The COVID-19 outbreak is causing mass layoffs and worse. This article has been freshened-up so that those looking to creating extra income (side-hustle) can have some guidance to get the ball rolling.
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. So 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 are holding 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. 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 setup and add eCommerce to. Plus there are tons of layouts, themes, plugins and extensions to 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 in order to make a success out of something you will be doing eventually in addition to your full-time gig.
Now, with COVID-19, you have the time. So let's put this time to work!
There are no easy set-and-forget revenue streams. You are going to have to “hustle”. This 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 product and services. This works best on a site that has a lot of 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 during this “new way of life.”
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 it the path to riches. Easier said than done.
Authority or Niche Blogging
Do you have a skill set, knowledge or a passion about a topic that you can share and help others with? Or how abut something you just enjoy doing that you can write about those experiences (traveling, hiking, camping, crafts, cooking)?
IDEAS: You can blog about how you are being 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 out there to help you such as Grammarly and the Hemingway App (I use the Desktop version).
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 bucks. The more info, the more it is desired, the higher the cost. Folks at home are looking for projects and how-to guidance 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. 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 many 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. 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 Audicity and purchase a quality microphone to start.
Listeners can donate to your Podcast to help support your efforts. Check out services like Patreon.
IDEAS: People are craving that human connection that has been, albeit temporarily, removed from their lives. How can you “connect”?
The company I recommend for podcast hosting 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 monotonous fast. 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 in place that I make my primary selling channel. Putting your 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 that 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.
Marketplaces also take a percentage of your sales — above and beyond any other fees. And those fees can add up. Be sure you do the math first before committing.
That is why it is simply wise to invest in your own side-hustle website so that if you choose to not use a marketplace in the future, 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
Plan Out Your Website
You'll want to think about structure of your site before choosing a theme. How many pages, categories, 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 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.
Sign-up for a Payment Gateway
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 how you can set the groundwork for your 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,
- WordPress How To: 10 Starter Marketing Tips for Your New WordPress Website
- Be Honest… Does Your Service Suck?
- How to Update to WordPress WordPress 5.5.3 Maintenance Release
- How to Maintenance Your WordPress Database
- 5 Order Confirmation Tips
- Why You Need 2FA on Your WordPress Website (and everything else)
P.S. Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Read my full Affiliate Disclosure Statement here.