If you’re looking for opportunities outside of your regular 9-to-5 job to make ends meet, get ahead or eventually transition into a new career, you’re certainly not alone. According to a survey from Bankrate, more than 44 million Americans are looking to gain greater financial independence through a side hustle. Among these entrepreneurial-minded individuals, 36 percent earn more than $500 per month from their side gig. Indeed, that extra crop of money is enough to make a car payment, save up for a vacation or put away for your child’s college fund.
But figuring out which type of opportunity would best suit you — and how you can get one or more of these ideas off the ground — can be intimidating. Fortunately, we have endless tech-based opportunities at our fingertips to help us better harness our skill set. Here’s a look at how you can leverage technology to help power your own side hustle.
Learn a New Skill Set
Side hustles don’t necessarily require a degree or going back to school to learn new tricks of the trade. In fact, if you enjoy driving and being social, signing up to become a Lyft or Uber driver might pique your interest — and fatten your wallet. Likewise, if you have a way with words, consider doing some freelance writing to build a solid portfolio.
Now, if you’re eyeing potential side hustles that don’t necessarily meet your current skill set, you can easily close these gaps by taking online courses from sites like Lynda.com, Skillshare and Udemy. Looking to become a marketing guru or learn how to build websites on the fly? All this can be learned relatively easily through online courses that walk you through the process.
Harness the Power of Social Media
Want more eyes on some of your side projects? Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are ideal platforms to promote your products and/or services. Just think about the opportunity before you to engage with other like-minded people wanting to share and engage with you based on your efforts.
Whether you’re looking to strengthen your brand or simply make a sale, you can easily post photos of your products, share links to your top blog posts or use YouTube to show off your cooking and baking skills. Best of all, the companies you partner with tend to promote what you’ve created. For example, Amway has created a YouTube channel to promote the success stories of its sales reps, with the one- to two-minute-long videos typically earning millions of views.
Connect with Clients Online
Looking to use technology to coach clients or offer your services from the comfort of your own home? Use a service like GoToMeeting to holding monthly webinars on virtually any topic, or Skype to teach online English courses or offer guitar lessons. You can also turn to online project management tools like Slack and Asana to keep better track of workflows, stay connected with clients, or use built-in chat features to talk through a project.
Launch a Podcast
Hosting a podcast is a powerful lead generation tool to promote interest in and monetize your products or services. Plus, as you gain a bigger audience, you’re bound to see increased foot traffic to your website or social media pages. Additionally, you can also focus on landing sponsorship opportunities or earning small royalties every time you mention a company by name on your podcast. Not only will this fatten your wallet, but you’re also bound to see a bigger and more diverse audience.
Advertise to Your Target Market
Instead of advertising in newspaper classified ads, market your side hustle on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. For example, you can create targeted ads on these platforms to reach your ideal audience simply by gathering a slew of customer data, including a person’s age, gender, location, income level and general interests. And perhaps best of all, advertising on social media can be an easy, cost-effective way to reach your ideal audience.
Sell Your Wares Online
These days, it may be easier and more convenient to promote your business and make sales via an online store versus doing the same thing — and having to pay monthly rent — at a brick-and-mortar storefront. For example, eBay and Amazon are easy-to-use, intuitive sales platforms and two great examples of where to start.
You can also sell handmade goods on Etsy or the digital courses you’ve developed on sites like Udemy or Skillshare. And if you’re interested in taking your business to the next level, consider using a platform like Shopify, which allows you to offer more customized features, including live chat support and coupon codes.