In an era where financial stability is more elusive than ever, many are turning to side hustles as a way to supplement their income. Whether you’re looking to pay off debt, save for a vacation, or simply add a cushion to your monthly budget, side hustles offer a practical and often rewarding solution. Here are some of the most popular and profitable side hustles you can consider for 2023.
Creative Skills: Unleash Your Inner Artist
If you have a talent for design, photography, or any other creative endeavor, the digital age offers countless opportunities to monetize your skills. Platforms like Etsy and Fiverr serve as excellent marketplaces to showcase your work and connect with clients who are willing to pay for your expertise.
Freelancing: Turn Your Skills into Cash
Freelancing is not just a trend; it’s a viable career option for those who possess marketable skills. Whether you’re into writing, video editing, or web development, freelancing platforms provide a space for you to offer your services and get paid in return. With the right strategy, freelancing can become a significant source of income.
Dropshipping: The Retail Revolution
E-commerce has changed the way we shop, and dropshipping is at the forefront of this revolution. This business model allows you to sell products directly from suppliers to consumers without holding any inventory. With a well-designed website and effective marketing, dropshipping can be a highly lucrative venture.
Flipping Items: Buy Low, Sell High
If you have an eye for value and enjoy the thrill of the hunt, flipping items could be the side hustle for you. Platforms like eBay and Facebook Marketplace are ideal for buying items at a lower cost and selling them for a profit. From vintage furniture to limited-edition sneakers, the opportunities are endless.
Online Courses: Share Your Expertise
If you possess specialized knowledge in a particular field, creating online courses can be both rewarding and profitable. Platforms like Udemy and Coursera make it easy to upload your courses and reach a global audience, providing a passive income stream that can grow over time.
Investing: Make Your Money Work for You
Investing is a long-term game that can pay off handsomely if done correctly. Mutual funds, stocks, and real estate are just a few options to consider. While it may require an initial financial investment, the potential for significant returns makes it a worthwhile endeavor.
Service-Based Businesses: Get Your Hands Dirty
For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, service-based businesses offer a practical way to earn extra income. Whether it’s power washing, lawn care, or home repairs, these types of side hustles often require minimal startup costs and can be easily scaled to fit your schedule.
Choosing the right side hustle is a personal decision that depends on your skills, financial goals, and the amount of time you’re willing to invest. The key is to find an opportunity that not only provides financial benefits but also aligns with your interests and long-term objectives. With the right approach, a side hustle can become more than just a way to make ends meet—it can be a fulfilling and profitable venture.
Too often, I’m asked to pay invoices by PayPal. There are a few reasons I discourage vendors to use PayPal. Being in digital marketing since 2009, I try to pass on lessons to those who haven’t been around as long, and this is one of them.
Using PayPal cost me $25 million
You may know the story if you’ve read my book on it or you were in the SEO space back then. It was 2011. I was in my 3rd year of digital marketing. My company was doing over $17,000/month which was a lot of money back then in high school. We were growing aggressively and on track to overcome Market Samurai’s market share, who was then valued at $25 million. PayPal killed all my MMR and froze payments to my contractors who helped build the tool by limiting my account. The full story is quite long.
PayPal makes tax deductions complicated
In digital marketing, a lot of people either don’t live in the West or they aren’t old enough to think about tax simplification. We use tools like Ramp, a multi-billion dollar company who has solved these problems really well.
If I’m spending 5-10x a day, that equates to a lot of receipts at the end of the quarter. Ramp handles all that if I use my credit card.
I’m not the one who is paying
Many times when I’m spending money, it’s not mine. It’s a client’s. PayPal doesn’t like when you have multiple accounts under the same name for different companies. Also logging into any other PayPal account but a personal one is putting your own account at risk.
Some think, just pay with a personal PayPal account. It is a bad idea to take on temporary debt for your clients in case they go bankrupt. Expensing can also take months. Don’t get stuck holding the bag.
This doesn’t apply to only Meta. Nearly every big ad network has a team of reps and those reps are broken into tiers.
