Side hustle tips?

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February 5, 2018

Background: ~30 y/o, work 9-5, make slightly less than 100k/yr, not much in savings (outside of retirement accounts), $25k student loan debt remaining, no other debt, rent an apartment

Question: How to start generating passive income, or in my case, more realistically, best options for side income (not strictly passive)?

Yes, I know, this is like asking "How can I make a million dollars real quick?" But honestly, I don't know where to start. Are there any books or websites you recommend for tips on generating supplemental income? Figured I'd ask here as it seems like the crowd here would have some experience in this, and I'm still just brainstorming.

Post Information
Title Side hustle tips?
Author ReturnOfTheSwing
Upvotes 7
Comments 32
Date 05 February 2018 04:52 PM UTC (3 years ago)
Subreddit askMRP
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[–]JudgeDoom6910 points11 points  (4 children) | Copy

rent an apartment

Stop renting and buy a duplex. Live in one unit and use the rental income from the other unit to pay the mortgage and utilities.

When you've built enough equity, refinance the duplex to free up the cash to make the down payment on another one.

[–]SteelToeShitKickerRed Beret3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy

I agree with this sentiment, however, you must know the local market and know the general direction of the market. You can do ok just buying a duplex, you can do very well if you see what others don't see.

[–]JudgeDoom691 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy


Excessive "Days on the Market" is a good indicator of a potential bargain. It doesn't cost anything to make a low-ball offer on a property that has become shelf-worn.

Another angle is making an offer paying 80% with a conventional mortgage and having the seller hold a land note for the remaining 20%. Then you ask for a couple thousand back in the "Response to Inspections". You can acquire the property with no money down and walk out of closing with a check in hand.

By living there, you can avoid a portion of the capital gains tax when you unload the place.

[–]bob13bob2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Use fha loan and buy a 4plex. This is the common answer real estate pros give to newbies who ask how to get started

[–]ReturnOfTheSwing[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

What little I have in savings, I am hoping to accumulate a bit more and use it as a downpayment on a house within 18 months.

This is definitely something I'll look into. Thanks.

[–]Alpha_Engineer995 points6 points  (7 children) | Copy

Ebooks are awesome for passive income. I’m on my 5th year and make a very good side hustle off of it. Very very good.

One you write it, it continues to do the work for you...forever. You might have to edit it, rebrand -if you get tons of negative reviews, but it pays dividends-even while you sleep.

Pick a niche with low competition ( the hardest part), work on ranking your website in google, and at the same time self-publish it in Amazon.

You don’t even have to write the book, you can sub it out to freelancers very cheaply. When fidget spinners came out (when my boy told me about them at his school) , I immediately wrote a 30 page book about them, nothing earth shattering, just what they are and what they are used for... but now I’m #1 on amazon -just by being the first one! And people (soccer moms) buy that crap.

Books don’t have to be this huge fucking novel like when we were young. With kindle, soccer moms only want a book like 20 pages.

Imagine having 100 small books about bullshit that sells every day. You can build an empire.

Always stay on the lookout for the latest trends too, shit I see on Facebook that people are doing, fads, etc

If it doesn’t do well or take off, the only thing you lost was sweat equity. And you also learned something to apply to the next book.

There you go.

[–]ReturnOfTheSwing[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

That's an awesome idea.

[–]wrong_hole_lol0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Do you mind sharing a ballpark of monthly earnings? Your "very good" could be my loose change or vice-versa.

[–]Alpha_Engineer991 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

$1700 / month. That’s an average. Some of my books are seasonal... and spikes in certain months.

You have to pay taxes on that though. Amazon sends a 1099 to the irs on your royalties.

[–]ex_addict_broRed Beret-2 points-1 points  (3 children) | Copy

I immediately wrote a 30 page book about them, nothing earth shattering, just what they are and what they are used for... but now I’m #1 on amazon -just by being the first one!

Hey Luke Walters, nice to meet you, I have an idea for your next ebook: let's make it about how to stay anonymous on the internet.

[–]Alpha_Engineer992 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy

Don’t actually believe that’s my real name do you ? Have about 30 different pen names.

[–]ex_addict_broRed Beret0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

I actually do.

[–]DanceMonkeeDanceRed Beret3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy

Can confirm. Am Luke's father.

[–]2235524 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

  1. Start saving. Before you spend money on anything, you put an amount away every paycheck. This may mean dropping some things, (takeaway food, expensive coffees, expensive hobbies/habits)
  2. Ask for a pay rise, or work on getting a pay rise
  3. Review your spending, rent, shop around for a better deal on utilities/phones/subscriptions, consolidate credit cards, and debts. Try and get a lower interest rate on existing loans.
  4. Budget your expenses, and spending.
  5. Now, you should see some growth in your savings, and start planning your next step. Property, managed funds, shares, side business. This is one way of doing it.

