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In previous articles, we discussed the importance of creating multiple income streams. Those who do are more financially resilient during hard times and have a much greater chance of building future wealth. Recent inflation and a possible looming recession has made this practice even more important. Right now, a very popular way of creating an additional income stream is by having a side gig.

Statistics About Side Gigs That Might Surprise You:

• 45% of working-age Americans have a side hustle.

• 50% of millennials have a side gig.

• 75% of the people who work a side gig reported they love their side gig. On average, working 12 hours a week earns approx. $1,122 per month.

As you will see in the stories below, side gigs do not need a lot of start-up money to reach profitably. Instead, what seems to be the most essential ingredient is the owner’s preexisting skills and expertise. Here are a few success stories that involve very low startup capital but produced great returns.

Real-life Success Stories:

In Hawaii, Kehau Hall’s side gig began when she saw some pictures in a magazine about glamping (camping while still enjoying a basic level of luxury). This was the genesis of an idea within Hall, as she had inherited some property in Mountain View, Hawaii, from her family. This property is located about twelve miles from the heart of Volcanoes National Park, which has two active lava sites. Rather than spend an extreme amount of money trying to build a house in a remote location, she got the idea of setting up a semi-permanent glamping site for Airbnb guests.

Hall spent about $300 on a wooden-framed tent to make the structure more permanent. She then installed amenities like a kitchen, an outdoor shower and a king-sized bed for her guests. People enjoy the experience of camping near the volcano, and Hall now usually has her glamping site fully booked. This income stream creates about $28K annually. Hall has plans to expand her model in other areas of the state.

This was a great fit for Hall because she had extensive experience in the bed and breakfast industry. In high school, she helped out at a local bed and breakfast for extra cash, and after graduation, she worked with a local realtor managing various rental properties. She also worked for several years at the nearby Volcanoes National Park.

Next, let’s look at Kat Norton, who is known as “Miss Excel” on TikTok and Instagram. For years, Norton worked for a consulting firm helping banks package, underwrite, and then sell loans and other contractual receivables (interest-paying investments). In her spare time, however, Norton loved developing Microsoft Excel courses for beginners. She liked Excel and had mastered this program while attending business college.

Her job at the consulting firm was entirely unfulfilling. It was so bad that she quit the job and only then began trying to figure out what to do next. In a brainstorming session with a friend, she got the idea of posting entertaining online videos on TikTok and Instagram about time-saving Excel shortcuts. The videos are put to music and she dances in the foreground while the Excel shortcut is shown above her. In other videos, she does funny skits with friends. The videos are recorded and produced on her iPhone without any special equipment.

What separates her from other TikTok and social media influencers is that she uses her social media videos as a sales tool only. The videos are the primary driver to selling her online software training courses. To date, Kat has generated over $1 million in gross sales.

Brian Winch is proof that you can make your side gig super simple while still creating a terrific income. In 1981, Brian needed a side gig to supplement his meager income. He remembered that when he was a kid, he used to help with his father’s commercial “lot litter business.” This business simply involved walking around a strip mall’s parking lot, or other commercial business lots and picking up the trash. He and his father cleaned these lots around their existing schedules.

After a few calls and visits to several commercial management companies, Brian was up and running with his new business and now has over $650K in annual gross sales. He hires out most of his lot litter work to various part-time workers. He has also written a book and has a website called Cleanlots in which he outlines his business model.

You can easily see why people love their side gigs much more than their 9 to 5 jobs. They are able to use their unique experiences to build something from scratch. It is a very satisfying, rewarding way to build a profitable business.

—Larry Faulkner

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