Meta’s for example, is split between those who spend under $250k per 6 months and those who spend over. If you spend over, you get a fantastic rep. They have an extensive background and offer great insight. They might even take you for a nice dinner on Zuck’s tab.
However, if you spend under $250k, you get a “Meta marketing pro”.
Personally, I’ve been on a handful of these calls earlier in my career but over the past few years have stopped talking them because my experiences have been just like the others I linked above.
A quick way to vet the “pro” is to ask them for their LinkedIn. If they are unable to provide their resume, they’re likely not an ad buying pro. In fact, it’s probably a fake American name with someone overseas who is paid on a per-call basis to get you on the phone and spend more money.
To close this out, I’ll leave you with an email from a Meta Pro who can’t get their [tags] to work.
Being in digital marketing since I was in high school back in 2009, I’ve hired over 400 people online. Lately, I’ve been tasked with building a social media team. Many of the positions are open to any country, which make it easier to fill positions like video editor or graphics editor. However, some positions require a presence in US or Canada, particularly for reaching local audience on platforms where location of posting matter.
Here are two of my latest job posts on Upwork. The first one includes international applicants which when removed, only brought 2 applicants. The second one brought 5 applicants. 4 from the US and 1 from Canada.
The requirements for this position were fairly straight forward.
At least 6 months of experience with Canva
Strong understanding of the TikTok platform and its unique features
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Ability to work in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment
Detail-oriented with strong organizational skills
Must be based in the United States
There are no education or certifications required to work this position.
It regularly surprises me how few applicants social media positions yield. The narrative I hear is “I need more schooling” but in reality, the only positions with requirements like that are corporate or government positions that have more red tape than productivity. Canva and TikTok are new skills in the 2023 workforce. They’re uncommon, especially because the people who understand it best are not looking for work.
As a digital nomad, I get to pick anywhere in the world I want to live. Recently I’ve grew fond of Dallas, Texas and I’ve been asked several times on my reasoning behind Dallas. It’s not as common of a pick as other cities (someone asked me why I didn’t move to Hawaii) but a lot of thought has went into why Dallas. Before I dive into Dallas, I should explain why the US. Being Canadian, I’ve occasionally (not often) been asked why the US?
I decided on America because:
Unlimited opportunity. This could be a book of its own but things like the market size play a big factor here. There’s money here and a lot of people with it. Even look at something as simple as shipping. In the US I can ship a book for $3 or so. In Canada, that same book costs $20 to ship. You can see how someone in e-commerce would struggle in Canada.
Cost of housing. The average house in Toronto was $1.35 million CAD in April 2022 whereas Zillow pegs the average Chicago home at $320,442 USD. These are two very comparable cities. Dare I say more?
Weather. Snow is scenic but it’s also dangerous and makes life difficult for no reason. The salt from the roads ruins cars, shoes – everything.
Ease of living. This is kind of tied into weather but America has everything. If something is invented, it comes here first. We don’t wait for it to come to this country. We have it and we had it first. Medicine? Comes here first. Then it comes to Canada about 5 years later.
Those are 4 random points that came to mind about the US. Let’s move onto what I planned to talk about, why Dallas?
I think it’s first important to open our eyes – nowhere is perfect. Every city that you think is awesome, someone is looking to escape. So let’s first look at a complain from someone who hates Dallas.
Why not Dallas
Why even consider Dallas? How is it even on a short list? I’ve been here since 2018 and am trying to relocate ASAP. It sucks balls. It’s flat. There’s barely any nature. It’s too hot. The drivers are assholes and dangerous. There’s a lot of crime. People are not nice. Everyone has a gun and are eager to use it. Did I mention how hot it is? Its a sucky place to live for kids. The mosquitos are insane. Allergies! One of the worst place for allergy sufferers in the country. Super high property tax. There’s a bunch of people waiting for the second coming of JFK Jr – that’s just weird, man.
I think we’ll break this down piece by piece.
