June 19, 2024

IT doesn't matter how much you earn, most of us dream of being able to make just that *little* bit more money every month to afford the odd treat here and there.
But work isn't just about money – it's also about wanting to love what you do, and the best way to do this is to incorporate a specific passion or hobby into your career.
Step forward, the side hustle – which is essentially work that you get paid for doing alongside your main job.
Entrepreneur Ruth Kudzi has always had a side hustle, and is now also the CEO and founder of Optimus Coach Academy, which turns over £1m a year.
She says: "Having a side hustle can be financially lucrative and can top up your full time job – I think I've had a side hustle for most of my adult life!
"I have helped thousands of people set up their own side hustles which have often grown into full time businesses along the way.
"I think a good side hustle uses your existing skill set and is something you enjoy."
Here, Ruth shares her top five ideas for those looking to start something new that they love, and make a few bob in the process…
Firstly, if you have a hobby or interest you have a lot of knowledge in, your first port of call could be online tutorials and classes in your specialist topic.
Ruth says: "You don’t need to have a specific qualification to do this, but you do need to have a skill.
"The online training business is booming and people create courses, programmes and subscription model memberships on everything from dog grooming, personal styling to public speaking. 
"The key here is to do your research into your market and build an audience on social media or apply to one of the big course platforms to get your course uploaded.
"To have longevity you need to be good at what you do and have a level of expertise.
"Think about who your skills are best suited to and the typical audience that you can relate to .
"Websites like Udemy are a great place to start."
Earning potential: Ruth says: "Anything from £10 to £1,000 a course, depending on the complexity of what you teach, and the audience."
If you genuinely absolutely love animals and would love to spend time with them while earning a little extra money as a bonus, demand has never been higher for pet-sitters.
However, it is a big responsibility that must be taken seriously – and can't just be seen a job.
Ruth says: "During COVID the demand for pets went through the roof.
"Now the demand for pet-sitting and dog walking is at an all time high, as many people have gone back to the office or started travelling again. 
"You can register on sites such as pawshake.co.uk or trustedhousesitters.com or you can set up on your own in your local area using leafleting and local groups.
"If you are doing it on your own make sure that you have insurance and ensure you are following your local council guidelines."
Earning potential: Dog walking or cat/ house sitting can earn £10 plus per hour.
People always love to buy gifts that are handmade or artisan, and feel personalised.
Ruth says: "I have worked with people who have done everything from creating their own haircare ranges, starting their own bakeries at farmers markets to creating physical products to sell at craft fairs. 
"Always look at any restrictions around what you do and think about how you can make it unique and memorable."
Earning potential: This varies wildly, but you could be looking at £500+ per month on average, depending on your profit margin and what you're making.
Many small businesses look for flexible workers who can work a few hours a week to help them on specific projects.
Ruth says: "You might be a designer or programmer, in which case something like fiverr.com or peopleperhour.com can be a great place to share your skills.
"Or if you work in retail or hospitality you can use your customer service skills to answer emails or the phone out of hours.
"Alternatively, you can use your skills and knowledge on social media to support small, local businesses."
Earning potential: Depending on field, you could earn from £10 per hour, so on average £200- £2,000 per month. 
Finally, if you love to host a good party, why not turn that into a business?
Ruth says: "The events industry are always looking for people to work on a casual basis, so consider what you can do.
"For example, I used to work in a club taking photos of people with a photo booth my friend had purchased.
"You might have the funds to buy something like this, or a popcorn or candy floss machine, which you can then rent out and man at events.
"Alternatively you may want to provide something more niche.
"For example, maybe you have beautiful handwriting and can write invites, or you can create wedding or party favours. 
"Think about making contact with other people in the industry, and of course making sure you have the appropriate insurance and checks if needed."
Earning potential: You need to cover costs upfront, but if renting out equipment, a photo booth can be up to £500 per event, or a balloon arch may be up to £300.
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