When Luisa Zhou, founder of LuisaZhou.com, started her first online business, a digital advertising agency, she did it on the side. In four months, the business grew to six figures. Since then, Zhou has helped thousands of people start their own side hustles.
“The best side hustle business model to make $1,000 a month is, hands down, a service-based business, like a coaching, consulting, or freelancing business,” said Zhou. “You can start this type of business pretty much right away and because you’re selling your personal time and expertise, you can charge higher rates than you could if you were selling a product.”
Freelancing as a coach or consultant allows you to charge rates at $50 to $100 an hour and work 10 to 20 hours to earn $1,000 each month. Coaching and consulting, Zhou said, can be even less time-consuming. You might spend a few hours prepping monthly calls, taking the calls and supporting your clients in between calls.
There are also few expenses associated with a service-based business. Coaches and consultants will need a laptop and a contract. Zhou said you can find good contract templates for less than $500 online. If you don’t have a website, you may use your LinkedIn profile to build trust with potential clients.
What about experience? You do need experience in whatever it is you’re selling, but Zhou said the good news is pretty much everyone has sellable skills. Zhou uses the example that people who love writing may become freelance writers while savvy Instagram users can help businesses grow their social media following.
If you decide to explore a service-based business, Zhou recommends setting up retainers. This makes it easier to estimate your income and decreases the amount of time spent on marketing and selling your services.