Most people don’t live in mountains. Colorado is nice. Lots of people vacation there for that reason but to say a city isn’t nice because it’s not mountainous is wrong. There are plenty of great cities without mountains.
It’s a city, of course there’s no nature.
This is fair. The heat is bad in the summer. The heat can also be dangeorus like snow.
The drivers are assholes and dangerous
When I think dangerous, I think Chicago drivers. I think driving I-90 north heading into Chicago. People are driving fast, and swerve across manly lanes. In conclusion, you get this in any city. Toronto is notorious for it too. In fact, Toronto is the only place where I’ve seen people pull over and get out of their car because of road rage. It happens in the US too – it happens in cities.
There’s a lot of crime
You can basically just look at stats to understand this. Most major metro areas in the south have a lot of crime.
People are not nice
This is a city thing. People tend to be on edge in cities. Again, visit Chicago or Toronto.
Everyone has a gun
This seems more of a dig to America rather than Dallas.
Mosquitos and allergies
I grew up in a marsh so I can’t really say this bothers me but I guess it would bother some. This is definitely a first-world problem.
High property tax
The idea here is that since there’s no state income tax, it levels out, and it does.
People are weird, but checkout Florida.
In no order, this is kind of how I thought about choosing my next city.
I enjoy the sunshine. I don’t like getting pale in the winter and hibernating. The idea of waiting until summer to do an activity is not something I’m fond of and where I’m from, summer is 3 months and hibernation is close to 8. The thought of having two garden seasons per year? Awesome.
So split the country in half. Let’s look at the sunny portion. Anywhere that’s red, orange or yellow is good. I’ll stay away from the blue and purple.
Now I’m not someone who likes to go out a lot but I like having the option. I don’t like waiting for events. I want to have the option of going to an event every night of the week if I wanted. I want something for my guests to go do if they’re in town visiting, and being from Canada, I’m expecting a lot of visitors and I expect them to stay at my house. I work long hours, so it’s nice if there’s a big city with things to do.
I also like the idea of friends passing through the city for events. Being a digital nomad, my friends are spread out. If I plop myself in Dallas, there’s a high chance they’ll see me rather than 90% of other places in the US.
Sports are also a huge part of entertainment. I like hockey, but I’m sick of cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs because I just can’t afford going to games that often. Tickets are often 10x the price. Not to mention, Canada doesn’t have football like the US. I’m really looking forward to Cowboys games.
Now we’re able to get down to a list of cities which is something we can work with. Working left to right, I can explain why I didn’t choose other cities, because realistically, that’s how my thought process was for much of it. It was a process of elimination.
Cost of living
Looking at the 3 California cities, COL comes to mind. California has beautiful weather but the costs of living are very high. I lived in San Diego a few years ago and I’ll never forget whenever I drove to Vegas for a weekend, I would try to get pass the state line to Nevada because gas prices would drop $1 per gallon. California is a big economy but it is losing some of it’s talent. It’ll be strong for years to come but it just doesn’t make sense. Maybe if their economy crashes I’d reconsider going there because the weather there is unbeatable.
Phoenix is really hot, but as they say, “it’s a dry heat.” However, it’s a desert. It’s a different lifestyle than what I’m used to growing up. There’s no grass. People don’t go outside midday. It would be kind of culture shock to me so I would have to live there a bit before diving into any consideration of long term.
Family and lifestyle
Las Vegas has a lot. Actually, it has everything. It’s an incredible city but it’s just not ideal for a family. Not that a family is on the horizon (it’s not) but it doesn’t really make sense to me to park myself in the biggest party city in the country at this point in my life. Besides, Vegas flights are incredibly cheap if I decide to go.
Miami is also a big party city, which is why I decided against it as well.
Cities where families live also have more stability in home prices. Vegas is too reliant on tourism. During the pandemic, the city was very quiet.
I like places with population because population breeds opportunity but it also breeds things to do. Carbone has 5 locations – New York, Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas and Hong Kong. Those are big cities.
