This article has been freshened up so that those looking to creating extra income (side-hustle) in today's ever-changing economy have some guidance to get the ball rolling.
Table of contents
- Why create a side-hustle?
- How to Start a Side-Hustle Using WordPress
- Sell on Amazon/eBay/Etsy
- Setting Up Your WordPress Side-Hustle Website
- Plan Out Your Website
- The Sky is the Limit
Why create a side-hustle?
When it comes to making money, it's all about marketing and branding. Whether you are a Fortune 500 company, a sole proprietor working out of your home, or starting a part-time side-hustle, keep that front and center as you consider what type of website you want to put together.
Even with a side-hustle, you have to have a way to stand out from all the noise. You will need to be perceived as someone to trust with your potential customer's hard-earned dollars, especially when folks hold on to the dollars more than before.
Choose something you have some knowledge about, that you'll enjoy, that you can honestly commit to. Or find a need and fill it. With this approach, you might be surprised at the additional income you can generate.
SIDE-HUSTLE:The Origins of Side-Hustle, Merriam Webster
Although the precise definition of this term is still in a bit of flux, it appears to be centering on “work performed for income supplementary to one’s primary job.”
How to Start a Side-Hustle Using WordPress
WordPress works because it is free, easy to set up and to add eCommerce. Plus, tons of layouts, themes, plugins, and extensions add features and functionality as needed.
Any side-hustle should be based on something you enjoy doing, are already proficient at, or want to put the time and effort into becoming great at. You have to have this approach to succeed with something you will be doing in addition to your full-time gig.
There are no easy set-and-forget revenue streams. Therefore, you are going to have to “hustle.” This is why we want to make sure that, at the very least, your side-hustle is something you do not mind dedicating lots of time to.
Today I'm going to list a few side-hustles that, based on the skills you already have and/or your desire to learn, will provide the opportunity to turn into extra income.
Affiliate marketing is a way to monetize your website by recommending products and services. This works best on a site with many topically related content that talks to the same market as the affiliate marketing programs you are promoting.
IDEAS: You could put up a community website or forum that helps your neighborhood keep in touch. Or a local site to help promote businesses with their new hours and procedures. Then add affiliate links to products and services that folks are interested in based on their discussions.
Integrating affiliate marketing into the following side-hustle websites can help to create some residual income. But it takes time and affiliate products that fit your niche so they can turn to clicks.
A word of caution: Just like anything that involves making money, there are tons of “programs” out there that claim affiliate marketing is the path to riches. Easier said than done.
Authority or Niche Blogging
Do you have a skill set, knowledge, or a passion for a topic that you can share and help others with? Or how about something you enjoy doing that you can write about those experiences (traveling, hiking, camping, crafts, cooking)?
IDEAS: You can blog about how you are productive at home. Have kids? What are you doing to keep them entertained? Lessons learned? You can share your experiences and discoveries. What can you write about?
The more focused and niche, the better. Niche will help you work towards getting found in the search engines over time. Building a site that shows your personality combined with a wealth of knowledge and sought-after information is key.
Offering comprehensive, helpful eBooks is another way to generate income. If you are not a writer, you are going to have to work on your skills. There are tons of great tools to help you, such as Grammarly.
IDEAS: eBooks or tip sheets don't have to be very comprehensive. They can be a tips PDF that's just a page or two that you offer for a couple of bucks. The more info, the more it is desired, the higher the cost. Folks are looking for projects and how-to guides on everything from home improvement to self-care. What can you offer?
All you need to do is create a well-thought-out publication in PDF format and a plugin to facilitate those downloads. I use Easy Digital Downloads.
Can you handcraft something neat, cool, unique? Don't make the mistake of getting discouraged if you see what you can make already being made by others.
Instead, think about how you can put your own spin or customization to be different. For example, invent a memorable or catchy name (with a domain name to match).
IDEAS: From making face masks from items you find in your home to creating tools that you can use for tasks you didn't have to deal with before (or may not want to go out to purchase), folks are making some pretty ingenious things. What can you make?
Think of a fun visual way to display your items with creative photography that shows your distinctive style and personality. Then, continue this creativity via your product packaging (wrappings, containers, business cards, promo items).
If you have the gift of gab and are comfortable speaking on the fly, podcasting is for you. Download Audacity and purchase a quality microphone to start.
IDEAS: People crave that human connection. How can you “connect”?
The company I recommend for podcast hosting (aff) is Blubrry — lots of great resources on their site too. There are a bunch of WordPress podcasting plugins to choose from, including one from Blubrry. Here's a great rundown on Medium: Podcasting Resources.
Online Courses / Tutoring
If you excel at a skill that many folks need to hone, tutoring or online classes can be a great way to earn additional revenue. I've used and recommend WPCourseware.
IDEAS: Downtime and “at home time” can get the monotonous fast. This is a perfect time to pick up new skills and learn new things. Think about the skills or experience you have that others may want to learn about/from. What can you teach people?
Each marketplace is different, and some products do better on eBay than Amazon or Etsy and visa-versa. Here again, finding a niche product folks are looking for (or don't know that they need — yet) is the best approach.
I've sold on all three, but I always have my own website as my primary selling channel. Putting all your eggs in marketplace baskets dictates how and what you can sell. And believe me, it can be frustrating with all the rules and obligations you will have to abide by.
Keep in mind that 3rd party marketplaces can change their policies at any time and without notice. They can also change their fees too.
Some marketplaces also take a percentage of your sales — above and beyond any other fees. And those fees can add up. So be sure you do the math first before committing.
That is why it is wise to invest in your own side-hustle website to choose not to use a marketplace in the future. This way, you are not starting from scratch in building your brand.
Setting Up Your WordPress Side-Hustle Website
Now we need to get your side-hustle website in place. Let's go through the steps.
Choosing a Domain Name
- You want a domain that matches what you are offering.
- Be creative and memorable.
- Short and intuitive.
- Avoid anything that can be easily misspelled.
- Don't use dashes unless you can also own the undashed version.
- Try to get the .com, net, or biz. Those are the primary extension that most are used to and will remember.
Setup Your Web Hosting
You can view my preferred hosting providers, tools, and services in my ToolKit.
Plan Out Your Website
You'll want to think about the structure of your site before choosing a theme. How many pages, categories (aff), topics you want to have. By contemplating how much and what type of content you will have in advance, you can better envision how it will display when looking at theme demos.
You will definitely want to plan on having a Blog to share your expertise and show you are the one to do business with. Brochureware sites (a handful of pages with no solid content) are no longer effective or convincing to those who may consider buying what you are selling.
Choosing Your WordPress Theme
With all the premium WordPress themes available, it is easy to find one to fit your personality and fit the layout for the information you want to provide. WordPress makes it easy for you to showcase your products/services while looking credible and legitimate.
Adding eCommerce is simple with the WooCommerce plugin and the numerous add-on plugins to enhance features to meet your needs.
Sign-up for a Payment Gateway
If you are going to accept payments through your site, you'll need a payment gateway. I use Paypal. However, WooCommerce Payments, Stripe, or Square are alternatives you can investigate.
Plan on Being Super Active on Social Media
You'll need to get the word out about your side-hustle. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram are the primaries to look at.
Do your best to have the same username/handle across all platforms to help build your brand. Then, make sure your header and visuals are also consistent across the board. You want customers to recognize you regardless of what platform they see you on.
The Sky is the Limit
Of course, this post is not the end all be all, but I hope it helped you start thinking about how you can set the groundwork for your own online side-hustle. My blog is full of how-tos and tips on everything you need to consider. Read and learn!
You never know… It could turn out that your side-hustle turns into your main hustle.
At your service,