Many full-time working folks would not even consider doing a side hustle and they have good reasons not to. After a long and tiring day at work, you would want to spend some time with your family or simply relax by doing something you love, before the day ends and you have to report to work again the next morning.
Why be so hard on yourself to earn that extra income? What’s the point of having so much money and then live a miserable life?
But what if I tell you that having a side hustle is not as scary or hectic as you think? And it is not like going out to be a Grab driver or delivery person after your work?
What if this side hustle can be done at the convenience of your home or as part of your hobby? What if you would actually enjoy doing this side hustle and not treat it as a chore or something that you dread?
In this article, I am going to share 9 side hustle ideas that I have personally tried and I will also share how each one of them can be done and my thoughts on the whole experience.
Side Hustle 1: Giving Tuition
Tuition is popular among Asian countries, especially in Singapore, where it is a billion-dollar industry. In 2021, the private consumption expenditure on education in Singapore amounted to 7.92 billion Singapore dollars.
I started giving tuition when I was in NS, continued in my Uni days and all the way to working full-time. I remembered I was still teaching tuition for almost 5 years since I started my first job.
Being an engineering graduate, I was able to teach technical subjects like Maths, Physics and Chemistry. The tuition rate gets better at a higher level such as Upper Secondary. The below chart shows the market rates of tuition costs in Singapore.
You can register as a private tutor with the many agencies in Singapore (just do a google search) that match you to a potential student. The agency usually takes the fees of the first 2 lessons as commission and you get to keep the rest of the tuition fees if you manage to continue the tuition assignment.
Side Hustle 2: Breeding & Selling Fishes
My grandpa loves fishkeeping, my mum too and so it runs in the family. When I started working, I wanted to set up a planted tank because I think it would be therapeutic sight after a long day of work.
However, one thing leads to another as the fishes started to breed and the plants started to bloom in a conducive environment. Back then, I was very active in a forum called Arofanatics Fish Forum. I sold quite a lot of plants and fishes (Guppies, Mollies, Discus, Cherry Shrimps, Marimo Moss) through that forum.
I managed to dig out an old video of my Discus breeding pair. This is a Leopard Snakeskin Discus and was considered to be quite a valuable strain back then.
So, I raised the young and then sell them when they become small discus fishes. It was quite a fun process raising them and I enjoyed the hobby very much. The proceeds that I made from the hobby helped to pay for all the expenses that I spent on the hobby.
Side Hustle 3: Selling On Carousell
This side hustle needs no further introduction as many people are probably using Carousell to sell off their unwanted stuff. I use Carousell to sell off the brand-new items that I got from gifts or from redemption. When I recontract my Starhub plan, I bought a brand S9+ phone and then sold it off for a profit of $600.
I also bought Jamie Oliver Knife Set at a cheaper price through the redemption of link points at NTUC and then resell them for a good profit.
Other items that I sell include housewarming gifts such as slow cookers and other kitchen appliances which are quite popular among buyers who are on a tight budget.
Side Hustle 4: Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate (you) earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. The affiliate simply searches for a product they enjoy, then promotes that product using an affiliate link and earns a piece of the profit when someone makes a purchase off the affiliate links.
There are numerous online shopping platforms such as Amazon, Lazada, Qoo10 and almost all of them have an affiliate program. Basically, you will only need to create an account on their affiliate program website and then generate the affiliate links (which are unique to you only) and start promoting the products using the affiliate links.
I have tried the Lazada Affiliate Program. Some products offer quite high commission while some common items like groceries have very low commission.
I also tried the Amazon Affiliate Program by recommending books that give around 4% commission.
The good thing about the affiliate program is that if someone clicks on the link and decides to buy some other products (not the only one you recommend), you will still earn a commission if the item is purchased in the same session. The other advantage is that you do not need to own any product or paid for platform fees to own these products. You only need to advertise them.
The challenge of affiliate marketing is that you need to get someone to buy the product that you are advertising so you are like the marketing manager. If no one buys through the link, then you earn nothing. Influencers/ YouTubers who have huge following use affiliate marketing to earn an extra commission off the products they are promoting, on top of the sponsorship they received.
Side Hustle 5: Writing A Book
I have always enjoyed writing but publishing a book has never crossed my mind, until many of my friends encouraged me to write a motivational book as they found the motivational writings that I wrote on Facebook useful to their mental well-being. So, I decided to take up this big project and did everything on my own because I did want to spend more money engaging a publisher, which was super expensive.
I wrote my entire transcript for a 400-page book on Microsoft Word document. I used a free app called Grammerly to sieve out the grammar mistakes. I also divide the book into 3 volumes and asked a few friends to help me vet through for grammar errors.
I requested an IBSN (International Book Serial Number) from NLB (National Library Board) to register my book. In return, I sent two copies of my book to National Library for archival purposes. I used a free app called Canva to help design some of my book covers but because the printing required a high resolution and a specific format, I engaged a freelancer designer over Fiverr to help me design a book cover (front and back). I also engaged a copy editor over Fiverr to help me make sure the book transcript was flawless (in terms of the language and grammar).
