Creating a side gig: How to monetize your passion

You can invest your time to start a “side gig,” which is an entrepreneurial opportunity based on your interests. Follow this guide to learn how your existing skills and hobbies can help you make money!

Side Gig Week

Participate in live events and activities to learn how to start and operate a successful side gig, with tips and guidance from staff and McMaster entrepreneurs.

Learn about Side Gig Week
March 10, 2022

1. Identify your skill

Think about it — what’s your passion? What are some services or skills you could offer to others? What are you knowledgeable about? Remember, starting is always the most challenging part, so take all the time you need to reflect and make confident decisions.

  • Music lessons
  • Tutoring services (coding, Excel basics)
  • Outdoor services (lawn and gardening, dog walking, painting services)
  • Products or goods (jewellery, refurbished thrift store items)
  • Share your knowledge (blogging)
  • Share your talent (photography business, personal trainer)

2. Research the market

Learn as much as you can about the market or industry you’re interested in. How can you set yourself and your services apart from the other entrepreneurs?

Here are some ways to get started.

  • Get information from advertisements.
  • Figure out how much other entrepreneurs are charging for their services or products.
  • Determine how they operate.
  • Determine which specific audience or demographic is requesting the service or product.

These websites are also a good starting point.

  • PeoplePerHour: Freelancers advertise their services.
  • Etsy: Independent sellers advertise their products.

3. Consider the logistics

Now, it’s time to start outlining your plan and identifying your goals! Read this CNBC article to get started: 4 steps for launching a profitable side hustle in less than a month. Then, consider the following questions.

  • How much time are you willing to dedicate to your side gig?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • How will you deliver your product/service?
  • How will people contact you?

4. Invest in resources

Now that you’ve formed a plan, think about the resources you might need to get started. Do you need to buy any materials? Are there any budget-friendly alternatives you can use? Check out Mac’s Money Centre for budgeting tips to help you manage your finances and ensure you have what you need to get started.

5. Advertise

It’s almost time for all the behind-the-scenes planning to pay off! Start thinking about how you can effectively market your skill, service or product to connect with your audience.

  • Create some online posters. Check out our Digital Skills Series for helpful multimedia tips.
  • Advertise on social media.
  • Create a business account on social media to keep your professional and personal life separate.
  • Create a portfolio to show your work, if applicable.
  • Make a website using a free platform, such as Wix or WordPress.
  • Tell your friends and family. Referral marketing can be very effective!

6. Implement your plan

Click “post” and put your plan out there! Remember that it will take time for the ball to start rolling, so try to stay patient. In the meantime, continue to improve on your skills. It can take thousands of hours to become a master at any task.

7. Think ahead

Now that you may be making some money, you need to consider how you might want to save your money. Or, maybe you’re curious about the Canadian taxing process. Mac’s Money Centre has some excellent information to help you learn how to file taxes as a student.