How Side Hustles Can Help With Career Transitions


Ken Burnette

Side hustles.

Don’t let the get rich quick schemes fool you. 

We’re not trying to sell you a Lamborghini. 

From email marketing to meal prep, and 

Handyman work to event planning,

We’ve got all sorts of side hustle ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Side hustles can be a legit way to earn a steady income, and in today’s economy, it’s more important than ever to diversify your earnings and have multiple streams of income.

Houses aren’t $7,900 anymore 👀

But what is a side hustle anyway?

Some people define it broadly as: a job or project you take on outside of your main job to earn extra money. 

We don’t think a side hustle is just any money making scheme on the side.

It should be something that aligns with your future career goals, whatever they may be.

A side hustle isn’t just about cash.

It’s a chance to make money doing something you love.

If you have a job you hate, your side hustle shouldn’t be doing more things you hate.

A side hustle should be an effortless labor love, or at least something you’re interested in.

Otherwise you’ll just be making enough money to cover all the therapy and massages you’ll end up needing 😂

So there, a side hustle is:

  1. a way of making money on the side that 
  2. aligns with your future career goals

Now let’s get into what this blog is all about.

This blog will show you how to:

  1. choose a side hustle that’s right for you
  2. make a career transition with a side hustle
  3. not make everything catastrophically worse

We’ll also dive into these categories of side hustles:

  • side hustles for H1B
  • email marketing side hustles
  • meal prep side hustles
  • blue collar side hustles
  • sports side hustles
  • copywriting side hustles
  • digital marketing side hustle
  • side hustle ideas for college students
  • event planning side hustle

Let’s get to it!

How to Choose a Side Hustle (Self-Assessment)

Teaching you how to choose a side hustle is like teaching you how to find a partner. 

There’s no one size fits all strategy. 

So we’ll keep it simple and use some tried and tested decision making strategies for you to work with.

We can easily start with a—


Skills & Expertise: What are you good at? List your top 5 skills.

Passion & Interest: What do you love doing? List 3 activities or fields you're passionate about.

Time Commitment: How many hours can you realistically dedicate to your side hustle each week?

Let’s say your top five skills are writing, photography, teaching, programming, and learning. 

You love writing, taking pictures, and going to the gym.

Plus you can dedicate about 10 hours a week to your side hustle.


Next let’s do some—

Market Research

Demand Analysis: For each skill or interest you've listed, research if there's a demand in the market. Use tools like Google Trends or keyword research tools.

Competition Analysis: Who are the major players in that field? Is the market saturated?

Nice, so with the examples above, you could start doing something like a—

Freelance Writing & Photography Blog: Combine your writing and photography skills to create a blog where you share photo stories, travel experiences, or tutorials.

Fitness Photography: Specialize in taking photos at gyms, for fitness influencers, or during fitness events. This combines your love for photography and the gym.

Programming Tutor: Use your programming skills to teach others, either through one-on-one sessions or group workshops.

E-book/Guide Creation: Write e-books or guides on topics you’re passionate about, be it photography techniques, programming languages, or fitness routines.

Photo Teaching Workshops: Offer workshops where you teach photography techniques, editing, or even how to monetize photography skills.

Companies are always looking for skilled writers, and excellent photographs are always in demand as well, so even in a saturated market, your skill, voice, and eye for detail can stand out in the crowd.

Next let’s have some fun, or pain. It’s subjective.

SWOT Analysis:

Narrow down your options to three side hustles, then conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). 

Once you’ve finished that, choose the best option and go for it.

You can feel good about committing because you’ve done the research.

Once you've chosen a side hustle, set milestones (e.g., 3 months, 6 months). Evaluate your progress and satisfaction.

If your life looks like this 6 months later, you should consider doing something different:

How to Choose a Side Hustle (Career Transition)

Remember, you should really align your side hustle with your long term career goals.

But we can use a different strategy if you want to pivot careers.