Population has things like auctions. There are stores. There’s a booming used market on places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. You don’t have to buy a brand new – well, anything – because someone’s selling it in these cities.
This in turn is why I chose to not go to North Carolina. There’s just not enough going on there. This would make sense if I was about 40 and less motivated.
This leaves us with Dallas, Nashville and Tampa, which were basically my top picks. My other top picks are:
Charleston. Amazing but just not enough going on. Atlanta and Jacksonville are each 4-5 hours away.
Austin. Similar to Charleston, not enough going on but at least Dallas is a reasonable drive.
Pheonix, specifically Scottsdale. It’s a nice spot but I chose to remain on this half of the country because family.
Denver. Colorado is awesome, but I think I’d be mad at myself if I moved somewhere with snow.
Social media is funny, especially when older people get on it. I’m not much of a Facebooker but I do use LinkedIn occasionally. recently I saw this quote being shared aggressively.
Most people would think, “well no sh*t.” The idea here isn’t that unique at all. Why would that get millions of likes?
These viral virtue-signaling posts actually have nothing to do with their point taken face value. What we have here is an extremely simple thought but it’s getting an insane amount of praise. Are these words really that unique? No.
The reason? The meaning behind this an attempt to take quantitative analysis of an individual and turn it into qualitative… and guess who does the qualitative judging, the other person.
I’m the mayor of Detroit
I’m married and have 2 kids
I weight 185 pounds
I’m a nice guy
I’m an attractive person
My hair doesn’t look funny
So shifting one’s worth from quantitative to qualitative really means, “you don’t determine your worth, I do.”
“Take away the indisputable facts and let me judge you how I want.” Cruel, huh?
Having example sales decks can be useful. I’m always asked by industry friends to send over decks, because of how useful they can be to learn from. Even if you’ve been in the industry for 15 years and make a few million dollars a year, you can always learn from how others are pitching themselves.
I also hate getting spammed and iHeartMedia is always spamming me. Maybe someone here can benefit off the spam.
Hoping this email finds you and the team at [company] well.
I wanted to reach out today to personally introduce myself and see if it would be possible to set up a time to speak this week or the week after, as I would be pleased to share some opportunities for [company] with iHeartMedia.
Additionally, I also like to share that I love what you are currently doing marketing-wise on social media, as it’s very creative and engaging. I also really respect what you are doing as a company, as [company] is truly a premium product that provides true custom precision nutrition to each individual, and as a person that takes health and wellness seriously, I am definitely going to be a customer.
If you aren’t already aware, iHeartMedia is the number one media company in the US with insight and data on millions of registered users, and health & wellness is a core category for our company. We can hyper-target various interests and demographics including the HNW & UHNW consumers through our exceptional, targeted capabilities with OTT, digital, podcasts, social, influencers, events, etc. I am presently speaking with health and wellness companies about custom opportunities that will generate the necessary interest and awareness to create real results for them, and I know we could do the same for [company].
We also have some incredible partnerships that just came online that raise the bar quite a bit.
For instance, we recently became partners with Amazon & Amazon Advertising, giving us access to Amazon Shopping Behaviors for targeting OTT (Streaming TV) campaigns.
Amazon has created customer audiences based on what people stream, browse, watch, shop, and purchase. As an example, the Amazon + iHeart partnership allows companies to reach the 74% of audiences reached by Amazon OTT who were not reached by linear TV. Furthermore, Amazon OTT complements our iHeartOTT product by adding access to IMDb TV, Twitch, Fire TV News, and Amazon data targeting, allowing us to provide companies with opportunities to generate exceptional interest and awareness to create real results for them.
I believe that this new partnership could provide even more amazing results for [company], and I’d be grateful for the opportunity to set up a discovery/CNA call with you, and any other team members you would like to bring on.
Please kindly let me know what would work for your schedule and I will follow up with a meeting invitation.
I found a fair for about $60 one-way ORD to YYZ. I haven’t flown a budget airline before and I’ve never flown or heard of Flair before, so I gave it a shot. Let’s call this an experiment for the benefit for my close friends/family and anyone reading this.
