7 Side Hustle Ideas to Feed Your Soul (and Wallet)

Updated 05/18/18
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When we are young, extracurricular activities are a mandatory part of life, but as we get older, those hobbies and passions often fall to the wayside as we build careers and families. With mounting responsibilities—not to mention financial woes—taking up the majority of our time and energy, it can be difficult to prioritize anything other than the bare essentials. But, according to psychotherapist Jeremy Bergen, creating a side hustle isn’t just lucrative—it’s also a great way to develop your identity outside the office. “We feel pressure to find a lot of our identity in our work, but the fact is that there are very few people who find careers that define them as a person,” he says.

Unless you are one of those few people, it might be time reignite your passions and find a creative outlet. Bergen says, “The key to picking a side project that will improve your mood is choosing something that you feel excited to do that also happens to make money.”

Keep scrolling for seven ideas to kickstart your next after-work project.

If You're a Boot Camp Regular…

Whether you’re a regular at yoga, spin, barre, Pilates, or boot camp, you can get certified to teach the classes you already love and make some extra money while you’re at it. A quick google search or scan of the bulletin board at your gym or studio will show you that a certification course is often within your reach. We’ll admit that it’s a financial investment—these courses can be quite costly and take time—but once you’re certified, it’s well worth the effort. Soon you’ll be on your way to charging for your own classes and spending more time with your favorite after-work activity in the process.

If You Have a Green Thumb…

If you’re in a demanding 9-to-5 job, gardening might well be the outlet you need. According to an article in the Journal of Health Psychology, the hobby can boost your mood and even help alleviate stress. The benefits extend beyond the mental and physical, though. Organic produce is in demand, so take your fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs to your local farmers market, and make some money while you’re at it. You can sell the raw produce or create an original product with what you’ve grown. All farmers markets are different, but most of them require applications to set up shop, so do some research to find out how you can secure a spot in your local market.

If You're a Budding Gourmand…

Do your friends rave about your side dishes, ogle over how you design a cheese platter and admire the way you effortlessly pull off a dinner party for 10? If cooking is what you love to do, consider teaching classes or even offering up catering services on the side. Your friends already drool over any homemade item you bring to parties, so why not turn this hobby into a side gig? You don’t have to be a professional chef to spread your wisdom. Start by practicing with friends, and then think about offering your expertise to local kitchenware stores, or make a website to advertise your skills.

If You Love to DIY…

Whether you spend your time after work painting en plein air, crafting gorgeous, one-of-a-kind jewelry, or knitting cozy blankets, there is a market for your creations on Etsy. It's never been easier to turn your hobby into a blossoming business. Need a few ideas to get started? A few of our favorite Etsy shops are Pieces of Starr, Ohhio, and Yield Design Co.

If You See Life Through a Lens…

Taking photos is a great way to spend your spare time. It’s creative, takes you to new places, and offers a different perspective of the world. If you have a knack for capturing the perfect moment, you can turn your art form into a side business. It seems like photoshoots are in demand for almost any occasion today, which means photographers are needed to document our most important moments. Gone are the days when weddings and annual family photos were the only times we interacted with professional photographers. People shell out major cash for high-quality photographs of any and all life events, from high school graduation to proposals caught by hidden camera. What’s more, is that you don’t need to seek out professional management. Sites like Society6 and 500px pay amateurs for their original snaps. Yes, it’s that easy.

If You Spend Your Downtime Jamming…

If music is your passion, sharing your talent by teaching others is a great way to make some extra cash. Offer your expertise to your friends’ children, and ask them to spread the word. Giving music lessons is the perfect side hustle because it fits around your usual 9-to-5 schedule. Children are busy during the day with school, so nights and weekends work for both parties. There are also plenty of adults hoping to pick up a new hobby, so don’t be afraid to reach out to an older crowd of potential students as well. List your services on sites like TaskRabbit to broaden your reach.

If You Could Spend Hours at the Art Gallery…

Does your dream weekend include hours spent at your favorite museum or art gallery engaging in meaningful conversation about artists and their work? Whether you studied art history in school or you’re working on curating your home, you might be qualified to be a docent or tour guide at your local museum. Museum docents act as guides and educators for all different kinds of institutions by providing cultural and historical information to visitors. Most work on a voluntary basis, but if it’s side cash you’re after, some museums will pay you for your services.

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