I also sourced around for printing services, compared quotes and found the most affordable one, who happened to be a friend whom I met on Facebook. My wife helped to order hundreds of bubble wrap envelopes from Taobao so I can mail out the books in good condition. I also explored using Singpost postage to mail one single copy and Ninjavan postage for friends who ordered more than 1 copy from me.
Then, there was an “Alice In The Wonderland” exhibition going on at Vivo, with very nice props set up over there. I went there and used my modest handphone to take publicity shots for my book launch.
I also listed my book on Amazon through the Kindle Direct Publishing Program (KDP) where you only need to upload the transcript, cover and fill up all the details and Amazon will help you create and sell both the hard copies and soft copies to interested buyers all over the world.
The only disadvantage is that Amazon took a huge cut for doing all the logistics work for you. Let’s say you list your book for X dollars, you will get a certain percentage of royalty, which ranges from 40% to 60%. Thereafter, Amazon will deduct the cost of the product off your royalty, which is not very much left.
The good thing is that it saves you so much effort to send one book by one book and to liaise with customers, payment, dispute or whatsoever. In hindsight, it would save me so much time and effort if I did not need to mail out 1,000 copies of the books that I sold.
You can download a free (Vol 1) copy of my motivational book here. May it help you cope you some of the negative emotions you are experiencing in life.
Side Hustle 6: Creating An Online Program
This idea is inspired by the coaches who put in one-time effort to create an online course and then sell to many other clients. Regardless of the number of clients that he serves, the effort in creating the course will be the same. Thus, he can focus his effort to scale up his client base to earn more profits.
I did it a little differently by providing motivational content and resources (podcasts, ebooks, music, stories, posters, videos, worksheets, gifts) in a Facebook private group on a daily basis, all throughout the year. These content was published every morning to inspire happiness and to generate good vibes to help course members be in the right frame of mind to deal with the challenges ahead.
For this online program, I charge $2 per month, which is fully refundable at the end of the program (1 year) if anyone wishes to request a refund. For people with financial difficulties, it is totally free. If you wish to get a reference for what the course is like, you can check out the sneak preview PDF copy below:
Side Hustle 7: Making YouTube Videos
When the pandemic started in 2020, I watched plenty of YouTube videos and was inspired to start my own YouTube channel to earn some income from making YouTube videos. However, I did not want to show my face because I wish to keep a low profile.
So, I created a channel called “Therapeutic Relaxation” to provide therapeutic videos (animal, nature) with relaxing music to help people cope with stress and anxiety.
I use the free app Canva to create my YouTube video thumbnails. I then grab copyright-free music from YouTube’s very own audio library to provide relaxing music for my videos.
I went to download free and again, copyright-free stock footage from websites like Pexel, Unsplash, Pixabay for the video elements of my YouTube videos. Many content creators also tap on these free resources for their videos as well.
Lastly, I use the free video editor app in Microsoft Photos (inside Windows suite of software) to combine the video and the audio together.
I also created a second YouTube channel to convert my motivational writings into videos.
I wanted to record my own voice but it was too time-consuming so I used Watson Text to Speech software to help me translate my text into an AI voice recording that is quite close to human voice.
I created my video using the free Lumen 5 website as it will grab the free stock footage from the various sources for me. With that video output, I then combine with the audio clip with the free editor software mentioned earlier.
The end product looks something like this:
To start earning from your YouTube channel, you will need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours before YouTube will consider your channel for monetisation. The good thing is that you do not need to pay YouTube for any membership or subscription fees.
Side Hustle 8: Blogging
I started a free blog site a few years ago on the WordPress platform, which is used by 43.2% of all the websites on the Internet (data by W3Techs, 2022). Initially, it was more to archive my motivational writings and stories and when I see that there are more interest to the articles, I decided to sign up for the subscription plan to monetize the site. The site looks more professional with a .com address instead of .wordpress.com for free websites.
There are a few subscription plans offered by WordPress but the cheapest plan to monetize is at $10 per month, and $120 per year. Besides having a subscription plan, you will also need to purchase a domain, e.g. learninginvestmentwithjasoncai.com, which adds to around $27 per year. So, for yearly charges, it is around $147. The good thing is WordPress can put your ads on your site to allow instant monetisation, unlike YouTube where you need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours to get started.
The earnings through blogging will be much lower than YouTube and WordPress will not actively push out other creators’ content, unlike YouTube where there is a home page to promote videos based on your interest as well as suggested videos on the side panel. For WordPress, when you are in a website, you very much only see suggested content from the same creator.
Having said that, I still prefer to do blogging over YouTube as I love writing and can also write my articles on the go when I am traveling on public transport. The WordPress mobile app is easy to use and reliable, though typing on the phone is much slower than typing on the keyboard.