The day before departure, I attempted to check-in online. I was given an error message which I later learned from the airline staff that it was down for everyone.
I start the day by getting into the Uber and not finding the airline in the list of 100+ airlines in the Uber and Lyft apps. Chicago has 5 terminals and the airport is quite large so I tried to find which terminal Flair flew out of so my rideshare could drop me off closest to my gate.
I started by searching my emails, texts and boarding pass. Everything showed no terminal and no gate. Yes, the boarding pass didn’t give any instruction as to where to go. So I ended up, choosing Air Canada on the rideshare. Once in the car, I continued to search further for flight info. Their site had a live chat thankfully, so I chatted with the agent and after 20-30 minutes I was told it would be in terminal 3. The live chat agent then corrected himself and said terminal 2. How encouraging. He also told me the flight may be operating under Freedom Airlines.
So I went to terminal 2, and looked for Flair Airlines. Nothing. Only option was to either chat with one of the big 3 (Delta, United, American) or go through security. So I went to security. Clear and TSA never heard of this airline and let me through after questioning. I admit, the Times New Roman boarding pass doesn’t look authentic.
Once through, I started looking for displays, which I couldn’t find before clearing security. The displays were specific to the brand of airline. United had their own, as did American and Delta. Flair was nowhere to be found.
So, I got on live chat again, this time I was told by a new agent that the flight would be out of terminal 3. So, off I go. When I got there, terminal 3 was entirely American Airlines flights. This doesn’t look good.
I asked live chat for the gate specifically. They delayed 10-20 minutes and came back with nothing. The best solution they had was to ask airport personnel where the gate is. Are you kidding me?
After some pacing and calm frustration, I decided to ask for some help because if I don’t figure this out in the next few minutes, I likely won’t make this flight. The only staff I could find were American Airlines staff.
The American Airlines agents never heard of Flair, but they were friendly and immediately helped by also searching the flight number on Google and other tools on their side.
Nothing. They had plenty of ideas on ways to track down where this flight was departing from, but sadly found nothing concrete. I was on the Flair site, looking for a place to check flight statuses, etc, but there wasn’t anything. The site was extremely broken (most of the client side CSS wouldn’t even load).
At this point, it was 20-30 minutes until boarding begins. That’s a nightmare in Chicago where changing terminals takes 10-20 minutes alone.
It was at that point, I got a text message from Flair. Finally some info.
Hello Flair Passenger, please be advise Flair Airlines is located in Terminal 5 in the International Terminal and our check in counters are 8 and 7A and 7B
The American Airlines attendants directed me as soon as the message came in. I exited the terminal and I hopped in the train to hop from terminal 2 to 5.
Once I got there, I found the counter and the agents were friendly. The airline staff told me they don’t have TSA Pre (Nexus) setup yet. So when I cleared security the second time, there was no way to get through quickly to make sure I make the flight. After all, I only had 15 minutes once they texted me the terminal and I arrived at it.
They printed my new boarding pass which included the gate, which was M3 out of Terminal 5.
Exhausted by this point, I clear security and get to my gate. It’s boarding time and nothing is going on. I wait until departure time, at which point they announce: “We regret to inform you that there will be a delayed departure for this flight due to unscheduled maintenance. We will inform you when we have an update along with a revised departure time.”
Flair was a 1 of 1 test. It was not worth the cost-savings that can sometimes be found with better low-cost airlines. I hope it helps someone who’s considering trying Flair.
I was recently involved in the migration of a DTC brand from ReCharge to Swell. As many of you know, ReCharge is a billion-dollar payments platform built around subscription businesses. This is the second time I’ve used ReCharge in a DTC startup. Anyone who has worked with ReCharge knows how unaccommodating their support is. Although much of our core business was stable, our business was really limited in terms of functionality and freedom to manage subscriptions.