Here’s how you can pick a side hustle as a career transition:

⚖️ Leverage Your Current Role: If you're in consulting, marketing, software engineering, or any other profession, consider offering your services as a contractor or gig worker. Platforms like Upwork or Freelancer can be great places to start, but it’s also good to use LinkedIn to build a network and also make sales calls and cold emails. This approach allows you to build a portfolio and gain additional experience outside your day job.

💸 Cut Back on Expenses: A side hustle often requires an initial investment, be it time or money. By cutting back on all expenses, you can allocate more resources to your side hustle, increasing its chances of success. Should you move in with friends? Find an empty basement or go back to a college diet of chicken flavored ramen, picante ramen, and creamy chicken flavored ramen? 

⌚ Reclaim Your Time: Time management is crucial. Dedicate specific hours to your side hustle and ensure you're not spreading yourself too thin. 

💗 Focus on Your Passion: It's easier to stay committed to a side hustle if you're passionate about it. Identify what you love and find ways to monetize it.

🧭 Work Backwards from a Goal: Define clear objectives for your side hustle. Whether it's a specific income target, a number of clients, or a portfolio size, having a goal will keep you motivated. 

Examples of Side Hustle Transitions

Here are some examples we created to make it make sense.

Alex - The Environmental Science Student: 

Alex is super into Environmental Science. 

He’s all about sustainability. And he wants to transition into environmental consulting. 

To kick start this journey, Alex starts a blog and a YouTube channel where he goes into sustainable practices, groundbreaking innovations, and eco-friendly solutions. 

This venture not only aids him in crafting a robust portfolio but also in networking with seasoned professionals in the field. As he gets more knowledge and experience, Alex starts offering consulting services to local enterprises on sustainable methodologies, setting the stage for a promising career in environmental consulting.

Bianca - The Seasoned Accountant

For Bianca, crunching numbers as an accountant for the past decade has been fulfilling. 

But she’s always been fascinated by the dynamic world of digital marketing. 

She loves how unpredictable it is, and how everything can fall apart before your eyes because of some new software update that nobody wanted and nobody told you about. 

It’s exhilarating. 

So naturally Bianca enrolls in online courses focusing on SEO and PPC. As she gains proficiency, she offers her new digital marketing skills to small businesses. She’s getting rejected because she has no experience. So she creates a personal Instagram account and uses her skills to grow it and gain more followers. She ties this in with her website and shows how she can optimize SEO for her blog.

This gives potential clients proof that she can do the work, and she lands a client in a few months.

Her proven analytical track record goes well with her new marketing skills. This makes her a sought-after name in the digital marketing circuit.

Carlos - The Compassionate Nurse

Nursing has been a rewarding profession for Carlos.

But he’s more interested in holistic health and overall wellness. 

To bridge this interest, Carlos pursues a certification in nutrition. 

Soon, he ventures into a side hustle, providing meal planning advice and wellness coaching. As he nurtures his client base, Carlos seamlessly transitions into a full-time wellness consultant role, merging his serious medical insights with holistic health practices.

In each of these examples, the individuals leveraged their current skills and knowledge, combined it with their passion, and carved out a niche for themselves. 

The key is to start small, stay consistent, and always keep an eye on the end goal.

Now that we’ve shown you some examples, let’s get into even more side hustle ideas.

READ MORE: 14 Networking Tips for Building Effective Relationships

Diverse Side Hustle Ideas to Boost Your Career and Wallet

1. Side Hustles for H1B Visa Holders:

Navigating the H1B visa's restrictions can be challenging, but there's a silver lining. Engaging in online ventures like tutoring or freelance writing can be a safe bet. 

  • Freelance writing or editing: Find freelance writing or editing jobs on websites like Upwork or Fiverr.
  • Consulting: Offer your consulting services to businesses in your field.
  • Teaching English online: There are many different companies that hire teachers to teach English online.
  • Virtual assistant: Provide administrative, technical, or creative assistance to businesses from home.
  • Online research: Find online research jobs on websites like Crowdflower or Amazon Mechanical Turk.
  • Proofreading or editing: Find proofreading or editing jobs on websites like Scribendi or ProofreadingPal.
  • Blogging: Start a blog about your interests and monetize it with ads, affiliate marketing, or sponsored posts.
  • Social media marketing: Offer social media marketing services to businesses

Websites such as Upwork or are excellent starting points. However, always consult with an immigration attorney or familiarize yourself with the USCIS guidelines to ensure compliance.

