Seven Underrated Side Hustles Most People Have Never Tried
You can earn money from each of them. A years’ worth of practice can even help you quit working a job.
One source of income feels like a slow death.
I simply can’t do it. Having one human in a penguin suit decide whether my rent gets paid is too overwhelming for a former anxiety sufferer.
Having multiple income sources is about my mental health, not trying to join the bandwagon and high-five side hustle culture. Side Hustle is simply a label. Humans tend to overthink labels. If you’ve sold discarded furniture from your previous home on eBay, then you’ve dabbled with side hustles. Congrats. (That’s how stupid labels are.)
Many of you feel the same way as me about multiple income streams. Yet you’re told side hustles are stupid or too hard or not possible for tax-paying citizens who work normal jobs. This keeps you living with uncertainty. It’s not necessary.
Let me show you some unconventional side hustles as ideas that you might decide to experiment with. You’ll need an open mind and the willingness to experiment — both life-changing skills.
Pick-up-and-move content creation
Web 3.0 holds the most opportunities to make money from side hustles based on my obsessive research.
Many of you know the power of content creation. Many of you know about the money you can earn from it. What I hadn’t heard of is “pick-up-and-move” content. Introducing Bitclout. Bitclout is a new type of social media platform built on blockchain tech.
Future replacements for social media apps such as Facebook will most likely be built on Bitclout. Each social media app built on Bitclout can have its own moderation policy. Some apps may allow X-rated content, others may disallow controversial content, and some may choose to let all content be seen. For content creators this is all you need to know about Bitclout:
BitClout makes it so that you can move your “clout” in the form of your followers, posts, creator coin balances, etc anywhere.
This gives creators enormous control. My go-to person on Bitclout is
. He told me there is already a decentralized Instagram and decentralized music app on Bitclout. A clone of Youtube is likely next.
Writer Michael Simmons uses Bitclout a lot like Twitter (see here). He also has a way to make money that’s similar to Clement.
- Reach out to the world’s top thought leaders (authors, podcasters, etc)
- 2. Onboard them to Bitclout
- 3. Invest in them [buy their token]
- 4. Support them in being active
There are so many ways to make money in this new world of Web 3.0. The main way is tried and tested — build an audience you own. Those who are early to understand the basics of Web 3.0 will be the six and seven-figure creators of the next generation of web users.
Be a creator that publishes content on one Web 3.0 platform.
Unprofessional journalism from the couch
Journalists used to bow down to media godzillas.
One of my readers is a full-time journalist. She went through a six-month battle with cancer and wrote about it for a news outlet owned by Rupert Murdoch. The article got over 4 million views. She got paid $150. The media giant made a lot more through ads and repurposing the story.
From her couch she decided to take a different path. She joined News Break. News Break is an app for the news. Wannabes like me and professional journalists like my reader friend are able to report the news. Ash Jurberg has taken a similar approach. He is killing it as an unprofessional writer reporting the news from home.
Maybe watching the news isn’t a waste of time and a crime against self-help gurus after all.
Blog posts as an odd type of email
You’ve heard the phrase newsletter. Newsletters ruin people’s lives. They’re mostly self-promotion that clog up the pipes of our email inbox.
Then Substack entered the scene. I recently discovered Substack isn’t a newsletter platform, even though that’s what most people think it is. The content on Substack isn’t typically a round-up of the week, or the best tweets, or a list of five products full of affiliate links pretending not to be ads.
Substack is how you get blog posts to email inboxes. Their idea isn’t brand new — the best ideas aren’t. But it’s the subtleties with Substack that are completely missed.
Substack content is easy to share. There is inbuilt call to action buttons that make the probability of a Substack post being shared highly likely.
Substack took the lessons from landing pages and applied them to email. A landing page has content with only one button. The point is to hyper-focus a person on performing one action. Substack is similar.
The point is to get you to read a written article and do two things only — subscribe and share the article with your friends. They’ve also added comments and a community feature to emails. What if your email could be social? It can be with Substack. Again, a subtlety that is often missed.
Sending emails from Substack to make money is simple. Offer most of your written articles for free for as long as you can without charging a dollar. When you feel it’s time to make money, keep offering 80% of your writing for free. Charge money to access the other 20% of your articles.
About 10% of your readers will sign up and pay. That tiny audience will then share your Substack content with their networks and help your subscription revenue grow over time.
Substack is an underrated side hustle when you stop seeing it as a newsletter or email management software.
