How to Make Money on the Side and Boost Your Income

If you’re looking to pay off your student loans faster or reach a certain savings goal, learning how to make money on the side could be your key to success.

Side jobs are an awesome way to make some extra cash while working around your own schedule and lifestyle.

But before you start creating a list of side business ideas, be sure to ask yourself these five questions to determine whether making extra income is feasible.

1. Am I allowed to start a side business?

Everyone wants to know how to make money on the side. However, some people are limited by their current employer in what they can do outside of work.

When you accepted your current position, you likely had to sign an employment agreement. This document usually puts some limits on what you can do outside of work.

For example, an employment agreement could restrict you from consulting for a competing company. Clauses in employment agreements could also prevent you from doing any work for any other type of business, including your own.

If that is the case, you are better off skipping the side hustle. If your job is your primary income source, then there is no need to put that at risk to start your own business for extra income.

2. Do I have the time for side jobs?

If you’re allowed to start one of your side business ideas, it’s time to look at your work schedule.

Do you have the time to take on anything outside of your main job? If you’re a medical resident at a hospital, probably not. But if you typically work around 40-50 hours per week, it’s easy to figure out how to make money on the side.

Take an honest look at how you really spend your time outside of work and sleep. How many hours per week do you spend browsing the web and social media? Or, watching TV and playing video games? How often do you waste time on something unproductive?

If you can carve out at least 5-10 hours per week, then you’re in an excellent position to start your side hustle.

3. Who is my target customer?

Once you pick your favorite side hustle idea, it’s time to learn how to make money on the side with it.

But before you can sell a product or service, you need to know if someone will buy it.

In The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau, he points out that there are only a few conditions you need to start a business. One of those is a target customer who will actually buy what you’re selling. That can be an online audience, members of the local community, or some combination.

However, if you don’t know who would actually pay for your product, then you should probably look for other ways to earn money on the side. Or, build out a better marketing plan with a target customer in mind.

4. Do I need to register my business?

Deciding how to structure your business is important once you have decided for yourself how to make money on the side.

Here’s a list of the most common ways to structure a side business. If you have any doubts or questions, consult a legal or tax expert to help you get everything sorted out.

Sole proprietorship – A sole proprietorship is the default business classification for anyone who earns money without registering another type of business.

It essentially means that you are operating the business as yourself, not as a separate legal entity.

Sole proprietorships are great when you’re learning how to make money on the side because you don’t need to file any paperwork to get started. Unless you want to file a trade name, sometimes referred to as a “doing business as” name, or a DBA.

However, if you operate as a sole proprietorship, you are legally and financially liable for anything that happens. Including lawsuits against your business.

Limited Liability Company – A Limited Liability Company, or an LLC, is a way to register your business to limit your personal liability related to the business.

For example, if someone is injured due to your product or service, they may sue for damages.

As a sole proprietorship, you are personally liable, and any assets such as your home or bank accounts are subject to the suit. However, as a properly registered and managed LLC, only business assets are available for damages.

This is usually the best option for the majority of side hustles, depending on your state.

In some states, filing an LLC is a quick online process that costs about $50-$200 per year. In others, like California, it subjects you to a special franchise tax that starts at $800 per year, on top of your filing fee.

5. How should I take care of the bookkeeping?

When taxes come due, you are required by law to pay income taxes on any profits your business generates.

That means you have to track your business revenue and your business expenses to be able to report your business income on a Schedule C with your income tax return.

For very small, new businesses, an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet should be plenty to track everything. However, make sure to be very thorough.

And if you are operating as an LLC, you should open a separate business bank account to create a divide between your personal and business finances.

As you grow, consider upgrading to a professional bookkeeping program like Quickbooks or Xero. You may want to hire a paid professional bookkeeper and tax preparer as well.

Why you should learn how to make money on the side

You can potentially earn an extra $1,000, $10,000 or more with a side business. But you’ll never know until you try.

In fact, I made $40,000 with my side business last year, and it let me leave my full-time job to work online full-time. Talk about a win-win.

You can only budget and lower your expenses so much. But, your income doesn’t need to have a limit. So take that side business idea, go forth and increase your earning potential!

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (
  2. Personal LoansFixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 4.98% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 21, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 4.98% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 3.89% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 4.99% – 16.24% (4.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.39% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.98% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print, understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.