(Last Updated On: March 13, 2019)
The humble side hustle could be the key to financial freedom
Photo Credit: Flickr / CC BY 2.0

In recent years, job security has become a thing of the past, and as a result, more and more professionals jump from job to job. And in this time of uncertainty, having a plan B to pay the bills is increasingly popular. That plan B often comes in the guise of the humble side hustle.

Did you know that last year, 40 percent of U.K. workers had a steady side hustle to supplement their income? And in the U.S., as many as 44 million people claimed to be part of the gig economy. Interestingly, many of these side hustles are completely unrelated to their chosen career. From walking dogs in the morning to teaching people how to play poker online, the gig economy covers almost everything.

But it’s not only about the money. A solid side hustle offers flexibility, control over your work and the ability to cut down on overtime at the office and work in the comfort of your home. Of course, there are also a few downsides, but these should only affect you if you make your side hustle your main source of income.


The pros and cons, according to U.S. side hustlers. Credit: Statista

Fortunately, for those of us with tech skills, walking the neighbor’s dogs don’t have to be an option. Although strangely enough, online poker does make an appearance on our list. So, if you’re in need of some extra cash this month, perhaps you should give at least one of the options below a whirl.

Graphic Design/Image Editing

So, there are tons of image editing apps available right now that allow users to edit their photos as they take them, but we’re not talking about your cousin who wants their holiday snaps to pop a little more. Think of all those images, infographics, charts and banners you see every day on social media and websites. Someone must make them for the company, and you can bet that the marketing department has little time to handle it.

Look for companies with active social media accounts or blogs with regular content updates. Reach out and ask them if they need any help with their images. You may need to reach out to a few hundred before you land a client, but once you do, it’s easy street from there on out.

Website Upgrades/Redesign

Now, you may have noticed that there are some websites online that have a distinctly old-school feel to them. Old-fashioned would be a better term. Many small-to-medium businesses have yet to overhaul their dusty old website to bring it into this century, and that’s where you enter the picture.

If you have ever built a website or created pages for one, this is a no-brainer. Scour the internet for smaller companies that have non-responsive sites and offer to help upgrade/redesign the whole thing. How much you charge is up to you, but once you do a good job, you’ll find that the referrals will bring in new business.

Gaming

There are tons of games out there, but there’s only one that you can realistically expect to make any money at, and that game is online poker. Now, before you say it, yes, online poker does make use of your tech skills. As a tech whizz, you’re already adept at decision-making, and you think logically as opposed to following your gut. But these are only two characteristics that any seasoned poker pro will tell you are essential when following even the simplest poker strategy, and you already have them.

You could opt to teach others how to play but where’s the fun in that? Of course, you’ll need to practice quite a lot before you can expect to make some extra cash, but that’s what’s great about this hustle: You’re playing a game with the possibility of earning some money. That’s a win-win if ever there was one.

Website Components

If online poker isn’t quite your thing, how about designing and building specific components for a website? Maybe the company already has a responsive website that looks great, but they’re now after some additional features, such as buttons, menus, and footers. They could hire the agency that built their site, but that would be expensive.

It’s easy for you, but impossible for a business owner.
Photo Credit: Pixabay / CC0 1.0

However, as an affordable and reliable option, you’re the perfect solution. You come in and help create the components, install them on the website and collect your cash. It’s an excellent option if you have the know-how for website design but have yet to build one from scratch or don’t have the time for larger projects.

Website Maintenance

This one is perhaps the easiest of the bunch but also, the service that companies are most likely to require. Small-to-medium businesses may not have a dedicated IT person in the office, and so, the maintenance of the company website is often the responsibility of the owner or someone in marketing. And yes, you guessed it, this is where you enter the picture.

You can offer to maintain their website for a monthly fee. While your fee won’t be too high, it’s recurring income, and you should be able to snag a few referrals out of the deal. It’s also quite easy for anyone who is tech savvy. All you’ll need to do is update plug-ins and the theme and debug the site on a regular basis. You can even take it a step further by offering advice on password management and website security. Beware that you don’t take on too much work though, so be clear on what your responsibilities are and set your fee accordingly.

Conclusion

So, there you have it: five side hustles that make good use of your tech skills. From online poker to website maintenance, the option you decide on depends not only on your skills but how much fun you want to have with your hustle and how much time you can spare. While a side hustle will be unlikely to compare to your full-time income, if you invest your time wisely and understand your worth, it could net you an extra couple of thousand a month. And that’s worth it.

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