Join the ghost
A tip I got from a fellow writer (take it or leave it): Once you’re making money from Substack it’s best to kiss them on the lips and say goodbye. Their 10% transaction fee for glorified software can equate to thousands of dollars once your weekly articles are purring like a cheshire cat.
A service called Ghost will happily migrate you for free to their software that is similar, yet slightly harder to learn. There are no transaction fees. Only a reasonable subscription price that makes sense to pay once you’re killing it.
Become a high-end phone talker
Many of us talk on the phone for our jobs and we’re damn good at it. Talking on the phone is a tried and tested way to earn a living. It’s also an underrated side hustle.
Higher-priced products sold online require a human to speak with. Nobody is going to a website and dropping $2000 on a product without hearing the comfortable voice of a person who understands their problem.
The strategy is simple: reach out to someone who has an audience and products to sell. Convince them to let you create a google form for their product. Send the audience to the google form and ask them questions related to the problems the products solve.
Then tell the audience owner you’re going to call each person to help them talk through their problem and decide if one of their products can help. Use the phone conversations you have at your day job as proof of experience. If you have no experience, then offer to do it for free and find someone willing to take a chance. You make money by negotiating to get a percentage of each purchase.
Problem-solving over the phone pays decent money.
Become a quiet ghost behind the scenes
Sean Kernan is a professional ghost.
Most of what he writes online can’t be googled. A chunk of his side hustle income comes from those who don’t have time to write. A CEO of a Fortune 500 company doesn’t have time to take a morning tea break and write a story on LinkedIn.
They pay Sean instead to write from the comfort of his Florida mansion amongst monks, white doves, a lake full of rainbow fish, and his desk situated under a 5000-year-old oak tree (at least that’s how I picture his life).
So Sean wakes up every day and writes their stories in return for money. Their name is used, not Seans.
Sean finds these clients using the following strategy:
Write 2 — 3 long form articles per week in a place that has eyeballs.
Make the writing high-quality and compelling.
Launch a simple website that has ghostwriting as one of your services.
Update your LinkedIn and other social media bios to say you offer ghostwriting as a service. Make your email address highly visible.
Wow the first client you get.
The first client will refer you to more clients. You may not need any more leads after you have one client — assuming you do a decent job. Any extra leads you get are a bonus. Share the leads with other writers when you have enough work. Good karma pays more of your future bills.
Writing online isn’t enough to tap into this side hustle. You have to take one more tiny step and make it blatantly obvious that you offer ghostwriting services. I get a few messages about ghostwriting.
Here’s what I learned: The best ghostwriting prospects come from LinkedIn.
Look in the mirror
Writers are the best side hustlers. Why? Because we’re all writers in our day jobs when we send emails. This means writing is the easiest path.
A written article can now become an NFT (non-fungible token) using a platform called Mirror.XYZ. An NFT is simply a token of your writing that makes it tradable like Pokemon cards. Once your written article is an NFT, you can sell it as a piece of art and collect money for it (even after you die). Every time your article is resold you get paid again and again.
Turn writing into NFTs. Watch Web 3.0 take you by surprise again.
The marvelous world of short-form tweet hustling
There is another side to Twitter. Beyond politics and outrage there are bloggers who treat Twitter differently. We typically don’t see Twitter as a platform that allows creators to directly make money — it is.
These content creators, like Jose Rosado, write succinct articles known as tweet threads (example here). They’re short, sharp, and quick to write. When they have a thread that does well, they simply reply to the first tweet with a link to a level two.
The level two is an eBook or a form of online education that’s sold via a landing page. Many of these Twitter creators use Gumroad, too, as a way to make money from a level two solution.
I got an email the other day from a reader. They said they couldn’t write because their country doesn’t have access to the payments platform Stripe. They wanted direct monetization of their content.
Here’s what is missed. There is direct and indirect monetization from content. Indirect monetization feels much better to an audience because it’s optional. They don’t feel like they’re being sold to death every time they see your work.
Post on Twitter. Dare to monetize a tiny segment of the audience indirectly.
Each of these side hustles might look inconspicuously impossible of making you decent money. In the beginning that thinking is correct. Content creator Jack Butcher explains longer-term thinking about side hustles beautifully.
“90% of podcasts don’t get past episode 3. That’s 1.8 million who quit. Of the 200,000 left, 90% will quit after 20 episodes. That’s another 180,000 gone. To be in the top 1% of podcasts in the world you only need to publish 21 episodes.”
When you practice an underrated side hustle for a year, you’re already ahead of most people who will quit after doing it three times. When a tiny side hustle and long-term thinking are combined, it’s possible to quit working a normal job sooner than you think.