2. Email Marketing Side Hustle:

Email marketing isn't just about sending emails. It's about creating meaningful connections. Crafting tailored newsletters, setting up automation sequences, or designing impactful campaigns can set businesses apart. 

And you can help them get there. 

Tools like Mailchimp or ConvertKit are invaluable, and resources like HubSpot's Academy offer in-depth courses on email marketing strategies.

Here’s how to start:

  • Choose a niche: Decide what kind of email marketing you want to do, such as marketing for a specific product or service, or marketing for a general topic.
  • Create a mailing list: Collect email addresses from people who are interested in your niche. How can you create value and get email addresses? 
  • Write email campaigns: Create email campaigns that are informative and engaging.
  • Track your results: Track the open rates, click-through rates, and conversions of your email campaigns.
  • Provide value to your subscribers: Give your subscribers valuable content that they will want to read.

3. Meal Prep Side Hustle:

The health and fitness wave has ushered in a demand for nutritious, ready-to-eat meals. By specializing in diets like Keto, Vegan, Paleo or even Carnivore, you can cater to specific audiences. 

Utilize Instagram to showcase your dishes, share recipes, and even offer live cooking sessions to engage potential clients.

Here’s how to start:

  • Develop recipes: Develop recipes that are healthy, delicious, and easy to make.
  • Market your business: Market your business online and offline to reach potential customers.
  • Shop for ingredients: Shop for ingredients in bulk to save money.
  • Prep and cook meals: Prep and cook meals in advance so that you can deliver them to your customers quickly and easily.
  • Package and deliver meals: Package meals in a way that is safe and secure.

4. Blue Collar Side Hustles:

Traditional skills remain crucial in our modern world, and they’re not getting automated with AI anytime soon. Whether it's fixing a leaky faucet, crafting custom furniture, or setting up electrical systems, these skills are invaluable. 

Platforms like TaskRabbit or Angie's List can help you find local gigs. Additionally, offering loyalty discounts or referral bonuses can boost your clientele. And many of these handyman jobs are quick, so you could do one a week and only spend 5 hours away from home.

You can start with:

  • Dog walking or pet sitting: Find clients through online platforms like Rover or
  • House cleaning: Offer your services to friends, family, or neighbors.
  • Yard work: Post flyers in your neighborhood or advertise on social media.
  • Handyman services: Offer your services to fix things around the house, such as plumbing, electrical work, or carpentry.
  • Uber or Lyft driver: Sign up to drive for Uber or Lyft and start giving rides right away.
  • Delivery driver: Sign up to deliver food or packages for companies like DoorDash or Amazon Flex.
  • Construction worker: Find construction jobs on websites like Indeed or Monster.

5. Sports Side Hustles:

Sports enthusiasts have a playground of opportunities. From coaching youth leagues to offering personalized training sessions or even launching a podcast discussing game strategies and player performances, the possibilities are vast. 

Websites like Podbean or Anchor can help kickstart your sports podcasting journey.

Here are some niches to look into:

  • Refereeing or umpiring: Find refereeing or umpiring jobs through your local sports league or association.
  • Coaching: Offer your coaching services to kids or adults who are interested in learning a new sport.
  • Personal training: Offer your personal training services to people who are looking to get in shape.
  • Sports blogging: Start a blog about your favorite sport and monetize it with ads or affiliate marketing.
  • Sports photography: Take photos of sporting events and sell them to publications or online retailers.
  • Sports merchandise reselling: Buy and sell sports merchandise, such as jerseys, hats, and memorabilia.

6. Copywriting Side Hustles:

Compelling copy can make or break a business. Crafting engaging website content, persuasive product descriptions, or captivating ad campaigns can set brands apart, and ChatGPT and AI tools still haven’t broken the code on how to be truly creative and novel, here (yet). 

Websites like Fiverr or Freelancer are great for finding gigs. Consider joining copywriting forums or groups to exchange insights and tips with fellow writers.

