Finding the Best Paying Side Hustles for You

Need a boost with your income to hit your goals faster? Learn how to find the best paying side hustles for you! 

Finding the Best Side Hustles That Pay Well

Sometimes to hit your goal faster, you just have to earn extra money.

Of course that’s not the only thing you’re doing.

If you’ve taken my Free 5 Days to $5K course, then you know we look at three pillars when it comes to ‘finding’ money. 

First we optimize your budget, evaluating expenses to see if they are necessary or they bring you joy. 

Second, we uncover ways to save when you have to spend.

But finally we also look at the other side of the coin – earning more money. 

Now the easy advice to give is to get a second job, but that’s usually not the best solution, especially if you have kids or other limitations with time or location.

This is where side hustles can help. You can earn more with a bit more flexibility. However it can be tricky because the ones usually advertised are not that well paying. 

You have to be strategic when finding a side hustle that allows you to earn more without burning you out. 

Which is why I’m so glad Jen Smith is on today. 

Jen has done it all. Seriously. 

From T-shirts to writing to Airbnb,she’s tried out different avenues to earning more. 

On her site Modern Frugality and Frugal Friends Podcast, she’s all about helping others to pay down their debt through better money habits and building their income. 

In this episode we’ll get into:

  • Why all side hustles aren’t created equal
  • How to explore your options to earn more 
  • Building your income sustainably

Are you ready? Let’s get started! 

Resources to Build Up Your Income

If you’re looking to boost your income, here are some helpful resources to earn more money and manage it better! 

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

thanks to our podcast sponsor Coastal Credit Union. If you want to live better, you have to bank better!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.

Key Takeaways

We covered a lot of info today, so before we wrap up, I want to focus on a few key takeaways from preparing this episode.

  • Have a clear goal for your side hustle.
  • Be honest about your schedule and requirements.
  • Your health > Money

If you’d like to chat more, please join us in our free and private Facebook group, Thriving Families. 

We’re all about helping and encouraging one another with our family and financial goals. We swap stories, ideas, and tips. 

Please join us! We’d love to see you there!  

Side Hustles with Jen Smith

Elle Martinez: I love what you're doing with the podcast and on the blog, modern frugality helping people hit their goals and today's topic is especially necessary.

I believe with last year, which is, increasing your income, bumping it up through side hustles.

Jen Smith: Yeah and I might be at modern frugality on all social, but only because for frugality was something I had to learn when we were paying off our debt and we were getting financially stable.

It was side hustles that actually allowed us to do that because even beyond spending, like we had an income problem, when we started.

We were making 35 grand between the two of us. Yeah. Like my husband was unemployed twice. I was underemployed so side hustles played a huge role in getting us to where we are today.

Elle Martinez: Yeah. That's so key. Last year, even though we all kind of went through the same thing so many families are at different points with their financial journey when the pandemic hit and we're still going through it.

Some were further ahead and they're looking at, okay, we've made it through. Hopefully we can start getting back to our goals, hitting those faster, maybe making up for some lost time.

Then unfortunately we had a lot of families, Hours cut ,things shifted. Maybe they were unemployed or still unemployed. And so this extra income would be so needed, at least building up that financial cushion.

So you mentioned you and your husband paid off a significant amount of debt, it was like $78,000?

Jen Smith: Exactly. Yeah. $78,000 We did it in two years.

Boosting Your Income

Elle Martinez: Income was definitely a big help with that. How did side hustles fit in with that whole debt-free plan?

Jen Smith: Yeah, so we started as soon as we got back from our honeymoon, we got married.

I rolled in the door, got my luggage in and open my computer start looking for side hustles.

Cause that's how I very all or nothing. So I was very all in on the side hustles and I just found as many as I could mostly online and they weren't the most lucrative so I was having to do spec put a lot of time.

I've done almost every side hustle under the sun and if I haven't done it, my husband's done it. And they're not all created equal.

After a few months of doing that I actually contracted shingles because I was working nonstop so hard. Yeah. So that's what led me into frugality was knowing that, Oh, I can't work 90 hours a week. What a bummer. So I had to find, I had to balance.

Elle Martinez: Only you Jen, have that in energy.

Jen Smith: My body was like, not girl. So, from doing so many and doing it and trying to find the balance. I had to find side hustles that actually gave me a legitimate reason to do them. They had to be of a certain income per hour.

They had to be a certain minimum number of hours, or just be like so high paying that I could do. You know, one hour or two hours a week. So stuff like that.

I had to actually have restrictions on my side hustles in order to do them.

Elle Martinez: I was trying to catch up with all the side hustles that you had done and I was digging through.

I mean, you really did it all. I saw t-shirts I saw books, of course your site, mystery shopping and I think Airbnb, did I miss something?

Jen Smith: No. Yeah, those were the big ones so those are my favorite for sure. But besides mystery shopping, I didn't get to a lot of those until like later on in my journey.

It's so funny because when I started, I really thought my income was capped at 35 grand.

Like I thought, Hmm. That's what I'm capable of making at my job. And so I have to work these low paying jobs that don't make as much per hour if I want to supplement my income.

It was through working those online and lower paying jobs trying out surveys, realizing that surveys are the worst way to make money and they shouldn't be on any list online of how to make money.

It was after doing that, that I found better ways to make more money like online business. I didn't just jump into that because the online business things actually take time to start being profitable.

I didn't have time I needed money now because we were trying to pay off debt.

There's really a place for everything in the side hustle ecosystem. It's just kind of finding out where you are, what you need right now and what you're ready for.

Elle Martinez: Yeah, absolutely. I want to hit on a couple of points that you made, because I think it's incredibly important is that you have to understand that not all side hustles are equal.