There is no quick way. Side income will require an investment either of money, or your time, or both.

[–]ReddJiveRed Beret2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy

This isn't passive, but I went out and got a paramedics license. there are a lot benefits to doing so. I work contingent so I can generate as many hours as I want in a month. I can top out at $1000 a month if I choose.

In my area there are a lot of stand by events, like football games, hockey games, public training....that sort of thing. I don't recommend EMS for everyone. I find it fantastic work with usable skills.

It can open doors, like I am on the Tactical EMS team working with law enforcement to serve warrants and other special situations.

[–]ReturnOfTheSwing[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Great idea. I am definitely also considering flexible after-hours/weekend work, as I am not really in the position to "make money with money" right now, i.e. investments or large upfront costs.

I could always work at a bar again at night but I would prefer to explore other options before diving into that.

[–]ReddJiveRed Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Consider the cost of getting a license. First you have to go through EMT training and get that license. My class cost me $1200 and was 4 months long (nights, 5 hours 2x a week with one full Saturday a month).

Paramedic is far longer and can cost upwards of $6k. Most go the Community College route which can be more expensive. CC usually create a program that is damn near pre-med in scope.

though there are programs that can be cheaper but longer. one of the cheapest in my area is $4K and 14 months (nights, 2x a week 5 hours with no breaks).

The usual recommendation is that you are a working EMT for one year before you start medic, but there is no requirement. IMO if you want to be a man of value this is a sure fire way to do it. Medics are the most versatile in the US healthcare system. They are basically mechanics and can be trained to perform any medical task needed at the ALS level. Medics are as varied as the areas they work two are exactly a like. there are also tons of different license to achieve, like Pediatric care, critical care, flight medic....the list can go on.

[–]The_LitzRed Beret2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy

The word hustle and passive income are at odds with each other, hustle is time consuming with a decent reward, passive income is almost zero time put in besides the setting it up, but with lower returns.

Property remains a good risk/reward option and also a good idea if you do not want to spend too much time on it.

But, investing in property sounds counter productive if you are still payong off student debt.

Rather generate extra immediate income and squash those student loans.

Check out sites like Upwork etc. There is a variety of extra work you can pick up there and do it from home. You can choose how big the jobs are that you take and only apply for jobs that have deadlines that suite you.

[–]bob13bob1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

This is incorrect. Real estate can be very lucrative no matter how much student debt you have.

You are grossly over simplyfying

[–]The_LitzRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Contrary to popular believe, life is brutally simple.

[–]TurdDoctor2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

Pay off your student loan debt. Think of it this way, if the interest rate on your student loan is 4%, it translates into a 4% return on the extra payment you made that month. When you are out of debt, you will have better cash flow to save for and buy a duplex or condo, maybe in a market that's not so hot like it is now in so many areas.

[–]ReturnOfTheSwing[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Good way to put it. Trimming the fat and paying off the debt should be my step #1.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

Check the /r/personalfinance sub's sidebar and suggested pathway on that.

[–]chief-w1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

[–]ReturnOfTheSwing[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Perfect, thanks. I'll be lurking there for a bit.

[–]RuleZeroDADRed Beret1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

What do you do, without getting too specific?

Does your current skill-set dovetail into something needed but under-served?

Side hustles are quick hits that address niches. Most of the advice so far is portfolio building, which is also important, but does not yield great short-term gains.

If you live in a warm climate, mow yards. Cold climate, shovel snow. Those are examples of side hustles.

[–]ReturnOfTheSwing[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

I've looked into freelancing what I do as a day job but there are some potential legal issues with doing that. Not impossible, but I would need to take some serious precautions, to the extent that I may just be better off starting my own business with all the licenses, permits, insurance, etc. that goes along with that. Which would be great, but I am not really at that experience level yet.

Unfortunately, my day job is so specific, and doesn't directly translate into something easily marketable for general freelance. I do engineering work essentially in front of a computer all day.

I've considered taking up programming as a hobby with the hope that I could generate some income with it later, but I'd be starting from ground zero with no formal education in what appears to be a highly competitive freelance market. I could potentially waste years on it with minimal return.

[–]DanceMonkeeDanceRed Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

You have specific skills that are related to your engineering day job. You have problems and obstacles that you deal with every day.

Learn to program to solve specific engineering problems that you have. Sell those solutions to other engineers in your field.

Leverage the specific technical knowledge you already have.

[–]hypergamous1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Strongly suggest reading the original Rich Dad Poor Dad book. As well as the E-Myth Revisited. Those two specific books will help you find what path works best for your set of skills and experiences.

As others have shared, entrepreneurship and hustling are not realistic for everyone. A 3% to 5% passive return on your time and money is a respectable way to begin learning.

Best to you on your journey.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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