3 Simple Steps To Making Money In Your Spare Time

by Teresa Newsome

Most people I know need two incomes to come anywhere close to the Pinterest-worthy lives of their dreams. Unfortunately, those Pinterest lives also come with the free time to enjoy them that you don't have when you work a million jobs. If you glance at the Internet in general, you'll see a lot of crap advice from website that want to exploit your entire skill set and only pay you $5 or force you to bid against thousands of other workers for the chance to make $2 an hour. The other options are even worse. Make pennies per hour signing up for offers of performing micro-tasks on some crowdsourcing site that makes you jump through hoops just to get to the part where you jump through more hoops.

And then there are all the Internet entrepreneurs who make a killing telling you how you can make a killing telling others how to make a killing. I've been there. I've done them all. The truth is, while it's possible to make money online, if you want to make real money like a real grown up, you need to leave what seems like the path of least resistance and invest some good, old-fashioned time (and yes, money) into a side business that sells a real product or service to real people. There is no cheat sheet or easy, pre-packaged solution to your side hustle. You have to get in there and get it done. So how do you even do that?

1. You Need Skills

Everyone has skills. Whether you have a PhD in computer engineering or barely passed your high school equivalency test, you have skills. And if you don't feel like you have skills, here's good news: Everyone can learn how to do or make something. Start with what you like and go from there.

2. Find People Who Will Benefit From Your Skills

Are you a waiter? Call every catering company in town and tell them that you freelance. When their staff goes on vacation or calls off 10 minutes before the biggest party of your career, you'll be there to save the day. Best part: you are't attached to set hours and you can say "no" whenever you want. Writer? Pitch the editors of every magazine and website you love. Do you make mittens? You are now an etsy machine and friends with every boutique owner in the state.

3. Market Your Skills

This is where the time and money really comes in. You'll need a good website, maybe some business cards, and some interesting social media accounts. You'll want to spend some cash advertising your business, on the Web and in the real world. Everyone you meet at first will either be a potential client or a potential referral.

These three steps are the core of creating extra income without getting a million jobs. That being said, they only scratch the surface of what it takes to build a successful side hustle. The laws in each state differ about what makes you legal, and you'll need to deal with taxes and all that kind of stuff. But you'll get there. The point is, if you want to bring in extra cash and still enjoy your life, you need to figure out what it is you enjoy doing and get out there and do it. No shortcuts. No get rich schemes. Just the things that have always worked and will continue to work as long as people are willing to work hard and market their skills.

Images: william87/Fotolia; Giphy (3)