How to start a side hustle

Many professionals aspire to land their dream job, but with rapidly-changing business landscapes and candidate markets, some have embarked on different paths as entrepreneurs. While they still might climb the corporate ladder, or change jobs to find more fulfilling roles, in the meantime, they can earn money on the side by leveraging their talents and skills. 

If you’ve ever mulled over starting a side hustle — whether it’s becoming a ride-share driver or freelance writer — now is the time to dive into a new lucrative endeavor. Before launching your side hustle, however, you’ll need to invest in a few essentials so you can hit the ground running. 

What you should know about starting a side hustle

What is a side hustle?

Simply put, a side hustle is a job that someone does outside their regular or full-time employment. It’s one of the most flexible forms of work, more so than some part-time or per diem jobs. Side hustlers are their own bosses and take on as much or as little work as they want, making it easy to create schedules that suit their lifestyles. 

How popular are side hustles?

Side hustles are a cornerstone of the gig economy, which has been on the rise in the past five years. They exploded in 2020 and 2021 to meet the new needs of the pandemic, which included food delivery drivers, on-call laborers and freelancers. A 2021 Pew Research Center study found that nearly 16% of Americans earned money picking up gigs like these through online platforms, such as DoorDash, Uber and TaskRabbit. 

The number only represents a small cross-section of side hustlers, though. It doesn’t include other entrepreneurs landing clients and gigs through nonplatform channels, including word-of-mouth and local and online advertising.

Why you should start a side hustle

Side hustles are a convenient way to make money, but it’s not the only reason people ride the entrepreneurial wave. 

Many side hustlers admit their side work is more fulfilling than their full-time job, especially when it taps into their hobbies and interests. Others feel side hustles are an affordable way to start a business and scale it, particularly if you have little to no startup cash. Side hustles also provide valuable networking opportunities for professionals considering major career changes. 

How much does it cost to start a side hustle?

The cost of starting a side hustle depends on several variables, including the nature of work, supplies and travel expenses.

For some individuals, the initial investment might only be a few hundred dollars, whereas for others, it’s a couple thousand. If you’re on a tight budget and need financial assistance to start a side hustle, connect with your local chapter of the Small Business Administration for information on resources and grants. 

Everything you need to start a side hustle

Once you have enough money to launch your side hustle, you can start buying essential supplies. On the other hand, if you’re not sure exactly how much cash you’ll need, it’s helpful to browse products and prices to estimate your startup budget.

HP ENVY Inspire AllinOne Printer

HP ENVY Inspire All-in-One Printer

From scanning expense receipts to printing presentation materials, every side hustler needs a capable printer. This new HP model is designed for productivity with a print-anywhere companion app, advanced photo printing features and automatic duplex printing. 

Sold by HP

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2in1 Business Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2-in-1 Business Laptop

Devices need to be as flexible as a side hustler’s schedule, which makes this 2-in-1 ThinkPad a wise investment. It delivers a smooth user experience and has an extended-life battery, making it ideal when you’re grinding on the go. 

Sold by Lenovo

Cosco Diamond Series Folding Table

Cosco Diamond Series Folding Table

Side hustlers who make and sell products, from artisan wood crafts to homemade body scrubs, benefit from having a portable table. This model is easy to carry to any trade or vendor show, thanks to its folding design and briefcase handle. 

Sold by Amazon

Dewalt 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo Kit

DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo Kit

There’s a fair amount of money to be made with on-call furniture assembly and minor home repair gigs. The DeWalt drill kit has a cordless design so you can work on these projects anywhere, without being tethered to an outlet. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Gorilla Supply Pet Waste Bags

Gorilla Supply Pet Waste Bags

One of the most popular side gigs is dog walking, and there is a growing need for the service with many professionals returning to offices this year. These pet waste bags are essential for picking up after your favorite four-legged clients, and they do double duty as car trash can liners.

Sold by Amazon

Ryobi 40V Cordless Lawn Mower and Trimmer Set

Ryobi 40V Cordless Lawn Mower and Trimmer Set

If you have a knack for lawn care, launching a weekend landscaping business is a worthwhile venture. The cordless Ryobi set covers all your needs for mowing lawns and precise trimming around sidewalks and flower beds. 

Sold by Home Depot

Chemical Guys 16Piece Arsenal Car Wash Kit

Chemical Guys 16-Piece Arsenal Car Wash Kit

Mobile car wash services have low startup costs because most cleaning supplies are affordable. Side hustlers get bang for their buck with this 16-piece kit that includes everything they need for pristine interior and exterior vehicle cleaning, including a foam gun and microfiber buffing towels. 

Sold by Amazon

Garmin Drive 51 GPS Navigation System

Garmin Drive 51 GPS Navigation System

Because ride-share and food delivery services offer flat-rate fares, many drivers optimize their time by finding the quickest routes with GPS. This stand-alone unit, which includes lifetime maps, is a cost-effective alternative to smartphone navigation apps that use data. 

Sold by Amazon

Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera Bundle

Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera Bundle

Lucrative high-tech side gigs include content creation, social media management and becoming an influencer. The deluxe Canon bundle is ideal for shooting high-resolution images and videos, indoors or outdoors, thanks to three filters and a wobble-resistant tripod. 

Sold by Amazon

Reebok Womens Nano X1 Training Shoe

Reebok Women’s Nano X1 Training Shoe

Becoming a fitness instructor is a fun way to make gains, both physically and financially. This Reebok cross-training shoe is suitable for leading high-energy group fitness classes with lightweight FloatRide cushioning and breathable knit upper. 

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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