Side Hustle 9: Investing
I started investing 10 years ago after I have cleared some of the major milestones in life and had some spare cash. It was a relatively easy side hustle if you are just into earning interest/ dividends off your stock holdings. You basically can do nothing, except for watching out for the company’s performance and fundamentals and exit when things start to turn south. I made quite a lot of investing mistakes too and I have written an article to sum up all my mistakes, the right decisions, 10 lessons learned in my 10-year investing journey in this post:
Happy 10 Years Of Investing | 348k (Realised) Profit, 635k (Unrealized) Loss & 10 Lessons Learnt
Side Hustle 10: Options Trading
Options trading is the side hustle that gave me hope that it could one day replace my day job and help me achieve financial freedom. It made me a lot of money in my first year of trading but it also resulted in me accumulating more than $600,000 worth of unrealized loss when I got carried away and took on more risk.
You can read more about my triumphs and mistakes in these articles below:
I also compiled a newbie guide to explain the fundamentals of options trading in layman’s terms, for anyone who wishes to find out more but do not want to spend thousands of dollars on options class/ courses:
The Newbie’s Guide To Options Trading
Many people will tell themselves that having a side hustle is impossible or they do not know what to do. The truth is that they have already given themselves many reasons to fail, way before they have even started the first move. They will tell themselves that they are tired, they have no time, they have too much commitment, or they rather do something else like watching TV or Netflix.
There is nothing with that because these are all our personal choices. Of course, if the same group of people is going to complain about everything being expensive, everything rising in price except their pay, the cost of living is too high, living is hard in Singapore, money is so hard to earn, the government is at fault for every misery that they suffer, then they surely have surrendered the ownership of their own happiness away.
I personally do not wish to play the victim game. I know I am not the healthiest or strongest person and I have whole lot of health issues to deal with, which started when I was in my thirties. I have work commitment and family commitment and I spent much time in my community projects to help less fortunate. However, I can still find some time out for my side hustles because I enjoy them and I do not see them as burdens to me.
I hope that through this article, I have given you some tips or inspiration to start a side hustle that you can enjoy and at the same time, bring more income to you and your family. There are many more examples of enjoyable side hustles but since I have not tried them, I cannot recommend or review them.
I am pretty sure that if you are willing to try, you will find something that is enjoyable and yet earn you some income. We can look at others and envy them for having more wealth or being more successful but we can also look to them for inspiration and try to reach the benchmark that they have set. I feel that having the right mindset is really important in determining whether we succeed or fail in life.
When I get to financial freedom 5 or 10 years later (when I am 45 or 50), I can continue with these side hustles to help me earn some income when there is none coming from the full-time job. For friends who are also pursuing FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement, do check out this article that I wrote previously:
Why Financial Freedom Retire Early (FIRE) May Not Be Suitable For You?
I wish you all the best in whatever path you are pursuing, whether it is FIRE (Financial Freedom Early Retirement), Ikigai, entrepreneurship or a stable income from long-term employment. Remember, every activity that we spend our time and energy on, consumes a part of our life. Just make sure what you are doing is really worth it!
*** FREE RESOURCES ***
Keen to learn about options trading but do not wish to pay for expensive courses, this newbie guide will help gain the knowledge and fundamentals to understand options better. And it’s totally free!
The Newbie’s Guide To Options Trading
The LEAPS Strategy has helped me make more than USD120,000 in 2021. Here’s all you need to know about this strategy that can help you increase your wealth exponentially:
The Ultimate LEAPS Options Thread
Looking for ideas on what stocks to invest in or which stocks to trade? You can take reference from what I have been buying or selling. I try to update them as soon as I can in this section, as well as share my thoughts on executing these trades:
If the bear market in 2022 is making feel depressed as your stocks come tumbling down, read this article to find out how you can use options trading to help you claw back some of your losses as you await market recovery:
How I Do Earn Even When The Stock Market Is Bearish?
Also, check out my trading strategies in different market conditions, whether it is bullish, bearish or volatile:
How Not To Lose Money In Trading? | My Trading Strategies For Bullish, Bearish And Volatile Market
I watched tons of videos on YouTube since 2020 and if you are wondering if there are any useful channels that you can subscribe to for learning market trends, TA, FA, check out this compilation here:
My Secret Weapons For Options Trading: I Watch These YouTube Financial Channels Every Day
I concluded my first year of options trading with more than USD160k of gain, see how I do it and the capital I use for every month to give you a sensing of the percentage yield I get out of my gains:
1st Year Options Trading Recap: The Journey Towards SGD$217,509 Profits In 2021
This blog is as authentic and as transparent as I can share, I do not just show the wins and hide the loss. I have made some very bad decisions in the first 8 years of investing and paid a huge price for them. Here is the loss I have accumulated during these years. I hope you learn some lessons from my mistakes.
I Cut $135,715 Worth Of Losses In The Last 1.5 Months
Want to learn more about Technical Analysis (TA) but find it difficult to grasp the concepts? This article brings you TA at a glance, and helps you understand key terminologies, indicators, and techniques used in TA to equip you with the knowledge that can empower you in your investing/ trading journey.
The Newbie Guide To Technical Analysis (TA)
Excited to start your trading journey or perhaps try out with a paper trading account to build your confidence in trading? Check out this step-by-step to help you get started:
How To Buy Options on Interactive Brokers (Step-By-Step)
Follow me on your favorite social media platforms, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, to get notified of my latest blog posts. Or join our investing/ trading community at Telegram to exchange ideas or ask questions relating to investing/ trading.