How To Pick the Best Side Gig for You, According to Experts

Vintage toned portrait of a young female novelist, blogger or a freelancer designer working on the laptop while having a cup of coffee in her living room in the beautiful bright apartment in Paris city center, in Montmartre district.
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A side gig can be a great way to earn extra income for your financial goals, whether that’s to pay off debt or save up for a vacation. It can also be a smart way to test the waters if you are thinking about making a career change. But not every side gig will be a good fit for you, and there are many variables you should take into consideration before deciding on one.

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Here’s how to pick the best side gig for you, according to experts.

Figure Out How Much Time You Can Dedicate To Your Side Gig

“Before jumping into freelancing or working side jobs, do a self-audit to determine how much time is truly available for it,” shared the FlexJobs career coaching team. “First, decide how much time will be devoted to the side hustle, then where it will fit into one’s schedule, and if applicable, how it will affect any other jobs. This will help to avoid overscheduling down the road.”

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Figure Out What Your Goal Is

Think about what it is you want to achieve with your side job.

“Do you want to supplement your income quickly, gain new skills or pivot into something new? These are all great reasons to start a side hustle,” said Claire Hunsaker, ChFC, financial advisor and founder at AskFlossie. “Being clear about what you want to achieve will help you make other important decisions, like what opportunity to pursue, how much of your attention or personal time to sacrifice, how long you’re willing to go before your side hustle is profitable and how you will know it’s a fit. A clear goal helps answer these questions. It’s not the same for everyone.”

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Determine What Types of Jobs Are a Good Fit for Your Skills

Start by making a list of your best transferable skills, and then do some research to find jobs that are a good fit for your skills and interests. It should also be a job you actually want to do.

“Since taking on a side hustle means adding to your already full plate, you should choose a job that you enjoy doing,” said Laura Gariepy, creator of Before You Go Freelance. “That way, it stings a little less to give up some of your free time.”

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Consider Your Earning Priorities

Do you want to make money quickly? Or are you OK with a long game approach?

“Many side hustles have an entrepreneurial element but some are more steady, so it’s important to ask yourself, ‘How comfortable am I with risk?'” Hunsaker said. “Doordash and Instacart don’t pay great — $15-20 per hour — but both are a lot more lucrative initially than your new YouTube channel. Your vlog may earn more two years from now, but that won’t be built in a week.”

Tap Into Your Network

“It can be helpful to lean on personal and professional networks for support, especially when just starting out in a remote side hustle,” the FlexJobs career coaches said.

Your network is also a good resource for finding out information about a potential new venture.

“Before committing to a job and realizing it’s not a good fit, try getting a firsthand account of what the industry is like,” the FlexJobs coaches said. “Informational interviews are an excellent way to help shed light on what it’s really like to work in a certain field.”

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Watch Out for Red Flags

Don’t take on a side job if you see some immediate red flags, such as an unclear pay structure or a hard-to-reach point person.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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