Ready to start a side hustle? Here are a few ways to put your skills and interests to work to earn you extra cash.
If you’re not already running , chances are you’re thinking about it. About one in three Millennials has launched a side business, according to the Young Entrepreneur Council, and more than 90 percent believe knowledge about entrepreneurship is essential to the new economy and the current job market. ( to Tweet this stat.)
Still mulling over what type of side hustle will work best for you? Here are five options, pulled from my interviews with more than 100 successful side-hustlers for my new book. These ideas all harness your creative skills and interests and have the potential to make you a bunch of much-needed cash.
1. Invent something the world needs
Emily Beach, a field hockey coach at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., noticed something when she was teaching young kids how to hold a hockey stick at a summer camp program: they found it difficult to control the sticks with their left hands, as they were supposed to. While some coaches slide an empty toilet paper roll over the stick to prevent players from controlling it with their right hands, Emily wanted a more durable solution.
She sketched out her concept for a new type of stick, one with a handle that would swivel and prevent players-in-training from using their right hands. The Dribble Dr. was born. She now runs her business on the side, promoting the Dribble Dr. at conferences and trainings, as she continues working full-time as a coach.
The takeaway: Solve a problem in your field with a new invention.
2. Sing a song
If you have a talent other people enjoy watching, then you have a potential business. For Jessi Baden-Campbell, an opera singer, that talent is singing. She works as a coordinating producer at a media company by day and takes on singing gigs — in the theater, for weddings, in churches and synagogues — by night and on the weekends. She practices during her lunch breaks to maintain her skill.
The takeaway: If you’re a talented performer, you can hone your skill and pick up evening and weekend gigs. Many performers find their clients through word-of-mouth, so .
3. Use your (non-singing) voice
According to freelance website Elance.com, voice acting was one of the fastest-growing fields last year. If you used to act in high school or college (or wish you did), this could be your entrance into the acting world.
Chris Hardy, an instrument repairman in Augusta, Ga., always loved playing around with cartoon voices as a kid. When he discovered the website Fiverr, he started listing voice acting gigs. For $5, he started offering audio files of various voices, from Homer Simpson to Elmo. He now earns around $10,000 a year from his voice acting skills.
The takeaway: Tap into a talent you relished as a kid to make money today.
4. Create a community
Nicole Crimaldi Emerick launched Ms. Career Girl, an advice blog for young college grads, as a creative outlet, but it soon turned into a profitable business. She spun it out to include career-related events before eventually selling the website (while continuing to contribute to it). The experience she gained from the venture also helped her eventually transition into a new career as a social media strategist.
The takeaway: Your side hustle can give you experience that ends up boosting your primary career.
5. Design a digital product
Digital products are the darlings of bloggers. They offer a way to create a valuable product and easily sell it online — no postage or packaging necessary. I’m partial to this approach because I did it myself by launching a line of digital financial guides on Etsy. It didn’t make me rich, but my shop does earn a steady stream of $50 to $200 each month, depending on how much effort I put into marketing. But even more importantly, it’s empowering. Every time I make a sale, I feel the rush of knowing I created .
The takeaway: Digital products are easy to make and sell and offer an easy way of sharing your expertise with others.
While the financial benefit of a side hustle is definitely a good reason to launch one, the feeling you get from being a successful micro-entrepreneur — and creating something that helps improve your customers’ lives — is even better.
is the author of the new book and senior money editor for U.S. News & World Report. In addition, she is the creator of, a line of digital financial guides on Etsy. Visit her site .