I've seen surveys and I know some people have done it, but they've done it more as I don't want to call it play money, but basically that's it it's smaller amounts.

If they're in the middle of doing something winning at a doctor's office. This is not like this is going to help me pay the bills or this is going to dramatically change my finances.

So go with clear eyes with how you approach.

As long as I've known you, Jen, I have to say you are pretty systematic. You build, you experiment, but I just want to know, how did you go through this process of first of all, finding these side hustles and then figuring out the best mix for you and your family?

Jen Smith: Yeah, it took me till recently to figure out how I did it. I was winging it. Now with some perspective being removed from it, I can see what my journey was and I can actually articulate it for others. I can see this really systematic path.

So I started with like the surveys and stuff. Because yeah, I thought all I had was like spare time to do these side hustles in.

I actually found better things to do in your spare time to make money than surveys. Data entry was a big thing for me. I did a lot of sometimes like search engine evaluation, which sounds more complicated than it is.

It's pretty much, they show you two things and they're like, did the computer get it right?

You have to be like, yes or no. So really mind numbing stuff like that, that you can do in a waiting room or while you're watching TV, website testing. They'll send you websites to test and you don't have to have a technology background.

You just have to execute out all the tasks they tell you to execute. Okay. So you just have to be good at following directions.

You're supposed to be looking for things that are clunky, not user-friendly buggy, stuff like that. So those are two really great things that I found were they didn't pay the greatest but they're way better than surveys and you can make.

Gosh, 11 to $15 an hour with depending on the data entry and then upwards of $20 a test sometimes maybe $10 a test, but it made it worth my time.

I kind of elevated to doing some side jobs and instead of like going to get a weekend job at McDonald's because our minimum wage is not $15.

Elle Martinez: You're in Florida, right?

Jen Smith: Yeah. Okay. Okay. I will be okay. It is not yet. It was not what I was doing side hustling, but yeah.

I would find side jobs that required the professional skill that I had. These were seasonal or one-off jobs that not everyone can do there.

I was an acupuncturist and so I did like once a week would go do acupuncture to rehab center and that paid way more than, you know, doing a one-off minimum wage job.

My husband's an aircraft mechanic. He started doing jobs where he would just fill out the FAA paperwork for other mechanics, because everyone hates paperwork.

So finding these jobs that may not give you as many hours, but do make it worth doing the fewer hours.

Yeah. So those were really good. So those are kind of the two we teetered between. But there's a spectrum of jobs that you can be doing to make money, whether you want to do it quickly and legitimately or whether you want to take time and build something so that you can scale it and maybe come home and be with your kids, quit your job retire early, whatever that is.

Elle Martinez: Yeah, all good points. I think sometimes we get in our heads what a side hustle is and really the great thing about it to me at least is you've fit it with what you need, whether you have a schedule restriction or maybe responsibilities and you're trying to fit this in.

So finding what works for you, giving you an option that if you want to scale up like you mentioned, it could become a side business.

I know for you and I, starting a blog about our finances definitely has led to this opportunity to work from home and be home with our families.

But that's not for everybody. Finding that path that's right for you. For a couple or a family that's listening right now, what would you say are the first steps they should take with finding that side hustle and starting to build that income?

Jen Smith: Yeah. So it's finding what season you are in right now and being honest with yourself on what that is.

So if you are a two parent household where one person can work outside the home while kids are there then you have a lot of side hustles that you can, you know, deliver groceries, drive Uber do lawn care, cleaning, stuff like that.

If you're not and you have to be home with kids, you can't work outside the home, then you want more online options. Maybe you start with the data entry and the website testing. Maybe you can move on to customer service something during the day while kids are at school, if you're lucky enough where your kids are actually going to school.

So it's being honest with what your time restrictions are, what your schedule restrictions are. And then finding something that works with those so that you can make money sustainably because that's what is really important. If you're going to move the needle, you need to be making money sustainably.

That's why starting online businesses when you're trying to pay off debt, isn't always the best effort.

For me, it was more of an activity to keep me from spending. Like I would spend all my time working on my blog. Definitely wasn't at first a way to make money so it actually costs me money up front, but well worth it.

But yeah, being aware and having grace for yourself, if your schedule and your time is, does not look like somebody else who is trying to reach a financial goal and then finding side hustles and extra jobs that fit into your schedule and your season.

Elle Martinez: Yeah, absolutely. And I love all these tips. I know we scratched the surface. So if anyone wants to reach out, I know you're working on this awesome project to help people just really reclaim their time and earn some more cash. What's the best way they can reach out to you?

Jen Smith: Yeah, you can head to modern slash side dash hustles. You're going to get my free worksheet with 10 easy side hustles that you can start.

So that's modern for Side dash hustles. And I also have my income accelerator. You'll be able to see as well with links to gosh, 50 to 70 cases you can apply for online jobs, all part-time flexible, remote jobs and guides to help you figure out. What season, what time of life you're in for side hustling and kind of get some ideas and inspiration on things that will work for you.

Because I think when I talk to people, the biggest concern they have is like, I don't want to waste time on things that aren't going to actually make money. And so I want to save you that time. That is my goal with the stuff I put out. So yeah, that's and I'm at modern frugality on all social, especially tick-tock right now.

Elle Martinez: No, you were everywhere. And I mean, you are definitely, you know, but you're also enjoying it. That's also an important part is finding, you know, something that can help you reach your goals faster that you do enjoy again, being sustainable. So thanks so much, Jen. I appreciate you chatting with me this morning. You know, that's the reality of COVID when you have kids is finding that time. Here

Jen Smith: we are. Yes. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you.

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Music Credit

Our theme song is from Staircases. Additional music by various artists from Audiio.

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