Want more money? Tips for creating a successful side hustle

In an effort to boost their income level as well as pursue their passions, research shows millions of Americans are turning to "side hustles."

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A study of 2,000 full-time employees showed 27 percent of them turned their hobby into a side business, while 55 percent of them said they dreamed of finding a side hustle themselves.

Turning your hobby into a side business

The average income for these side hustles, according to the research commissioned by Vistaprint, was more than $14,000 annually post-tax.

"America’s side business economy is booming, as employees increasingly look for financial, professional and personal fulfillment that may not be present in their main job," Simon Braier, Vistaprint's customer strategy and insights director, said.

Of the most common side businesses, beauty and wellness was a clear favorite, which includes professions like dieticians, personal trainers and hairdressers. Arts and entertainment was another popular choice, including being an artist, a DJ or a designer.

While a majority of people took on a side hustle to earn some extra cash, 41 percent did it to spend more time going something they enjoy.

“While many side hustles are born out of a personal interest or hobby, they don’t have to stay small," Braier said. "Side business owners can test their venture’s long-term viability, growth and marketing opportunities in a safer setting, helping them to ease the transition into full-time entrepreneurship and spend more time doing what they love."

Most of the people surveyed said they work on their side hustle in between the hours of 5 p.m and 9 p.m., but nearly half of them work their side job on the weekends. Those polled said they typically work up to 16 hours a week, but 34 percent of them said they spend more than 20 hours on their side hustle.

Not shockingly, 42 percent hope their side business may one day be their main business.

So how does one get a successful side hustle? Here are some tips:

  • Start with something you already enjoy
  • Focus on tasks which generate revenue
  • Build a strong social media presence
  • Set long-term goals
  • Leverage word-of-mouth marketing
  • Network with people who are successful

“To grow your side business, you need to think and act like a full-time entrepreneur," Erin Shea, Vistaprint’s North America market director said. "That also means you should be prepared to seize any opportunities that come your way and enable you to take your side hustle to the next level.”

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But it takes a lot of confidence to put yourself out there.

Many admitted the lack of seed money, time and just plain not knowing how to start ranked as the main reasons people didn't embark on their side hustle dreams. Some pointed to not knowing the legal requirements to why they didn't take the leap of faith.