  • Develop your skills: Take online courses or read books about copywriting.
  • Build your portfolio: Create a portfolio of your work to show potential clients.
  • Find clients: Reach out to businesses that you would like to work with.
  • Deliver high-quality work: Make sure that your work is clear, concise, and persuasive.

7. Online Marketing Side Hustles:

The world of digital marketing is dynamic and ever-changing. Staying updated with the latest algorithms, understanding PPC campaign nuances, or mastering the art of content marketing can set you apart. 

Tools like SEMrush or Moz are essential for SEO, while platforms like Hootsuite can streamline social media management. Continuous learning is key, so consider enrolling in courses on platforms like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning.

Google's Skillshop offers valuable certifications, and platforms like DigitalMarketer or MarketingProfs provide a wealth of resources and courses.

Here are the basics to consider:

  • Learn about online marketing: Take online courses or read books about online marketing.
  • Develop your skills: Practice your skills by creating and running marketing campaigns for yourself or for friends and family.
  • Find clients: Reach out to businesses that need help with their online marketing.
  • Deliver results: Make sure that your marketing campaigns are effective and that they help businesses achieve their goals.

8. Side Hustles for College Students:

College life, with its flexible schedule, offers a unique opportunity to dive into entrepreneurial ventures. Whether it's tutoring peers, starting a dorm cleaning service, or even launching a campus-centric blog, the possibilities are endless. 

Start by looking for jobs on campus. You can give tours or work for the college in all sorts of ways.

On top of that, platforms like Chegg Tutors or StudyPool can connect you with students seeking academic assistance.

Here are some gigs you can balance with your course load: 

  • Virtual assistant: A virtual assistant provides administrative, technical, or creative assistance to businesses from home. This is a great option for students who have good organizational and time management skills.
  • Social media manager: A social media manager manages a business's social media accounts, creating and scheduling posts, engaging with followers, and tracking analytics. This is a great option for students who are familiar with social media platforms and have strong writing and editing skills.
  • Graphic designer: A graphic designer creates visual content, such as logos, website designs, and marketing materials. This is a great option for students who are creative and have experience with design software.
  • Web developer: A web developer designs and develops websites. This is a great option for students who are interested in coding and have experience with web development languages.
  • App developer: An app developer designs and develops mobile apps. This is a great option for students who are interested in coding and have experience with mobile app development platforms.
  • E-commerce seller: An e-commerce seller sells products online. This is a great option for students who are interested in starting their own business and have a product or service to offer.
  • Freelance writer: A freelance writer writes content for businesses or individuals. This is a great option for students who have good writing skills and are interested in working from home.
  • Freelance editor: A freelance editor edits content for businesses or individuals. This is a great option for students who have good editing skills and are interested in working from home.
  • Proofreader: A proofreader checks for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. This is a great option for students who have good proofreading skills and are interested in working from home.

9. Event Planning Side Hustle:

Crafting memorable events is an art. From selecting the perfect venue to coordinating with caterers and managing guest lists, every detail matters. Building a portfolio by organizing events for friends or local community groups can be a great start. 

Platforms like Eventbrite or Meetup can also help you showcase your events and attract a wider audience.

Keep these principles in mind:

  • Start small. Don't try to plan too big of an event right away. Start with small events, such as birthday parties or graduation parties.
  • Be organized. Event planning can be a lot of work, so it's important to be organized. Keep track of all of your tasks and deadlines in a calendar or project management tool.
  • Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan, so it's important to be flexible and adaptable. Be prepared to make changes as needed.
  • Be communicative. Communication is key to successful event planning. Keep your clients updated on the progress of their event and be sure to communicate any changes or challenges as soon as possible.


At the end of the day, there are tons of side hustle ideas for you to start with. 

The most important part is starting. You’ll fail here and there and learn what you like and don’t like. It’s all part of the process. Just keep moving forward and following your unique path, and if you show up every day, you’re already ahead of all the people who never start.

So if you want to get ahead of the competition, just start!

Ken Burnette
Senior Copywriter & Voice of Wonsulting

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