalable income.
Unless you are in need of immediate cash, I think that side hustles with scalable income are the way to go.
I think writing is the perfect side hustle for three reasons.
It provides you with scalable income.
It is completely flexible.
It can help you with your career.
Finally, writing is a great side hustle because it is fun. Writing about things I care about is a fulfilling way to earn money.
This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any significant financial decisions.