ReCharge was used for our checkout experience whereas the core WWW was based on Shopify. After talking with some of our affiliates who run large campaigns, it seems to be of general consensus that Shopify is slow and not ideal for brands looking for that extra edge in terms of CVR. So we decided to move this brand from Shopify/ReCharge to Sanity/Swell.
Sanity is a CMS platform used by some large brands. I wouldn’t say the platform is perfect, but it’s not awful. There are bugs you expect when moving from an established eCommerce CMS to a newer CMS. They’re not totally unequipped however, as they did recently raised another $39 million.
After careful consideration, Swell was our choice for a payment gateway that allowed plenty of flexibility around managing subscriptions. It wasn’t until a few days into the migration that we realized it wasn’t as ideal as we thought. Swell has led to a number of issues, some of which I rather not publish to world on the internet as its embarrassing. Here are a few.
Before we get into the bad, let’s talk about the things I love about Swell.
Every Monday our team syncs with Swell’s and we review our ongoing needs and blockers. This is not something you get from ReCharge.
Live chat support is always online
Whenever I need a quick answer, live chat is often available to chat immediately. They are really helpful with simple onboarding problems when our team was learning some of the basic operations within the dashboard. Shout out to Steven!
Here are some of the struggles we run into with Swell. I’ll update these as their platform improves. So any of these listed below are current issues you likely also experience with Swell.
Lack of tracking capabilities
Performance marketing, specifically tracking, is of the utmost importance when it comes to growing a DTC brand enough to move it from seed to series A. Things like GTM, GA and the Facebook pixel are essential for any DTC brand. Essential cannot be emphasized enough. I don’t think there’s a single eCom brand that can operate without analytics. Swell presently does not implement checkout scripts correctly, causing marketing campaign attribution in Google Analytics to be incorrect.
If you run Facebook ads, you could run into serious complications. Unlike Shopify, where Conversion API is just a matter of updating your settings, Swell doesn’t offer an implementation for Conversion API. With iOS 14 adopted in full-force, you need Conversion API. The workaround is to use Zapier, but sadly they don’t pass essential information from the order which Facebook needs for matching events to users. These data fields include:
The customer’s email (yes, the email address)
Facebook browser id
Facebook click id
Slow bug fixes
Most of our bug reports are normally well-received by the Swell team but they are not implemented quickly. The smallest of fixes, regardless of how badly they impact workflow take about 2 weeks at minimum to deploy. This is really hard to base a business around.
Reporting is incorrect
If your company cares about KPIs at all, they’ll be incorrect. This is due to an ongoing timezone issue. So for example, if you report weekly KPIs, the stats for purchases for the week December 1-7 may actually include purchases from November 30 or December 8. This means our KPIs every week are out 1-10%.
Overall Rating: 3/5
After bringing up a lot of these complications to the Swell team, we learned most customers don’t use their self-hosted checkout but rather custom build their own checkout. Little did we know.
This post will be updated to stay relevant and accurate to our current experience as a DTC brand using Swell.
It’s a common misunderstanding among some marketers to assume the guest post price you get is the same that everyone else gets. Owners of guest post sites are extremely good at maximizing profit and spotting opportunities to overcharge. If you’ve traveled from the US to an Asian country, you’re probably familiar with the experience. For those who have not, what happens is when you go to Thailand, for example, is they’ll charge you a different rate if they think you’re a tourist, just because it’s well known that Americans are rich. If you speak Thai, then you’ll be able to get a better price. This is why American nomads often get a translator to help them secure an apartment in Asian countries.
This is the same on the internet, of course. If they think you have money, you’ll be charged a high rate. So when it comes to guest post sites, it comes down to your ability to negotiate. Do you consider yourself a good negotiator?
I’ve been quoted $80 or $100 for a guest post and countered with $30. A lot of these sites will accept anything but shoot for the stars, and some people actually pay the first price they’re quoted. Especially people who are new to guest posts and never negotiated. They’ll take the first price and pay it, which is weird.
So it all comes down to your individual abilities. Make yourself appear less fortunate.